Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween (grumblegrumblecusscuss)

I am fortunate enough to be able to go to my little girl's preschool for her Halloween parade, so I can celebrate with her.  While I'm there, I'm thinking about the many parents who aren't able to do this.  Who are working tirelessly to pay for food, clothes, their house, and aren't able to take the time to go to school with their children.

I loved watching children in their cute costumes, excited about pretending to be their favorite characters, or role models.  I saw some beautiful choices.  One little girl was dressed as Tarzan, wearing a muscly abdomen top.  She showed us her Tarzan call, pounding her chest.  Another little girl was Princess Vanillope, from Wreck-It Ralph, wearing candy in her hair and dress.  There were a LOT of Batmans, Supermans, Ironmans.  And of course, as you can imagine some Star Wars thingies.  There were a few doctors, an amazing home-made birthday cake, precious animals.  I sat in her class with her, as the kids came into the room parading their costumes proudly. 

Then walked in a little boy.  He wasn't old enough to understand his costume, I'm guessing he was 2 or 3, maybe.  He was pushing a shopping cart with a plastic bag with cans, had a drawn on raggedy beard, clothes made to look dirty and torn, and a sign misspelled, written poorly, as if he were illiterate, that said 'Will work for candy'.  (I mean he IS illiterate, he's 3, but I think the costume was implying that he SHOULD be literate, but is not.)

My face probably went from shock, to terror, to anger.  I probably looked like I was dressed as the Hulk.  But it was my natural face.  Danny turned and looked at me, his face going through the same metamorphosis.

1.) I don't think poverty, or homelessness is funny.  About 1.3 million children are homeless in a given year.  (Yeah, I'm smart, I looked that up on the old internet).  I'm concerned that some children at the school may be homeless, or have or will experience homelessness, or poverty at some point.  I'm praying they don't understand the costume.  In fact, I'm praying that no child pays attention to the costume. Hopefully they just think he's a customer at Meijers.  (I know I look raggedy most shopping trips to Meijer).  Hopefully the reaction is so sparse that the parents give up and go with a different costume next year.
2.) Can you let your innocent child dress up as something fun that he understands?  I truly believe he has no idea what he's wearing or why, or why he's pushing a shopping cart containing garbage around while his friends dress up as super heroes, or furry animals.  Instead, he is a part of your joke.  Not that I think it's funny, but why don't the parents just dress as their ignorant, self-absorbed, privileged ideas, and leave their toddler out of it?

Sadly, I heard other parents laughing, and taking it lightly, as intentioned.  "Oh, isn't that cute!" they exclaimed.  "Hey, we could do that with Carton, or Prickler!" (or whatever names they were using.  I don't usually make fun of people's names choices but Hulk mad, ok?)

Which brings me to
3.) Can I just go to a friggin preschool Halloween party without getting pissed off?  I'm deleting wildly, trying to frantically censor my anger, outrage, disgust.  (I mean I just said 'friggin', and deleted a noun after that last sentence.)  Everywhere I go I see so much ugliness in the world.  So much Racism, So much Violence.  Children suffering from the hatred that the adults are throwing at each other.  Do I have to see it in the form of an unknowing child?

I can hear the parents of little Money-Bags scoffing at me.  "Give me a break." they would probably say, "It's just a joke.  It's funny, why do we have to be politically correct all the time?"  And trust me, I'm a real jerk most days, (all days) and am known for my off-color humor.  But certain things break my heart.  And as a mom I feel it more acutely.  And children who suffer because of circumstances out of their control is one of my main bugaboos.

Maybe the parents of $Bags would even do more than scoff or roll their eyes at my reaction.  Maybe they would be angry.  "People make the choice to be poor or homeless" they might respond.  I can'tevengetintomyresponsetothatone, I'll break this keyboard. 

When my children are hungry, (can I even rightfully use the word hungry?)  I'm able to quickly give them something to eat, the only hesitation due to the choice of what kind of healthy abundant snack they would prefer. (Except about once a week when we have to go to the store, and they have to eat a processed carb, because I haven't gotten to Meijer yet wearing my torn ugly clothes, with my unbrushed hair and bags under my eyes, much like the kids Halloween costume.  "Mommy, can I have an apple?"  "No, eat these buttery crackers and some fatty meat!"). My heart aches knowing that there are other children in our very zip code who may be asking, or wanting something to eat, and are not able to receive it.  And when I tuck my little girl into her bed at night, I bury the thoughts of other kids in cars or shelters who hear or feel the howling wind a lot differently than we do.  (And we really need new windows, these things are ancient.) 

