Friday, October 22, 2010

Dicey Territory

The boy and I drove into town today to meet hubby for lunch. Traffic was slower than normal for mid day. I expected the rain had we desert dwellers driving more cautiously than usual. I credited the unauthorized vehicles skidded onto the road median as other traffic contributors. Then I noted slowing by the Air Force Academy scenic overlook, as a brightly painted van proclaimed "NO to Abortion! YES to Amendment 62!" Traffic in the name of politics. Hooray.

For Coloradans, it's a bit like Deja vu. In 2008, it was Amendment 48, where we voted whether or not to define a "person" as a "person" from the moment of fertilization. Amendment 48 was defeated decisively.

With Amendment 62, we no longer need to cast our innocent eyes upon the sexually explicit term "fertilization". Now, according to, we get to decide if we want to define a "person" as "every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." Oh. Okay. Thanks. Because that is WAY different.

Gualberto Garcia Jones, the Colorado Personhood Director, indicated in The Colorado Independent that the change in verbiage from 48 to 62 provides for a more comprehensive definition. Jones stated, "(f)ertilization would not have properly applied to asexually reproduced humans, but even asexually reproduced human beings have a definite biological beginning." Ah! Now I get it! This new amendment would cover the constitutional rights of my spores should I decide I wish to try my hand at sporogenesis. Or maybe binary fission. Gosh, that has ALWAYS looked like a hoot! Why should prokaryotes have all the fun?

Alright, look, I'm not here to try to sway your opinion on any pro-life v. pro-choice issues, or matters of genetic research. Personally, I was raised (yes, even by my shockingly right winged parents) to believe that a woman's body is her own, and any questionable governmental interference there should be avoided, but believe what you will. I'm just hung up on that commute hindering van. Why? On its side, visible to all southbound traffic were the words:

"To kill a child is to kill Christ"

What?! That's a claim and half, made all the more penetrating by the blood-wrought portrait of Jesus, dangling over the words from his crucifix. I found the portrait, the claim, the van, offensive to my senses! It made me want to yell at the top of my lungs, "NO! NO, IT'S NOT!!!"

Putting aside, the key argument (which, fear not, will rear its head again in a moment), I was horrified to see those words. Printed. ANYWHERE, much less roadside, like a flashing marquis advertising $14.99 Snuggies at Walgreens. It was emotion, poisoning philosophical reasoning. I instinctively recoiled.

After the recoil, logic kicked in. IS killing a child like killing Christ? For arguments sake, let's even say a birthed, living, air-breathing, food consuming child. Is killing that child like killing Christ? The murder of Christ was pretty world-altering. Child murder is unspeakably heinous. But... I just can't even bring the two issues side by side.

Why can't I? For me, it comes down to this... I think of Pontius Pilate facing a handful of legally exempt PTO moms, and I think, okay, Pilate has the potential to take some heat. I think of those same PTO moms unleashed on a child murderer and I think, brutal carnal devastation.

So. I see the equation as unequal. Maybe my inner Christian isn't glowing when I say this, but I might see child murder as even a greater offense. Does this prove the Personhood Organization's position that Colorado should pass Amendment 62?

No! Because the question is, what sociological situation dictates that a biological cellular structure or cluster must be removed from the jurisdiction of said cell structure's/cluster's genetic predecessor(s)? when should a 'person' become a viable entity that others can control with more legal power than that 'person's' God-given natural guardian(s)? THAT is the issue at hand... and though I understand there are personal, complex implications for specific religious sects, or for anyone, when it comes to abortion, I just don't see how the definition of a 'person' could imply anyone is presently killing Christ.

It's akin to a comment my sister used to make to me: "Look! Our hair is the same color, because our belly buttons are in the same place!"

Just because a statement appears poignant, it doesn't mean it makes any sense at all, much less has any relevance.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cliche Clarity

This tooth fairy business isn't for the weak. I mean.... I guess it's for anybody with a kid, because there is really no escape, and there are lots of ways you can handle it (even for you wimp parents who realized too late that parenthood was going to rock your yellow-bellied invertebrate tendencies- oh wait, that was me). It's kind of... well, tricky and gross-ish. Our Pediatrician won't even look at Abi's loose teeth. They make her squeamish. The woman can deal with all kinds of disgusting baby body habits, but she can't handle wiggly teeth. I don't get it, but you know... she cures infections, so it's a trade off.

