Monday, April 30, 2012

Here We Go Again

You know, I've tried really hard to make my posts interesting lately. I admit that not all of them have been spectacular, but some days there's not much that happens. Apparently God thought I needed some material for my posts, because round about three this morning there was a lot going on around here.

Things started a bit earlier than that when Abby woke up several times complaining about her toe. If you read last night's post you saw that while visiting with Nana, a chair fell on her pinkie toe and she needed to call and tell me about it. Well, I didn't realize how badly that toe was hurt until I saw it for myself. It certainly looked painful and the fact that she was waking up in the middle of the night with pain made me suspect she'd actually broken that little guy. That soon took a back seat when she sat up and started to cough and gag like she does when she gets sick. While I was trying to calm her and contain whatever was going to come up I was distracted and not prepared for what happened next. Let's just say I was worrying about the wrong end.

We made it to the bathroom for the second round of sickness, but the damage had already been done. The bed was a mess, her clothes were a mess, and she was a mess. Poor Abby was horribly sick. At this point Abby was completely wasted. Her skin was pale and the dark circles framing her eyes made them look huge. She barely had the energy to sit up, so walking was out of the question. I carried her floppy body back to bed and settled her in. This was the point at which Jason left to go to the store and stock up on "sick-kid" supplies. It would take a shower and two more bedding changes before we were finally back in bed, ready to get some sleep. About a half an hour later my alarm went off.

Luckily, I was able to contact my principal and he assured me that all would be taken care of at school. I'd stayed with Abby, in case there were any more issues and so we were able to get a bit more sleep. I vaguely remember Jason coming in to say he was leaving for work and then Bruiser followed - due to the thunderstorm he was afraid of. I figured that we needed to head downstairs anyway because the bus would be by soon and I needed to let them know Abby wouldn't be on it.

I carried the still groggy and lethargic Abby downstairs and deposited her on the couch - since she didn't want to be too far from Mom. It wasn't until about 10 a.m. that Abby finally got enough energy to pull herself off that spot on the couch. The fact that she had been so contained for so long let me know that she was really sick.

Ouchie!
Soon she ventured over to my lap and we cuddled, that's when I got another look at her toe - remember that? Yeah, I did too - at that point. Believe it or not, it actually looked worse. It wasn't at an odd angle, but now the whole nail was purple and the toe was swollen and an angry red. Yep, I was pretty convinced that she'd broken it. I put a call in to the doctor. The way things were going I was afraid that they were going to have us get some sort of x-rays, but the word was, "if it's straight and can bear weight" we're to do noting. Whew! Tylenol it is then.

So, here we sit, recovering from yet another round of sickness/injury. As Abby begins to feel better and move around more, I will spending the afternoon looking into bubble wrap, because if these first two months are any indication as to how Abby's eighth year is going, we're going to need it - she doesn't have many digits left!

Despite feeling horrible she still smiled and said, "Cheese!"
when I took a picture of her this morning.

On a positive note, her finger is healing nicely.
As bad as this looks it is a vast improvement over
what it was!

We figured some tea would be a good way to settle
her stomach.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

When Abby's Away, Mom Will...Clean!

Yesterday, after the rough day we had, my lovely husband told me that today he would take Abby out to his parents' house for a visit and let me get some much needed rest. 

I love that man!

So, as they headed out this morning I shut the door and basked in the quiet of an empty house - then I opened my eyes. I walked from room to room and all I could think was, What on Earth happened around here, and where was I when it was happening? Frankly, the house was a disaster and I'd had enough. I knew that Jason would be alright with me spending my time resting and relaxing, and trying to beat this cold, but I just couldn't. So I got to work.

Now, cleaning with Abby around is sometimes a bit of a challenge. She hates the sound of the vacuum, and I admit, it is rather loud, so she usually shuts herself up in the sunroom, or a room upstairs until I'm done - that's if she isn't standing right next to me with her hands over her ears yelling at me to stop. I was actually a bit excited that I could take my time with that lovely machine today and really get the carpets and floors looking nice. I started with the easy rooms and when I would get overwhelmed I just reminded myself to take one thing at a time.

Before I knew it, it was time to tackle......The Sunroom (bum, bum, bum). I left this to last because I knew that if I'd started with it I wouldn't have gotten anything else done. This is where Abby has most of her toys and where she plays. When I walked in there this afternoon, armed with a garbage bag, I was taken aback at what I saw. There was barely room to step, the floor was so covered with Abby's stuff. Since my plan was to not only clean, but organize I guess I could be thankful that before she left Abby had dumped just about every toy she owned on the floor - wasn't that so helpful of her? I must have stood there for several minutes, talking to myself about how I was going to begin. Eventually I just plopped myself down and dove in. Finally, finally the room began to take shape and after a clearing out a bag of stuff to throw out, and a bag for donations I felt we would be okay to once again start living with the shades open. 

At this point I felt I'd really earned that nap so with the downstairs completed I went up to lay down and get some rest. 

Soon enough Abby and Jason were home, after a "great day" with Nana and Papa. There was a moment, while she was there, when the chair fell on her pinkie toe (which is actually black and blue), but she'd called after it happened and was able to get some loving from Mama, so by the time she got home it was forgotten. She got a lovely new outfit from Nana and Papa - and she immediately left the car to go play in front of the mirror so she could see the cute pink skirt when she twirled. They even brought home pizza for dinner. Yep, it was an all round great day! 

And now, after all that dancing with Nana (that lovely woman), Abby is sleeping soundly and resting up for tomorrow's adventures, which may prove to be interesting since as she was falling asleep tonight she softly whispered to me, "Mama, watch Mighty B!" and as I told her we could to that tomorrow she added one more request: "and bacon!" So I told her tomorrow would be filled with Mighty B and bacon - what a crazy kid!


Abby sporting her new clothes and her awesome
shades! She is WAY too cool!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Watery Day

The mood around the Valente household today seemed to reflect what was going on outside - a bit dreary and wet. Now, to be fair there were moments when the sun broke through (like right now as Abby is dancing to "The Bunny Hop", wearing only underwear and a superhero mask), but even those sunny moments could turn on a dime today.

It began when I had to run some errands this morning and apparently Abby's guitar decided to attack her toe. It became more of a problem when she realized that Mom was not around to offer comfort. I came home to find a teary Abby and an "at-wits-end" Dada. This only compounded when Abby saw Jason's hat. See, today was commencement at the college where Jason works and he was required to be in full academic regalia. This included his Master's tam, which Abby fell in love with. There were a few adjustments that he'd wanted me to make to it, and this plunged us into another round of sobs as she realized the hat was "hands-off" for her, but Mom got to play with it. Since she was partly mad at me, cuddles weren't going to work, so we went with a popsicle.

