Saturday, January 23, 2010

About Wren

Here are a few anecdotes about Wren this week:
  • Wren can eat an entire orange at one sitting. I cut them up into segments and he slowly and meticulously sucks and bites each piece. He puts the skins in "pretend compost heap" on the table. If you give him only a few segments he asks if there are more and more until the entire orange is cut up (I do this because I can't believe he will eat the whole orange!).
  • Wren changes his mind a lot. This morning he had a series of tantrums because he said he didn't want to help me fetch the paper but after I had fetched it he "changed my mind" and wanted to come. He didn't want to help me let out the chickens but when I returned he "changed my mind" and wanted to have done it. He wanted Os for breakfast but when I served them he "changed my mind" and wanted Cinnamon Life which was finished. Woe.
  • Wren scoots everywhere he can. He scoots from the car to the stairs. This morning we were early and there were tantrums so we went for a long detour on the way to the bus stop. At 8am we scooted around Ravenna-Eckstein park, Frost climbed and fell off the climbing frame, we met 8 dogs and scooted up two dead ends. It was fun.
  • Wren loves to draw. He loves to draw things around things you have drawn. He also likes to guess what you are drawing (even when he knows what this is). Josh realized that he is pretending to play Pictionary.
  • Wren is fascinated by the back massager I was given for Christmas.
  • Wren tells long stories about things that happened "when I was a girl." Here is one: when I was a girl like you I went to California and I saw a spider THIS LARGE. [I ask if it tried to eat him] No, I had a shield and a sword to 'tect me. There was a party of spiders and all the spiders were nice. And we sat by the tree and the stars and the moon came out and it was all nice." NOTE: This partly describes a memorable evening in Australia where we lay in the hammock and watched the moon come out. Stories start "when I was a little girl" because Granny told so many stories in this vein.
  • Wren remains afraid of the "mud goblins" I made up. I told him they live in the Ravenna Gorge and he imagines them in every puddle and tells them to STAY IN THERE and LISTEN TO ME.
  • Wren sings and plays the xylophone. He pretends to read music.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Heart Surgery and Health insurance

When we went to Stanford we were careful to ensure that Wren's surgery would be covered "in network". I remember a number of calls between us, insurers and LPCH's billing people. In retrospect I think we were lucky. I didn't understand that in-network charges may be expressed two ways with vastly different consequences for the final bill you receive. I credit MSNBC / Microsoft's great health insurance for getting us out of a potentially huge bill. This link is about Jodi's Lemack's story - she's a heart mum whom I emailed when we learned of Wren's diagnosis. Her son, Joshua, has HLHS and she runs an advocacy group called Little Hearts.

Here's the story. Hopefully it will help us all anticipate these problems (although how you can interrupt an anesthesiologist before surgery and ask about their insurance networks, I dunno).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frost's Poem About Homework


I hate homework.
It is lame.
Like a classroom without knowledge
or a track without a train,
like a river without water
or a mom without a daughter
I could just wash you down the sink.
Oh homework,
You really stink.

Dragging my feet

I think its time to break out the gift certificate I got for Christmas and have a day spa. I shall put on some sunglasses with palm trees and blue seas glued on them and lie around for a day in a big white robe. The reality is day after day with skies of gunmetal grey.

I mis-typed that as gunmental and I guess that sums it up.

I am getting S-A-D (seasonal affective disorder). Today, as I drove back home from the lighting store, having failed to find anything close to what I want for the kitchen/dining lights [but learning an important new term of desire "line voltage pendants" as opposed to low voltage ones] I was looking out from the Ship Canal bridge and the lines of hills of dark trees were carved by perspective yet seemed to move against each other and run from the distant hills, scarcely snow clad even in this month of usual cold. I wanted to keep on driving to get to one of them. If its dark and cold you may as well have snow, I think. You may as well have some excuse to have a fire and apathy.

We could also see Queen Anne - a fat warty whale of a hill hiding the Sound. It has a few radio towers stabbed in its back. Wren said "turn on your radio now because the sound will come out from the radio towers to our car." He always says that like he always wants to draw and pull apart the bionicles. I just wish he would play with a plush pooh bear or a train track for a change. He plays with the arsenal of an 8 year old despite the chasm of 5 years missing manual dexterity which he bridges with shrieks of "do it self".

Anyway, I can't recall the point of this blog post other than to say that we are considering a trip to South Africa this year. Well, PLANNING. I am trying to find a good time to be gone a month - our chickens deny this is possible - and summer is the obvious choice. August is better than June due to the world cup being in my hometown. Still, August is winter and right now the idea of leaving summer for winter is rather dull. However, August is a great month for game reserves and it is likely that we could stay at Umfolozi for a while which would be fun to show Josh and the kids the wild beasties without the bugs.

I shall have to get on to Dad and Ingrid to see whether they can get reservations. I confess that my need to escape is really imminent and I can't see myself surviving in situ until August. I am of half a mind to run off overnight with Wren somewhere with open skies and space. I have itchy feet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Joshua, the ice-cream god

Joshua has been making more ice-cream, anticipating our lunch tomorrow. Yesterday he made a batch of salted caramel ice-cream and it was easily as good as Molly Moon although there were some points at which I felt doubt. In the first batch the custard curdled, the caramel went to the hard crack point (I suspect, I mean, it was like brittle) and took some time to melt into the cream. Still, everyone in our family was in raptures when the pint container was full and there was about half a cup left in the bottom of the bowl.

Frost: Can I make my own blog. I want to say something "YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMY ICECREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I have made some pumpkin pies with our fall squash and have a godawfully large looking standing rib roast in the fridge. Friends assure me it is not at all large by standing rib roast standards but I am frightfully aware of having a big bit of dead cow in the fridge. Wren did not make the process any easier when we were shopping at Whole Foods. As we stood in front of the meat cabinets he noticed the glass fronted fridges with the dry aged meats carcasses hanging on hooks.

"Is that dead meat?" he asked loudly.
"Yes" I said. Its meat.
"What animal did they kill?" he asked.
I was getting some stares of interest from the compassionate consumers around us.
I said that they were "cows and sheep" choosing not to mention buffalo, chicken, duck, turkey and pig. It was starting to feel like a macabre version of Old MacDonald.

They wrapped the roast in brown paper and Wren wanted to "hold that dead meat" but it was a bit heavy.

The butcher said "that is going to be delicious". I didn't say anything but I was thinking tha there was part of the sentence missing. What he meant was "if you cook that piece of meat well it has the potential to be delicious."

I hope I realize its potential.