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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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Apples

Every year since Robby was little we have gone apple picking. He thoroughly enjoys running through the orchard, wielding a long pole in the quest for the perfect fruit. Considering that he has no interest in ingesting anything apple related, his zeal for picking apples is a bit surprising. I'm sure that the fun lies entirely with the basket pole, which he considers to be a fierce weapon against the fruit laden trees.

With Robby transformed into an apple slaying knight seeking out the high hanging foe, Timmy and I dutifully trotted behind. Remembering the uneven ground littered with fallen fruit, I opted to forgo the stroller in lieu of wearing him on my chest. Although it was considerably easier than pushing a stroller, I felt a lot of anxiety walking through the orchard because I couldn't see my feet over Timmy. I was constantly worried that I was going to step on an apple or into a hole and fall.

Not wanting my falling anxiety to interfere with the fun, I tried to maintain a carefree demeanor as I gingerly and deliberately walked through the trees. (You never realize how many apples fall off the tree until you try to avoid walking on them.) Between trying to keep track of my feet and avoiding being hit by the long picking pole that Robby swore he could handle, I was mentally exhausted by the time the basket was filled.

Timmy felt none of the angst I experienced and smiled throughout the picking adventure. He loved being outside, looking at the trees and people. He was content being worn and was snug and warm as I schlepped both of us through the field.

By the time Robby had finally slayed enough apples, I was more than ready to head home. I love spending time with him, but sometimes our family traditions are considerably more difficult to execute with an infant. That being said, there was something particularly wonderful seeing my little boy pick apples that are going to be made into applesauce for his baby brother. 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Synonyms

Everyday being Robby's Mom is an adventure. I never know what he will say, do or observe. He certainly keeps me on my toes!

When I pick him up from school each day I have habitually asked his teacher if he had a good day. Although yesterday she said that he did, I could tell by the smirk on her face that there was more to the story. After retrieving Robby from the playground for me, I asked him if he had fun and what he learned.  He said that he had a good day and that he learned about synonyms. 

At this point, he went to retrieve his worksheet from his cubby. He handed me his papers and went to say goodbye to a friend. When I was alone with his teacher, she took the opportunity to lean in and tell me another "Robby story."  (I'm really glad that she is laid back with a good sense of humor because this happens more often than I care to admit.)

"Today we were working on synonyms and Robby did a great job. He was able to come up with a synonym for every word I provided, and at the end he asked for a challenge. Without really thinking too much about it, I asked him to tell me a synonym for a bully."

She really didn't need to finish the story because I was fairly confident I knew where she was going with it. Not knowing how to end the conversation without the conclusion being offered, I tried to smile and nodded as she spoke.

"He said it was a really big challenge and that he would think about it. I started serving lunch when he suddenly interrupted. With his hand wildly waving in the air and hopping up and down, I asked him what he needed.  Without hesitating, he walked over to me and had me kneel down so that he could whisper something in my ear."

At that point I felt quasi-relieved that he had at least requested to whisper his answer.  I know Robby well, and I had a good idea of what he had said. 

Proud as a peacock, my little guy continued to whisper his answer to his teacher.  "I figured out your synonym challenge.  A synonym for bully is a$$hole. Am I right? A$$hole is a good synonym for bully."

All I could do was smile and thank my lucky stars that his teacher finds him endearing.  Last night, we had yet another discussion about appropriate and inappropriate language. After our parental lecture, Robby looked at us with his inquisitive bright brown eyes and said, "But I'm right, aren't I? A$$ beep is another word for bully."  Instead of launching into another discussion about which word was inappropriate, I handed him a cookie and hid in the bathroom. 
 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Expensive Little Duck

Friday afternoon I picked up Robby and his friend Rowan from school for a special adventure.  (Rowan is the neighbor up the street whom I watch every morning before dropping her off at school.)  The pair have been working on me for weeks, trying to casually hint that a trip to Chuck E Cheese would be a lot of fun. (They saw a commercial promising free tickets to every child who comes in costume.) Of course, there is nothing casual when it comes to the hints generated by eager eight year olds! 

The pair schemed as they desperately tried to turn every conversation around to Chuck E Cheese. "Hey Momom, I'm a little worried about my bones. I feel like they could break at any minute. I think I need to eat more calcium. Hmmm.... (scratching his head) Did you know that cheese has a lot of calcium?  Wow, Chuck E Cheese has pizza with cheese, and it's probably loaded with calcium." He isn't going to win any awards for being discrete.

After a few days I mentioned that perhaps we should to go Chuck E Cheese on Friday after school.  They both leaped off the couch and started jumping up and down in the living room,  ironically knocking over a full cup of milk which was also loaded with calcium. While going to the pizza arcade is not my favorite activity, knowing how much my little guy loves it makes the noises, smells, stickiness and expense worth it.  After all, where else can you blow $80 in tokens in the quest to win a plastic duck valued at $1?