Next came the bath. I won't go into great detail, but let's just say it started great, but didn't end well. Luckily, I was almost finished with the hat and could take over. I dried the kid (and the new round of tears) and we headed downstairs for some lunch. It was at this point that I began thinking an afternoon rest-time would be a very, very good idea. So, as Jason left for graduation, Abby and I went upstairs to lay down in her bed. We did have about a half an hour of quiet time, and then my suspicious little miss began to wonder what exactly was going on. It didn't take her long to realize we were actually resting and  she needed to put a stop to it - quickly. She did this by telling me that she was "so tired" and that she wanted to rest on her own. As she shoved me out the door I wasn't buying it for a second, but I was happy to head downstairs by myself - after all, I had stuff I wanted to do today too! It wasn't even three minutes before I heard her follow me down the stairs.

Abby leading our dinner prayer.
The rest of the afternoon is a blur of me trying to work on a sewing project (something for Abby), while alternating between keeping Abby busy and comforting her when she became frustrated or got an ouchie. Things got a bit better once Jason got home, she even treated us to a lovely dinnertime prayer that included family and friends (followed by the J-E-S-U-S song which always ends with a spirited "Amen! Let's eat!"), but Jason has another function this evening for work and frankly I'm a little leery of how bedtime is going to go. Maybe she got all her tears out throughout the day, or maybe she was just priming the pump, but no matter how it goes I know we will be fine and tomorrow is another day, and for that I am very thankful!

She looks so peaceful here, doesn't she? Did you notice
that she's looking at herself in the mirror?

Here's my sewing project. I made her a resting mat, in the
hopes it will encourage resting. Looks like it's working, huh?

Friday, April 27, 2012

The World According to Abby

Like millions of other parents, when my kid gets home from school one of the first questions I ask her is, "How was your day?", and like millions of other kids, Abby usually gives me a standard response - "Good." or "Great day!" are two of her favorites. I've learned that I can't always rely on Abby to get me the information about her school day that I would like. When I ask what she's learned, or what she did at school all she wants to talk about is lunch and recess - typical!

Today was no different, until Abby and I began to play Barbies that is. I think she told me more about school in our forty-five minutes of playing with those dolls than she has all year. Now, I've seen shows where the psychologist will use dolls to get the child to open up, and how they observe them playing and can tell a lot about what is familiar to that child. I thought I would share with you some of the things that I learned tonight about school and Abby's world in general.

The World According to Abby


  1. Headless "people" are called "Monsters" and will chase princesses, who will fight back and take them down. Abby has a boy Barbie (I guess you would call him a Ken then, right?) who some time ago lost his head, we used to reattach it whenever we would play, but somehow it has become lost. Tonight Abby grabbed him and Princess Belle Barbie and we played chase for a while with those two. I soon discovered that Miss Belle could certainly hold her own as I watched Abby (dressed in a sweet girly dress) pounding on the poor headless Ken while Belle yelled, "Hi-Ya!" over and over. Eventually Ken gave up and remained down.
  2. Moms kiss you a lot, tell you to be good, and go to work. After we chucked Ken, Abby went and got her Tinker Bell doll and a ballerina doll. That's when Belle became, "Mama", with Tinker Bell as the kid (because she was smaller, you know). Mama/Belle proceeded to douse Tinker Bell with kisses, and tell her things like, "Be good, Sweetheart!" and "I'm so proud of you, Honey." After replaying Mama getting Tinker Bell on the pretend bus a few times, Abby laid Mama/Belle aside and said, "Work!" Apparently, the kid had had enough coddling and she sent Mom to work.
  3. School would be great if it consisted of lunch and recess. As soon as Tinker Bell got off the bus she went directly to lunch where her favorite meal of pizza with pepperoni and peppers (no idea on that one) was served - with chocolate milk, of course. From lunch it was time to go outside and play. Tinker Bell enjoyed swinging on the swings while Ballerina/Teacher pushed her. She was even generous enough to trade spots for a moment and let the teacher swing - wasn't that nice? After recess the teacher called them in and they lined up (with Tinker Bell as the line leader) and with a "Forward March!" they were off - apparently to another lunch...which was followed by another recess.
  4. Teachers hand you crayons, tell you "Good job!", and give you stickers. I was finally able to ask the "teacher" if it was work-time. Surprisingly it was and as Ballerina/Teacher went to get Tinker Bell's toolbox, TB settled down at her desk. Teacher handed TB crayons and told her that the work she'd done was "beautiful", this was followed by the awarding of a sticker. We were also able to fit in half of the ABC song and go through the days of the week, but then it was time for yet another lunch.....followed by another recess. (I guess I'm glad with all the eating they are apparently doing, they are getting plenty of exercise.)
  5. Teachers will take you shopping, with a grocery list, and will buy things for Mom and you. Apparently even Abby can tire of lunch and recess because before I knew it Ballerina/Teacher was handing TB a grocery list and they were off to the store! There TB was allowed to sit in the back of the cart while they looked for some yarn for Mama (she knows me so well) and a doll for TB (hmmmm). Then it was bath time - figuratively and literally. When Abby mentioned TB needing a bath I pounced on that and told her that we certainly could take care of that, but Abby needed one too. So everyone got in the tub and a fun time was had by all. 

I found that by the end of it I was pretty fascinated with all that I had learned. I certainly know that Abby does more at school than eat and go to recess. I know because she has come home with some great skills this year - it is so wonderful to see your child learn! What this pretend play with the Barbies reaffirmed for me was that school is a place where Abby has fun, where she does things she enjoys, and where she gets a lot of help and encouragement. It was quite a fun time and a lovely look into her days.

I realized that I have been very lax in taking pictures this
week - I vow to do better. This is a cute one though of
Abby's Barbie picnic. This Ken has a head and is wearing
a skirt - his pants were no where to be found. Modesty
is important around here!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Abby's Motto

Today as I watched Abby dance to her "quiet music" after school I thought about the abundance of life and energy that is packed into that little body of hers. It was while I sat at the table, wiped out from a day at school (and yet another cold), the thought came to me: I could make a fortune if I could bottle all that energy! This sent my mind meandering down all kinds of funny paths, like what the commercials would be like, or how the pills could be like little Flintstone's vitamins, except they would be tiny images of Abby. I even started wondering: What could be Abby's motto? And you know what? I just couldn't come up with anything that fit. Everything seemed so trite and not big enough to describe her.

