Way back when we learned Phoebe was on the way, it was decided that Julia and Lucy would get bunk beds. And finally, on President’s Day, after much comparison shopping, measuring, deliberating and penny-pinching, it happened. The girls were stoked. It had been about a year since we first mentioned the Make Room for Phoebe Bunk Bed Plan and I’m pretty sure they’d begun to think we were just yanking their chains when we’d talk about how we were going to get them.

Seeing those beds built before their very eyes was better than an episode of SpongeBob. It had enticed Lucy to grab her puke bucket and leave her sick spot on the couch to march her fevered feet upstairs and witness the miracle. Julia drew the delivery men a “thank you for bringing me my new bed” picture. I marveled at how accurately I’d measured as the beds – that happened to match the existing bedroom furniture and our budget – just fit and, somehow, made the room look bigger. Dave paced and fretted and made bets on who would fall off the top and break a bone first. I offered to throw him off to end the suspense. He didn’t like that idea.

Bunk Beds, yo!

Julia claimed the top bunk (a.k.a. The Bug’s Nest) and Lucy dove into “the down bunk” (i.e. The Bear Cave).

Reading in "The Bug's Nest"

Putting on the sheets and making up the beds was a bit of a challenge for me, but I figured I could handle doing it once or every other week. Lucy threw up a few times the first night to give me some practice.

And now, Phoebe has a crib to call her own.

Phoebe in her crib

It was a year ago (on Sunday) that our Picasso was hit by a car. And while I was telling you, “she’s going to be okay,” the vet was telling us, “we’re not sure she’s going to make it.” Even when she came home, it wasn’t a certainty that she’d survive. She had a great deal of brain damage – the full extent of which we wouldn’t know for months – and a lot of healing to do.

But she did heal. Enough to be under my feet every morning. Enough to to crash through the house either two steps in front or behind my light saber brandishing girls. Enough to find her way to the lap of the one who needs a kitty in it the most. Enough to fill my front window and my heart every time I see her.

Picasso

In the Car

by Leslie

“We should totally go to an indoor water park.”

“I don’t know, Jule Bug.”

“You said we’d do it this year.”

“When did I say that?”

“Hello!?!? Family bucket list!?!?”

“You’re right, I did. I just don’t think I’m feeling up to it right now…”

“Why?”

“You know…The Incident. I’m not sure we should descend upon an indoor water park or any place, really, right now.”

“Ugh, Mom. I really love you, but GET OVER IT!!!

It might be time to end my self-imposed exile from All Things Public. You know, for the children.

Dear Lucy,

Today, you are 2 years, 9 months and 27 days old. It’s not your birthday and you haven’t reached some developmental milestone, but it is a day I want to document as it has marked my heart and I know the way I feel about people and parenting won’t be the same after it.

Today, I took you to the second installment of the SymphonyLand series we began last month. You were so excited to go. So was I. That last time was such fun. You are so musical. I think it’s because you’re a kid that, as my friend Susanne puts it, “is a slave to her emotions.” When you feel something, you are full up, filled to the brim with it. And music is such an emotional and moving experience – at least when it’s done right – and it is right where you live. You’ve gotten really good at identifying instruments, not just by sight, but also sound. You have a great ear and can discern the brass from the woodwinds and woodwinds from the strings in an ensemble piece. So, the series was right up your alley and, even better, it was an opportunity for us to do something we chose just for you. We do plenty of things as a family and I know it’s easy to feel like a tag-a-long in your big sister’s life. I was grateful for the chance to give you your day. Today.

Unfortunately, our fun was short-lived.

You were enjoying the experience – talking to the other children, exploring the room, dancing, pointing and, at times, getting in the way. I watched from the sidelines with Phoebe, intervening only when I felt your fun was impeding someone else’s enjoyment of the performance. The second song in, you wandered to the other side of the room and did a dance move that ended with you flat on your back. You didn’t immediately get up. I think you were relishing the attention the other children were giving you, so I began to make my way toward you when a woman from the audience got out of her seat, bent down, pulled you up by the arms and brought you to me. She told me I needed to keep you corralled or leave.

We left.

Our exit was swift. We lingered in the lobby only to get Phoebe back in the car seat and our coats on while the kind and worried people working at the event tried their very best to remedy the situation. I so appreciated their concern for us and especially the dignity they allowed us as we made our way out, confused, humiliated and heartbroken. I would have expressed that then, but I was trying so hard to hold it together. I could feel the tears coming and I didn’t want to shed them there. I scooped you and your sister up, raced to the car, and drove out of the parking lot and a few blocks away where I pulled over and sobbed.

You didn’t know what to do. You weren’t aware of all that had happened. You’d been having fun. Even when that woman put her hands on you, you didn’t feel the gravity of what was being done. “I don’t want to go, yet,” you’d said when I told you we had to leave. But you followed my lead and left with a little, “Bye guys!” and a wave. Thank God for your innocence. Nothing was ruined for you. But in the car, you understood that something was wrong and you told me, oh so quietly, “It okay, Mommy. No cry. No cry.”

We came home and you began to work on Valentine’s for the Pink Party we’re going to later today. You’re on to the next thing. But I feel shattered. As a parent, Lucy, the worst thing that can happen (next to something happening to your children) is to feel as if you’ve done wrong by your child. I worry that I’ve done wrong by you. I wonder if I shouldn’t have left. I wonder if I should have stood strong, stood up for you and told that woman that you were just fine, told her she had no right to put her hands on you. My desire to protect you should have been stronger than my fear of looking like a bad mom to someone else. I’ve made plenty of parenting mistakes. If allowing you the freedom to explore today was a mistake, I’m okay with that one. I’ll chalk it up to experience. But I’m not okay with letting you down.

Lucy, you are a ball of fire, burning bright and beautiful. And sometimes, you wipe out everything in your path. But mostly, you are a light. Let that light shine, little girl. I promise to do better the next time someone tries to put it out.

Love,

Mommy

Julia is required to make a Valentine Box so that she may receive Valentines from her classmates at the Valentine’s Day Party at school on Valentine’s Day. I was excited about this, of course, because this would give me Julia a chance to make the coolest thing the first freakin’ grade has ever seen showcase her creativity, so everyone would see that she has the awesome-est mom evah! that she’s very talented and resourceful.

But she really wasn’t that into it and hated all my ideas couldn’t come up with anything.

And so, we turned to the internets where we found the very cutest Milk Jug Bug Valentine Card Holder that you can find the complete directions and patterns for on Danielle’s Place of Crafts and Activities on the Valentine’s Day Crafts Page.

It was perfect. It was easy to do. I had all the supplies. It was a bug. Julia’s nickname is bug! Clearly, a higher power was intervening here because never had there been a more perfect Valentine card holder than this was turning out to be! Except she didn’t want to do a bug. Or a bear or a cat. She wanted a unicorn. And so…

Julia's Unicorn Valentine Card Holder

There it is.

The Valentines go in the unicorn’s mouth. And then you have nightmares about it for the rest of your life.

I asked Julia, “Do you think it looks a little…creepy?”

“No, it’s fine. Can I go play now?”

“It’s not really Valentine-y.”

“We’ll put some stickers on it later.”

“So, you like it?” I yelled after her as she took off with a light saber in her hand.

“Yep, it’s magical!”

I think it’s the glitter.


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