Friday, December 16, 2011

Did I say Crazytown? I meant the 7th Ring of Dante's Inferno!!!

Oh my, it has taken me a full 24 hours to post this because I was, well I still am, EXHAUSTED.  Unfortunately, if I am exhausted, poor Mylie-Moe is whatever is much much more tired and over stimulated than that.  However, we made it, we survived.

We arrived on time to the hospital and got all registered.  It was the usual shuffling room to room, and getting sent back to the waiting room.  Poor Myles must have lined up all the farm animals in there five times only to have to put them back before she could play with them.  I'm not sure why they bother putting cool toys in waiting rooms when they never leave you in them, they always shuffle you off to some small room with bad art and magazines in Spanish--luckily I can still read more Spanish than I can speak!

Then, Tricia, our evaluator, came and took Mylie for about 25 minutes and then brought her out to check in with me (at Mylie's request.)  They did this two more times before Tricia finally said that I should come back with them to see if Mylie would work more with me there.  She made it through two more tests and then, poor Tricia took us to a mock grocery store where patients can practice shopping with walkers, wheelchairs, etc.  Mylie was in heaven, she loves play food so she loved playing there.  Unfortunately, that backfired because that's all she really wanted to do for the rest of the day.

Finally, they decided to have the Psychologist come in and talk to me and let us go for an early lunch.  The doctor was fascinating.  He didn't seem nearly as interested in talking about Mylie's functioning as things to which he already had access like her MRIs, her seizures, etc.  Ummm, really?  He did ask if there was anything that I thought he should know... Oops, there was a lot, like all the stuff that wasn't already in his $%^*&! file.  In his defense, he obviously hadn't read the file because he was very interested to hear that Mylie's birth mother used drugs and alcohol.  I find it interesting too, however, most people assume that is an issue for Mylie when they read that her primary diagnosis is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder...

Finally, he recommended that we go eat lunch at Pizza King.  He billed it as something like Gattitown.  Mylie was psyched; I was worried about all of the stimulation when she was already in iffy shape.  Let's just say, Pizza King ain't no Gattitown.  We sat in booths which had TVs in them that you fed with quarters to make them go.  There were controllers for video games but they didn't actually have any games on the TV.  They did have an electric train that delivered our drinks.  Mylie was pretty sure she was controlling the train with our lovely, filthy controllers until all the people around us quit ordering drinks and the train stopped running.  The "games" were a cotton candy making machine and two claw games.  We "played" them.

Then, we went back to the hospital where my daughter proceeded to take more tests, get more exhausted and more frustrated and feed some fish. (Not necessarily in that order.)

Even though I have given some of those assessments, I honestly can't remember how a five year old should perform on them.  I know she didn't reach the basal score for a couple and they were discontinued.  I know that Tricia, Mylie and I were all quite thrilled when everything was done.  I also know that Mylie was a trooper, even if she didn't always seem that way.  I know that she was trying because she told me at lunch that she just didn't know the answers, which broke my heart.  I know that she was concentrating because her word finding fell away when she was trying to understand concepts.  I also know that she was doing her best because the screaming didn't start until we got on the interstate.  The screaming started on the bridge which only took about 45 minutes to cross in the opposite direction at that time of day (as opposed to about an hour and 20 minutes or more the night before) and it continued until she finally fell asleep just past Shelbyville.

I know that some of her issues presented themselves during the assessment.  I wonder what the assessment will say.  I wonder what it would say if they'd done the assessment over a couple of days.  I wonder what it would have said if they'd attempted any form of sensory assistance between sessions or if they'd assessed her in a child-sized chair where her feet touched the floor.  I hope they saw how amazing she is.  I hope they noticed and noted things about Mylie beyond what was on the test.  Most of all, I hope they got everything that was needed and make a report that will be useful for obtaining services, etc. because I'd rather gouge my eyeballs out with flaming spoons than put her through that again any time soon.

So, there ya' go, that was our experience.  We shall see what the good doctor says about the results.  Thanks so much to all of the my friends and fellow bloggers who responded here, on FB and on Twitter, it means more than you will ever know to feel not quite so alone.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Greetings from Crazytown: Part two (When all is quiet.)

