A Lesson From The Fishes

ImageI thought that today I would focus on Mia because, in actuality, her special needs are more difficult to sort out.  If you have read the About section of the blog, you will have learned that Mia has Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD).  It sounds a lot worse than it is; in simple terms, it is like dyslexia but instead of it having an effect on what you read, it effects what you hear.  Mia processes what she hears in unique ways and this obviously has a negative effect on things at school.  She regularly misunderstands directions, math concepts and the more abstract concepts get, the more difficult things get for her.

Thankfully, I was a teacher before being a stay-at-home mom.  This is great for Bella and Mia, not so good for the staff and teachers.  You see, I know the game.  I know how the system works and I can spot a dedicated teacher and a not so dedicated one from a mile away.   The great ones appreciate a mom who is dedicated to her child and the bad teachers have issues with me because I expect them to do more than the minimum and I  challenge them which they hate.  Yeah, I make lots of friends at school!  Thankfully, with Mia, most of the teachers have been great.

Mia has to have information shared with her in ‘chunks.’  The pace of learning needs to be slowed down for her and things need to be pre-taught, re-taught and reviewed.  We spend a lot of time doing those things at home in the evening.    She hates it, by the way and gets very frustrated because of the amount of time we have to spend to get her to grasp the generalities of academic themes.  There are short-term memory issues associated with CAPD as well.  Mia is getting better but thankfully there is karate.

I cannot tell you how many different things we offered as an extra-curricular outlet for Mia; swimming, cheer-leading,  softball, art classes, volleyball, basketball and the list goes on.  It got to the point where I almost stopped asking.  One day a flyer came home from school for a six-week expository karate class that was taught right at school one day a week and it allowed her to take a weekly class at the dojo as well.  I can remember the moment the flyer came; I had heard no so many times that I wasn’t going to ask.  Thankfully that little voice over-rode my brain and I asked anyway.  I’m smiling even now as I remember the look on her face – a huge smile of excitement and then she threw her arms up in the air and yelled, “YES!!”

That was just over a year ago and karate is now her drug.  She lives to go to classes, now going five days a week.  Her instructors are phenomenal and so dedicated to the kids in all belt levels and what they have done for my daughter goes beyond words.  As most of you know, it is sometimes difficult for special needs kids to fit in at school because their learning issues can affect their social skills.  Mia was one of those kids and on more than one occasion she has broken down into tears because she didn’t feel like she fit in.  The karate classes instantly brought her into contact with kids who shared an interest with her and went to her school.  When classes started at the dojo she began to have controlled social interactions with other kids her age and the rest is history.   Classes also teach great social skills and how to handle tough social situations and even bullying.  There are two instructors in particular who have taken a shine to her which does so much for her self-confidence.

Just a few weeks ago, I had a great conversation with Mia’s principal at school and he even commented on the incredible change in her in the past year.  She now walks into school with her head held high and a smile and seems much more comfortable in her own skin.  If you all had seen me about 14 months ago,  I was a hot mess. Everyday was a struggle and I was spending on average two hours a night helping her with homework and teaching her to study.  It was usually frustrating, with some crying (yes, both of us) and resistance on lots of levels.  With an incredible amount of guidance from Mia’s extremely dedicated resource teacher and lots of time reading up on CAPD; we are finally in a much better place and the worries I had over her future are much less than they were.  She is very innocent and I worry about her being taken advantage of or caving to peer pressure in an attempt to fit in.  Yet, with each passing day, I see growth, I see her becoming more socially savvy and most importantly, she is blossoming into a hysterically funny girl!

Her father is thrilled about all of these advances, except the funny girl part because, apparently, she has latched on to her mom’s sense of humor.  I’ll take that as a win-win!

What have I learned and continue to learn from this?

Just keep swimming!

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What? You Mean I Did Something Right? HOLD THE PHONE!

I am still fangirling over this, so you will all have to bear with me here.

Yesterday was a suckish day, first it was Monday and second, it was typical snow country weather – crappy; snow, freezing rain, cold, wind – the definition of suckish.   I did so little housework that I really don’t even think it would legally count as housework.  Let’s just say that if Mr. Clean were here he would be tisking in my direction whilst shaking his head in disappointment.

