Ri rising

She lays there, across my bed as though it were hers. Arm above her head, other one tucked under her chin. Legs bent, as though she were racing.  Lips pursed, a tiny break between them.

The rhythmic intact of breathe, an occasional rumbling huff, keeps away the quiet. She stretches periodically,  feeling around for contact.  Balling up a fist, she rubs her eyes, then rolls onto her side.

She speaks: “No. Where are you?” With eyes still closed. Just part of her dream, I suppose.

When she wakes, she’ll decline using her potty (but will gladly fetch a diaper from downstairs ).  She’ll help pick her outfit and determine her hat – or helmet – for the day.
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The clarity of her words won’t hamper her insistence to be understood. Hands gesture as she talks in garbled language I try in vain to follow. If important,  she’ll repeat, selecting another way to communicate. Or, she’ll grab my finger into her hand, pulling me as she says, “Come on,” and leads me to her chosen destination.

I shot her…

And it felt good.

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You see, RiAnne and I were given the opportunity to work with an online vendor who sells beautiful pieces at reasonable prices. And because she trusted us, we really wanted to give her our best. But Ri and headbands don’t always agree. This time, though, she really worked with me and the shots, I think, are beautiful.

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And suddenly

Suddenly, she understands.
This is your set, Ri. Your place to put on a show.
She wait for her lights, pointing at each and mumbling “Ummm?”
She stands, ready.
What odd mimic must she mock today?
She observes her props. Preferring the flowers, she rejects the stuffies.
She walks off set.
Not the step stool, this time the bench. Yes, that one.
She sits – for the moment – flashes a smile.
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She dances, hands in air.
Snap, snap, snap.
Shakes her hips, spins.
Did you get the shot?
Machine gun sounds as the camera fights to freeze her frenzy.
And then, she’s done.
Headband pulled off, tossed to the ground.
Next, tugging at the fancy clothes.
She saunters off in search of better diversion.
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Rocking into 2015

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That was your temperature at its peak.
Hot to the touch, warmth unnaturally radiating.
You, dormant and melancholy, cling to me.
Company, up close, is all you crave.
With a sweeping hand, you cast away all food offered to you.
Occassionally, you whisper “Ju” and reach out.
You sip cautiously, testing the flavor of the juice given to you as it glides up the straw and into slightly parted lips.
Seconds later, you push the cup away.
Body shudders, coughs choke.
You watch television through glazed eyes, hardly interested in what is on.
But when it’s time for medicine, suddenly you become fiesty, “No ju!” you proclaim with finality.
Your hands cover your ears.
Your mouth clamps shut.
Legs flail.
And you battle ceaselessly against taking each assigned dose.
You try to shake your head.
You spit out whatever you can.
You scream, holler, and cry simultaneously.
When the syringe is empty, you fall still again.
Eyelids drooping, body motionless.
Double ear infection.

Seven days without our Ri.
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Welcome to Year Three

AKA Happy SECOND birthday, RiAnne.w RiAnne year 2
It has been an exciting year for us.

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Mo—om! RiAnne’s being a bully! I hear. Already there’ve been countless bellows of RiAnne, stop it! preceded – or followed by – Ouch!

Eventually, when the complaints go ignored, you’re carried into our room. Usually, you’re upside down, arms poised to strike, legs flailing, and a sly grin on your face. You know – are absolutely certain – you are unstoppable. And as soon as you’re released to the floor, you bolt back into an unwelcoming sibling’s room.
w IMG0133You’re still toying with language, preferring to speak with indistinguishable gibberish most often. Occasionally the intonations and hand gestures make clear what your made-up words do not. If you’re hungry, for example, you’re apt to say “eat eat” and repeat it incessantly until someone acknowledges you. You think nothing of digging through the cabinet for your bowl or a cup to emphasize demands. And, you’ve led Dad and I to the kitchen on more than one occasion, pointing to the fridge or pawing through the cupboard for noodle soup packages to thrust at us. In the last month, we’ve convinced you to distinguish between eating and drinking, though I was slow to realize that your “eww” was actually juice. You’re just as likely to say “eww” after passing gas or soiling a diaper, too (though ‘xcuse’ usually follows).

And, by the way, you’re days from potty training boot camp since you now remove your own diaper when it has been used. I guess it could be worse, you throw it away in the trash, but sometimes… yuck!
It’s funny how polite you are. You’ve had an endlessly runny nose for weeks now, and though every wipe hurts, you still say “thank you” after someone forces a tissue upon you to clean up your face. And you try (to little avail) to clean your face yourself in between. “Thank you,” you say as we hand you something, or, if you relinquish something, “thank you?” typically follows. You wait for us to repeat.
IMG_0688web No closed door discourages you. Handles twist back and forth before the identifying thumps of your hand sound. You call out “Laura” [sounds like Law-ah] or “Mommy” or “Daddy” with ever-increasing intensity. And the insistence continues until someone lets you in – – a Cheshire cat grin of satisfaction forming on your face.
You bounce down the hall in some sort of skip. You stop in the doorway – dangerously close to the staircase – and twirl. Laughter, shrill and loud, draws us out. You smile, wave, skip a bit more, and raise your hands. Hips rock you side to side, as now it is a music-free dance. Then, you spin on your heels, and bounce back toward Rico, Chi and Ya.
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In the library, you flit around between activities, settling focus on nothing for more than a few minutes. The touch screen computer, a vibrantly animated book, a puzzle.
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