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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active eight year old (Robby) and an infant (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Secret Shortcuts

This past week has been extraordinarily busy. In addition to my own work, I've been trying to get ready for a week away, which basically equates to a lot of laundry! The boys and I are heading to my Mom's this afternoon where we will be staying for the next week. Scott will join us when his school dismisses on Tuesday, allowing him a few precious bachelor days at home. 

I have one more looming responsibility before packing up the car and driving to PA. Robby's class is celebrating Thanksgiving today. In years past I have spent countless hours roasting a turkey, whipping up side dishes and baking treats only to have them devoured by pint sized eating machines. This year I just didn't have time to make a full Thanksgiving dinner early, so I have decided to go a different direction.

I called our grocery store and ordered their Thanksgiving In A Box meal. The class will still be able to delve into a whole turkey and all of the traditional side dishes, all for the bargain price of $29.99.  (The list price is $39.99 but I received a $10 discount because I need the meal today instead of next week.) I doubt I could make the meal cheaper, and even if I could the time savings is well worth the money.

Of course, employing logic has done nothing to quell the guilt that I am feeling. Isn't it silly that I manage to feel guilty because I am not preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, from scratch, for a group of other people's kids? They aren't going to care if the potatoes came out of a box; they will just be excited about the novelty of a Thanksgiving feast at lunchtime.

After thinking and fretting all day, I came to the realization that  I really don't care what his classmates think. I'm only trying to impress one little Koopa and I don't want him to blame the shortcut on his little brother.  Despite my fatigue, I knew I only had one option.

I poured all of the side dishes out of their deli packs and smashed them into my well-used Tupperware containers.  I opened the jar of gravy and poured it into a thermos. I removed the turkey from it's plastic shrink wrap and re-positioned it in my roasting pan. The rolls were pulled from the metal trap and not-so-gingerly put into a plastic Ziploc bag, making sure that they were slightly misshapen in the process.  I may know that the Thanksgiving Feast is store bought, but there is no reason to bring Robby in on my dirty little secret.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forward

Yesterday I took another step (both literally and figuratively) towards total ambulation. I've been back in my prosthetic full time for several months but have remained in a series of test sockets. Between shrinking and nerve issues, I have been playing my own sadistic version of "leg roulette" every morning. I never knew if, when slipping my leg on and taking the first step, I would feel comfort or pain.  It has been frustrating at the very least!

The past few weeks I have been consistently comfortable in my leg. I shrunk considerably, causing me to bottom out in the socket. Despite not feeling pain, dropping down did cause me to become about 1/2 inch shorter on  my prosthetic side. The height difference rendered me with a noticeable limp which, although it wasn't painful, made me feel self-conscious. 

Getting a smaller socket crafted has been on my "to do" list for several weeks, but every time I had an appointment, something popped up. Between work, being sick and nursing Timmy through his tummy virus, I had to cancel several casting appointments. Since I wasn't in pain, I never made rescheduling a priority. 

This past weekend the height differential caught up with me. The all-to-familiar back twinges began to materialize, and I knew that I couldn't put it off any longer. I was casted for a new socket on Monday, and yesterday I picked it up. 

Wow! I thought I was doing well on my previous socket, but I feel so much more comfortable now. The snugger fit allows me to relax my calf muscle while walking, enabling me to go both faster and farther. Correcting the height has made a world of difference. I am no longer limping, and I'm able to walk with a correct gait. Finally, after nearly 5 months, I feel normal again!

I am kicking myself for not taking care of this relatively minor issue earlier, but I am delighted that the adjustments have now been made. I'm going to be in this socket through Thanksgiving and, if all continues to go well, my permanent socket will be made the following week. When I slip on my final socket, I will finally be able to put the horrific revision surgery behind me.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Priority Time

Yesterday was bone chilling cold. Although the temperatures were not nearly as low as they will certainly become in the next few months, the first true shot of winter is always painful. It was the first time we had to pull out the winter gear, cut the tags off the new coats and face the harsh reality: winter is upon us.

Robby bundled up in his brand new winter coat, still stiff from the not-yet-broken-in stuffing, and dashed to the car so that I could drive him to school.  He complained the entire time, but he was not upset with the plunging temperatures. He felt cheated that he had to wear his winter coat but there was no snow on the ground.  According to my Koopa, cold air without snow is no fun. 

