Archive | July, 2016

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.  

Sisters 

26 Jul


The decision to have another child when you have one with special needs is hard.  My daughter has Trisomy 21, a beautiful fluke at conception that resulted in Down Syndrome.  It was a gift.  I wouldn’t change it.  But the financial and emotional toll of special needs parenthood is tough.

When we had our oldest daughter we weren’t sure we wanted a third child.  In some ways, number three would help her brother when we (God forbid) were gone one day. But we were awfully busy with these two.  Juggling therapies and frequent doctor appointments with her and then adding diabetic  care to the oldest- it just seemed unreal to add a third.  We were pretty spent already.  Jobs are tough when you need to care for frequent illnesses and appointments.  Medical insurance is vital.  Flexibility is a must.  And you need to be easily in reach. It was easier to stick with two.

But, as it does often, life had other plans.  In came our spirited third child.  While, ironically she’s our most challenging, she is also one of the best things to happen to her siblings.

I never had a sister and always wanted one.  I dreamed of tea parties, braiding each other’s hair, having someone to play with and giggle with.  I had two older brothers instead.  They were great, but practically a generation older than me.  My girls are four years apart. They weren’t very close before, but as my youngest ages they get closer.  They teach each other patience (because they both want whatever the other has!) and love.

While it is still emerging I see the sisterhood in them.  They will hug one minute and have a tea party with all our plastic food and their stuffed animals.  Five minutes later I will see them slapping each other for the item the other one stole. And then, like a whirlwind they’re giggling again.  My youngest never questions why her sister doesn’t talk, but talks for her (a loud squawk of disagreement with and has occurred).  Often.  But right now with their age difference and the cognitive delay they’re pretty equal and it’s fun to way he.

I love their independence but also see the relationship growing between them.  I want to envision them as adults still this close and giggling at the pool.  

As always, I’m glad that life changes our plans at times.  And maybe as these two become not just sisters but best friends their older brother may get a bit more peace.  And us too.  Mom and Dad like peace.

At the Office

24 Jul

My daughter and I both had an eye appointment the other day. I needed new contacts and her glasses need replacing (seriously hoping the same ones are still on the market as she wears them!)

This was a new place to her.  Thankfully I have been there before so paperwork went smoother and thankfully my husband the week before because my insurance card forgot to make its way back to my wallet after updating Dexcom.

Ideal receptionists are calm, polite and have smiles on their face.  We know that’s not always the case, but it was this day.  The employees tried asking my daughter the questions “what’s your name?”and “how old are you?” I pause here and watch my daughter.  She smiles and crunches her shoulders in while she extends her arms.  This is one of her visual cues of happiness.  I smile as well and prompt my daughter.  “My name is _____.  I am 9.”  She repeats her name and that she’s nine and giggles in excitement as she loves that confirmation that she did a great job.

We had to take a photo for our account, a lovely web cam picture that probably looks like my Costco membership card.  She needed a picture too.  I scooped up the 67 pound girl and ask her to say “cheese!”  Naturally, she looked down for the photo, but, bless them they didn’t ask her to repeat this photo.  Instead they said “we’ll make it work.”

I tell my little lady she can go play with the toys in the waiting room while I fill out paperwork.  She is thrilled and having a great start as she says “bus!” as she spots the Little People school bus.  When she moves that she sees Princess Ariel and Prince Eric along with their seahorse carriage.  We have the same carriage at home.  That’s passed over, but Ariel and Eric get to ride the bus.

As a mom who has spent her fair share of time in the hospital with sick kids, not to mention spent this girl’s first years pre-heart surgery desperately trying to keep her from getting ill, I’m not a huge fan of waiting room toys.  Or floors, for that matter.  But I have also discovered I’d much rather let my kids play and wash off their hands later than fight them to sit quietly.  I have learned to choose my battles.

Another battle is my little one prefers to sprawl out on the floor and play.  And, unsurprisingly, she did.  She took up a good chunk of the waiting room, but not many others were there.  I was plopped in a chair in front of her filling out health history forms and privacy forms while keeping one eye on the silent conversation between the bus driver and Ariel.  They bobbed their plastic heads at each other.