My day became exceedingly better when I picked the girls up at their respective schools.  Bella, being the oldest, gets picked up first because her dismissal time is earlier. Due to the crappy weather, Bella decided to stay in the car while I went inside to get Mia. I get a great big hug and kiss and then she looked at me and asked, “Guess what happened today, Mom?”  Now, if have kids like mine, getting them to tell you about their day can often result in what they recognize as oral surgery.  But yesterday for some reason, Mia was a Chatty Kathy.

Playing along I asked her what happened.  Then, as only an 11 year old can, she went into the excruciating detail of making sure I knew who the boy was that she was talking about before she finally told me what he had actually said.  Ok, so now that I knew who she was talking about, I was on pins and needles to know what he said.  “He said something about Bella today in school.”  My defensive radar went off and I stopped us in the hallway waiting for her to tell me exactly what he had said because if it was something negative, we were marching to the office. (Remember that idling in bitch mode reference a few days ago – well, yeah, that wasn’t hyperbole).

To my pleasant surprise the boy Ethan told Mia that his older brother went to school with Bella and that said older brother thought a lot of Bella because it certainly can’t be easy being a little person.  According to the big brother, Bella was amazingly strong, determined and proud to be exactly who she was with no regrets or apologies.  He thought that was pretty cool.

Well, blow me over with a feather.

A smile crept across my face as I looked at Mia and said, “Really?  He said that?”

“Yup!” she said, as only Mia can.

On our way out to the car I told Mia that this would be interesting to tell her big sister.  She wholeheartedly agreed.

We climbed into the car, Mia and I, both with what we refer to as shit-eating grins on our faces and looked at Bella, causing her to wonder what exactly we were up to.  As we were pulling out of the slush-infested parking lot, I let Mia tell her the story.  The look on Bella’s face was priceless.  I actually think she might have even blushed a bit.  She didn’t say a word but her eyes teared up a bit and then, still smiling, she looked out the window as we drove along the pathway leading to the main street. I let her lavish is that incredible compliment for a bit before I chimed in with my motherly advice.

I asked her if she thought that, maybe, if he thought like that then maybe, just maybe, a few others at school thought the same thing.  She looked at me and shyly said, “I don’t know.”  Well, let me just add a little color commentary here, shy is the last word anyone would ever use to describe my Bella.  But I know that deep down inside she knew that the answer to my question was, yes.

Then, as is customary in our family, we have to make a joke out of everything. I then feigned being mad and asked her how many times I had told her how incredible she was and how strong, etc.  I was quickly told that as her mom that was my job to regularly tell her how awesome she was but when someone who isn’t family says it, well, then it is a different story entirely.

But as I thought about all of this several things crossed my mind. First, there is a pretty good chance that this big brother, who is a good friend of Bella’s, had noticed this for quite some time and it was just amazing to me that a 13 year old boy would verbalize something like that to his younger brother.  Maybe it came up at the dinner table, who knows but I am so tempted to call his parents and tell them what a great job they have done with their son.

And then I realized, they weren’t the only ones who did a good job …

What Have You Done for You Lately?

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Let’s have an honest chat today.  Forget about everything else for a moment and let’s talk about you.  Yeah, I know you are probably a bit shocked because, really, how often does anyone pause for a moment and truly ask you how you are and how you are doing? Not just the polite, “Hey, how ya doing?” but an honest-to-goodness grab-you-by-the-shoulders and looking you straight in the eye and asking, “How are you doing, really?”  Yeah,  not me either!

 So, yes, today we are going to talk about one of the most important lessons I have learned on this journey – doing things for me.   Unfortunately, the people around us see us as Wonder Women because we are the ones who do it all.  We are so damn good at what we do that people don’t even realize it! We answer questions, break up fights,  find things, help problem solve, cook, clean and cart them everywhere they need to go and … bring those often forgotten items to school when they are left home.  Sometimes, I actually feel like Rosie, the maid that The Jetsons had on their cartoon show back when I was a kid.  Flip a switch and that’s it.  Spray a little WD-40 here and there and we’re good to go. Nope!  Girls, we are human, we need to have some downtime!