I feel so hopeless, helpless, sad, angry.  What can I do?  I type my message out into a white square.  I send it out into space.  Can anyone hear me?  If so, how can we make this stop?  Let's start with not making fun of poverty, please?  Then maybe we can start to get rid of the poverty itself. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Wind in our Hair

When we were in college, one of my favorite friends and I went to an out-of-state theater conference.  The real fun wasn't at the conference itself, but during the journey to get there.  We blasted so-bad-it's-good 80s music, talked about our current boyfriends and whether or not they were keepers, we got pulled over by the police in Ohio for speeding (and even separated so the cop could interview us), and only stopped for bathroom or french fry breaks.

Last week this same favorite friend and I went on another road trip to Chicago.  This time it was for business, and this time we brought along our four children.  I probably don't have to point out that the trips were totally different.  But I'm going to.

Instead of driving a red convertible, like we did when we were younger, this time we drove a minivan with a DVD player.  Ten years ago, we probably swerved the car a bit to try to reach for the Twizzlers, that we may have left on the backseat next to the diet cokes.  But this time we swerved trying to get a good look at one of the toddlers, or trying to throw single chicken nuggets toward the back row, to reach one of the "older kids" (and by "old" I mean 3 or 4).  We didn't get pulled over by police this trip, but we did have to pull over once to climb over the mountains of bags and make the trek to the last row of seats, where one of the older kids had Houdini-ed his way out of his car seat harness.  There was no 80s music, but a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Frozen and a few Fresh Beat Band episodes.  There were a few fights that needed breaking up- about who should sing the 'Let it go' solo, or who was taking whose pillow.  And there was still heartache and tears- although this time, the pain seemed less trivial than fights with our boyfriends.

And at the end of the 4th day of our trip, as we were halfway home, I think my friend and I probably were at the farthest point of difference from our trip in college.  We felt old and were very very very tired.  Tired in every possible way, more than just physically.  We had stopped in a pizza place.  The kids had just played in a splash fountain, one had been in time out for swatting another kid with glow sticks.  One hadn't had a nap.  And all kids were covered in pizza sauce and trying to stand up in their booster seats.  Mine was facing the window, jumping up and down, trying to play with the restaurant blinds and singing a song in a falsetto.  And hers were surrounded by coasters that they had colored, and bits of pizza and less favored toppings.  The floor under the table was like Land of the Lost, littered with kicked-off shoes and other items.  One of us had made a final warning to one of the kids, you know- a real teaching moment -something like 'Will you PLEASE SIT DOWN??!'  When my friend and I made eye contact and without saying a word, just knew that we were feeling the same exact way.  And we just started to laugh. The kind of laughing where you don't know how to stop.  It just keeps spilling out, and hurting your stomach.  And tears are coming out of your eyes and you know you should stop because the suburban family at the table next to you whose children are older and can sit in one spot for more than five minutes is looking at you side-eyed.  But you keep laughing.

"I can't believe it's taken you this long to feel how I've felt since the beginning of the trip!" I said in between sobbing laughter.  Because I had started off the trip at half the energy of my amazing friend.
"Mommy?  Why are you laughing?" her three year old asked innocently, no doubt a little frightened.  The children were all staring at us quizzically.
"Because being a mommy is hard sometimes" she answered, still laughing and wiping tears from the corners of her eyes.

God favored us that day, because we found all the shoes under the table, because our credit cards were accepted for the pizza, and because no child was injured in the eating of the meal.
We rolled all of our strollers and diaper bags up what seemed like a 3 mile steep cliff back to the parking lot and began changing diapers, and passing out sippy cups before starting the last leg of the ride home.  Dirty diapers and wet clothes were leaking out of the car as we tried to wrestle kids in.  Mine escaped and got stuck between two seats trying to reach a toy.  I stood helplessly and frustrated and tried to give her verbal direction.  "Move your left foot a little to the right." I offered.  But she's two and is still learning right and left, and also in a dire situation like getting a toy, she can't really pay attention to directions.  "James, can you help her?" I asked the three-year-old desperately.  He reached out a hand, but my daughter probably thought he was trying to take the toy, and pushed him away.  I tried to maneuver into the van from the back, while random objects like dirty diapers, a stroller part and a half eaten sucker fell out into the parking lot.
"This is like Absolutely Fabulous but without the drugs." I told my friend who was probably maneuvering another kid in another row in the van.  We would have gone into hysterical laughter again but didn't have the energy.