I started looking around at different mottos and as I read down the list of popular company slogans a story began to take shape. Words are powerful things, and what would happen if I took all those powerful words and used them to tell how amazing Abby really is, and how completely she has changed me?

So, that's what I did. Enjoy.

Abby is Like No Other (Sony)

When Abby arrived I realized that I would need to Rethink Possible (AT&T) and to Think Different (Apple). That God wasn’t telling me, “Have It Your Way” (Burger King), but that it would be His way, and with Him The Possibilities Are Infinite (Fujitsu). Although I didn’t always Experience Certainty (TCS), I learned to keep Moving Forward (Toyota). Soon I sat back and realized that Life is Good (LC), because Abby taught me that Impossible is Nothing (Adidas). I watched her grow. I marveled at her Creativity and Contribution (Casio), how she embodied Imagination at Work (GE), and how she began to Shift the Future (Nissan) for me. She gave me so much inspiration and so many Ideas for Life (Panasonic) - ideas that made me stop and Think (IBM) - ideas that helped me ask myself: Where Do You Want to Go Today? (Microsoft) It is from watching Abby that I’ve found the courage to Jump In (Xbox 360) when I’ve been afraid to try something new, and it is Abby’s voice I hear telling me, “Mama - Just do it!" (Nike) when I would hesitate. Abby makes me a better person. I can hear God whisper, “When I created Abby I was Thinking of You (Electrolux),” and I am deeply honored. It is my prayer that Abby continues Connecting People (Nokia) and to Inspire the Next (Hitachi) person to share joy and love as effortlessly as she does. As we Zoom, Zoom (Mazda) into the future I am no longer fearful. For God has a plan, and we have Abby, and you know what? I’m Lovin’ It (McDonald’s).



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Behavior

As at teacher I love email, it is so less cumbersome than the old way of sending notes, especially when something needs to get home, which would typically require a return note from the parents to let me know they saw what they needed to see. Ugh! As a parent I love email even more. I can so easily send a quick note to Abby's teacher to let her know when I'm going to pick her up from school, where in her backpack I put her permission slip, and for the occasional check on her progress. Usually I'm the one that initiates the communication, so when I get a note started by Mrs. C I know it is something important, especially when it has "Behavior" in the subject line.

Yesterday, after a particularly tiring day at school, I heard the ping on my phone that indicated I'd gotten a new message. I should have left it, but I picked it up and saw the message waiting for me. Mrs. C wanted to let me know that Abby had been particularly stubborn during school. She was reluctant to do work, wouldn't come in from recess, didn't line up when she was supposed to (and then laughed about it), and was generally being a brat (my words, certainly not hers). Now, Abby's teacher did mention that she didn't seem to be feeling well, and Abby's stubbornness, orneriness, and bratish tendencies tend to increase exponentially when she is under-the-weather, but I was still disappointed.

When Abby got home I didn't pounce on her right away about her behavior, but I did make sure to talk to her about it later - after the time-out she earned for not listening to me. We talked about how important it is to listen to adults and how she needs to do what her teachers ask her to. She dutifully lowered her head and said, "Okay, Mama." Her sweetness won me over and that was that.

This morning as we were getting ready for school I had a few minutes, so I sat down to write a note to one of Abby's teachers. Abby decided that she wanted to write some too. So she very seriously sat next to me and diligently took pen to paper. She proudly showed me her scribbles and I set about "translating" her writing on the back of the paper. I guessed that she was writing a note of apology for her behavior yesterday, so that's what I went with. She signed her name and all was good. As we waited for the bus I made sure to remind her that she'd agreed to do her work and listen today, she smiled and gave me another, "Okay, Mama!"

I decided that it might be a good idea to pick her up from school, so I could get the report directly from her teacher. As I watched Abby notice me down the hall, I also saw her put on the breaks when her teacher told her to go back into the room and get her mail. Eventually though she did as she was asked. Things weren't looking good. The report from Mrs. C was that today was better than yesterday - good, but not great, so I crouched down to Abby's level and asked her about her day. I have to say I wasn't negative and I didn't adopt my "you're in trouble" tone, but when I asked her if she listened to her teachers today she paused and turned to Mrs. C, gave her a hug and said, "I'm sorry." From there she turned on the charm and started talking about Mrs. C's pretty necklace.

This small exchange told me a couple of things. First, that Abby realized she hadn't done all that she could to be a good girl. Second, that Abby knew this was wrong and sought to make it right by offering an apology. Finally, that she knows exactly what she is doing when it comes to turning on the charm, and wiping away any frustrations with her bad behavior. She so sweetly hugged Mrs. C and offered her a lovely smile as a good-bye. Then, she slipped her soft hand into mine and and looked up at me with those sweet cinnamon colored eyes of hers and said, "Hungry. How 'bout pizza, Mama?"

And that was that. We walked out to the car and drove to get her pizza for dinner. Along the way I came to one more important realization. I've always thought that I was the firm one, that Jason was the softy when it came to falling under Abby's spell, but there are times when I don't stand a chance - and you know what? I'm good with that.

Abby "drawing" in some shaving cream at school.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Abby's List

In an effort to be creative with my posts, tonight I've put together some classified ads that I think that Abby would just love!


Above artwork is a sampling of the artist's work.
It is no longer available for sale.




Monday, April 23, 2012

Perceptions

As I was thinking today about what to write for my blog post (and secretly hoping that Abby would do something extra spectacular so it would write itself), one word kept creeping up in my mind -  "perceptions" - particularly how Abby seems to pulverize them effortlessly. I began ruminating on this topic last Friday as I was talking with a friend about how Abby has changed her perception of people with Down syndrome, and those with disabilities in general. I fully agreed and shared with her a story that I've shared with few people - mainly because now, looking back, I'm ashamed of myself.