Well, just like a computer needs to reboot, so do we.  Those around us might not see it but we need to.  We need to put everything and everyone on pause and do something for ourselves and no one else.  It could be something simple like taking a healthy walk once all the kids have gone to school with your favorite band screaming in your ears or taking a trip to the local Starbuck’s and indulge in a Venti Mocha Frappaccino once in a while, well, a few times a week (don’t tell The Hub!).  For me, there are few things more calming than sitting in the café of the local Barnes and Noble Booksellers with my Mocha Frap and my favorite escape – a great book.  Reading is my drug, it is my escape.  I literally imagine that the characters are frozen in time, waiting for me to grab the book and pick up the story-line where we left off.

Some of us might not have that kind of mobility because of being home-bound with one of our kids but we need to make sure that we have an outlet.  Don’t be afraid to ask someone to come and help once a week or even just sit with your child while you decompress.  I am thankful that I can leave the house. I can run to the store or the mall if I need to.  Some of us need to find that release within the confines of our own homes.  Since I live in snow country, while it is not the same, I am, for all intents and purposes, home-bound four or five months a year.  It is close enough that I thought I would share my home-bound selfish moments with you all in the hopes of motivating you to find that special something that helps keep you sane.  I really don’t want you eating the carpet in frustration, ok? Plus, only you and I truly know what is in that carpet!  Eww!

First, I used to love to read, but when life got crazy, I stopped.  The time could be better spent doing something else … for someone else.   A few years ago I was going on a road trip with Bella and I decided to grab a book on CD from the public library.  It turned out to be just a random choice but it opened my world to present day spy novels.  It was a Vince Flynn novel, Pursuit of Honor.  I found my escape!  I then hunted down every last one of his novels and over the past two years have read each and every one of them.  I was fortunate enough to find a great website where you can get used books for a great price and free shipping, www.thriftbooks.com.  I would simply get lost in these books and the main character, CIA Counterterrorism agent Mitt Rapp, is just a bad ass with a take-no-prisoner attitude.  He is sarcastic, known to be a pain in the ass, hates bureaucrats and has the sharpest tongue ever. (Sound familiar?) … If he were real, I’d marry him.

Once I had blown through this author, I found another just like Vince Flynn, his name was Brad Thor.  Within a year I went through all of his books and now I am on to the next author, Ben Coes.  These are political thrillers with great characters and plots and most importantly, had absolutely nothing to do with my day to day life.  My other release is a handful of TV dramas, Suits, Necessary Roughness, The Good Wife, White Collar and a few others.  These shows are cerebral and as the Brits like to say, cheeky at times.  When I watch TV I mentally turn off everything else around me and just get lost for an hour in the lives of others.  When I read, it’s the same thing, I am right there with Flynn’s Mitch Rapp or Thor’s Scot Harvath as they chase down terrorists hell bent on doing the US harm. I think I relate to these characters because they fight with their superiors just like we fight with teachers and schools (and even medical personnel) to get what we know our kids need.  Just some self-analysis for you, free of charge.

So, if you are a mom, special needs or not, don’t sit on your duff waiting for your husband or your kids to recognize that you need an outlet because, let’s be real here, that ain’t happening. We are the givers, they are the takers and that dichotomy isn’t changing any time soon. So, right now, at this very moment, I want you to make a list of five things that you would enjoy doing if you had the time; simple, everyday things.  Now find the time in the weekly schedule, move things around make the hub do something for you for a change to free up the time and just do it!  Start with one thing from you list and then in a month or so add another item off the list.

We do so much for others, it never ends, you are worth it, you deserve it and most importantly, if you don’t – just imagine the disaster your home will be once you get back from your two week mandatory stay at the local mental hospital.

Now I want everyone to comment below about what they are doing just for themselves!  GO!

Us vs Them: The Judgmental Clueless Among Us (RANT!)

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Happy Sunday, Readers!

I have decided that with this nasty cold that I am taking over our bedroom for the day to do whatever I want!  Yeah, a rare selfish moment!  So, here I sit watching Law & Order: SVU, not one of my faves but the beginning of the episode looked promising and within about 10 minutes of the episode I had my blog theme for the day – the clueless.

In this episode someone steals a canister of embryos from a fertility clinic and the detectives get a list of clients who might have had something against the clinic.  One of the people they speak with is a wife who is a dwarf, like my Bella.  As the detectives interview her she explains that the reason she and her husband, also a dwarf, were using the fertility clinic was because they wanted the clinic to implant an embryo that would result in a dwarf child just like them.   Just a quick informational break – when two dwarfs hope to have a child there is a 25% chance that the child is average height, 50% that it is a dwarf and 25% chance that the child has what is called a double-dominate gene and those in this last category do not survive.  So, this dwarf couple were trying to avoid the double-dominate gene and shoot for the 50% range.