Now, truth be told, I'm not squeamish about bodily things, for the most part. Eyes used to be tough for me, but I've overcome that. This tooth thing though, while not stomach-churning, is still really tricky. I am finally getting the new understanding of the cliche, "it's like pulling teeth."

First, the tooth is barely loose, and she wants to wiggle it like crazy. Then it's only slightly more loose, and she wants me to pull it. I grab it, wiggle it. It seems it's still cemented. I offer to punch her to get it out, she laughs at me and I spend the rest of the week dodging the Division of Child Welfare. After a few weeks, it gets truly, legitimately loose. She tells me to pull it, then says she wants to do it. She asks for an ice cube, and wants me to pull it again. I grab hold, and it gives a little, but still isn't ready to come out. For as much as I'm not squeamish, I'm not really sure of the right thing to do. Do I hold tight, and rip at it as hard as i can? Is there any medical issue with that? Haven't yards of string and slamming doors been ripping out teeth for decades? Even if it hurt a little, it might be better than fussing over the unrelenting tooth for days and days on end. Then, if it's unrelenting, is it best to wait until it.... relents?

Okay, it's baby tooth. I understand at some point it will come out. Still! Honestly! Pulling teeth is like.... PULLING TEETH!

I finally soothed the anxious tooth shedding beast by telling her if the tooth comes out at school tomorrow, she'll get a cool little treasure box to put it into and bring home. So the tooth remains for another day. Fantastic.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

battling epidemy one hug at a time

Well, school is back in session and cold and flu season is upon us. The children have had their flu vaccinations for the year, so we're all so pleased that there are some strains of something that won't make us as sick as they otherwise could.

Meanwhile, just over a week ago I was informed by a parent at school that her son (in my daughter's class) just returned to school after a bout of walking Pneumonia. Poor kid.

Most of the other kids seem pretty healthy otherwise. Except for one. Abi has been telling me for over a week how someone who sits right next to her has been out for days. She was excited to finally hear news of her friend.

"I found out my friend will be back in school on Monday, Mommy!" I was told early this morning. "I think they said she had the same sick that (the walking Pneumonia child) had."

"You're kidding!?" I said. Visions of a class wide epidemic were dancing in my head. I tried to keep my calm. Chances are Abi won't have been exposed. "Well... Abi, what symptoms did your friend have before she left school sick?"

"Not much," she said. "She was just really cold... so I had to hug her to keep her warm."


We had flu shots.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, they ARE my children after all!

As I believe is often the case in households such as mine, I find myself telling my husband to follow some basic household instruction again and again and again, wondering why my request doesn't sink in.

My kids... well... they're sometimes a little anal retentive about certain things. Not a lot of things. I like to think they are versatile and well adjusted, but they are also pretty observant, notice details, and sometimes object when things are "wrong". I don't have a clue where they get this trait.... ahem....

Sippy cups. We've found Playtex Insulator Twist and Click cups to be the most reliably leak free. We therefore have a fair selection... a Disney princess one, pink and green flowery one, and at least three of them designed with Lightning McQueen and his Cars buddies. It's all very simple. The pink and green flowery cup gets the green lid, the Cars cup with JUST Lightning McQueen (and no other cars on it) gets the red lid. ALL OTHERS get blue lids. Case closed.

I asked the husband to please see which lid goes on which cup, and please try to abide because if it's wrong, the kids will let me know, and usually make me scramble to make it right. Two or three times I have asked husband to PLEASE get them right.

This week, I found the Disney Princess cup bearing a green lid. I leered at him. "You HAVE to be able to get this right by now!" I said. He leered back at me. It was clear that he was sick of hearing me insist. He didn't say anything, but his look said, "are you really going to make such a big deal about lids on plastic cups? REALLY?"

I looked at him, and cupping my hand fully over the lid of the Princess cup, I walked over to our two year old son, who can barely tell purple from orange.

"Braeden," I said, "what color lid is this cup supposed to have?"

"Blue!" he said.

