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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, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

Well, one of my boys favorite days has finally arrived.  Please know that when I say boys I'm not referring to Timmy. Although I'm sure he will grow to love the holiday, he is too little to appreciate the spectacular fun of donning a costume and canvasing the neighborhood to beg for candy. 

Scott loves Halloween as much, if not more, than Robby. In fact, he put dibs on the holiday when I was pregnant with Robby. Wearing coordinating costumes with his child was, in essence, non-negotiable. Although the pair sometimes lets me tag along, there is no doubt that Trick-or-Treating is a father/son activity.

This year the pair becomes a trio with the inclusion of Timmy. I was a little concerned about Robby sharing this special time with his baby brother, but was pleasantly surprised by the ease of acceptance.  In August Robby began to fret that I wouldn't get Timmy a costume. It turns out when it comes to coordinating costumes and Trick-or-Treating, Robby was excited about the expanded possibilities and increased candy haul. 

I'll post this year's costume this evening, after the triad is full dressed and ready to conquer the neighborhood.  In the meantime, I wanted to share our costume history.  Every time I look at these photos a smile comes across my face!









Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another Milestone

After five extremely long and frustrating months, I finally feel comfortable stowing my knee scooter in the garage. I have been hesitant to put it away out of a fear that I will wake up one morning unable to walk. Since I've been consistently wearing my leg now for several months without issue, I think it is safe to say that I can again completely rely upon my prosthesis.  I couldn't be happier to put this dismal stage of my life to bed!

Robby has been lamenting my returning the knee scooter to the corner of the storage garage. While I hate having to utilize the contraption, he finds it quite fun. He has been tooling around the house for months, pretending to be anything from a military police officer to a food delivery man.  He has become so quick on the scooter that I worry he might tip and fall, necessitating the use of one for real.

Although he is going to complain, I need to put the scooter away not only because I no longer need it but also because we desperately need the space. Timmy's accouterments take up an inordinate amount of room. My living room has become a minefield of large plastic baby seats, each with different features and noise possibilities.  From the activity centers to the jumperoo, pack n' plays and bouncy seats, we have barely forged a path to walk from one area to the other. I couldn't be happier with this type of clutter.

Night becomes particularly precarious. Navigating among the activity toys in the dark requires the precision of the Navy Seals. One misstep and a toy is kicked, starting a variety of loud upbeat songs and extremely bright light shows.  Needless to say, there is no sneaking around our house after dark!  Timmy will continue to utilize his "stuff" for the next few months, but hopefully moving the knee scooter out of the way will help to clear up at least a little of the congestion. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rocket


Monday night the news in our area was buzzing about a rocket being launched from Virginia Beach.  According to all the reports, the conditions were prime for viewing from our house. Since seeing a rocket soaring through the sky is not commonplace in Northern Virginia and because we have a little space enthusiast in our house, Scott and I rearranged our evening routine to make sure we were in a prime viewing location.

Living in the woods is wonderful, but it is certainly not conducive for star gazing.  Knowing the trees would block the view, we packed up the family and telescope and set out for the park. Robby was delighted setting up his telescope in what he declared to be the perfect location. We happily invited other families to join in the viewing fun; Robby's enthusiasm for the launch was certainly contagious.

At precisely 6:45, the time of the scheduled launch, we all began eagerly scanning the horizon.  At 6:48 Robby spotted something quickly zooming upward and began to squeal.  We all took a turn looking through his telescope at the rocket streaming towards the stars. Robby was overcome with excitement and randomly screamed, "God bless America." To my surprise, our fellow rocket gazers followed his cue by declaring the same sentiment. 

By 7:00 we had packed up and returned home, confident in the knowledge that we had seen a rocket launch. Robby was chattering about the launch, recounting every detail when I settled in and called my Mom so that he could regale her with his experience.

It turns out that the launch was delayed. We stood in a field with a group of strangers and excitedly cheered for a passenger airplane. Robby was disappointed but eager for the rocket launch do-over scheduled for Tuesday night.

Last night we again headed to the park, determined to see the rocket launch.  We waited and waited, searching the horizon for any sign of flight. After 10 minutes I received a phone call from Mr. Bill, telling me to come on home. The rocket had blown up at launch.

Robby was devastated watching the replays of the explosion. He calmed a little bit after he learned that nobody died, but then he worried about the people on the space station waiting for supplies.  While we are all disappointed that we didn't have the opportunity to witness the launch, we are thankful that nobody was hurt.  

It turns out that the launch we never saw is one which we will never forget.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Box of Twinkies

Yesterday morning was a rough one. For the first time in over a year, Robby broke down sobbing because he didn't want to go to school. I've tried to soothe his feelings of rejection, but unfortunately Momom can't fix everything. 

