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, April 19, 2013

School Decisions

Robby . comes from a line of public school teachers. My Mom was a teacher, I taught in the public schools, and Scott is still teaching. Education is a core value in our home and something that, as parents, Scott and I weighed greatly.

Although we have the utmost respect for the public school system, it became clear that this was not the best option for our family. We anticipated that the hardest battle was going to be convincing my staunch public school system supporter Mom that we were not making a mistake by opting for a private school for Robby. As it turns out, she is one of the strongest advocates of our school choice. This is a good thing because it feels like we have encountered legions of naysayers on the topic.

Let me be clear: I am not asking for permission about where we decide to send Robby to school. We are his parents and the choice is ours. That being said, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain our rationale in the hopes of muting some of our many critics.

Robby has a hearing impairment. As much as it hurts me to admit, his hearing issues are impacting every aspect of his young life. Typically outgoing and gregarious, in a crowd he quickly becomes disoriented and retreats. If he isn't looking directly at us when we speak, we cannot be certain that he has heard us. Auditory chaos causes him frustration. Simply put, he needs a smaller and quieter learning environment than the public school typically affords.

Of course we could have Robby evaluated for Special Education services based on his hearing results, but Scott and I both feel that being proactive about putting him in the optimal environment for HIS learning success will thwart many issues. He has thrived this year in his small class with the individualized instruction from his teachers. He is happy and excited about learning. His thirst for knowledge, coupled with his test scores, are the only confirmation necessary that we have made the correct educational decisions for our son.

During the past two years we have seen Robby flourish. At this point, until his hearing issue is corrected, we are opting to continue with the small classroom and Montessori approach that has yielded so much success for him. Despite what has been suggested, I assure you that our decision to send him to the private school has nothing to do with my perceived inability to "let him grow up," nor is it an attempt to "continue to coddle him from the real world."  As a mother, I resent both of those accusations. 

I am astounded by how many people feel compelled to air their grievances about our education choice for our child. He is receiving a top-notch education and is a sweet and compassionate child. As parents we second guess most of our decisions.  However, as far as I'm concerned, this is one thing I know we have done right!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Uglies

I have been out-of-sorts all week. My allergies have rendered me scattered and running on empty. I'm hoping that some rain that is predicted will materialize and help with my allergies because I'll need all my energy for tomorrow when I'm chaperoning Robby's field trip to the Smithsonian Museum in DC. I have one day to get my head in the game and refocus. Right now it feels like a losing battle. 

My eyes are red, glassy and swollen, an unsightly combination of pollen and grief. Coupled with my nose pink from running and the deep purple raccoon circles under my eyes, I am certainly a sight to behold. It's safe to say that I won't be winning any beauty contests, but I might win a scary costume award!

I suspect that much of my distraction can also be contributed to the bombings in Boston. Every time I turn on the television or the radio, I can feel my anxiety begin to rise. I simply cannot fathom why somebody would inflict such a seemingly random act of terror. I have decided to cope the best way I know: I've pulled my Waltons DVD's out of the cabinet and have been watching them in lieu of regular programming.  I had to chuckle last night when Robby called out "good night John Boy" after we tucked him into bed.

Today I plan on working quietly at home with the air conditioning running in an attempt to remove the allergens from the air, and circa 1970's wholesome television programming streaming on my TV. This afternoon I have an appointment to get my hair cut and styled. I'm hoping that a day of rest, and a little work and luck, I might be presentable for the field trip tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Collateral Damage

Much like everybody else, I have been horrified by the bombings in Boston. To think that an individual (or a group of individuals) can create such malicious havoc is impossible to comprehend. Going through the motions on Monday night, in an attempt to shield Robby from the news, my heart was breaking. I felt compelled to do nothing but watch the news in horror, yet I knew that I had to keep busy in order to feign a sense of normalcy.

As the evening wore on, it became clear that the blasts resulted in numerous amputations on the scene. After putting Robby to bed I sat on the couch and silently cried. Thinking of the overwhelming fear and loss that was being felt by the newest members of the amputee community in Boston, I grieved their loss.

Losing a limb is never "fair," but experiencing limb loss through a terrorist event must create an incomprehensible sense of anguish for the victims. At times like this I am reminded that I have been fortunate. I am an amputee but I never experienced a traumatic amputation. I was spared the nightmare of seeing my limb ripped from my body because of an instantaneous event. I have been spared the flashbacks that so many of my friends experience.