So, here we are, in Jeffersonville which is close to the hospital.  As predicted, it took FO-EV-AH to get here.  Given the state ol' girl was in when we got here, I think the overnight was a good idea.  We went to dinner, she had a bath, watched part of a Christmas special and she's out under her elephant and snuggled tight against my every curve.

As much as I love the deliciousness of her smell, the rhythm of her breathing, my heart is heavy.  We need to do this assessment.  It will be a required part of getting services we need for her.  Still, there are so many ways for it to go wrong.

Now that most of the logistics are covered, the nagging question isn't so easily quieted.  Will they see her?  These people who will take, "3-6 hours with or without breaks as needed by the child," and write a description that will determine a LOT of things for the next few years--will they really take in all of her?

  • Will they notice that all of her speech is scripted?  Sure, if they greet her in a common way, she'll respond appropriately, but if they ask her something she doesn't expect, or if they use a unconventional greeting, she will be at a loss.  
  • Will they know that she knows over half of the letters and sounds at our house (even in different types and places) but outside our house--it drops to just a few?
  • Will they know how many skills she's had, I mean really had, and lost after a seizure?
  • Will they know that just because she can point to a picture or even say their names in a clinical setting, on rainy days or crowded places, she can't find that word in her little mind?
  • Will they know that if she complains that she's hot, she really means she's tired?
  • Will they know that if she says she's hungry, she's probably not procrastinating but she could be hungry (because she's a grazer) or thirsty or tired (she never says she's tired)?
  • Will they recognize that first humor, then obstinacy are her ways of hiding that she doesn't know how to do what they are asking?
  • When she gets worn out, will she act funny or will she throw a fit?
  • Do they know if they push her too far, she may not melt down there but may fall apart all the way home?
You see what I'm saying here?  That if Mylie's having a great day, she could look too good on the assessments.  In other words, she could actually look higher functioning on paper than she functions in real life.  This could, potentially, keep her from getting services that she may need in the future--and this happens to kids with FASD all the time.  If she is having a bad day, she could look far worse than she typically functions.  I want them to see who she really is, both what is great and what isn't so great right now.

Then, there's the other piece.  I'm a special educator.  I know the assessment tools.  I have a pretty good idea of where she functions.  Still, in a couple of weeks, I will have to go to an office and sit and listen to someone tell me what they pronounce about this little one I adore.  They will tell me scores and percentiles and age equivalencies and I will know these don't mean much but they'll be hard to hear.  Hearing things about your child (other than how cute they are is hard, no matter what.)  Tomorrow, I lay the groundwork for that next meeting, a meeting I dread.

So, not my funniest post, I know-but it's honest.  I'm spilling out the things that go bump in the night.  I don't know how tomorrow will go.  I don't know if I'll ever get to sleep.  I do know, that none of it will make me love my girl less.  None of it will make her less.  So why does it bother me so much? Why am I so afraid of what they might miss?  I wish I had answers, tonight, just monsters under my bed.

Off to Crazytown: Part 1(have pachyderm will travel)

Ah, where to start, maybe here:  We live in Lexington, Kentucky and they have a children's hospital here and they do assessments and...well, let's just say.... almost all of my kids' specialists are in Cincinnati.  There are lots of reasons we choose to travel so far and lots of reasons not to list those reasons publicly so I will give the biggest:  At Cincinnati Children's Hospital they treat your whole child.  The doctor's talk and send notes and have some clue what the other doctors who treat your child are doing.  While UK has some truly fantastic and talented doctors, their system is not well coordinated and they treat parts of children, (their brains, their bellies, their bones, their eyes, etc)  I am of the fairly loud and sometimes obnoxious opinion that my children are, in fact, more than the sum of their parts.  Therefore, in the words of Forest Gump, "And that's all I have to say about that."

