Friday, June 19, 2009

What Wren Says...

Conversations with Wren have been quite funny recently. This morning we were driving away from the airport when Wren noticed the control tower (which he calls the 'trol tower). He asked "Where is the trolls in the 'trol tower?" I laughed. "They is just play around and they live in the troll-tower and they say 1-2-3 GO airplane!"
[in little singsong voice] "He is sleeping on a chair. Kitty. Kitty is sleeping. Is sleeping.... I am tickling him, tickling 'im. Kitty. Kitty. I am going to sleep with you [Wren climbs on kitty who jumps down and stalks off.] Oh, I make 'im wake up. I letting kitty to go night-night in there [gesturing to garden]"
"Is Wren going to die this?" Wren asks, while I am brushing his teeth? He looks mischievous but I am alarmed. I don't like any jokes about dying. "Why do you think you are going to die?" I ask. "That is silly questions" laughs Wren. "No," I say "its not a really silly question." I am not sure where to go with this but I feel guilty for worrying - as if my anxiety may infect Wren with a mortal dread. This is not the case right now as he battles with a puzzle and dreads only "why this not going on MOOMMMMMMMYYY!!!"

Dad heads home (again)

I dropped Dad off at Seatac at 5.45am in a gentle misting rain which blurred the headlights and brought all remaining [1] the snails out onto the garden path. He was very eager to be on time and fairly bounded from the car and into the terminal with a quick farewell. He is adamant that he is not going to apply for any compensation for his extra days without luggage but is hoping to put in a lost luggage form at some point in his travels today.

I had a restless night full of strange dreams and being too hot (with a blanket) then too cold (without one). Today, I will open all the windows and let the cool rainy air come visit. It will mean the first day in three weeks that we have had rain - an almost-record in June for Seattle - and our seedlings of basil, lettuce and spinach will enjoy the weather (although the snails must be vanquished).

I hope Dad makes his flight today although we have had a lovely few (extra) days. Dad went to Wild Ginger with Josh and I for lunch yesterday. We also went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Dad loves chinese landscape paintings and those ink brush paintings and has even inspired me about them. If my house was not so kid focused I should redesign with a quiet minimalism and then clutter it with spacious chinese brush prints and warm fuzzy blankets. Least that fits with the rain today.

Footnote on helix aspersa (garden snail) [1]
Dad and Wren gave me a great treat yesterday morning allowing me to sleep in on Wren's bed while they went and did some reading and then gardening. When they went outside they found that my newly emerging dahlias had been eaten to the ground AGAIN. Dad showed Wren how to shake the bushes and find snails that fall down (dozens). Unlike our previous strategy of popping them in the yard waste,relocating them into the ivy or just throwing around some sluggo - Dad showed Wren how to take Direct Action and stomp on them. He said that Wren took to this well and stomped about 80 snails. Uh oh. I explained our family policy of non-violence and Dad said we were "too buddhist" to deal with them and we could try salt.

Now salt brings back bad memories and I don't like the idea of leaching the liquid out of living moluscs so I have some sympathy for the stomping. As a child I was paid a cent for a certain number of snails and granny used to put them in a big empty coffee tin and pour salt on them. I didn't like seeing them froth but I collected them anyway.

Dad says Wren was very enthusiastic about stomping and said things like "BAD SNAILS NO EAT MUMMYS PLANTS. NO NO. BAD SNAIL!" Dad commented to him that there was no need to try and correct the snail's behaviour when they were going to stomp on them. No need to be cross with them. But Wren said "LET GO THE PLANTS. DON'T EAT THE PLANTS" and enjoyed the righteous indignation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A few pictures from my sleep

I am asleep. Surely. I must be because I have been up since 5am and I fell asleep putting Wren to bed both at 8pm and at 10pm when he woke for some reason (possibly Dad's reading of the Hobbit through the wall. Frost went to bed late after bowling with Alex and Fred.)

I don't have time for a full post but here are some pictures of our recent days. Dad and Frost have played golf at the mache course (Greenlake pitch and putt) twice. The first time, Wren and I dropped them off but Wren was so upset at being excluded from golf that we made a big group of it today. I have even bought a plastic toy golf set for them. Here is Wren putting with Grandad.

On Saturday we had Frost's "graduation" from his K-2 school. He was more interested in running around with his friends than graduating but he was proud to be involved and to share his wish for his future - that he would be CEO of a video game company and donate money to charity and save money for candy and ugly dolls.

Grandad is very relaxed. He is so relaxed he can even watch Dora the Explorer with Wren. Normally the audience is 5 and under. Dad can sometimes 'watch' Dora while napping a little tiny bit.
Here are Dad, Derek and Wren drinking in the sunshine in Vancouver last week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dad Missed his Plane

My father has been visiting for 2 weeks. This morning I dropped him off at Seatac Airport at 5.50am.... Four hours later I received a call from Dad. He had missed his flight to Washington and thus his South African connecting flight. The next available flight is on Friday so we are happy to have him for 3 more days.

