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We later learned that he’d been hiding it for six hours before I caught him in the middle of an episode, before I heard him grasping for words and saw that only one side of his mouth was moving. We didn’t know that at the time, or when the ambulance pulled up scant minutes later, the first time I’ve ever felt relief at hearing sirens approach. My mother rode in the ambulance; I followed, and later learned that the patient — my father — was worried that I’d be scared for him when they turned the siren and lights back on as we neared the hospital.

It was a single blood vessel (the neurologist told us later), closing and opening repeatedly. It did no permanent damage.

The rest of it I don’t know how to write. The hours in the emergency room. Watching my father’s face contort as he had yet another stroke, not knowing whether this one would be bigger and more damaging than the last. Able to help only by being there. By bearing witness, and by holding his hand.


Plum Blossoms

Originally uploaded by The Country Mouse
Spring is long past here, but as we move into the heatstroke danger zone, it’s worth looking back at more pleasant weather. These plum blossoms were as close as I could get to a cherry blossom festival this year.

This post is part of Crazy Hip Blog Mamas’ Photo Friday, on the theme of “Spring.”

I don’t always use my time well. (“Really, Country Mouse?” you all chorus in my head, you unbelievers. “We never would have guessed that.”) If I could use my time more efficiently, I could certainly achieve much more.

But then, couldn’t everyone? Yes, as a matter of fact, at least in theory. No one makes 100% efficient use of their time. And so, while there are plenty of ways I’d like to improve my use of time, I’m okay with the way I use my time for now. I have finally, after a good 10 years, stopped beating myself up for the inefficiencies that result simply from being human. (Not to mention the ironic inefficiencies that result from said self-inflicted beratings.)

So, to the question. Where does my time go? It goes to job hunting and essay-writing. It goes to wilfing around while I try to coax my memory into conjuring up the subject I meant to search for. It goes to playing with my son and taking him to therapy appointments. It goes to running needed errands, and corresponding with Mr. X to work out the details of Acorn’s summer visitation. It goes to tidying again and again in rooms that will never stay tidy without a bit of underlying organization. It goes to chatting with my parents and playing games with my grandfather. It goes to grocery shopping and trying to create healthful meals for everyone. It goes to reading books and making things.

None of these, in themselves are bad things (except maybe the lack of organization). It’s a matter of keeping things in balance, getting done what needs to be done without getting bogged down in the details. The details have always been my downfall.

This post, in addition to being a way of reflecting on my habits for my own sake, is an entry to this contest on the Parent Bloggers Network, sponsored by Light Iris.

“Got holes. It’s broken.”

“It’s not broken, Acorn. This was your bed when you were little. It used to have a side here, see? But now it’s your big boy bed, so it doesn’t need a side any more.”

“Got a side?”

“Yes. See? That piece over there.”

“Ohh… See.”

“Would you like to lie down on your bed and see how it feels?”

“Yes! Want my blue one.”

We fish his blue pacifier — the only one he still takes, and that only at night — out of the crib and he climbs into his new bed and lies on the bare mattress, grinning.

“Do you want to sleep in your bed tonight?”


“All right, I’ll move the sheets to your bed, and then we can brush your teeth.”


We brush his teeth…

“Sing, Mama! Song about teefs.”

…and read a story.

“A shark! Got a hook. Oh! Anudder shark! It got a hook, too. See its hook?”

“I see it, honey. That’s its dorsal fin.”

“Yeah. Got a hook.”

Then it’s bedtime.

“Go to your room, buddy, and I’ll tuck you into your bed.”

“Tuck me in my bed!” he squeals with glee.

I follow him.

“Got empty holes. Piece missing,” he shows me.

“Yes, that’s where the side went when it was your baby bed. Now it’s your big boy bed, because you don’t need a side on your bed any more.”

“Yeah. Tuck me inna my bed, Mama?”

I tuck him in and sing to him, two songs. (“Sing ‘Bus,’ Mama! Sing good-night song!”)

An hour later I slip into his room. My excuse is to see how he’s doing, this first night out of a crib; but really I just want to watch him sleep. He’s gone through his usual contortions: he’s on his back, legs curled around his stuffed dog, one hand tucked between his head and the pillow, and his quilt draped messily around and across his head, leaving his mouth and chin peeking out.

One more milestone passed on the road from babydom to boyhood.

I’m not known for wearing dresses, but a few days ago I found a cute and comfortable skirt at an irresistible price.  Today I wore it for the first time.

“Mommy!” Acorn said, trotting up to me.  “You got a…” He paused, looking at the skirt, clearly trying to think of what to call this unfamiliar garment.

“Oh, that looks pretty,” my mother said to me.

“You’re pretty!” Acorn said with delight at having found the word he wanted, and threw his arms around me.

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