Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ist day of school

Big Sis started back to school last Thursday. (Yes, I'm a bit late with this post.) As you can see, she insisted on a messenger bag. She wanted something with only one strap. Which makes since, since she preferred to only use one strap on her backpack anyway.

It's hard to believe she's already in 2nd grade! The only thing I'm anxious about this year is the fact that her school is multi-age and her class this years has 2nd graders, 1st graders AND kindergartners! I felt a little better after the parent orientation, but still have some reservations. Big Sis is very bright but will simply coast if allowed to do so. I ought to know since I was the same way!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

little artist

This is not a new thing for L'il Sis, but it has been awhile since she's done this. But this week, she did it TWICE! One day, she was coloring in her coloring book (like one is supposed to do), when suddenly I hear, "Mommy, I color my cheeks!" With a pen! Fortunately, it came right off with a baby wipe. Then a few days later, I find the archway into the living room has been "decorated" with a pencil. Cinderella got to clean up her handiwork with a Magic Eraser. I went over it to make sure it was all gone, but she managed to get the bulk of it off. You'd think that will teach her not to color on things other than paper. But I doubt it!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's come to this

Last night my sister called:
Sis: What are you doing?
Me: Something weird... I'm watching Heartbreak Ridge on TV.
Sis: What's that?
Me: It's a Clint Eastwood Marine movie.
Sis: (long pause) Your Marine really needs to come home.
Me: Ya think?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

yep, she's a Devil Pup

A few weeks ago the girls and I joined my mother, step-father, sister, brother-in-law, niece and 3 nephews at a beach house in Topsail for 4 days to celebrate Mom's birthday. Most of the kids loved going down to the beach and playing in the surf. I say most because my 2 year old nephew screamed and shook when he first saw it. And L'il Sis thought "a dab'll do ya." I'd take her down to play in the sand and water. She enjoyed it but after a bit would decide she was done. Then for several days, she didn't care to even go down to the beach and water. That was why I missed what happened and am telling this story second-hand.

Big Sis was down on the beach with everyone else (I couldn't get L'il Sis to leave the house). They see an aircraft and my sister tries to point it out to the 2 year old, "Look! A helicopter!" Big Sis, in all her 6-year old wisdom, practically rolls her eyes and with the "duh!" clear in her tone, informs them, "That's NOT a helicopter. That's an Osprey."

When she returned from the beach, my sister asked me about it and when I confirmed that, yes, the description sounded like an Osprey, she said, "She's definitely a military brat!"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Lactation, Navy-style

In 2000, I gave birth to my first child at Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital in the middle of the Mojave Desert. That pretty much sets the tone, doesn’t it? Because she was my first child, I was horrified that these insane people at the hospital were going to send this child home with me when I was obviously unqualified to care for her. Maybe that’s why I didn’t notice that all of my post-delivery care was provided by men. My nurses and corpsmen were all men. Don’t misunderstand me -- they were great and I received wonderful care. But it was a bit odd, and I didn’t notice. My mother pointed it out when she visited before my discharge. It might have been odd but it wasn’t terribly surprising. After all, it was a Naval hospital.

The nurse serving as the lactation consultant was also a man, a Navy Ensign. He was very encouraging and supportive and just a bit over the top. My husband says he was way over the top. My husband left for a short time to bring a friend to see me. While he was gone, this Ensign, the male lactation consultant, came in to see me for a consult because I was having some problems. Once my husband returned, the Ensign called him out to the hall to go over all the things he’d already discussed with me and to drive home the importance of my husband being supportive of the process. While that sounds pleasant enough, this was an Ensign on a mission and he was on the warpath to ensure my husband knew he should have been there to receive the lecture, I mean consultation, with me. Maybe he was having a bad day. My husband is a 6’8” Marine. I didn’t see this “lecture” as a good idea.

Our lactation issues were just beginning. The hospital also had another person whose job title was Breast Education Specialist/ Lactation Consultant. This person was, thankfully, a woman. After being home with our baby and continuing to have difficulty, I was referred to this consultant. My mother was still there to help out so she came with me. The three of us, Mom, the baby and me, sat in this woman’s office for an hour. We discussed what I had tried and what more I could do. I nursed the baby while the consultant observed and offered suggestions. Finally, we got ready to leave. As we were going out the door, Mom asked her, “Did you nurse all of your children?”