The employees looked down and saw my little lady on the floor and I half expected them to ask me to move her to a chair.  See, not too long ago she and I were at an appointment of her brother’s.  We were, again in a waiting room, in a similar manner.  She was again playing on the floor with Little People while I watched her creativity.  Sometimes I can join her, but often she prefers solitary play.  That particular day the receptionist whispered something to my daughter and took her arm to try to pull her up.  If you know my girl, if she doesn’t want to move she will put all her force into it and refuse.  And the loud squawk she gave that day told me she didn’t want to get up.  I was up and by her within seconds. The receptionist that day asked me if I could have my daughter sit up.  See, she’s almost always in a dress.  That day she was as well.  I put yoga shorts over her pull-up because I know kids.  They play.  And don’t want to worry about if the skirt rides up.  Honestly, I do the same thing for the same reason.

That day the receptionist asked me if I could ask my daughter to sit up as her underwear was showing and there was a man in the office. I had already pulled my daughter into my lap by now and looked at this man, who hadn’t looked up from his paperwork. 

 I was already vulnerable this particular day.  This incident put me over the edge and I curled behind my little girl who began stroking my hair and giggling in her sweet manner.  And tried, unsuccesfully, not to cry. Both touched by my daughter’s manner and mad at myself because I didn’t speak up that day.  For myself, for my daughter, or even the person in the waiting room.  Granted I did not know his story, but I had no fear from him until she had said something.  I say there, I brushed the tears off my cheeks, I snuggled with the sweet girl on my lap until we were done.

So when the receptionists at the eye center saw my daughter sprawled in a similar position I considered moving her.  But instead of a disapproving look these ladies smiled.  And I smiled.  We had a conversation about some of her cute quirks and instead of it being small talk, they were genuinely interested.  And I thanked the lucky stars for the gift of kindness.

And it did continue, through both our exams and while her glasses were adjusted.  When she escaped to admire her reflection in the mirror while I was putting my contacts back in someone stood by her and asked her one of her favorite questions; “who is that beautiful girl in the mirror?”

See, interacting with special needs people is unpredictable at best.  Being a caretaker is rewarding, but exhausting from spending your life trying to piece things together.  This mama is grateful for the experience we had that day.  Thank you to the staff of Envision.

Something Old becomes New

21 Jul


One of my favorite toys from childhood was my blonde-haired blue-eyed Cabbage Patch doll, Cassandra.  I’m not good enough of a doll mom to remember her adoption day or even her birthday, but I still have her a “few” years later.  And that alone shows my dedication to her.

She originally wore a sweet two-piece navy blue short and dress combo dotted with small flowers and a white lacy collar. She also had white socks and white shoes I lost many years ago.  I loved taking out her pigtails and rebraiding the mustard-yellow yarn strands and tying them with ribbons from my mom’s sewing supplies.

I never owned the extra brand-name outfits, but I did have my own baby clothes that worked beautifully when I wanted to switch it up.  Most were dresses-I assume my parents enjoyed a change from blue.

My first childhood friend was Sara.  She and I were the only girls on a block of boys in a small town.  And she happened to have a Cabbage Patch too.  Her name was Kelly and she had red hair.  Sometimes Cassandra and Kelly would switch places for a day and Sara and I would enjoy the company of a “new” doll.  I asked Sara last time I saw her if she still had Kelly, but Kelly found a new home where she was loved somewhere else.  Selfishly I was hoping for a doll reunion too.

Cassandra has been in my house for awhile (I can’t even remember how long) but had just been waiting for her turn to play again. One day when I was putting away laundry my youngest spotted her in her sister’s room.  And since then has dragged her “other sister” around.  They have had tea parties, she’s earned a spot on the bed, she’s gone shopping and even sat in the tricycle basket and gone for rides.  In a doll’s life it was a long time coming.  She has a friend again.  She’s playing again.

