Thursday, June 26, 2008

And So It Begins

Well, after nearly two months of keeping the house "show ready" and chasing after the girls with Windex to wash their fingerprints off of the sliding glass door, we have received an offer on the house.  The offer is nothing less than shitty, but we are lucky to be getting additional monies from Herr's new employer to cover the loss.  Here's the catch:  the buyers want to close on July 31.  As in 4 weeks from now.

Herr and I are flying to Nashville on Saturday to find a house,  but not before I go see Dave Matthews with my girlfriends tomorrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sometimes, it Really IS More Complicated

In yesterday's newspaper, there was a front page article on Nathaniel's death and the amazing decision his parents made by donating his organs.  Because of his organ donation, three people are alive today.  After reading the article, I was completely in awe of Nathaniel's parents and Nathaniel himself.

According to the newspaper, they still aren't 100% sure what caused his death and are awaiting autopsy results.  However, in February, he had febrile seizures,  which are normally harmless and are caused by a fever. He recovered from the seizure in February.  However, he had a seizure at school last Tuesday. Because the doctors weren't able to keep his body temperature and oxygen levels stable, his brain swelled and he died.

I can certainly understand now why the daycare director answered me the way she did.  As far as she knew--there was a seizure.  Besides, I am sure she has very little experience in dealing with an issue such as this, even if she had coaching from the corporate attorneys.  The teacher who witnessed the fall with me really IS in Belize and won't even find out until tomorrow that Nathaniel died.  Now that my conspiracy-theory imagination is on idle, I do understand that it was much more complicated than a fall.  

I decided to send them a sympathy card.  By the way, have you ever bought a sympathy card?  I spent 30 minutes in the card aisle at Target tearing up and trying to choose the card that sucked the least.  In the end, I wrote them a note sharing my last memory of Nathaniel from the perspective that he was an amazingly tough kid and that it was a testament to them as parents. I didn't go into detail about the fall--I just didn't see the point.  The seizure would not have been caused by a fall.

While I can at least sleep at night now, knowing that the daycare wasn't trying to do a massive cover-up, it is still really tough to imagine that these sorts of medical tragedies happen.  It's tough to imagine the hell the parents are going through.  But the silver lining in this very dark cloud is that there are two children and an adult alive right now because of his gift.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

I was instantly sick to my stomach on Monday when I saw the letter that Herr had brought home from daycare.  One of the children, "N," had "become ill on Tuesday, June 10 and died of complications" on Friday, June 13.  The note went on to say that "N" had been a hero because his organs had been donated and that we needed to respect the privacy of the family at this time. Since I don't socialize with any of the parents, I don't know any last names at daycare--I just know a few names of some of the children.  I called the daycare because I wanted to know if "N" had been in either of the girls' classes.  If so, I needed to figure out how to handle this with them, if at all.

When I called the daycare, the Director informed me that I certainly did know "N" because he and his father walk in the exact same time I did every day.  At that moment, my heart stopped.

I am one of three parents who show up at 6:30AM to drop off my kids.  In addition to me, there is a woman who drops off her two toddlers and a father who drops off his toddler.  For over a year, the father and I have said good morning to each other, commented on how much our kids have each grown.  I told him it was a phase a couple of months ago when "N" was getting belligerent when he would drop him off.  I saw this little boy go from being a baby brought into the facility in his car carrier, to being a 16 month old who was a wobbly walker.

My heart stopped for another reason.  Once I was told it was "N" who had died, I remembered that last Tuesday morning, I had been a couple of minutes late in dropping off the girls. "N's" father was walking out as I was getting Genna out of our car.  We exchanged nods and I went inside.  The classes in this facility do not have walls.  They are divided by bookshelves that come up to one's hip.  I was on one side of a bookshelf, getting the girls' breakfasts ready.  One of the teachers, "N" and one of the other toddlers was on the other side. The teacher and I were chatting about who knows what, when she suddenly said, "N, you are going to FALL!"  She and I both froze as he fell.  Hard.  He hit the bookshelf with the back of his head.  It made a strange thumping noise.  Neither of us moved.  I didn't move because, well, kids fall.  I trained myself to not scream out when the girls fell as toddlers, because I didn't want to scare them or encourage them to cry.  We waited a split second, but he didn't cry.  He didn't make a sound.  He just looked a little stunned.  I looked at the teacher and said, "Now THAT is one tough kid."  She said, "I know!  It's amazing."  I then turned around, kissed my kids good-bye and left.

After remembering all of this, I asked if "the fall" had anything to do with "N's" death.  I was told, "I can't tell you."  To me, that tells me that it did.  I couldn't sleep Monday night because I had convinced myself that I had been a foot away from him and didn't do anything when he fell. I spoke to the director again yesterday and told her that I needed to make sure that the fall didn't have anything to do with his death.  Guess what she told me?

