Monday, December 21, 2009
Every year we run into the problem of the kids snooping at Christmas presents. If they see their name on something, they're sure to touch it. We noticed several years ago that our friends, The Little's, used code names for their kids. That made sense to us, and we did it last year using the cast of Scooby Doo. This year, I took it a step further.
I went into Word and made several prints of five different Christmas symbols. I printed them all out and punched holes in them that ribbon can go through. Wrapping will go quickly this year because my friend, Mindy, gave me LOTS of cloth bags that simply need to be tied with ribbon. Yay for time saving!!!
Anyway, rather than writing their names, each child will have a symbol tied to their packages. They won't know which symbol is for them until Christmas morning. And, just to be sure I don't forget who is who, I'm writing it right here. I can't write it anywhere in the house due to prying eyes.
Number One: Christmas Tree because he's always so bright and handsome to look at. And he lights up a room when he walks in.
The Beast: Nativity scene. He's our spiritual one who seems to be most in tune with the Savior.
Pretty: Candy cane because she's just so dang sweet!
Snort: Snow man. Snowman are round and pudgy and adorably lovable, like Snort.
Little Guy: A present. After all, he was our most memorable Christmas gift yet.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Dear Family and Friends:
The humans didn't have time to write their annual Christmas card this year, so they told me I had to do it. They think I have free time on my paws or something. Apparently they are unaware of how hard I work at marking my territory and scaring off the mailman and other unsuspecting visitors.
The big humans keep telling me they're always busy. I keep asking to be walked, but they just tell the smaller humans to walk me. The big man human spends lots of time at his work. He tells me that he has to go there if I want him to bring home enough bones to sustain my current quality of life. He told me this week that I have to get one of those Snuggies for dogs because he got a new job in Saint Louis. I tried to complain, but he said I could take my doghouse. I can't argue with that. Well, mostly. He said I also have to take the cat. I don't like the cat. The big lady human mostly just cleans all the time. I work so hard to make sure I leave my fur all over my favorite chair, and she just swoops right in with that big sucky thing and takes it all off. She keeps telling me this is her house, but I don't see her marking her territory anywhere.
My favorite humans are the little humans. There is the biggest one who feeds us. He keeps telling me he needs to go to school. I've never been to obedience school, and I'm great. I don't really understand why he insists on going there every day. He must be paper trained because lots of his papers are hanging on the refrigerator. He also wears a uniform and tells people he's a scout. He's lucky I like him. I usually chase people with uniforms.
The next human is that one who talks really loud. He goes to obedience school now, too. I'm not surprised about that. He doesn't sit well at all. The nice thing about his school is that now he can read the labels on the food, so he feeds me sometimes now. I get in lots of trouble for making messes of the trash, but for some reason, he's allowed to play with all kinds of weird stuff. He calls it art. I call it a huge mess.
The girl human is pretty cute. I can mostly tolerate her. She likes to make me wear tiaras, though. Doesn't she know I'm a boy dog??? She loves to stand on her bed and sing, and she never gets in trouble for it. If I howl from my bed, I get in really big trouble. I think she must be learning something at her obedience school, too, because she is counting and pretending a lot. I know because she makes me be the one to play with her most.
The little human with the glasses has gotten really big and learned a new trick. He can walk on just his hind legs now!! I've been trying to learn that for a long time with no luck. He must be gifted. He's also really good at doing tricks. When he wants something, he just has to cry and make this really sad face (like on the Christmas card picture), and he gets anything he wants. Most of my tricks don't get me any prizes.
Then there's that little human they got me last year for Christmas. I liked him when he was tiny like me, but now he's big and really noisy. He spent lots of time at the vet this year, and now he has a leash that he wears even in the house. The owners call it a nasal canula and they say he won't always need it. I hope so because I don't know how he could possibly sniff out bones with that thing near his snout. He is also working on wearing those things over his ears so he can hear better. I think he's my favorite human because he walks on all four's like me. And he likes me. And I think he and I speak the same language.
So, that's all the news about the humans. I won't tell you about the other dog or the cat. I don't really like them. And, I don't have time. I need to go wait for that one guy that comes every year in the red suit.
Tino (the dog)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Pretty: Ow! My carseat hurts my penit!
Me: Your what?
Pretty: My penit!
Me: Your penis?
Pretty: Yes! My penit.
Me: Baby, you are a girl. You don't have a penis. You have another part.
Beast: Nope. You don't have a penis. You're a girl.
Me: I can tell you more about it when we get home, Pretty.
Beast: Your penis is called a BaChina!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Snort has a lovely new hobby. Poop art. Poop throwing. Poop tasting. Poop EVERYTHING. For some reason, he chooses only to poop in bed. He then proceeds to do whatever it takes to remove said poop from his diaper so he can use it as a lovely creative outlet. I'm still scarred by the fine creation the King and I had to clean up last night.
It seems we've finally found a resolution to the situation (which would have worked last night had I actually implemented it!!). Onesies and long johns. Picture it: The long john bottoms go on first. The onesie goes over the long john bottoms. The long john top goes over the onesie. Why such a weird way of dressing him? Well, with the onesie on, he can't get into his diaper from the top. With the long johns UNDER the onesie, he can't pull his bottoms off and pull the poop out the side of the diaper.