Former rapper Ice-T, as Detective Tutuola, while interviewing this dwarf wife asked, “Why would you want to bring a child with a disability into the world?”  The look on his face was one of confused disgust.  I actually rewound the DVR to watch the scene again because it ticked me off beyond belief.  The mentality of the clueless and uneducated never ceases to amaze me.  I guess you just have to have a cursory understanding of pop-culture to write for a TV show these days.

Thankfully the dwarf wife retorted, “Forgive me for wanting a child that looks just like me.  You get to have that luxury, why shouldn’t I?” and then she went on to explain to him that Achondroplasia isn’t a disability, etc.

But this entire scene just frosted my ass to no end.  The superficiality of our culture continues to grow almost exponentially and with the constant emphasis on genetics and people screening sperm donors based on physical characteristics and/or intelligence is beyond sickening.  This dovetails off of the story that became front-page news last week about the fabulous waiter in  Houston, TX who refused to serve a family when the father made rude and insulting comments toward a boy with Downs Syndrome who was also dining at the same restaurant with his own family.  Kudos to the waiter and big “bite-me” to this piss-poor father.  I hope he has gotten so many unpleasant phone calls that he and his family had to change their phone number.

What the flip is wrong with these people?  Their twisted sense of superiority and God-like knowledge of what is right and wrong makes me want to knee them in the nuggets and then slap them sane.  I get those looks all the time when I am out with Bella and there have been more than a few people who have gotten a education with my face about six inches from theirs.  In the beginning I would just ignore the comment and give people a nervous smile, not say a word and just walk away.  Now, it is the complete opposite, I either send the kids off with The Hub or send them to another part of the store and then the gloves are off.

Here is the thing, these ignoramuses say this BS because in their demented worldview they expect us to revert like a turtle and hide in our shell.  HA HA!  NOT!   I have told people that God never gave them a special child because He knew they couldn’t handle it.  So what does that mean?  Yeah, I *am* better than you are,  Jackass.  I have a whole catalog of comments that I hand out like fortune cookies for the ignorant.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t lash out at every single person that looks cross-eyed at Bella.  Over the years I have learned to glean if an individual (child or adult) is understandably curious or  out to make fun of or mock my daughter.  Remember that 6th Sense I talked about a few days ago?  We special needs moms have it – its a fact, so don’t hate.

It is *so* easy to judge when you allow South Park to be your Wikipedia.  But when your five year old is dragging you down an aisle of a store screaming, “Come on, Mommy! You have to see it!” and comes around the end-cap pointing at my daughter, trust me, mouthing “I’m sorry,” to me ain’t gonna cut it, Sister.  This is a teaching moment and if you aren’t going to seize the moment, I will.  Yes, this really happened, my daughter was called an “it.”   Hello People!  This is all behavior that is either directly taught by you, the parents or it is learned from people that you allow near your child.  Including from the insane TV shows that you allow to babysit your children.  So, to conclude, because of your poor parenting choices, you will be humiliated, in public, by yours truly.

Schools can post as many anti-bullying posters they want but unless parents, teachers and administrators take a good hard look at what they do to perpetuate this kind of thinking, nothing is going to change.  You might as well take all that money spent on anti-bullying programs and drop it into my PayPal account.  Like it or not, teachers and even an administrator or two are just as guilty as the “I’m sorry” Mom because they perpetuate this crap by not doing anything about it or by contributing to it.  Many teachers just don’t have the patience or tolerance when dealing with special needs kids. I have actually heard teachers say, “I don’t do special ed.”  They think they know better than we do on how to motivate and teach our children and in some cases, they refuse to listen to us … to the detriment of our kids.

The Clueless have no idea what our world is like and to be honest, most don’t really want to know.  They just smile at us with an appeasing smile and then, as they walk away from us, they thank God that it is us and not them.   Little do they know that we are the thankful ones and they, they are the ones that God needs to work on.