Walking back to the cabinet, picking up the pink and green flowered cup, I again glared at my husband and fully cupped my hand over the cup lid. I walked back to the boy.

"Brae," I said, "how about this one? What color lid should this one have?"

"Uhhhh... Green!" he said.

Husband's laughter and body language indicated he has relented. I still think I should fire him from sippy sorting duty. It's clear there is a member of the household more suited for this task.

Friday, June 4, 2010

pins, abigail.

When a child reaches the age of six, she has many words. There aren't many things she can't say. No, in fact, when once I gave her words to describe her world, and the things around her, I find these days I'm more often trying to take words that she has learned away.

No, Abi, don't say 'What the....' because what people expect to hear next shouldn't come out of the mouths of little people.

Abi, don't call your brother 'Mr. Poopy Pants', where did you hear that potty talk? At school??

Still, she's only six. There are things she doesn't know. Yet, there are enough things she does know, that the things she doesn't know come out beautifully.

She walked towards me tonight, holding a safety pin dangerously open. Her finger was pulling cautiously on the pointed needle.

"I was trying to get the yellow thing off of it," she said (what yellow thing? I didn't know, I didn't care, she had an open PIN). "I'll put it someplace safe. Can you put the thorn... back in its... pouch?"

I was so puzzled. She saw I was puzzled, but we both knew that I understood her perfectly. I simply couldn't believe the very precious way she had just asked me to close a safety pin.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving up in the world

I got a new job today!!
The responsibilities are pretty sporadic. No major stresses. Deadlines are strict deadlines, but there won't be many of them in quick succession, and my ever so short hours are pretty flexible, within reason. Unfortunately, there is no increase in pay. The benefits though, are pretty stellar.

My new title: Tooth Fairy

Tonight was my first night on the job!

One Dream Pearl (to attach to a gorgeous tooth fairy bracelet that my sister tooth fairy bought Abi), and two dollars sit snug beneath a very particular pillow in my home tonight.

My vast experience as Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and even a St. Patty's Day Leprechaun have really prepared me for this new role. It is pretty early to say, but so far I have reason to believe my successes will be quickly realized. I don't know about career advancement in this field, but I think at least there is some solid job security. For the next several years, at least.

I had better get some rest. The girl has another loose tooth. I might have to go to work again tomorrow night!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Wrong Bag

My Kindergartener took a field trip Monday. Four Kindergarten classes made a pilgrimage, aboard two bright yellow school buses, downtown to a large performance theater to see the play Nate The Great. It sounds as if it was a wonderful production. Not seeing it first hand, however, it pales in comparison to our own little post field trip drama.

As I picked Abi up after the trip, she said, "Mommy! Someone else in school, a kid from the afternoon class, has my same backpack!"

"Well, I'm sure it's not EXACTLY the same," I said, skeptically. We're in the middle of Colorado. I didn't imagine many parents online ordered backpacks from LLBean across the country like I did. Though it was possible...

"It WAS!" she said. "RED. LLBEAN... and it even had my name on it!!"

"Really?! It was.... wait, what? Abigail, let me see the bag on your back."

She handed me the bag. Red. LLBean. There was no monogrammed 'Abigail' on the back. It was so surreal that I had to do a personal rewind.
I DID get her backpack monogrammed with her name on it close to a year ago, didn't I? Wait, OF COURSE I did! That's why that other kid's backpack had the name Abigail on it! That's why I'm standing here holding this backpack, rubbing the back of it like a genie lamp, waiting for the monogramming to magically appear. Pull it together, Melis!
I glanced inside the backpack and noted that indeed, the papers inside did not belong to my Abigail.

Well, when you're a kid, new to the whole school scene, I imagine you cling to certain things. For as many times as I holler, "don't forget your backpack!" I think it eventually becomes something of a security blanket. Every morning, the snack goes in. Every snack time, the snack comes out. Every dismissal time, the cubby contents get tucked inside. Every day after school, we get in the car and go through the day's important work and notices before even leaving the parking lot. Then suddenly- it's gone- replaced by this strange impostor, lacking a monogram. Her world shifted on its axis.