The moment, years ago, happened so quickly and was so fleeting that in a way I'm surprised I remember it at all, but it has permanently been etched in my mind. It happened was when I was pregnant with Abby. As many of you know, we had no idea if the baby was a girl or a boy, let alone that she was destined to have some added challenges. I remember stopping off after work one day at the grocery store, and as usual I was in a hurry to get my stuff and go. Now, if you know me at all you know that I tend to focus on what I'm doing, and not always notice what is going on around me, so walking from the car to the store I'm usually in the "zone" of trying to remember what I came there for in the first place. I don't do a lot of looking around, but for some reason on that day I did and I happened to catch a young woman and someone I could only assume was her mother walking into the store. They were several aisles over, and were heading to a completely different entrance than I was, but they were close enough for me to see their faces. The older woman looked care-warn and grumpy, as if she had been through the wringer and back. Then I noticed the younger woman walking slightly behind her, the younger woman who clearly had Down syndrome. I made a presumption right then and there, and came to a conclusion that to this day haunts me. My mind immediately made a connection between the young woman having Down syndrome and the older woman looking miserable - as if the first explained the latter. I remember thinking in that instant that I was so thankful that all the screening on the baby (which we'd had done only for informational purposes - we would NOT have done anything if tests had come back positive), had come back negative, because (and here's the clincher) I just don't know how I would handle having a child with Down syndrome.


I think of this moment often, and am so very very ashamed of what I thought. In fact my desire to never have anyone make that erroneous connection when they see Abby and I together drives many of my actions. See, I understand that when people see her they may look a little harder and a little longer, and I also understand that they are not only watching what she does, but how I respond and react to her. If they see exasperation on my face, I want them to see that it is tinged with love. I want them to see how much joy I get from her, and how fun and wonderful she is. I want perceptions to change, but I realize that the best one to accomplish that is Abby herself.

A couple of years ago Jason met a man through his work and as typically happens they got talking about their families and such. The man shared with Jason the sad news that he and his wife had recently  lost a baby through a miscarriage. He told Jason that the doctors told them later that they thought the baby may have had Down syndrome. At this point Jason had not shared a bit about Abby. The man and his wife were doubly sad because recently they had gotten a new perception of what having Down syndrome meant. See, this man had an older daughter who took ballet and in her class was a charming little girl with Down syndrome. He told Jason how the parents and children alike loved this little girl, and that he and his wife would watch her, and more importantly, how they came to understand that she was more like their daughter than not like their daughter. His perception changed because of this little girl who did nothing other than come to dance class in her pink leotard like millions of other five-year-olds. Wonderful, right? It gets better. Jason was intrigued, he knew the man was from around here and that there were few dance studios in the area. He also did the math and realized that Abby would have been about his daughter's age. He asked where and when she attended dance, and as the man gave him a funny look Jason explained. See, we'd had Abby in a ballet class at that time, but ended up pulling her, afraid that she was too much of a distraction for the others. Believe it or not, the connection was made and they both realized that the little dancer that had made such an impact on them was Abby - our Abby.

As you can imagine I was overwhelmed when I heard this story. It helped me realize that we will never know the number of lives that Abby touches, and the minds that she's already changed. She will naturally do this on her own, without us even knowing, because she is who she is - an extraordinary girl who quickly changed my perceptions, and hopefully is on her way to changing many, many more.

Abby loved those bars! We were all impressed with her
upper body strength as she showed off both her over and
underhand pull-ups.

Look at that focus - look at that concentration - look at
the fact that she's the only one sitting down!

Do I detect some air on this leap?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why Abby Loves Church


Abby loves church. Actually, what she really loves is Sunday school and playing in the nursery - along with seeing all of her buddies. She rarely ever makes it to the sanctuary. I've struggled with this, but at this point she has such a difficult time sitting still and understanding that there are moments when we need to be quiet. So, we go to Sunday school, where she can dance and sing songs, and then she goes to the nursery while I go to worship.

Today though it was my day in the nursery. Yesterday I told Abby that we would both be in there this morning, and all evening she kept checking with me, "Mama, church?" and I would assure her that yes, we would be going to church tomorrow. Sunday school is so obviously one of her weekly highlights. I had to laugh, because last night when she woke up at about one in the morning, I went to comfort her and she snuggled in and keeping her eyes closed softly whispered, "Church." Even half asleep she was thinking about it.

Abby's ready for church. She picked the socks
(which are actually mine), and I picked my
battles. Everyone actually loved them!
So this morning we got up and got ready. The only problem was in I had 9:30 in my head for some reason, when we got to church I finally remembered that it really starts at 9 a.m. The good thing was that Abby didn't mind. She got to see her friends, play with some babies, and even sing in the microphone, treating everyone there to her rendition of "Jesus Loves Me" and "Princess Belle's Song". There was even the bonus of making a new friend in the nursery today. Abby and Eli played well together. We fed some babies, had a marching band, built towers, had a monster truck show, rode the play horses (with cowboy hats), put the babies to bed and gave them baths, and even colored some pictures. There were lots of laughs and plenty of sharing going on. Throughout the day every once and a while Abby would ask me, "Where'd Eli go?" I love that she kept thinking about him.

What I love the most though is that Abby enjoys going to church so much. Some might say that she isn't really going to church, that all she does is go to play, it's not like she is sitting in the pew and getting anything out of it - but I beg to differ. Abby knows that church is a place where people not only accept her, but they love her. It is a place were friends go to sing songs and dance about Jesus. It is a place where we can make new friends and where people smile and say, "Good Morning". It is a place of joy that she looks forward to with anticipation, and you know what? I think Jesus would be very pleased indeed with Abby's church.
Abby putting the baby to sleep.

Abby sang "Crinkle, Crinkle, Yittle Star" to get her to sleep.

video

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Abby-Proofing the World

Today was one of those days when a little bit of Abby-proofing of the world would have gone a long way. We picked her up from Nana and Papa's this morning. As many sleepovers go, there was a lot of fun, but not too much sleep. After crying for Mama and Dada last night exhaustion won out around 11:30 p.m. and Abby finally went to sleep - only to be ready for the day at 5:30 a.m. We wanted to zip Abby out of there as quickly as possible because poor Nana was holding on to her coffee like it was a lifeline. We knew she had to be exhausted, but as she knelt down to give Abby a good-bye hug and a kiss, she made sure to get a promise from Abby that she would come back soon - now that's love!

That's when I would have liked the Abby-proofing to begin. It seemed that no matter what way we wanted to go home, there was construction (ah, spring in Michigan - the flowers bloom, the birds sing, and the orange barrels come out to play). We all just wanted to get home, and every time we slowed down to a crawl she would get inpatient and antsy. We eventually picked her up a snack and Jason moved to the back to be with her, but it still seemed like a long ride home.

Finally, we made it safe and sound, and we had a some time before we needed to head out the the roller-skating party Abby had been invited to. She was really looking forward to this, and after about the 5th time of correcting her that it was roller-skating, not ice-skating, I finally just gave in and told her that, yes, she would be able to ice skate - but we needed to go to the mall first.