My kiddos see the developmental pediatrics department in Cincinnati, therefore, I would love it if my children could have standardized developmental assessments performed there as well--but that would be too easy.  When we adopted our children, we kept their medical cards so that we wouldn't have to fight for more than 10 therapy sessions per year, so we could afford to take them despite their medical needs, etc.  KY medicaid will pay Cincinnati specialists but they won't pay for psycho-educational services there?!!!  So, I looked at my options in KY-there is an a place in Louisville in which I have no faith because I have read too many reports for too many kids on my caseload that were apparently written about pod children who looked like my students but darn sure didn't act like them.  And there's UK--whose biggest issue in life is that they hate being second to Cincinnati Children's and so they make it a total pain in the arse to work between the two.  Frankly, I was willing to take door number 3 and risk a zonk, so Cincinnati found me a third door.  Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital has been doing some stuff for them and they seem to like their work.  I know what you're thinking--why does KY medicaid pay Southern Indiana Rehab and not Cincinnati for these assessments?  My guess is because they haven't bothered to notice them yet or because they still use the northern Louisville area code or that Jupiter aligned with Mars when they made their rules and the age of Aquarius is all about some southern Indiana.  Whatever, it's best not to try to think like medicaid because your IQ might get broken.

Now, New Albany Indiana isn't much, if any, farther than Cincinnati so I was thrilled to schedule our appointment.  Just drive to the 'Ville  and cross the bridge.  (The 'Ville, that's what us hipsters like to call Louisville-it likes to call itself Kentuckiana because, I suppose, it thinks its too cool for the rest of us.)  Then, they took down the bridge!!!  So now, by all accounts from AAA, the hospital and a couple commuters I know, the ten minute drive across the bridge takes hours-AWESOME!!!

So, now Mylie and I have a hotel room in Indiana booked for tonight in an effort to try and not have her in complete sensory overload before she ever starts testing.  However, my husband has to be at work before the other kids can be at school so now I am packing all of us for overnighters.  By the way, Mylie was so pissed that she doesn't get to spend the night at her grandmother's house like the other minions, that we've renamed the trip to Crazytown "Our really cool princess sleepover" <in Crazytown>

The good news is, all of this packing craziness is distracting me from all of my assessment angst--I'll be blogging that tonight.  I thought I'd fill y'all in on what it looks like to pack a mama and 4 kids, three of whom have special needs for one night away.  Here goes:

I packed the three other minions in two reusable shopping bags because they are easy to check and recheck and for the kids to get their stuff independently.  Midnight Muncher Minion's meds are so complicated that I put in his entire weekly med organizer--then I worried that it might get dropped and spilled so I wrote out every medicine in detail anyway and traced and described each one by color, shape, and stamp--just in case.  I packed Evil Genius Minion's pediasure, diapers and orthotics, his walker and Convaid stroller chair are in the van which mom will keep so she can transport all of the minions.  And Diva Drama Minion's meds including color coding for her different inhalers are in there too because neurotypical development does not mean med-free--that would be too easy.

Now for Mylie and Me:
 That's just the Nicole and Mylie portion.  Two outfits for Mylie just in case we have a spill or something worse, one for me, two coats, diapers, toiletries, toothbrushes, medicine (Mylie: 2 different seizure meds, melatonin, a medicine to keep her medicine from making her sick *sigh*  Me: Alieve, Excedrine, prescription migraine medicine, Prozac--nuff said?  Oh yeah and emergency rectal valium in case of terrifying mega seizure after which I will also need valium, hopefully not rectally administered.)  Now, mama won't be able to sleep tonight so there's also a computer, iPod, a camera, a book (Harlen Coben-all thrill-no thinking required,) and pen and paper in case there is no signal at the Dr. Office tomorrow and I'm inspired to write something.  Now, MylieMylie packed a backpack of things she "needs" and, of course, a five foot stuffed elephant.  Mylie sleeps under this elephant each night because the weight of it provides calming deep pressure.  I have traveled overnight without it, I won't be doing that again.

SOOOOOO, I THINK this is it for all of us:
And now, I am starting to breathe.  I know it will all be fine.  I think it will all be fine.  I hope it will all be fine.  I'm sure we'll survive the traffic.  I am not so sure Midnight Muncher will do okay at school tomorrow but I warned his teacher.  I know three minions will do okay at YaYa's.  I hope my husband takes the dog out, that's not usually his job.  See folks, Crazytown.  Mylie is a little stressed too, and she looks better than me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Mama's Top 5's

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Mama's Top 5's: Okay, my last post was a bit of a tearjerker so, as promised, this one brings the silly. I offer some top 5 lists that apply so perfectly t...

Mama's Top 5's

Okay, my last post was a bit of a tearjerker so, as promised, this one brings the silly.  I offer some top 5 lists that apply so perfectly to my minions.  Laugh with me, and at me, and please fill in your own in the comments!!!

List number one comes in this busy holiday season but, in truth, it comes at other times around here.  I know some of y'all must be with me on the desire to avoid all stores, especially grocery ones.  That said, here ya' go:  THE TOP 5 WAYS TO KNOW MAMA'S AVOIDING THE GROCERY STORE

5.)  Mom and Dad join the minions in a chicken nugget and mac and cheese feast--bleck!!!
4.)  Mama is pretty sure there is a pasta dish to be made from frozen onions and peppers, raisins, and baby marshmallows.
3.)  I consider, just for a second, checking what The Midnight Muncher Minion has hoarded under the bed before making lunch.
2.)  A minion asks, "Hey mom, what are you putting in the macaroni and cheese for dinner tonight?"
1.) I spend at least five minutes trying to convince myself that giving the kids popcorn and a glass of milk for breakfast is really the same as giving them wholegrain cereal.

(Before anyone gets too concerned, this is sarcasm folks.  I'm still kinda' married to the popcorn and milk=cereal thing though.)

The second list is an oldie but goody:
5.)  You can identify the child who's had a potty accident by smell--Too graphic you say?  Buck up, this job isn't for the faint of heart, y'all.
4.)  You've ever had someone tell you what a sweet conversation they had with your child about her pet cat only to have to tell him/her that you have no cat. (Bonus points if it was a doctor!!!)
3.)  When you go to a check up and bring a written list of your child's medications, it's on a huge scroll that looks likes Santa's "nice" list.
2.)  You realize that about half of the conversations you have in a day would have had the same outcome if you'd had them with Dory the Fish from Finding Nemo.
1.) I've said it before, I'll say it again:  You have to fight off the urge to laugh hysterically when someone asks you if you want regular coffee or decaf.

So far, I hope you've been laughing with me--now ready to laugh at me?
5.)  My 3 year old (Evil Genius Minion) learned to tell me to "shut up" this month, he has not yet said "I love you"--Thank you, thank you older siblings:(
4.)  Pink Princess Minion has thrown her arms around me and said, "You're so fluffy!" all. month. long.
3.)  Midnight Muncher Minion asked me if I ever went to a concert.  Cool, I thought, he knows how much Mommy loves music--until his next question.  "Did you see Beethoven play his music there?" *sigh*
2.)  Drama Diva Minion asked if I was planning to skate with her and her friends at her birthday shindig on Saturday.  I told her that I wasn't planning on it, feeling guilty that I was letting her down.  Her response? "Good, I was afraid you'd embarrass me."---NICE!!!
1.)  Today, the Midnight Muncher Minion was playing with a toy pirate.  He asked me if the pirate was a boy or a girl.  I told him it was a boy and he responded, "It can't be, it has a ponytail."
     "Some men wear ponytails too, Muncher.  Lots of pirates did.  It must be a boy, he has a big handlebar mustache."
     His reply, wait for it, "Well, mom, you're a girl and you wax your mustache."
And there you have it folks, the zing to beat all zings.  Please feel free to count the fact that he is still breathing as one of my miracles if I am ever nominated for sainthood.  


Monday, December 5, 2011

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Moment's Captured: MY Mylie

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Moment's Captured: MY Mylie: This post is in response to a prompt by two fabulous bloggers, Galit at These Little Waves and Allison at Mama Wants This . They had this ...

