Saturday, October 31, 2009
I'll put up pics in the next day or two of the littles. Tonight we have a spooky supper. A halloween tradition in our house. A table filled with things like worms (plain spaghetti with butter and cheese) slime (vegan jello mixed with cool whip to a chunky gross texture and adorned with gummy worms, witches brew to drink, and "bones" (shaped sugar cookies) for dessert. Halloween suppers are the one night that my kids look like they have good manners because we are eating something "gross!" It is the ONE meal all year where there are no comments for discussions of body parts, body functions and what the food looks like. The only one, people!
Then we are off to my work where there is a party at the clubhouse for the kids. K has to work and this gives her a chance to see the kids in costume as well. Then I am off to take them round the neighborhood for sugary loot after that.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Anyway, swine flu makes me fret big time. Jo, whose blog I read often had her son hospitalized for a long time as a result of swine flu. I have read so much about swine flu and the pros and cons of the flu shot that my eyes are rolling up in my head. There are concerns out there that the vaccine has been rushed to market. There are doctors saying that they would never administer to this to their own family.
And there are other people, including Harvard Medical School, saying the vaccine is safe and is potentially the best option for high risk people. My children have been deemed high risk according to the letter sent to me by our family MD. He knows me well as he also included instructions on how to opt out, but noted that he is obligated to notify the CDC of refusals for high risk patients.
KC was born preemie, addicted, and with a family history of asthma and had a "heart incident" while in NICU. Thankfully he is thriving and bright and wonderful and 5. But I can't for a minute risk that he becomes seriously ill.
Lissa was born full term, addicted and her first mom had no prenatal care at all. The first year of her life, Lissa got the "regular" flu. I think she was about 4 months when she contracted it. We brought her to the Dr. and he agreed she was ill but not seriously. I would agree with his assessment. Merely 24 hours later he was a whisker away from feeling she needed hospitalization, her condition had deteriorated so rapidly. Even now, she is a child who is either blooming with health (thankfully more often than not) or very very ill.
So we are having the vaccine administered today. Rob also was deemed high risk which makes a bit less sense to me. But I figure in for a penny in for a pound. Parenting is always about hoping you have made the right decision. It just doesn't usually feel so intense to me.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Oh, the tiles go like that?
And Ooma poses on the island like the Statue of Liberty. Give me your bent staples and your tired, weary nails. . .
Monday, October 26, 2009
K on the other hand, is the perfect foil as installation was her strength. She is a quilter and in a way, doing acoustic tile ceilings is a lot like piecing a quilt. Since quilting is something I admire but don't really do with ease, she was so much faster at that it was downright pointless for me to install with her. Instead, I demoted myself to go-fer status and kept the work site tidy for safety, got her all the tools she needed so she didn't need to get off her ladder, and kept her supplied with tea and tiles. Oh and kept an eye on the kiddos who did a wonderful job raising very little mayhem.
We had an easy supper (defrosted some chili) and then I took the kids to my work where there was a magic show taking place at 5 p.m. The show was really cute and all the kids loved it. I enjoyed seeing Rob laughing and engaged just as much as the younger kids. I have the feeling he may never have seen a magic show before. Those firsts are as much fun to watch regardless of the age of the child.
The kitchen is tidy and in order but none of our decorations or the antiques are washed and up on the shelf. My grandmother had a cool collection of things like old scales, and mortars and pestles, candle molds etc, and these decorate a long wall length shelf in the kitchen. Tomorrow I will wash the shelf and all the things that usually stay there. I will wash the trays and large plates that reside on an opposing wall and rinse K's blue glass bottle collection and restore them to the window. We had really thought the installation would take 2 days so I am lucky to have a free day to putter at this.
I have also promised the kids halloween cards as a craft and after supper a friend from the park is coming to our house for a play visit. I want to make sure tomorrow is more fun for them than today was. I can ask for one day of extra effort on their part but I feel compelled to reward that effort the following day.
We have done a lot of home repairs. We have painted, stripped, papered made a deck and replaced our cellar stair stringers. We have never installed 12 inch acoustic tiles. But we can learn. I am confident. K was less confident but has warmed to the idea. So I took 3 days off from work and we began taking down the tiles. Actually I took a bunch down on Saturday to see how it went but there were still a ton left.
Demo has gone really quickly. We have all the tiles down and all the staples and threaded nails pulled out. The latter I think are exactly why the tiles began to bow. The installer used threaded nails (probably quicker) in a lot of places in lieu of staples. Cheater-weeter! I think that the stupid tiles slipped slowly just that wee bit out of alignment over time and once the first few did, it was likely easy for everything to begin to bow a bit.
