About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (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, January 18, 2019

Snow Fight

We woke up this morning to a fresh coat of snow on the ground. It isn't enough to cancel schools, but my goodness it is pretty. The tree covered branches of the trees in the forest surrounding our house is a simply breathtaking view. Before everybody wakes up, my life feels tranquil and calm when the snow is falling. 

As I was sipping my coffee and looking at the snow gently falling my little wrecking ball ran and jumped on top of me, bringing me back to reality. Timmy is already begging to go play in the snow and is undeterred by the fact that the sun has not completely risen. His early morning persistence woke up Robby, who was not amused by the unwelcome wake-up. Now I have a grumpy teenager and a frustrated preschooler. 

Pulling a trick from my Mom's deck, I set the timer on the oven for when we can go outside. Somehow Timmy seems to accept that we can't go outside until the timer dings, and his outbursts and insistence has stopped. I really wish I had tried her trick earlier!

The tranquil and laid back vibe from my first cup of coffee was immediately shattered when the kids wake up. I love them both to the moon, and I could use a plethora of adjectives to describe their attributes. But calm and tranquil are not among them. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Cat Food Yogurt

I don't know what has gotten into him, but yesterday Hamlet was bouncing off the walls. Because he had a runny nose I kept him home, away from other kiddos. I also kept him out of the snow, prompting him to be quite vocal about his opposition to my decision. When properly channeled, he is going to become a gifted protestor someday!

Hovering in the awkward area between feeling well and being ill, nothing seemed to satisfy or entertain him. He was extraordinary high maintenance as if he wanted company in his misery.  When he didn't receive what he wanted, he reverted to an Oscar-worthy tantrum. Scott came home and found Hamlet naked and bright red as he was screaming about wanting to add cat food to his yogurt.  

I'm hoping that he is in a better mood today because this old lady is at her wits end!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ice

Much to the chagrin of the boys, the snow is already beginning to melt. While schools ended up being canceled yesterday, today things are almost back to normal. Scott has a two-hour delay to safeguard against the ice that always accumulates overnight.

I don't mind snow, but I absolutely abhor ice. I disliked ice before my amputation but trying to navigate while wearing a prosthesis makes me feel vulnerable and scared. Each time I see the sheen on our steps and driveway my anxiety begins to rise. In a perfect world, we could have snow without ice!

My Yak-Trax definitely help, when I remember to put them on but aren't always convenient. Planning ahead is not my strength!  I am notorious for wearing the foot guards out the house and forgetting to take them back out when leaving the car. Not having the guard when I need them does not make them terribly useful in my life.

Both boys love the ice that accumulates overnight. They are quick to don their gear and head outside to nature's slip n' slide. Because Robby is 12 and a good big brother (most of the time), I watch this adventure sipping on my coffee from the comfort of my living room. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Allergic to Cold

My little Hamlet is loving the snow. If it were up to him, he would probably spend all day outside in the fluffy white wonderland. Alas, the snow life is not an option for him. Timmy was diagnosed with Cold Urticaria, which basically means that he is allergic to the cold. When he is exposed to extreme cold, his skin becomes painful, hot and develops hives. 

Timmy is undeterred and determined to enjoy the snow.  We really didn't want him to miss out, so after a lot of research we invested in the highest quality snow gear we could find in his size. Working together, we can get him ready to play in the snow in about ten minutes.  Scott and I have mastered bundling up our little snow bunny!

Even bundled up, Timmy can only be outside for about 45 minutes before his skin begins to react. If his skin makes contact with the snow the reaction occurs much quicker. We learned this lesson the hard way when he was munching on snowballs.  After a few minutes, he began to complain that his face hurt and that something was wrong. His mouth and cheeks were bright red and hives were beginning to form. I immediately took him inside, we warmed him up and after a few hours he was ready to go outside again.  

I feel badly that Timmy has to contend cold urticaria, but we are managing. Things could be much worse, so even though it is an inconvenience and a worry, we are grateful. We have the ability to protect him while playing and we have learned how to read his reactions and symptoms. By the end of the winter, we hope to have it figured it out.

Monday, January 14, 2019

SnowFun

This weekend was all about snow. We spent Saturday talking about the impending storm, finding all of the snow gear and schlepping in loads of firewood. By Saturday evening the flakes were beginning to fall and the excitement was growing. 

In retrospect, Scott and I probably should have tempered the family snow enthusiasm.  By the time he went to sleep on Saturday night, Timmy was already begging to go outside to play and to throw snowballs. We tucked him into bed with the promise that he would have plenty of time and snow by morning. After catching him sneaking out of his room to peek through the windows several times, he finally fell asleep.

The little rascal woke me up at 5 AM, begging to put his snow gear to go sledding. Let me tell you, that wake up was painful! I managed to convince him to stay inside until the sun was up and my coffee was consumed, but as soon as I gave the go-ahead he was ready to go.