She smiled and answered very sweetly, “Oh, I don’t have any children.”

Gee, I think I could have read the books myself. Oh, wait, I think I did.

*In case it wasn't clear, this post was a memoir post. The child I wrote about is going to be 7 in less than 2 months. I was having a rough, deployment gremlin-filled day and wanted to post something that struck me as funny.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Greater Good

I wrote what follows last year, before our current deployment. I was inspired to make a few changes by a post on SpouseBuzz.

The Greater Good

My husband’s thoughts start turning to the next big thing he wants to do in his career. I’m not sure why he even bothers discussing it with me. Maybe he wants me to feel as though I have some control over what happens. The illusion is not working. The most I can hope to do is point out how difficult certain things could be in various locations (the ones I really, REALLY don’t want to go to) so that he lists it as his number two or three choice instead of as his first. Any of the places I suggest he try to go to are met with a blank look. Sure family life or liberty might be great there but how will that get him into the action, get him into a deployable unit? Duh, it won’t. But I’ll be happy. We’ve done the deployment thing and gotten the t-shirt but no family member wants to do it again.

There’s a scene in the Disney movie The Incredibles when Frozone is tearing through his apartment looking for his super-suit. His wife is preparing for a dinner party and is less than thrilled at his wanting to run off to save the world. Service members are a little like Frozone, grabbing their super-suits and leaving us behind for “the greater good.”

I was telling a non-military friend that my husband was itching to deploy again. It was killing him that his buddies and his Marines were over there and he wasn’t. She asked if he’s crazy. Well, yes, but I knew that before I married him. Clearly, he didn’t become a Marine to do a desk job. My husband likes to say that a smart Marine doesn’t whistle while he packs. It doesn’t mean that he wants to be separated from us, to miss chapters of our girls’ lives while living in challenging conditions. He just thinks there is something important that he needs to be doing, that he should be doing. When your service member is talking about needing to defend our country and our freedoms, how can you argue with that? A missed birthday or simply being home to take out the trash seems pretty unimportant next to that.

Despite my aggravation with the absences and how much my husband gives to the Marine Corps, I am proud of who my husband is and what he does. After all, his sense of duty and commitment to his country are part and parcel of who he is. These are some of the very reasons I fell in love with the man. The truth is, while a strong sense of duty and a desire to serve are admirable qualities, it is hard to be the one left behind for “the greater good.”

We were in San Francisco, on the first day of an overdue vacation, when 9/11 happened. We spent the morning in our hotel room at the Marine Memorial watching the news coverage while my husband made phone calls to his unit and I scrambled to change our travel plans to return home early. We later watched local coverage of people lining up to donate blood. They felt that was something immediate that they could do to help. My husband watched that and quietly commented that he was glad he was in a position to do more than just donate blood.
Damn super-suit.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

anticipatory grief

It hasn't been an issue this deployment, but anticipatory grief was something I really struggled with the last time Hubs deployed to Iraq. Of course, I didn't know what it was or even that it had a name. I only knew what I was feeling and thinking about and wondering what was wrong with me that I kept thinking such morbid thoughts. I recently ran across an article on the subject by Kristin Henderson, the wife of a Navy chaplain. It was comforting to know that I wasn't alone and that it is a common experience for families left behind. Ms. Henderson has written another article about the growing disconnect between the military and civilians that is also worth reading.

Friday, August 03, 2007

update on deployment gremlins masquerading as contractors

I'm quickly losing the capacity to be civil.

When people tell you that they will call you no later than ___ with information, shouldn't they do so? Especially when that information involves when they will be making pertinent repairs to your home? I would think so. However, the contractor responsible for repairs to my house failed to call me Wednesday until after 5:30 p.m. (AFTER I'd left a voicemail for him asking for the information). At that time, he left a voicemail saying he wasn't sure if they'd be here Friday (today) or Monday but he would let me know. Guess what? No phone call. I left a terse message on his voicemail this morning. Then I spoke to the maintenance supervisor. Mr. Contractor just called acting offended because he called and left a voicemail for me after my voicemail to him on Wednesday. I interrupted him and pointed out that in his message he said he would call back to let me know whether it would be Friday or Monday. He paused, realized his mistake, and apologized. His tone quickly went from one of umbrage to one of retreat with his tail between his legs.

Now, much as I love being right, I'd love this problem being resolved even more!