Whatever Gets You Through 

22 Aug

I love walking.  I love when I can get a runner’s high on the elliptical and I love how I feel when I work out.

This summer that started slipping.  My “free” time (any time not tending to one of the million things my kids need during the day) was spent cleaning for house showings and packing for relocation.

And then suddenly it began to be painful to walk.  I thought tending to my kids was tough before, but trying to chase Nyssa back in the house when she escapes or walking downstairs to my washer and dryer…impossible.  

Until Das Booty.  I’m the proud owner of a sleek nylon orthopedic boot that squeaks when I walk, but I can walk.  I’m even more awkward than I was pre-orthopedic boot and I suddenly have no use for my left shoes.  My husband and I named the boot and to keep the loneliness of commuting at bay I share pictures of wherever Das Booty and I go.  We aren’t very busy.  Some Target runs, the library, the post office once and Das Booty did travel to Milwaukee over the weekend to spend time with college friends.

Today I took it to the gym.  In fairness I wanted to last Friday, but that particular rainy day my sassy special needs lady could not be in the same room as her sister without hitting her.  I couldn’t trust her with other kids in the childcare room, but today she managed!

But the stationary bike is the only cardio I can do without pressure on my foot.  I hate the stationary bike.  I read as I pedaled away, tried a show on Netflix, tried running music, but it wasn’t the same.  Honestly, I hated it.  But I trudged through just aiming for my 30 minutes.  

Around minute 25 I hit my wall.  I was about to throw in the towel and limp back to the childcare.  I was stopped by a squirrel.  It jumped up into the window pressing its forefeet into the glass.  I made eye contact with the furry critter and laughed.  A fellow biker and I watched this squirrel as he tried to dance in the window, then brushed his tail to the side as he climbed the side of the building.  Minute 28 I was still pedaling, but instead of thinking “I can’t stand this” I was laughing.

I finished my 30 minutes thanks to that squirrel and made sure my husband got a photo of Das Booty before I hobbled out the studio.  And thanks to my 30 minutes I kept some of my patience when the youngest threw her sister’s ball across the street, the middle smacking her sister to steal the purple beads from her neck even though the matching pink ones were around her own.  And the teenagers sigh as he complains about watching Zootopia again.  

Whatever it takes to get you through the day.

Shopping With Three

16 Aug

I like small amounts of shopping.  I’ve never been someone to spend an entire day browsing through stores, buying bag upon bag of stuff I want.  Usually I’ll scour the clearance racks, make a lap through the areas I’m in the mood for and I’m done.  

Don’t ask me to grocery shop.  My husband does that as I rarely plan an actual meal out of it and end up with lots of impulse buys and can easily spend $100 on food.  But no gallon of milk or loaf of bread in the mix.  Which then requires another trip.

But now…it’s summer break.  And my husband is gone 13 hours a day for work.  That’s a heck of a lot of time to entertain my kids.  Eventually we all get sick of the same off white walls in our half packed house.  And we go buy a sprinkler.  Or Popsicles.  Or yesterday headphones for the oldest.

I may have mentioned I’m gimpy this week.  A random (injury?) of my left foot makes it challenging for me to walk.  Well, OK, it’s painful and challenging.

And I swear my middle daughter uses this to her advantage.  I limp through the store bearing my weight on the semi carts.  I call them semis as they’re impossible to steer.  The cart in front of the two seats where your toddlers can happily ride.  Or in my case, argue over who had what side, dive off to try to put something they want in the cart.  All while trying like hell to avoid crashing into other people, the carts of empty boxes that employees are reshelving Lysol wipes and shampoo.  That are never pushed to the side, but blocking the whole aisle.

By minute five  my foot is throbbing, my girls have tried pushing each other off the cart, and I somehow limp to the shampoo aisle, changing my pathway twice to avoid hitting a pregnant woman and shelf stockers that stare at me as if I am the inconvenience.  Only to find…they don’t have my shampoo.

By now I wished I had the scooter cart, but trying to keep my daughters near me is impossible.  I have to choose between comfort and my little lady with an extra chromosome who if she is not in a cart will find it hysterical to run off and play hide and seek.  It is not funny.  In the least.  Especially when she doesn’t reply to her name and I have no clue if she’s still even in the store.

But my kid got his headphones.  My girls got shampoo (with Dory on it!) and no one ran away.  

But one adventure was enough yesterday.  And still enough for today.  As one kid tried jumping on the couch, one has been giving the dog milkbones every time she’s in the kitchen, I’m sure I need to entertain them again today.  I say everyone grab a book and read today!  (Think it will work?)


