Monthly Archives: August 2008

Nice Try, but you didn’t go see the Doc, did you?

Hey, how was work?

Good, how was your day?

Good. Hey, have you taken M to the doctor about his pink-eye? He's had it for several weeks now, and I'm not supposed to have him here with pink-eye.

Yeah . . . I've tried everything.

Didn't clear up?

Nooo, and you know I hate to put him on any more antibiotics.

Huh, that's weird. The drops usually clear it up real fast.

They have drops?

Yeah, it usually clears up in days.

Well, I tried the ones from Wal-mart–

No, these are actual antibiotic drops you get from your doctor.

Really? You just drop them in the eye?

Yeah. . . I'll see if I have any around here–hmmm, I don't see them, I thought I had some.


[On a sticky note] M will have to have his eyes cleared up before he can return to care. We've had some parents complain.

[To my Substitute, after reading the note] What?!! That's @#*&*@#! He's almost cleared up on his own. Kimber said she'd give me some drops–do you know where they are?

You'll have to talk to Kimber. 

[On her machine, moments later] Hey, sorry I wasn't here when you picked up the kids–I had to run over to the neighbors. I didn't have any drops. You know the walk-in clinic is open tonight–if you get him started on drops now, he should be clear by Monday. Give me a call and let me know.

[On my machine] Kimber, I'd like to talk to you!!!! 

[On her machine] Hey, sorry I missed your call. Call me back.

Prolonged week of silence/no show.

I hate to leave off like this–with hard feelings on her end possibly unresolved. I really do. I've called a few times and got no answer and no reply–granted, caller ID doesn't always work. But the thing is, as much as I don't want to leave off with bad feelings, at the same time, I don't particularly want this family back. Her eight year old son started peeing his pants about six months ago–like thirteen times a day–I think he's got a bladder infection. I told her he needed to see a doctor, and she tries to treat him with cranberry flavored fruit drinks. She doesn't follow any of the rules the state requires–I'm constantly signing in/out her kids for her because she can't figure out how, even when I hand her the pen. 

This is the woman who drops her kids off a mile away from my house, even in inclement/triple digit temperatures and never calls to see if they made it or if I'm even home–just comes back twelve hours later to pick them up. Tries to call and tell me to send them out to the street for pick up.  

I realized this morning that she really is the last of the crazies. Everyone else is pretty normal . . . The million dollar question: Why have I been enabling her behavior for the past 18 months? Or, alternately: Can I hope to have ticked her off bad enough that she won't come back? 

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The Comic Relief in Your Voters’ Pamphlet

Going through my voters' pamphlet this afternoon as my ballot is due next Tuesday. Fascinating, this living in America. I have ten choices for governor.

Javier Lopez looks like a carnie-extraordinaire, from the grinning mugshot printed here–complete with greased back locks and an abundance of ungroomed facial hair. His bid for office appears to be, primarily, that he is "an outspoken critic" of government waste and the sexual abuse of children by "members of the educational profession."  AND as "an artist and inventor I have come up with an invention that will solve all of the world's problems. I have invented an air engine." Hmm. Okay, Javier. Good luck with that.

Mohammad Hassan Said wants to "WITHDRAW WASHINGTON NATIONAL GUARD FROM IRAQ IMMEDIATELY." All caps, in case someone flipping through the pamphlet might otherwise miss it. Also he wants to amend the constitution somehow  so that Congress no longer has the power to declare war. He wants to "lead trade missions to Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, etc." Oh, and my favorite–because I want the governor of my state totally obsessed with the problems and governance of countries on the other side of the world–he wants to (again in all caps) "PROMOTE ONE STATE SOLUTION FOR PALESTINIAN-ARAB ISRAELI CONFLICT, so Jews Christians and Muslims can live in Secular State like ours."   Really good luck with that campaign, Said.

Who else can I vote for. Oh! James White not only has a good American name, but has listed as experience just one thing: "Elected Treasurer for The Moose Lodge" Again–that Capitilization is oh so impressive. He can't spell, or use an apostrophe correctly, but he loves his caps lock, and puts it to abundant use. Maybe that's all this state needs. Someone who can stand up and shout for CONSTITUTIONAL items of whatnot and so forth. Not to mention his love of italics. . .

Let see, we have various other candidates including a Hotel Chairman with a bachelor's degree in political science, who seems to have distilled the statements made by every other candidate since (but not including) Abe Lincoln into one short generic statement of his own. Ditto the Public Works Lead Inspector who has a BS in geology. 

Ooooh. This guy: Christian Pierre Joubert, who specializes in alternative medicines "including, but not limited to amazing dopamine-producing raw vegan chocolate mousses" that will solve not only Washington's problems, but end world hunger and make the deserts bloom.  

