24 November, 2009

Who ARE you?

Jake's face is so bruised from his fall that the facial recognition software on mysuperMac doesn't know who he is.

It is less black and blue in some places, and more in others. It is ugly.

Jake's precious teacher called me yesterday and suggested that since his Motrin had probably own off, perhaps I should pick him up from school...and so with Squid's two daughters already trapped in the car, we drove all the way to Wunderskool to get Jake. He was so happy to see Iz and Mali that I think he forgot about his nose for a bit. In fact, I swear I saw him blush when Iz said she liked his shirt later when we were in the car.

After Mali convinced a stranger  her new best friend, Jake's teacher, to open the bathrooms so she could go, we all piled into the car and went to Lucy's school. We were quite the entourage, with Mali skipping ahead, Iz chatting chatting and Jack lagging behind trying to shake me off of his arm while he wandered at his own pace, swollen-faced and silly...then we added Lucy.

It was a herculean effort to get them all off the playground, but the promise of Dairy Queen had ALL of them clamoring to the gate and heading towards the car.

Dairy Queen went so smoothly that I actually said out loud to Iz that I sometimes wished I "had this many kid."

Don't worry. Not. Gonna. Happen.

23 November, 2009

Doesn't that Hurt?

Jake is on his way to school now, the van slowly winding its way down the Peninsula until coming to rest at his personal oasis, WunderSkool. The doors will open and one of the precious, talented and caring aides will greet him...

and this morning they will gasp. Jake has a big old broken nose. It's so ugly that I haven't taken a photo, and probably won't post it because it will require a disclaimer.

Here is my artistic attempt using a stock photo from Adam:


It didn't actually happen on my watch, and for that I am grateful. Doesn't that sound awful? I just worry all day every day that something terrible will happen to my children, something that I could have prevented had I just been parenting a little bit more diligently.. well this is one of those times when I was not even in the building... so phew... Somehow I am perfectly aware that accidents happen and have no blame or harsh words for anyone else should my child be injured in their care, but, in my typical style, I have very little forgiveness for myself should something happen.

Okay since this is not all about me... poor Jake.. Descartes got the bleeding to stop fairly quickly, and Jake was never crying or upset at all. He just doesn't like to hold still. By the time I got home a half hour later Jake was playing and laughing and his head was swollen and turning colors. We gave him some motrin. He went to bed.

We haven't had a major injury for awhile.. not since the nail in the foot? Does that mean we had an injury-free summer? I know I'm missing something.. oh there was the time when he badly bruised his gentleman's region.

But whatever amount of pain he may be in he was sure ready to go to school this morning, waiting at the door again, and hiding his face from me when I said, "Let me look. If it's too bad maybe you shouldn't go to school." He said, "Aw Maaaaw, " and laughed and ran away. Okay fine. Go. GO to school... then I can just sit here and wait for them to call me to pick you up.

So I decided to be proactive. I just called school and warned them. His lovely teacher said, "Well, if there is any fresh red blood I'll call you and we can talk, otherwise if it's just old blood...it's got to go somewhere, so that's fine. Have a great day."

okay then...

17 November, 2009

Sleep Perchance to Dream


I should sleep. My babies are sleeping, my husband is sleeping, the dog passed out hours ago.. and here I am awake and so.. I will post a few photos:

Here is Lucy loving Leelo's 9th Birthday party.

Mostly because she got to wrestle all over her Daddy with one of her best friends Mali. Descartes is a very nice Daddy.

Jake had a great time at the party too. He even went into a jumpy house all on his own without any pushing or cajoling, although he preferred lying on his side and having the birthday boy's daddy talk to him through the netting. I think Jake likes all of the vestibular stimulation of a jump house (autism) but dislikes the feeling of instability (cerebral palsy)... kinda sucks when your comorbids are in conflict with each other. He usually spends his time at jumpy house parties trying to get behind the giant slides to see the blowers.

Over all we had a great time at the party. Lucy was over tired, but generally, it is always just so nice to be with "our peeps". We can really be all of ourselves with this group of people, and I think we all co-parent very nicely, providing hugs and hair tousles and chasing random kids back into the room if they have escaped down the hall, praising one special needs kid for helping out another "more special" kid.

My children feel safe and happy with these people, so Descartes and I do too. It's also nice that there is a mix of kids; boys and girls and age ranges and neuro-typical and non-typical development (way to go Rosenberg's for having a great group of friends!) .. and p.s. the staff that was working this particular day was very helpful and actually acted like they liked us, and our kids... and we were not a distraction from their lives. They worked hard and smiled and showed patience for our children.

It is just so great to see Jake laugh and smile again. It's like we have our boy back after 2 years. He can go to dinner (twice this weekend), experience new routines, open doors, laugh at his sister. He is growing and learning. I think school is going so well, that even though he may be starting "an episode" I think he is handling all of it so much better with the support and structure of school and the happy parents at home, that one dose of Maxalt may sweep whatever brain aches are starting to appear. I asked him tonight if his head hurt and he made this weird face, not a yes, but not no either. He's been doing I Dream of Jeanie squints for yes.... but he was trying to answer me. We are going to get there, a little bit at a time.

