In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mom to the Rescue

I took Christa to school the other day and headed out to run an errand. Twenty minutes later, my cell phone rang.

"Hey, Mom, it's me--Christa."

"Are you okay, sweetie?"

I'm a mom. I immediately started thinking the worst. Sure, I saw her 20 minutes ago. Has she gone from healthy to feverish in that short of time? I don't think I am the only mom who make this mental leap that quickly.

"I don't have any more money on my lunch card."

Sigh of relief. My daughter was fine--she was just looking at the possibility of being very hungry by the end of the school day.

"Okay, we have a couple of options here." I'm thinking out loud. "I can come back and write out a check for a new lunch card or I can pick you up a Lunchable and drop it off at school."

I confess to hoping she picks the Lunchable option because that would be easiest on me. My checkbook was at home, which would add an extra step to the "rescue plan."

"A Lunchable is good, Mom."

Another sigh of relief--and the realization that, as a mom, this is what I do. I fix things when they go wrong in my kiddos' lives.

The reality is, I don't do that so much any more in my young adult children's lives. They are, after all, twentysomethings. They don't usually need me to be "Mom to the Rescue."

But I've got a few more years to be available to Christa--to be there when she needs something. All too soon, Christa will be in middle school. The "Rescue Rules" change. If Christa calls asking me to bring her a lunch, do I?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Suppose I spent the morning saying, "Don't forget your lunch or your lunch money." Christa assures me she's got it and then calls saying, "I need my lunch, could you bring it to school?" There will probably be no rescue. Instead there will be a lesson in responsibility. Christa may be hungry, but she won't starve.

But, that's the future. This time, the lunch money snafu was because I was at a writers conference all weekend and didn't see the note telling me to purchase a new lunch card. That's my responsibility, not hers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spelling Bee Fun

Christa showing off the ribbon she won. She took second place in the second grade spelling bee competition at her school.

Well, Spelling Bee Mania has ended. Finally.
Christa started studying the lo-ong list of words right after Christmas break. She had a good attitude--most days. I had a good attitude--most days.
I tried to keep the mom-ego under control and let Christa go at this at her own pace, without a lot of parental peer pressure. I'm thankful she is naturally a good speller. That made things easier on all of us.

Christa and her Spelling Bee cohorts--the three second graders who advanced to district competition. This photo was taken after one of our practices.

I volunteered to coach Christa and the other two second-graders who advanced to the district spelling bee. Two half-hour practices a week--but just for the two weeks before the competition. I tried to think of silly sentences to make the practices fun. Ones like: "Jared has eighteen fingers." Meanwhile, we continued to study at home too. Words like: eaglet and migrate and icicle and one that tripped all three of the kiddos up--unbuttoned.

Christa, right at the beginning of the Spelling Bee, before they told all the parents to put away their cameras.

There were 12 competitors from 5 schools. After the competition, Christa told her dad and I she felt like fainting. But, she looked pretty calm to us. We'd told her everyone feels nervous--and we'd prayed with her and told her we were proud of her.
She did great and came in 5th place. Was taken down by the word "sincere." Got the tricky "c" right, but forgot the final "e." I don't even remember quizzing her on that word. Oh, well.

The Spelling Bee cohorts: Christa, Josiah, who took first place overall, and Jared.

And so ends the Spelling Bee. Christa was glad it was over. Me too. I have a confession to make, though. I didn't throw the word list away. Besides the second grade words, it had the third grade words too. Who knows? I just may add a word or two to her regular spelling words each week. Then she'll be ahead of the game next year ...

No competitors in this house.


Monday, February 16, 2009

News of Interest for Late-in-Life Moms February 16, 2009

Court says vaccine not to blame for autism
Vaccines aren’t to blame for autism, a special federal court declared,saying the evidence “is weak, contradictory and unpersuasive.”

The U.S. Court of Claims, known as “the people’s court,” the U.S. Court of Claims is different from many other courts. The families involved didn’t have to prove the inoculations definitely caused the complex neurological disorder, just that they probably did.

