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, May 09, 2014

Mother's Day Weekend

Happy Mother's Day weekend. While I realize that the official day is Sunday, I believe that Mom's deserve to be celebrated for more than 24 hours. 51 weekends out of the year are dedicated to everybody else; the next two days belong to me.

I'm not expecting any surprises or elaborate celebrations in my honor because, in our house, Mother's Day weekend is based heavily upon tradition. The presents and obligatory doting have remained constant throughout the years.

My Mother's Day weekend officially starts this evening at 6:00 pm. After this designated time, the boys are banned from referencing farts, poop descriptions, and all other bodily functions. They are no longer allowed to play "Pull my Finger," "Guess that Smell" or their new favorite "Name that Burp Song."  In my opinion, one weekend without bodily humor is far better than the traditional flowers and candy!

Sunday morning Scott and Robby will wake up and hang my "World's Best Mother" banner from the deck. Scott requisitioned the banner for my first Mother's Day, and it has been hung every year. While he always remembers to hang the banner, he is a bit lax about taking it down. It turns out that last year Mr. Bill and another neighbor had a bet contingent upon how long Scott would leave the banner hanging. Mr. Bill offered double to one odds that the banner would still be hanging beyond the Fourth of July. I'm embarrassed to admit that he won the wager when I finally took it down in September.

I am hoping that the boys will honor my request and forgo the traditional breakfast in bed. With having to wake up every hour to feed Timmy, I would prefer sleeping rather than scrambled eggs and bacon. Hopefully Scott, Robby and Timmy will honor this simple request!

Whatever your traditions may be, I wish you all a Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Twinkie Proposal

Although I know that he is almost eight years old, I still have a difficult time thinking of Robby growing up. In my eyes, he is frozen as that curious little four-year-old with the gapped tooth grin. Every once in awhile I see glimmers of him living a "big boy" life, and I almost always do a double take. I can't believe that he is changing so quickly!

Robby's age is most apparent when I see him at school, playing and interacting with his peers. Looking at all of his classmates provides an unwelcome reality check. My sweet little toddler has become a full-fledged elementary student. 

Although I miss my curious little sidekick, I absolutely adore my not-so-little-anymore boy. He is funny, smart and empathetic. Much to my chagrin, he is also quite a little lady's man. All of the little girls in his class fight to sit next to him, lobby to play with him on the playground, and shower him with attention. Seeing the interactions, I knew it was a matter of time before the telephone calls started.

Last night, the first dreaded call was received. I answered the phone and heard a high-pitched sassy voice say, "Hi. I want to speak with Robby please." I was taken aback by the request, Robby isn't much of a phone talker, but I calmly handed my little guy the receiver and sat on the couch. I know that someday he will want privacy on the phone, but there was no way I was leaving the room. My curiosity was piqued by the unexpected call.

Robby is chased by all the girls, but this is apparently not because of his conversation skills. He is a man of few words, a fact made more pronounced over the phone. He continued to play the Xbox throughout the phone call, only pausing to say one complete sentence. "Sally (the name has been changed to protect her identity) I don't want a wife right now, but I'll take the Twinkies." He then hung up the receiver and handed it to me. 

I almost jumped in front of the Xbox as I peppered him with questions about what he told Sally. He finally stopped playing long enough to explain the call. "Momom, Sally wants to be my wife. She told me that she will bring me Twinkies tomorrow. I told her that I don't want a wife, but that I'm cool with the Twinkies." 

Yikes! He is only 8 years old, and it is already starting. I can't fathom proposing and bribing boys with baked treats when I was 8 years old. I was lamenting how quickly Robby was growing up, but apparently he has nothing on some of these girls!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

New Perspectives

It has been a long time since I've taken care of a newborn. I thought I was ready to feel exhausted, but it turns out I was woefully unprepared. Timmy requires near constant feedings, which requires him to be woken up every ninety minutes. When Scott was home from work the fatigue wasn't as much of an issue because we were able to split the duty. Now that he has to get up and go to work in the morning, I am solely responsible for the nighttime feedings.

I will be delighted when Little Timmy isn't quite so tiny. I worry about his maintaining his body temperature and his eating enough to gain weight and becoming stronger. Although the doctors assure me that he is healthy, I look at his tiny little frame and can't help but worry. 

We have a box of newborn diapers which currently swamp him. Robby's newborn clothes, which he only fit into for about a week, are entirely too big. I can't wait until he outgrows the preemie diapers and clothes!

I have worked with the special needs population for twenty years with the bulk of my time concentrating on infants and toddlers. I've had extensive experience talking with worried parents about their children's health and development. I know the statistics, the facts, and the right things to say. What I never knew, until now, is how it feels to have developmental concerns about your child.

Although Timmy is technically a preemie, all signs indicate that he will have no long term effects. He is small but strong and has no other adverse health issues. Even though I hear the doctor's words, I am struggling to embrace and believe that everything is okay. He is so different than Robby as an infant, but I also know that it is unfair to compare. 