It just feels like we are on track right now, except for the laundry and the dishes, but those things are every day (all day!)... right now we are even keel, able to take on a smidgen more work or study...or perhaps a touch of relaxation?


Every once in a while it feels like we are all okay, and it's alright to rest for a moment,

and dream, just a little bit.

and with that, I am off to bed.

13 November, 2009

My Own Little Symtom Checker

With one reported case of H1N1 (that I know of ) at one of the kid's schools, it is no wonder that I wanted to be certain of the symptoms...by the end of my reading I was sure I had it without getting up from the couch. From some time last week:

H1N1 Symptoms from the CDC website

“It’s that time of the month, and this month is worse than others” Symptoms or "Wait, Am I Pregnant?" Symptoms

“You have two children, who without a doubt are the most precious things alive on this entire planet, but it’s possible that the term “It takes a village” was really just talking about raising those two kids” Symptoms"

fever *It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

put your sweater on then take your sweater off. Repeat all day long. or slightly elevated body temperature

sweaty brow

cough



sore throat


hoarse voice

runny or stuffy nose



body aches

body aches

body aches

headache

headache

headache

chills


chills, because even though everyone else in the family is wearing a jacket you were running too late to go back in the house and get yours

fatigue

fatigue

fatigue

sometimes diarrhea and vomiting

vague nausea

nausea caused by eating the wrong foods quickly




11 November, 2009

Today We Honor Those Who Serve

Do you know how amazing it is that I even exist?

My mother's father was on the shores of Normandy that June day in 1944. They called him "The Old Guy" because he was 31 years old. We called him Grandpa Vic, but his given name was Joseph Victor Aloysius Bell, and he lived through that first wave of soldiers who hit the northern coast of France on D-day. He was a radio guy, a Tech5 which is a corporal I think, and he apparently connected calls to General George S. Patton many times.

My mom says he didn't tell many of the bad stories about war, only the interesting ones (watching three beautiful girls walk arm in arm on the streets of Paris, each with a different shade of hair: two of which were blue and red). He shared with my mom only one story that was not all rosy: Their unit had been bombed heavily, and one (very) young man was shell-shocked, crying, screaming- hysterical. Apparently my Grandfather slapped the young man across the face then rocked the lad in his arms like a baby until he finally calmed down much later.

Most of my memories of Grandpa Vic need prompting; he died when I was in third grade. I do however remember the smell of his pipe, and the neat little cabinet he had to put his pipe and tobacco in. I remember his sparkly eyes and handsome smile. My brother has inherited his beautiful wavy hair that looks combed all the time, and a body that always looks strong.

I may not remember that much, but I do remember he loved my mom. He loved her so much that I can recall the way he looked at her and spoke to her. I know that feeling now that I have my own children: he loved her like he was amazed she existed, every time he looked at her.

I honor him today, and my great grandfather Jack who served in WWI, although I suppose I should remember them officially on Memorial day since they have long passed from this life. My "Unka Dunka" who served in Desert Storm and whose body has never quite recovered from his injuries there, still soldiers on, soldiering from such a young age. He's retired now, but still wears that same haircut I'm sure.

Thank you Veterans. Thank you.

06 November, 2009

Not in Any Particular Order

  • I heard a story of transformation last night that brought me to tears. I have said many times about how different the road ends up looking when you have a child with special needs. Sometimes, many times, nothing looks the way you had envisioned your future, not the number of children you decided to have, or the kind of home you thought you'd live in, or the travel you thought you'd take, or the career choices you would have made, or the activities you thought would occupy your time. Most of the changes in our life are for the better, or have made me a better person, and the woman who spoke last night shared her journey of youth to adulthood, to parenting, to special needs parenting, and ultimately to a place that is taking some of those dreams and hopes she had as a young woman and moving the pieces around so that some of it will work again in this so-different life she now has. It was inspiring, and courageous and a joy to witness. I hope each of my friends has a similar reawakening.
  • In our own corner of the sky, Descartes has been researching "adventure vehicles" or at least that's what I am calling them. They look a bit like this or like this.
    Could be the perfect way to go camping with Jake and Lucy. We aren't gonna be the family that takes a year off and travels around the world with the kids. As adventurous as Jake is with trying food, I don't think he would be happy with that much constant change. Maybe Lucy and Mommy can take a few adventure trips out of country when she is older, but we need to figure out what our family looks like if it doesn't look like all of the things Descartes and I planned. Off-the-beaten-path camping might be a happy thing.
  • Descartes and I have sort of decided that we are going to try to take our kids to as many National Parks as they will tolerate before they start leaving home. Descartes' family was sort of a road tripping family, and while I think my mother would rather eat dirt than sleep on it, we did our share of National Parks when I was a kid too. As a family, we've already been to Point Reyes, Muir Woods, Golden Gate, and Yosemite, and Jake has also been to Fort Point, Alcatraz, Pinnacles, Lassen, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton. In fact, Jake took some of his last baby steps right on the boardwalk next to Old Faithful. The day we got home from Montana he walked by himself across the living room (he was two)
  • For some unknown reason a subscription of Golf Magazine recently started coming to my house. I canceled it this morning. Some marketing company did a very bad job determining my behaviors.

