Sammie B has FIVE Halloweens in the bag, and Mia has two. How is that even possible?! I feel like just yesterday, Sammie B was my little (sleeping) chicken . . .
The police officer costume was a total game-day change in plans. Sammie B has been deciding between a princess or a fairy for what seems like months . . . but for the last two weeks, has been insistent that she'd be "the green fairy" or Tinkerbell. But then I found out yesterday that they weren't dressing up at school today (lame) so this morning, when Sammie B said she wanted to wear her fairy costume, I talked her into putting this little outfit on for school with the promise that she could change into her Tinkerbell costume as soon as we got home. (We have a lot of dress up clothes; I bought police outfit months ago, but she's always flatly refused to wear it; the princess costumes are her choices every time). So, she wore it. Reluctantly. Then, I went to pick her up at school, and she told me "I don't want to be a fairy. I want to wear this." So she did. All day. I taught her to say "I'm Officer Sammie. I'm here to help you!" and she blew her whistle all day and was a hit every where we went (PT, HPOT and to some friends' houses tonight). And right now, she's in bed, wearing her police costume because she didn't want to take it off.
And our little whoopie cushion!!!!!! I'm pretty sure Mia's costume was the favorite of everyone at daycare. Ridiculously cute. Ridiculous.
I'm still here. We are still here. We are doing well. Despite a month that is kicking my ass. I have had, "write blog post," and "Mia's birthday letter!" on my never-ending to-do list for over a week. I'll get to them. I will. I'll also (hopefully soon) get to post pictures from our two birthday parties, our trip to the pumpkin patch (in sweltering 95 degree heat, a so-cal "fall" day) and our night of carving pumpkins. I will eventually. I hope.
Right now, I'm swimming. I've officially billed more hours this month than I have since I went to trial in the summer of 2010. A lot of hours. On top of B being out of town for six days out of this month, not having childcare for another week of this month, throwing a certain little someone a first birthday party . . . I've worked a lot. We haven't had childcare the last week, so I've been staying home with the girls, frantically answering emails when I have to, and jumping on conference calls during nap time and car rides to and from therapy appointments, and then logging onto my computer to start my work "day" the second both girls' heads hit their pillows. I haven't slept more than a couple of hours in several nights. I've sent drafts of motions off at 2 and 3 am every night for the last 5 nights, and I've literally climbed into bed just an hour or so before B's alarm goes off at 4:45.
But, I'm good. I'm in this place right now where I'm feeling challenged and excited about work, and despite one day last week that caused some "I have too much to do and I'm not doing anything well" tears, I feel good about the job I'm doing. So, that's good news, right?!
And, even though there was that one teary day last week (where I really, really, really wanted to flush my blackberry down the toilet because I felt like I could never just get a day off to "just" BE mama), I feel good about the job I'm doing as mama too. I've gotten some much-needed time with both of my girls this week, and its been phenomenal. After a PT session where Sammie B just BLEW ME AWAY yesterday (I had to explain to her what "happy tears" are . . . my girl rocked it, ya'll!), I treated the little lady to a pedicure (for both of us) and then we ran into a bakery nearby and shared a brownie. It was such a grown-up day and so fun.
I could use more sleep, but well, things are good. Great even.
My blackberry crashed last night (ironic, right?!) so I have no pictures to post (boo!), but I wanted to write a quick post to say, "I'm good. We're good." This has been a chaotic month to say the least, but it has been a good one. A very good one. On the work front, on the family front. All of it. And that's just good.
And, Sammie B was singing with B last night . . . "I've been working on the radio, all the live long day." And that has had me giggling ALL DAY LONG. She really thought those were the words. Silly, magical lady. I also took her with me to the store over the weekend, and she was acting like a crazy woman. I asked her, "why are you acting like a maniac?" and when we got home, B asked her how the trip to the store was, and she said, "I was acting like a maniac!" Conversations with her get more grown up every day, and B and I are just marveling at it all with so, so much pride.
Mia Mia can't get enough of her sister and is constantly leaning in to kiss Sammie. Can't get enough of those moments. Mia is pure joy. She's the most independent little thing I've ever seen, and we marvel at her too. Non-stop.