More than 5,500 claims have been filed by families seeking compensation through the government’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, and Thursday’s rulings dealt with the first three test cases to settle which if any claims had merit. The first cases argued that a combination of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine plus other shots triggered autism.

Ambidextrous may have harder time conceiving

A new study suggests people who are able to use both hands with equal dexterity may have harder time having a child than righties or lefties.
Researchers found that among more than 9,000 Danish couples, those in which one partner was mixed-handed tended to take slightly longer to conceive. The findings suggest that mixed-handedness and lower fertility may share a common cause.

When tots point a lot, words will follow
Toddlers who could convey more meaning with gestures at age 14 months went on to have a richer vocabulary as they prepared to start kindergarten, according to research.

Gesturing seems to be an important precursor to forming sentences, as children start combining one word plus a gesture for a second word.

Study: Pregnancy Doesn't Worsen Breast Cancer

Pregnant women who develop breast cancer do not have worse odds of death or of cancer returning than other young breast cancer patients, according to a new study published in Cancer.

Researchers analyzed data from 652 women ages 35 and younger who were treated for breast cancer at M.D. Anderson from 1973 through 2006. The study group included 104 women with pregnancy-associated cancers — 51 who had breast cancer during pregnancy, and 53 who developed the illness within a year after.
The study found that the rates of cancer recurrence, cancer spread and survival were about the same for the women with pregnancy-associated breast cancers as they were for the other women.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Face-to-Face with the Pornography Problem

“It’s not a question of if you’ll be exposed to pornography, it’s when.” ~ Jason Caroll, author of Generation XXX: Pornography Acceptance and Use Among Emerging Adults

So, I was trying to access a perfectly fine website.

But then I transposed a couple of letters--I realized my mistake as I was typing--and ended up at a website that was anything but fine.

With a few misplaced keystrokes, my monitor was deluged with pornography.

Not just one image.

Multiple images.

I looked down at my keyboard, throwing my hand up over my eyes. I felt nauseated. Violated.

I shut down the website--and then did everything I could to make sure I never stumble onto it again.

Later, I called a friend and asked her to pray for me because I hated how the images continued to replay in my mind.

And I hadn't looked at my screen for more than a matter of seconds.

As we talked, I got angry.

"This is why I talk to moms about helping their sons choose purity instead of pornography," I said. I was so upset I wanted to scream. To cry. "Some unsuspecting boy--or girl for that matter--who isn't even looking for that trash, can do the same thing I did--type in the wrong web address--and get hit with all of those images!"

I warn moms about this type of accidental discovery of porn whenever I give my talk, "How To Help Your Son Choose Purity Instead of Pornography."

"Your sons don't have to go looking for pornography," I tell other moms. "It will come looking for them."

And now, I'm sad to say, I've experienced that unavoidable truth for myself.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Motherhood, Migraines and Me

Moms should be exempt from illness. There should be some sort of law passed decreeing that all mothers with children from birth to at least 18 years old should be immune to colds, flus, fevers, nasal congestion, pink eye, "the crud"--anything and everything that will slow us down as moms.

The list would include migraines.

I have been taken down too many times by the wretched monster of a headache. Even with my daily medication, a migraine can still show up and say, "All those things on your To Do list? Not gonna happen!"

Today is one of those days. Migraine trumped motherhood.

I know my caboose kiddo is at school only because she is not here. The last thing I remember doing is getting out of bed, checking the weather, and grabbing appropriate clothes for her to wear. I don't care how ill I am, there are some things a dad should never be left to do on his own.

My husband Rob took over getting Christa breakfast and lunch--and he even took over carpool duty. What a guy!

I'm finally seeing the light of day--just not too brightly, thank you very much. I hate it when my day is shrunk down to a headache. One very large headache.

Once I'm back to normal, I'm calling my congressman and seeing about getting some legislation passed. I bet I can get a few million moms to sign a petition exempting us from being ill. We don't get to take sick days anyway!


Friday, February 06, 2009

Another One for the Books

Sixty-year-old Ranjit Hayer, gave birth Thursday to twin boys, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The babies were delivered seven weeks early via Caesarean section. Doctors say both are doing well, although one of the babies is breathing with the help of special equipment, while the other boy is in the special care unit.

