Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Nightmare Ends with a Bloody Dog

When the phone rang Daddy sounded a bit scattered. He was talking about Oreo bleeding and trying to tell the story, but it was hard to hear him. The girls and their friend were wailing in the background.

He was about two blocks from our house when the neighbor's white pit bull ran out the front door and attacked Oreo. The pit bull grabbed Oreo under his neck and wouldn't let go. Daddy was kicking the pit bull. The girls were screaming and crying. The pit bull's owner was on the ground trying to get her dog off Oreo. A neighbor ran over and moved the girls away from both dogs.

When the owner finally got her dog off Oreo, she apologized and told Daddy her dog had all his shots. She was truly sorry.

I didn't care that she was sorry. Her dog attacked Oreo and drew blood. It all happened in front of our girls and their friend. Daddy and I were both angry.

We went to the police and had a report written. We called City Hall to leave a message for the animal control officer. No matter how sorry the owner was, I insisted on escalating the attack. We don't know if Oreo will get sick in a day or a week or not at all. I wanted it documented in case a problem developed.

The girls went trick or treating with Daddy once he was done with the police report. They seemed to enjoy themselves, but when they walked into the house and saw the blood on Oreo they started crying again. I tried to clean the blood off Oreo, but it's in a bad spot. It's right at the place when his neck bends under his jaw. It's not easy to get there. He moves away when I try to clean him. Every time he moves his head the blood spreads. He finally stopped bleeding, so at least that's a good thing.

He calmed down after coming into the house. It took a while though. He was really anxious when he first came home. He stopped panting and plopped down into his spot. The girls don't want to leave him alone. They want to hug and smother him with attention. It's hard to tell them to keep away from him, but he needs to stay calm so we can watch him. His behavior is back to normal. We want to observe him overnight before deciding if he needs to go to the vet. If he was still bleeding, of course we would take him to the vet tonight. Since he stopped bleeding and is calm now, we decided to watch him.

Tomorrow we'll follow-up with the animal control officer. We'll try to clean Oreo. After a few days of extra attention I hope he'll be back to normal. I'm not sure I can say the same thing about the girls, though. They were so excited about trick or treating with their friend. I'm so angry at our neighbor for ruining their special evening. We wanted to create a special, fun memory. What we ended up with was a nightmare for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We're starving

The girls came out of school yesterday complaining that they were staaaaaarrrrrrrvvvvvviiiiiinnngggggggggg. Really, they were very, very, very hungry and probably starving.

I said, "Not enough pizza for lunch?" They don't eat the school lunches often, but we do treat them with the pizza when it's served.

They looked at each other and said, "We didn't get to eat our pizza. We had dry cereal."

In our school district if you don't have lunch the school won't let you go hungry. You'll get something to sustain you, but not enough to encourage you to come without your lunch again. You get a bowl of dry cereal.

I had to drag out the story, but it turns out the girls did sign-up for piza. They forgot their lunch punch cards when the went to the lunchroom. The rule is if you don't bring it you don't get to go back for it.

They didn't appreciate that I sided with the school. They wanted me to get mad at the school, but I said, "You're in third grade. How did you forget your lunch punch cards? You need to be responsible for your lunch when you order it."

What I really wanted to talk about was how the two girls, in two different classes, each forgot their lunch punch cards. They didn't want to talk about it at all. They just wanted to remind me that they were staaaaaaarrrrrrrvvvvvvviiiiiinnnngggg.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Girls Night Out with Grammie

Whenever we say we're going out on a Saturday night our girls immediately say, "Can we stay overnight at Grammie's?"

I love this. Mom is their only grandparent now. I'm happy that they ask to spend time with her. The minute I confirm with Mom, the girls start planning. They ask every day when they are spending the night at Grammie's.

As soon as they get to Grammie's they want to change into their pajamas. A night at Grammie's means the girls are going to hang in their jammies watching TV and playing games. They play card games like 31 and board games like Aggravation. They plan to eat either pizza or mac-n-cheese, followed by a treat before bedtime. Grammie always keeps some chocolate in a glass bowl. I'm sure they sneak some of those. Of course Grammie always knows they are eating it so the girls only think they are sneaking it.

