A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

Would you mind a bit of a discombobulated post? I’ve got a lot of stuff rattling up in my brain today.

Don’t read this part if you’re easily depressed.

It’s been a rough week at work. Of course I can’t give details (nor would I want to violate the confidentiality of my students), but working with a population where 94% live at or below the federal poverty line is overwhelming at best and heartbreaking at worst. Yes, there are triumphs, and every day my kids amaze me with their determination and their ability to not only survive but thrive in challenging circumstances — but every so often I have a week where it seems like there are many more disappointments than successes. This was such a week. The saddest thing was the loss of a former student — he died while playing basketball, autopsy pending. He was the sweetest boy, well over 6 feet tall, but his hulking stature belied the most agreeable nature you can imagine. He had lost his way — temporarily, I was sure — and had dropped out of school while he tried to sort things out. There is a mother, crazy about her son, sitting at home just beginning to figure out how to live without her boy, and thinking about her life from this point on is preoccupying my mind and weighing down my days. Every day this week I came home and watched my babies, playing in their overly-stocked playroom, with plenty of food at their disposal, with a loving babysitter and two loving parents who worry constantly if they’re doing the right thing by these kids — and I wonder: how did they get this lucky? How did I get this lucky, growing up with two parents who made sure I had everything I needed and supported me in everything I did? How does one person grow up with everything they need and another one doesn’t? And how is that fair? It isn’t, and one way I try to mitigate the guilt of being  lucky enough to have what I do is working where I do, but it feels so ineffective sometimes.

Depressing enough post for you?

How about a little bit of levity.

Speaking of my kids having way too many toys — they’ve each got their own chairs now. They’ve been climbing up in the easy chair in the living room, which is dangerous, and Emme has been settling in to her little high chair to listen to music lately, which looks uncomfortable, so I found these on Amazon.

They were under $70 each, so we used a little of the tax return money for them. They’re totally unnecessary but I oh, it makes me so happy when they climb up there with a book.

We also used some of the money to buy a three-story fire ladder:

Because, finally, now that we have kids, Justin has some of the anxiety about impending disasters that has been plaguing me my entire life. We’ll put this in the babies’ room, but I told Justin that I didn’t understand how we’re supposed to climb down such a flimsy, shaky thing with a 25-pound baby in our hands, to which Justin answered:

“Oh, we’re going to practice.”

I blinked a few times. “We’re going to practice climbing down three stories on this ladder, holding our babies?”

“Well, we’re not going to take the babies, but we can use something to simulate their weight.”

There was a pause. “YOU AND I are going to climb down three stories to practice?” I asked.

“Well, we have to, if we want to be prepared,” he answered.

It was at this point that the laughter and pointing started. Now he claims that he was only joking, but folks, he was as serious as serious can be. I told him the only way I was climbing down that ladder is if it’s between that or burning to death.

And I am seriously considering lowering the babies in a pillow case, if it comes to that.


We’re slowly but surely trying to cut out the last bottle the babies are having — their bottle before bed. O, how I dread it. Last night, we reduced the amount from 8 to 6 ounces and when Jack finished, he first threw the bottle on the ground and then kicked me angrily in the chin.

When we reduce to 4 ounces, I shall wear a helmet.

And we’re also trying to go to straight milk — we’ve been doing a kind of 25-75 milk/formula combination because the first time we tried to go all milk, Emme got wildly constipated. As we’re reducing the formula and increasing the milk, it’s happening again, so I think we’re just going to make 4 oz of prune juice a staple in her diet from now on — even though we would rather not give them juice on a daily basis. Otherwise, she’s going to be 16 and I’m going to be mixing up a pitcher of formula for her before school. I’ve been wanting to mix up some smoothies for them to see if I can sneak some fruits and vegetables in them, and I’m wondering if I can mix some flax seed in there, but I’m worried that might be too strong for a baby. I’ll have to do some research.

Around the Internet. 

Want a little insight into what’s obsessing me on the Internet these days? Well, this story makes me want to pack up and go to Florida and protest outside the police station until the shooter is arrested. Horrifying. If you think it’s absurd that a man can murder a 17 year-old boy who is holding nothing but Skittles and iced tea in his hands and avoid arrest, go on over to Change.org and sign the petition to arrest.  This story makes me furious at Southern Miss for perpetuating the stereotype that all Southerners are racist — though it appears to be true in the case of the Southern Miss band. Disgusting. Also, Southern Miss band? Someone from Puerto Rico does not need a green card. Stupid and racist, what a charming combination.  On a much less weighty matter: is it at all possible that Robert Downey Jr. is reading and commenting on a Hollywood gossip site? Really? REALLY?

Janie Hightower - March 23, 2012 - 8:27 pm

The photos of them in the chairs are priceless. I swear, Emme looks 15, the way she’s sitting there. And it’s so precious that he is holding his little animal there.

wendi - March 26, 2012 - 7:09 am

yes! the chair photos are wonderful and hilarious and sweet. and thank you for sharing the non-funny parts as well. is it possible that anything can exist without its opposite? I wish it were so. but it doesn’t seem possible. I heard this great quote on npr last october (halloween-ish) from that male singer with the super craggy voice ack what’s his name?? I don’t know if he made this up or it’s a quote from something but it goes: “life is just a vacation for the dead.” I know that’s probably a bit morbid. but besides the weird dark humor, it’s also strangely comforting to think that everything we do all day long is a “working” vacation away from…well…the opposite of life as we know it? (and you don’t need a vacation cause you’re spending your vacation with your favorite people) happy monday!

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