Enter phase two of Abby-proofing the world. We arrived at the mall to find that this was the weekend of the annual traveling fair. For some odd reason each year a fair (complete with "fold-up" rides that I can only imagine are one rusted screw away from coming apart all together) decides to take up residence in the local mall parking lot. I have never seen this in any other place I've lived, and it has alway seemed extremely strange to me. Abby, on the other hand was fascinated. Of course, the place was packed, and it seemed that the only parking spaces available were the ones with the perfect view of the carrousel and the crazy dragon ride that seemed to go nowhere. Even with the promise of a small surprise it was difficult to drag Abby into the mall, but I accomplished it, only to be confronted with an ice cream truck. Now, the truck wasn't a functioning one that actually sold ice cream - that I could have worked with, no this truck was a "ride" for the kiddos. Those blasted mall planners had put them right at the mall entrance as a way to make the mall "fun" for the kids, but miserable for the adults with them. I don't know about you, but my mall "hanging" days are far behind me. When I go to the mall now I want to get what I came for and then leave - even more so when I have Abby in tow. Abby latched on to that ice cream truck and climbed up to drive. I indulged her for a few minutes, but finally pulled her out and got her going in the direction I wanted to.

Sure enough, she wanted to go into every store. She wanted to try on the hats and even the glasses we passed. I really had to pull when we passed the jewelry store (that's my girl!), but once we arrived at the store I wanted I knew this had not been a wise decision. The birthday party we were going to was for one of Abby's older buddies, so I thought that it would be fun to get her a gift certificate to Claire's. Now, if you are not familiar with that store (and you may not be if you do not have - or have never been - a preteen or teen girl), let me give you a snapshot. Imagine if you will a large closet, one that is rather skinny, but surprisingly deep. Now, jam that space with a desk and cash register, and every sparkly bauble, shinny trinket, and frilly novelty that you can imagine, and a few you can't that would make a 10 year old drool - that's Claire's. This was a veritable nirvana for Abby.

Since we were only getting a gift certificate, I told her she could pick out one thing (mistake number one). She seemed to instinctively head to the back where the crowns were. She picked one out rather quickly and I thought: Wow, that was easy (mistake number two). I tried to corral her to the front so we could pay for it, but she was waylaid by the huge mirror, so I thought she could entertain herself while I began the payment process, so I continued on to the counter without her (mistake number three). That was when I heard things begin to fall and I doubled back to find her pulling off her real glasses, so she could try on a pair of fake glasses. I was able to get those back from her and as I turned to replace them (mistake number four), she found a pair of sunglasses and took off out of the store - wearing the crown and glasses. Because she is small (and faster than any kid has a right to be) she made it halfway down the mall before I could get to her and drag her back. This was when her crown was plucked from her head and she was forced to make a decision: the glasses or the crown (mistake number five), she chose the glasses, which were double the price of the crown - of course. At this point though, I didn't care, I wanted to get the gift and head to the party.

Abby cried the whole time we were paying, and there was a moment of panic when I realized in my rush to get to the little shoplifter I had dropped my bank card (luckily it landed in my purse), but finally we got out of that den of iniquity and made our way back towards that blasted ice cream truck. I'd hit my limit though, and was able to pick her up smoothly before we got to the exit and sweep her neatly outside. Now, I'd been talking up the whole roller/ice skating thing so she was pretty excited - a little too excited because while walking to the car she decided she wanted to get ready for her skates, so she plopped right down on that blacktop and took her shoes off. I made the quick decision to pick my battles and pulled her to the car in just her socks, watching for anything in her path that might cause injury. Luckily, the shoe thing was enough to distract her from the carnival in front of her.

Finally, we made it to the party, and though she was excited to see her buddies, and seemed fascinated with the people zipping around on skates, the noise was just too much for her. We stayed for a few minutes (long enough to get her some skates that she didn't want by the time they got to her), and tried out other sections of the rink, but as she cried and shook, with her hands over her ears I knew that she had been through enough - and that she was working on little sleep. We came home to have a popsicle and watch a bit of "Abby TV".

Despite the rough moments, it was a really good day, and I am so proud of her because through it all she kept it together and there were no major melt-downs. We all had a quiet afternoon and were sure to head up to bed early. With promises of Sunday school and bacon in the morning, it took Abby about ten minutes to fall asleep - the poor thing was tuckered out. Tomorrow is a new day, and even though I know the world will never be Abby-proof, it is good to know that we can still handle it.

Ever the happy girl!



Friday, April 20, 2012

Date Night

This morning during my planning time, as I looked across my paper-filled desk, I began to think about all the things that needed to get done this weekend. I have a big project due for grad school, nursery duty on Sunday, errands to do tomorrow, and school work always looms. I thought about how the conversations around our house have become centered around what's going on at work and what we need to get done. That's when I thought: What we all really need is a break! So, I made an executive decision, and with a few simple messages it was all planned - a sleepover for Abby and a date night for Mom and Dad.

I think I looked like a giddy schoolgirl as I danced into the school office at lunch time to share my exciting news with my friend at work. The last time Jason and I went out was...well, it was when....um, I think we went to...Oh, forget it - I can't remember! We were long overdue.

The "hand-off" went well. She was so excited
to head off with Papa!
I picked Abby up from school and told her the exciting news - she would be having Nana and Papa all to herself and she'd get to sleep over. She was very excited and was a perfect gem as we stopped home for a potty break and to pick up her clothes. We met Papa half way, and she couldn't wait to head off for her adventure. I think I told her to be good just as many times as I told her I loved her.

I love my kid, I love her dearly, but it was so nice to sit down and have a meal with Jason without interruption (and knowing that I wouldn't have to clean anything up afterward), and then go to a movie. I knew Abby would be having a blast, and that she would fall asleep....eventually. Still, I held onto my phone the whole time, just in case they needed us - happily there was no buzzing.

As we drove home I sent texts and checked emails to find some fun videos and adorable pictures. She was settling in with Nana for bed, and though she was "a bit cranky" she'd had loads of fun. I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning - but I'm pretty sure that I will be up at (or near) the usual Saturday time - and missing her. She isn't gone away from me often, but when she is everything seems a bit emptier and dimmer.

So, I don't have too much to say about Abby today, or tales to tell of the funny things she did. I did make sure to take some cute pictures and tomorrow we have our first roller-skating party to go to, so you can guarantee I will have plenty for tomorrow's post. For now I'm going to enjoy the quiet and pray she is sleeping soundly.
This one was just too cute!