On the way home we got to talk a bit- about how we think we've changed since we first started raising our babies. We couldn't tell if it was our very beings that changed so much, or even maybe more than changed- maybe even lost ourselves altogether, or if it was just our lives that have changed so much and we're just keeping up.  But in between the interruptions: ("Mommy, my body hurts from being in this car seat!" the three year old said sadly.  Or our two-year-olds, both crying and reaching out to us to hold them), we found ourselves again, for a couple hours, just by connecting and understanding each other.  And that alone was worth the trip.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The circle of life and stuff

Obviously Mother's Day has changed for me since I started growing a wombmate...A few years ago the Hallmark Holiday would have typically started with me waking up to check my phone and find thoughtful and sympathetic encouraging texts from the people closest to me.  The texts would say that they were thinking of me or my mom, or how much she loved me, or how she lives on in me.  Then I might take a walk, and feel stabs of heart ache seeing others with their moms, or I would hear a love song and think about her and how she was gone forever.

Of course the past couple years on Mother's Day I still think of her and still feel a sting when the thoughts start coming into my mind:  She would have loved Penelope.  How would she have held her? Played with her?  What would Penelope call her? 

Today while Danny was upstairs giving Penelope her bath I stared at a picture of me and my mum.  In the picture I'm about Penelope's age and my mom looks so young and healthy.  And really looking at her face and remembering her, and how she really was before her illness swept her away, it started happening again.  Grief, like a sinkhole starting pulling me.  The icky sad thoughts started swimming around.  I wasn't moved to tears but it might have started had I not heard something suddenly breaking through the darkness.

From around the corner and up the stairs I heard a tiny sweet voice call meekly:
She was done with her bath, and ready for her mommy (the lucky me) to put her to bed.  Her voice instantly shot the grief and darkness back to its dusty corner.  I put the picture back on the shelf, and with a giant grin, bound toward her, up the stairs, to fold her up, cover her face with kisses, and begin our ritual of stories, songs and rocking.  No wallowing this year.  No time and no room for it.

Having my baby didn't make the pain stop.  But just kind of made it less important.  And today, I realized again how my Mother's Day is so totally different.  The emptiness it usually holds, was filled with the joy I have of being a mother myself.  (Don't get me wrong, I still almost cried today-- when Penelope was having a meltdown, exhausted and over-due from a nap.)  But otherwise, it was a really beautiful day. 

Turns out the grief of losing someone who means everything to you still can't trump the euphoria of gaining someone who means everything to you.

here she is hugging James Brown, of course....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Star Struck

We had a celebrity sighting today.
Penelope has a ladybug suitcase, that came with a ladybug purse.  She loves her ladybug. She talks to her, carries her around, hugs her and says "Geeeze!" (translation=squeeze, which is what we say when we hug sometimes).  She also has a ladybug plate, bowl and bib.  So when she saw the actual real live ladybug on her bedroom wall today, she was ecstatic.
"OH! HIII, ladybug!" she exclaimed.  "Hi! mmmmMMA!" She made a kissy noise, but luckily did not actually inhale the bug that was frozen on her wall, probably wondering if its death was imminent.  Penelope ran and got her stuffed penguin, to show the ladybug.  "Pengin!" she told the ladybug, holding it up to the wall.  "Dance!" She said and began to make her penguin dance for the ladybug.

This episode, along with hearing her say 'Ohma goodness" for the first time, were the two biggest events of my day.

I am trying to avoid saying it, because it's so cliche and obvious but it's so insane how fast she's growing.  Just a few months ago, she had an identity crisis.

Penelope's grandma has a Betty Boop figurine in a glass cabinet.
"Do you see Betty Boop?" We all asked Penelope, pointing at the little character staring at us sweetly from behind the glass.
"Boop!" Penelope confirmed with pointing. A couple days later when she proclaimed "Boop!" I noticed she was patting on her own chest, motioning to herself.  And then I noticed that she wasn't looking at Betty, in the cabinet but slightly above the statue's head- at her own face reflecting in the glass.  And that was when I realized this whole time she'd been staring at herself, and now thought she was Betty Boop.

