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, September 06, 2013

Classroom Presentation

Each afternoon when I walk into Robby's classroom I am inundated by excited and curious seven-year-olds. They pepper me with questions about my prosthesis and amputation. I love the enthusiasm that they all seem to hold and the fact that they are unfiltered with their questions. Rather than continue to live with the daily inquisition, today I am going to teach his class. I'm not sure who is more excited right now: Robby because his Mom is coming to school with him or me because I get to revisit my educator roots.

The first time I spoke to Robby's class about my limb loss he was in Kindergarten. I was uncertain about how much information to reveal to his classmates and admittedly over planned my lecture. I printed adorable coloring books, brought books to share and spare legs for the students to explore. Despite my hours of preparation the talk quickly went horribly off track, completely derailing in a theological discussion for which I was woefully unprepared.

I will never forget sitting in front of Robby's class, precariously perched on the oh-so-small chair, talking about my various legs. A little girl asked where I get my legs, and Robby eagerly chimed in to explain that we get new legs from Mr. Elliot. Before I could continue, a little boy shouted, "God is the only one who makes legs." Before I knew it, the entire class was comparing Mr. Elliot's skills with God's original legs, debating which was a more impressive feat. By the time the teacher helped redirect the conversation, the class was split, with half of them convinced that Mr. Elliot's ability to make legs of different colors and designs making him the clear winner. Talk about a teaching fail!

Last year my presentation went better.  The students were older and I consciously avoided pointing out the variety of prosthetics available. I kept my talk brief, answering questions but not providing too much information. Unfortunately this approach backfired because the class continued to ask questions on a daily basis. After a few months Robby (and I) both grew weary of their queries. Robby eventually began replying with, "She has a prosthetic, there is nothing else to see here so stop talking about it" when his peers began their inquisition.

Despite numerous talks and my leaving a spare prosthesis in the classroom for the students to examine and manipulate, his class never lost their insatiable curiosity. Their enthusiasm was ironic considering that I was chastised by a parent for daring to expose my prosthesis in public. If I had thought of it at the time I would have shown the angry parent the photo I took of his precious little angel hobbling around the classroom wearing my prosthetic leg. Maybe I should print it and send it to him in a Christmas card?

This year I am hoping to strike the balance between overwhelming the students with so much information that they become distracted and answering their questions completely enough so that they are satisfied. If his classmates view me as Robby's mom instead of the one-legged Mom, I will consider this presentation a success. I don't know what to expect, but I do know that it will be an interesting afternoon!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

XBox Drama

he first time Robby asked me to play XBox with him I simply explained that "Momom doesn't play XBox." I never offered a more detailed explanation, and thankfully he just accepted this as fact. I knew that if Robby believed that I could participate that I would quickly become bombarded with pleas to play. Wanting to avoid constant harassment to join various virtual worlds, I figured it was easier to set a precedent at the beginning.

My claiming XBox ignorance is not much of a stretch from reality. If I wanted to I'm sure I could figure out the games and the controller. But since Scott enjoys the games, and Robby enjoys playing them with his Daddy, I never felt compelled to try. The two have spent countless summer nights playing games on the console, filling the living room with shouts of directions, celebrations of victory and more high five exchanges than I could count. Seeing both of them so animated while playing always makes me smile.

A few nights ago the sounds of XBox playing were filling the air. Both boys were battling fierce robots, although to be honest I'm not sure of their ultimate goal. They seemed to be winning, but in a flash Robby put down his XBox controller and sprinted to his bedroom. Scott sighed and explained that the "ant lion" had died in the battle.

We found Robby hiding in his race car bed, crying while clutching Black Bear.  Robby explained that "The ant lion was my friend. I named him Jeffrey and I killed him. I threw the magic ball, but I didn't think that he would be stupid enough to run into the laser."

I have to be honest and admit that I had no idea what Robby was talking about. Completely out of my element, I had to let Scott take the lead. Thankfully Scott understood the game and was able to provide some solace and comfort. I still don't know how, but Scott was able to convince Robby that Jeffrey was okay.

Who would have thought that an XBox game would create such emotional turmoil. After all, I mistakenly thought that games were supposed to be fun.  Have I mentioned that I don't understand the XBox games?

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The First Day!!