Abby was obviously showing off for Nana
and Papa - Letting them know what
a big girl she is by writing her letters!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reality TV

Several weeks ago my father-in-law suggested that Abby would be a great subject for a reality TV show. Just the thought of having a camera crew filming us all the time made my stomach churn. I have no illusions about those shows - most of them are as far from "reality" as can be. Creative editing can make anyone's life look like a train-wreck, although I'm sure some make it easier than others.

Having said all of that, there are some days when I wish you all could see and hear what I do when it comes to Abby - the kid is pretty funny. Today was one of those days. It began when I picked her up from school. I usually only do this on Fridays, but I was missing her today, so after school I zipped over to her school to get her. She did the typical run-down-the-hallway-while-yelling-for-Mama bit, which always lifts my spirits. I was able to talk with her teacher for a few minutes and then we were off - with Abby chattering like a magpie.

As we walked out the door of the school to our car Abby told me how happy she was that "work" was over. In an effort to sound like Mom and Dad, Abby has recently taken to referring to Kindergarten as "work". She'll usually ask something like, "Abby go to work too, Mama?" and when I let her know she will be going to school to work she'll generally let out a sigh (she's a quick learner).

Walking to the car, I asked if she had a good day and she said she did, then she asked about my work. I told her that I'd done my work today too, and her response? "Good job, Mama!", as she gave my arm a quick squeeze. From there it only got better. While making sure that we would be stopping at "the pizza place" on the way home, she waved and said, "Hi" to the kids that we passed on the sidewalk.

I don't think she stopped talking for the whole car trip. She talked about everything from how we would wash our hands when we got home, to pointing out that she was sure that the man jogging on the sidewalk was going home. She also continued to wave to the people that were walking around the park, and even got a wave back from some kids walking home. I really got laughing though when I started to sing (loudly) a silly song about us going home. Instead of joining me like I expected, she lifted her chin and let out a long howl - just like Bruiser does. Apparently she is learning that this is the appropriate way to respond to Mom's singing.

Abby, after a long day at "work".
We pulled into the driveway and as soon as I unbuckled her seatbelt she was climbing all over the car - from the front to the back. After leaving her to follow (with one door open), she refused to come out of the car, telling me she would in "five more minutes!"  I finally had to open the back and drag her out - still we were both laughing. Next was the task of getting her in the house - a challenge on any day, but a beautiful sunny day? I knew I had a battle ahead of me. Instead of engaging though, I left her laying in the grass and told her I was going in for some pizza. I smiled when I heard the, "Wait for me!" that she yelled as she got up and ran in the house.

Sadly, Jason had not been feeling well (we're thinking food poisoning - blah!) and so I went upstairs to check on him. Wanting to see Abby, he yelled for her to come up and see him. We heard her yell back, "I'm coming!" and started to laugh, but that was nothing because we totally lost it when she marched up the stairs, planted her hands on her hips and said, "Hey! What are you to up to?"

Yes, I think you would have enjoyed seeing our brassy little Miss today, but I'm not ready to sign up for a season of "Keeping Up With the Valentes" or "The Jackson Shore". So all you busy folks at E! and MTV, don't waste your time - we're just not interested.

Goof!

I'll get you my pretty!

Bruiser was concerned for her,
even if Mom wasn't.

While building a castle with the couch
cushions Abby fell and bumped her head.
Mom gave her ice, Dad gave her M&M's.
She preferred Dad's medicine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Job Training

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I ever needed to change professions. My training and education has prepared me to be a teacher, but I believe that I have other qualities and skills that would serve me well in other professions. Some of these skills I've come by naturally, but others I have learned  - with Abby's help. Here are some of the professions that I think I could apply for, and how Abby has prepared me for them.


  1. Hostage Negotiator: With Abby negotiation and compromise are key. I've learned to sympathize with her when she doesn't get her way, thereby helping her realize that I'm really on her side, and only looking out for her (wink, wink). I know how to offer choices that we both could be happy with, and more importantly, to frame the choice that I really want her to make sound like the best option. I've learned to listen for any change in her voice that might indicate a rise in stress, and to keep her calm when a tantrum is about to erupt. All of these skills would certainly help me when it came to conferring with terrorist - that and I think I have a pretty nice phone voice.
  2. Translator: The subtle nuances of language are, at times, difficult to perceive. Someone who works at translating needs to have a good ear for those delicate differences that could drastically change the meaning and tone of an important conversation. Abby has taught me to listen closely to each syllable and to constantly monitor the context of the spoken word in order to decipher what she is saying. I have become the foremost expert at Abbyese, a truly rare and complex language.
  3. Professional Wrestler: Living with a stubborn little one who is double-jointed just about everywhere, and extremely strong, has sharpened my wrestling prowess. Not only has Abby made me stronger, but she also has helped me hone my strategy. I have gotten pretty good at anticipating my "opponent's" next move and being ready to counter it. Abby also has such a flare for the dramatic I'm sure she could help me come up with some flashy "hook" and name that would make me a star in the ring.
  4. Spy: Due to the fact that when Abby hears certain words she latches on to them and won't let them go (example: pizza, ice cream, bacon, Play Doh, presents, etc.) I have learned to be very careful about what comes out of my mouth, and to speak in code when necessary, but this isn't what would make me a super spy. Why I would be an excellent spy is that when I was caught by the enemy (which I most certainly would be, since everything I'm thinking is so clearly written across my face) I could endure their torture without giving up a single secret - especially sleep depravation. See, in seven years I probably could count on one hand the number of nights I've had a full night's sleep. I've learned to sleep in three to four hour stretches, because that's about how long Abby sleeps - on a good night she only wakes up once during the night. I've learned that I can live life tired and still function - perfect for a spy, right?
I certainly hope that the world will never run out of the need for teachers, but if they do, it's good to know that I've got something to fall back on  - and all because of Abby!

In an effort to help her calm down for bedtime, tonight
we had "enforced quiet time" where we turned off the
TV and had some nice classical music playing. Abby
decided that she wanted to draw and then cut pictures.

