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, December 03, 2010

Up on The Rooftop...

Most years I throw myself into decorating the house and our yard for the Christmas season. Typically I have lit candy canes bordering the driveway and colorful and bright lighted trees creating an illuminated forest with 7 foot inflatable snowmen interspersed for a jolly flair. I spend hours stringing lights and fumbling with cords, justifying my efforts because Robby loves the lights. In reality, I probably enjoy the decorations as much as he does.

Three years ago Scott surprised me by putting illuminated reindeer on the roof. I stood in the yard and watched him precariously perch the wire figures on the pitch of the roof. It took him almost two hours. I was so proud!

When the reindeer were secured, he began to beat his chest Tarzan style and proceeded to shout, "I have put reindeer on the roof. Tonight I may get lucky." He was surprised and embarrassed when he realized that a small group of neighbors had congregated to watch him on the roof.

I thoroughly loved the reindeer on my roof that year. Every time I saw them I would smile. The novelty began to fade when they were still up on the Fourth of July.

It has been three years, and the reindeer are still there. Actually, the heads flew away in a wind storm two years ago, and I'm fairly certain that the lead deer is now an amputee. Birds have picked apart the bright red bows for their nests and the squirrels have eaten the electric cord. I am now left with two headless, three legged reindeer on my roof that can't be lit.

Finally, after years of asking (although he would claim nagging) him to remove the reindeer, Scott revealed why the carcasses must stay. Zealous to make sure that his installation would last through the Christmas season, he added an extra security measure. Apparently he pounded their little hooves through the shingles and into the roof. Removing the reindeer now would essentially uncork the holes that he created. He has been banned from decorating.

This year I have decided to keep some of my decorations in storage. I just don't have the time or the energy to create my winter wonderland. I have strung lights between the trees and Frosty is proudly making his annual appearance. My yard is not nearly as festive as it has been in the past, but I am pleased with the minimalistic result. However, if you look closely-- and only during the day--you can still see reindeer bodies perched on the peak of my roof.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

I Tried.

Robby has a diverse religious heritage. His maternal grandfather is Jewish while his maternal grandmother is Lutheran turned Unitarian. His paternal grandmother is Methodist. I was not raised in the church, but Scott attended services regularly until high school.

Neither of us is religious, but we both acknowledge the importance of Robby knowing and honoring his roots. Since he was born we have done our best to expose him to all of his religious and cultural traditions. The Christian religions are relatively easy to explain and celebrate because of our familiarity with the traditions.

Unfortunately my knowledge of Jewish traditions is limited so I rely heavily upon the internet and my "Judaism for Dummies" book. I figure at his young age exposure is more important than protocol.

This is Robby's first Hanukkah without my Dad leading the Menorah lighting. I spent the day listening to a youtube video on a loop in an attempt to learn the Hebrew prayer. After constant practice I finally had the prayer memorized. I was ready to "Wow" Scott!

As the sun was setting I began to talk with Robby about the story behind Hanukkah. We read the book "Biscuit's First Hanukkah" and talked about the candles. His perseverating on the apparently humorous fact that oil can burn hindered his ability to grasp the bigger picture.

Undeterred and eager to pass on a family tradition, I brought out my menorah. He was excited to help me light the first candle. After the wick was lit, he looked at me as if he was expecting me to say something. I took a deep breathe and readied to repeat the Hebrew prayer. I was finally ready to impart the tradition without relying upon my Dad.

I froze. I couldn't remember a word. Scott and Robby were both looking at me and I felt the need to fill the void. In an attempt to fake it, I told Robby to make a wish. He wished for a new Hot Wheels toy.

It wasn't exactly the family tradition I had hoped to create. Robby did enjoy lighting the candle and making a wish, but he did seem confused when the ceremony wasn't followed by a cake. Oh well. I have another seven nights to get it right! Happy Hanukkah.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Ready for Cold Weather...

Wow! It is hard to believe it is already December. Suddenly the air is cold and the winds are busy whipping our previously neatly raked leaves. There is no doubt that winter is approaching.

Every season creates unique issues for me. In the winter I struggle to keep my residual limb warm. Many nights my leg becomes so cold that it is painful and frequently begins to cramp. The tip of my stump often develops a purple hue during cold weather. Through trial and error I've developed a small arsenal of "stump warming tools" that I rely upon to get me through the cold months.

When I take off my leg and liner at night, I immediately slip on a large tube sock. I have found that the socks that tout an absorbent liner feel softer. I prefer to use tube socks because they tend to stay on throughout the night and don't roll off.

Sometimes the sock doesn't provide enough warmth. Frustrated with a heating pad wrapped around my leg and tired of being tethered to a single position, I decided to experiment. Searching through a sporting goods store, I stumbled upon disposable hand warmers.

I have come to love disposable hand warmers. Once activated, they stay warm for up to eight hours. Now when it is extremely cold, I pull on a tube sock, hold a warmer on the tip of my covered limb and then slip another sock on top to hold it in place.

I learned the versatility of hand warmers during my first winter as an amputee. The packets are thin enough to sit in the bottom of my socket so my leg is kept toasty warm for hours after I don my leg. When playing in the snow for hours on end with Robby, I have come to appreciate keeping at least part of my body warm!

