Tuesdays…

It’s just Tuesday.

No one ever cares about Tuesday, really. As far as the week goes, Tuesday is pretty much a wash, a blip, a get-through day. It doesn’t have the pain of Monday, the snark of Wednesday, the fake college-student-created-night-off of Thursday, the long-awaited smooth of Friday or the relaxing dream that is the weekend. Tuesdays are often…meh. But here are some things about my Tuesday, the one I had today, a boring, insignificant, utterly regular and quietly perfect kind of day:

  1. For the first time in three years, I seem to be ahead in PiBoIdMo by about 10 ideas. I don’t expect this wave of creativity to continue in the weeks to follow during the rest of the month. But today, I’ll take it.
  2. A good soup can actually bring warm fuzzies even for the most cantankerous people.
  3. kids dance10-year-old boys don’t get enough opportunities to dress up — not nearly as many as their female peers do. Which is too bad. Because 10-year-old sons look really cool when they wear Fancy Things, and when they do dress up, moms can see the young men they’ll become some day in the heart-wrenching, ever-closer future. Even if it means that right now the boys have to be forced to dance with girls. 10-year-old boys might say that dancing with girls is slightly icky. But, also, maybe a little….interesting. And almost worth wearing a tie.
  4. Turns out, I know some really fantastic photographers. And you should get to know them, too.
  5. Four-foot hawks do not want to hang around on your porch rail while you run inside for your camera.
  6. Next football season, I will sort and organize the over 6,000 pictures as soon as I take them, not 17 days before the end-of-the-year video is due.
  7.  When you think someone is chronically grumpy and ill-tempered, try a new approach. You might be surprised by the result. And by the common ground. Remember — no effort is wasted.
  8. Did I mention the value of a meal cooked from the heart? I don’t even like cooking. But I do it. Multiple times a day. Sometimes I do it very well. And sometimes people like it. Especially grumpy, sad people. Folks — I know John Lennon made a strong case for love being the answer, but maybe soup is what his first draft said before his critique partners voted otherwise?
  9. My friends make me laugh. Every day. Even when they don’t know it. Everyone should have friends like that. Or sisters like that. Or moms like that. People who make you laugh. I hope you have the same kind of silly-making people in your life that I’m lucky to have. If you don’t, I might be able to loan mine out.
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  10. My new bathroom is finally done, after a couple of months of dedicated work; the rest of the house is hanging on in the utter craptastic state that is the waiting for its turn to be fixed, painted, repaired, just as it has been waiting since we bought it nearly 9 years ago. I don’t care. I could live in my bathroom, for all its pretty and how much I love it.  I feel bad for the rest of the house, its dilapidated state. I want so much to fix it all up! But then I remember some wise words, and remember one step at a time, and gaze at the house — the place the six of us for real became a family — and think….it’s not the trappings that’s important. The outside isn’t what’s important, not at all. (But I do love my FIRST EVER AT AGE 44 NEW BATHROOM.)

Bonus Random Tuesday Thought: When your 7yo struggling reader BREAKS THE WALL and reads aloud an entire book without a single pause for words that a month ago would’ve sent her crying under the pillow.

And then an older sibling mentions that it’s his favorite book ever. And they both snuggle under their blankets with satisfied smiles.

Tuesdays.

Perhaps the most under-appreciated of all the days.

Diabetes Jeopardy!

Sometimes I wonder if anyone in my house can remember a time when diabetes wasn’t always on our minds.

I can’t, not really.

It’s become part of our normal, the routine, something like washing your hands before you eat dinner or  the fact that there’s homework on school days. You don’t think too much about it — it’s just there. Most days, anyway.

Some days, it’s all we talk about or think about. Maybe because Mitzi’s very high or very low or is sick or has a lot of sports or she’s rebelling in her preteen way about all the stuff in her life and diabetes management is just another boundary to push.

Yesterday, we all had diabetes on the mind because of MCAS, the state-wide mandated standardized tests given twice a year. Mitzi had her first round yesterday, so, starting the night before, we prepared. Not for the academics, though — we prepared for the blood sugars.

MCAS is a unique annoyance for Mitzi (even more than it usually is for every other child or adult who has to suffer the ridiculous things). If her blood sugar is too high, she can’t start the test when the other kids do — and can’t even start until it’s normal. And if it doesn’t normalize in enough time that she can take the test on that particular day, she has to make it up, missing class. If it happens on test day number two — well, more makeups, more missed class. Avoiding that scenario was in all of our best interests.

Blood sugar was on my mind when I woke up. What would it be? How early should I wake her up to test and find out? A low-carb breakfast was on the menu (scrambled eggs, while the other kids got pancakes). Would it be okay?