Tempting. . . I do so love chocolate mousse. And such mousse.

Duff Bagley wants to divert Boeing to manufacture solar and wind power equipment. He doesn't say if that would be some kind of hostile government takeover of a private aircraft manufacture or how, exactly, that would happen, but he's green, right? And we all so love our Green Party candidates. He has a long list of other things, besides aircraft that he would outlaw, including people driving cars by themselves. Must have a carload, or you stay home, sorry. This guy is like a Hitler with a green conscience. He's all about "demands" and "outlawing". The "poor exempted" of course.

There is, of course, the incumbent Gregoire. Need I say more?

Will Baker whose sole bid is to expose the corruption of the above named incumbent. I may vote for him . . . Actually, I don't think he's seriously running. I think he just somehow managed to rig the voters' pamphlet so that if he listed himself as a candidate he could have the opposite page on the same spread as Gregoire blasting her to the lower depths where she allegedly belongs.

Last of all, we have Dino Rossi, who I know nothing about, but after reading the rest of these, I am ready to vote for. I shall have to read up more later, as it's time to make dinner, and I have yet to figure out how to save a post in VOX. Is that possible? Just save a draft and post it later? Should be, I think.

As it is, I'll have to leave you hanging, wishing for more of my oh-so-insightful political commentary. Hungry hordes call. 



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My Frozen Embryos

What do you make when fifteen kids want lunch right now and the bread is gone?

Pancakes, right? Fruit, pancakes and a couple dozen scrambled eggs. Done deal. You pick up the Legos; I'll make lunch.

So I'm banging away at the side of my griddle trying to get the darn egg to crack open and it takes me a good minute to realize nothing is happening. This is one tough egg, I'm thinking to myself.  What is it, mutant? Oh, wait. No. It's  frozen. All my eggs are frozen. Shouldn't their shells have split open? And have you ever seen a frozen egg? I ran them under warm water and peeled them like they were hardboiled.  The whites look like ice, but the yolk looks fully cooked.

I chopped them finely, and stirred the chunks into the batter. Set whole ones on the griddle and rolled them around until they melted into "scrambled" eggs. Very weird.


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C is a four-almost-five-year-old who only speaks in vowels. Occasionally he will utter a W, B or M. His mother assures me there aren't any hearing issues. He's been tested and is normal physically and on track developmentally in every other way.

He's been here for about four weeks now and I have done my best to be patient with him. But, guilty as it makes me feel, sometimes I want to scream! His speech is the auditory equivalent of walking around without my contacts in; I can make out the general shape of things as long as I'm in familiar territory. Even if I know what he's saying, it's frustrating, suffocating. Like trying to breathe through a thick scarf.

Maybe if he wasn't such a chatterbox, it wouldn't be so taxing to listen to. Even though I know that what he's saying doesn't really need  a response, there is some part of my brain straining away, trying to make sense of "Ah eh oo a ay eh-uh-ay" And by the time "I went to the fair yesterday" sinks in, I'm scrambling to catch up to the next six sentences. I'm exhausted by the time he goes home.

I find my response to him ridiculous. Shouldn't I be glad that he is trying to speak, that he has speech in any form? Intellectually, I can respond to him as a reasonable adult. Emotionally though . . . And he's not the only one.

Maybe I'm just lazy; I don't want to mentally sort through your language jumble for meaning.  And I'm no stickler about grammar, either. I'll catch myself making mistakes all the time, but aren't there certain basic rules everyone should have pretty much woven into the fabric of ordinary conversation?

There is everyday ordinary grammatical soup inherent to spontaneous conversation. There are even words that people use intentionally like "ain't" and, in the case of my teens "costed" as in "it costed six dollars". For some reason they think this is funny. Not only funny, but necessary. They refuse to drop that one.  I can ignore these things, but then there are these children that cannot form one normal sentence.

"Did you brung your book?" "I ain't got none" "I want uh apple" "Emily has mine shoe" We're talking ten, eleven year old kids.  In moderation I can skip over it, but every sentence they utter? This stuff really drives me batty, but I don't think it should. It feels quite petty of me.

Here's my question–is it my place to run a constant barrage of correction at them? After all, I think that I have the foundation of reasonable language that I have because had I ever uttered "uh apple" whichever adult was in hearing would respond immediately with "an apple". It was never condemnatory; just automatic, swift correction. Now I do it for these daycare kids because I can't help it–it just pops out. But I hope they don't feel persecuted. As a child, I didn't need correction every other word, so it never felt like ridicule. I don't know how I'd feel if everything I said was straightened out and repeated back to me.