A word of caution: it is imperative that the hand warmer never be placed directly on the skin. Because the residual limb has nerve damage (a natural result of the surgery) the skin may not react normally to burning heat. When using heat or cold therapy, always utilize a barrier.

I despise being cold. Because of the decreased circulation, my residual limb is the first to feel the effects of the chill in the air. I am now ready for the frigid temperatures. I have a pile of soft tube socks by my bed and, thanks to Ebay, I am now fully stocked with a case of hand warmers. Bring on the snow. I'm ready!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not Exactly Restful

Despite tugging at my heartstrings, I have been reluctant to reach out to help my elderly neighbor. I would be willing to help her, drive her to the store, prepare meals and visit with her if I didn't fear the ramifications of my good deeds. Unfortunately, she has the police department on her speed dial.

She is delusional, paranoid and has a nasty disposition. She calls the police several times a week, throwing a variety of accusations against everybody in the neighborhood. Law enforcement is on our small street so often that we are probably the safest neighborhood in the state of Virginia!

Yesterday I was not feeling well. Robby was thrilled to have access to the much coveted glitter box and I was content resting on the couch. Armed with a mug of hot tea and a box of tissues with lotion, I was ready to relax. Unfortunately my convalescence was interrupted on three separate police visits.

At 8 in the morning, three patrol cars pulled into my driveway. Although I suspected that their visit was a result of "the old lady," my anxiety always rises when the police arrive at my door. Trembling, I answered the door.

It turns out that my suspicions were correct. In a formal tone, the Officers asked to speak with my son. I invited them inside and called for Robby.

After protests about having to turn off The Backyardigans and a promise of cookie dough after came into the living room, he emerged. The look on their faces, when they saw my four year old, covered in glitter and still in his sleeper pajamas, standing before them was priceless.

Apparently Robby was accused of breaking into her house and trying to assault her. While the police suspected that the accusation was unfounded, they were obliged to investigate. This is the third time Robby has had the cops called on him, and he is only four!

The police returned in the afternoon after she called and accused me of beating Robby in the middle of the street. Again, the officer apologized for his visit. I admit to being angry at this horrific accusation.

The third visit came right before dinner. A police officer stopped by, simply to introduce himself to the neighbors since he was new to this territory. Even the police are anticipating her accusations. Robby gave him a picture of a glitter smile face, a hug and told him the officer that he would see him tomorrow.

Robby took the frequent interruptions as an opportunity to expand his artistic horizons. In addition to having glitter all over my table, he mixed the colorful mess makers with glue and "painted" the floor- with his hand. My day of respite was spent dealing with the police and cleaning up my sparkle-laden little mischief maker.
Despite the frequent visits from uniformed officers, I feel badly for the lady. I have rarely seen her children although I know that they live in the area. It goes against my instincts not to reach out to her, but I have been cautioned by the officers to avoid interacting with her.

I will continue to be polite when we see her outside, but I won't engage her in conversation. We still still shovel out her driveway when there is snow--I wouldn't be able to rest if her house was inaccessible should she need an ambulance. In reality, the shoveling will probably only serve to make it easier for the police to drive to the door to take her complaint against me. I suppose no good deed goes unpunished.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Since it is Cyber Monday I thought this would be a timely reminder. If you are shopping through amazon.com, please consider using the link on this blog. It generates revenue for the blog and website. Thank you, and happy shopping!

I Want a Nanny

Another successful Thanksgiving is in the books. All of the stores and malls are decked out with colorful tinsel and lights and just like the Christmas sales, my post-Thanksgiving cold has arrived with a vengeance.

Everything, including walking, seems more laborious when I am fighting a cold. My prosthetic feels heavy and awkward. Pulling on my liner and stepping into my socket simply annoyed and frustrated me this morning. Perhaps it is the effects of the DayQuil, but I am acutely aware of my amputation today.

I'm not so ill that I need to stay in bed all day, which is a good thing because being a Mom means that sick days are few and far between. Unfortunately, I feel drained, and every movement feels like a monumental effort. I wish I could just lie on the couch and watch trashy talk shows all day. I'm fairly certain that Robby has a different agenda.

I am hoping that my little cherub will cooperate and that Robby Rotten will stay away. Armed with glitter, paper and glue he should be content crafting ornaments and "art" for the day. I am sure that I will be cursing this decision, but right now the prospect of my sitting still is enticing.

Luckily I am prepared for "Mommy sick days." In anticipation of crafting, and zealous to save money by buying in bulk, I ordered several pounds of glitter when I was pregnant with Robby. Several days later very large, albeit light, boxes were delivered. In case you are wondering, glitter is extremely light but a pound takes up a considerable amount of room.

I have no doubt that soon my dining room will be covered with little sparkly metallic bits of glitter which will be impossible to clean and will probably be sticking to our clothes until Easter. Robby will be covered with glue and paint. He'll be easier to clean than Charlie Cat, whom I fear will be "decorated" with glitter glue and stickers if I doze off. It is days like this I wish I had a nanny so that I could take a nap!

Hopefully I will be able to rest today, and I will feel better tomorrow. Robby loves using the art supplies, so I think he will be busy and happy to stay inside. Until I feel better, I'm going to try not to stress about the mess that is being created. I'm just going to view the glitter deposited over every surface as a jump start on my holiday decorating. With over 3 pounds of glitter, we will certainly be sparkly!