He was harboring hard feelings towards his classmates who stood him up for this party. Meanwhile I was feeling frustrated with their parents for rudely not responding to my texts or emails. It is safe to say that both of us were dreading walking into the school yesterday morning. I knew that my only salvation would lie in remaining silent and, let's face it, that has never been a strong suit of mine. Our feelings were too raw for any productive conversation to ensue. 

My little guy is growing up so quickly, but yesterday morning he reminded me of the scared little Kindergartener venturing into unknown territory. I knew that he was both hurt and angry, but I could only hope that we provided him with the mechanism to cope through his emotions. I realized that parents feel their child's pain with an unimaginable intensity.

I stopped by during his lunch to check on him.  He seemed to be doing okay, but the sadness persisted. He asked me to cancel the school Halloween party because his "classmates don't deserve it."  When I told him that we couldn't cancel because we committed to it, he begrudgingly agreed but suggested that a box of Twinkies should suffice. 

By the time I picked him up from school he still seemed downtrodden but not nearly as deflated. He still doesn't want me to host a big class party on Friday, and I will honor his request by scaling back. Honestly, right now I don't feel like investing of energy and money in the event.  We'll probably do cupcakes instead of Twinkies, but not much else. I feel like it is time for another parent to step up to the plate and give back. I'm tired of always being the only one, especially after the big party snub!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hurt Feelings

After schlepping after Robby and his friend at Pumpkinville on Friday while wearing Timmy on my chest, I was ready to come home and go to bed. Unfortunately that wasn't in the cards because we had a lot of work to do to prepare for Robby and Timmy's Super Big Happy Halloween Trick-or-Treat party on Saturday. We had invited Robby's entire class to the party, and were looking forward to an afternoon of treats, jumping and ziplining. 

Robby woke up at 1 AM Saturday, hoping that it would soon be time for his party. While I appreciated his enthusiasm for the party, I did wish that he could have contained his excitement until morning. After I finally convinced him to go back to sleep, I was fully awake. I decided to spend the time baking another batch of cookies, figuring that you could never have too many.

Saturday morning after the moon bounce and cotton candy machine were delivered and set up, we went into an all hands on deck preparation mode. I finished off compiling and organizing the treats while Scott and Robby worked outside. Timmy decided his time would best be spent in the jumperoo, supervising all of the activity. 

In the middle of the commotion I received a text from the mother of Robby's best friend. She wrote that she was in Maryland and unsure if they would return in time for the party. I was heartsick for Robby, knowing that he would be devastated that his friend was going to miss the party. I wrote back and offered to pick up her son so that he could come to the party, but my texts were never answered.

Robby repeated asked about the status of his friend's arrival. After an afternoon of trying to buy time and constantly checking my phone for a text which never came, I finally broke down and told him that he wouldn't be coming. My little Koopa's face immediately washed with disappointment and his eyes swelled with tears. After a few minutes he managed to shrug it off and continued playing, but I knew that he was hurting and feeling rejected. In the middle of what was supposed to be a wonderfully festive event, he was distracted and upset.

I know exactly how he felt because I was experiencing similar emotions. Hindsight can be extremely frustrating. Sitting around the fire pit with friends and family, I kept remembering vague commitments and a lack of enthusiasm whenever the party invitation was referenced.  On Friday afternoon, while dropping their son at his home after our Pumpkinville adventure, I told the Dad that I was looking forward to seeing everybody at the party tomorrow. His wife immediately glanced at him and changed the topic.  Even at the time I knew something was amiss. I recognized the look that was exchanged because I've given it to Scott on more than one occasion.  It was the "go along with it and don't ask any questions. I've got it covered so don't worry" look. 

I wish I had picked up on the signs at the time because I could have prepared Robby for the absence of his friend. I don't know why they didn't come to his party and, after wracking my head for hours trying to figure it out, I can honestly say that I no longer care. My little boy's feelings were deeply hurt, and that is the only thing I care about at the moment. 

Although we had a lot of people at the party, only one of his classmates showed up. Robby was upset with what he perceives to be a giant snub, and I can't seem to find the right words to soothe his hurt feelings. Yesterday during breakfast he asked me to cancel the school Halloween party because he didn't think that his classmates deserved it. I told him that we couldn't cancel the party, but that we could pare down the activities if that would make him feel better.

To be honest, I am fine providing only cupcakes instead of the typical school party I orchestrate each year. I guess, on some level, my feelings are hurt too.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Party Weekend

Robby has been counting down the days, waiting for today to arrive. Earlier this week I decided to become a hero to my little boy by offering to take him and his friend to Pumpkinville for the afternoon. Pumpkinville is the huge Fall festival at the Animal Park. We try to go every year, but of course we missed last year because I was already feeling sick from the pregnancy. Robby never complained that he didn't get to go, but I wanted to make an effort to get him there this year.

