2.09.2013

Gripes and Gratitude

GRATITUDE I

Ringworm? Check
Molluscum Contagiosum? Check
Giardia? All three kids from Ethiopia, never. Hubs and me and eight trips to Ethiopia between us, never.

I will take ringworm in this house six times over as long as we can stay parasite free. Fungus, welcome aboard. Glad to know you.

GRATITUDE II
Kids who love Little House books. We finished Little House in the Big Woods, Little House on the Prairie, and have recently started Farmer Boy. When they learned that Farmer Boy is about Almonzo, the little boy who grows up to marry Laura, they freaked out like they were hearing about the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince Whatshisname. They are so delighted to connect to these real people and what life was like for them. History unfolds in these pages, and it has been wonderful to see them learn how life was so very different in the 1800s. In Prairie, Laura goes into detail describing how Pa builds their house, and we took advantage of this narrative to try and imitate it. It was hard work collecting "logs," shaping them, evening out rough spots, creating notches where they would rest on each other. Our little model took hours, caused injuries, ya know, the good stuff.  Home school marches on.
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GRIPE (IN LETTER FORM)

Dear Taylor Swift,

We've had a rocky journey. At first I found your stardom disappointing. I mean, you can't sing at all. You probably would have been rejected had you auditioned for a high school choir of any caliber. This isn't judgement, it's just true. Sometimes I have a hard time with people getting music awards for singing when they can't sing well. But then I read an article in some in-flight magazine where you admitted you couldn't sing and were all cute and smart and humble and then I thought, OK, at least she knows. I can respect that. And I will join in with the rest of pop-lovers (even though I am not a pop music lover) and admit you have a knack for writing catchy, fun, relatively wholesome music that makes my kids get up and dance and that is almost never a bad thing. So we were on the mend.  And then, you came out with this song Trouble.

I have some questions for you, Ms Swift. What exactly are you talking about when you say you are now lying on the "cold, hard ground?"  Because when I hear that, I think, This is a problem. Did she get beat up? Did he actually hit her? Or perhaps worse, did he sexually assault her? This lying on the ground thing seems to have happened suddenly, was she drugged and assaulted? 

Everything about that imagery, for me, is violent. Unless it's supposed to be a metaphor. Like, you feel like you're lying on the cold, hard ground. But you don't say that. You say over and over, you knew someone was trouble, he took you to places you've never been (Where? And why are you making it sound mysterious and fun for girls to discover where exactly a terrible person can take you?) and now you're lying on the cold, hard ground.

Also, how did you know he was trouble? Did he walk in with a crack pipe? Did you meet him while he was hurting another woman? This song contains catchy phrases like "joke is on me" "shame on me" but I gotta tell ya, while there are way worse lyrics to songs and images in songs in this universe, and far far worse examples and singers out there in Pop/Rock Singer Land, (1. Fergie 2. Nicky Minaj 3. Rhianna 4. Kei$ha 5. Just about everyone else) I am annoyed. I was enjoying this understanding we had where you sing cute songs that don't make me change the station for my kids.

While I am not disgusted with you like the other aforementioned "artists," I am creeped out by the "I am attracted to emotionally and/or physically abusive boys OH WELL!" theme of this song. I change the station it when it comes on, even when my three daughters are not in the car. You are one of the good ones. Come back to us, Taylor Swift. Don't get sleazy and nasty.

Thanks,
Uptight, Whiny, Over thinking Mom


GRATITUDE III
Responsibility. The children, especially the other four have been incredibly mature lately and had ample opportunity to demonstrate a high level of Crud Togetherness and Teamwork.  We are quite suddenly, in the last four days, a host family for a mother and baby here from Ethiopia to receive treatment for a dangerous condition that cannot be treated in Ethiopia. The children have had to make room at our table, in their play time (Shh, yet another baby is napping in yet another room!) in our home school schedule for me to run Mama B to the hospital. And traffic stinks. And sometimes things take longer than we thought. Hubs and I are realizing more and more that we are not just Hotel Scooping it up, either. That we may need to play a more personal advocacy role to make sure the language and cultural barriers between surgical team and Mama "B" as I will call her, is as smooth as possible and Mama B can make the most informed decisions as possible for treatment. It has been not a little intense trying to go to bat for Mama B.