Now we are waiting. And I HATE waiting. Our neighbor who is a self employed electrician is supposed to come drop the 3 flourescent fixtures so that we can remove the tiles under them and begin tiling the ceiling. It is 9:30. I will admit we arise early. But we also told Eric that! 9:30 and he is not on the job site people. Not even home. Not even answering his dang cell phone. Oops he just showed up! More later!
Saturday, October 24, 2009
My company atty is not usually big on tenancy preservation. I am. I am because I believe that subsidized housing is supposed to be a stepping stone to a better life. I also know that when that key piece of the life is lost, that often very bad things happen. Kids are sometimes removed from their families in a worst case scenario. In a best case scenario they deal with bouncing from couch to couch, "guests" of family and friends while the parent tries to piece together some other form of housing.
This particular time though I had managed to get our attorney on board with tenancy preservation and she and i spent 40 minutes trying to help this tenant budget so that we could structure a repayment plan she could live with and which would realistically handle the debt. As we left the courthouse the attorney and I we came up with a really cool idea. What if part of the court ordered repayment plans was a clause requiring the tenant to attend budget counselling for a year. Upon presenting us with the certificate of completion, we as management would waive the court costs (which would save the tenant a couple of hundred dollars) and maybe, just maybe, they would get some skills that would prevent the problem from happening again.
I am off work the first part of next week, (we are installing a new kitchen ceiling here at home), but I am going to call around and look for non profits that do this kind of thing. Time to get some info together and make a big proposal to our main office!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Before Robbie was 9, I had my first negative experience surrounding shopping. We were on vacation and were hiking at a wildlife sanctuary. Not the usual sanctuary near our home, but one in the western part of our state, with some wonderful things to see and explore. We had a lovely hike. KC was still a baby at the time, maybe a year and change if that. Post hike we stopped in the little gift shop to look for momentos of our visit. I remember that Rob picked out a book on hawks and raptors. He is an avid birder and the book was instantly the thing he wanted most. My Chet had a harder time deciding and I will give you that his disability makes him loud on occasion. I also should state for the record that the gift shop was watched by the same person who took care of incoming hikers, so it is possible she felt overwhelmed. (possible but not in my opinion really likely--even after all these years, this incident still bugs me)
Anyway, KC was tired and needed his diaper changed. Chet had finally made his decision on his purchase. I gave Kirsty the purcahses and she paid and left. It took a few minutes after that to round up the other two boys (you know how kids always see something intriguing) and take them and KC out of the building.. I was a bit ahead of Rob and Chet because I had the soggy baby. Luckily not too far ahead as I heard the woman at the gift shop say "Isn't there something you want to pay for?" in a very loud and carrying voice. When I turned, she was staring at my two boys. Rob was standing there with that "deer in the headlights" look that he gets when he is scared. Chet I could tell was going to launch into some kind of dissertation because he was ticked. But he never got a chance to open his mouth because I was waaaaay more ticked than he was.
My kids didn't even have on clothes with pockets. They had nothing in their hands. Exactly what was she referring to, I asked. The clerk sort of stammered around that she had seen them looking at things earlier. I said we had and had in fact paid for them all ready and that my wife had taken care of the purchase. The clerk tried to slide out of the sticky situation at this point by saying she didn't know, hadn't seen that we were together. While I agree that is possible, perhaps even likely, that still doesn't mean you address people in the manner she did. "did you find anything you wish to purchase? Could I help you with something? " All good choices of language that I pointed out to her. Hey I worked retail for years, I know a comment such as she made really means "I think you took something; fess up now." Clerk then told me she was a volunteer, as though you can be racist and/or insensitive if you aren't being paid. Needless to say, it was a conversation that just wasn't destined to go well. I decided that I had made my point to the clerk, my kids had seen my ire, it was time to go.
When we got home from vacation I wrote to the head of the state wildlife agency and outlined the experience and why I truly believed that the actions were discriminatory and racist. The fact that two of my children have attended ecology camps through this organization, and that at our local sanctuary we routinely attend homeschooling events, made it all feel even worse.
The plus side was that I very promptly got a letter back. Much of it I felt was real CYA on the agency's part. The clerk was a volunteer, supposedly newly hired. Supposedly overwhelmed by the vast number of people that day. (trust me in the hiking world there are just not vast numbers!) Despite all that, I know the powers there knew something was wrong, because they had now mandated racial sensitivity training for all their volunteers and this volunteer would not work in this capacity again until she had completed training.
I don't feel like we necessarily changed anyone's perceptions that day. But I do know my boys saw that as a parent I am aware, that I will not tolerate injustice and that my racism radar is always on. I am not arrogant enough to believe that I will always sense every situation, I have years of white privilege -- but I really really try to watch and be aware.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
But. . . today I read links that indicate it is so not healthy to drink my beloved beverage. Brain tumors and migraines are not good side effects for indulging in this passion. I all ready get migraines regularly so it makes sense to see if removing this will help. So I am bidding diet coke farewell. Adieu. Adios. Hasta la vista. And drinking water. Blech.