14 Aug

I’m not a morning person.

At all.  My husband can attest to that.  My kids can too.  In order to be somewhat functional I need coffee.  

During the school year I would try to get up a good hour before anyone else.  And pray the Keurig didn’t wake up the youngest who’d be waiting to climb in my lap.  That is my face when I’m given the gift of quiet time.  Because that is the only time during the day I get to myself.

I love my family.   Love them, love the hugs I get and I do enjoy the fact that my tall, lanky four year old loves to cuddle with mommy.

But I also need peace.  I remember when I was a kid I would hear my mom making coffee at some absurdly awful time of the morning.  Like 5 am.  I would roll over and go back to sleep always wondering why she would get up hours before she needed to.

I get it now.  The delicious black liquid slowly warming me and giving the little caffeine kick that helps me forget getting up to change a diaper, check to make sure my diabetic kiddo is just thirsty and not sick with ketones, or being trapped under a little body after consoling her though a bad dream.

The silence of my house, the only sound is the tiny click of my cat’s toenails as she jumps to the recliner arm.  She purrs softly as she knows this is her time alone with me too.

I accomplish nothing during this first half hour or hour of the day.  Chat online with my lovelies, my dear friends that met online.  For one it’s the middle of the night, the others mid-day.  No matter what time of the day it is chances are someone is there waiting for the others.  I game on my phone, or read.  Or both.

That early hour of the day is my magic time.  As an introvert I love spending time with and chatting with friends and family, but desperately need the solo time to unwind.  This early hour makes it worth getting up for.  As a kid I could close my bedroom door and read and write for hours.  As a parent my life now revolves around these littles.

So my morning coffee is vital.  And if I’m lucky I get a few minutes before I fall asleep as well. Because their needs are important, but so are mine.

To Wear Underwear or Not

8 Aug img_8486-1

No, I’m not talking going commando here, but I’m glad I got your attention.  Nor am I talking about my own drawer.  In this case I’m talking potty training.

I have three kids.  Kid number one was a boy.  Boys are supposed to be hard to train, at least that is what everyone told me when he was little and we were putting Cheerios in the toilet and letting him earn stickers on a potty chart.  Quite frankly, he was pretty easy.  I swear I snapped my fingers and one day he said he was wearing underwear.  We went to Target and bought a few packs of Lightening McQueen underwear.  I honestly don’t even remember many, if any bedwetting scenarios.  But life also got more challenging after that with the entry of kid number two, so I may have forgotten.

Kid number two has Down Syndrome.  Our pediatrician and I had short conversations about potty training yearly at well-checks.  Neither of us thought much of diapers.   At two she said typically children with Down Syndrome are often trained between 4 and 9.  I remember thinking. Nine?  Really?  That’s a long time, but no worries, she’ll be trained before then.

So we had diapers.  And diapers.  And diapers.  Thankfully she wasn’t fussy on which ones so we could get the cheapest ones for daytime use. She went to daycare in diapers, still had no desire to try.  Went to early childhood still in diapers.  Again, still no desire there.  But we’d also had Kid number 3 during that time, so she was also distracted by life’s events.  And we didn’t push it as we were busy with that third kid.

Then Kindergarten happened.  That was a new school, mommy was suddenly an uncomfortable stay at home mom, so while she would go once in awhile, the diapers would stay wet.  Again, big life change so perhaps not now…But we were outgrowing size 6 diapers.

What does one do when you don’t fit in a diaper anymore and aren’t potty trained?  Stores didn’t have bigger than a six.  If you look on Special Needs supply websites the bigger diapers looked like adult diapers.  She was way too small for those.  And I won’t even mention the price. So we tried overnight pull ups.

And bought those and changed those daily.  Clearly age 4 wasn’t working.  Age 5 didn’t.  Neither did 6.  Or 7.  First grade we tried harder.  No luck.  Still buying overnights.  Which worked okay, but almost always leaked overnight.  And, without too many details, I can tell you overnight pullups are designed for small liquid messes.  Not solids… ( I do a lot of laundry.)

Around age 7 to 8 Kid number three (who was 3) was ready to start.  She too, was out of diapers as she’s my tall kiddo.  Off the charts tall for her age meant pull-ups.  She too, decided (finally) she was ready.  And we now own stock in Disney Princess and unicorn/horse underwear.  It means we have to buy the bed liners because she will still have accidents sometimes.  (Too much water?  Bad dream?) But for the most part, Kid three was fairly easy.