The children are working together as a team, cleaning dishes, helping make meals, setting tables, doing school work assignments with greater obedience and positivism than I have ever seen. Even Cookie Monster, who is not yet five, has sat with his older sisters at the table, done school work, and cooperated with them while I have been to the hospital with Mama B.

Having her here, having another two more humans to add to the mix has been humbling, wonderful, tiring. She is a blessing and we feel a huge Divine Intervention in having her here with us because we are in a position to help, and step up the amount of help. But it has required a lot from the children.

Also, having an Amharic speaker in the home has rekindled everyone's efforts to speak/Amharic. And her ch'chebsa is way better than mine, so you bet your bottom dollar I will be updating my recipe post to include her methods.

Another bonus, Mama B is a world class runner and has shared her stretching techniques with kids who needed some P.E. on a snow day. We are a little star struck by her coolness.

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GRIPE AND CONFESSION
Brady, my baby. My youngest. My preemie. My little man. My six early intervention appointments a week champion, has arrived at Almost Three Land. I am not enjoying it. He is a screamy, whiny, tantruming mess. I need to find joy in this child. I need some alone time with him. Which he deserves. Lately he has been running to his big sister Mimi's arms almost as much as mine. I had a fearful thought this week. What if he's giving up on me meeting his needs. What if he is attaching to her as a care taker instead of me? I've been panicking a little, though I realize that in large families, this dynamic is not unheard of. I remember at twelve-years-old getting up in the night to rock my baby brother to sleep when my mom and dad slept through it. He isn't attached to me in a weird way. I am sure they were glad for the help and I loved feeling like a responsible teen at the time.  But his arms raised to her scared me. Him running to her leg to cry. I want to make sure I am meeting his needs. Time to dig out the Ergo to throw him on my back while cooking or doing school, I think.

Happy weekend to you. I am busy trying to shake off a bad mood induced by stress and excess snow. Sometimes, I really really hate living in New England.  And that is because I am a huge baby about any temperature less than 70 degrees. We have injera, pears and almost enough chocolate to get us through the next few days. Be safe, all. And warmer than here I hope.

11 comments:

AnnaJ said...

Yeah, the New England mega-snow can work on your last nerve and with a house full of children and guests as well, I certainly HOPE you have a good supply of chocolate! Personally, brownies are my go to food on days like this.
Thanks for the update. In the Spring bring you kids up to New London, NH for a visit and they can see our little historical museum with its variety of old buildings , including a one room school house and a house where they cook like Laura's mom did. Our 4th graders make a day of it with activities...maybe you can join in?

marymuses said...

Two things:

1. I love the log cabin. Your homeschool is way cooler than our homeschool. I mean, on top of the log cabin, you have a professional runner teaching PE? Can I sign Zinashi up for your homeschool? Maybe we can do some sort of distance learning program?

2. I would much rather deal with parasites than molluscum. In our house, the molluscum was far worse than the parasite infection, and we've had both giardia and cryptosporidium here. The molluscum were so much more stubborn than the parasites. Ringworm, however, I feel is not a huge deal. It's my choice ailment of all the common orphanage ailments.

Crafty Cristy said...

You could move down here to Mobile, Alabama. Then you would almost NEVER have to deal with temps below 70 degrees, even in winter. Now, to be honest, you would have to deal with SWELTERING summers, but I deal with those by constantly saying to myself, "But the winters are great." (I had enough of snow for a lifetime when I was a child.)

Kudos to you for opening your home to help a family in need. I love the Little House build-a-home thing. And I totally agree about the Taylor Swift song.

scooping it up said...

AnnaJ, that field trip sounds awesome, we'd love to do that!

CraftyChristy, I flirt with moving all the time. I LOVE Boston put simultaneously truly struggle with the weather. I have heard Atlanta plugged before.... hmmmm...

scooping it up said...