It has happened. Incontrovertibly my baby is a big girl now! Last night Lissa slept in her "big girl" bed in her room for the first time. We have been working toward this for a while. While she had never tried to climb out of the crib, we worried that she could or that in jumping she would somehow lean forward in a way that would propel her out. (you would have to see her gymnastics ability to grasp the reason for the concern.) LOL
So over the past few months we have made some gradual changes to her bedroom. We put interlocking foam mats under the crib (and then when we moved that out the bed just went on them.) We have wooden floors and no carpeting in the bedrooms and I didn't want her hurt when she fell out of bed. We strapped the dressers to the wall and for good measure gated the room in such a way that she can not readily reach the dressers. (I had visions of her pawing through drawers with abandon if she was in her room and didn't want to sleep or nap) We put a child proof door knob on the inside of her door and a locking gate on the opening to my bedroom. We did all that and then left her in her crib. I think we just didn't want to make that last step forward, leaving babyhood behind.
But yesterday, we did. Lissa helped with the preparations and was so excited to show me her "new" bed when I got home from work. I wondered what it would be like when she went into it. But she loved it. Cuddled up with doll-doll and went to sleep. When I go up to bed I open the gate between our rooms so that if she needs me in the night it is quick to get there, but she was fine. My baby's a big girl now!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
She wanted to know how to refer to us when she talked with Fiona. Visiting resource or community support sounded cold to her. You think?? The child that is my son's sister, that lived in my home, and remains in my heart? So I wrote back that I thought the best word was family and that if this was too painful for Fiona we would go with whatever her suggestion is. But that I would love to have us all work to helping Fiona feel okay about being at Great New School. And that I would love to have a goal be for her to feel that family were people who loved you and stuck with you even if you couldn't live together.
(trust me when I sayI worded it better in her email!)
The clinician also said that she senses that Fiona feels ashamed about the adoption disruption. I asked her if she would be working on that. There is no way that child should be carrying a burden of guilt or shame about that. That blame sadly falls squarely on the shoulders of the professionals who hid the depth of her challenges from us. It falls on the shoulders of her foster mom who was asked not to tell us the truth, and didn't. It falls on us for thinking that because we had parented one difficult child we were able to handle another, not realizing that there was so so much more to Fiona's situation. But none of it should fall on a child who faced what she has faced in her life and the fact that she feels shame over something that happened 8 years ago kills me.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Part of why I usually go to work when I have a migraine is a) I save sick days for sick kids and b) it is usually decibel level quieter at work than at my home. You may be laughing, I speak the truth. Also I had to do a lot of driving yesterday which so didn't help the migraine. Church in the morning and then had to get Rob back there for 4 p.m. for his OWL class. Even that wouldn't have been bad but it was snowing and there was more eye strain because of the storm. So by the time I sat down at the mandatory parent meeting I was looking as crappy as I felt. Which is saying something as I am one of those stiff upper lip Yankees. But 6 people came over and asked if I should go lie down. Tells me my color may have been a bit off. (laughing) I did leave the meeting early. Part of the nausea was from the migraine, the other part was from my antibiotic. (took the last one today, wahoo!) Another parent offered to bring Rob home after class so I didn't have to go back.
K is still ill so I wasn't asking her to drive; she also goes to bed much earlier than I do. But tonight I am better. I was pretty low key throughout the day, though I did sit outside for about 30 minutes so the kids could play in the yard. I braided and styled Lissa's hair and put all new beads in it; she is thrilled to click clack again. But if I rest too much the kids worry. Especially KC. I get really physically cold with a migraine and he kept fretting over me. It reached a point where even if I hadn't begun to feel marginally better I would have faked it to make it because I don't like my kids worrying about things like that. Maybe I am sensitive to that because my mom used health issues of her own all through my childhood as a way to emotionally bind us to her.
So at any rate, I have rested as much as I can and will and tomorrow the temperatures are supposed to rise which is a blessing. Looking at snow when the leaves are still on the trees is too surreal for me!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturdays begin with KC's dance class. I get to observe the class the first week of November and I can't wait. He seems to be enjoying it so much. As a former dancer I know what he is saying when he speaks of the foot positions and how to hold his hands and he seems to be grasping concepts quickly and happily. But for now, no observation so I spend the hour keeping Lissa content while he dances. From there we go to the library and chat up our friendly librarians and get books and videos for the week. Then it is grocery shopping. If I am super organized I can actually do this at 7:30 on Saturday morning, giving me time to shop and unload and then get to the dance school. I am rarely that organized and it usually happens mid day after the library. By the time we got the shopping done it was lunch time. I bought things to make lunch and packed them separately from our "regular" groceries and we ate with Kirsty at the clubhouse where she works. The kids admired the halloween costumes she is making for them and played and chatted.