Proudly wearing Halloween costumes, and insisting that Hamlet wear a costume too so that they could take his tickets, we set out for the arcade. I wasn't sure how Timmy would respond to the lights and sounds. Sometimes he becomes too stimulated and melts down. As it turns out, he takes after his big brother when it comes to his love of Chuck E Cheese. Smiling from ear to ear as we walked around the arcade, Timmy never stopped cooing and giggling.

After three hours and a small fortune, the friends were finally ready to cash out their tickets at the prize wall. I find this to be the most torturous part of the experience. After standing and wearing Timmy the entire time, I was ready to just go home. I was hoping for a smooth transaction, but I knew that it wouldn't be possible. It takes them forever to decide which plastic novelty they want to claim. Ironic that it takes them so long to chose because the cheap plastic toy is quickly forgotten as it becomes lost in the abyss of the toy box.

At this juncture I try to take a deep breath and remind myself that it is the journey, not the toy, that is important.  Somehow it lessens the blow to think that I spent a tidy sum on an afternoon of family fun. The cheaply made gigantic toy duck with a mustache was simply a bonus, which incidentally I'm fairly certain has already been lost. 





Friday, October 17, 2014

Pink-tober!

I have come to dread October, a month which I previously adored. From the weather to Halloween fun, October has so much to offer. For the past few years, the leaves aren't the only thing popping with color. The season has become tainted with what has become an over-saturation of the pink ribbon.

Please don't get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of those with breast cancer. I have had the disease touch my family, and I know how it can turn lives upside down. I've participated in fundraisers for breast cancer and have supported numerous friends through their battle.  It can be horrific, but it is no more devastating than many other diseases that kill and maim.

I've supported friends and family by flooding them with silly letters to provide a distraction from the ravages of chemotherapy and radiation. I've cooked countless meals for families whose mother was too ill to get out of bed. I've driven friends to chemo and have held their hands as we both cried through their treatments. Not once did any of my friends care if I was wearing the pretty pink ribbon. They only needed me to care.

What has started out as a symbol of support has been consumed by commercialism. Walking through Wal-Mart in October, the casual shopper is inundated with a variety of products sporting the pretty ribbon design. A few companies make a donation to a charity for every pink ribbon item purchased. Most do not and are simply slapping the symbol on the product in order to increase sales.  Sadly, the breast cancer movement has been hijacked in order to increase profits.

In addition to the commercial use of a support symbol, I find myself increasingly annoyed with the pervasive television coverage of this particular strain of cancer. While I appreciate the "check your breast" message, there are a myriad of other cancers and diseases that are just as deadly. I wish that the dialog could be extended to global cancer research.




Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Multi-Purpose Gift

Robby idolizes Mr. Bill.  The two have managed to forge a relationship which is both special and unique. Transcending the typical neighbor relationship, Mr. Bill has become something of a mentor for Robby. He has taught him useful skills that, quite honestly, we lack both the knowledge and tools to impart. From building fences and laying sod to suggestions on how to deal with bullies, Mr. Bill has spent countless hours patiently teaching his little apprentice.

I've come to realize that Mr. Bill is reaping as much from the relationship as Robby. Teaching Robby has provided him with a purpose which he admits has been lacking since he retired. I know that he looks forward to seeing his "little buddy" in the afternoons, and Robby is still excited to tell him about his school day.  There have been several times when Robby has confided worries and problems to his trusted friend before talking with us.

Lately I've noticed a change in Mr. Bill, and I have become worried. His cat of 18 years recently passed away. With the pain of losing Sophie still strong, I can certainly relate to his grief. Robby has also picked up on the mood shift and has been doing his best to buoy his friend's spirits.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by SimplyBridal about a collaboration. I wasn't certain how we could become mutually beneficial, but looking through their catalog I discovered numerous items which were not necessarily wedding oriented. I immediately knew that the 7-in1 multi-tool would become a treasure for my little Koopa. I was planning on saving it for Christmas, but with the recent shift in Mr. Bill's demeanor, I thought that he could also benefit from my giving it to Robby early.

As predicted, Robby was delighted with his "way cool man tool."  Impressed with both the weight (it certainly feels sturdy and substantial) and the variety of tools, he practically sprinted across the yard to show Mr. Bill his new treasure. A stickler for quality and extremely particular about his tools, the multi-tool was granted the Mr. Bill seal of approval. He was particularly taken by the clever design and variety of features offered by a pocket tool. I'm thinking that I may have stumbled upon a Christmas gift idea for the neighbor who has everything!

Robby is delighted with his gift, but Mr. Bill seems equally as happy teaching him how to use all of the tools. From the hammer to the screwdrivers, the pair have painstakingly examined, tried and talked about every feature. In a special way, the present I gave to Robby has also been a gift for Mr. Bill.  I know that we can't take away his grief over his little kitty, but I'm sure that the distraction has gone a long way towards healing his grief. 