I came home and immediately changed into my flannel jammy bottoms. I set Timmy and me up in front of the fireplace and stayed warm and toasty throughout the afternoon. To my delight Timmy even fell asleep and took a long nap in the Pack'n Play which was strategically positioned close to the warm fire.  I took full advantage of the rare quiet moment by sipping a hot cup of gingerbread coffee, raiding the vestiges of the Halloween candy, and shopping online for Christmas presents.

I could have used the time in a more productive manner, but after the stress of Monday, I just needed to relax and enjoy a few moments of solitude. I am working on forcing myself to take breaks simply to unwind and dream. Between working and taking care of the boys, my life has become so hectic that the days are flying by without my reaping much happiness or enjoyment.  I am a much better mom and a happier person and employee when I remember to take some time for myself.  I think I would benefit from carving out a small part of every day to make myself a priority. 



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tired

My goodness yesterday was a long day! Timmy woke up at 3:45 in the morning for a bottle. After feeding him it quickly became clear that he was a bundle of happy energy ready to tackle the day.  Although I wasn't terribly optimistic, I did put my giggling and cooing little baby back in his crib with strict instructions to go back to sleep until the sun comes up. He was rescued 20 minutes later by his Daddy, who was concerned that the cooing would morph into cries if he didn't intervene.  Scott handed me the now wiggling baby and went back to bed.

Hamlet and I camped out in the living room while the rest of the family slept. Luckily he was content playing on the floor and in his activity centers while I desperately tried to inhale enough coffee to bring me back to life. I've come to the conclusion that he is a morning person; he does not get this trait from me!

After playing for five hours, Timmy finally fell asleep. Unfortunately he crashed about 10 minutes before I had to put him in his car seat to take Robby to school. He was not amused being woken up, and voiced his displeasure with my action for the next 45 minutes. Robby almost ran into his school simply to get away from the screaming.

The car seat episode set the tone for the rest of the day. Timmy was exhausted yet fought sleeping at every turn. He was no longer happy playing with his toys or jumping in his Jumperoo. Instead, he demanded to be held and carried. I spent the majority of the afternoon standing at my kitchen counter trying to work with him strapped to my chest.

I was overjoyed when he finally fell asleep, hoping that he would take a long nap and wake up in a better mood. I glanced at the clock after unstrapping him and lying him in his little bed. I wanted to bang my head against the wall! It was 2:15, and I was going to have to wake him up in 30 minutes to go pick up Robby from school.  I wanted to cry, but opted to use the time being productive. I raided Robby's Halloween candy and drank another cup of coffee.





Monday, November 17, 2014

A Little Late

It is hard to believe that my little Timmy will be seven months old this week. He is now a solid 16 pounds and 22 inches long. He is growing and learning new things every single day. Despite starting out with colic, he is probably the happiest baby I have ever met. I swear it feels like he is smiling from the moment I pick him up in the morning until I put him into his crib at night. 

The past seven months have been busy and difficult. It turns out that incorporating Timmy into our family structure was the easiest hurdle we encountered. Between my postpartum infections, my leg re-amputation and the hysterectomy, I have spent the majority of his young life in crisis mode. Finally things are beginning to settle down, allowing us time to relax and simply enjoy being a family.

We were so busy after Timmy was born that I never found time to send out a proper birth announcement. I toyed with the idea of just forgoing the gesture, but to be honest every time I thought about not doing it I felt sad. Timmy is such an important part of our family and I felt that he deserved a birth announcement, even if we are fashionably late in our timing. 

I am fully aware that I am going to receive criticism from some naysayers about the delay of our announcements. Our intention is to simply share our good news and some adorable photos with family and friends. He is a wonderful little miracle and I want to celebrate him, even if I am extremely late with the notice.

I meant to get them out sooner but never quite found the time. Yesterday as the cold rain was falling outside, I decided to curl up in front of the fireplace and start addressing envelopes. The announcements are going in the mail today, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out. 

I would also be remiss if I didn't extend a special thank you to Mary, who is a reader of this blog. Mary lovingly crafted the outfit that Timmy is wearing in his announcement. I received her beautiful gift when things were becoming difficult with the pregnancy. I immediately knew that the baby, whether it be a boy or girl, would wear the outfit in the birth announcement photos.  My dear friend, an extremely talented graphic designer, managed to perfectly capture my vision for his special announcement.  Thank you Tammy for the beautiful design!