Dropping Robby off at school yesterday was heart wrenching. He was nervous about going to a new school, and although he was trying to be brave, I could see the tears welling in his little brown eyes.  I knew that he would be okay and that he would adjust, but I cried as I drove away from the school. I am proud of myself for not crying in front of him. Being a Mom is not easy!

I drove straight from his school to pick up Mr. Bill for our scheduled Cracker Barrel breakfast. As predicted, he teased me the entire drive about my worrying tendencies and my back-to-school tears. In an effort to keep me distracted, he proceeded to spend the next hour regaling me with tales of his youthful exploits. Truth be told, I could have happily gone my whole life without hearing about his intimate triumphs. I am fairly confident that I'm not going to be able to look him in the eye without blushing for a long time.

After breakfast I dropped Mr. Bill at home and went to the hair salon. Getting a new style, color and highlights seems to be my back-to-school tradition. With my hair fully foiled, I sat under the dryer and fired up my IPad.  After verifying that my Hotspot Shield VPN was working (I don't trust surfing on public networks without a buffer) I was able to escape into Facebook. Time flew by!

Although I continued to fret and worry, being pampered certainly helped to ease my anxieties. By the time I was done I had a smoking hot new hairstyle and a renewed sense of optimism. Of course, the fact that I only had an hour until I got to pick up Robby probably contributed to my lightened mood.

All of my worries evaporated as soon as I saw my little guy. He was smiling from ear to ear, chatting with new friends. He greeted me with a hug and kiss, stopping to announce to his classmates that he was going to hug me everyday because "She is my Momom and I love her lots." He then grabbed my hand and eagerly pulled me to his new cubby. He pulled out a handmade orange card and proudly read the words he wrote inside: "I love my Momom because she is special and nice." For the second time that day, I felt myself fighting back tears.

After gathering Robby's belongings I was inundated by his new classmates, all shouting questions about my prosthesis. I could tell that the teacher didn't quite know how to handle the topic. She looked relieved when I offered to give a brief presentation on my amputation and prosthetics later this week. I couldn't help but notice the little girl in Robby's class who also has a limb loss. Hopefully my discussion with the class understand her issues as well.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Ready or Not...

Ready or not, new school here we come! I can say with reasonable certainty that I am more anxious than Robby. He is excited to meet new friends, play football on the playground, and use his lunch box. I'm worried about his adjustment to a new routine and interacting with new classmates. Thankfully, Robby takes after his Daddy in that he doesn't seem to worry over the little details! I'm sure that the transition would be far more difficult if we were both anxious.

Last night I carefully packed Robby's lunchbox, filled with his favorite treats. I can imagine him
smiling broadly when he discovers everything that I packed. Hopefully he won't come home from school with the ravenous appetite he had last year when he was forced to eat the meals provided by his school. I also hoped that my turtle shaped treats and handwritten notes don't embarrass him.

This morning I'm fixing his favorite breakfast and hoping the bacon and cinnamon buns will keep him full until lunch time. I want to drive out of our garage with him smiling and excited about the new school adventure.

I know that this morning will be difficult, and I am preparing myself for some nervous tears and pleas to stay. Although it isn't easy, I know that he'll be fine the moment I walk out the door. I, on the other hand, fully expect cry the entire drive home. Mr. Bill, fully anticipating my tears and anxiety, has suggested that we go out for a back-to-school breakfast. I think that spending the morning with him at Cracker Barrel may be the distraction I need to calm my Momom worries.

Wish us luck. (Pictures to follow- as soon as I'm done with my breakfast.)

Monday, September 02, 2013

Labor Day!

The Summer of Awesome is officially coming to a close. Tomorrow morning the boys will wake up (no doubt complaining) and will head off to school. After being busy all summer, the house will again be quiet. I know that we'll quickly adjust to the new schedule, but the change will be difficult for a few days.

This summer has flown by so quickly that it is difficult to fathom that today is Labor Day. Between going to Atlantis, various day trips and spending countless hours at the pool, this has been our best summer yet. I'm sad that it is over, but I also know that returning to the school will be good for everybody.

I've always hated Labor Day primarily because it marked the end of summer and the beginning of school, so our celebrations will be muted. Instead of a big picnic we'll just relax and get ready for the week. We'll go to the pool for the final time of the season. Against the predicted protests, I'll try to get Robby tucked into bed early. After all, tomorrow is a big day!

Happy Labor Day!