Special Needs Moms and Crap That Pisses Me Off

ImageGood Morning All!  I just came back from dropping the girls off at school and it amazes me on the drive home the litany of ideas I have to write about, all before 9 am.  I want to tell you a simply incredulous incident that happened yesterday afternoon when I picked up Mia at school but there is some background that needs to be shared first.  Trust me, hang in there, it is worth the wait!

First, let me just say that in my mind there are two kinds of special needs moms, no, I’ll take that back, there are three.  The first is the one who sees school as a bright shiny place with all of the happy people in the world and the teachers are all highly motivated professionals who only have the kids best interest at heart. For this delusional lot no harm could ever be done to their child and the school in certainly following ever item on the Special Education Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to the letter.  These are the gems who think that their “invitation” to a Special Education Committee meeting is just a courtesy the school district provides parents to let them know what they plan to do to, with and for their child in the coming school year.

The second type of special education parents are the ones that simply don’t give a shit.  While the kid is in school s/he is their problem and they see school as a break for themselves to not have to deal with their child for a few hours.  Then of course, the child spends their time at home holed up in their bedroom watching TV or playing video games because the parents simply can’t be bothered for a multitude of selfish reasons.  This kind of parents I hate, loathe, despise … in general, just want to kick in the head.

Then there are parents like myself and my friend Noelle.  We are the moms who know the special education law inside and out, we know what we want before we go into any kind of meeting and we know how to get it.  We have no problem telling anyone from a classroom aide up to and including the school district’s superintendent that they have their collective heads up their asses when it comes to our kids.  We document EVERYTHING and the last thing you want to do is screw up something that pertains to one of our kids.  Now, while we may idle in bitch-mode most days, we are also the very first people to write a note or an email thanking someone who has gone above and beyond for one of our kids and will happily yell it from the rooftops.  Put another way, seeing an email in your inbox from Noelle or I can only mean something really bad or really good.  That is just how we roll, there is rarely any middle ground – it works for us so why change now, right?  If you are a mom in this group then it goes without saying that we are thick as thieves and we have each others’ backs in a moments notice.

Noelle’s son has Asperger’s, in a nut shell, these kids are often quite socially awkward but are sharp as a whip, have imaginations that will blow your mind and their thought processes are what we have to thank for many of the incredible inventions we have today.   Noelle’s son Dylan is like a son to me and I adore him to no end.  I am the only non-family member that is on the list of people who can pick him up or sign him out of school.

Because of their immensely creative minds, kids with Asperger’s often have the tendency to wander around their school buildings getting lost in all of the posters, bulletin boards, projects, etc.  Noelle is just incredible when it comes to making sure that everyone that has anything to do with Dylan knows his tendencies and she clearly outlines her expectations for staff on how to handle these situations.

Now, to our story for the day – LOL

Mia and Dylan’s school is set-back quite a distance from the main road and has only one access road to get to the building.  Also, I should add that just about all the kids in our district take the bus to and from school and there are maybe 20 parents who like me, refuse to let their kids ride the bus.  Everyday we have to haul our asses into the building to physically pick our kids up for safety reasons.  It is a pain in the ass but with all of the craziness that can go on these days, I’m ok with it.  In fact, we have to sign them out and their names get read off at dismissal.

So, yesterday Bella and I are waiting to pick up Mia and hear Dylan’s name announced.  Bella looked at me and said that she didn’t see Noelle there to pick up Dylan.  So, I get on the cell and call Noelle at work to check on what Dylan’s status was for after school.  He had some sort of club activity she said, but was curious as to why they read his name over the PA system because she never sent in a note or called that he would be picked up.

Now, let me just say that we special needs moms have a 6th sense and we just know when something doesn’t feel right.  So, I told Noelle that I would just make sure he got to his club meeting and then head out.  She appreciated it and we hung up.  A few moments later both Mia and Dylan come around the corner, and he is, of course, all excited about his club meeting so I just told him that we would walk with him to the classroom.  Thankfully we did, because there was no club meeting for this week.   I got back on the phone with Noelle and asked her if she wanted us to bring him home and she was, as she always is, very grateful for our efforts and asked that we bring him home.

Now, I am not going to lie, I know I should have gone back to the office to sign him out but we were three-quarters of the way to the exit and after the morning I had yesterday, the thought of trudging ALL THE WAY back to the office with three kids in tow seemed ridiculous.  Those idiots in the office had him listed as being picked up today anyway so what did it matter.