"What, Mom? I'm being quiet!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bucko-Gun

Tonight I made a breakthrough, I found the secret to a peaceful bath time - "bucko-gun", or as everyone in else in the world calls it, bubble gum. Yes, after the fourth time of hearing, "No!" when I suggested it was time for a bath I decided to pull out my ace-in-the-hole. Abby is relatively new to the whole bubble gum scene. The first few times I gave it to her she promptly swallowed it - which makes total sense because everything else I give her to put in her mouth she chews and swallows, why would this be any different? After a while though, we tried it again. She got that she wasn't supposed to swallow it, but she found it fascinating and wanted to keep taking it out of her mouth to look at it, and then she would forget the strict rule of handing it off to Mom when she was finished. (By the way, does anyone have a good way to get gum out of fabric - particularly a bed sheet?) This finally caused us to put a moratorium on the "bucko-gun" chewing.

She still loves to wear her towels and pretend
she has long hair. I'm pretty sure that is
programmed into a girl's DNA.
Since then she has been asking for it every few days, and we have stayed firm - no gum! But tonight, as I was thinking of a way to gently encourage her to get into the tub I thought of that miracle substance. I didn't care if she dropped it in the tub (as long as I could get it before she popped it back in her mouth), and she would be contained, when she was done with it I would be there for the handoff. I felt a little like I was luring a reticent wild animal into a trap, but she dutifully followed me up the stairs and once she was in that water she got the gum. Easy as pie.

The added bonus was that it kept her entertained while I washed her hair - or maybe it was just that it kept her mouth busy so she couldn't yell at me to stop. Whatever it was, it was really nice! She did keep telling me that she was hungry and wanted some bacon, and after about the fifth time of telling her we didn't have any, and that she had already had dinner, I began to wonder if they made bacon bubble gum. (yuck!)

She got out of the tub without a problem and even handed me the gum saying she was, "All done, bucko-gun!" Very nice, indeed. Hopefully this will remain a novelty for a while. Now, if I could only find the magical bedtime/sleep solution...

Life doesn't get much better than The Mighty B
and a popsicle. 

Abby made her school's yearbook.
Why does this not surprise me?

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Sleep Bill

I am currently taking a class on Literacy Leadership. This weekend I completed an assignment where we had to review a literacy bill that has been proposed in the state or federal legislature. As I was doing my research I began to wonder if by putting in big words that few people use anymore, and bogging their proposals down with educational and legal jargon, the people that write them feel that they will be taken more seriously. I figured that was the only reason for not plainly stating what it was that they wanted to accomplish. Therefore, since I'd like to make a change that would impact many, I thought I would give it a try. I'll begin by laying it out as "they" would, and then I will tell you exactly what I want and why I want it. So here goes.

Official Request:

Bill: V.1 -  The Sleep Bill (Reordering the Days of the Week)

This amendment is made by Elizabeth (a.k.a. Abby's Mom) and the rest of the world, parties to the agreement as to the order of the days of the week, dated c. 600 A.D.
The Agreement is amended as follows:
The day of the week that hitherto has been known by the name "Saturday" will henceforth be called "Monday", and the day of the week hitherto recognized as "Monday" will henceforth be known as "Saturday". Thus making the order of the days of the week as follows: Sunday, Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Monday. The aforementioned name change is the only proposed change, but causes the term "weekend" to now refer to the days Monday and Sunday, and the traditional U.S. work week to refer to days Saturday through Friday.

Unofficial Request:

Here's what I want:
I want to call "Saturday", "Monday, and "Monday", "Saturday".

Here's why:
It's all very simple really, on Saturday mornings Abby jumps out of bed anywhere from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. This rarely changes. She is not content to linger in bed, or doze softly until a reasonable hour, no the kid wants to get going on her day - and drags Mom with her. Despite the fact that this tends to make my weekends much more productive, it also tends to make me tired and cranky. I want to sleep in.

The stinker just didn't want to get up this
morning!
Now, in contrast, when Monday rolls around the kid doesn't want to go anywhere. This morning was a perfect example. She spent some time cuddling with Dada (around 6:00 a.m.) and was quite content to laze about in bed. She finally sat up and called for Mama around 6:20, or so. She then proceeded to wheedle and whine, until Mama agreed to lay down and cuddle with her for a bit longer. She did this by saying things like, "I'm tired!" and "Cuddle, Mama!" I finally had to tell her that we had to get going, or we were going to be late. Finally I left her and went to continue getting ready. When I went to look for her a few minutes later she was standing in the upstairs hall way, leaning over on the clothes hamper - seemingly so tired she couldn't even stand up straight.

So you see, I've come up with a plan. If we change the names of the days of the week, maybe I will finally get to sleep in on the weekends. I know this may be inconvenient for a while, but pretty soon we will all learn to deal with the change. Many of you know exactly how stubborn Abby is - so you understand that this way is just easier.

I've even come up with my own slogan: "Things Go Better with Sleep!"

We all appreciate your support!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Entertainer

Abby has officially hit the "show" stage (pun intended). She is constantly saying things like, "Mom - Dad watch!" or "Hey Mom, it's show time!" What follows is usually some reenactment of a favorite program or movie, a special dance she's just perfected, or just a series of fantastic jumps. Today seemed like a particularly "showy" day, so I thought I would share some of her star moments.
  • Several years ago a friend of Nana's gifted Abby with a wonderful Karaoke type toy - complete with microphone. It plugs into your TV and projects the star on the big screen. Abby has rediscovered this wonder and has appropriately dubbed it, "Abby TV". Today she belted out a pretty spot-on rendition of "Who Let the Dogs Out" while dancing in her princess dress.

  • During dinner she took a break to show us her fitness prowess. She proceeded to bounce her basketball (which was really a beach ball that wouldn't bounce so she ended up slapping at it and yelling, "Bounce!" every time she did), kick her soccer ball (which was that same beach ball that consequently is much better for kicking than dribbling), and show off her jumping jacks. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of any of that.
  • Earlier in the day she sat down at the piano to compose a song about one of her favorite foods. We decided to call it "Pizza!"
video
  • Later, she told us that one of her best friends, Rachel, had stopped by to dance with her. Abby generously provided invisible Rachel with a Minnie Mouse dress and a crown. She then told her to take her hands and "they" started to dance. (As a side note, Abby just finished off a popsicle and came to me to give me her empty stick. She brought me Rachel's popsicle as well. She takes such good care of her friends!)