But Kid 2, at 9 is still in pull-ups.  They’re the size large to extra-large overnights.  And she doesn’t seem to mind them.  But in the past year she’s learned when she needs to go.  Goes most of the time in the bathroom (I cannot fault her for the fact that there’s five of us in this house to share one bathroom—it’s a rule if one of the girls has to go the person in there hurries.  If an accident happens then, well it happens).  She’s discovered that she should change her pull-up when it’s wet.  For awhile, that meant dropping it on her bedroom floor and Mommy or Daddy hitting that spot with Lysol and showing her where that thing goes.  But now it’s usually in the vicinity of the garbage can.

Suddenly, she’s started waking up in the morning and actually going straight for the bathroom.  And sometimes those changed pull-ups in the garbage (thankfully, she’s figured out they go there now!) are dry. And we all cheer when she goes number two in the bathroom.  (Some of us may giggle uncontrollably while thinking of the Austin Powers scene “who does #2 work for!)

It means, dare I say, she might be ready.  After nine long years.  With back to school sales I bought a massive supply of Hanes or Fruit of the Looms (does it really matter?), but I still have her in those pull-ups.  At this point, I look at the pull-ups and I look at the underwear.  Is it me that’s still holding her in the pull-ups?  She’s not 100 percent here on using the toilet.  But if she had underwear, perhaps she’d be more motivated?  

But what if she pees on our couch? Or in our mini-Van?

But then I remind myself what my other two did.  When they were fully ready they let me know.  They switched to underwear.  Just like that.  So, today I am washing that bulk pack of underwear and putting them next to her pull-ups in the bathroom.  She still isn’t very vocal.  But she lets us  know what she needs or wants.  And I think when she’s ready for those underwear, I will be too.  She will just put them on instead.

I think I’ll be ready.  I think…Maybe?


They’re Just Kids

3 Aug

My son spontaneously asked if he could have a sleepover tonight with a couple buddies.  They’re thirteen.  

Those were the days my sleepovers were rampid.  My best friends and I would drink Koolaid and play Truth or Dare where we spilled our guts on which boy we’d consider kissing or with a dare run upstairs and steal a pea from the hot dish that was served for dinner.  (The part that made that dare-worthy is the dad slept in his underwear and you might have see that.)  

The fact is, those sleepovers are some of my best memories from growing up.  Thanks to social media I can stay connected with those friends and we share memories of the time we summoned ghosts with the Ouija board (not really as one of us may have been gently guiding that plastic piece.  Truthfully, what ghost would want to answer who would be going with us to the dance) or ice skating late in the evening.  Or doing The Macarena in our pajamas.  They were great times. 

So when my kid asked me I said yes.  Even though tacking on two 13 year old boys in my three bedroom ranch didn’t sound like fun to me, it did to him.

Throughout the night there were a few wardrobe changes as someone hosed another one in the front of their shorts.  They got their exercise cruising down the hill on their bicycles and playing Pokemon Go.

When I finally managed to get the girls to sleep (as what sleepover wouldn’t be complete without a pesky little sister trying to follow you around), I tried to ignore the banter and giggles coming from my living room.  And did manage to fall asleep.

Until I hear a loud pop, then the sound of three boys dashing inside my house shutting off the lights.  And then a man outside swearing about threatening to call the cops if you kids were up to no good.

Sigh.  First I had to find out what they were actually doing (shaking a full Pepsi can and then throwing it on the ground so it exploded).  Again.  They’re still kids.

Then I had to go chat with mr threatening with his cell phone ready to dial and his viscous dog that came to me tail wagging and kisses on my cheek.  

I murmured my “I understands” to him, listened politely as he complained about Pokemon Go and all the people driving slowly in the neighborhood.  And how the city is going to Hell quickly as I scratched his dog.

He walked off and so far I haven’t seen the police, but my message that they’re just kids seemed to have pacified the swearer.  

Now these boys can share the “remember the time the cops almost came and my mom had to go outside in her pajamas?” story.

Letter to a new T1 Parent

2 Aug

To the parents that have just discovered their child has Type 1 Diabetes:

First of all, you need hugs.  Please cry, get mad, grieve.  Punch a pillow.  Scream in a pillow.  I  will cry with you as I spent many days crying over this disease as well.  But don’t cry in front of your child.  Be strong.  Be brave.  Be matter of fact. Save the crying for later.  And the screaming.

No, it’s not easy.  At all.  But those shots that your child has to take is now life.  Checking blood sugar every few hours is your child’s life.  And as a parent, it is now yours too.  And the best way to help your child is to take a deep breath, tell them it stings for a second, then it’s over.  And do it.  Quickly.  Even with the tears.