Hayer,who is originally from India, is now a permanent resident of Canada. She and her husband tried for years to have children. Hayer went to India for in vitro fertilization using donor eggs last year. The cutoff age in Canada for IVF is between 45 and 50 years old.

During her pregnancy, Hayer dealt with high blood pressure and diabetes. Hayer began to hemorrhage this week so her doctor performed an emergency C-section to deliver the twins. Hayer is recovering in the intensive care unit.

Of course, Hayers really late-in-life pregnancy has prompted debate in Canada. What's the Canadian's health care system's obligation for after-care, when a woman has sought IVF outside the country? Isn't it irresponsible to have children so late in life, when the parents may not live long enough to see them grow up?

What are the answers to these questions? Deny healthcare? Mandate an age limit for pregnancy?

Tricky business, that.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

No Denying the Truth--or My Age, either!

The Vogt Kiddos: Jen, my daughter-in-love, & Josh, Katie Beth & Amy, and Christa, my caboose kiddo

I'm standing next to another mom.

My daughter, Christa, is attending her son's birthday party. The kids are happily riding go-carts. I've arrived to pick Christa up, but who wants to leave early from a birthday party?

So, the mom and I are chatting.

She tells me how wonderful Christa has been with her younger daughter, who smiles as she rides the go-carts with Christa at the wheel.

"Oh, Christa loves being with kids her age. She really enjoys having someone younger than her. She has three siblings who are older than her."

"Oh, really? How much older?" the other mom asks.

Uh, oh. The jig is up.

I take a deep breath and confess," A lot older." Another deep breath. "Her brother is 25--and married. Her one sister is 22. Her other sister is 20."
I do not make eye contact as I share this information. But, I swear I can hear the mom trying to calculate how old I am.

For the first time, I am embarrassed to be an older mom. I want to stuff all those numbers back down my throat. I want to pretend Christa is an only child. I want to pretend I am much, much younger than I am.

Did this mom say anything to humilate me? Did she gasp? Did she offer to help me to my car?

No. This is all about me realizing, once again, that I am older than most of Christa's friends' moms. And that's just the way it's going to be. Maybe because I have a birthday rushing towards me, I'm a bit more sensitive about the age issue right now.

Reality is, I wrote Baby Changes Everything, a book about being an older mom. My age is right there in black and white--certified with a Library of Congress number and copyright. All you have to do is a little mental math and you can figure out how old I am, any time, any year.

(And no, I'm not posting my age on this blog. Go get the book, if you want to know that badly!)

The age issue comes with being an older mom. When I was a younger mom, I was the mom of only three kiddos. Would I go back to being a younger mom?


I love my caboose kiddo dearly--and I wouldn't want to miss these years for anything.

Now, excuse me while I sign off. It's late and as much as I love late-in-life motherhood, this Mommy-Come-Lately® needs her sleep.

Labels: ,

Monday, February 02, 2009

Back At It

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back at blogging.

I'm planning on some changes in 2009--some that I hoped to have in place by now. But, what with this, that and the other, the changes haven't happened yet. Life kept interrupting my "best laid plans."

If there's anything I know, life isn't perfect. So, rather than waiting until I've got everything all nice and pretty, I decided to get back at it.
So what's ahead in 2009?

I'll still be blogging about late-in-life motherhood--life as a Mommy-Come-Lately®.
But I'll be expanding my topics to include all the different aspects of life I'm living. I'm applying the well-worn adage: Write what you know. For me, that means write what I live.

If you glance at my "Speaking" page, you'll see I talk about other things besides being an older mom. Some of those topics will show up in this blog too.

2009 looks like it will be a fun year. A year of change. The transition will probably have a few glitches along the way.
But that's okay. Just remember:
Life: Perfection Not Required.

**Check out my post over at the Hearts at Home blog: Ask Your Child This Question**.

e-newsletter signup
Free Resources
Books and CDs
For Writers
For Moms Over 35