Then that night as we were getting ready for bed, Penelope was shivering from her bath.  "Want some lotion?" I offered the bottle up as a distraction.  She held up her little hands toward it.  "BOOP!" was the sound effect I used as I dropped it onto her chest.
"Boop!" she said, seemingly excited that she recognized the language.  "Boop!" she repeated, tapping her chest and nodding as if saying "Yes, I am Boop.  If there was ever a doubt about who I am, and if these big people were trying to teach me something.  It's that I am named Boop."

What have we done?  We taught her that she's a 1930s cartoon character! She's going to start kindergarten in just 4 years! By then it will be so deeply ingrained there will be no stopping it.

Now she knows she is "Pen-a-me".  She knows the entire alphabet, at least 100 words, numbers, songs and even random animals like 'porcupine', 'newt', or 'xoona moth'.
She's obsessed with flossing.  "Fossy??" She begs if she sees floss.  If you give her a string she keeps it in her mouth, the ends dangling from both sides of her lips and walks around, going about her business.  "Mm! good foss!" She nods as if I've cooked it for her, or maybe like a fine cigar.

I think I love Penelope more than ever.  I know I said that before but I think I almost have to. It's as though my love has to keep growing and stretching because that's what she's doing.  It's no longer as simple as loving a little baby who stays wherever you put her, eats whatever you place in her toothless mouth, wears whatever shirt you thread her tiny arms through.  Now my love has to be strong and malleable enough to cover the personality that is growing as fast as her curly hair.  From the parts that are easy to love- like her interest in music that makes her stand up even to the Subway $5 footlong song, as if she's at a BeyoncĂ© concert--shaking her hips and holding her hands in the air-- to the harder parts like how she stubbornly wants things that I don't want for her.  Like eating the outside of a kiwi, or wanting to walk on her own through a public place saying "Hi" to EVERYONE- even the teenagers who are snickering menacingly at the world.  Probably making fun of everyone they see, these older kids see the world populated by idiots. I remember those days.  It's like you're wearing special teenage glasses where everyone else looks and sounds like a fool.  But Penelope doesn't know that.  She just flashes her  smile as she walks by narrowly missing a sharp table corner.  "Hi!" she says for the 4,324,590,293th time.

Not only does my love for her continue growing, but I'm finding another transformation in myself-- that I'm loving and finding empathy for all creatures.  Other babies for sure, but also older people, even the cranky ones, and animals.  It's as if my love for Penelope has helped me to love all of Creation.  I almost felt bad when I peeked at the bottom of the pink crate that holds all her Carebears and saw 7 dead ladybugs at the bottom.  "Ew." I said out loud, without realizing it.  Penelope ran over and peered inside.

"Oh! HII ladybug!" She exclaimed excitedly.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Yesterday I took Penelope to the mall.  I didn't really want to go but the house we just moved into still smells like the dead guy who lived here-  (may he rest in peace) - and the closest fragrance store is at the mall I used to frequent as a teen.

The car ride was typical.  P threw her sippy cup into the car door after whining for it.  There it lay upside down, slowly leaking while i attempted to reach for it while swerving through traffic.  I quickly gave up and handed her an Elmo toy to eat instead.

But when we got there all the normal boring mall stuff was transformed into wondrous whimsical beauty.  When we walked by the gross fountain with dirty pennies on the bottom of it Penelope almost leaped from my arms, pointing her tiny finger.  "Ooooooooh!!!" She exclaimed, eyes wide, pupils dilated with ecstasy.  I walked trying to carry her while also pushing a stroller full of hand soap and air fresheners as she pointed excitedly to all the stuff that I wouldn't have noticed such as: any person younger than 12, anything colorful or glittery- ranging from a display of jewelry to cell phone covers, escalators going up and down from the food court, the giant skylights..  And right when i was considering buying her a Mrs. Field's cookie on a nostalgic impulse- remembering all the times my grandma used to buy me a cookie when she took me shopping- Penelope pointed at something else and started bouncing. "BaOOOs!" she glanced at me between hops and gestured toward some old 4th of July balloons.  Her tone was what a grown up might sound like if they found a $100 bill instead of $3 worth of red, white and blue balloons.  It was the first time I'd ever heard her say 'baloon' and I figured she was so happy she didn't even need a cookie.