And me?  I smile each time seeing the same toy that brought me joy bring joy to my daughter.  Her hair is a little loose in some spots, her cloth body darker with dust and dirt (she spent time outside!) and she has “borrowed” clothes.  But when I pick her up from the floor it feels right.  She still tucks in my arm.  And I love listening to the conversations she is participating in.  

Something old is definitely something new in this house.  In this case it’s the joy of a doll.  

Still my baby 

13 Jul

Today you asked me if you could snuggle.  Usually you climb up on my lap anytime I sit down, but today I rarely sat down.  So I sat in the worn out Lazy Boy and the chair creaked as the footrest went up.  This chair has held all three of my babies while I cuddled them.  Over thirteen years of rocking and cuddles.

Your tummy hurt.  I’m guessing it’s because I let you have ice cream after dinner.  (Because sometimes we all need ice cream). And instead of remembering the Lactaid before you ate we remembered afterwards.  Oops.  Sorry, baby girl.

You curled up on my lap, your body tucked in the crook of my shoulder.  That’s always been your favorite spot.  I am reminded of the time between 9 months and age three when you wouldn’t sleep alone.  Nightly I would have to join you so our whole house could sleep.  Even though I was tired and frustrated, my back hurt, and I wished I could have an uninterrupted night’s sleep, I still loved how you would melt the instant you were in that nook.  

See, you are my baby.  I enjoyed the baby stages of your brother and your sister.  Sometimes your sister will still cuddle by me, but your brother is way past that.

And you, you are growing every day.  You learned to write your name, you pedal your bicycle like a pro, you dance like a ballerina even though you’ve never taken a class.  Somehow…you grew.

And you are my strong willed child.  You know what you want and fight for it daily.  You scream, you yell, and you then get quiet time where we have a much-needed cool down period before we discuss that behavior. I need it just as much as you.

But I know you love me even when you say “you’re not my mom.” Or “I don’t like you anymore.”

To this I always say “I will always be your mom.  And I will always love you.  I just don’t like this behavior.”  To that you usually stick your hip out, one arm resting on it and yell “ughhhhh.”

Inwardly I smile.  As I feel the same way.  

But right now?  You climbed on my lap and snuggled.  You told me you loved me.  And I said I loved you back.  And you slept.  Just as you did as a baby.  As a toddler.  And I kiss your head as you sleep and enjoy the moment of you being little.  For one moment you’re still my baby. I know I need to pick you up and put you in bed soon, but I’m enjoying your littleness right now.

Have Courage and Be Kind

10 Jul

If you know me, you know that I watch a lot of Disney movies. I could blame them on my kids, but face it, my parents still have a collection of VHS tapes of mine that I spent my own allowance on so I could own. And there might still be a few cassette soundtracks somewhere in the depths of their basement. I’m a believer in faith, trust and pixie dust.

I took my youngest to the new version of Cinderella when that was in the theater. She was too young. In fact, when the glass slipper was about to arrive at Ella’s house, my own princess threw an all out tantrum and I had to carry her out of the theater without seeing that part. Ironically, I had to stop and pick up her plastic see-through Cinderella slipper as that was kicked off during the tantrum.

But I still got to hear my favorite inspirational quote. It’s simple. “Have courage. And be kind.”

I have some anxiety and depression. I have had an eating disorder and to anyone that has had one- it never fully leaves. In my worst I have been frozen in shaking fear unable to remove scenes from my brain. I can’t hold a piece of paper still as every muscle in my body shakes. I have been numb, desiring nothing in the world but to stay curled in bed under the covers. If I was out I was literally imagining how I could end the pain. While many of us may feel like this from time to time, I lived it.  Past tense.

But I am grateful. So incredibly grateful. Because my glass slippers are tattered running shoes worn thin from walking. Walking through the pain in my own head. They have pieces of rocks left in the tred from where the path was rough. It was then I had to put on many miles just to shake fear, the “what ifs” and sadness out of my brain.  Having kids is hard.  Having kids with severe medical and developmental problems is hard.  