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sleeping through the Night

The event that we have been hoping for about since April finally occurred.  After nearly 5 months of interrupted sleep, Timmy finally gave us a most appreciated gift.  On Monday night, he finally slept through the entire night!

Perhaps only a sleep deprived parent can fully appreciate this milestone. After all, I find his sleeping so monumental that I am bragging about it in this blog! Other than visiting with my Mom or recovering from surgery, I haven't slept through the night since he was born. I was beginning to believe that a solid REM sleep was a thing of my past, but Timmy's gift has given me hope.

Okay, in full disclosure, even though he provided me with the opportunity, I wasn't able to sleep through the night. I woke up at 3:00 in a panic because he hadn't cried for his bottle. I threw on my leg (literally because the foot was sideways) and vaulted down the hallway into his room. I lost suction halfway into his bedroom, forcing me to stumble and grab onto the side of his crib for support.  He was soundly sleeping. 

Relieved that he was okay and thrilled that he was still asleep, I went back to bed. I fell asleep until 4:30, at which point I began to fret that something was wrong. My attempts at employing logic and talking myself down failed. I ended up running back into his bedroom, checking on him to make sure that he was okay.  On the way into his bedroom I stepped on the cat (Charlie has yet to learn that it is dangerous to weave between my legs when I'm walking).  Charlie began to shriek and ran directly into the Jumperoo, starting the series of bubble pop songs and flashing lights.

Timmy has been known to wake up when I sneeze two rooms away, yet the music and light show didn't wake him up.  I think that my littlest guy is turning the corner when it comes to sleeping. He has been steadily sleeping for longer periods at night to the point where he finally slept the entire time. I am beginning to see the light at the end of my sleep deprived tunnel. Now if I could only convince him to appreciate the wonders of napping.





Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Another Snake.

Yesterday was busy! I woke up at 4 in order to tackle some reports before Timmy woke up. I've come to accept that anything mentally challenging needs to be conquered in the pre-dawn hours while the house is quiet. I'm not a morning person, but I am beginning to appreciate the solitude that waking up early affords me.

After making breakfast, doing some dishes and convincing Robby that he did indeed have to go to school, I was ready for a nap. Unfortunately Timmy did not hold the same idea. He was fussy and the only way I could keep him satisfied was to wear him on my chest. Standing at the kitchen counter, wearing an infant, is exhausting!

By the time I picked up Robby from school, Timmy had melted into a little smelly bundle of discontent. He valiantly fought napping all day and was simply miserable. I made Robby a snack and a bottle for Timmy before settling into the rocking chair in our bedroom. I knew that he wouldn't nap long, but I was hoping that he would sleep long enough for me to make dinner.

My little guy was hungry! He sucked down five ounces before falling sound asleep. His little arms flopped to his side and his mouth was gaping open. (He is so adorable when he is so sound asleep.) Breathing a sigh of relief, I was getting ready to stand up and put him in his crib when my plans were turned upside down.

I happened to glance up at the ceiling and immediately recognized the slithering form lying on the plastic sheeting (we really need to get that hole in the ceiling fixed). I shrieked and jumped out of the rocker, startling Timmy awake. Let me tell you, he did not appreciate being woken up from such a deep sleep in such a dramatic fashion. He started screaming while I simultaneously began to cry. I really hate snakes!

True to Murphy's Law, Scott had to work late and wasn't home. I saw the tail begin to shake and move, confirming my fears that he was alive. Continuing our streak of luck, he seemed to be lodged underneath the glue trap.  Had he been on top of the trap I would not have been nearly as panicked.  Uncertain that the snake would stay put and alone with an eight year old and an infant, I knew that I had no option but to tackle my snake phobia again. 

By this time Timmy was wailing. I put him in his crib, turned on his fishy mobile and shut the door. Although he wasn't happy, I knew that he would be safe. I put on a pair of gloves, grabbed a trash bag and my makeshift spear (a steak knife duct taped to the bottom of a crutch) and tried to channel my inner warrior. Robby stood on our bed, excitedly watching me on from a safe distance.

I'm not ashamed that he witnessed me crying, because he also saw me step up and conquer a fear. I managed to climb up on the counter top, reach into the ceiling and grab the snake. Thankfully his head was stuck to the glue trap so his options for escape for nonexistent.

Robby cheered me as I threw the snake into the woods, bragging that we "schooled that slithering b@stard." I should have utilized the teachable moment to address his language, but at that point I was so relieved that the snake was out of the house that I opted to high five him instead.  Robby played with Timmy while I put up new plastic sheeting.  Scott pulled into the driveway as soon as the commotion settled down. 

I have decided to ask Santa for extra long snake tongs this year.