Today I am thinking about not only the victims and their loved ones in Boston, but also about many of my friends. The details and photos that are being released through the media are causing several people whom I care and respect to struggle with horrific flashbacks of their own traumatic events. This issue is particularly worrisome for many of my Wounded Warrior friends who are now forced to relive their own IED attacks through CNN and the nightly news. At some point, our insatiable quest for details after a tragedy becomes detrimental.

I don't need to see a photo of a man with shards of bone hanging where a foot had been in order to grasp the scope of this tragedy. I am sure that this man as well as his family and friends do not want such a personal photo shared and used for fodder and conversation on Facebook and other social outlets. I implore everybody, please be respectful and stop sharing these graphic images. They aren't helping anybody, and they are causing more collateral damage and pain. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Established Protocol

Like the majority of school-aged children and working adults, I have come to dread Monday morning. Since I work from home and my assignments require attention seven days a week, the advent of another Monday on the calendar means little to me. However, Monday marks the beginning of another school week and the end of a weekend which leaves Robby disgruntled and miserable.

Every Monday morning proceeds the same way: during breakfast Robby and I talk about the day and what we have planned. Although he went to bed on Sunday fully aware that the next day was a school day, he always seems surprised when going to school is part of his schedule. As soon as the words "go to school" come out of my mouth, the drama begins.

Robby begins lamenting, whining and fretting about going to school. Employing logic by reminding him that he has a good time, likes his classmates and enjoys learning, is fruitless. Every Monday morning, over a bowl of Frosted Flakes, my little guy dissolves before my eyes.

Although it tugs at my heartstrings when I see him so upset, I also know that the solemn mood lifts as soon as he steps into his school. I've spent countless Monday mornings worrying about him after I dropped him off only to discover that he had forgotten to be upset as soon as I left. I've been trying to keep his grief-riddled response to the end of the weekend in perspective and trust that he is okay once the school day begins. 

Yesterday morning, in the middle of his habitual beginning of the school week breakdown, I asked (rhetorically) if we had to go through this drama every single Monday. Apparently Robby does not yet understand the concept of rhetorical questions, because he looked up and said, "Yes Momom. We do have to go through this drama. I believe it is the established protocol for a Monday morning."

Turning my head so that he couldn't see me smile, I remembered the conversation he was referencing. Back in October, exhausted by the daily "I don't want to go to school" drama, I told Robby that he could only be upset one day a week. He chose Monday. Apparently he hadn't forgotten the deal we had made!  I think next year I am going to amend our agreement and allow him to be upset on Sunday night. That way Scott can deal with it, and I can take a long hot bath!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tulip Festival

I love spending time with Scott and Robby, but left to their own devices, our day adventures would be limited to the Animal Park, Best Buy and GameStop. I wouldn't say that I dislike browsing the aisles of electronics stores for what feels like an eternity, truthfully I downright detest it. I don't understand the lure of looking at game boxes and studying components for devices that we do not own. While I share Robby's affinity for the Animal Park, we have been there 7 times since it opened three weeks ago. This past weekend I wanted to do something different, something of my choosing.

After quickly searching through my inbox full of daily deals, I located what I thought to be the perfect destination. A small town about an hour away was hosting a tulip festival. Touting a "sprawling pick-your-own field" along with a chainsaw artisan providing demonstrations, crafts for the kids, lectures and fun and games for all, I thought I had devised the perfect plan for the day. To my surprise, Scott and Robby didn't complain (too much) when I informed them that we would be spending the day at a tulip festival. 

Sunday morning I grabbed my Groupon and we all hopped into the car on our quest for tulip-themed fun. After driving for nearly 90 minutes (Mapquest lied), we pulled into the parking lot for the festival. Apparently we have a different definition of "festival" than the organizers of this event.  We took the term literally, whereas the tulip farmers took a more liberal use.

The "sprawling field" turned out to be a small garden plot. The tulips were indeed beautiful, but it certainly didn't take long to tiptoe through the field! Despite the disappointing size, Robby seemed to thoroughly enjoy picking my flowers: yellow and red of course. 

The promises on the website of hours of fun for the whole family never materialized. There were no chainsaw artisans; the crafts for kids ended up being nothing more than a box full of broken crayons placed on a card table. After picking my bouquet of flowers, we loaded back into the car and drove home.

To say that the Tulip Festival was anticlimactic would be an understatement. It was so contrary to what we expected that it became fodder for a running joke between Scott and me during the hour and a half drive home. Both of us were in hysterics when we passed a new attraction about 5 minutes from our house: a pick your own tulip field.