Snort may be a creative poop artist, but I've been around this block once before. He's going to have to get a lot more creative if he wants to have poop to play with much longer.
Oh, and yes. Pictures of him in his goofy jammies are soon to come.
Friday, December 11, 2009
So, I told the King to enjoy his long hot shower and that I'd run them to school. I grabbed a shirt, loaded them in, and was on my merry way. I didn't worry about the fact that I wasn't wearing a bra, hadn't brushed my teeth or hair, and was still wearing what was left of yesterday's make-up. The assistant principal is always the one to unload the kids from the carpool lane, and she knows me. I didn't mind her seeing me braless.
What I failed to remember is that today is Friday. The DOGS (Dads of Great Students) unload the kids on Fridays and give them all high fives on the way in the door. Oh. My. GOSH!! Some kids' dad was getting my boys out of the van today!!!! Did I mention I wasn't wearing a bra? My boobs looked like something from a picture of an Amazonian tribe in a National Geographic magazine!!! I died just a little bit.
I don't think the guy noticed. He was freezing out there unloading all the kids. That was my only chance at minimizing the humiliation. Yeah. I'm adaquately humiliated for the day.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
We got up bright and early and were all dressed and ready to go right on time. Number One's friend, L, just lives around the corner so we took her with us, too. First we went to Home Depot where they made wooden wagons. Number One made me really proud at this particular stop. He did his project completely on his home with absolutely no help. Then, when he knew we needed to hurry to make it to Lowe's in time, another family came in with much younger children. Number One stopped what he was doing and offered to help them build their wagons, too. I knew we would be a little bit late, but how do you tell a nine year old that his efforts toward generosity are flawed? So, we stayed.
We made it to Lowe's just in time, and all three of them were able to build their gingerbread houses. They were so proud of their projects. We will absolutely be working hard to be sure we get to do this again frequently.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Little Guy was in and out of the hospital for the past week. I managed to get him released yesterday, but tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I hadn't purchased one single thing to prepare for the meal I'll need to make, and that meant I'd need to bring all five children with me. I did have Marlene to help me, but today is the day before Thanksgiving. Have you ever been to a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving? Nightmare, right? Now picture doing that with all five of my children. I know. Scary thought. Take some time to breathe in and out until the trembling with fear subsides.
I decided to try something new with the kids. First, I put together my menu. Then, I broke each item on the menu down by what ingredients would need to be purchased. After that, I google imaged each item, copied the pictures, and pasted them into a Word docutment. Well, actually I broke them down into three different documents.
By the time I was done, I had "scavenger hunt" lists for each child. No two of my kids were looking for the same things. I haven't done anything so smart in a long time. Instead of wanting to go down the toy aisle or begging for things they wanted me to get, they were focused entirely on the items on their lists. It did take a little longer than usual because I waited for them to "find" the items rather than just going directly to them. Basically, I just had to be sure I slowed down in an aisle right near an item I knew was on a list. Because their lists were so specific, I didn't even purchase one thing that wasn't on the list. NOT ONE!!!
So, there you have it. Proof that I do on occasion come up with something smart. Now if only I could come up with something to stop kids from peeing in strange places or make the laundry and dishes wash themselves...
Friday, November 20, 2009
Why do I tell you this? Well, there was an incident yesterday. Number One came home from school deeply distraught. I asked him what happened. "I said a bad word at school." "Oh, well what did you say?" "I'm not allowed to say it." "Well, what did it start with?" "F".
WHAT?!?!?! You said WHAT at school?!?!? I have to say I was proud of myself for not completely freaking out on him and beating him to a bloody pulp. The desire was there, though. We do NOT use that language here, or even watch it on tv for that matter. I will say that my birdie finger has gotten itchy on occasion, but that's about it. Mostly. Still, no F words here.
Apparently, he and another kid were trying to show how cool they are and were just throwing around profanity...in front of a teacher! Hello?! Dude, if you're going to drop an F-Bomb, at least make sure you're not in the company of someone who could potentially haul your sorry butt to the principal's office.
I required him to tell me where he'd heard it. It was the same kid he's gotten into trouble with before. His teacher and I agree that he is no longer allowed to hang out with that kid. He also had to write a letter of apology to the teacher he swore in front of. Lastly, he knows that if he EVER says that word again, he will be washing his mouth out with vinegar.
The F-Bomb. My fourth grader dropped an F-Bomb at school yesterday. Lovely.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
I started by spritzing the carpet with some pet odor stuff. That only worked for a little while. The odor was just getting stronger and stronger by the day. Today I decided that I was going to take the bull by the horns and do something drastic about the smell. It was making me crazy. I vacumed, steam cleaned the carpets, moved the furniture, scrubbed all the baseboards and walls in the house, and cleaned the fronts of all of my appliances. STILL, the odor was there.
