Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Wrong-Right Doll

Sister wanted a baby doll.

Trust me.

We all know she wanted a baby doll.

If you were a fly on the wall, you knew she wanted a baby doll.

Just a tad shocking.

Shocking?

Ya. Shocking.

Sister is a girl who started out all girlie loving pink, having her hair done, loved bows in her hair and on her dresses, pretty shoes and all things princess.

Then, one day, without much warning, she became a Tomboy.

No more pink.

No more bows.

No more princesses.

No more long hair and braids with bows.

I missed her little girlie self, but we learned to embrace her more tomboy-like joys.

So we have spent the last 7 years getting her Legos, Marvel Comic Characters, Power Rangers, swords, guns and even a punching bag.

All that background should help you understand why a few months ago when she began to obsess about a black baby boy doll, you can bet I was all over that. She began to check on Walmart.com and just HAD to have this certain doll. I tried to find another doll that might compare or come close because I really wanted to avoid paying $45 for a doll that I wasn't even sure she would play with very long. So, at first she was satisfied with playing with my old baby dolls, but then she really wanted her own. So we went to the local thrift store and she picked one out with blue eyes that she new had to be a boy.



The baby dolls from my childhood weren't cutting it anymore...

But, she kept wanting her black baby boy doll from Africa. She loves China and usually has to make sure everything she has is from China, but this doll, she knew would be from Africa. In a panic after a severe and overwhelming break-down I tried to band-aid the situation by buying the only black baby doll I could find at Target that was under $15, and it was a girl, but they didn't have boy dolls.

She seemed to be happy with her new doll that she named, Lucy.  I was relieved that this doll might suffice until Christmas.

Even though she loved Lucy, she just had to have her black boy baby doll that she had seen on Walmart.com.

She was melting down everyday, several times a day.

She was obsessed. Even with me trying to get her a supply of baby clothes from the thrift store and even when a dear friend donated some of her own baby's clothes... she would be excited for a time and then quickly go back to melting about not have the doll she wanted so bad.

I don't want to spoil our kids. I mean, they are spoiled enough with grandma's gifts and my occasional "Oh it's less than $5" give-in. I was trying to teach her that something that big needed to wait until Christmas, or at the very least, her birthday.

Then I saw the baby sitting kit sitting in the corner of her room that she had put together during Activity Days a year ago with her peers. All it was doing was gathering dust, but it sparked an idea.

I talked to Sister and explained to her that she could by the doll if she earned the money for it.

To my surprise, she got very excited!

Now there was an end in sight for her and she would know that she was working towards a goal. It was perfect. Something for her to learn and a way for her to understand the concept of waiting.

Win-win.

So I pleaded with my neighborhood on our Facebook page (the smudges are Sister's name):

Immediately I got responses from friends who wanted to help Sister earn her money for the doll.

The first babysitting job she was so excited she could hardly contain herself. Marc and I couldn't stop grinning as we watched her gather her kit together and then waited by the stairs for the time to leave.



The whole way to the house she was nervously and uncontrollably giggling.

She's never babysat before.

This was the big moment.

We walked in and she was a little timid at first, but soon warmed up and was in heaven playing with the kids. We even got out the flannel board and we told some stories. She decided that I was the one to be in charge of the baby so I held the baby while she played with the two siblings.



I have to admit that I nearly cried several times as I watched my daughter having a typical youth experience of babysitting. My heart kept as I listened to her playing games with the kids and asking them questions. For moments at a time I felt like I was the mom of a typical tween girl. It was so weird to feel like I was in that position for a moment.

Sister was also given an opportunity to dog watch for our friends so she could earn some more money for her doll.

I was so proud of her for wanting to be responsible for Rosie the dog. She would tell me that I had to walk ahead and not to get in her way.



She even went over to play with Rosie so she wouldn't feel lonely while her family was on vacation.
Baby wanted to help too.

Within 3 weeks, between her birthday and Christmas money she had been saving up and her hard work, she had enough to pay for her doll.

She was so excited that we had to order her doll even before she went to school.

I was so relieved to finally have it all going the way she had hoped.

Then when she got home from school she had informed me that I had ordered the wrong doll! And she wasn't exactly kind about the information either... long story short, I cancelled the first order and promptly searched for the doll she really wanted and had meant to tell me she wanted.