"There was no fall."

"Oh yes there was," I said.  " I was there when it happened."

She then went on to say that she couldn't tell me what happened but, "there were a lot of different factors involved in what happened," and that she was sure that "the girls probably saw the ambulance come on Tuesday morning," and that "it was all really complicated."

I am beside myself.  On the one hand, my heart is completely broken for these parents who have lost their only child.  I cannot even imagine the utter torture they are going through.I pray I never have to experience that.  However, I am very suspicious of the fact that the daycare refuses to disclose the details of his death.  I know that if he had died from  a contagious disease, the health department would require that parents be notified.  I would think that any time a child is taken away by ambulance from a daycare and later dies, it has to be disclosed. What if he had gotten into something poisonous?  What if he choked on something?

I keep thinking about the fact that the teacher who witnessed the fall hasn't been in school since that day. Is the school trying to cover up the fall?  Is the teacher REALLY in Belize this week and doesn't even know that "N" died the way they are saying?  I don't think that any negligence occurred when the fall happened.  However, if the fall was the cause of his "illness" I don't know what happened after the fall, or how long before an ambulance was called.  What happens if the school gets sued?  Only two of us saw the fall.

I know that I wouldn't be reacting this way if I didn't know who he was or saw what I saw last Tuesday.  I would be devastated for the family, and I would still want to know the cause of death, but I don't think I would be this obsessed with it.  If I could be sure that the fall had nothing to do with his death I would be able to let it rest. Eventually.

What do you think?  Do parents really have the right to know?  If the daycare is going to deny that his death had anything to do with the fall, do I drop it?  Do I contact the parents?  Do I wait to see if the school gets sued?

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Letter to the Men in my Neighborhood

Dear Steve, Mack, Bill and Lon:

I feel quite lucky that we moved to a neighborhood where the homeowners really care about their homes and do so much to keep things beautiful. We have no cars on cinder blocks or unkempt lawns here. Most of you quickly shovel or snow blow after a snowfall. You clean your gutters, paint your shutters and wash your cars regularly.

Most of you cut your grass twice a week--TWICE a week! It is amazing that the grass has been growing so fast to warrant that, but you all are totally on a schedule. It has even shamed Herr into doing the same thing in order to keep up with all of you and not have the loser lawn on the block.

I do, however, have one request. I need all of you to start wearing shirts when you cut your grass. I am begging you. I am trying to sell my home. I think your collective moobs and bellies may be hampering our home sale.

Mack, I first noticed that you were doing the semi-nude lawn care last year. I cringed last year when he would see me and wave. Now that we don't speak and you don't wave, it is a little easier to take. However, you insist on wearing shorts that were obviously from your 1984 high school gym class. They are shorter than Daisy Dukes and REALLY tight, Mack! Have some dignity.

Steve and Bill--I almost feel bad for including you in this letter. After all, you are both well over 70. I realize that you both probably have the, "Fuck it--I'm old and I won't wear a shirt outside if I don't want to" attitude. Maybe you are trying to speed up the Golden Years by getting skin cancer. Whatever your reasons may be, I need you to consider my children. They have asked on more than one occasion why you both have such "long" breasts. I know that we can all look forward to having boobs that look like socks full of nickels, but lets keep them under wraps, shall we?

And Lon--don't think I forgot about you. How can I forget you when your image is permanently burned into my retinas?! You spend, by far, the most time prancing nearly naked in your front yard. Then, as if all of the cutting, trimming and sprucing wasn't enough, you then will take your garden hose and water your perfectly black-topped driveway for an HOUR. Not your lawn. Your DRIVEWAY!! What the Hell is wrong with you? Do you not pay for your water? I sure as Hell pay for mine. Is there such misery in that house of yours that the only thing left for you to do is water your driveway? Since you do this every damned Sunday, it stands to reason that people who are driving up to our Sunday afternoon open houses are seeing your crazy half-naked, water-wasting ass and thinking, "Ummm, let's go to the next house on our list."

Now before you all start thinking I am a big old bitch, hear me out. Have any of you ever seen me in the front yard in a bikini? No. Have you ever seen any part of me flopping around? NO. Between my pasty white-girl complexion, varicose veins and my jiggly, mushy parts, I know that it is not in good taste to be strutting around my front yard like I am Giselle Bundchen. That ship has sailed.

By all means, do what you want in your back yards. I don't care if you do naked Slip n' Slide back there. Just please start wearing a shirt when you are in your front yards.