We returned the wrong bag to the Kindergarten classroom to await it's afternoon class owner. The darling teachers, seeing Abi so upset, called the owner of the impostor bag, and informed them of the mix up. I assured Abi and the teachers that we would be fine waiting until the following day for the bag. Abi's bag was returned to the school that afternoon, however, and the classroom paraprofessional, who lives around the corner from us, thrilled little Abi by dropping the bag off that very afternoon. Teachers have a knack for understanding kid drama better than the average bear, I think.

So, by day's end, all of the wrongs had been righted, and the snacks would have their proper place for stashing in the morning hours... and I was able to assert a lesson I had taken for granted...

"Abi, if someone is carrying a backpack that is the same color as yours, from the same place as yours, and the backpack has your name on it... chances are, honey, that it's YOUR BACKPACK."

"Yeah," she said. "Especially if it's a BOY carrying it."

"Good thinking, Abi."

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Confused Little Engine

My almost two year old boy child has a serious fascination with trains. Gauging from the number of train toys available, it would seem this is not uncommon. Braeden's love for trains is clear genetic predisposition. Daddy loves trains. Grandpa loves trains. "CHOO-CHOO" was one of my boy's earliest words. Thomas the Tank Engine was one of his first favourite TV shows, toys, and book characters. He sees a pathway, a sidewalk, or even a tire track on dirt, and he is reminded of train tracks. "CHOO-CHOO!" he often exclaims. He is obsessed.

Quite to my surprise, it seems his early gravitation to trains is impacting his perception of the world around him.

My girl child has been taking a weekly art class downtown for the last eight weeks. During this time, on pleasant days, the boy and I have gone for walks. Outside. On sidewalks. During one such walk, we passed a large old building, in use by a local college. This building had several footpaths which weaved all around the lawn leading to different doorways to the building. He was ecstatic, just from seeing the 'tracks' all around. He hollered "CHOO-CHOO!" almost constantly until we were well past the property.

This week, it seemed the corollary between trains moving on tracks and people moving on sidewalks was taken a little too far. As we walked towards a busy intersection, a woman started walking towards us on OUR sidewalk. OUR track! Braeden informed me quickly of his concern. "Uh-ohhhh. Deh!" he said, pointing to the woman. As he thinks of train tracks when walking on a sidewalk, it didn't take long for things to sink in for me. Trains moving towards one another on the same track CRASH. They then, inevitably, derail. He clearly expected a disaster to ensue due to the fact that someone was walking towards us.

I assured him that we could keep walking, just walk around the person coming towards us, and we'd all be fine. He seemed skeptical, but kept walking, holding my hand securely.

The woman strolled by without incident.

Braeden let out a triumphant chuckle.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life's Important Discussions

Sitting in the doctor’s office this weekend, the new We Are The World video came on the television. Abi pointed it out. Specifically, she pointed out the sections that showed Haiti and the earthquake sites. She is quite aware of the situation with all of the local fund raising efforts.

Near the end of the video she said to me, “All of the people in Haiti are brown.”

“Well, no, honey, not all of them are. A lot of them are, but probably not all.”

“There are black people and yellow people and white people?” she inquired.

I was stoked. This was a moment to address diversity of skin color in our highly light skinned town with my increasingly socially aware daughter. I strove to seize the moment. “Sure. There are probably lots of different kinds of people there. Most of them are what some call ‘black’, which just means they have a deep brown skin, but…. “

“Brown skin… like Ray’s mom had brown skin??” she inquired.

“You remember the color of Ray’s’ mom’s skin?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

I was moved. She had met Ray, a dear friend of mine from high school, his son, and his mother once, in a pizza shop, during a trip to New Jersey and she couldn’t have been much more than 3 or 4. Ray’s wonderful mother has since passed after a fight with cancer. That Abi remembered the color of her skin, and brought it up now, of all times, was so touching to me.

“Wow, Abi, yes, you know Ray’s mom was….”


Moment lost.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Valentine for Mommy

My darling secret admirer. My dear dear lover from afar. I never ever knew...

I uncovered you today, as I found the envelope that had gone too long overlooked sitting on the table in my foyer. The beautiful decorations on the outer folds drew me in- rich pink roses, sunset hued carnations, bold yellow gerbera daisies.

A treat! A Valentine's Day treat just for me!!