About half way home my cell rings and it is Noelle and she is PISSED but laughing.  Apparently the school had just called her to tell her they couldn’t find Dylan and didn’t know where he was.  Now special needs parent or not, if you are reading this you know darn well that making a call like that to a parent, any parent has to be a ball-buster.  But to make *that* call to Noelle was like putting your nuggets in a slow-moving vice and asking the machinist to crank the speed up to ten!

We were laughing our asses off imagining at least five to eight faculty and staff members scouring the building looking for Dylan each one praying that they find him because telling Momma Bear that you lost her cub is pretty much a death wish.   Noelle is the best in these situations because she just played passive-aggressive with them, “What do you mean you don’t know where Dylan is?”  Then they explained the whole sordid story about him being on the list to be dismissed to a parent instead of taking the bus, etc.  She let them squirm and asked how the hell they had him on that list because she never sent in any kind of note or even called about anything of this nature. The secretary was stumbling over her words, which Noelle let her do, smiling the entire time!

Then she sternly informed them that she knew where Dylan was and that she was thankful that I was there to protect her son and that he is safely in my care and on his way home.   They didn’t dare ask why I didn’t sign him out because they knew that Noelle would back them right into a corner and crank that vice because they screwed up on all fronts!

I have heard similar stories from other special needs parents where these highly paid and purportedly highly trained educators have allowed special needs kids to wander off outside into the woods, etc. because the teachers were huddled in a little circle chit-chatting totally ignoring their responsibilities and then trying to turn it around on the special needs child.

This is one of the many things that piss me off about special education.  They are like Congress, they constantly remind you that there are laws in place that are for your protection and safety yet when the law works against them they give you a deer-in-the-headlights look because you aren’t supposed to be as knowledgeable about these things as they are.  They make huge leaps of faith that just because there is a law or policy on the books that somehow magically means that they are being implemented and followed.

Mommy Strong

ImageWe have all seen the commercials, those incredible military men and women jumping out of planes, running in the sweltering heat and the voice over telling us that these fine folks do more before 9 am than most of us do in a day.   God Bless Them!  But today, let’s just say that they may do more, but I have had to deal with more and it was barely 11 am when I finally sat down to share this train wreck with you all.

We live in snow country, it is particularly cold these days, if it weren’t for State exams this week, we certainly would have had some snow days.  The school district has an automated system that calls you with a recorded message if there is a delay or cancellation.  Well, today it was a wonderful -5 F at 5:30 am and the call came in stating that there was an hour delay.  Now Bella is in middle school and Mia is in her last year of elementary so they go to school with an hour difference in the morning.  Also, I should add that I refuse to let my daughters ride the bus so we have always found a way to organize our work schedules so one of us can drive them. (That will be a blog post of its very own!)

So, the call comes in The Hub is still home so I thought, since he works so much, let him give the girls the good news before he heads out to work. What the HELL was I thinking?  There are some men who are great with knowing how to tell kids certain things, they find the perfect words or gesture to make everything better.  Not my husband, I have to clean up his messes about as often as I do the kids.

He told both of them, as he kissed them goodbye before leaving, still all warm and toasty in their beds, that they didn’t have to go in to school until 10 am.  So, Mia interpreted that as an hour delay for her, but for Bella, it translated as a 2-hour delay.  Now, it is worth noting here that the girls are like night and day; Bella is loud, opinionated, stubborn — Ok, ok, she is me! And Mia is quiet, gentle, easy-going and constantly aims to please all of the adults in her life.  Yes, I assure you they both have the same father and came from the same womb.  This is just part of the God laughing thing I mentioned in the About section of this blog.

So, I am thrilled to have an extra hour in bed, nice and warm.  I get up at 8:10 and was not surprised to find Mia already dressed, hair brushed and finishing up her homework and Bella was still in bed with her laptop reading some stupid fan story about the most annoying boy band in the word, One Direction.  That right there should tell you volumes about the girls.  I tell Bella she needs to get dress, etc. she has to be to school by 9. Sweet Baby Jesus!  She started wailing and flaying around on her bed, I thought I was in Jerusalem at the Wailing Wall.  Her arms were flopping all over the place and she yelled into her pillow, “Dad said I didn’t have to go in until 10 and that is when I’m going!”