If you would like to receive an announcement, please email (amputeemommy@verizon.net) me your address.  I am so happy with how they turned out. In my opinion they were definitely worth the wait!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Horrible Moans

I know that growing up and becoming curious about the opposite sex is a normal part of childhood. I wish I could keep Robby and Timmy in little bubbles, keeping them little and innocent forever. As much as I love watching Robby grow and learn, watching him change from my little boy into a "big kid" is something I'm not sure I am ready to accept.  Of course, my inability to accept the inevitable is not going to keep it from occurring. 

A few days ago when I picked up Robby from school he immediately asked me the age of his cousin Tiffany. I sensed an unusual urgency in his voice so instead of asking why he wanted to know, I simply told him that she was ten years old. He became extremely serious and began to recount the details of his day.

"Momom, Kenny (name changed to protect the little cherub) brought in a book he got at the library. It was a secret book so we had to put it inside a notebook in order to read it. Did you know that Tiffany is going to start developing horrible moans soon? You need to call Nana right now and warn her. If she hears horrible moans coming out of Tiffany's room, whatever she does, she needs to stay away. Horrible moans means that she is going to start growing boobies and getting hair on her girl penis area." 

It took me a few minutes to realize that Robby misheard his friend. Horrible moans were actually hormones. Although, to be completely honest, his interpretation is probably just as correct.

Somehow I managed to keep both a straight path on the road and on my face as he frantically made his case about "horrible moans." The book his friend brought in details puberty and changing bodies. Obviously the boys weren't interested in what was going to happen to them and skipped straight to the female change section.  I really don't think I'm prepared for this stage!

I'm happy that he felt comfortable enough to talk to me about his new knowledge. Although he was wrong on a few of the details, the fact that he initiated an open dialog on the topic is a good sign. I tried to put a mask on the overwhelming sense of discomfort I felt talking to my little Koopa about changing bodies. Thankfully, he didn't want details; he was more interested in passing along the warning to his Nana.

I am really not looking forward to more discussions on horrible moans.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Comet

Although I am not sure the source, I absolutely love Robby's enthusiasm for science. Given the opportunity, he would habitually pick watching the Science Channel and various educational documentaries over cartoons. Needless to say, yesterday's landing on the comet really sent my little guy into a tailspin.

We have had the comet landing marked on our calendar for weeks. Yesterday morning he woke up grinning from ear to ear, proudly exclaiming that today he was going to witness history. He was especially impressed with the fact that landing on a comet was something that has never been achieved, hence it was "rare."  (Have I mentioned that he is into anything dubbed "rare" at the moment.) Robby walked into his school like a trumpeter heralding the comet landing. I was relieved to learn that his teacher had already rearranged the lessons for the day so that Robby and his class could watch the event.

After dropping him off I drove home and began working.  My phone rang at 10:45 and although I looked at the caller ID out of habit, I knew it was Robby's school.  Somehow my little guy convinced his teacher to grant him a phone call so that he could remind me of the landing. I assured him that I was watching, listened to him yammer about the "super duper rare event" that was about to occur before telling him to go back to class.

I have to admit that I have never been into astronomy, but I found myself excited and squealing when contact was established and the landing was confirmed. The fact that a small vehicle could intersect with a moving comet, 4 billion miles away, is simply awe inspiring. I cannot even fathom the intellect required to tackle such an seemingly unattainable goal. The engineers' mothers must be so proud of their sons and daughters!

Within minutes of the landing my phone rang again. Robby's teacher was laughing on the other end of the receiver. She explained that Robby had worked the class into a near frenzy state as the expected landing time approached.  According to his teacher, Robby erupted with cheers and fist bumps when communication was established.  Within moments the rest of the students followed suit, participating in Robby's comet celebration.  (Note to self: make the teacher another batch of brownies. She deserves them!)

Robby was simply gleeful when his teacher handed him the phone. I had no doubt that he was genuinely excited about what has been accomplished. I'm so happy that science, engineering and math excite him. Who knows, perhaps someday he will be overseeing his own rocket exploration missions.