As we walked out, pointing at all the treasures together I noticed a pet shop and remembered her reactions to the few dogs she's encountered.  "Wanna see some doggies?" I asked her, pushing my kid-less stroller, and trying to shift her to my other arm.  (She's getting SO HEAVY!).    Her reaction to the dogs was better than I could have ever expected.  It was like those sweepstakes winner videos, or like she was welcoming a child back from war.  She started squealing, kicking her chubby legs, trying to crawl over me to get inside the areas where people were playing with potential pets.  "Puppies? You see the puppies?" I said laughing and wrestling to keep her from falling on her head.  "PUPPIES! PUPPIES!" She screamed her new word, pointing with both hands.  I tried to turn her to show her the other ones but she grabbed the side of the cubby wall where people were test driving potential pets.  One test driver was an 8 year old boy who looked on with an expression of confusion and fear.  "Look, there's more over here! Let go!" I tried to convince her, peeling her away.  But she wouldn't listen to reason and started to melt down.  The 8 year old playing with the Schnoodle (Snouser mixed with Poodle) continued to stare.

I managed to get her to other cases of dogs before she was inconsolable.  One little puppy jumped onto his hind legs and clawed at us through the case hopefully.  Penelope burst into giggles and bounced up and down in rhythm with the dog.

There have been so many milestones since my last post.  Her Hungry Caterpillar themed first birthday party: How I cried when everyone sang her Happy Birthday while she just stared at everyone blankly, her first taste of chocolate, how she's almost walking, how she hugs toys and says 'Aww baby!', patting them on the shoulder.  But the biggest joys in my days are these kinds of moments-- where she brings a new freshness to something as annoying as going to a mall.  The best illustrations of how beautiful she is are these moments.  And just as beautiful are the promises that tomorrow will be filled with even more.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

9 months

My baby is 9 months old today.  She's now spent just as much time breathing with her lungs as she spent  getting her oxygen through that alien placenta thing.  She's no longer dependent on my forcefeeding myself green beans (for the folic acid), and bribing myself to eat salads using avocado, bingeing on cadbury eggs and then fasting from cadbury eggs.  And in spite of her mom taking a little trip down some stairs, getting all panicked about some gestational diabetes, or walking through Chicago traffic, Penelope toughed it out.  And continues to prove herself to be a tough girl through the weekly falls and crashes she takes as she gets more and more mobile.

Now she dances to just about any rhythmic noise.  But especially the theme music to Angry Birds:

She head bangs while panting like a dog

and smiles a gummy drooly smile whenever she sees me.

She gets around the room by doing the break dancing move 'the worm'.  She's learning to wave, and clap.  (Although currently when she claps she is only opening one hand, the other is still a fist, so it looks like she's gleefully threatening to give you a pounding.)
We're working on self feeding.  Whenever I give her a piece of banana or a soft green bean she shakes it like a maraca and then flings it on the floor, staring down at it in silent astonishment, like she's in the blue man group.  Of course today she suddenly felt motivated to begin self feeding without my prompting.  I saw her chewing and jumped to the floor where she was sitting, making my finger a hook like I read in Parents magazine to fish out the chunk of paper that was stuck to her gums.

Even on one of the more challenging days as Penelope's mom, my life is so rich and abundant.  I'm not bragging as if it's due to anything of my own power, but bragging on behalf of The Source of Life itself- which cannot be bound by prediction and is best appreciated when you let go of trying to control anything outside of your own attitude.  What I mean to say is a challenging day with Penelope is still full of laughter, kisses, and goes by way too quickly.  It probably starts with waking up before my dreams come to a conclusion, the feeling of rest and relaxation long forgotten for the next 7-10 years or so.   Every day is sandwiched with moments of frustration when she won't let me put her down ("Can't mommy just go to the bathroom??!!"), and  moments of utter overwhelming love-- the cliche kind that everyone tells you about that you think you understand already, but really don't. 

Every day that goes by she looks less and less like a confused cannellini bean and more like a little girl with her mom's hair and her dad's eyes.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Coloring in the lines

There have been a lot of milestones since my last ramble.  Penelope celebrated her first Christmas- which was a 3-day-long extravaganza of grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and wrapping paper.  If she was able to put a sentence together she may tell you that wrapping paper is her favorite food- or would be if the cruel taller people weren't constantly stealing it away from her tiny fists.