Misfit Hausfrau

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I See Now That I Could Have Lied

Ella's bangs had gotten long and annoyed her.  This morning when I was trying to get her ready for school, she impatiently pushed her bangs to the right side of her face.

"Wow honey, your bangs have really grown fast.  I think we need to get Miss Krystal to cut them," I said.

Ella quickly agreed because Ella LOVES Miss Krystal.  When Miss Krystal isn't styling hair at GadZooks, she teaches ballet.  In Ella's eyes, she's a princess.  But then I remembered how tough it was to sometimes get an appointment.  Plus, I knew that there was NO WAY  that Ella was going to get her hair done before I did.  At that moment, I told  Ella that I would trim her bangs up in a jiffy.

After about 5 minutes of desperately looking for scissors, I finally found a pair that appeared to be a cross between kid's safety scissors and nail clippers.  I figured I had luck on my side because I had never used them before so I knew they would be sharp.

I was wrong.  It didn't help that the scissors had a cutting surface of less than two inches, so what would have been a simple trim with any other pair of scissors, turned into several attempts to trim her bangs.  I couldn't get them even, so the bangs got shorter and shorter. Finally, Ella said, "My hair looks great Mommy!"  I believed her.  They were short, but somewhat cute-ish.

When we got to school, one of the teachers said, "Ella, your hair is so beautiful!'  Ella preened, smiled and graciously thanked the teacher.   I was pretty pleased with myself that I was able to successfully trim her hair. I mean, she got immediate compliments for Christ's sake. Right then and there I decided that I would no longer take her to the salon.  I could TOTALLY cut her hair from now on.  It really was much easier than I thought.

 As I was getting Ella's breakfast together, the teacher pulled me aside and said, "Wow, did Ella cut her hair?  Don't worry, I think almost every girl her age has done it. "

"Uh, no.  She didn't cut her hair," I said, quickly realizing my mistake in admitting to the disaster.

"Really???  said the teacher with a perplexed look on her face.  "I don't understa...  OOHHHH!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Genna's Lofty Goals

While I drove the girls to school this morning, I told Genna that she and I may fly to Indiana next weekend to visit Busia.

"Is Ella coming with us?" Genna asked.

"No, she will stay home with Daddy." I said.

"Yeah," said Ella, "When I turn 16 and am REALLY BRAVE, Mommy is going to take me to Paris so that I can see where Madeline lives!"

"OH YEAH?!" said Genna. "When I get really really big and REALLY, REALLY tall, I'm going to fly to NEW JERSEY!!!!!"

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Is Anyone REALLY Ever Ready for This Conversation?

I pride myself in keeping my children in a bubble. We are strict with their diets, they don't watch commercial television, they don't play on our computers, and Herr and I choose their friends. Yes, I AM one of "those" mothers. Bite me. There's just one problem. For 40 hours a week, they are out of the safe and secure bubble. They are at daycare.

Simply put, daycare is the Devil's playground. These poor kids don't stand a chance at having an innocent life when there is "Libby" in Ella's class whose real name MUST be Heather because she is an evil little child who dictates who can be friends with whom and when. She also has told Ella on several occasions what she can and cannot wear. Then there is Chase, who has taught Genna such lovely words as, "Shut up," and "stupid." Ella told me just this week that Miss Rene let her try some different sodas to see which one she liked best, even though she knows she is not allowed to drink soda.

While I have tried really hard to not be a pain in the ass mother at school, I have pretty much worn out the carpet to the Director's office from the entrance because I am always bringing up something. I was the one who complained about the fact that parents leave their cars running in the parking lot and we have to breathe in the exhaust every day. I actually had to complain to the corporate office about that one. I also have complained in the past because they have lost the girls' medical information twice, and then made me hurry up and produce new copies so they wouldn't get fined by the state. I have also complained about the fact that they give virtually no notice for things like the Mother's Day Tea and the Spring party, so I am not able to change my schedule to attend. I know that the Director is counting the days until we transfer the girls to their other location that has a kindergarden in the Fall, or we move to Nashville, whichever comes first.

In all fairness to the daycare, there are some things that happen that no one can control.
Recently, Ella came home from school and informed me that she had just found out where babies came from.

"Oh, yeah? Umm, tell me what you heard."

"Well," she said, "First you need to be a grown-up. Or a teenager."

"Whaaa? Who told you a teenager could have a baby?!"

"Oh, Jade told me."

"I see," I said, as I made a mental note to have a talk with Jade's mother,"Then what happens?"

"Weeeellllllll, once you are a grown-up or teenager, you get a boyfriend, get married and then a baby shows up in your belly. I want a baby in MY belly. Do you have one in your belly right now, Mommy? You kind of look like you do."