I was just about ready to fully remove the carpet from the den and simply live with just the concrete. In a last ditch effort, I got on my hands and knees and tried following the smell. Again. It seemed to be over by the television wall. Since I was on the floor with a bucket and rag, I figured I should also scrub the fireplace. It was looking particularly yucky anyway.
That's when I found out what the real issue was. THE FIREPLACE! Someone has been peeing in the freaking fire place. At what point does a child (or more likely a pet) think it would be a great idea to pee in the fireplace?!?!?! I scrubbed, bleached, scrubbed some more and finally scrubbed on last time. At last the smell was gone.
All that blood, sweat, and tears and the answer was there the whole time. Oh well. At least I have some real deep cleaning done now. That'll probably be it for a long time to come, too. I hate deep cleaning stuff like that.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Marlene's creation. I guess I see a resemblance
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I think it needs to be put out there that no person is ever going to be exempt from pain and suffering at some point in life. Why, then, do we often find people crying "why me?" when bad things happen? Sometimes I feel like the only answer I can give is "Why not you? What have you done to exempt you from ever having undesirable things happen to you?"
Let me explain myself. It's my firm belief that muscle can only be built through hard work and endurance. The same goes for emotional and spiritual muscle. If we don't have opportunities to endure, we don't have the chance to build our emotional and spiritual muscle. While times of trial and tribulation can often seem like a dark tunnel with no light in sight while we're in the midst of them, it's undeniable that we come out stronger because of them. We may not see it right away, or maybe not ever in this life, but the painful hardships we endure today are providing the framework for the stronger, more capable people we have the potential to become tomorrow.
I get asked the same question all the time. It's not always phrased the same way, but the jist is the same. "How do you do it, Aimee? How do you handle five very young children, three of whom have special needs? Do you ever wonder why you are the one with these children and these difficulties?" I'll tell you how.
It's very simple really. I was taught from a very young age that the trials we face in this life are God's way of complimenting us. We are told that God won't ever give us more than we can handle with His help. If He honestly believes that I can handle all that He's given me, He must think very highly of me. And that is a compliment.
Another thing that leaves me feeling okay about mothering these particular children is greed. Plain and simple. I'm greedy. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that enduring to the end will result in guaranteed blessings, and I will do anything to earn more. I know that these blessings come because I've experienced it first hand. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that my family and I have had far more goodness in our lives than we've had hardships. It's not even always so much in a spiritual sense. Sometimes it's just plain and simple happiness. Before we had children with special needs, we were unable to see the amazing details of day to day life. We didn't realize how amazing it is to see your child walk for the first time, or to hear him utter his first real word. We took good general health for granted. The task of breathing in and out while still keeping our hearts pumping was mundane and never thought of. Now, I relish the time I spend just watching Little Guy breathe in and out and in and out. And I'm happy for those things.
I think there are many people who live by the misguided notion that living a life that is good and faithful to whatever religion they embrace should exempt them from pain. The truth is that there is really no "vaccine" for hardship. No one can prevent it from spreading to themselves. Living a good and faithful life is simply one way to find the tools to face pain head-on when it comes. When we live by the principles of some gospel and have a belief in some sort of God, we give our lives a sense of purpose and meaning. We give ourselves an outlet through which we can seek out peace and comfort. All of these things can ease the pains we suffer, though they can't prevent them from coming in the first place.
Setting aside the spiritual aspects of it all, I have to ask why NOT me? Were I to sit down and cry and pout and beg someone to explain why me, I would hope someone would point out that I am no different than any other person on this planet. I don't come with some special ticket that allows me to go directly to the front of the happiness line. Last I checked, there was no "get out of jail" card for pain and suffering. Why and how could I for one minute think to myself "why me?".
If not me, then who? Who would I see fit to suffer my pains and frustrations and disappointments? What makes me so much better than anyone else that I should think I don't "deserve" this to happen to me? Really, who does deserve to suffer? Is there one person more deserving of afflictions like cancer than another? Does one set of parents "deserve" a perfectly healthy baby more than another set of parents? Does one baby deserve to come into the world and become part of a healthy well-functioning family more than another baby? Were we really able to decide who to give pain to, how would we decide that? How, as a society, would we decide why one person over another?
I'm not going to lie. It's not easy. I've had frustrations time and time again. I've had times where it just seemed like one bad situation after another was piling on me. There have been times that I've felt that I just needed to sit down and cry, and that's precisely what I've done. Just cry. I get tired, so very tired sometimes. Sometimes I want to run and hide because I feel woefully inadequate for the responsibilities placed before me. On occasion, I have to acknowledge that it hurts to know that so many people look at my children with pity. Who wants perfect strangers to feel sorry for their children? No, it's not easy. It never has been.
To those who ask me how I do it, I want to say that I really can't imagine not doing it. Mothering these children is what I was born to do. They are my purpose. I don't know that I had the tools to provide all that they needed from day one, but I know I've worked hard to gain those tools, and in so doing I've become a better person. Facing my hardships head on has made me a stronger person in so many aspects of my life. I've looked the fear of failure in the eye and beaten it. I'm by no means the perfect mom. I never will be. But I, with all of my shortcomings, am the perfect mom for them. That I know for sure.