Luckily, it was. Normal at breakfast, even lower throughout the day. We discussed it at dinner, praising Mitzi for managing herself so well all day, and slipped into a general discussion about diabetes. Mitzi tossed questions at her siblings: If I pass out, what do you do? (Call 911, tell them you’re diabetic! Cooper even chimed in, “Get that diabetic epi-pen thingie with the glucawhatever!”) Is 150 a good blood sugar? (Yes!)

Joanna knows her diabetes stuff!

Joanna knows her diabetes stuff!

This led to the idea of Diabetes Jeopardy! After we finished eating, the younger three headed for their showers and Mitzi grabbed a bunch of index cards. She made categories and questions and assigned monetary values. When everyone was ready, they played. I watched from the dining room, struggling with something on the computer I was doing for Ray.

It was adorable. And impressive. A $400 question: What do I need if my number is high? All the kids were quick, but Joanna’s “BUZZ!!!!” was the fastest. “MORE INSULIN!!!!!” she shouted, jumping up and down.

Three years ago it made me sad that my small children had to know all of this. That a three and four year old had to recognize their big sister’s physical symptoms of highs and lows and know how to tell Mommy and Daddy about it.

Now it just makes me proud.

Mitzi finds it terribly annoying, the way one of her siblings will ask her if she’s bolused for the apple she’s eating, or the way that they might find me to see if it’s okay that she’s having a snack. The way everyone at various times asks her where her kit is, if she tested yet, and what the number was. Mitzi is eleven, and everything about her parents and siblings is annoying. But especially when they butt into her diabetes business.

But last night. Ah, last night, it was okay, and for the first time ever, diabetes was kind of fun.

Feeding a family of six — thank God for coupons!

When I started having kids, I was always struck by how expensive they were — nonstop diapers (there were periods when I had as many as three in diapers at a time), wipes, food, clothes, books, crayons, toys, on and on, never-ending. We got some help with the last two, thanks to very generous family members and the fact that my parents live a town with a Carter’s outlet store. I had a lot of kids, and they needed stuff. Cha-ching!

But I had absolutely no idea how expensive they’d get as they got older — particularly when it came to food. In the last year, it seems they can’t get enough to eat. (Hello, growth spurts!) I find myself at the grocery store two or three times a week to replenish our supplies, lest one of my children clutches his tummy and falls to the floor in a dead faint.

Here’s what our family of six will eat in less than a week (or sooner, depending on how many friends come over):

Stop & Shop: My home away from home

Stop & Shop: My home away from home

I know, right?

And they’re not even teenagers yet.

Clipping coupons is a satisfying hobby — although, have you also noticed that no one gives coupons for healthy food? I can easily spend $100 before I even get out of the produce aisle, and they’ll eat it all in two days. Meanwhile, I have about 87 coupons for Kraft macaroni & cheese. (Which, thankfully, none of the kids actually likes.)

File under: the real reason I need to go back to work.

Spring cleaning and a March Madness update

Obviously, A Mom’s World has a new look. I do this from time to time and hope it’s not unnerving to my readers. But I haven’t yet wanted to take the plunge into paying for a designer or a premium theme here, so until I do, I keep switching the look, hoping to find one I love. An illustrator friend of mine has generously offered to design a banner for me, but as she’s swamped with her actual, you know, paying work, I don’t know when it will happen. I am more happy to wait, though — her talent is more than worth it!

Here’s the March Madness update — Joanna and I were all set to have our day out last Friday, but a surprise snowstorm caused school to be first delayed, then cancelled altogether. She insisted on taking Monday off instead, so we did. Unfortunately, as it turns out, a lot of stuff for kids is closed on Mondays! We had a great breakfast out, but couldn’t get a lane at the bowling alley (a seniors’ league had overtaken the whole place) and the arcade wasn’t open at all. Neither of those bits of information were on the websites, which we checked on Sunday night. There’s little to do at the YMCA midday — I mean, kids aren’t really expected, right? — so we putzed around with errands and lunch and games and a stop to the dollar store, where I bought her a bunch of plastic stuff she would’ve won at the arcade anyway. She seemed content, especially when I promised I’d take her to the arcade when no one was looking.

The local bowling alley

The local bowling alley

Ellie asked for her day to be Wednesday. We also started off with breakfast out, and were lucky to get an alley for bowling. I refused to take her to the arcade, knowing how hurt her sister would be. Wednesday was an unusually beautiful day — sunny, mid-50s — and we played outside quite a bit. She said it was the best day ever! Cooper and Mitzi are already planning their days.  Hopefully, dollar store purchases will not be on the agenda.

So far, the experiment seems to be successful. I still find it amazing and a little embarrassing that I have to go to such extremes to find alone time with my kids. But that’s the reality right now, and I guess embracing it is better than ignoring it. Right?

You only get so many chances to make a child feel special, and you just have to make each one count.