03 November, 2009

Forward

I am not much for forwards.. in most cases I immediately go to a Snopes-type website and send back the link that "proves" that onions do not ward off the flu, no, Michelle Obama does not have the most staff ever for a First Lady, and the ACLU is not about to remove cross-shaped headstones from federal cemeteries. In reviewing the over 11, 700 emails in my Gmail inbox, a search for the term "Fwd:" returns "thousands" of entries. I got as far as 1,900 before I decided that I did not need to know the actual number to prove my point. They are mostly from less than 7 people: 4 of them are family. Back when I worked in an office for a 40+ hour a week job, when the computer was not my own, I actually asked two of those people to stop sending forwards at all because I could never guarantee that the contents of their emails would not be overtly sexist, racist, homophobic or some other less egregious form of fodder for firing me from my very politically correct company. I could not delete some of those emails fast enough, and not just because I did not want to get caught, but because I did not need to have "that kind of stuff" in my head. I don't think most of it is funny, or even amusing, and because of the way my memory works, some things get seared in there forEVer. The movie Seven *really* did a number on me.

But today my mom sent me a link titled Random Thoughts, and I thought, hmm that's a list I might write myself, kind of, well, maybe not, but I kept reading the email. It's not some amazing thing, don't get all excited...
  1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. (now luckily, I am not doing anything illicit, or at least not anything the most conservative person in my family would be that upset about.)
  2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong. (this never happens to me hahahahahahahahahahahahahah)
  3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
  4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
  5. How the hell ..... are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? (as it turns out, I do know how to do this. Here is a good place to learn how if you don't know. Yes, I just put a link to Martha Stewart in my blog post.)
  6. Was learning cursive really necessary? (I think it is sort of sad that the human race will eventually forget how to do this, because when you write things down with your own hand it is harder to ignore what you are saying and how it might hurt someone.)
  7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
  8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
  9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired. (I am actually trying to track this a little bit. Here is a good place to make your own challenges for healthy living.)
  10. Bad decisions make good stories.
  11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
  12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again. (Now that we have children we have fallen off the early adopters program and get teased *before we even leave the store* about how smal our flat screen television is.. thank you Sage's husband, Pops!)
  13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.
  14. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this -- ever.
  15. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring: Hello? Hello?, but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away? (this is actually my brother's biggest pet peeve)
  16. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.
  17. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call. (I am not this evil..ever, well, almost never...)
  18. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that? (with Lucy we get questions like: Who will I live with when I get older? How will I know when it's time to live with someone besides my mom and dad?)
  19. I think the freezer deserves a light as well. (actually, my freezer does have a light, and a seat heater and a moon roof. This list writer must have the next version down from mine. That always happens to my dad. If he did buy the version with the light in the freezer, it would malfunction and melt everything in the freezer, or his moon roof would leak and ruin the upholstery.)
  20. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than a "K". (I just recently understood this commercial, having heard it for years and thinking they meant, literally, "every kiss begins with Kay". I thought that was a sad statement that it took jewelery for anyone in the world to kiss... what they meant was the play on words that "every kiss begins with :K:" the letter duh. the word kiss begins with the letter :k: AND the jewelry store Kay Jewelers begins with the letter :k: Uhm yeah.. I am still a bit stunned how not smart that whole thing makes me feel.)

*********************

In other news, the book My Baby Rides the Short Bus: The Unabashedly Human Experience of Raising Kids with Disabilities has just arrived at my house. My dear Squid and I each have a piece in this amazing book. I am so honored to have been included amongst these very real stories. My mom just called and told me it is a "box of Kleenex" kind of book, which makes sense to me since she is Grandma and can't "fix" anything for anyone in this entire book, including her own daughter's life. I have developed a small part of me that has grace (it's still really very small, but I am trying). This part of me feels very badly for my mom, and others in her position. They grieve once for their children, and how hard their lives have become, and they grieve again for the disabilities of their grandchild, and all of the dreams they had to do those grandparent-type things like take a child to her first opera and take a jaunt on an overnight train and go to Paris (okay I was lucky.. those are things I did with my grandmother). I haven't read very much of the book yet as I have been trying to organize my time all over again having added a new regular work gig to my already pressing desire to be a good parent and better-than-mediocre wife while attempting to not epic fail as El Presidente of the Special Ed PTA. It will all come together or it won't, and the book will get read in the car at stoplights and on trips to Tahoe I suppose, but I am very excited about it. I ripped open the package and read Squid's entire story. She is really a great writer and I am more than flattered that part of her story is about the time we first met. It is a rather precious story, and when I am reminded of it it makes me smile and be so thankful for this wonderful community.
**********

We're good. Can you tell?






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