“Good Morning, World.”  I said to myself.  I reminded her how she gets to school and that she had about a half hour to get ready and that she better get moving.  After a few more screams I just ignored her and headed into the bathroom.  A few moments later she is at the bathroom door telling me that I need to hurry up because she has to go and she wasn’t going to be late to school because of me.  Yeah, let me speed up that pee for ya, Princess so you can hop right on here because, yeah, my being on the toilet is going to be the things that slows you down in the morning.

I throw on some clothes and go out into the dining room to find Mia having her breakfast and finishing her homework.  She greets me with a kiss and tells me she loves me as I help her with a few things for her assignment.  (Are you starting to see the night and day thing?)

So, Bella, now in the kitchen getting a quick drink announces that the only way she is going to school is if I take her to Tim Horton’s for hot chocolate on the way.  I resign to do so and at about 8:40 we are out the door.   We get in the car, Bella now a bit calmer, and I put the key in the ignition and it won’t turn. I mess with the steering wheel thinking that it was just locked and I needed to jimmy it around a little bit and then I realize – the freaking ignition lock is frozen – that is why the key won’t turn. Bella is now meticulously watching this all transpire as an evil grin beings to curl across her face.  She is thinking that if the car won’t start she doesn’t have to go to school.  I quickly told her not to get too excited, that I was sure there was a way to fix it.  I was actually fudging that one because I really was not in the mood for them both staying home with me today because I just had way too much to do, I didn’t want to listen to them fighting over the DVR and, in all honesty, I just wanted the peace and quiet.  I had no clue how to fix the ignition and after the great job The Hub did with sharing the ONE hour delay with the girls, I wasn’t about to have him sneak out of work and come help his damsel in distress.  There was only one answer, Google.

We trekked back into the house, Bella still with visions of hanging out on the couch all day, as I sat at the computer and started Googling “frozen ignition.”  After about 5 minutes, I had my answers and told Bella to come out with me, once I had it fixed we were leaving. “Let me enjoy the moment, Mom,” she said.  I think what she really meant was, “You go out and freeze your ass off, I’m staying in here where it’s warm.”  I told her that if I got it started, I would honk and she needed to get out there because we were going to be late.

I am sure she was heartbroken about three minutes later, after I gave the ignition a nice bath in WD-40, when the key turned over and the car started.  HONK HONK!!!  She came bounding down the stairs a bit happier than I expected and opened the passenger side door and just stood there. Now remember, it is about -3 F at this point.  I tell her to get it, it’s cold. Nope, I had to promise we were still going to Tim Horton’s before she would get in.  She gets in and we have a nice chat on the way to Tim’s. You see food is Bella’s best friend.

At the order kiosk I tell the clerk that I just needed two hot chocolates and then Bella leans over and yells, ” AND TWO PLAIN DONUTS!!”   I just looked at her as she settled back in her seat with a grin.  “I’m hungry – you rushed me out of the house, I didn’t have any breakfast!”  My head was ready to explode at that point, and then she leans over all lovey-dovey, “You love me, Momma, you know you do!” with a shit-eating grin on her face!  This child better become a lawyer or something because she knows how to push buttons to get what she wants!

Now we are happily on our way to her school, she was chowing down on the donuts and the hot chocolate – her belly full – life is good now.  I go in, get her signed in, about 10 minutes late, and she is off to class.  You would think that was the end of the lunacy, no, no not at all.

I went back home to get Mia, who was ready and waiting for me and we were ahead of schedule so we went to Tim Horton’s again and got her some hot chocolate and an extra for her teacher.  I dropped her off at school, she told me she loved me and that she would miss me while she was at school and then with a smile headed up the entrance to school.

My whirlwind morning seemed to be settling down as I drove back home and went through a mental list of all of the things I needed to get done today.  As I entered our subdivision I saw the garbage truck just turning off our street.  Mother Mary – I forgot it was trash day!  Thankfully the garbage men have an interesting way to maneuver through our subdivision, with our street apparently being the middle, they collect on our side of the street and then about an hour later cover the houses across the street.  So, as I have often done on Thursdays when I forget about trash day, I came home, got everything ready and lugged it across the street into the neighbor’s driveway so it could get picked up.