Then I cleaned up from the devastation of our visit--well not devastation but it seems unfair to blow in and leave things all awry so I tidied--and then we went to a Forge In. This is a local blacksmithing competition held in a neighboring town. The blacksmithing is amazing to watch. It is a lot more than just making horse shoes and plow shares, though there are some of those as well. But there are also amazing art pieces that are created. Vines that are so detailed you would swear they were real. Butterflies, lacey pieces that just boggle my mind. We watched part of a competion and it was a woman blacksmith. Slender, average in height, totally not the beefy bearded blacksmith that springs to mind when most of us think of that occupation.
There is a bit of a party feel to the competion and there are tents with things to buy if one is so inclined. I am not, but we wander around and do whatever freebie things are there for enjoyment. Today it was face painting, a raffle for books and driving one of those remote controlled cars. It was supposed to be horrid weather today but it was only cold, not rainy as they had forecast. It was interesting because I was really so tired (I am still fighting the creepy respiratory virus from Hades) and I half heartedly opined to the kids earlier in the day that maybe we should skip the Forge In this year. KC was appalled. He remembered virtually everything he had seen and done there last year (and they were different things, voting on pumpkin carvings, a bounce house, and a spectacular blacksmith creation) When I heard how much he remembered, I was horrified that I would so cavalierly try to bypass a chance to make more of those kind of memories. So we went and I am glad we did.
Came home and put away the groceries and did the housework. Made a soup for tomorrow and cookies and supper for tonight. Helped KC and Lissa stencil Halloween decorations while Robbie had some computer time. Then I packed up everyone, including Chet and we drove 20 minutes to our church. Another annual event in the fall is our church's peace vigil. It was supposed to happen a couple weeks ago but was postponed due to torrential rain. We stand outside at the end with our lit candles. We have a peace pole on our church grounds and we encircle it with our bodies, with the light of hope that we are holding and with the songs we are sharing. Watching my kids hold their candles--Lissa being helped to hold hers by a dear friend from church--was another magical moment.
But we were home late for our brood. Walking in the door with tired kids at 8:30 when Lissa is normally in bed a bit after 7. Tomorrow should be um, interesting!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Anyway, in December I get to exercise my juvenile self and take Rob to a holiday concert sponsored by our favorite radio station. I got the tickets tonite and they are primo. Lower arena, full view of stage. They are expensive. But it is part of his holiday celebration. He gets to see The Fray. His world is complete. And his Ooma? Oh she is happy. She gets to see Sean Kingston! Shorty call 9-1-1 Ooma's going crazy on the dance floor! LOL (except I'll probably have to bring some ear plugs to deaden the sound a bit so I don't get a migraine!) Still even if I pay with one the next day, it's all good. Rob is so excited.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
So off I went with the tribe. It was fun. A smallish turn out which is sad as you didn't have to buy books to have fun. There was home made play do to shape into letters, puppets to make in a wide variety of ways, letter stamps (they were raised and made the most amazing imprints in the playdo. I have got to get Lissa some of those) And one of our clubhouse people who is a teacher read stories to the kids.
Because I am "that" kind of parent, when my kids went to the story circle I sat down there with them. Poor Glo nearly cried because I was the only parent to do that. Sigh. But Glo much as I love her I know harbors deep reservations about my parenting. I believe in co-sleeping. GASP. I believe in homeschooling. DOUBLE GASP And whenever possible I embrace child led learning. (Emma, where are the SMELLING SALTS!) It just flat out isn't possible for Glo to believe my kids are getting the educational exposures and the social experiences they need from me, their um, parent.
So sitting at story circle turned into a wee bit of a test. Glo knows that I told her KC who is 5 is a pretty fluent reader. (for the record I am also pretty up front that I didn't really teach this to KC with the exception of reading to him from birth. The kid is a sponge for knowledge) But Glo starts reading and then turns to KC and asks if he would like a turn. He says sure, and reads the next page like nobodies business. Glo raises an eyebrow at me and gives him another page that has more difficult words like "because, know and croak" in the sentences. Again, he rattles off the page with no problem. The story involves an owl who is sleepy in the daytime. Glo asks why the owl might be sleepy. KC looks a little puzzled so she continues with the question "do any of you know what nocturnal means?" KC smiles and says "oh yes! Of course. Because nocturnal means they are up at night time and so they sleep in the day time! " By now, Glo says she wishes the kids in her class in school were like KC. Score one for weird homeschooling parents! LOL
After the story circle it was time for snack and paying for all the wonderful books we found and then we all staggered out to the car with our purchases. Lissa was aglow because she got a pencil. Pencils are for "big kids" and she has her very own. Shiny purple with stars! Rob decided he wanted a book on conversational french phrases so he and Chet could talk with the french canadians when we go camping next summer. C'est bon!