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A Little “Thank You”

Yesterday the new Primary president asked those of us who got the boot recently to come to Primary the last five minutes or so. So down we went, and they had the kids all sing us a song about how much they loved us, and then present us with paper chains. The children and teachers had written short messages for each of us onto paper links, and then stapled them together into four surprisingly long chains which they draped around our necks. The old Pres was standing next to me, and we were both trying not to blubber. "Good," she whispered, "You never cry, so it's not just me."

They gave me something I didn't even know I needed, until I was standing there yesterday–a confirmation that my time in Primary was well spent–that somehow we made a difference in those children's lives. I was released, and glad to be, really, but somewhere deep down, I guess I felt like I'd never measured up, quite–that we'd just been place holders until someone more competent could come along and do the job the way it was meant to be done. And so it really buoyed me up yesterday, if only for an afternoon, to think that maybe I wasn't a complete bomb, you know? If every link had said the same thing, I don't think it would have felt that way, but these kids really thought about what they wrote, and it was really touching, for lack of a better cliche.

A sampling from my chain:

Sister Lybbert, I liek you. Love [indecipherable name]

Thank you for all your great sharing times, Sister Lybbert.

Sister Lybbert, I wish you would come back.

Sister Lybbert, You told me that the gospel was true, and I knew that [runs out of room in the middle of the next word]

Dear Sister Lybbert, You were always nice to me. I miss you.

Yo, Sister Lybbert. Thanks.

I love you, Mom. [yes, there were three of those]

Thanks Mom, see you later.


I spent an hour after church very carefully undoing each strip so I could read all the messages. They also made us each a tile embossed with one of my favorite scriptures: "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children." I do love the tile, but the chains, in all their simplicity, were the real kicker there.

I realized what an impact–just these construction paper chains–I need to be more active in giving thanks to those who have made a difference in my life, and I don't have to make grand thank you gestures. Just do it, sincerely. Just say thank you, for specific acts.

I am totally distracted by these strange noises above my head. What ARE they doing up there?

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Things to Love

Can I just say that I love my dishwasher?

And I even love that I grew up without one, because there is no way I could love it this much had I not spent innumerable hours elbow deep over a single sink growing up. When I got married, I thought the whole double sink thing was a vast improvement, but the dishwasher definitely trumps that. Just a basic, I don't know– two or three hundred dollar machine from Sears. I run it about three times a day, and I've had it for almost a year and a half, so that's somewhere around 1000 uses. Worth every penny and then some. I really hated doing dishes growing up. I can't begin to tell you how deep that feeling runs.

Also, dark chocolate covered pomegranate pieces. I don't know how they did it–made some little fruit snack type thing with pomegranate juice for the center–but mmmmm.

I love disposable diapers and wipes. I experimented with real cloth for about six weeks when my first two were in diapers. Went through gallons of bleach. It might have worked, had we a car and/or our own washing machine, but I doubt it. I do love my land-fill bursting disposables.

And Costco. If only they'd build one here.

This whole writing without a delete key is a little disjointed, no? Would it violate my vow if I went back and deleted entire entries? Probably. The archives might get skeletal.

I love CRIBS!  I really do. I wish I would have figured this out with my own children. I swear to you, I spent ten years walking the floor all night, every night trying to get somebody to sleep. I used to stand in the hallway just waiting for the next one to wake up, and it seems they always did. I "couldn't" let them cry because Marty was working 16 hour days and I didn't want them to keep him awake. If I had only known.

These daycare kids scream like someone's biting a limb off when I put them in a crib in a dark room–for about three minutes. Then they go to sleep and stay that way. Okay, one of them cries for a good twenty minutes sometimes–but he's a whimperer, moaner. Maybe if he went at it with full-body shrieking like the other babies, he'd fall asleep in three minutes too.

But nothing else works. I rock them, walk them, sing–nothing. They just fight me and squirm and want down and want milk that they then spit out all over the place and then want back up and then down. Telei last night woke up about ten. Okay, so she was awakened by certain guilty parties who brought her out (Mom, she's awake!) and since everyone was asleep, I didn't think I should let her do her scream-to-sleep routine, so I tried the old walk the floor, yard, etc routine I spent ten years doing–I'm good at it, right? She wasn't having it. Finally, I clued in. Marty doesn't have to get up anymore. Not really. I do however. So I take her up to the crib we have in our room for nap time, lay her down and brace myself for the shriek. It really does tear at the heartstrings, even if I know it's the only way.

She didn't make a sound! Closed her eyes and went to sleep. I couldn't believe it. We just stood there in shock, and then Marty crept very quietly into bed, and I waited–she never woke up. Hmmmmm. How might have my life been different, all these years?

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Jo-Ja-Qui-Win-WHATEVER your name is . . .

How many random facts you can recall at any moment? Faces/names, for example. How many faces could you name?

