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 12, 2017

Missed Opportunity

Last night, after dropping off Robby for a party I settled into the sofa and turned on the news. I caught the tail end of the broadcast, which was probably advantageous because the end is the portion that features happier stories. (It seems that the feel good stories are becoming shorter and more sparse, but perhaps that is a topic for another blog.) At the end of last night's broadcast I watched a  clip highlighting a young farmer who was receiving a prosthetic arm created by some high school students.

First of all, I must applaud the students' (and their teachers) efforts in designing a device to help their neighbor. My faith in humanity is always boosted whenever I hear of a community pulling together to help a friend in need.  The students took on a herculean task by designing and creating a 3-d printed functional below elbow prosthesis for their neighbor.  The story ended with the image of the recipient hugging his children for the first time while wearing his newly presented device.

I am sure that the story filled the goal of ending the newscast on a positive note. I felt conflicted by the reporting because I felt that yet another opportunity was missed.  Nowhere in the story was the reason the farmer was dependent upon high school students to create a prosthetic device for him perhaps because that side of reality isn't nearly as glitzy or feel good. Without knowing the specifics, it is safe to assume that he could not afford a new prosthetic device.

Don't get me wrong, I love that these students solved a problem for their neighbor.  But let's not forget the true issue. Too many people in this country are at the mercy of the goodwill of others in order to receive their medically prescribed prosthetic devices. Increasing numbers of amputees are being disabled by their financial situation more than by the limbs that they are missing. 

I feel like, yet again, an opportunity to bring this plight to the forefront was lost. Perhaps if the story were more than a soundbite, the true issue could have been presented. Of course, then it wouldn't be the light feel good story at the end of the news.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Awkward Revelations

It is always awkward when somebody whom I have known casually suddenly discovers that I'm an amputee. I don't actively hide my limb loss, but if I meet somebody during the winter when I'm wearing jeans, it doesn't usually come up during casual conversation.  When those casual encounters become regular, it feels oddly deceitful when I show up one day wearing shorts with my prosthesis in full view.

Yesterday I experienced one of those uncomfortable reveals. I have come to know several other parents in the waiting gallery of Robby's Taekwondo class. I've seen many of these parents a few times a week for months, so I feel more acquainted than if we were strangers. However, I don't know them well enough to delve into any substantive topics of conversation. Typically we restrict our dialog to whatever is happening in class or the weather--nothing personal. The topic of amputees was never broached, and it felt forced to try to weave it into our superficial conversations. 

Because the weather was delightfully warm, I wore shorts while taking Robby to class. Acutely aware that my leg was showing for the first time, I felt odd walking into the studio wondering if the other parents would notice that I use a prosthesis. The looks of surprise let me know that they had not suspected that I was an amputee. I sat down and commented that the weather was beautiful. 

In a way I feel proud that I have been able to mask my limb loss for months. I have worked hard on my gait, and the fact that nobody suspected I was an amputee was affirmation that my efforts have paid off. On other hand, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of being an amputee, so I didn't want to leave the impression that I was trying to hide something. In reality, my amputee status never came up during our casual exchanges. I will not be surprised if we have a new topic of conversation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fun Weather = Outside Play

Yesterday Timmy and I spent the majority of our day outside, playing in our yard and throwing sticks into the woods. He is at that delightful stage where he finds assisting with yard work fun. I love this stage, but I only wish the enthusiasm for picking up sticks would transfer to other tasks. For some reason cleaning up his trains isn't nearly as motivating as relocating sticks.

After spending the afternoon outside, I thought that Timmy might be tuckered out. I was wrong. As soon as we picked up Robby he began to squeal and point towards the park. So, after spending four hours in our front yard playing, we switched gears and spent another hour at the park. I really wish I had his energy!

Robby becomes frustrated with his little brother, but he does a really nice job playing with him when they go to the park. Timmy followed him like a shadow, happily tagging behind as Robby climbed, swung and slid. Whatever Robby did quickly became Timmy's goal to master. It's no wonder I have a little daredevil- he is just trying to keep up with his 11 year old hero.

Today the weather is supposed to be even nicer, so I think we'll head to the farm. The strawberry fields are open and I am hoping that Timmy finds as much joy picking berries as he did moving sticks. If he does, we will end up with buckets of berries in record time.

 I think I need to get as much work out of my little guy as possible before he realizes that picking up sticks isn't an exciting game but is, instead, a chore.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Easier for Once?

I continue to be astounded by the differences between Timmy and Robby. They are both born from the same parents, live in the same home and have had similar experiences. In many ways that is where the similarities end.

Perhaps it is a case of having a selective memory, but I remember Robby as a relatively easy toddler. He was eager to please and never strayed too far from my side. Always cautious, he weighed the risks at a tender age and rarely pushed the limits. Although we had brief bouts with Robby Rotten, he was a content and quick to please child. 

Timmy, on the other hand, tests me daily. He is quick to sprint away at every opportunity. He has no fear and relishes climbing higher and sliding faster than I would prefer. The "big kid" rock walls at the playground are no match for his climbing abilities.  He is secure in his desires and wants and does not hesitate to voice his displeasure when he doesn't have his way. (That was a nice way of saying that he can throw Oscar worthy tantrums without much provocation.)

Yesterday Scott and I discovered yet another difference between the boys. Robby was a nightmare to potty-train. His deep seeded fear of using the potty resulted in chronic withholding. We were forced us to seek medical care from two separate doctors and it took nearly a year to get the issue under control. He wasn't completely toilet trained until he was 4.5, but it certainly wasn't due to a lack of effort on our part.

While shopping at Target I picked up a little potty chair for Timmy. After the experience with Robby, I wasn't expecting much from him. I was hoping to familiarize him with the concept so that we could begin to introduce using the potty this summer.  To my surprise (and delight), Timmy had other plans.  Almost as soon as I unpacked the potty chair he took off his diaper and correctly demonstrated its use. 

I began to cheer, and Timmy clapped happily. Then the little potty began to sing, which resulted in terrifying Timmy. (I didn't know that the toilet would talk when the little bowl detected moisture.) Timmy jumped off the potty and went streaking through the house, trying to get away from the singing toilet. 

We disconnected the sounds, but I don't know how long it will be before we can convince Timmy to sit on it again. Hopefully I didn't sabotage our potty training efforts with the singing chair. After the year long drama of potty training Robby, it would be a nice change for Timmy to be the "easier" child for once. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

Non Eventful Weekend

I had a fantastic weekend doing nothing of consequence.  On a whim the boys (minus Scott) and I packed up and headed to visit my Mom on Friday. We didn't do anything particularly exciting, but it was nice to just relax with my Mom for a few days.  Trips without plans or an agenda often end up being the best!

Sunday morning we said goodbye and headed home. I always hate leaving, but I wanted to get home with enough time to work on the laundry and go grocery shopping. I detest both chores, but I hate them even more when they are left for Monday. Almost as soon as I walked in the door I started tackling the Sunday to-do list, hoping to finish with enough time to resume relaxing before the work week began.

Scott accompanied me to the grocery store, which I always appreciate. With the extra set of hands and eyes, taking Timmy to the grocery store isn't nearly as angst ridden as it is when I am forced to manage him on my own. I am convinced that they have shrunk the width of the aisles because, unless I walk down the center of each aisle, seemingly everything is within his reach. When I'm by myself with him, I spend the majority of my time putting things back on the shelf that he has gleefully knocked down or prying boxes and bottles out of his excited little hands. Someday I'll be able to take him to the store without constantly testing my reflexes, but we are not there yet. My little guy certainly keeps me on my toes.