So I emailed Jane back and said that we had never asked her not to call and in fact would love to have more consistant phone contact with her. So Jane will check this out with the "mini team " and see what she can get rolling. That is good and really exciting. Even more exciting was this sentence in her email to me:
"At this point DSS and you all are her” family” so I am treating you all as I would a family and connecting you with the mini-team"
Cool ness! In my heart she has always been my daughter, so I can't tell you how wonderful those words were to read. I am flying right now.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Last night it was too cold to really hang out at the park so we went for a walk instead. It was sprinkling still and had rained earlier in the day so the kids had warm coats and boots for puddle stomping. We did a lot of that and collected leaves and came home very happy. Lissa loves to walk on stone walls now. She has watched KC do this for quite a while and didn't have the courage to do it--which is weird because she has phenomenal balance--but all things in their time.
Chet has been volunteering for a meals program in our area for a long time now. It was actually a small paid position for a few years and then they had the first round of budget cuts and could no longer afford to pay him. He continued on as a volunteer and hoped that funding would be restored so that they could re-hire him. Unfortunately the economic conditions continued to worsen and they have actually had to slash the program still further. Others have lost their jobs and the food service is getting parcelled out to many different sites. Bottom line, there is no longer a way for him to volunteer there. The fellow who had hired Chet called personally and explained it all to both Chet and then to Kirsty. (I think he knew Chet might not get all the details) It was clear he felt badly and i feel badly for Chet as well. I will work on finding another niche for him in the community. He needs that and it is not easy to find. His personality is unique--we are all unique but my Chet a wee bit more so than most! (and I mean this in a loving but honest way) I have found people either like him immediately or he drives them totally round the bend with his constant questions and his lack of ability to keep routines and thoughts ordered in his head. So it isn't just finding the volunteer opportunity, it is also finding that special person who can help him to maintain his focus and his tasks without going batty while doing it. Wish me luck!
Monday, October 12, 2009
Started by bringing my mom's rock maple dresser from Lissa's room down to the room my mom uses when she comes. Mom graciously let us use this dresser for both kids as it was long enough to be a great changing station and hold all the diapering paraphenalia that cloth diapers entail. But now Lissa only wears a diaper at night so it really isn't needed and it dwarfed her bedroom. It is very heavy and K's back is bad, so this was a job for (gulp) Chet and I. Chet has a hard time moving slowly and listening to directions fully so I did this first thing in the morning when he had best chance of success. (read this alternatively as we had the best chance of coming out of this alive!) Amazingly, it went well. We all have our limbs, tempers and the house and furniture survived intact to boot! Then we moved up a much smaller dresser that we had used in our front hall for mittens and hats. I have a new 6 wicker basket system to try in the hall for those things this winter. I sorted and stashed. Made bags of things for Planet Aid and boxes of things which were stored in the attic. I steam cleaned our living room rug, part of our stair hall and the area rug in our work room. I learned that I need to move a steam cleaner s-l-o-w-l-y to extract. I don't move slowly as a general rule. This was HARD, harder than moving furniture! I cleaned our front porch as we are having 2 ton of pellets delivered tomorrow. I had Rob sweep our back deck. I cleaned our back walkway. I convinced Kirsty that we really do need a door pump on the back door we installed some time ago and she put that on. I peeled our indian corn and it is drying in our pantry to make an arrangement for the front door. (we grew it at our garden this year). We delivered a load of completed work to the factory we do our homework for and off loaded and started the new order. I took the kids to the elementary school 1/2 mile from our house to play. KC walked down but rode back in the wagon with his sister. We made halloween sugar cookies to have for dessert tonight and decorated them with an obscene amount of orange and black sprinkles! LOL
It was such a great weekend. Life is always a balancing act and I often wonder if I am portioning my time and energies fairly--giving enough time to children, spouse and maintenance of the home we live in. This weekend felt like we hit the balance perfectly.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
It was sad to see the garden season over, particularly as it was not a spectacular season of production. But that is what gardening is about. The vagaries of the seasons and soon winter will be upon us and I'll sit with seed catalogs and dream of a lush, successful garden for 2010. For now, I was happy that our whole family was involved in the dismantling. KC couldn't bring himself to help, so he sat in the van and drew while the rest of us did the grunt work. He was grossed out by frost bitten tomatos and couldn't get past the ook factor of that! Chet did really well helping and Miss Lissa could haul the stakes over to the car after I yanked them out of the ground. She may call herself a princess, but she does love to garden. Rob is always a good gardeners assistant and the whole job was done in just under an hour.