Then we rang in her first New Year's Eve with tears and consolation.  She'd been asleep until the moment the ball dropped and she awoke from her nap in a strange dark place- her grandparents bedroom.  So I celebrated 2013 with the world by rocking my bigger-than-ever- 6 month old.  A year prior I'd celebrated by drinking club soda and artificially flavored mixers, holding my belly and not knowing what a Penelope was.

Right now a Penelope is someone who lifts their left leg straight up into the air every time she drinks a bottle.  A Penelope sweetly reaches up her hand to my face as she drifts off to sleep, slowly caressing before suddenly grabbing whatever she can fit in her fingers and palm and squeezes with every bit of strength.  The pain makes my eyes water.  If I offer my hair instead, she innocently twists it around her fingers and releases a few times, or waves her hand in it like she's testing out a cool stream, then quickly grabs, her eyes still half closed and tries to bring me down to her face by the hair.  Or she flat out just suddenly, with ninja speed, slaps your face, without any malice or ill-will, just maybe to hear what kind of sound it would make.  When she's not physically abusing me, she's grinning at me so huge, with drool seeping out of her mouth.  She laughs at my every attempt at humor.

Every night when she goes to sleep, I miss her.  She's like that present you got for Christmas that you couldn't wait to play with when you woke up in the morning. Luckily I don't have to miss her for long because lately she's forgotten how to sleep.  When I was pregnant the most common comment I got was 'Hope you don't like sleep." And then when she was born the first question I got, and continue to get--usually with a smirk is "Getting any sleep?".  And I used to be able to say, "Yes. She's a terrible napper but she sleeps great at night."  Well, my darling princess must have gotten sick of my complaints about her lack of napping because for the past 4 nights or so, she's been waking up on average- once an hour.  And she doesn't just want her pacifier, which was what had satisfied her for the last 3 months.  Now she won't be pacified unless we rock her.  Sometimes she won't even tolerate us sitting down to rock her-- which is the meaning of true suffering at 3 am.  Isn't this how war criminals are questioned?  By waking them up every hour and forcing them to stand up, holding a screaming twenty pound weight?  Danny reassures me by saying, "It's only temporary." Which then fills me with sadness, knowing that time is still fleeting, and that in a few years I'll look back on this time and wish she was still a sweet baby.  So I try to enjoy even the sleepless, back-aching moments by staring at her face that's cute even when she's Miss Sleepy Grouchster Groucherson.

A less festive milestone was when Penelope visited her great grandma in the hospital.  She stared in disbelief and wordless fascination at my weak grandmother and then drooled on the poor woman's bed.  Then she was distracted by the beeping machine keeping grandma alive and wanted to push some of the flashing buttons.

A relative I hadn't seen in a while saw me and Penelope at the hospital and told me the way that I mothered Penelope made her flashback to how my mother was with me when I was a baby.   "You don't look like your mom, but just the way you are with her is so much like your mom was with you.  It's uncanny." I was moved and grateful for the statement.  It was a good reminder that in an unexpected way my mom lives on.  Also, loving my daughter as much as I do is a reminder of how much my own mom loved her daughters.  And maybe only just a fraction of how much our Mother God loves us.

I think Penelope is starting to recognize me as a mom more, and less like a giant buffet.  She stares into my eyes as if hypnotized, (and then, reminiscent of Elle from Kill Bill, snatches at my eye ball as if to keep it as a trophy).  She's started to reach her arms toward me, and more and more when I leave the room she cries.  I peek my head back in and she grins again, I leave and she cries.

The first few weeks, or maybe even months, after I delivered Penelope, I didn't feel like a mom.  I didn't feel like much of anything- I felt diminished, invisible, confused, non existent.  All that existed was this beautiful tiny baby and the baby's food source, which was me.  But lately, I've noticed I feel like a picture in a coloring book, that's started to get filled in.  Tonight at her grandparent's house, Penelope was getting sleepy and I said we should go home and get to bed.  Danny asked if she would play for a little while before bed and I said, "We'll see."  P's grandma Sharon laughed and mimicked my tone. "'We'll see'?  That's such a mom thing to say!" she teased me.  "Did you ever think you'd say that someday?"  I blushed but felt a sense of pride at the new colors filling in my temporarily grey scale self.  I like these new colors- they feel good on me.