Get your child a new toy.  Get them every character Band-Aid that is found in stores.  You know, the cool ones with Finding Dory, Disney Princesses, or Pokemon.  Better yet, let your child pick them out. Take them to a movie or buy a new Blue Ray.  Buy a new pillow to hit.  Buy an extra for your kid.  Because the fact is, this stinks and if you can make it a tiny bit more fun, make it fun!

Buy lots of juice boxes.  And candy.  And, though it sounds odd, cake frosting or syrup is awesome too.  Anything that can raise a blood sugar up quickly because you will have blood sugar lows.  Make sure you fill that scary looking prescription glucagon.  Carry them everywhere.  If you have them, you might not need to use them.  But you’d rather have one that you don’t use than not have one when you need one.

Because you will forget it, buy an extra kit.  And then buy an extra one after that for school.  Just make sure the test strips work in all of them.  Keep one on you and the other at home, in your car, anywhere you need it often.  Did I mention lots of test strips and alcohol swabs?

You will find out who you can trust to help take care of your child.  When you do, make sure you take time away from dabetes.  Go somewhere, anywhere for any period of time, and challenge yourself not to count carbs or think about testing blood sugar.  But keep your cell phone on you.  Just in case.  And smile when you didn’t have to answer a text or call.

Find a parent support group.  Either in person, online, wherever.  Somewhere where you can ask questions, vent, do whatever you need to do with others that get it.  This is a good place to do the screaming.  And the crying.

Find the right Endocrinologist for you.  Even if one seems good and has done a good job, if it doesn’t feel like it fits try a different one.  You need to be able to fully trust someone who is leading you through this life.  You have to be comfortable asking questions, caring for your child, and adjusting insulin doses.  You want someone who can talk to your child and help them understand what they need to do in life.  Notice I say talk to your child.  Because even if you are doing most of the care right now, they are learning.  Eventually they will do it on their own.  And they need to know how to do that.

It’s a lot.  Believe me, I get it.  You’re scared, overwhelmed, worried, and I’m sorry to say that will always be there.  But it does get easier.  And your child will feel better soon.  And THAT is worth every single hard moment.

I won’t miss that

30 Jul

My husband has a professional job.  To go with his professional look means professional dress.  Well, okay, more business casual than professional, but it means a dress shirt and tie.  He has more ties than I have pieces of costume jewelry, but he looks good.

But dress shirts and khakis need to be ironed.  

Ironing is the one domestic chore I will not do.  I hate it.  The shirt never stays in the right shape.  I’m accident prone so that hot iron screams for me to burn my hand, foot, I’d probably manage to burn my heel somehow.  I do the laundry.  I wash, dry and fold (eventually) at least ten loads a week.  But I won’t iron his clothes.

So every morning when he’s getting dressed for work and I’m attempting to wake up with my cup of coffee I hear the creak and scrape of the ironing board.  Then the hiss of the iron after he’s chosen the color of the day.  (I usually surpress the desire to ask the letter and number of the day).  After all, it is too early to make funnies.

After he irons he finishes his routine and is off, while I’m wrestling myself and my kids out the door to work or school or daycare.  Except now on summer break.  And that ironing board sits.  Our master bedroom is a decent size, but between the king sized bed and our dressers we have about two feet max of space around our bed to move.  Enter the issue with the ironing board.  Between the board and our 65 pound mutt that is underfoot and possibly a kid or two trying to spend time with us.  

We suck in our guts and maneuver around it.  I’ve folded it back up and put it away, but I cringe at the creak of it every time, so usually I just shove it closer to his closet and we try to move in there with it up.  Until Saturday at least.

During a crazy summer his job was eliminated.  Thanks to God he had already applied for another position in another city.  While I had hoped he could get another job locally the stars aligned and he got the new job instead.  We are now packing up our house and relocating.  His last week at work he wore polo shirts and khakis, not necessarily needing to be ironed.  He starts his new job Monday.  While the kids and I continue to pack.  And maintain sanity while making trips to Goodwill or to buy more bubble wrap or packing tape. 

 Believe me, I’m petrified to do that parenting thing solo for a bit until we move into our new (still haven’t found one) house.  And I’ll miss him being around.  But I’ll manage the domestic stuff and parenting stuff.  (Local friends, feel free to bug us, take a kid or two or three for any period of time, grab a box or a bottle of Lysol.)

But there is one thing I don’t have to think about or miss. I will not miss that ironing board.  It’s not moving with us either.  


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