While Scott plowed the driveway and our street, the boys and I played in our newly created winter wonderland. Both boys had a blast throwing snowballs, building a snowman and sledding. We spent the entire day either playing in the snow or warming up and drying out before going outside again. By the time we managed to convince the boys to come inside for the final time the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping. 

With schools already canceled for tomorrow, I suspect that the fun will be continued. It has been several years since we have had significant snowfall. I've forgotten about the degree of exhaustion that comes from pulling sleds and dodging snowballs all day.  


Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday!

Sipping on my coffee, gearing up for the day ahead. Robby will continue trudging through his work in the morning while I try to keep occupied. This afternoon his classes resume and I know that he is looking forward to being reunited with his friends and teachers. Vacations are always nice, but there is something to be said for routines.  

Robby's classes have been paused for nearly three weeks. Because he was sick, he has missed his friends for a month. Thankfully he has been able to stay connected and "hang out" through Skype, computer games and in a VR chat room. (I realized that his technology skills have officially surpassed mine when I found him chatting with his friends while sitting alone on his bunk bed wearing VR goggles.) 

While Robby is at class, Timmy will go to one of his favorite play zones. He loves running and climbing with new buddies, and I appreciate the free wi-fi which allows me to get some work done. All in all, this is going to be a great way to end our week!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Changing Hats

And just like that, our spring weather has disappeared and winter has arrived. Today we will be curled up by the fireplace, keeping warm and waiting for the flakes to begin to fall. It is hard to believe that just two days ago we were at the park, running and playing without coats. I know that I will be singing a different tune in a few months, but I'm glad that winter has finally come to Virginia.

Today I'm looking forward to baking cookies, relaxing by the fire and hibernating from society. I have spent the entire week at various playgrounds and bounce arenas. I need a break, and I think Timmy does as well. While my little guy loves to run and play, he still doesn't know how to regulate his off switch. 

Hopefully, Timmy will be content to play with his toys at home and watch Polar Express. Robby has done a great job working completely independently on his work, but he has reached a point where he needs some guidance. Today I'm going to take off my fun coordinator/ taxi driver hat and jump into teacher mode. If we get Robby caught up, I think we will all be able to play in the snow this weekend!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Socket Woes

With my primary socket being repaired in San Francisco, I've been relegated to using my back-up. Although it fits, it is not nearly as comfortable as the one that broke. Of course, the comfortable one broke and my conventional has never failed, so I suppose there is always a trade-off.  

The comfort from adjustment comes with the risk of failure, which can be both scary and dangerous. I don't like falling!  I don't know how I will be able to overcome my insecurities and fully develop socket trust after the tumble. I miss the comfort though, so I'm going to give it another try when it is returned.

My back-up socket is comprised of only carbon fiber. While the design is rigid and unyielding, it is nearly indestructible. I have never worried about the socket breaking and failing, but its constant use has created a number of skin issues in the past. Since I am relying on it every day, I find that I am more aware of my prosthesis because of the cramping and discomfort that arises when I walk longer distances.  

My limb aches more in the evening, which I know is attributed to the socket. But I realize that I am still able to walk and keep up with Timmy's activities, so I am fortunate. At least I have a prosthesis to use! Too many amputees in this country are still struggling to come up with the funds to buy their first device so that they can experience ambulation again.  

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Duck Pond

With spring still in the air (despite it being January), we spent several hours playing outside. Timmy is particularly fond of riding his little push bike and loves nothing more than either me or his brother to join him. Usually, I ride with him. As it turns out, Robby has recently discovered the joys of my electric bike and has been eager to take it for a spin whenever possible. He was more than willing to go for a bike ride with his baby brother, and Timmy was ecstatic for the adventure with Robby.

As both boys departed down the street on their bikes, I walked behind them. (The irony that I had somehow lost my Christmas present to my 12-year-old wasn't lost on me!) The boys had a blast riding and quickly rode out of my line of sight. I was nervous not being able to see Timmy, but I knew that he was safe with his big brother. Letting go of the reigns, or allowing somebody else to hold them, is definitely not easy for me!

Robby is a wonderful big brother and did a great job supervising their first bike ride. The pair rode to the duck pond (about 1/2 mile away) and back without an issue. I was sure that Timmy was going to be tired when he got home, but he was chomping at the bit to go again. It's a good thing that Robby likes my electric bike because I'm pretty sure his little brother is going to keep him pedaling for a long time.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Introductions

This weekend was dedicated to potty training. We didn't stray too far from home out of the fear of getting Timmy away from his developing skill. Instead, we played outside where he discovered the thrill that comes from peeing on a tree. (I must thank his brother for enlightening him to this new possibility.) 