MaryMuses: we do so few "cool" home school projects anymore like the log cabin that I had to document. Don't be deceived, this is rare. I don't have time for it nor do the toddlers allow for it. We drill math, grammar, reading, history, starting to work in more and more science topics, and to take a few hours to explore with hands, well, I have such a hard time letting go of all that we "need" to catch up on to allow those things to happen. Hence, documenting. I should do it once every other week. That sounds reasonable, but we are nowhere near that amount. :)

Mary Kathryn Jasperson said...

I have to say the whole Taylor Swift thing was hilarious to me!! And we are HUGE Taylor Swift fans. My husband makes some of the same comments as you, "She can't sing!" but for some reason I still like her. It is the catchy tunes and Romeo and Juliet will always be our favorite song around here. I have an aspiring singer and maybe I need to find her a new role model. Your description of the song "Trouble" had me laughing but also opened my eyes (ears) a little more. I think the catchy tunes wrap us up and we forget to pay attention to the words. That and the loyalty to an artist to stay somewhat wholesome. I really hope not all of her songs are written from experience. What an exhausting life!!

On another note we have five children the oldest is almost 9 and the youngest is 16 months. I love that I can pass the baby off to the oldest and that she takes her willingly. I love that the baby will reach out to her instead of mom and dad and sometimes. Because of that I know that baby is taken care of a little extra with the extra hands. I understand the differences you are referring to but especially you coming from the older child point of view yourself. I come from the youngest child with my oldest brother being 13 years older then me. All this is new to me and I love watching all of it. Enjoy that love and bond between them. Look at it as a way for you to be recharged to spend quality time with him.

Kate and Jeff said...

We also made to and from ET without all the infections that often come home...and then two years later, he had ringworm. Two months of an oral anti fungal...blech.

I have to say I love that you still have your Christmas cards up! I just sorted all of ours to put into a scrapbook for A. We save them each year and have used them in photo books to help with his language and I love to compare each year how families have grown and changed!

hotflawedmama said...

I am so with you on all of that but particularly T. Swift. My daughter got her CD for Christmas and there are a few songs that I have a reaction about. And really, last night on the Grammy's I thought her performance was a little too show-y, if you will. All of my kids love music: playing, singing, dancing, etc. I realized I want to be more purposeful about showing them examples of other musicians who can write their own music, can sing at least decently and can play at least one instrument (partially strumming the guitar like T Swift doesn't count). I think for me it's all about the smoke and mirrors that the culture has started to rely on. If my kids end up wanting to be musicians I want them to stand on solid ground with their talents and not how much smoke and mirrors (literally, in TS's case last night).

Ok seriously I don't know where that came from. She's a nice girl and I wish her the best. :)

Love to you, mama!

Deborah said...

Oh, please update the ch'chebsa recipe! I've made it 3 times since you posted, and it is so yummy! But if it can be even better, I can't wait!

Giardia just gives you diarrhea - it's not that bad. I would think the ugliness of ringworm would be worse! But anyway, glad there's something you've never had. :)

Lori T said...

Your posts are amazing. Now, we just need Allie to get off of Thanksgiving and post something new.....I look every week and it is 'the same'. Sad.
Little house is my favorite: when I taught school, when I home schooled, and when I just read them all aloud to the kids and Steve would come in and listen because he was 'hooked' too.

Shannon said...

hey girl-- the taylor swift thing had me laughing!! my daughter loves her and is going to see her in concert, for the second time in a couple of months. (she touched her hands the first time and refused to wash them!!) so all my littles know her songs and sing them in the car -- guess i need to pay closer attention!!

also -- my baby and my oldest have that same kind of relationship. she is almost 15 and the baby is almost 5. sometimes when he wants her he starts to say mom, but corrects himself and calls her "mombery" (her name is aubrey). we laugh!! i don't get too concerned. im happy he has someone he loves to meet his needs when, as a mama of six, i can't always get to him as soon as he would like. he is super attached to me and we have actually had to work on him being away from me. but we have been home (can't believe it) three years this month and with time and maturity he is learning im not going anywhere!! loves school, friends etc now!!