I don't know that my ramblings have made any sense in terms of the Why Me Syndrome I see so often. My point is simple, though. When we sit down and cry, why me, we miss out on seeing the opportunities for growth right in front of us. Whether it be growth for our caregivers in our times of physical weakness, or our own opportunities to gain knowledge, or simply the opportunity to come to really appreciate life for all it is, the opportunities are there.
My plate is full. All our plates are really overflowing with stress, worry, pain, frustration, and whatever else is weighing on us. I can't ask why me because I honestly can't think of one reason why NOT me.
Monday, October 12, 2009
So, what has been the latest and greatest shopping issue? OLD PEOPLE with coupons and competitors' advertisements. I'm not suggesting that I have a problem with elderly people. I think they have something wonderful to offer to society. If we could learn more from the history that our elderly carry with them, we would prevent a huge portion of societal problems that we see today. See? I do value old people. But we need to discuss their shopping habits.
Without fail, every. single. time. I go to the store, I choose the wrong check-out line. It seems like common sense, right? Choose the line with the least people in it who also have the emptiest baskets. I mean, don't we all do that? Really? Is there any other way to pick a check-out line?
If I am using the same method to choose a check-out line as every other person in the store, how is it that I am always the person behind the old lady that has serious "shopping issues"?!?!? In this economy, I can understand the desire to save a penny here and there, and respect it. But, let's use a little common sense, old ladies! If the coupon says it expired four years ago, it really means it. It's no good anymore. And, no, you can't ask the checker to just scan the same coupon twelve times so you can save twenty cents on your cat food over and over and over and over again. And, really, do you need to have someone run a price check on every single thing you've purchased? It's a can of tuna, for goodness sake!!! Does sixty-nine cents vs. sixty-seven cents really make that much difference to you? REALLY?!?!? Let me just pay for that for you. Consider it a gift. No, not to you. To ME. Inevitably, I'm behind this lady and have children with me who are tired and grumpy and hungry. Without fail, I tell you!
Then there's the lady who feels the need to comp. every item in her buggy. Again, I respect the desire to save some money. I wish I could be better at it. But, if you're going to comp. every single thing, maybe do us all a favor and make sure you have the right items! Make sure the advertisement you're using to comp. with is from this century. Just like coupons, stores only honor what is still valid. Really. It's true. No amount of talking and begging is going to change that. What? You don't want the items if you can't comp. them?? Seriously? You're going to make the checker re-scan every single item so you can be sure she's done it right, and you're going to put back what isn't really a good deal for you? Wow! Just wow!
Lastly, there's the old lady who refuses to write out her check until she has fully inspected the receipt and asked for explaination of at least twenty items on the check. Would it be so much to ask that you check your receipt later? How many errors can there be after you've made the checker unload and re-scan every item with you standing there breathing down her neck?
Honestly, every shopping trip in the past three weeks has resulted in me getting in line behind these very sweet old people. The best part is that, since I'm stuck in the line for who knows how long, these same old people feel like they need to touch Little Guy, make comments about his oxygen, and hearing aids, and point out that birth control is an option. Let me just help you out, you lovely elderly people. Let me just go ahead and answer your questions right here for you so that you don't have to ask them.
"Does he really need that oxygen thing?" No! I just thought it looked really cool and was trying to start a new trend. Before long, everyone is going to have their babies wearing oxygen.
"Those are hearing aids in his ears? Does he really have a hearing loss?" Again, nope. I am just really trying to start this new trend. You know, so that we can teach children from infancy to be more accepting of Deaf people and people who need oxygen.
"Are all these kids your's?" No, of course not! I just don't think a trip to Wal Mart on Saturday is at all complete without half a dozen kids. I went ahead and borrowed these extras from my neighbors.
"You do know what causes all these children, right?" No, would you mind telling me. I'd like diagrams and flow charts, please. OR, my personal favorite answer to that one: Yes. I do know what causes it. But, I'm trying to do my duty according to God by using my talents. Is it my fault that my talents cause children to come?
And, while we're at it, please stop touching Little Guy. I know he's adorable. (He gets that from me, you know.) I know you feel sorry that he has to wear that oxygen. (And, you shouldn't feel sorry, by the way. He loves the oxygen. It keeps him from turning blue. Really.) I know there is nothing more irrestible than a sweet baby smiling up at you and kicking his adorable legs for all he's worth. But, please, if you think he's that cute, tell him from a distance. Look at him, talk to him, make stupid faces at him, do what you want. Just do it from a distance.
Well, I feel much better now that I've let out that little rant. I think it's probably been festering for a while. I think that little release should keep me good to go for at least the next four or five shopping trips. Honestly, I think it's just time to accept the fact that I am a crazy old lady magnet.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can't really determine where I'm going until I acknowledge where I've been, or at least try to determine what the thing was that got me here in the first place. Obviously choosing the King was the pivotal point that got me where I am. I mean, let's face it. Without him, there wouldn't be five little people running around calling me Mommy all the time. But, what was it that got me to the point that I was good enough to deserve such a great guy? What happened? What moment or series of events led me to the good life I chose?
It's plain and simple. I'm lucky. I am just about the luckiest person who ever walked this great Earth. I very obviously have a Father in Heaven who saw something in me and did His darndest to save me for whatever it is He wants me to be. I am lucky. I am lucky to have had a biological dad who signed the papers to turn me over to my mother and her family. Had he stayed in my life, I would have taken his path of less resistance. So, I'm lucky he signed those papers. I am lucky to have had grandparents, nutty as they are, who took me in at eight years old instead of letting me become a foster care statistic. I am lucky to have had a birth mom who came with a truckload of issues. Her issues impacted me in that they made me stronger. I'm resilient. I always come out on top, not necessarily unscathed, but always on top.
Obviously, the King and my children are the biggest evidence of my luck. There is never any question of that. As for the pivotal thing that happened to me in my life to get me here, there has never been any question of that, either. It all goes back to luck (and the undeniable hand of God in my life).
I was thirteen years old when luck hit me once again. My favorite uncle and aunt had just had their son, and two weeks later moved away across the country. I was crushed. I cried and moped and was just generally sad. At that moment, it felt like my motivation for making good choices had just disappeared.
Enter Min and Hen. This moment. This day that they moved in five houses from my home is still fresh in my mind. I didn't know it on that day, and wouldn't really realize it for almost a decade, but that day was the day guardian angels came into my life.
Min and Hen just happened to be Mormon, like me. Imagine that!! Two LDS families in CT living on the same street. Unheard of! Min and Hen happened to have something I loved, a bargaining chip of sorts. They had a baby boy, and a baby girl was on the way. And they needed a babysitter. Jackpot!! I didn't feel at that time that I was good at much, but I was a pretty good babysitter. That babysitting job was life altering.
I got a lot out of being with Min and Hen, which was good because I spent a LOT of time with them. In time, they even gave me my own house key. Hen was a typical guy in a lot of ways, except he was a "smart guy". He used big words, and I usually pretended to know what they meant before going home and opening my dictionary. My favorite word from Hen: Scatological. Not sure what it means? Look it up. It fits me well. Really.
Then there was Min. She taught me how to sew on her sewing machine. I must have made four thousand hair scrunchies. (Don't get all excited, people. I don't remember even a little bit of how to sew. I can barely sew on a button anymore.) She gave me real responsibilities in her home. She trusted me.
It was the little things they did. They made me a real part of their family. I went on their little vacations and day trips with them. Min even got a cookie jar with my name on it and kept it stocked with my favorite cookies. When my family went on vacations, I stayed behind. And I stayed with Min and Hen.
From all this, it sounds like I just happened to work for a nice little family who happened to like discussing poop (did you look up the definition of Hen's word yet?) and knew what kind of cookies I liked. It was more than that, though. I don't know if they intended it from day one, or if maybe they realized later on down the road that there was a need, or if it was just...well, luck. I don't know what it was, but they inspired me.
Something about them made me want to make right choices. I didn't ever want to let them down. That's not to suggest by any means that I didn't screw up here and there. I most certainly did. (Hopefully to this day they don't know ALL of my screw-ups!) But, I wanted to be better for them. They made me a part of their family, and I wanted to deserve that privilege. They were NORMAL. It was like I had finally become part of a "typical family" with a mom and a dad who loved each other and respected each other. All these years of knowing them, and I still don't know if Min and Hen fight. If they do, they do it behind closed doors where their children aren't privy to it. Finally, I was part of a family and I didn't want to blow it.
In the eighth grade, I started smoking. I don't think it was much more than curiosity and it didn't last long. My worst nightmare would have been Min finding out and looking at me with that one look she had when she was disappointed and disapproving. She didn't give me that look often really. I remember getting it when I started dating a guy she either didn't like or maybe just knew I shouldn't have been with. I may have gotten it a time or two when I was beyond disrespectful to my parents. I just remember wanting so badly to never see that look again. I didn't want to disappoint her. I wanted to deserve to be a part of this amazing family. And, eventually somewhere somehow, I came to realize I didn't have to work so hard. I was in. They accepted me with no questions asked unconditionally-even with the mistakes.
Shortly before my senior year, the worst case scenario (I thought at the time) happened. Hen was being transferred. To the exact opposite side of the country!!! I worried about what I'd do without them. (And I happen to know they wondered what I'd do without them.) We kept in touch all the time. They weren't with me physically, but they were with me in thought and spirit. And I survived that year. Mostly.
When I moved away to college, I'd spend my summers with Min and Hen. I lived in their garage, and I loved it there. I worked at a local daycare center, attended a singles ward in their area, and got a real view of what a family could be. They laid the groundwork for what I would base my own marriage and life around.
The day I was married, Hen signed the marriage certificate as a withness. Min stood in as my mom. (My own mom couldn't come and my grandparents boycotted the wedding-that's a whole other blog post.) Their daughters were my flower girls.
Looking back on it all now, I know what really happened. A Father in Heaven put them in that little house down the street from me at a time when I was most vulnerable and also most malleable. They didn't need me to babysit. I needed them to be examples in my life. I needed them to show me what marriage, life, and truly living the gospel of Jesus Christ could be. I needed them.
They laid the groundwork, and then when the time was right, they were literally the ones to stand beside me and send me off into the life I was destined to live. They are still there in the wings cheering me on, wondering what on earth possesses me to do the crazy things I do, and always having every ounce of faith in me that I'll succeed. And I haven't let them down yet...I hope.
So, I don't really know where on this planet our family will wind up. I don't know what sort of goofy antics my children will get me into, or what sort of medical/developmental surprises they have in store for me. Wherever it is that we, as a family, and us as a couple and I as wife-mom-me wind up, I know it'll be okay. I know that because I know what got me here in the first place.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
As much as I loved how long and princess-like it had become, I also knew that it was getting scraggly. She really needed a good cut that would help her get rid of the dead ends and give her hair a chance to grow in a little thicker and healthier. So, yesterday I took the plunge. I finally let her get her first official haircut. And I did it on a whim.
She was so proud. She loved wearing the cape, having her hair squirted with bottled water, feeling the chair go up and down, and seeing all of her long locks on the floor. I, however, was sitting in the chair next to her feeling the need to breathe deeply into a brown paper bag.
In the end, she was as beautiful as ever. Maybe even prettier than she was minutes before. She walked out with her hair about at her chin undercut into a bob. I blew it out for her today, and I'm just astounded by how beautiful she really is. We won't even talk about how grown up she looks. She's a little lady now.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It has actually been a really emotional thing for me to lose her as my children's pediatrician. I had always pictured her being there for all five of my kids' milestones, meltdowns, and whatever else comes along in a kid's life. I figured she'd be the one to see them through the "awkward teenage years" and sit down with them to explain all the changes their bodies are going through. I figured she'd be caring for their babies someday. I figured she'd be the one on the witness stand testifying in my behalf when I officially lose my mind and make my boys wear pink ballerina underwear to school as a punishment for whatever it is they do to make me nuts, and then they turn me into CPS claiming emotional abuse. I fully expected that she'd be the one reminiscing with me when the last one of my children finally leaves the nest, and a new kind of emptiness consumes me. I just couldn't ever have pictured anyone else heading up the medical care of my children.
I have special memories of her with each individual child. With Number One, it was the time when he was about three that he came down with something like strep. I had decided to be the cool mom who taught her kids the correct terminology for their body parts. She looked down at him and asked him what was wrong. His response:
"Well, my throat hurts. And my head hurts. And my ears hurt." Then a long, thoughtful pause. Finally, "...but my testicles feel GREAT." said with a very big proud smile. I could see her really wanting to giggle, but she maintained her composure and let him know she was glad those felt good.
It was also Number One that first led me to her office in the first place. Here I was a young mother of just one child. I wanted the best for him and had asked around to find just the right doctor. I put a lot of research into my decision to see her, and I wasn't disappointed. Not even a little.
With the Beast, it was all about his hearing loss. ECI eventually became a huge source of relief for us, but she was the stone we really stood on. She was our comfort zone. I remember her telling me at his two week check that lots of babies fail to pass their newborn hearing screen and that he was likely one of them. When the test came back with a significant hearing loss, I remember seeing her look at the paper work as baffled as I was. She never once pretended to have all the answers. She didn't even pretend to know all the right questions to ask. She just did what she knew how to do best-support us in our new journey. She stood by us and worked with us as we sought out specialists and resources for him. Most importantly, she cheered him on with each obstacle he overcame. A lot of our success in parenting him should be attributed to her. I feel like she is such a key player in the amazing outcome we've had with him.
When Pretty was born, Dr. M. knew just how beyond words delighted we were to finally have a girl. It was no secret that I longed for a daughter. She was so gentle with her, especially since she was such a tiny fragile baby. It just so happened that Dr. M's daughter has the same name that Pretty has. Her name was misspelled on her chart, and Dr. M. noted it. She made sure she made a little stink about it until the office staff fixed it. It's not like it made any difference in the quality of care. It was just that it showed me that she saw my tiny daughter as a real person with a real name and a real life and real stories that she would someday live out.
At about five months old, Pretty had some serious pooping issues. They actually wound her up in a hospital for a while, and resulted in the need for a highly specialized diet. Dr. M. never let it slip her mind that there were certain drugs Pretty couldn't have after that problem. Even to this day, she asks me what I'd rather Pretty be given simply out of respect for me as her mom.
Snort was only four weeks old when he first became deathly ill. We took him to the ER on Christmas Eve and he was admitted for a full week after that. I was devestated because I was missing Christmas with the other kids. Dr. M. came to spend time with Snort every single day that he was there in the hospital. She didn't have to do that. There were other doctors on call, and she has a family of her own. But she was there. She wasn't rushing in and out. She took her time, answered my questions, and just generally made a miserable situation survivable. Snort has a long history of health issues. Dr. M. has been there every step of the way helping to unravel the puzzles he presented to us.
