Tuesday, June 28, 2011


So Madeleine learned to ride a two wheeler on her *exact* 4.5 year old birthday, that is December 22nd.  Somehow, my girl, and her competitive nature heard tell that someone around her age was riding a bike WITHOUT training wheels and she just had to do it herself.  First she started with a balance bike and quickly moved on to a full on two wheeler. She was so very proud of herself and now that she has graduated to a 16 inch she is a serious cyclist!

For the record, Max learned just a few months after his sister but isn't quite so sure footed as she.

Monday, June 27, 2011

summer time

Summer time is a mixed bag in our family, for many reasons. Today, one of them came clear again to me.  It is what my friend and I call, short season. Meaning that this is the time when we are all in shorts/skirts etc. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Except when you wear a prosthetic leg.  When you wear shorts it becomes really obvious.

Madeleine usually doesn't notice (or doesn't care) the staring. I do. I notice it big time. Sometimes kids are rude and say weird things (what is that?  What happened to your leg? Why is there a hole in your foot? Do you have to wear that? Is it a cast?) Sometimes they whisper and point. Sometimes they run from her. Yep, it's true. One time a kid told me it was "creepy".

Yesterday we were at a public pool in a different town and this 11-ish year old girl was staring so bad I thought her eyes would pop out. She followed us around the pool. I tried the smiling technique: you catch their eyes, look straight into them and smile really big. That didn't work. Finally she said, "what happened to her foot?"  I explained. Then she asked if she could still swim without a foot. Madeleine demonstrated. Later Madeleine wanted to put her leggie on and see if she could swim in it. The girl came back and asked more questions and when Madeleine showed her the leg she said, (and I quote) "Ew, Oh My God". 

Today my kid rocked greenlake (2.8 miles) on her two wheeler bike. She rode the whole time and rocked it. We finished at the playground and two little girls were whispering and pointing and staring. I was fed up. I looked at the girls and said, "it is impolite to stare, if you are curious you can ask her questions but please don't just stare."  They walked away.

Just venting. Parent, teach your kids that staring is rude. You can be curious and ask questions but please respect peoples' differences.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Max on his 5th birthday

Dear Max,
At 5:59 am you will turn exactly 5 years old. I sit here wondering how five years have gone by so quickly. It is like yesterday that you came out a perfect little tiny baby. It was yesterday when I held you in my arms afraid that I may not be able to take care of you. You struggled with eating, coming out of the womb too early. You seemed so frail then. Small, but perfect. Perfect and peaceful you were, such a sweet baby even then. So beautiful with your daddy's face. I searched your tiny features trying to find a piece of me... your eyes... we have the same eyes.

Now you are a big boy. You are beginning kindergarten in the fall. You are tall and lean and lovely. You are articulate with incredible expressive language, able to tell me your thoughts, feelings and wishes. He loves with his whole heart and knows what is right and wrong. He knows what it means to be a good citizen, to be a citizen of the world and what it means to be a good friend. I admire this in you.

In your fourth year you learned how to ride a bike. Your sister had already mastered it and you seemed intimidated. But now, now you can ride. You can glide with your two wheels and two pedals. You are very proud of yourself, as much as mommy and daddy are.

You love to keep journals. You do scientific observations on our fish, Sam, on plants and worms and slugs and bugs. You record their actions in illustrations and then pretend to write about them. I'm proud of you for paying such close attention to detail and understanding that the world is constantly changing and constantly interesting.

Your favorite thing to do is to play pretend games with your friend, Oliver, at school. I'm not sure what you play but I know you have fun. At home you play with Daddy. You play cars, and helicopters, and monsters and super heroes. Your imagination is endless.

Right now you love the magical world of Harry Potter, just like I had hoped you would. You and I share the wonder of the story. We are both enchanted by the idea of another world; I cannot wait to continue the journey with you as you grow.

Lately you have become interesting in building with Legos. We love that. We love your attention to it and your imagination that comes with it. Daddy and I love that you can spend hours building and playing.

Around the house you enjoy working in the garden with Mommy and cooking in the kitchen with Daddy. In fact, you are already a better cook than Mommy! If I give you a chore around the house to do I know that you will see it through. You have cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the floors, vacuumed, made the bed, folded the clothes and done the laundry.

Max, you are a better soul than I could have ever hoped for. You brighten my day and warm my heart. I appreciate your kindness and good attitude. I love that you can 'roll with the punches' and take things in stride. You are a good friend and a good brother. I cannot believe that I have been blessed with you for five years. I feel so fantastically lucky.

I love you, my son. Enjoy your special day and I cannot wait for us to be at the same school next year!

Macky, my love, you are my dream come true.

To Madeleine, on her fifth birthday

Dear Madeleine,
At 6:00 am you will be exactly five years old. I sit here wondering how that is even possible. How five years have flown by. You know that from the very start you were different. Somehow I knew this. I cannot explain how I always felt so protective. How I knew that with you I would have to hold on tight.
Half way through your new existence in my womb we found out about your leggie. I knew you would be okay but I never knew how fantastically awesome you would be! You were my little fearless fighter from day one. You came home first from the hospital. You were the first to nurse. Oh, how much I loved looking into your tiny and precious face. Your leg was different but inexplicably gorgeous and perfect for you. A tiny ballerina.
Now you have a super hero leg with super girl on it. This is not coincidence! You, my lovely, are a super girl! You amaze the people around you! You rode a two wheeler bike at four and a half. Now you have your eyes set on riding a unicycle! And I have no doubt that you will do that!
You are such a smarty, trying to read and spell new words. You love the freedom of writing and reading. I cannot wait to see you in kindergarten.
Although you have many friends you seem to stick to a few that really stand out for you. I know that Logan will always hold a special place.
At home you love to be active. You love to climb the rhododendron tree. You run, ride your bike, scooter and climb everywhere. You love love love to swim! And can swim on top and under water by yourself. I know that you will continue to be active and sporty your whole life and I admire this about you.
Madeleine, you never cease to amaze and surprise me. I love you my sweet with all that I am. There is no doubt that you were given to me for a reason. There is no doubt that you are on this earth to prove. I can't wait to see who you turn out to be as you have already exceeded all my expectations!
I love you, sweet baby girl, enjoy your special day of being five! I cannot wait for the fall when we have our endless mommy-days together.
I love you,