So far, all of the predictions of a colder than normal winter have yet to materialize. I know that most people are delighted with the unseasonably warm temperatures, but I miss the cold bite of January.  I know that the boys would find just as much delight playing in the snow as they do riding their bikes through the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, we don't have snow so Timmy spent the afternoon running around the yard after the ball and riding his bike. We were able to finally meet the new neighbor. He is young and seems very nice. I'm not sure that we made the best impression though. Timmy wished him a "Yabaddee Christmas" and then said, "Watch this." I barked, "Don’t pull down your pants,” but it was too late. 

Hamlet had pulled his Thomas the Train big boy underwear and pants all the way to his ankles and began to pee on the tiny tree at the edge of the road.  The look on our new neighbor's face was one of shock and perplexion.  Let me tell you, it's hard to recover from that type of introduction!

I suppose I'll just focus on the positive.  At least he remembered to pull down his pants this time!



Friday, January 04, 2019

Potty Trouble

With a new calendar comes new goals. Actually, the new year has nothing to do with my new dedication to potty training. When I turned the calendar to January I realized that I have no places that we have to be for the next six days. Knowing that we could stay home and dedicate time and energy to mastering the potty (and the ensuring laundry) has spurred me to tackle potty training this week. 

Yesterday morning we ditched the pull-ups and introduced big boy underwear. I was initially optimistic because he stayed dry for a few hours and peed in the potty like a seasoned pro. As the day wore on my enthusiasm waned and the mountain of laundry grew. He seems to have absolutely no bladder control and unleashes urine on a whim. 

As I was following my little urinator around the house, mopping up accidents and changing underwear constantly, I couldn't help but feel discouraged. I really stink at potty training kids. (On another note, I would not want to take a black light to my living room right now!) 

Timmy seems to be unphased by his accidents, and would happily run around the house dripping wet. I don't really know how to toilet train a kid who doesn't care. I know that consistency is key, so we are not giving up. Last night we caught up on the laundry and we have a new stack of big boy underwear and sweatpants for the day.   Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Prosthetic Failures Stink!

We spent yesterday morning undecorating our tree and house. Although Timmy was initially devastated with the removal of our beautiful Christmas tree, we were able to soothe his emotions by explaining that the tree was being rehomed into our woods. The bunnies and squirrels will thoroughly enjoy their new hiding spot, and now he has more room to roam and play in the living room.  Eventually, he accepted our reasoning and began to help gather up the decorations throughout the house. 

After everything was boxed and ready to be stowed, Scott and I began making the multiple trips to the basement. During my second trip down the stairs, while carrying a large box of lights, I heard a loud pop from my socket. I immediately knew that something was wrong and tried to slow my momentum. 

As soon as my prosthetic side landed onto the next step I knew that I had lost complete control over my socket. The back popped open, providing me no support for control. I ended up tumbling down the remaining three steps, landing on the box of Christmas lights I had so carefully packed up. (Thank goodness I wasn't carrying the box of glass ornaments!)

I was shaken but unharmed by the fall. The tension cord on my socket had completely snapped in half, releasing the back of my socket and causing my suspension to fail. Thankfully Scott was home and was able to locate my other socket quickly. He and Robby calmly worked on attaching the foot while I sat, panicked and scared by the event.  

Nothing makes me feel as physically vulnerable as a prosthetic failure. Knowing that the device can fail at any time is a terrifying reality I prefer to ignore. If I focused on the "what ifs" I don't think I would ever feel comfortable walking! 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Last Day

Today is the last day of winter vacation. Tomorrow Scott will return to work and Robby will resume his schoolwork. Although it was nice having everybody home, I'm looking forward to returning to our schedule. My house has been chaotic for the past two weeks and I feel like it might take another two weeks to undo the damage of our vacation.

Unlike other winter vacations, we didn't embark on any adventures over the past few weeks. I visited my Mom once, but other than that we stayed home. With my employment in flux we just didn't feel like it was the right time to go away. Even though we didn't travel, our staycation has left us feeling relaxed and rested. The kids didn't seem to mind our lack of activity because they were able to play with their new Christmas treasures.  

The plan is to remove the Christmas tree today so that I can reclaim my living room. I know that Timmy will be sad to see it leave, but hopefully he will be content to know that it will be repurposed as animal habitat in our woods. Once the tree is gone I will be able to tackle the clutter from our vacation. It might take me until Spring Break, but I'm determined to reclaim my house!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2019

Happy 2019!

As predicted, the new year crept in despite me being sound asleep under the electric blanket. Our celebration was low key and peaked at the toddler party at noon. Even though we aren't exactly party animals, we are entering 2019 with the optimism and excitement that comes with a clean calendar. 

This year I'm abstaining from resolutions. I have enough on my plate right now, and adding a great life change will only increase my stress and frustrations. Instead of trying to change, this year I am gifting myself forgiveness and patience. 




Happy New Year!