Ever since I extended the invitation, Robby and his friend Kabir have been planning the afternoon.  The friends are looking forward to jumping, sliding and petting all the animals. Kabir has never been to Pumpkinville, so Robby has enjoyed regaling him with teasers about what to expect.

 In years past I have always been the one jumping and playing.  Now he is growing up and no longer needs me as a playmate. I've accepted that my roles are to pay the admission, to purchase snacks and  to schlep Timmy around as I desperately try to keep an eye on them.  Part of me is sad to be displaced, but watching him so happy as he plays certainly nulls the rejection. 

After we come home from Pumpkinville it will be all hands on deck for the remainder of the evening.  Tomorrow is a big day! We are hosting "Robby and Timmy's Super Big Happy Halloween Trick-or-Treat Party." We are expecting about 20-25 kids, and we have a lot of work to do.

I'll be baking and prepping far into the evening as Scott and Robby work to ready the yard. We are renting a giant moonbounce slide, but the leaves need to be cleared from the area before it is delivered in the morning. (I also rented a cotton candy machine which I'm sure will be a big hit!) Chairs need to be set up, the sticks need to be gathered, and everything needs to be tidied up before the company arrives.  The weather is supposed to be gorgeous with 70 degree temperatures and bright blue skies. It's my hope that we can keep everybody outside so traffic inside my house will be kept to a minimum.

Last night we went shopping for party supplies and we came home with the SUV packed with food, drinks and to quote Robby, a "crap ton" of candy. I admit that I may have gone overboard with the candy bags, but I couldn't figure out what I wanted and it all looked yummy. I guess that is what I get for going to the store hungry! Robby was in his element happily pulling decorations, plates and treats from the shelves. I love seeing the excitement on his little face.

The next few days will be busy, but I know that we are going to have a great time. I love throwing the Halloween party because it the perfect opportunity for everybody to get together to just have fun. Unlike birthday parties, there is no pressure to bring a gift and nobody is the "star." Instead, everybody can just run, eat, bounce, play and have fun. After the summer we've survived, we all deserve a party!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Great Bread Debate

Yesterday morning was unusual to say the least. For the first time ever, I had an early morning appointment that simply could not be changed. I woke up at 4, quietly dressed and prepared myself for an extraordinarily long day. I was in the car, driving in the dark, before anybody else at the house was beginning to stir.

In order to accommodate my schedule, Scott had to assume Daddy duty.  He took few hours of leave from work so that he could get the boys up, fed, dressed and dropped off at school. This was the first time that he has been responsible for both children on his own, and I am sure he would agree that his novice status was apparent. 

My drive was quiet until about 6:00, and as soon as my phone began to ring I knew that Timmy was awake. Scott wanted to know what to feed him. At first I thought he was joking, but the seriousness of his tone led me to believe that he was sincere. I reminded him that Timmy does not yet have teeth and that a bottle for breakfast would be appreciated. 

At 6:15 he called to let me know that Timmy sucked down his bottle, but spit up onto his work pants.  I suggested that he change clothes, and keep a burp cloth on his lap. He agreed and hung up to change his clothes.

At 6:40 my phone rang again. This time he wanted to inform me that Robby was awake. 

At 7:00 he called to find out how many Eggo waffles Robby would eat for breakfast. 

The 7:30 phone call started a series of interactions that will go down as the Great Bread Debate.  Scott called for instructions on how to pack Robby's lunch. I suggested that he make him a sandwich, but reminded him to cut off the crusts. This sparked a long exchange concerning the specific location of the bread crust, identifying the many sides that can be called a crust.

I contended that bread has four sides, and that each side has a crust.  He believed that the only crust was the bottom and that sides were simply sides and not part of the crust. By 8:00 I couldn't believe that I had debated/discussed/ argued over bread crust for 30 minutes. I was frustrated with our inability to agree about the parts of a slice of bread and increasingly annoyed by the barrage of phone calls.  We finally mutually agreed to end the conversation by deciding that Robby would have noodles instead of a sandwich.

I realize that wrangling both kids in the morning while trying to get ready for work can be frustrating. After all, I do it every day! However, the excessive phone calls became a bit overwhelming. When I finally switched off my phone, I couldn't decide if he was really that overwhelmed or if he was trying to be annoying.  When I picked up Robby, I realized the answer.  Somehow my little Koopa went to school with both his shirt and his pants on backwards. 

Sigh.  On the bright side, I've discovered that my family needs me.