  • Jason took Abby to do the grocery shopping this afternoon (thereby earning himself double points for shopping and kid supervision), and he mentioned she was showing off her moves to the fullest while they listened to 50's music in the car. I can just imagine. You wouldn't think that a kid who is strapped into a booster seat could interpret music so well, but Abby is pretty amazing like that.
These were just the things she did today. I could tell you about how yesterday she was decked out in her finery and requested "Oprah" to dance to - I finally realized, when she put her arms out and sang a long "Ahhhhhh", that she was asking for opera music. She danced for quite a while to some Andrea Bocelli. I could also tell you how she put on her guitar and got her microphone situated just right so she could sing, "Running With the Rainbow Unicorns" from The Mighty B. Yes, it is clear to me that we've  got a die-hard performer on our hands. It's a good thing she's perfected her bow.

video

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Three's the Limit

Today I discovered that three days is about all that the girls can handle on our own. It didn't help that Abby woke up wanting Dada - at 3 a.m. Not only is is hard to reason with her at that hour, but it is hard to reason - period. I finally got her back to sleep with the promise that we would see Dada at a more sensible hour.

Once she had moved on from playing the guitar, she wanted
a drum set. We finally got everything just right.
Maybe it was the rough night, or maybe it was the fact that a mere three and a half hours later Abby was ready to get up, but we both got going in a rather rotten mood. She didn't have a lot of patience with how quickly Mom was fulfilling her requests, and Mom didn't have a lot of patience with the number of requests to be filled. It all came to a head when she needed her guitar (with the strap) and the microphone (on the stand). It doesn't sound like much, but the guitar was in her bedroom, upstairs, and the strap needed to be found. The mic stand had broken long ago and so the microphone needed to be taped to it. I grabbed the handy electrical tape, but it had apparently made one too many swords and the roll ran out before the job was complete. While I was running around trying to get all of this taken care of Abby was sobbing on the floor. When I finally lost my patience and told her that we would put everything away if she couldn't calm down, she tearfully apologized for crying - and I felt horrible. She clearly was exhausted, and just didn't know what to do with all the frustration she was feeling. With some snuggles and an "All better now," we got everything just as she wanted it.

With the way things had started out, I was sure that it was going to be a very long day indeed. I'm happy to say that the whole day wasn't quite so draining. We did have some fun during an enforced "rest time", and we had lots of laughs during the hour or so that we threw balloons around. There were other moments when things got a bit dicey. Bath-time was filled with quite a bit of yelling (Abby, not me), and we did have an issue with some apple sauce, but overall it wasn't such a bad day.

Jason got home safe and sound, and we were both very happy to see him. There was a difficult bit when it became clear that Abby was more fixated on the present she had been promised, than greeting her dad, but we had a little talk about that and she soon remembered her manners - sort of.

An hour after he got home from a long day of travel Jason, bless his heart, took over for the night while I went out and had some much needed "girl time" with a good friend. The laughter (and the libation) were good medicine for me after the day I'd had. When I got home, Jason reported that she was a good girl and that they had a nice evening together. He had arrived home just as we both needed him, and therefore all is good at the end of the night.

Our great beast of a German Shepherd is afraid
of thunderstorms. So when a particularly loud
boom went off this morning he "hopped" up on
the couch to sit with us. He is not allowed on
the furniture, but I made an exception here. Abby
was very good about comforting him.

Maybe he was feeling so grateful for the hugs
Abby had given him, but he was awfully patient
while she played dress-up with him.

Abby drew this picture of a "smiling man with
a belly button." I thought it was great! Not
sure where she got her inspiration though.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

From time to time people will ask us if we plan to have any more kids. In all honesty, in the seven years since we've had Abby I've gotten a twinge for having another baby once, when one of the kiddos in the church nursery fell asleep in my arms. It was such a faint little twinge, that never morphed into a full-blown longing. When I told Jason about it his response was something like, "Why don't you wait until you put Abby to bed tonight, and then we'll talk." What a smart man! My "twinge" was long forgotten after our cumbersome bedtime ritual.

People have talked to me and said things like, "Abby would love to have a baby brother or sister," and I agree, she would - until that little one took Mom or Dad's attention away from her. I can hear her now, "Mama! All done baby!" I've also thought it would be good for her to have a sibling for the future. I worry about who will look after her when we are old. Frankly, that is not a reason to have another child. The fact of the matter is, I don't want any more children. Is that bad to say? Abby makes me happier than I could have ever imagined, and fulfills me completely - I don't feel as if I'm missing anything. Our family is complete. In the words of a friend of mine: "My quiver is full."

Now, having said all that, there are some disadvantages to having an only child. Siblings teach patience and sharing. They also can play together. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I wasn't Abby's primary playmate. Then I remember some of the knock-down, drag-out fights my sister and I had (Actually, I was the only one doing the knocking-out and the dragging -down - I was a bit of a brute when I was younger. I know, hard to believe, right?). Some days we fought over everything: who would put the cap on the toothpaste, what sink we got to use, who got to play the first game of Space Invaders, and the list goes on and on. I think about those times and I'm grateful that, after a long day of correcting kids, I don't have to come home and break up fights or be a referee....or so I thought.

This evening, after about the fourth time that Bruiser had nosed Abby out of the way to get to the mirror, I heard myself say, "Alright you guys, that's enough. If you can't get along I don't want you anywhere near each other!" What!?! I had to stop for a minute and think about what just happened. Was I really just yelling at the kid and the dog to get along? I watched as Abby gave him one more shove and said, "Watch out, Bruiser!" and had to laugh. For all intents and purposes Abby did have a sibling - Bruiser.

This is one of my all time favorites of these two!
I have watched those two needle each other so much that it drives everyone in the household to their breaking point, but I have also seen those two as thick as thieves. A perfect example is when Abby comes home from school. As soon as Bruiser hears the bus (which is before we even see it) he starts barking, and he doesn't quit until Abby is in the house. Today, Abby threw her arms around him and told him, "Hi Bruiser! I love you - so much!" Then, after dinner Abby decided to pull out her red dress. There was a lot of noise so I turned around to find Abby standing at the mirror, with her arm slung around Bruiser's neck, singing into a microphone with Bruiser howling away beside her. Within a half an hour Abby was "tattling" on Bruiser for stepping on her dress.

At the moment the two of them are separated - they needed some time away from each other - and Mom needed some peace and quiet. In the end, the way I look at it is that it's a "win-win" situation. Abby gets a confidant and a sparring partner, and I don't have do any 3 a.m. feedings or diaper changes - perfect!

As promised - a plate of pancakes for breakfast today!

I snapped this picture as we were waiting for
the bus. Throughout the day I would open up
my phone and look at it - it just made me laugh!
The look on her face is priceless.

video
Now if this doesn't brighten your day, I don't know
what will. Abby decided to do a little tap dancing
before the bus arrived. Enjoy!