I confess to a wee bit of garden jealousy though when I read blogs where folks live in climes that permit near year round gardening. I'd so love that, but when your spouse wants to retire to Maine, you have to know it isn't likely in your future!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
It started with our 3 banking errands. You'd think we were Rockefeller or something with me having to go to three banks this morning. And we so aren't. But I did the 3 banking chores with the kids and then we went to KC's dance class. Right after that we always go to the library. A good time for Lissa to move around and get the wiggles out after waiting through KC's class. And a bit of down time for KC who can sit and do a puzzle or read and relax after an hour of focus and activity. From there we went to Sears as I had noticed that Rob needed new sneaks. In a huge and wonderful deal he found the pair he liked and then we saw a clearance rack. I asked if he would like to get a second pair and reserve those just for church and visits to Nana etc. He agreed and found another pair on that rack that looked cool enough to wear. When we got to the check out we found they weren't just on clearance, it was buy one get one FREE!!!!!! You have to know my little shoe loving soul was doing back flips at that! LOL
I also picked him up a couple of shirts as his arms are doing that scarecrow thing again making his long sleeved ones that we bought the end of last spring looking silly. He picked up a pair of jeans while we were in the clothing dept and asked me why he didn't have any of "this kind" as he put it. I said that was because he told me he hated jeans. I was just really quiet and matter of fact about it and you could see that he suddenly actually remembered saying that. He nodded and said, "oh yeah." I told him that sometimes I change my mind about styles and would he like to try a pair of jeans now. The answer was of course yes. He has girls interested in him at church and I suspect that the sweats he favored till now are not snazzy enough when dressing for impressing the person you are interested in. Anyway, this is going to sound crazy to some people but for Rob and I this was a huge wonderful interaction. First off, the remembering of his part in a situation is something that he struggles with. It is easier to fob blame off on someone else, and over time that became a pattern that is hard to break. It is also a risk in Rob's eyes to let on that you really want something. If you don't ask, someone can't say no. So this feeds into the changing the story to suit your skewed reality. Except that today, it was the reality that really happened and indirectly he asked for what he wanted. (I am not silly enough to think he would actually ask outright at this point. I am over the moon when he can set up a situation where I can see what his deepest want is and structure the conversation to get him to own that wish.) So I walked out of Sears a lot poorer and a great deal happier.
From there it was food shopping and the kids were super helpful. Due to the location of Sears we shopped at a different branch of the market we usually use. For some reason every single one of their stores is set up totally differently from each other. Drives me mental as it makes it hard to find things. My secret weapon? I bring 3 children, and that is 3 sets of extra eyes at varying heights. I told them we were going on a spy mission (yup I really said that!) and we had to find where the store had hidden the things we like to buy. We were out in jig time. But it was still nearly lunch time. I had bought lunch fixings there and packed them on the topmost bag. We then we to the apt complex where Kirsty is the clubhouse director and I brought the lunch things in and we sort of picnicked with her. While we were there a boy from the site came in and KC and Rob played a game with him. I like that KC seems totally able to interact with almost any kid of almost any age. This boy was 12 and it didn't matter a whit to KC or to the boy he was hanging with.
Then it was home to unload groceries and swap my washes and check in with Chet. Then back in the car to head out to our cities Apple Festival at the city owned apple orchard. About 10 yrs ago this orchard was going to be sold to a developer and the city wisely ponied up money to preserve the orchard and stop the development. This is the same place where we have our community garden plot. We hung out at the bounce house to KC and Lissa's delight. Rob did an admirable big brother thing and stood in the bounce house when his younger sibs were there. I am paranoid about some bigger kid plowing over my 2 year old or my shorter than average 5 year old. Then we went on a hay ride, visited the petting zoo and picked a big bag of apples. By the time we were h ome again it was 4 p.m. and the natives were hungry.
Nothing fancy on the menu tonight, just beans in sauce over rice, with a big hot from the oven apple brown betty for dessert. I wish there was still some left in the fridge!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
My eldest son will never be able to love me in the way that love is typically shown and expressed. I remember that it took years--we are talking in the vicinity of 8 or 9 years -- of saying "may I have a hug" for him to remember to do this nightly. Part of me will always wonder if he hugs me nightly because it is his habit now after so many years. Part of me doesn't care, because it is also a time when he gives me permission to hug him back.