This past February, Snort and Pretty both ended up in the hospital at the same time. Little Guy was just weeks old. I came unglued. I mean completely unglued. Dr.M. came to see them at the hospital and I was just a sobbing mess. I hadn't slept in days, was trying to nurse a newborn while cloning myself to be in two hospital rooms at once, and was feeling deeply responsible for the fact that they were sick. I just sobbed and begged her to make it better. She looked at me, smiled and said "Aimee, you're so tired. You need to sleep. You need to let someone else take that baby home from this hospital where he isn't exposed to other germs. You need to go home. You must sleep." She just said it over and over. "You're so tired, Aimee. I know this isn't really you. You need to sleep. Take your baby home, let others help, and sleep." I really was at the end of my rope at that point, and sleep deprivation had taken over. But her gentle words and simple smile made it okay for me to let someone else take Little Guy from me. That moment is still so vivid in my mind. It's just not something I can ever forget, or ever take back. And she was so key to that moment, and in the recovery of Pretty and Snort.
And then there's Little Guy. Hearing loss, pulmonary issues, and developmental delays are a lot to place on the tiny plate of such a young person. I never worry about Little Guy slipping through the cracks with her. She asks questions and keeps looking until she finds answers. And she listens to ME. She knows that I know my children better than anyone else on the planet, and she values my opinion regarding their care.
All of these things put together create a very emotional me at the thought of losing her. I know there are other doctors in the area. That's not the issue. But, they aren't trained in AimeeTheSuperMom skills. They don't know that I know everything and must be listened to or else. Other doctors don't realize that my children are the sun, moon, and stars and that their care should be the only thing they worry about ever. They don't know how crazy all of my kids are. They aren't privy to stories like the incident where the Beast peed in strange places or Pretty tried peeing standing up. (Hmmmm...seems we have a lot of bathroom issues in this family, doesn't it?) I'm sure they're all good doctors, and the one we've chosen when she leaves is more than capable. But, what it boils down to is that they're just not HER. And they never will be.
I'm really excited for Dr. M. She's moving on to much grander things. She'll be in with a leading Children's hospital, and will no doubt be a huge asset to them. I just hope she's as loved there as she has been here. That new children's hospital has a rare treasure on their hands.
Best of luck, Dr. M! We will miss you greatly.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Several hours later, I walked into the Beast's room. Unfortunately for me, I also opted to breathe in. Gasping for air, I asked him why it smelled so...um....how should I say this...manly in here? He and Pretty beamed with pride as they both pointed to the completely empty bottle of the King's cologne. You have to understand. This is the same bottle the King has had since before we were married TEN YEARS AGO. And it was still three quarters full. It's not that the King never used it. It's just that very little is required to have a lasting affect. The whole bottle??? Suffice it to say his room smelled like a strip club full of dirty old men. And garlic. (But that's left over from last month's incident).
I opened his window, hosed him down, and made a really stinky dinner in an effort to destink the house. It didn't really work. It's better now, but he still has a lingering "Man Smell" about him. I can only assume his teacher was just delighted with that.
Hopefully next time Number One decides to try out his dad's smell, he'll remember to put the stuff back on the shelf. Hopefully we can prevent any further cologne wars.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Yeah. Me, too.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I realize your job is probably less than pleasant. I can only imagine that driving around with dozens of kids who have been trapped behind desks all day and would like nothing better than to hijack the bus and take over the world in Pinky and the Brain style can cause you to be rather grumpy.
Still, Mr. Bus Driver, surely you realize that comes with the job, right? I'm sure you read the job description and understood that you'd also be dealing with parents, right? So, why then, Mr. Bus Driver, are you being such a grumpy bucket to me? After all, I am the one who makes it possible for you to have one less unruly ants-in-his-pants-noisy-running-like-a-chicken-on-speed-with-its-head-cut-off kid. Rather than looking at me like I'm the bane of your existence, how about a smile once in a while? I know. That's a lot to ask. Seriously, though. Whatever it is that has gotten your panties into that much of a wad is surely something that will pass eventually. Problems are like bad gas. They really stink, but eventually it all subsides.
Why am I writing this to you, Mr. Bus Driver? Well, it's about the "yellow form" you needed me to sign and give back to you. Yes, I do know you gave it to me Wednesday. When you came to drop the Beast off Thursday, you asked for it and I told you I had it inside. You told me to just send it to school with him and you'd get it that way. Friday morning, I saw to it that it was in his backpack. Just like you said. Today, when you asked me for it and I said I'd put it in his backpack, you shook your head at me, threw your arms in the air, and drove off like I was some idiot. Mr. Bus Driver, let me just clarify. I am not the idiot in this situation. YOU told me to put it in his backpack. I'm not suggesting that you are the idiot here. I'm just sayin'...well, you get the idea.
So, please Mr. Bus Driver. Dislodge your panties. They're wadded far too high up there. Rest assured that I have read the student bus riding agreement, and I do know that my child may not climb out the roof escape, that my other children may not board the bus at any time during drop-off, and that it's not okay for my children to climb out the window of a moving bus. Rest assured, Mr. Bus Driver. All is well.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
There are some very real possibilities for the King at the corporate office of his current company. It would require us to move across the country to a new place, but it would put dinner on the table and put us much closer to something long-term and more stable. Who can complain about that, right?