The doctor's reassure me that Timmy is fine, and that his developmental milestones will be adjusted for his gestational age. I smiled when I heard the explanations, not because it was humorous but because I had given the same talk hundreds of times. It is surreal hearing the same lecture from a different perspective. 

As Timmy eats and grows, I fully expect him to catch up with his non-preemie peers.  Hopefully soon the oh-so-small clothes will be packed up and become a memory. Although it doesn't feel like it, I even know that eventually I will sleep again, Timmy will be okay, and he will have a series of incredibly adorable baby pictures when he grows up.

I also know that the next time I meet with parents worried about their child's development, I will react differently as I have been afforded a perspective that only comes from experience. I'm grateful that these issues are fleeting, but I know that the impact will make me a better teacher. In the meantime, I think I'll just cuddle my little Timmy, reminding myself how lucky I am.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

What's that Smell?

It has been a long time since I've cared for a newborn on a daily basis, and I have to admit that the adjustment has been difficult. I don't remember being this tired when Robby was little, although I'm sure that I was and I just don't remember. At this point I feel like I'm floating through the days on sleep deprived autopilot. Of course, the fact that Timmy has to be fed every 90 minutes certainly contributes to my fatigue factor.

As luck would have it, I am not the only one having a difficult time adjusting to life with a newborn. Charlie Cat has not responded favorably to our newest family member. He leaves the baby alone, but has taken his wrath out on all of the equipment and toys. His ammunition of choice is urine.

My house now smells like a giant litter box. I have tried to shower Charlie Cat with attention, but he seems unimpressed by my efforts. He continues to spray his odoriferous offense whenever the opportunity arises. I bought a pheromone diffuser which is touted to help felines with stressful adjustments, and I'm hoping that it works. Unfortunately, the seven days that are required for results to be reaped is going to feel like a smelly eternity!

The spraying has been noticeable for a few days, but yesterday the odor was particularly pungent. I figured that Charlie must have struck again, and this time it was with a vengeance. With Timmy asleep in his swing, I went sniffing around the house like a blood hound trying to find a trail. No matter where I went, the smell remained constant. It was as if my entire house was swallowed by a litter box.

I finally gave up and headed out to my doctor's appointment. The smell followed, as if it was somehow adhering to the fabric of my clothes. I sat on the exam table of my OB/GYN and wondered if she could smell the odor as well? I thought better about asking and proceeded to pretend like I didn't smell anything out of the ordinary.

As I was getting dressed after my exam, I grabbed my prosthetic and felt something sticky and wet. I rubbed my fingers together, trying to discern the substance. After a quick sniff I was left with no doubt. Charlie Cat had not peed throughout my house. Seeking the ultimate "you had a baby and I'm angry" revenge, he had played his cards well. He had thoroughly coated prosthesis with his ammonia laden urine while I was sleeping.  No wonder the smell seemed to follow me around!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Zip Line!

The weather over the weekend was warm enough for Timmy to venture out of the house. Although we are still in quarantine mode because of his size, it was wonderful to be able to swaddle him and take him for a stroll down our street. He slept during his first non-medical field trip, but I thoroughly enjoyed being outside. It has been a long time since I've been able to walk down the street. After being sidelined for so long because of the pregnancy, I doubt that I'll ever take being outside for granted again!

While I enjoyed feeling the warm air and sunshine, Robby and Scott took full advantage of the weather by installing a zip line. A gift from his Nana for his birthday last year, we figured that installing it was way overdue. I sat in my Adirondack rocker holding Timmy while the pair worked to get the "simple to install in mere minutes" zip line strewn between two trees. 

The zip line manufacturer lied. There was nothing "simple" about the installation of the zip line.  Our quick morning project morphed into an entire afternoon project, requiring the assistance of all of our neighbors. (I have to admit that Mr. Bill seemed to be in his element as he supervised his workers.)

The frustrations, bruises, cuts and scrapes were all worth it when Robby eagerly sat on the seat in preparation for his first ride. Halfway through his ride it became painfully clear that an error in measuring had been made. Robby's knees and bottom were being dragged through the middle of our front yard at an uncomfortably quick pace. 

After even more adjustments, and despite the dragging, Robby was eager to try the zip line again.  This time he was propelled through the yard above the ground, but the speed was still too quick. The instruction video showed a young child calmly stopping at the end of the ride. There was nothing soft about Robby's landing; he slammed into the tree at the bottom of the run. 

Once again the team tackled the zip line, trying to create an upward slope towards the end of the ride. While they were working, I took the opportunity to nail my patio cushions onto the tree to create a softer buffer should the adjustments not work. After another 45 minutes, the zip line was again functional and a slower ending speed was created.

Robby and his friend Rowan had a blast zip lining the remainder of the afternoon. Despite their pleas, I refused to let Timmy go for a ride. Even though Robby promised to hold onto him "super tight but not so tight that he turns blue," I stood my ground that the baby needed to be able to walk before we push him down the hill on a zip line.

First attempt:

After adjustments: