I have to put a break in my chronicles of Disney because of three thoughts that I don’t want to forget and are relevant now.

Elise had to get her shots a day after we got back from the trip.  Chris came along because I knew she also was going to get the anemia and lead testing done (which translates to blood being drawn, a weakness of Mommie and I was afraid Elise would be screaming.  One of my most memorable events was the jaundice test for Joelle, less then one week old.  They couldn’t get enough blood and her crying literally drove me mad.  Chris sent me out of the room while they finished scraping the hell out of Joelle’s heel.)  First up, the shots.  She only shed one tear for three shots.   Second test, the blood sample.  I assumed they’d scrape Elise’s heel to get the blood, but they actually gave my tiny baby a little tourniquet and stuck a needle in her arm!   It was the craziest thing.  Elise sat in Chris’s lap, eating yogurt raisans, without batting an eye lash.   Both the nurse and lab technician were also in shock, waiting for the plaintive wails to ensue.  Elise is one tough baby.

Joelle caught me by suprise this week with her intelligence.  She’s this little thing who was so, so cute walking down the aisle for practice last night for Meg and Danny’s wedding, but she’s also got this spark of witty straightforwardness that seems so big for her age.  We were getting her valentine baggies ready for her classmates.  Chris walked in and I said, “yeah, I’m not sure if these were supposed to go yesterday with the actual valentines (they were due a day early to give the kids time to sort them out and distribute to the appropriate mailboxes).  I just figured these wouldn’t fit in the mailbox slots.”  Joelle looked incredulously at me and said, “Mommie, they’re shoeboxes.  You can take the lid off.”  I started giggling at her observation.  Chris, too, thought it was funny.

As mentioned above, we went to Meg and Danny’s rehearsal last night for the wedding.  Chris mentioned afterwards, “I was struck by the moment.  Danny really is getting married.”  Meg has felt part of our family for a very long time.  Joelle has always adored her and is quite confused that she is only now becoming an “aunt noonie” because she has always thought of her as an aunt, but Chris is right – it’s so cool that Meg and Danny are getting married.  It’s such an awesome event and I am always moved during the ceremony.  I expect no less tonight.  I was personally also struck last night by something that seems so obvious.  Danny is old now.  I don’t mean that in a mean way, I just mean to say that in my mind he’s always stayed about the age he was when Chris and I got married.  Standing up there, it struck me that he’s grown up so much.  As the second kid with a big brother, it just felt like Danny would always be way younger.  Maybe I’m trying to kid myself into thinking I’m still young!  Anyway, I can’t wait for tonight.  I’m very happy for them.   


As we flipped the calendar to 2008 we looked forward to a fun year – Elise’s 1st birthday party, family trip to Disney World, girls going to meet Joaquin in SLC…all in the first part of the year. Instead the highlights have been:

Jan 1 (day after flexible spending due) – someone puts a pin in the Chris voodoo doll (herniated disc)

Jan 27 – Elise’s 1st birthday party (ok, it hasn’t all been bad)

Jan 28 – Elise gets sick and basically doesn’t eat anything for a good part of the week – she’s pretty much her old self again but she gets tired and hungry quickly because she’s still trying to catch up on calories.

Jan 31 – As Elise is just starting to be able to at least be able to drink gatorade, Joelle gets sick

OK, we can look forward to February – Disney! Uh, hold on there…

Feb 2 – Petie is next in line and gets sick after feeling under the weather most of the week.

Guess who’s next?

It has been really, really sad to see my girls not just “sick” but SICK. One by one they have been picked off and the life just taken out of them. I think Petie would agree (although right this second she might not) that the worst moment was when we took Elise to the doctor on Thursday. We had her 1 year appointment scheduled but used it as a “sick visit” because she basically hadn’t kept anything down in almost 3 days. The doctor asked if she was showing normal emotions (like smiling) but was just lethargic. We realized that we couldn’t really remember the last time she had truly smiled.

Which reminds me, the next time we saw her smile might have been later that night when Joelle was around, now sick. It was ironic because when Joelle would go up to Elise when Elise was sick, Elise would kind of swipe at her. When Joelle was in her zombie-sick state Elise would go up to Joelle and grin as if to say “see, how do you like someone smiling at you?” Joelle for her part showed great restraint and did her best to deliver a fake-perky “Hi Elise”.

Today is Elise’s birthday, but I’m writing about Joelle.  Joelle served everyone at Elise’s party with such zest that no one could turn down the punch.  She was sweet and beautiful.  Chris used her term, “scared me like the radio,” tonight and I remembered to write it down.  Because, like most things kids do, she isn’t saying it any longer.  She always said that whenever a certain song came on her Jojo CD.  I don’t know the name of the song, but it samples another song with a male singer.  Just a few lines.  Every time it would start playing, she would say, “ah, that scared me like the radio.”  She meant that to mean that she thought I had changed the CD to the radio.  It was just cute.

Recently, I heard Joelle ask her daddy, “Do you love me more then Elise?”  I knew one day I’d hear her say that, but it made my heart ache when I heard her ask.  I remember being so scared before we had Elise.  We had such a tight knit little family.  What good would adding a new member do?  Like everyone always says, I can’t believe I was apprehensive.  However, I understand Joelle’s question.  It’s hard.  Looking through all the birthday pictures and the others that we just haven’t loaded up yet, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joelle is smitten with Elise and the reverse can definitely be said.  Elise worships Joelle and you can see in all the pictures that she’s almost always looking to see what her big sister is up to. 

Joelle decided to write a play one afternoon.  I wrote down the transcript.  This was actually in November of 2007 (hence the turkey), but I just found it and thought it was worth saving.

Once upon a time, there was a turkey.  She didn’t have purple feathers.  She didn’t have orange feathers.  She did have brown feathers.

Her best friend was Marty the Monkey (a stuffed monkey that the kids in her class take turns bringing home from class and writing in a journal about).  Why was a monkey and a turkey in the same forest?  Well, there were two other monkeys in the forest.  So, it was a monkey forest.  How did the turkey get there?  It was a turkey and a monkey forest. 

The turkey and Marty dance for 10 days!  That’s all.  The end. 

Turko is the Turkey’s name.  Monko1 is Elise’s Monkey.  Monko2 is Mommie’s Monkey. 

Elise has been a little fussy this week.  Specifically, she was cranky on Tuesday, Wednesday and today.  I was outwardly surmising what the potentional causes of her frustrations could be with Nana.  You know, the typical issues:  teething, catching a cold, etc.  Joelle suddenly piped in, “she could be missin’ me.”  I paused in my ruminating and said, “yeah, you might be right.”  I was thinking, “ah, my vain daughter.” 

Ironically, I think Joelle is right.  Children can be so wise.  Elise has gone through infatuations with each member of our family.  Her infatuation with mommie lasted the longest and I thought it was rock solid (ah, the vain Mommie.)  After our trip to Dallas, it suddenly switched to Daddy.  With the Christmas break and subsequent return to school, she’s decided “oh wah” is her new go to girl.  She follows Joelle around the house saying “oh wah”.  When we went to school to pick up Joelle from tumbling, Elise spotted Joelle immediately and ran to her with open arms saying “oh wah.”  It was absolutely adorable and Joelle ate it up. 

The three of us headed to the mall afterwards.  In one shop, a lady asked what my daughter’s names were.  I said, “Elise and Joelle.  Although, they call each other Oh wah and Lee Lee.”  Sometimes I wonder why parents kill themselves over the naming of their children.  They come up with their own nicknames anyway.  

Joelle has a school friend named Max (whom Joelle has told us she will marry one day, not sure if we had mentioned that before). Max’s dad called us today at 12:30 telling us that they had an extra pair of Playhouse Disney Live tickets for the 3:30 show (Max’s brother is sick). So, Joelle and I happily accepted their offer and went with them to the show.

Joelle and Max are on the older edge of the target demographic for the show which featured Mickey Mouse, Pooh/Tigger, Little Einsteins and Handy Manny so I had a different perspective than when we took Joelle to the Wiggles when she was 2. At the Wiggles concert we figured she would be amazed that THE WIGGLES were there and SINGING THAT SONG kind of thing. As it turns out she couldn’t really tell what was going on and was more engaged by the toys and people around her. This time we had a completely different outlook – I didn’t expect her to be engrossed and I wasn’t concerned about how the experience would be. It was the first time I had taken her somewhere like this where there wasn’t pressure to make it AN EXPERIENCE for her. I just hoped she would have fun.

While the kids focused on the stage I was able to focus on some of the odd events surrounding us. Some notes from the experience from my point of view:

1. I remember getting excited for Joelle at DisneyWorld when we would see a character we knew. I’m sure I’m just as guilty as any parent in saying something like “OOH, ARIEL” or something like that. But it was pretty funny to hear thousands of adults go “OOOOH!!!” every time a character came out. If you don’t consider why they are doing it, it just seems that all these adults are just amazed that Mickey came out from backstage during the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” segment.

2. Of all the applause and “shock” (see #1) for each of the characters, Minnie got the greatest reaction. I think it’s because only Mickey came out in Part 1 and they didn’t expect “Mickey’s Friends” to be there in Part 2. Minnie came out after Mickey in Part 2 (followed by Donald and Goofy). I’d guess that if Donald came out second in that part he might have gotten the biggest reaction. I’d like to experiment with that.

3. The show had a 15 minute intermission after a 30 minute first act. The intermission was followed by a 30 minute second act. Just like TV! (with a longer intermission to let people purchase merchandise). Note it took about 40 minutes to get from our house to our seat and another 60 minutes to get from our seat back to our house.

4. When Tigger came out in the first act there was a kid about four rows back who would yell TIGGER! TIGGER! every 45 seconds or so. I’m not sure if he was a heckler-in-training or if he really thought TIGGER might give him a wave even though he was about 50 yards away behind hundreds of other screaming, clapping, crying, laughing, dancing kids.

5. The “uh oh” kid. At one point Mickey admits he forgot to find a song for them to sing since he was so busy planning the party. The second he is chastised by Minnie this kid starts loudly saying “uh oh! uh oh!” and looks to his parents for reassurance. They don’t seem concerned which seems to make him feel like he is the only one in the audience who appreciates the gravity of the situation. “UH OH! UH OH!” Even as Mickey suddenly remembers a song and the crew starts dancing, the kid is still worried.

I don’t notice the kid again until the lights go out on the party and Mickey chuckles “uh oh!” in his “aw shucks” voice. My eyes dart to the kid to see if he has a breakdown. Forgetting the song was one thing but NO LIGHTS? The world might as well be over. He starts an escalating series of “uh oh”s but I again lose track of him as out of the corner of my eye…

6. I see a girl fall down a flight of five or six aluminum steps (like risers at a small football or baseball field) and no one except for the parent or a couple of security guards seem to notice. She’s OK, but at a show with loud music, flashing lights and tons of kids who are already crying anyway just about everyone missed that.

7. Finally, we’ve mentioned the “hot dog song” before. Well it was there again, with a huge hot dog on the big video backdrop that made me hungry…until it split up into about 20 hot dogs and started undulating along to the beat with rotating mustard and ketchup. Then, not so much.

There’s probably more things that I forgot, but for 60 minutes and off the top of my head that’s pretty “busy”. For her part, Joelle said the “Little Einsteins” were her favorite part but the Leo and Quincy characters didn’t look exactly like they do on TV (agreed).

Joelle’s class performed their Christmas play today.  It was really incredible that a cast of 4 and 5 year olds could pull off such a good performance.  Joelle teased us last night because we were given her part to practice and she kept saying it wrong.  Well, I should say, she kept saying it differently.  Instead of “fear not, I bring you good news,”  she would say, “fear not, I have good news.”  I didn’t know she was teasing us at the time, but today, when she said it loudly, clearly and correctly, I knew.  Joelle was angel #1 (there were 5 angels…. they had to get creative with a class of 14), but she knew all 5 of the parts.  After saying her line correctly, the next angel came in and started playing with her costume.  Joelle spoke her lines for her and continued to prompt every actor when they didn’t speak their lines.  After the play, Ms. Martha said that Joelle was prompting everyone almost as well as Ms. DeeDee and that we must read to her every night because she knows all the words they are teaching them in class. 

So, the kids also sang to us before the play.  I actually didn’t know this was going to happen.  Therefore, I was a little confused when she told me that Max was Santa.  She corrected herself and said, “we all wear santa hats, but Max is actually santa with the suit.”  I mentioned this to Melina, Max’s mom, before everyone came out.  Melina said, “Max is a Wise man.”  The singing started and there was Max, Santa.  LeAnne said it once and it’s so true, “Joelle is the Diane Sawyer of her generation.”  All the moms know to ask Joelle about something if they want to find out what happened.

I beamed with inner pride today when I asked Joelle what Christmas was all about.  “Jesus.”  Chris, you were totally right.  Joelle belonged at MDUMC one more year.  “Happy holidays” is all she would get at public school.  I am not complaining about the separation of church and state.  It’s a vital necessity, but I’m proud that Joelle knows what Christmas is about and that she had one more year to focus on the religious aspect of it all.  They wouldn’t be singing, “go tell it on a mountain” at Wilchester.  

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