I won't go into all the messy details, but I will say it wasn't pretty, but we did get the right doll ordered. She counted down the 5-7 days that it would be delivered. Luckily for all of us it came on a Wednesday (5 days after the order)

I don't think she could have been any happier. She has loved him ever since. I love the names she comes up with.

His name is Jedediah
 But as in any event in Our Life, no experience can go without some kind of hiccup...

Three days after Jedediah arrived the "wrong" doll came. Some other packages had come at the same time so in order to make sure that it was the doll that I needed to send back I opened it.

Sister was there.

I didn't think much of it because she had thrown such an angry fit when I wrongly ordered it, that I just figured she'd be glad to see it go.

I was wrong.

Oh so very wrong.

As soon as I opened it Sister began to squeal with excitement...

???

Oh mommy, I love him!

"Uh, sweetie, this is the doll you DIDN'T want... remember... you were hitting me because you didn't want it? I have to send it back."

She melted and raged all in one motion.

I was in trouble.

Somehow I was able to talk her through it and explain that this doll was the one she didn't want and we needed to send it back to get our money back.

She began to sob with Jedediah in her arms and she blubbered, "I'm going to miss you... we're going to miss you," then she turned to Jedediah and explained, "it's OK, you will see your brother again. Mean mommy is making him go back, but it is OK, Santa will bring him back."

I didn't react and just let her have her moment of tears over the unopened baby doll box containing the "wrong-right" doll.

I taped the outer delivery box closed all while talking calming words to her and saying that maybe she could get one like it for her birthday or Christmas, but, again, this was not something she got to have just because. It was a special occasion doll, or she had to earn more money to buy it.

Sister had fervently insisted that Santa bring her the same exact doll and not one that just "looked" like him. That request was made all while she was tearfully promising both baby dolls that he would come back. That Santa would take care of him and that he would play with him so he wouldn't get lonely. She also informed Jedediah that Santa would know when to feed and change the baby while in his care.

Hearing all of this, how could I possibly send it back? This was a teaching moment. What should I do?

...

After she weepingly went to bed I gathered the courage to pick up the box and deliver it to Santa's "workshop" for future delivery at Christmas.

I might not last until Christmas while she begs and pleads everyday for Jedediah's brother to come back. I might have to ask Santa to deliver the special baby to the Birthday Fairy for expedited delivery...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

UFO laughter

It's the last day of April!

I can't let this month go by with only 2 posts... so here I am at almost 11:00 at night, one hour to go before the month is officially over.

There is so much to say, but Marc is ready for bed and he now has an early morning routine so I have promised not to click away on my keyboard at night keeping him awake. So, I'll make this one quick.

We made it to church today.

Albeit was 10 minutes late and we took sacrament in the hallway, which was not conducive to Sister's routine, but we muddled through.

Then we got in to sit at our normal bench that was so lovingly left open for us.

The kids did great. Quiet. No crazy antics... well, none as far as our family is concerned.

I got to substitute in the primary class for the 5-year-olds again, so they are starting to get to know me and it made for an energetic rendition of the  translation of the Book of Mormon. I have to use all my theatrical knowledge and boisterously interesting voice (with accents) to keep them entertained as I give the lesson. It can be quite entertaining.

We went to Marc's parents for dinner after church and had our favorite meatloaf... ah yes, Lynne's is the best!

I left Marc and the kids there really quick while I ran to my aunt's 60th birthday celebration in the neighboring city. It was good to see cousins I haven't seen in a while and fun to see the happy welcome that Aunt Lori gave me (and everyone else, because that's just how she is).

My highlight was sitting with my cousin, Nicole, and my mom talking and laughing.

My mom is a very animated talker... I know where I get it from... and when she's eating and talking it makes for a very entertaining affair. Food is either falling down the front or spraying out the sides or she has, on occasion, choked while laughing at her own jokes. But today was a memorable experience. (Sorry, mom, but it's just too funny not to try to give a visual to your antics.)

As my mom was talking to me, about something quite serious, actually, I notice a small bit of food hanging on for dear life on the inside of her upper lip. I was trying to figure out how to describe to her where this food particle was and couldn't quite explain it, so I was unsuccessfully trying to get her attention to where the dangler was. It was a quick altercation as both of us just subsided that it was going to be there until it just worked it's way out.