For me the best part of the night is that they are making fun memories with Grammie. If grandparents are unconditional love, Mom excels at that with all her grandchildren. The more the girls can bask in Grammie's love the better.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

You're sort of invited to a Halloween party

The girls asked to have a Halloween party this year. We've done it in the past with good results so we said yes.

Since the girls are in two different classes this year we really had to limit the number of kids they invited. In the past we'd have friends, family and classmates. This year it's only a few school friends. We had 25 invitations so they each created a list of 12 friends to invite. We printed invitations and sent them to school.

The girls told me they had given out all the invites. I waited for people to start responding.

A few days later I mentioned the party to a mom whose children were on the list. She said, "I don't remember getting anything." The next day the crossing guard said, "Hey, before the girls get out of school I thought I'd tell you they invited me to their Halloween party."

This was when the lightbulb went off.

On the way home I asked about distributing the invitations. The girls said they hoped I didn't mind but they invited a few people not on the list like their crossing guard, school librarian, lunch lady, etc. They did give out most of the invitations to their friends, but ran out so they just told their friends about the party. Of course their friends promised to tell their parents, so the girls thought it was all working out.

I've been emailing their friends to invite them to the party. If there's one thing I know it's that those kids won't remember enough details to give their parents the information. And, if our girls said they were invited to a party I'd tell them I'd deal with it when I saw an invitation.

The good news is the parents think the invitation distribution story is funny. The better news is I found out about the problem early enough to fix it. Let the party begin!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Piano Girls

The girls are getting ready for their upcoming piano recital. One of the songs they will perform is a duet. Oh, there is nothing funnier than listening to them bicker while they rehearse.

They fight about who is taking up more space. They argue about who is play too quickly. They pick at each other about their hand placement. Just to annoy each other they play one scale too high or too low.

It's like listening to a sit-com about an old married couple. The funniest part is the song is really coming along. They sound really good together.

I always tell them that no one will love them more than their twin and no one will be able to annoy them as much as their twin. They don't realize it, but every time they rehearse this song they prove the second part of my statement correct.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stayin' Alive

When my Dad died we received many plants. Mom kept a few, which created a lot of entertainment for all of us. If there's one thing we know about Mom it's that she has a brown thumb. And, that's not a criticism. Mom would tell you that she cannot keep a plant alive.

We were stunned that the plants were still alive a year after Dad died. We often comment on how healthy the plants look. Honestly we're a bit stunned at Mom's new green thumb.

Recently Mom and Aunt Bonnie took a road trip to see their sister, Aunt Dar. Before she left Mom said, "Will you take care of my plants?" Of course I agreed to plant sit.

I've never been so nervous regarding plants. I really worried that I would kill the plants. Somehow I was certain that I could have a hand in growing beautiful flower gardens in our backyard, but I was certain I would kill these houseplants.

Mom came home and I couldn't wait to get her plants to her. I managed to keep the plants alive while she was gone. As I drove to her house, I couldn't get Bee Gee's song "Staying Alive" out of my head. As I drove away from Mom's I felt a great sense of relief. I had three plants in my care and all three made it back from vacation. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Third Grade Step-up

I thought third grade would be just like second grade, but a year later. What I've noticed is that third grade is a whole step up for the girls in terms of maturity and independence.

They need so much less help than they did in second grade. They do their homework as a team. All we  do is check. They make their own lunches. All we do is check to make sure they put in all the pieces. They get themselves dressed, brush their teeth and hair, and tie their own shoes. Last year they did these things but we spent a lot of time reminding them piece by piece.

It's wonderfully liberating. They are at an age where they can do things by themselves and still like to show off their independence. It's not a battle. It's still shiny new. And, it's good for all of us.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Virginia Wolf Does What Mommy Can't

Our girls were fighting about this or that or whatever when I finally separated them. I just couldn't take the bickering anymore. I was too frustrated to talk to either of them when I remembered a new book which recently arrived on our front porch for a book review.