The first 12 years of parenting Chet were the hardest in my opinion. His aspergers had not been diagnosed. When he was angry he would growl, sometimes he bit even when he was looooong past the age when anyone would expect that response. When he was angry his behavior was almost feral. It was freaky, scary and when we were in public, down right humiliating. More so for my wife than for me I think. I have a bit thicker skin in that regard. He would hit and kick and fight like a wild thing when he was upset. As he got older the restraint holds we had been taught were less and less effective and also holds seemed to be accelerating the issues instead of de-escalating. I remember one day Chet's puberty hormones raging and having him try to punch me. I had been studying karate for a while at that point (and my love of martial arts pre-dated any children in my life) and I blocked and used a joint lock to immobilize him momentarily.
I said that this wasn't a way I wanted us to be and that I would never let him hurt me or hurt my wife. Then I let him go. He has hurt us since, but not intentionally. Only in ways caused by his impulsive behavior and lack of understanding of space and depth.
Now I'll give you that if I hadn't felt physically confident in the situation, things might have been different. If I had a personality like my wife, who tends to be the sort to get up in someone's face when her Viking goddess temper is flaring, it could have all ended badly for us.
And we were lucky too that though Chet is hampered by the differences in his perceptions as related to his disability, he was not to my knowledge ever abused. Nor is he cognitively delayed. Had those been factors, the end for us would I think have been much sadder.
But would I have been unable to love him? Would I have stopped loving him? I can't envision doing so. Or having him think that I didn't love him. And maybe a big part of that, is because in my life, I think my father did stop loving me. If he ever truly loved me. He divorced my mother when I was 19. He moved out of the house on my birthday that year. But when I look back at the pictures that parents take at those moments of a kids life that they want to remember, I remember a lot of tears. Sometimes, the remnants of the tears are there in the picture. I have red eyes in a lot of dance recital pics because he would make really caustic comments when he was supposed to take my picture. I was crying in my graduation picture and it wasn't happy tears, there was another family argument going on right before we went down for the ceremony.
I remember trying to do things growing up to make him proud, to make him show he loved me. And usually, the results were less than I hoped for. And yet, like most kids, I would keep trying. Even after the divorce, when I had a child of my own, I tried to have a relationship with him. I thought the chance for him to be a granddad to my son would somehow make things right. But after a few somewhat stilted visits, he stopped returning the calls, wasn't home when we stopped by. Then one year he moved across the country with his new wife. He visited my sister who lived 30 minutes from me. He never let me know till he sent me a Christmas card 6 months later.
And that was pretty much when I stopped trying. I wrote back a card. But it only had our names, not a newsy note and pictures. And he never wrote again. I hear he has married his third wife and lives in another different state, but I don't know details. And I have pretty much decided it isn't worth my time to care. His love was conditional and some one of the conditions must have been something I wasn't. Or couldn't be. I will never really know what it was.
I never want my kids to feel that they don't measure up. I will never support violence. I will never support illegal activities. I will always love them. And I will do my best to be sure they know that. That doesn't always mean a kid can live at home, I am not saying that either. Just that love remains and is of paramount importance.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
That would be the food hoarding. Can we all say a big ole ICK when I found a sandwich bag filled with frosting residue under a certain child's mattress? (I am frugal and so when I make frosting and there are leftovers I save them in baggies and use the bits and bobs to glaze scones or other breakfast treats. Hmmmm, guess someone will have plain ole scones this weekend. I don't yell about the hoarding. I get that it comes from dark things in the past. And that maybe I will never succeed in beating the darkness. I can push it back, I can make it smaller, I can't make it gone. Because it happened and it is part of who he is. I also found a pack of gum under his mattress. I explained to him that this was of even more concern to me. I don't know if he is chewing gum at night (perhaps while looking at the catalog he had also stashed?) I told him what I didn't want was to go open his door some morning and find out he had choked to death in his sleep because he had chosen to chew gum in bed and fallen asleep. That did seem to get his attention a bit. And it is a legitimate concern.
On the plus side he was willing to admit freely that there are snacks galore in our house. While there is always a fruit bowl on the table I have cookies, cake, ice cream or pie on deck always as well. Home made (except for the ice cream!). He was willing to agree that he always has options for things to eat and never has to go to bed hungry.
On the negative side he blamed hiding the gum on his older brother. Alleged that if he kept his snack in the snack cupboard that Chet would eat it all. I promised to discuss this with Chet who was baffled. Chet said he only had one piece of gum and that was when Rob offered him a piece. This I actually know to be true because Chet chewed the gum for more than 2 weeks, at which point I discovered he was still chewing it and made him dispose of it. (time for another big ole ICK here folks!) But we will see if he agrees to keep the gum where we keep snacks. :-)
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I confess. I am a shoe addict. I don't feed my addiction regularly, mostly because i stay out of shoe stores. I don't care about labels and designer names. I am all about cheap and pretty! My loving family gave me a gift certificate to Payless shoes for Ooma's Day (my day in lieu of mothers day where we honor Kirsty). I ordered on line, thinking then I would stay in budget. . . I ordered the sweet black ballet flats you see above and a pair of slouchy brown boots that I could not figure out how to photograph. Very cool. Then the order came in and I had saved shipping by having it shipped to the store. And I went to the store. And I picked up the order . . . and the black heels. And the black shoe boots. (I would love funky colors but if the shoe costs more than $10 I buy a neutral, black, brown or gray because I will wear it to death.)