And it did.

She looked directly at me to say something (I don't remember what now) and the dangler was launched into the air, darted straight toward my face, and landed safely in my bangs laying limply by the side of my forehead.

We lost it.

Not the food particle.

Our control.

We laughed so hard.

Nicole joined in.

A few people stared.

We continued to laugh.

Maybe you had to be there.

But, it prompted me to start taking a few pictures.

Not of the dangler, that would just be gross, but just of how giggly we were in the moments following the UFO experience. (I say UFO because I have no idea what the food particle actually was... therefore it was and Unidentified Flying Object.)


Me and my mom still laughing too hard to get a centered picture

so we tried again

Me and Nicole laughing at my mom

My dad was nearby so I had to laugh with him too

I took a picture with the birthday girl before I left, and this little guys head was a blur so I had to do a retake...

Then we were all a blur... I think I was still laughing too hard

Laugh, smile, and soak life in.

Monday, April 24, 2017

WiFi-I

So, for your information or FYI, has now been upgraded to WiFi-I.

Why is FYI not as hip as WiFi-I?

Well, this is the digital age.

And this is the funny life I live in.

My kids say the funniest things without even realizing it most of the time.

I'm not quite sure what causes it, but often they mix around letters or letter sounds in their words and we get some interesting combinations.

Sister is most often the culprit of word regeneration.

"Flavioli" is Ravioli
"Munditioner" is Conditioner

Baby sometimes does it, but she has her own language anyway so we often spend a lot of our time trying to figure out what she is saying anyway.

Brother, is quite well spoken and usually even uses bigger words the correct way.

But sometimes, he makes up his own thing not realizing it.

We were at my parents and I was doing a puzzle with my dad and we were all in there talking and laughing about stuff. At one point we had complained about my parents sketchy WiFi access and in the next minutes we were teasing my mom about something and added "FYI" at the end of it.

Later in the jovial-ness of our talk my dad sad something that made us chuckle because it was an obvious answer, but before anyone could comment Brother announced, "That's what she just said Papa... WiFi-I!"

We all laughed so hard at his perfectly funny mix-up and we have quoted him since.

The best one was recently when my nephew sent a text to his mom (my sister) informing her that "My connection out here is a little sketchy so I might not be able to contact you... WiFi-I"

It is our new catchphrase.

You should try it.

Then if someone asks you what that means you can tell them, "Oh I just picked it up from one of the coolest guys who also happens to have Fragile X... Oh you don't know what Fragile X is? Let me tell you..."



Friday, April 21, 2017

Deep thoughts by Rachael...

I miss this.

Writing about Our Life.

I have taken a break from theater to be with my family more at this time, but I fear that because of it I have let go of other things that mean a lot to me and keep me positive.

I'm kind of an "all or nothing" kind of person and I really need to work on changing that. I mean, that can be a good thing, but I need to learn to accept that it is OK if I don't do it all. It's OK if I just do my best and that my best may not be some one else's idea of "best."

Does that make sense?

I try so hard to make others happy that I feel discouraged if they aren't happy. I just really have to accept that I can't make them happy and it is their choice if they choose to be happy.

Happy.

It really is a choice.

I know I've talked about it before, but now I'm accepting that I can't be the person who helps others to choose "happy." That's up to them, and I can't let it make me feel like a failure because they aren't.

I also have to realize that "happiness" is different for everyone.

I don't know why I am writing about this now.

I learned it years ago as I realized things that make our children happy were sometimes so abstract to me or sometimes, even a little ridiculous, but, then I embraced it and realized that even the smallest thing could bring joy.

I guess because of living life against depression and anxiety and living with child-like forever children I have learned to smile and laugh and jump about everything that is even slightly happy.

And it's OK, I can't help some one jump with happiness or grin with joy.

I just need to be glad that I tried.

I really have to be OK with their choice to either not be happy about it, or to show their joy in a more subtle way. It doesn't mean that I am a failure or wrong for hoping they'll be happy. It's their choice.

It's also my choice to not let my insecurities defeat me and keep me from trying to help others find joy.