So tired, yes. Exhausted, even. Wishing sometimes that my job wasn't so stinking unpredictable and that taking a day or two or three or four "off" was easier. But, life is good. Really, really good. So this exhausted mama is (while whining a little) feeling so, so blessed.
I'm so excited to share that I've recently been elected to the Board of Directors for a national non-profit that builds universally accessible playgrounds and does education programs for kids of all abilities, in an effort to reduce bias towards kids with disabilities. Fabulous group, fabulous mission, and something I'm just so very proud to be a part of.
Last week, I took the girls to one of the playgrounds built by this organization, and we just had a blast. Truly, truly, every playground *should* be accessible. Every playground should be one where my two girls can play alongside each other, and alongside kids of all abilities. A place where typical kids can see kids with disabilities playing. So they can see the ways those kids are just like them. A place that can spark conversations between parents and kids about how kids who might seem so very, very different at first blush are just like other kids. Knocking down bias through play.
We are fortunate to live in a city with many accessible playgrounds. We don't go to them nearly as often as we should . . . but everytime I do go, I leave thinking, "we have to go to the playground more often."
We do. We have to.
Watching Sammie B stand everywhere at that playground, with so little help, blew me away. Progress is there, in the inchstones. In the "is she really just holding on with one hand?" moments and the "oh my goodness, she's standing and steering the pirate ship!" moments. It's there. And, really, I can't think of any better way to help her "work" her little body than by playing at the park. A park designed for, built for . . . kids of all abilities. Designed so that my Sammie B and her sister can play right alongside each other.
"What work I've done, I've done because it has been play." - Mark Twain
Mia's birthday letter is forthcoming. Suffice it to say, tonight (on her actual birthday), that I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that it's been one year since Mia Mia was born. A year. We will celebrate her birthday (in a big way) this weekend, but today, we had extra hugs, extra kisses, extra giggles, and extra birthday love. And, B came home after 5 days away, so a good, good day indeed.
One year ago today, and this moment -- the moment my girls met each other for the first time -- is still, hands down, my favorite moment ever. It feels like it was yesterday, not 365 yesterdays ago! I can still hear Sam's giggles and squeals of glee of "Baby Mia!" when she saw her sister and held her for the first time. My eyes filled with (happy) tears as I just looked at them, then looked at B, both of us smiling from ear to ear silently saying to each other -- with our eyes -- "they are ours! TWO! Two little girls! Sisters!" So very, very blessed.
These girls are my heart. My heart.
Happy Birthday, Mia Mia. We love you. You truly are like the perfect little puzzle piece that was meant to fit in this little family. The piece that was meant to make us four.
My dear friend H recently volunteered (yes, volunteered!) her time and talent to capture my little family with some amazing pictures, as she's done for many, many other families of special kiddos. We did the photo shoot in a park near our house where we love to picnic (and watch boats), and the pictures couldn't be any sweeter (which is why I couldn't possibly narrow it down to any fewer to show you . . . the series of Mia in Sam's lap is -- of course -- my favorite. Each and every one of them captures a different expression of one of my girls that just melts my heart).
H, thank you so, so much for capturing my little family. Your talent amazes me, and your friendship is a blessing. xo
It's been awhile. My only excuses -- one birthday party planned, executed, behind us (I need to post pics! it was such a fun, fun party); one birthday party planned and coming up this weekend; work is crazy; B is traveling (the annual professional conference he goes to for work), so I'm solo with both girls. Reflecting back to last year when he went to this same conference, when I was on bed rest, pregnant with Mia at this time, and now a year has flown by. A year. So, last month brought a 4th birthday party for Sammie B and this month (this week) brings a first birthday party for Mia. So much joy, so much celebrating. And mindblowing because . . . wow . . . life moves fast, doesn't it?! And, I need to find the time, in between the motions and the briefs and the discovery and the celebrations to sit and write about it. And, I will. I promise. But not tonight.
For now, I want to share with you some of my recent conversations with Sammie B. For we take none of her words for granted. I delight in them all . .