I walked to the blond twin and handed her the book Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear. I said, "Read it and tell me what it's about."

A good book tells a story within a story. As Virginia Wolf opens, Vanessa is trying to be with her sister. Maybe she wants to play. Maybe she wants to draw together. Either way it doesn't matter. Virginia is howling. Vanessa tries everything to make her sister feel better. She comes up with a great idea. She'll create an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry.

When the blond twin was done, I asked her what the book was about the blond twin said, "Virginia's sister was crabby." I said, "Really? Read it again."

When she read it a second time we talked about how Virginia was sick. Vanessa loved her so much she would do anything to make her sister feel better, including creating a gorgeous place called Bloomsberry. The blond twin said, "I love Sissy that much." I said, "Really? Maybe you should let her know."

A few minutes later the girls were reading Virginia Wolf. They discussed who would be the artist and who would be sick. They debated who loved the other one enough to create her dream world. It was adorable to listen to them.

Kyo Maclear wrote a beautiful book about sisterly devotion. Isabelle Arsenault drew pictures so beautiful I think you could pull any one of them out of a book, frame it and display it as an art collection. The words and illustrations work together to tell a story I'm not sure I could verbalize.

It's one reason I like having so many books around. I didn't have to fight with the girls or lecture them. I just handed them Virginia Wolf and let the book work its magic.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Synchronized Sleeping

When we bought the girls' bunk bed we decided to get a twin over double. We said the double bed was so they could have a friend spend the night, but in reality the girls use the double bed every weekend. As much as they like their own space, they still like to sleep together.

What's really cute about them sleeping together is they do something I can only describe as synchronized sleeping. When I check on them before going to sleep they often have the same arm over their heads or are curled in the same direction. It's adorable.

Sometimes they are so different it's hard to believe they are twins. When they are synchronized sleeping it is a reminder that they are more alike than they are different. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Is he a celebrity?

The girls were reading some teen magazine when the brunette twin turned to her sister and said, "You haven't met any celebrities have you?"

The blond twin said, "Yes I have."

I said, "Really? Who?"

She replied, "Santa. He's a celebrity. I met the real one at Breakfast with Santa one time."

The girls then discussed how the mall Santas weren't the real Santa. They decided Santa was famous and counted as a celebrity.

I couldn't stop smiling. They might be racing towards "tweenage" but in so many ways they are still my little girls.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Are we over informed?

The brunette twin's blood test came back with high cholesterol numbers. This is not surprising given that high cholesterol and high blood pressure run on Daddy's side of the family. The doctor told me she needed to watch what she ate, reduce her fast food consumption, avoid dairy, limit high cholesterol foods, eat veggies and fruits.

It's not that I'm taking her diagnosis lightly, but I cannot wonder if we are over informed about some things. I realize it's good to know that you have high cholesterol because it can cause heart problems later in life, but the brunette twin is nine years old. Isn't that a bit young to start monitoring her diet and spending all our time telling her she can't eat this or that because she has high cholesterol?

The irony is that we eat pretty much what the doctor suggested. I don't remember the last time we drove through a fast food restaurant to get dinner. I'm actually not sure that has ever happened in our family. They eat a nearly vegetarian diet. There are the occasional hot dogs, hamburgers and bacon. Neither girl eats much meat, though. They do eat a lot of cheese and drink a lot of milk, so I guess we're going lower-fat and reducing those items.

The girls have gym at school every day. We walk to and from school every day. I know they get their exercise. At home the brunette twin wants nothing more than to sit and read as much as possible. I'm certainly not going to stop her from reading so she can exercise more to reduce her cholesterol.

Information is a difficult thing sometimes. I realize we need to take her high cholesterol seriously and we will. I'm sure there are additional dietary changes we can (and will) make. I'm just not sure we have enough information to understand why she has high cholesterol to really understand the steps we need to take.