Saturday, September 19, 2009

Katie's SEVEN!

Where does time go? You blink, and your baby is a first grader...

Happy birthday to my beautiful not-so-baby girl - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of what a compassionate young lady you are becoming!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Katie's 7th Birthday
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Monday, September 07, 2009

Obama's Speech Tomorrow

I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet tonight. So I'm letting it out. I'm so sick to death of the right wing propaganda permeating the airwaves lately. I'm sick of the outright lies, sick of the overwhelming claims being made.

I'm totally in agreement that there are some programs from the Obama administration that need work, or could use improvement. I appreciate both sides for standing up for their perceived rights. But I am 100% over the over-the-top claims about health care being taken over by the government, the new socialist regime and the latest one - that Obama is going to brainwash our children tomorrow and tell them sex is OK during his address to public schools. Such. Utter. BS.

Here's the speech in its entirety. Go ahead, read it. Obama is going to - watch out - tell your kid to stay in school and work hard. He's going to tell them that to achieve anything, they must work hard. Heaven forbid the head of our country reach out to the children and encourage them to succeed. My God, this calls for a revolution.

Don't get me wrong. I know politics plays a part in all of this. Just as they played a part in our race to the moon. But please, tell me what is wrong with the most visibly powerful man in our country encouraging students to succeed?

So, tonight I went to our Hanover (our county's) website to find out when it will be presented. And it turns out it won't be shown to our students tomorrow. Here's what they say...

" Our complete energies must be directed to promoting a productive beginning to the school year for our teachers and children. It is important to support the establishment of new routines and a smooth opening at this pivotal moment.

The Office of the President is to be respected. This is what America’s public schools promote as a basic part of our curriculum. Therefore, rather than showing the speech on the first day of school, the speech will be recorded, instructional materials will be available, and the speech and lessons may be appropriately featured by classrooms electing to use them at a later time. This will allow time for schools to inform parents of existing opt-out procedures."

So let me get this right... kids all need to learn about math, language and science. They must learn about the history of our country, about civic responsibility. Our school board claims to "respect" the office of the President and promote it in curriculum - so shouldn't it, therefore, be included?

Tomorrow about 90% of their days will be spent being introduced to new routines, new faces and with addresses from teachers and principals. They'll probably spend a good chunk just absorbing the new environment and are virtually guaranteed to learn little to nothing beyond a few new names and the location of the nearest restroom. What better time IS there to give a boost talk for the upcoming year? And who better to give such a talk than a black man who rose against the odds to become the leader of our great country - BY democratic election? Did we have an opportunity to opt out our kids when the moon landing took place? How about when the Challenger blew up? When the Twin Towers fell? No, it was important information for them to hear. And this message is, too, because, dammit, most kids aren't getting this message at home. And those do receive this type of encouragement can never be hurt by having it reinforced.

You can bet your butt Katie will be watching this address tomorrow when she comes home from school. And then we will sit down and talk about it. We'll talk about the President's story, about our story, about people we know who work hard and succeed in life - whether they're stay at home moms or professionals, poor or rich. And I'll echo Obama's words to the children he addresses tomorrow, "Make us all proud. I know you can do it."

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Paci...

For the past three months we've been talking to Sadie about her need to give up the beloved pacifier. She finally settled on giving it to her new little cousin, Evan. So, for the last two months, we've been working up to the big third birthday which would mark this momentous occasion. I knew it would be tough, but had no clue how bad it would be... There for a while I was actually worried she may cause permanent damage to her heart the way she was overworking it.

Being the Mom-of-the-Year I am, I decided to record some of it for posterity. A few director's notes before your viewing:

- You may want to turn your volume down before viewing. Waaaayyyy down.
- Not for the weak of heart. Ironic, since she's a heart kid.
- No children were permanently harmed in the making of this video, though it could have caused damage to eardrums for all in the vehicle.
- This was 20 minutes into it. Thus the gagging.
- Katie made the mistake of laughing at the absurdity of the situation (actually I think I started it). Thus the lashing out from Sadie to Katie.
- I do not normally "allow" temper tantrums, but was pretty helpless as we were on I-95. I figured, what the heck, she's strapped in and can't really hurt herself. Ignore it and it will end. Hopefully.
- I briefly considered exorcism, but determined it not to be needed after about 30 minutes, when she finally winded down...

- Sadie was screaming "it's not funny!"
- Katie is the best big sister ever. In this two minute video alone she tried offering toys, diverting her attention to the pretty clouds and gave her her blanket.
- The windows were opened to ensure adequate oxygen flow, as Sadie seemed to be consuming most of what was in the car.

Bedtime resulted in another 15 minute episode much like this. I ended up putting her in her room and sat against her door as she wailed and banged, crying my eyes out. I hate to take her major source of comfort away, but also realize that it's this, or thousands in orthodontics bills years down the road.

I'll need major strength to get through this week...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The day this all started...

Three years ago, almost to the day, I headed to the hospital, thinking I was in labor. They sent me home. A few hours later I came back, and within 7 minutes Sadie entered the world. Then we got the news - she was gravely ill and would require open heart surgery as soon as she could be stabilized.

Before that time I would have never dreamed of blogging and sharing my personal life with the world. Hell, I hadn't even considered that my child could potentially have a heart defect. I didn't know how one second could change your life forever.

Since then I've written about the joys and horrors, the stress and the recovery our family faced in those crucial first months... chronicling hearts torn open and put back together, both figuratively and literally. Then it grew beyond that, to include the hopes and fears for my daughters, then updates for long-distance family and friends to finally, what it is or isn't today - a journal I turn to to release small bits of my brain to the world.

This time of year brings back so many bittersweet memories - the agony of watching Sadie being taken away, not knowing if she made it to UVA alive, the joy of the first moment I hold her, almost a month later. More than anything, my heart sings a song of celebration that overrides those sad memories, though they still persist in the background. Because more than anything, tomorrow is a day of joy over how far Sadie has come and the miracle of her survival.