* * * *
Yesterday, her nanny took her to see the Endeavour space shuttle, which was parked a few miles from our house. (We'd all seen it fly over the beach a few weeks ago, which was amazing). On the way there, Sam insisted on wearing her "astronaut helmet." So, her nanny put her horseback riding helmet on her and off they went. Sam kept saying, "I saw a space shuttle" all day and "3-2-1-Blast off." That night, I was carrying her and pretending she was a space shuttle and said, "3-2-1-Blast off" and she said, "Mama, you were funny!"
* * * *
When we picked Mia up at daycare yesterday, I had both Sammie B and Mia in the double wagon, and Sam reached forward and tickled Mia's belly and said, "Hello Mia Mia, Tickle Tickle Tickle." Mia giggled, and Sammie B said, "I was so funny!" Watching the two of them giggle together is, hands down, the best part of my day, every day.
* * * *
Tonight, Sammie B dressed as Tinkerbelle (every day brings at least 3 different princess or fairy costumes around here lately!) and watched the Tinkerbelle movie. Out of the blue, she declared, "I love fairies! Mama, I love fairies!" Then, she looked at me and said, "I love you, mama!" Oh be still my heart.
* * * *
Everything I tell her that I need to do lately, she says, "I want to help you." So, last night she "helped me" file a brief (I let her hit the mouse button to "send" it); tonight she "helped me" do laundry (she put the dirty clothes in a basket) . . . such a big, big girl.
* * * *
She's so imaginative lately. She has this baby doll, and the other night she told me, "my baby isn't listening to me." So I asked what we could do, and she said, "she needs to go in her thinking spot!" (which is where we put Sam when she doesn't listen, though we've only had to use it 3 times, usually the mere mention of it gets her listening . . . she's a pretty stinking easy kid to manage!). So, we came up with a thinking spot for her baby, and I said "is she going to stay there for 5 minutes?" and Sam said, "no 10 minutes," to which I said, "wow!" and she said, "no, 18 minutes!" Tight ship.
* * * *
She's decided (for now) that she wants to be a swim teacher when she grows up, and during her last lesson, she took a waterproof Elmo in with her, and we were sort of ignoring her, just listening, as she told Elmo, "put your face in the water!" "Now kick!" "You did it!"
* * * *
She loves having us make her stuffed animals/dolls talk, and now she's starting to talk for them too, which shows me that she's really finding confidence in her voice (which we've known for a long time was part of what was holding her back speech-wise, she knows her articulation isn't perfect and that she may be hard to understand, so it has held her back from trying at times, but well (shameless brag) . . . articulation is coming along nicely . . . she said the word "spanish" perfectly the other day . . . and confidence is increasing too . . . all making for this amazing explosion of speech). Anyway, today, we were using her stuffed Simba and making him talk, and she took him by his shoulders, pulled him right up to her face, and said in the most serious way, "I saw you in a movie. You were in a movie!"
* * * *
Tonight, I told Sammie B I needed to run downstairs and get something, but then I'd be right back and I needed to ask her a question. So, I ran downstairs, came back up and she immediately said, "I want to hear your question."
* * * *
She also asked me tonight if her baby could have water. She has a water cup by her bed, so I said, "why don't we wait until bedtime and you can share water with your baby then?" and she said, "that's a good idea, mama!"
I cherish her words. I cherish the "I love you's" and the "I want to help you's" and the "Hello Mia Mia's" more than my own words could possibly convey.
Oh how I love her voice. Her ideas. Her opinions. Her questions.
Sammie B, you bring such joy to our lives. With your words, your giggles, you.
I'm a mom, wife, and lawyer. The roles conflict sometimes, and I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate all three. Never imagined "mom" would feel so fabulous, or that doing it all would be so hard . . . this blog chronicles my attempts to "do it all" (and trying to figure out what that even means).
My little family:
Sammie B - my "late pre-term" baby girl, who has an infectious smile, magical laugh, and amazing personality. She melts me every single day. Because she has cerebral palsy (with resulting motor and vision challenges) sweet Sammie B works harder than any little girl should ever have to. As the lucky parents to this amazing little girl, we'll stop at nothing to enable and empower her to be her VERY best self.
- Mia - the newest addition. She was just born (full-term!) in October 2011, and we are just figuring her out. We are already head over heels in love with her (and her fiery little temper!)
-B - the husband, daddo, man behind the momttorney that is me.