I have thirty children under my direct care, not all at once, and not every day, but there are that many enrolled and attending regularly. I know all their names and can spout them off pretty accurate when the need arises (Dustin, get that out of your nose! Off the table, Addison.). Plus how many other people? If you sat down and tried to list every name you can put with a face–famous, historical, personal–would you ever get to the end of the list? How about dates? Numbers–telephone, SS, accounts, PIN's, dates. The amount of information is truly staggering.

So why can't I recall my own children's names, hmmmm? It never fails that I run through all six names before hitting on the right one. Every time–and I don't do that to the other children in my care. Just my own. Explain that to me. It seems to me that I should be able to slow down and hit on the right name–but my tongue sabotages me, every time. Or my brain–or maybe that's the problem: with my own kids, the tongue has taken over–I'm no longer thinking about it because I've said the names so many times for so many things that they are all lumped together under one mental category.

Goal for the day: call my own kids by their own names. Can it be done?


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Cement Trucks; Under the Tuscan Sun

I woke this morning to a cement truck outside my window. A quick look at the clock–nobody gets up before me. How is this possible? But sure enough, Marty is out there with the first born and the third (number two is at scout camp) pouring a driveway in the early dawn. I'm sure the neighbors loved that wake-up call, but he had to get the first pour done early enough that it could dry today so he could pour the sections between this afternoon. Hallelujah. No sinkholes of mud this winter.

No kids this morning until 8. Thank goodness, because the room was a wreck. Yesterday had 12 . . . ish kids here. Three that had been here overnights all week, then another came at 730 then two at 8, then one at nine, one at 930, then two at 10, two at 1030. Yeah–12. My own were technically not here–I have Meg take them to G's or Marty to the park, whatever it takes to release the pressure and stay legally under my limit. This summer stuff is tough–the school aged kids are hard for me. I'd rather deal with the under three set, honestly. So I spent all morning just waiting for kids to show up, basically, then feed the masses, clean up, try to keep the beasts quiet while the lambs nap, clean up again, and start the countdown as one leaves at three, one at four, three at four thirty, two at five, (and two more arrive) one at seven, one at eight, two at eight thirty, one at nine, leaving me with two until three am.

Did I go to sleep at nine? Did I at least proceed with my usual cleaning/mopping routine (done at just the right decible to avoid waking the troops) until #1 came home from babysitting at midnight?

No. I left the dishes, did paperwork galore and then sat up chatting with my brother on Facebook about kissing protocol (he's young and single) consumer debt, shampoo and other strange things–got stranger after we accidentally established the bizarre fact that we simultaneously developed scalp issues recently, and nothing seems to help. Something about baring your hygeine secrets must open the door to all sorts of weirdness. 

So the cement truck at six in the morning was a welcome thing–besides the obvious benefits of cement come winter–the deafening screeches and rattles served to get me out of bed, happy that for once I was not the only person "up and at 'em" for the day. (Why should that make me feel better?) 

My Grandfather used to say that. My mother too, but she said it in such a perfect imitation of him, that I always knew she was simply a medium to transmit his voice over the Canadian prairie to where we could hear it. "Up and at 'em! Rise and shine! Get that mattress off your backs!"  This last one always served to get me thinking. I had this mental image of those blue and white striped mattresses (with the rusty tied-down buttons) rising with one of my uncles as he stumbled to his feet in the attic; him shaking the stubborn mass from his rounded spine as he rubbed his eyes. And always the image involved straw of some type.

Did my uncles ever sleep in an attic? Did they have blue striped mattresses? Straw about their person? Nevertheless. 

Up and at 'em. Repenting my way through the scattered disaster that was my kitchen/daycare room. Snapping some pics of the ones hard at work outside. Something to remember, right? I should have had them scratch their names? A handprint maybe? Started reading "A Brief History of Time" I think I made it farther than the last go round before I gave up. Transfixed for about three, four chapters, then totally lost. Maybe next time.

Read "Under the Tuscan Sun" instead. Loved it–for no rational reason. (How did they possibly make a movie from this book? It must be really loosely based on it? Maybe I'll watch it someday–with subtitles so I can hear what's going on.) The book itself has no plot, no story, nothing  . . . needful, but I was transfixed anyway. Wanted to visit Italia. Or at least a good Italian restaurant. Do we have those here in the Pacific NW? For some reason, I doubt it.

She has a way with words, and with imagery–something primordial. She describes recurring dreams of hers that I have too, small things like that, little comments that could have been mine, kept me going–this woman is someone I seem to know. And not, at the same time–reactions she had that are startling to me, because they are so foreign.

Where do I find time to read in this chaos? Everywhere, constantly. Sometimes I have to reread a paragraph six times before I make it to the next one, but there are those moments when it doesn't matter how many are climbing on my lap, or over me, I can keep at least part of the page within my line of vision, and nothing they say or do matters as much as what happens next. 

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