I am again in awe of life and how ironic it has been for me lately. A doctor noticed that Claire's spine has started to curve a bit so we were referred to a specialist to monitor the situation. The trip to the doctors office was the perfect storm of circumstances. My wrist was hurting, Claire needed to be in her chair (instead of our double stroller), Chloe was over tired and woke up as soon as we got out of the car. Then we waited forever, at least 30 minutes, while trying to feed two children, it felt like forever. Then we went back and waited more. After the first interview with the nurse practitioner it was decided that we needed an x-ray. Thankfully by that time the cavalry had come. Jared helped Claire to stand for the x-ray and back into a room we went to wait. Finally the doctor came in with nothing helpful to say. As we left I was so upset that Claire had to jump through so many hoops, all for somebody who didn't get her. He actually recommended a "real" wheelchair for her so that she could play with the wheels. I didn't know what to be mad at, him for such a crazy recommendation or me for being the pessimist that assumed that she couldn't benefit from reaching the wheels if she wanted. It had been a long day, I am still emotionally exhausted from Christmas, and I had just spent almost three hours at LPCH and had little to show for it but over tired girls. As I got onto the freeway Claire started to get more unhappy so I reluctantly put on "her" music. Her favorite song in the whole world is "Sweetness". As the song started she turned her head to look at me in the mirror with that slight "Mona Lisa" smile that she has. Then the best happy sound came out of her. I love it when a favorite song comes on and all my problems melt away and I love it more that Claire has this. As we drove home, Claire soaked in the beauty of the forest and bobbed her head to the music. I pray that some day she can dance to her favorite music on this earth, that day will truly be sweetness.
It's not something that I hear much. I typically fall asleep while the dish washer is running or music is playing. When I am awake there is almost always a lot of things going on. But not today. Jared and Claire went to get coffee, watch the surfers and go shopping in Los Gatos. This left Chloe and I home and she took a great nap. I roasted some squash and made the baby food for the week. Then took a shower. Once I was dressed the most amazing thought happened. There was nothing pressing. Sure there are 4 loads of laundry waiting on the floor, the carpet needs to be vacuumed and the dished could use some attention. But the phone wasn't ringing, I wasn't late for an appointment, there was no child in need of my help. I sat down and the only thing that I could hear was a bird chirping, then it flew away. Then I heard a rattle in the crib and the phone rang, but it was a very nice moment. I am reposting as there was a comment that I wanted to remove and couldn't figure out how.
It might sound odd as I am a stay at home mom, but I do feel like I commute every day. Claire goes to school five days a week at two different locations, each at least a ten minute drive from our home. Getting Claire a public education is indeed a full time job in itself. Enough explaining, on with my story. As we started our journey to school today I was thinking about all of the usual stuff. When should I call the County Office of Ed to discuss the next IEP, I have to call the district and find out what on earth they are thinking, when are we going to see the specialist about scoliosis the appointment is in Dec so it must be soon, the typical monotonous part of my job. As we got onto the highway the light was coming through the very thin layer of clouds, it was breath taking. Normally we go to school in a dark grey fog, this was more like low laying clouds. I told Claire that I felt like we were driving in clouds and we could pretend to be angels, I got a big positive yes to that! As we dropped getting closer to sea level the clouds cleared and the sky was so amazing, crisp and clear. I tried so hard to soak in the beauty of the morning. The trees were such a deep bright green since it rained a few days ago, the leaves were bright red and the blanket of light fog was slowly starting to reveal the dark blue water beneath it. I seriously have such a beautiful commute. It did help that both girls were sitting quietly smiling. Then we got to school. As I helped Claire to walk toward the classroom I discovered that she had puked inside her shirt, but I had a clean set in her backpack, so we are still up for the day. Now I need to get a referral to GI, another thing that I have been meaning to do.
Maybe it has something to do with my time in culinary school or the work I did in the kitchen at the Westin, but I am a pretty confident cook. To be honest, confident most likely doesn't cover it, more accurately over-confident, humility lacking, and down right boastful would better describe how I view my skills. Lately, all I've been making is food for the girls and every once in a while, us. Chloe has been working on solids for almost two months and aside from rice cereal, I've made it all. However, with the surgery I got a little behind on my food mashing activities. Knowing that we were getting low on the supply I picked up a few jars of Earth's Best organic baby food while we were out. Two nights ago Chloe devoured the pears and cinnamon and I figured that I would try a jar of carrots since we were out of veggies. You would think that I was trying to kill her. I got one spoonful into her mouth and she looked at me as if I had tried to feed her poison. I put on a smile and tried for a second bite, intercepted. She then, in the agony of being fed horrible jarred food covered her eyes in disgust and then tried to pull her hair out, in the process, getting carrot all over! I have to say it was the greatest complement ever! To those of my friends that are a second child and have voiced concern about Chloe not getting full attention in the shadow of her sister, know this. Claire was fed jar after jar of baby food (still the organic stuff) since I was chasing around AZ with my mom post stroke. Chloe has been eating fresh cooked veggies from the farm one town over. She might eventually have to wear hand me down clothes, but she is eating like a queen. After this incident I promptly roasted some winter squash. Yesterday we had it for lunch and she gobbled it right up! I have to admit that as a mom I screw stuff up all the time, like completely forgetting to give her a bottle before bed, leaving the diaper bag at home and so on, but at least I know that she loves my food and will turn her nose up to anything of lesser quality.
The struggle in my heart continues as we celebrate this advent season. I hate the association between Christ and His absolutely miraculous birth and the height of consumerism. But Claire loves the lights and all of the fun crafts that happen at school for the season. I had resolved to celebrate Hanukkah as that story is one that speaks to my heart and where I am right now. I so desperately need to be reminded constantly of who God is and what He is capable of, much more than I can ever dream. But I can't find the candles for the menorah and I don't have the energy to prepare any special food. So I am back to square one. We did manage to put our tree up, it is a nice size for the girls to play with and it requires very little maintenance. I did use the season as an excuse for Claire to buy Chloe some presents. It was so much fun to hook her switch up to my computer and go shopping on amazon with her. She was very thoughtful as I said we could get Chloe three things. She absolutely refused to get her toys and was reluctant to pick out clothes. So we settled on two books and a hat. We also wrapped our presents that we got for the little girl off the tree at church. It gives me such joy that I can have a conversation with Claire about giving. I so wish that she could talk back to me with more than her amazing smiles and thoughtful looks. I know that she hears me and that she is learning about all of this, maybe that's really why I hate the holidays, it is just so hard seeing her not getting to do the many things that I know she wishes she could.
Earlier this week I had the unique pleasure of having my right thyroid removed. It was a nodule that measured 4.5cm cubed. It was really getting annoying and I am very happy to have it out of my neck. Of coarse, getting to that place, like most things in my life was an adventure. It started when I went to meet the surgeon. We had a quick discussion about risk and all that stuff. He was more interested in Chloe, who could blame him? He kept saying how beautiful she is, I see that stemming into another problem further down the road, but we have a while. So after a quick casual chat I signed some papers and off we went. Two weeks later I have to not eat or drink after midnight and show up at 10:30 for a noon surgery. The sad thing is that it was no problem to not eat or drink, after thinking about it, I normally don't because I wake up running and don't normally stop until noonish for some nourishment. I get into my super wonderful surgery dress with matching stockings. The nurse comes in to put in my iv. She asked which side was my left and after thinking for a moment, I figured it out and raised my hand. She then wrote yes on the left side of my neck, scary part is, I didn't see this as a problem. Somehow, before she sat down to start the iv I pointed to the giant lump protruding from my neck on the right side. Oops! She said which is your left side, not which side are we taking out and I was too relaxed to care. So after a good amount of alcohol wipes to clean the sharpie marks off my neck, she wrote yes on the other side, started the iv and left me to work on the afghan I am making for Claire. A few minutes later the surgeon walked in and introduced himself as Matt, pausing and then adding his last name in an effort to seem a little professional. Jared and I loved it, we joked that only in Santa Cruz does the doctor come in talking like a laid back surfer. Then the anesthesiologist came in. He asked a few quick questions, stated that I seemed fine and didn't need anything to calm down at this point. I continued on my hand work and he appeared again pretty quickly. He asked two questions and then asked Jared if he had a Ducati. Of coarse, Jared was wearing a Ducati sweater. I then sat there while the doc talked with Jared about the Monster that he had purchased six months ago and all of the custom work that had been done to it. How ironic, minutes before this guy came in Jared had stated that we might need to buy a Monster as the sale that morning hadn't performed at expectations. Eventually, he asked me the rest of the questions you ask somebody before you put them to sleep for three hours and left. Two minutes later he was back to discuss roads and winter gear suggestions. It really was a gift from God. Jared hates anything to do with needles and the pre-op is much harder for him. So in the weirdest way, it was the best experience. An hour late they wheeled me back I took a few deep breathes and woke up in the recovery room with the worst headache. The afternoon didn't get much better, the night got worse. I faded in and out of sleep trying to wait out the drugs. Somewhere in there I had the pleasure of a very nice visit from a friend to break up the monotony of waiting it out. Around 4am I woke up and the headache was gone, I was a human again. By the time that the surgeon came in at 7 I was sitting in bed watching the news and checking my email. He told me how he had used a spoon to try to pry it out but it was too big so he had so cut a bigger whole. That explained why it took an hour longer and why my chest was so sore. I was out by 9, less than 24 hours in. It has taken two days of extra naps and taking it easy, but I am about back up to speed. I'll chalk it up to an interesting experience and a reminder why Claire gets her medical care not in Santa Cruz.
I'm hoping that it is just a lack of sleep and not some sort of mental regression. Lately Jared and I seem to screw stuff up a lot. We have resigned ourselves to accepting our mistakes because we are doing the best we can given our circumstances. So when I do something that ends up to work to my detriment, I will tell Jared that it was Miss Amazing that did, as if that somehow makes it alright. Enter Christmas time. We normally don't even try to attempt many things that "normal" families do because it is too hard. But Christmas got the best of us. Los Gatos has a park with a huge light display. You pay a few bucks and drive slowly through the park and soak in the "holiday spirit". Saturday was going well and we were organized enough to feed the girls early and get them into their pj's before 6. We told Claire that all of this effort was to go look at Christmas lights and she got so excited! So we put them in the truck and off we went. I was so proud of myself, I even got the address online to put into the nav so we didn't get lost. Somehow even with the exit now prompts, we still got the wrong exit but thankfully still found our way to the entrance to the park. Where we discovered that several hundred other people had the same idea that we did. Even if we had sat in line to get in, Claire would have been asleep by the time we got in and she was already borderline bored. Great, Captain Awesome and Miss Amazing strike again! We felt like such failures. Claire was so sweet with her smile anticipating the lights. After driving in circles a few times and misunderstanding each other a bunch, we hit the jackpot. In the square in downtown Los Gatos was a huge tree with very simple lights on it. Of coarse, it was on the wrong side of the car and we couldn't get Claire to look out the other window so she didn't see it. Since it was such a simple display, there were no people around and plenty of parking. We parked and Jared got Claire out and wrapped her up in a blanket. They walked into the square and were surrounded by the trees all lit up. Jared described her as having the most content and sweet smile and peacefulness, I so wish I could have seen it (it was cold and Chloe was asleep, so we were in the truck). We headed home and in about a minute and a half, she was out with that soft sweet look on her face. Why is it that we keep falling for wanting the bigger and better? So often that is not where it's at. But is does make a good story for the adventures of Captain Awesome and Miss Amazing.