Now, most women would probably think, “Forget it – it can wait until next week.”  Noooo, not in this house because, you see, in the afternoon when The Hub comes home he would announce with a grin, before he even made it up the stairs,  that I forgot about the trash … again.  This is where my stubbornness comes into play – You see, I am not going to give the punk the satisfaction.  I have one of those husbands who is lightning quick at pointing out other people’s errors but don’t you dare point your finger in HIS direction.   That is where men are still like children, with that tunnel vision of theirs – They can point out every mistake anyone ever born has made but don’t you *dare* mess with the man!

You would think that was an eventful enough morning for me – nah!  God had a few more pieces of fun for me.  As I am trudging back across the street from leaving the trash, anxious to get in the house and warm up – I walk past the mailbox.  Well, actually not the mailbox, but where the mailbox used to be.  One of my long-term clients always laughs when I share the little treasures of living in snow country.  This one was her favorite.  I had some papers that I needed to mail to her and they got delayed a few days because last week when the snowplow came down the street it pushed the snow so hard against the mailbox that it was leaning over at about a 60 degree angle. The ground is way too cold to replant the dang thing so now we have to have our mail held at the post office until further notice because the box is down and until the spring thaw, that is probably how it is going to be.

Knowing that I needed to get the papers to my client and that I hadn’t picked up the mail yet, I forewent the warmth of my home and the cup of something warm I was going to make myself and I drove to the Post Office and got the mail – just a few bills, thank God.  Now I am sitting here at my computer, a warm cup of calm next to me … and it isn’t even noon yet.

Mom Strong Indeed!

…and what happens next? As I am proofing this post I get a call from Bella at school, “Mom, I left all of my art stuff on the table, I will love you forever if you bring it over as soon as you can!”

The Mom in Oz

Greetings from Oz

ImageHello!  Thanks for stopping by.  I have my friend Mark to thank for this blog.  For the past few months he has been sharing some blog from moms all around the world that he has been reading the past six months or so while he has been happily unemployed.  He would share the really funny ones with me and I almost always had a story similar to said mom that he would have to listen to. Well, Monday Mark starts a new job and after this, he will have another blog to read, this one.

While I do not claim to have the most challenging life out there, I know other moms of kids with special needs who have it a lot rougher than I do.  But I have the added bonus of being a stubborn, opinionated and often times short-fused mom who simply cannot sit there with a smile on her face when she knows that someone is trying to serve her a crap sandwich.  I am sharp-tongued  and will defend my family to my last breath with no apologies.  Why?  Because I am convinced that God gave me these two angels for a reason and I will not let Him down or let anyone stand in their way.

It seems like almost on a daily basis someone pisses me off and you will hear about it all here.  I will try to keep my language at a PG-13 level but if I come across a real asshat – all bets are off! You might as well be warned, there are a lot of asshats in this world and I seem to find them …or maybe they find me!  Who knows?

Today’s royal pain-in-the-ass is a real gem.  I live in a small working-class community with mostly hardworking people with young families.  But there is always a select few who think their fecal matter doesn’t smell and that somehow gives them license to look down their nose to people.  Well, I am the last person you want to look down your nose at.  Ms. Royal Pain holds a position in the local community and thinks she’s Michelle Obama.  She and I had “words” a few months back and exchanged some heated emails.  Tonight she and I happened to be at the same public meeting and inexplicably in the middle of this meeting with some 200+ people in attendance, she just had to stand up from her seat and talk with the woman standing next to me.  (I didn’t sit because I knew I couldn’t stay for the entire meeting because I had to pick up Mia).  When Ms. Royal Pain walked passed me to get to the woman next to me she smashed into my hand as she was swinging her arms.  Did she say, “Oh, I’m sorry!” – Nope.  Did she say, “Opps, forgive me.” – Nope.  The gnarly witch didn’t say a thing; no eye contact, nothing.  I stood there for about two more minutes fuming and literally felt the urge to wrap my hands around her pathetic throat and just squeeze until her eyeballs popped out.  I actually envisioned doing it!

I walked out of the meeting and immediately called my friend Noelle, also a special needs mom and knew the back story between myself and this woman.  As soon as I told her the story, expletives were flying out of both of our mouths  and a plan began to develop.

Stay tuned …