Which explains these kicking SILVER loafers. $27.95 and made by Dexter if you care. But, you say, they are not neutral and they are more than $10.00 Ah no, little grasshopper. I am also the queen of finding bargains. These sweet shoes were a mere $5.00 That's right. One five dollar bill.
Lissa likes them too!
Friday, October 2, 2009
The thing is, my kids are high energy. I am used to it. Truthfully, I love it most times. The times i don't love it tend to be cold nights in January and February where the house rings with the rough housing and ensuing squabbles brought on by being stuck inside after supper. Basically up through Yule, we manage the diminished outdoor time pretty well. We are still going to the park now, in October, though for slightly shorter visits. But running the 1/2 block to the park, playing soccer there, and running the 1/2 block home, tends to take the edge off of the wildness. So we get through October and most of November that way and December is all about holiday prep so that works pretty well, but then we slam into January. And all of a sudden, life ain't so good! Part of it is holiday let down, part of it is just that stir crazy factor that sets in.
So that is the "a ha" moment. If I get wii sports and wii fitness we can do this together in the living room at the time that we normally play at the park and maybe it will still burn enough energy to bring peace to my little valley. LOL Stay tuned!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Our evening bouquet of flowers for our kitchen altar consisted of only a few brave asters. The goldenrod has all browned and blown, the time of buttercups and brown eyed susans is past.
And we were practically the only people at the park. We are there almost always alone in the early spring too, but then "park friends" seem to trickle in. In fall, they disappear more abruptly, probably loathe to leave warm houses for the cold evening air. We played our odd version of soccer, running for the joy of it and the warmth it gave us. KC and I actually held our own against Rob which is a pretty good achievement. KC is getting some skills at goalie as Rob is a strong kicker and pretty sharp at angling the ball to where we are not! LOL
Lissa noticed the cold first and so before 6 p.m. we were back home, having snacks and getting ready for settling down. There is no denying it. True autumn is really here. Drat!
disclaimer: I am not a person who denies my children medical care. While I do all in my power through our life style to minimize the need for medical intervention I do not prevent it!
There, that will hopefully prevent trolls from getting all busy on me! :-)
I accept the fact that much of what is wrong with our medical system is nothing my doctor has any control over. He has very few minutes to devote to any patient in his practice. This is true of everyone I know so I see no value in changing physicians. What is good about him, is that he is willing to entertain the possibility that I am informed on various issues. I research, sometimes a tad obcessively. When Chet was about 14 I brought to him my research that was leading me to believe that Chet should have a dx of Aspergers Syndrome. He listened, looked at my research and notes and agreed. Now to be sure, he didn't go write that on Chet's chart. We were stuck with PDD NOS until a neuropysch eval confirmed my hypothesis, but I wasn't dismissed out of hand.
Likewise, I have always been upfront with the natural meds that i use and he is fine with that. Perhaps in the back of his overworked mind there is a bit of relief that I am not calling for every sniffle and asking for the latest and greatest med that was advertised on television the night before.
However the test of our relationship began about 6 months ago when he sent me a note saying to schedule a routine medical procedure that requires radiation. I don't do x-rays. My exception is in cases of severe unexplained pain, such as when Elisabeth broke her hip last winter. Other than that, I believe that exposing our bodies to radiation to stay healthy is something of an oxymoron. Lest you all think the bats have flown from my belfry a number of credible medical journals support this concept. LOL
So I pitched the note. And the second note. Sigh. And the third. Finally last week came a reminder letter for the same test with a handwritten note at the bottom. Please "help him out" and schedule said test or write a letter explaining what was up.
I agonized over the letter. I didn't want to offend my doctor. But there was no way I was having the test. I wrote the letter, including a few links to research that informed my decision. I made two friends read it to see if it sounded acceptable. Then I mailed it, fingers crossed that I somehow wasn't crossing some line that would make my hitherto nice doctor throw me and my family out of his practice. When I got home last night, there was a letter from him.
I opened it with more than a little trepidation. He said he could certainly understand and respect my decision and that now at least he had information to pass on to the insurance company! Wahoo! Life is good. I don't know whether his insurer was concerned (like in a malpractice way) or my insurer wanted it. I suspect the former more than the latter, but I am just glad that it all turned out so positively.