Anyway, I hope that makes sense.

I just had to write this little diddy so that I could remember why I blog and that it's OK, if my life experiences don't make some one happy in some way, but I do hope that they see I am having joy in my journey and it inspires them to do the same... in their own way.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

At the Edge of Our Seats!

When I was little, about 7 or 8 years old, my dad built little wooden cradles for my sister, Jessie, and me to put our baby dolls in.

I loved playing baby dolls. I loved pretending and dressing them and feeding them "food." My favorite was the bottles that gave the illusion that the milk or juice was draining out... oh, those were the coolest.

I was one of those imaginative children who thought my toys came to life when I wasn't looking, so I would try to care for them equally so none of them would feel left out. I kind of felt bad for all my other toys because I really didn't care as much for them as I did my big, stuffed gorilla, George, and my baby with open and shut eyes named Karen. They got the most attention and care. Hence, the reason I sobbed like a baby when I saw the first ever Disney's Toy Story movie.

After getting married I couldn't hold on to all the dolls (again, the Toy Story movie number 2-cried again) I had collected over the years and gave almost all of them away (enter Toy Story 3). Except for three. I kept 3 baby dolls.

When Sister was a toddler she played with baby dolls fairly often so I took these three dolls out of storage and was quite meticulous about helping her care for them and putting them away in the original boxes when she was done.

Then, one day, she just didn't like baby dolls... or any dolls for that matter and that was it. She became a Tomboy. 

I was excited when Baby came along and I pulled my 3 baby dolls out of storage and just had them in her room, hoping she would play with them one day. I had abandoned the thought of keeping the dolls in collectible condition—I had learned by then that things are just things.

Baby would get the babies out every so often and would lay them (all 3 sometimes) in the cradle.

Then, they collected dust sitting in her closet for four-ish years and the old, wooden cradle built by her grandpa was now just a holding station for certain toys of the week/month.

Then, one week ago, after a long run of steady interest in all things "boy" and all things "not pink" or "girly," Sister ran to me with a proud smile on her face and showed me my old baby dolls and was excited to show how cute they looked in their clothes she had changed them into.

My heart took a sudden jump for joy as I held onto hope that maybe Sister was starting to enjoy something that was girlie.

It's been over a week now and she plays with them everyday. Baby has now joined her in her scheduled routine of pretend play. I even had the utmost motherly privilege of shopping for a baby doll of her own when Sister and Baby started fighting over one of the dolls in particular. Sister was so happy picking out her boy baby doll. I almost cried while we walked to the check-out counter as she kissed it's head over and over again. When we got home Marc asked if he had a name.

"Phillip."

I'm in heaven watching our girls enjoy these dolls as much as I did at their age. Not to mention the age of the dolls! They are at least 28-30 years old! Their antiques! Oh my! I am old!


Baby getting ready to fee her baby doll.


Sister really did NOT want me to take a picture of her with her doll so I tried to, at least, fit them both in the frame...


After another wardrobe change she grudgingly allowed me to take their picture.

But don't let her face fool you. Seconds after this shot she was bouncing with excitement that she was playing with mommy's dolls from when she was little too.

All those years ago, playing "mommy" with my sister in our bedroom with our babydoll and handmade cradles I never, not ever, played like any of those "babies" had any special needs. I just knew I would have babies of my own one day, but they would be perfect and I'd be happily married to my handsome prince.

Oh yes, there were the occasional soap opera moments where my "husband" had left me and I became a single mom, or realizing I actually had twins and there were two babies and not one, or pretending that my sister was a kidnapper and had taken my baby... oh, goodness, I guess I was meant to be in drama... 

Anyway, I never dreamed of a moment 30 years from then when I would be watching my own children play with those same dolls.

More than that, I never dreamed that watching one of my daughters be so loving to her dolls by changing them for bedtime, play time or outings; feeding them specifically; cuddling and cradling them; talking to them and reading them stories would ever give me a sad/empty/confused/proud/nostalgic/happy/worried/hopeful feeling.

Which is the same feeling that swept over me when I hear Sister tell me for the hundredth time, "Mom, I want to adopt two black babies! And a white one! I want like, 4 kids!"