How did he miss the flight? Its a long story...

"What happened is that United had long queues, didn't direct my bags right to begin with, then issued me with a boarding pass in the name of paul adams, that was picked up only at security, delaying me again. Then I had to go to a distant terminal so I just missed the flight. If I had known that i had to go to the other terminal I would have worried that I was late. Indeed i could easily have left my luggage to go to Washington, picked it up there and rerouted it, but at that stage I had 45 minutes before departure. My heart sank when I realised the gate for the flight was closed. "

There were more details in the story. They didn't ticket his bags through to SA originally, made him wait a long time to resolve it and even when Dad arrived at the gate the plane was still there. They told him and another passenger to "just wait here a moment" so they sat down. Dad expected to be let on the flight and watched another passenger go on board (some problem with her dog had delayed her). However, the flight had officially closed. If Dad had realized that they were just keeping him quiet till the flight departed then he would have spoken up - his luggage was on board, they had delayed him, he had an international connection - but he was not aware until it was too late and he was told the flight had left.

We have been to the playground this afternoon and bought supplies for tom yum goon (sp) - mussels, prawns, salmon - tomorrow night. Dad is watering the garden.

However, he has no luggage (rather ominously, he was told that once your luggage leaves on a flight without you "it is no longer your luggage" and travels in "other channels" or category). It is supposed to be delivered to his home. I hope this works out. Other channels and not being his luggage anymore sounds alarming.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Holidays

Frost's school is out and summer holidays have begun. It was an inauspicious start with snails chewing off the tops of my sprouting dahlias, Wren stamping on my newly flowering annuals as he pounded towards a snail (a friendly one, apparently) and Frost thinking he was funny as he strapped himself into the babyseat and threw a faux tantie by kicking the driver's seat headrest hard.

I am slightly hoarse from reprimanding the kids. I guess it is a combo of me - wanting to get a lot done - and them being incredibly stubborn and argumentative.

Frost seems to provoke me in almost every conversational situation. Eg. I make him a veggie burger. He is having screen time. I tell him (with eye contact) that the veggie burger is on the table. "yes, yes" he says. 20 minutes later it is untouched and he asks me to reheat it and is puzzled why "you didn't tell me it was there!"

He also likes to provoke Wren to chase and hit him and then is vastly wounded when Wren is successful in administering capture/contact.

Wren is very sensitive to inequity. If Frost says he wants something (it could be a hit on the head) then Wren shrieks and mimics the demand. "Can I have umgay?" Frost asks in pig latin. "I WANT UMGAY TOO" yells Wren from his carseat. "I WANT UMGAY!"

My nerves are a bit shot and I am overreacting to everything. I think we shall have a few days of quiet and playdough and all will be well. For now I am making it through the hours between a meal and an episode of Dora by the skin of my teeth.

Berry picking, swimming and canoeing here we come!

Dad is leaving for South Africa tomorrow - has to be at the airport at 6am! While we're talking upcoming events - we also have cardiology clinic (July 6th) with chest X-ray and echo (hopefully no sign or side effects from this pneumonia. Wren still coughs but has more energy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Family visit continued

We are still in Vancouver BC but heading home to Seattle today. Its a brilliant blue day with the flowers hiding their blossoms in the shade even though its only 7am. Wren went to sleep very early (at his own request) and slept from 6.30pm - 5.30am so he obviously needed the rest. We are staying in East Vancouver with my father's in-laws (he remarried a luverly lady who has family here as well as in South Africa where Dad lives) and enjoyed another early morning walk to JJ Bean and had a huge muffin and latte.

Now, the heart stuff. Recently, I have had two reminders about how common heart defects are and also how they can be invisible in families unless you really ask. Derek (in-law) has been telling me about his uncle Rob who was born with a number of heart defects (unspecified). Apparently the family was told he would not survive. At one illness he was cyanotic and they were told he "would not pull through this one". He did and lived until old age. His only surgery was at age 88 when he had surgery for something routine.

Another family connection came from my mother - I haven't written about it because it is very sad. One of my mother's cousins was expecting a grandchild but they found out at the 6 month ultrasound that the baby had HLHS with failing valves which would make a repair unlikely. They live on a farm in Africa and there was no chance at medical support in their region so they decided to have a termination. Being surrounded by famlies who have children receiving treatment for heart defects its easy to forget the many 'invisible' babies who do not make it both in the US and beyond. I am glad there are some charities like this one who try and provide medical treatment to children in areas which are not served by cardiology and surgeons.