But with the walking I repeated “have courage.” I needed that courage to stay in touch with my provider to adjust the medication that started failing me awhile back. We message via a secured system. She has listened to me, and worked with me to find a regimin to help me become healthy. And she referred me to a counselor. One that I’m so grateful  to have found. I have tried talk therapy a few times throughout my life. I never clicked with the counselor and would never stay long enough to actually work on my problems. See, I know what they’re looking for and I would fool myself into thinking that I was fine. And therefore, they saw the recovery as well.My counselor asked me the first day why I was there. And I thought I knew. Mainly I knew that I could no longer keep running through the same patterns I have fought most of my life. It still took a few visits. Until with a gentle smile I was able to fall apart. She has cried with me, cheered with me, and not too long ago told me to go enjoy the summer and be in touch. 

And I realized at that moment that she had the faith in me all along. My friends have been with me the whole time. And some of you, my goodness, deserve a medal. I thank you for listening. For the hugs whether they were virtual or real. My family. My family is also the reason I am here. And I am happy. When Mommy was sad they cuddled. When Mommy needed quiet time and tuned the world out, they were patient. When the house was a mess no one complained.

They were kind. Everyone. I cannot tell you how much kindness I have seen and experienced throughout the past year. There’s always going to be some meanness. But the kindness outweighs it. It’s the sparkle in that glass slipper.

And I had to find my courage. This was my fight. And it will continue to be my fight. I have the courage. And it’s time to trade in those tired running shoes for a sparkly new pair.

And maybe a pair of glass slippers. Because…well, because I like the way I feel in a good pair of shoes.

Get it!

10 Jul

I’ve mentioned my son is a teenager.  And while we get along pretty well our interests don’t always mesh.  Occasionally we may read the same book, we do both enjoy hiking and being outdoors, but other than the fact that I have an immature sense of humor and don’t mind fart jokes there’s a gap.

He recently joined the many other people out there playing the app Pokemon Go.  I vaguely recall his Pokemon trading card years, so when he would tell me about this app I let the sound go straight through my brain. So when he was telling me about his Pokemon adventures now I enjoyed the fact he was biking or walking, but that about it.

Finally as he requested to go for a walk down the road to chase after some Pokemon and said “mom, I think you’d really enjoy this” I decided why not? 

So I downloaded the app on iTunes tonight.  And found myself outside walking down the sidewalk with my phone battling imaginary characters while my youngest follows me in her Cinderella heels.

Keep in mind this is my first time using the game.  I spun in circles in front of a random house with my phone on camera mode tiring to find whatever character my phone just buzzed me about. I imagine I got some odd looks, but it’s hard for me to look threatening.  Even my dog will look up at me like “don’t even try, lady.”  If I look non-threatening, remember I have princess slippers in her neon skirt with me.

There was a check in.  Only a few blocks away.  At this moment I regretted my flip flops and skirt and wished I had my Nikes on.  But I needed to see what that blue spot was.  So I walked way to slowly as my youngest balanced on the curb, adjusted her plastic heels and stopped to inspect a dead bug.

Finally that check in was there!  And so were some more characters I battled while my son was kicked off the server (judging by the service its a bit popular).  But then there were two more check ins just a block away!  So we cruised to those as my youngest asked “can we go home now?”  Since my phone’s battery bar was rapidly declining as fast her patience I said yes.

But not without capturing yet another character (a super rare one!) and leveling up past my kid.  

Game is on now.  Apparently the kid will not let me win as he went chasing another character down the road while I sipped a glass of wine.  

Like most apps I start I will probably get tired of it in a few days.  But, right now, my son and I have a date to go for a walk tomorrow and check in to all those blue dots we saw off to the west.  

And he’s sending me Pokemon memes.  If it takes an app to get more exercise and bond with my son I’ll continue to play for a bit.

After all, it wasn’t that long ago he was the one slowly shuffling down the street, just adorn in Lightening McQueen tennies and his matching tee shirt, but still inspecting bugs and balancing on the curb.