As I opened your envelope, my heart jumped at the beautiful, generous gifts you sent to me. I beamed at the glorious word before me... one of the most beautiful words I have ever read.


Free Butter Quarters- Salted OR Unsalted!
Free Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream!
Free Nestle Chocolate Chip Morsels (11-12 whole ounces)!
Free Hellman's or Best Foods Mayonnaise!

... not to mention the full $11 of savings in additional coupons!

Russ Dispense, you have become more to me than simply the President of King Soopers, a subsidiary of The Kroger Company. You have played to my needs, to my wants, and charmed this disenchanted matron with your well placed affections.

"We hope these extra savings make it easier for you to treat yourself to even more of what you like."

Oh, Russ... I would like that too. You are so thoughtful!

You might have succeeding in making this my best Valentine's Day ever! You will forgive me, my dear, won't you, that I didn't pick anything up for you???

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Newton's exceptions

I never cease to be amazed by the propensity for a young child to frequently, randomly, unexpectedly, come crashing to the ground.

No, sporting events, general playtime, or even goofy sliding around don't count in this assessment. Falling in those situations is all within the realm of the expected. I mean that moment when you see a child walk to a stop, and the little body just keeps on going until the 'thud' and the 'OW!' follow. Or even the random collapse from a seemingly absolute standstill. How do they do that? Does someone need to first KNOW about Newton's laws of motion before they apply?

More.... how do they do that, and keep getting up again? I think once gravity proved itself to be that much an adversary- to rip me over from a halt- I might just stay down.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

On Writing

I'm taking a six week class at a local art school for Writing and Illustrating Children's books. That said, I'm not positive I want to write Children's books. Though I don't particularly like children, I know I'd love to write something. I also know that in six years of motherhood, something close to a dozen ideas for children's books have pounced on me. So, hey. Why not?!

Don't ask me about the Illustrating part. I'm trying not to get too worked up over that. Rumor has it publishers know some illustrators anyway, should anything I compose ever get that far...

The first day of class, the instructor quickly brought up something that stuck with me. He said that being a writer, any kind of writer, comes with a certain level of fear and vulnerability. Anything that you write inevitably exposes your thoughts or feelings about something, and you are therefore made more vulnerable with the exposing.

I've not had much hesitation here in blogland, where really I imagine my onlookers are dear pals or relatives, but thinking about anything else I might write... even just for this class? Yes, it's a little intimidating. Though I've not put much thought into why, I think with his statement, my class instructor answered the question I never asked. There's a vulnerability to it that feeds the eternal adolescent concern: but... what if they don't like me?? What if NO ONE likes me??

Fortunately, the instructor, after pointing out we would all become vulnerable with one another, did come to soothe the tween-agers in us by reinforcing that writing should be something that you do for you. Instead of looking for acceptance or fame or fortune or notoriety of any kind, it should just be an individual journey that the writer enjoys.

As I pursue this next writing adventure (wholeheartedly or otherwise), I will try to accept my vulnerability and work to just enjoy the act of writing.

So, did you like what I wrote? Did you? Did you??

Friday, January 29, 2010

By the light of the wolf moon

How about that big fat torch lighting up the January sky tonight?! It has drawn me back here to my doodley writing like a porch light draws a weary traveler in through a dark and lonely wood. It is a brilliant sight.

I have to admit that I've resisted 2010. Many of my friends were happy to see 2009 pass into history. I, on the other hand, was indifferent to the year change until it actually happened. Then I was quite certain it was a mistake. We should have skipped this year. Maybe slept through it in classic Sleeping Beauty/Rip Van Winkle style, simply missing it.

There seems a greater than fair share of hardship and tribulation going on right now for so many around us. Friends are struggling to afford housing, or struggling to conquer unemployment. Some are struggling to cure their cancers, preparing for, or healing from, surgeries. There has just been an ambiance of strain since pulling out the new calendar for the coming year.

So much so that... well, I think I needed this blazing wolf moon, to remind me that even in the dark the world lights up. Like the brilliant moon, this new year hurts a little when i look directly at it. Still, there are things to celebrate, like moonbeams reflected from snow covered mountain tops, or moon shadows that stretch out across the frigid winter lawn.

Into 2010 we dive. Let's see where the full moons lead from here.