1. Things have been better with Helene. Seth and I talked about how better to approach dealing with her, including both of us trying not to be as rigid and knee-jerk, because some things we do really escalate her behavior, instead of calming it. We got a behavior/task chart thingy with star stickers, but haven't been that good about actually using it. This kid is also a hundred times better when it's just me and her. She's still sorting out her place in the family, and she's only four, and I can't forget that. Also, for a beautiful, wonderful take on what FOUR is, please read Jennie's lovely post, which helped remind me of all the awesome that four can be.
2. Ajax is working super hard on crawling. He flops, he flails, he rocks, he squawks. He's excellent at scooting backwards and getting stuck under things. He can rotate and roll like a champ. We don't have so much forward motion yet. Still, he can move enough that we have to keep the basement door shut, and the baby gate at the top of the stairs. Any day now, he'll move forward and become a total menace.
3. So I bought a bicycle. My first new bike of my very own in ages and ages. The last time I bought a new bike was right before I went to college. In 1991. I had that red Trek mountain bike for years, riding its knobby tires in knobby-tire inappropriate places like New Orleans and Tampa. I finally gave it to my mom. When we got married, I rode Seth's old Rockhopper for awhile. At least it had slick tires. But it never fit me right, and it was ancient, so we gave it away. Seth bikes to work year-round, and he's been urging me to get a bike. I finally did it, and I feel like a ten-year old kid, giddy with excitement and freedom on my new two-wheeler. It's really the perfect way to get the couple of miles between home and office, and to dash around the neighborhood on errands. Fresh air, exercise, and you can usually beat a car from Point A to Point B. I'm becoming One Of Those People Who Bikes Everywhere.
4. My mom (who lives on the other side of the country, in Idaho) went to the ER the other day. Fluid in her lungs and around her heart. Even though CAT scans and x-rays from early July showed nothing of the sort. She has an inflammatory condition called dermatomyositis. No one knows why this fluid buildup occurred. Yet. They're not sure how they're going to treat it. Yet. Initial diagnosis is heart failure. Crap. That's about all I can say. There isn't anything I can do. I'm just not ready, for any of this.
5. It's been a weird summer in DC. We've had what seems like weeks of crazy-ass thunderstorms in the afternoon, such that you might think we were living in Florida or something. Not at all typical. So we haven't been to the pool as much as we might have liked. I am not even thinking about what our cost per visit is, because this pool membership is for the long haul. For the day, a few years from now, where both kids can swim, and I can park my ass in a lounge chair and read, and dole out dollar bills for unhealthy snack bar lunches and Popsicles. That day is getting closer, as Helene managed to dog paddle around on Sunday. Woo! Day camp swimming lessons are beginning to pay off. I can see the lounge chair in the far distance.
6. My friend Brooke inspires me with her Instagram lists of things she's grateful for. She's such a glass-half full person, such a source of optimism and light. I'm trying to really think about these little things, these little bits of light and sparkle that do happen every day. I want to notice them more, take note of them, and not let myself get so bogged down by the tiresome daily routines that I fail to see what a beautiful life I have. Beholder, see the beauty.
7. In 2.5 weeks, we'll be on Martha's Vineyard for a solid week. With grandparent and teenage cousin babysitting! Thus, Seth and I have planned a couple of fancy dinners out. Hell, I don't even care if they're not fancy. I'm happy with a lobster roll on the beach so long as it's WITHOUT CHILDREN. Also, WITH BOOZE. And I've been indulging in one of my favorite hobbies: menu reading. It's my poetry. And I love poetry, I do, I can quote some Walt and some Emily and some J. Alfred Prufrock at'cha any day, but I also believe that "proscuitto-wrapped cod with lobster whipped potatoes" is about as beautiful, and I get to read it AND eat it. I can't be the only one who contemplates what to order weeks in advance. I just love thinking about it. Ummm.