So, the King is looking long at hard at numerous jobs, and is focusing mostly on the corporate position with his current company. In the meantime, I'm shining up my pole.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
As I approached my van, an older gentleman sitting in a car parked next to me opened his door and asked me if I needed any help. I get that question a lot, but I think most people are just being polite and are secretly hoping I don't really need any help. I noted that he smelled like an entire liquor store, and smiled at him and said, "Thank you for your offer. I've gotten pretty used to doing this." and continued my business.The next thing I knew, the gentleman was out of his car. "I just can't sit by and watch a lady do all that work while I do nothing.", he said. And without another word, he unloaded my cart, lifted Little Guy's oxygen tank out of the cart, and then took my buggy and put it away so I wouldn't have to leave Little Guy to do it.
I realized at that moment that my judgement of him as a man who just stunk of booze who couldn't really help me was as far from the truth as could possibly be. This was a good man who sincerely wanted to help.
That afternoon, I went to Sam's for the cake. Not one handicapped spot was available. Great! Just what I needed. I took the closest spot I could find and lugged Little Guy and the oxygen with me until I could find a spare shopping cart in the parking lot. I ran into the store, got the cake and some snacks for the Beast's little party, and hurried back to the van.
I was going quickly because I still had to get Snort and Pretty and make it back in time for Number One and the Beast to get off the bus. I was going really fast.Because I wasn't in a handicapped spot, the parking space was a little bit narrower than what I usually had. I had to put Little Guy's tank partly into the vacant spot next to my van so I could unload him, put his carseat back in safely, and then set up the tubing so he wouldn't choke himself. It isn't a lot to do, but even when I'm going my fastest it takes a minute or two.
As I was standing there, a woman who looked to be just slightly older than me pulled into the spot where Little Guy's tank was. She looked at me as if to say "Hey! Move that thing. I want this spot." I moved the tank over a bit, but it was still slightly in her desired spot. (Not that there weren't 300 other spots to choose. She just wanted this one because it was 5 feet closer than the next available one.) What did she do? She pulled her car right up to his tank and parked it there! She got out of her car, tried to be kind, and said "Good thing I have a small car. I don't even need the whole spot." And she walked off.
I stood there stunned. I had misjudged the poor man that morning who genuinely wanted to help as someone who really wouldn't want to be bothered. And, I had summed this lady up as "another mom", someone who would understand what I was trying to do and be patient. I couldn't have been more wrong in either case.I am amazed every day about the things I learn about other people as I go about my life as a mom with special needs children.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Marlene walked into the living room yesterday, and told me I just had to come see what she was seeing. So, I grabbed my camera and made a dash for it. This is what I found. Can anyone else tell what is wrong with this situation? Here's a hint: It would explain why Snort and Little Guy always seem to be sick at the same time.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Me: My name is no longer Mom. It's Suzie Von Rozensnotz. If you can't say it, I won't answer you.
The Beast: (in all sincerity) Um, Suzie Frozen Snots, Pleeeeeeeeze can I have a treat?
*Sigh*. So much for changing my name. I guess that's what I get for trying to be sarcastic with a Deaf kid.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here is the list of items discovered just today:
An entire bottle of breastmilk supplement capsules all opened and their contents scattered throughout the room.
Several princess dress-up shoes, but only the left ones.
A petrified banana peel in the lego bin.
New decorations permanently drawn on his floor.
I also learned that, even if your bed is on the floor, you can still hide things under it. That's where I found the very sad remains of my new package of press and seal, dress-up princess bling bling jewels, and severeal missing socks.
*Sigh*. He will outgrow this someday. Right?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I inched up to the tv stand and could hear it louder and louder. I was just sure this was going to beyond words disgusting. Maybe a man-eating spider or a rodent of unusual size or *gasp* a snake laying eggs. Gently, carefully I edged up to it with the sword in hand. I leaned over and looked trying not to get too close with my face in case it was something that could eat my face off. And there, looking as innocent as he could, was The King's stupid cat trying to catch a fly.
Yeah. You know you're a weenie when you're literally afraid of a fly.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Number One had the first day of his last year of elementary school today. He is pretty sure he rules the school. He is definately too cool for "all the baby stuff" like having your mom walk you in the door and wearing weenie hair. Ok. The King explained to me that it was no longer cool to have your mom cut your lunch sandwich into heart shapes. So, off to fourth grade he went with a square sandwich.
The Beast had his first day of Kindergarten today, too. He and his BEST friend, Miss P., are in the same class together. I couldn't be more thrilled. Miss P. keeps the Beast in check and helps him remember to make good choices. They were so excited to go to school together.
Pretty and Snort are back with Ms. Buffy. Pretty was completely heart broken that she didn't get to go with the Beast and Miss P. She literally fell to the ground sobbing that she didn't get to walk in line with them. The three of them played together all day every day this past summer, so I'm not too surprised to see that she was so sad about the change.
As for Little Guy, well he now gets three mornings a week to just cuddle with his Mama. And that's just how it should be. Right?