My mom watched us play dolls planning on the fact that we were preparing for our futures as mothers and she was able to blissfully walk by our bedroom as we pretended their cries or babble.

I never would have dreamed when I was 19 years-old that 21 years from that point I would be staring in the faces of three children with special needs. I never thought that the man I sat across the altar from 21 years ago to say "yes" to would be the father of three children who would forever need special care, extra  attention, self-sacrifice and unlimited dedication.

When you are 11 years old you, typically, think life will be perfect when you grow up... either that, or it will end.

I watch Sister.

Eleven years-old.

Dreaming.

Planning.

Imagining.

Pretending.

How do I tell her that this might not happen for her?

On the way home from getting her new doll I listened to her going on and on about her plans to adopt, to marry, to take her kids to Disneyland, to change their diapers and take them to school. I nonchalantly asked her if she understands that maybe her having Fragile X Syndrome might make it tough for her to be married and have kids.

I was so nervous for her reaction and, frankly, couldn't believe I even blurted it out. We've always taught our kids that Fragile X doesn't define them or hold them back from doing what they love. I realized in that moment, that I broke my commitment to her to never let her think she can't or won't.

Her response to my deep and penetrating question was, "Oh, well, I'll wait a year before I marry [boys name] so it will be OK."

Tee hee! I was able to relax and laugh a little bit realizing that she is just 11 and she is just having fun living life and pretending. And with her special needs and anxieties she has no concept, really, of time or circumstance.

Eight years ago when Brother was diagnosed with Fragile X our whole world came crashing down.

All my dreams had been shattered.

Nothing was going to be as I had pretended or hoped at age 11.

I had never even heard of Fragile X Syndrome.

I had never done physical therapy or occupational therapy for my dolls when I played as a kid. I didn't even know what that was.

Something else I didn't pretend when I was a kid was how my future children would push their limits, try as hard as they can despite their genetics, and strive so hard to accomplish what they are being taught. I also never pretended that my "dolls" had a father who cared so much for them and would stay beside me through the thickest and the thinnest.

I see Our Life through a different set of eyes, dreams and hopes.

Joy when Marc captured a moment of Baby doing the "side plank" alongside him while he did his own yoga.

Learning that Yoga is fun and relaxing.

How exciting it would be when your almost 8-year-old decides that
she will wear a hat and scarf and make sure to put them on herself.
(notice her yoga pose... she loves yoga.. and yoga pose and picture pose are no synonymous)
Trying to make a good selfie picture and then notice your youngest is mocking you

Just being happy that Baby figured out her own way to get warm without crying and waiting for me to come decipher what she needed.

Thankful that Brother can get dressed on his own and even dress up for church on his own
(except the for the tie—Marc still helps with that)


Smiling because Baby is posing, waiting for me to take her picture.
Getting pictures from Brother's iPod from his photo scavenger hunt with the local youth at church

Taking in stride the fact that Sister hates to have her picture taken. 
Enjoying the times that our kids actually interact with each other.

Celebrating that Brother finally asked someone on a date, even if it was arranged as a field trip during school.

Chuckling that your kids have a great sense of humor.

Triumph in simple writing skills

Happily rolling your eyes that she's learning how to work your phone utilizing Siri.

Helping around the house.


What I am so amazed at, had never pretended, and am so grateful for is the 21 years of I-don't-know-what-will-happen-next's with this man.

A date at the gym.
On a "date" at the school district future planning fair for special needs after high school. 
On our way to see Marc's cameo appearance in the local movie, "Tim Timmerman."


One thing I surely did not realize at the age of 11 was that pretending is pretending and it brings dreams, hopes, and ideas. Real life is never as magical as you pretend it to be.

Unless the kind of magic you're thinking of is the element of surprise!

Marc and I have had 21 years packed full of surprises. I love him more after all those surprises than I ever dreamed I could have the capacity to love. I guess there's just something to be said about the one that sits with you at the edge of your seat while going through the ride of your life... it bonds you together pretty tight.




Celebrated our anniversary early with a great date out to dinner at Outback Steakhouse, a night at the local Dry Bar Comedy Club and a quick stop-in at the LDS Film Festival

Then on our actual anniversary we went to dinner at Olive Garden and then hung out at the Orem University Place Mall.




Here's to more surprises!!!