Moment's Captured: MY Mylie

This post is in response to a prompt by two fabulous bloggers, Galit at These Little Waves and Allison at Mama Wants This.  They had this amazing idea to capture a person in image and words.  Theirs are lovely as are so many others that have already linked up.  The moment I saw them, I knew that I had to do this.
I chose to capture Mylie in mine.  I wanted to do this for Mylie because her labels are so ever present on my mind and tongue.  You see, unlike my sweet Isaac, Mylie’s disabilities aren’t obvious at first glance.  Unlike Conner, her disabilities aren’t shrinking into the background.   If we DeZarns are (proudly) square pegs, Mylie is a hexagonal one.  The world isn’t cut neatly to fit her.  Her issues are too big for some settings, too small for others.  She doesn’t fit nicely into pre-prescribed boxes.
In order to be sure she gets services she needs, to be certain she is safe with other caregivers, I have to say: 
·       Please remember loud noises upset her
·       Please remember that while she’ll jabber your ears off, she usually can’t tell you if she’s hungry, or thirsty, or hot, or cold
·       Please remember when she’s tired swallowing is difficult and potentially dangerous
·       Please remember she does not understand much of what you say
·       Please remember she’s doing the best she can
·       Please remember sitting still is not in her wheelhouse, it could be a seizure
·       Please remember my baby is not perfect, or fine, or well

Yes, my friends, this mama knows all of the things Mylie isn’t and, while I am immensely proud of her, I cannot afford to let the world forget all that she lacks.  However, this mama also knows my girl is magical, miraculous, stunning. 
So today, I share in words and image the things that the world has to know but also the words of my heart.  The pink words, because all words that are truly important to my baby girl are pink, these are the ones that I celebrate with you. Thank you, thank you Galit and Allison for providing this opportunity to do so.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: I'm Still Here!!!

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: I'm Still Here!!!: Okay, a couple people have mentioned that I haven't posted anything here in a while. Some wondered if my children have entered sainthood, o...

I'm Still Here!!!

Okay, a couple people have mentioned that I haven't posted anything here in a while.  Some wondered if my children have entered sainthood, others if I had writer's block.  I am happy to report neither of these are the case.  The month of November has been a little on the wild side.  I assure you that my fingers have been flying fast and furious and my children have been even faster and much furiouser:)

I started out the month taking on a major project.  NaNoWriMo is Nation Novel Writer's Month.  It is where bunch of writers get together electronically and challenge/encourage each other to write 50,000 words of a manuscript to a new novel.  It seemed sort of a crazy thing to do because A.  I haven't finished editing my previous manuscript and B. I have 4 minions.  Still, I did it.  Guess what?  I have 48,903 words of a new novel so-Yay Me and all.

About 3 days into NaNoWriMo, my wonderful friend Brandy approached me with an idea for another project.  It's a fabulous one about which I am crazy excited.  I don't want to let the cat out of the bag without her say so but I will say it involves TONS of writing and one of my deepest passions.  It was something I had thought about doing off and on but was lacking some serious technical know how to pull it off.  Turns out, I was also missing Brandy who's ideas and enthusiasm have made this project far bigger than anything I would have dreamed up on my own.

So that's where I have been and why this poor blog has been sorely neglected.  So, without further ado, here's a list of the top 5 utterly goofy things the minions have done this week:

  1. Isaac is taking but another spin at his life as a nudist.  He strips out of his clothes and, occasionally, "waters" the world around him.  His latest spin on this is to add some odd piece of clothing in a new way.  Last night, he I found him totally naked except for socks on his arms.  We have also had naked except for each of the following:  shoes, shoes on his head, a fireman's hat, a shirt fashioned as a makeshift skirt, a bucket on his head, a blanket toga.  I have tried onesies, footie pajamas, snapping pajamas, and backward pajamas.  What can I say? He's the Harry Houdini of nakedness and short of hot glue and staples, I'm out of ideas--got some? Please comment below.
  2. Mylie pulled out a rousing, if impromptu, performance of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" at the grocery this week.  And, yes, she included moves that were alarmingly "like Jagger's."  I wasn't quite sure whether to hold up a Bic or crawl under the check out because her performance drew quite an audience.  Yep, a packed pre-Thanksgiving crowd all questioning my parenting choices--NICE.  Oh well, add thankful that Conner wasn't there to follow with "I Wanna Be Sedated" by the Ramones to my "thankful for" list.
  3. Conner came home and reported that his teacher said to tell me his teacher to get well soon (I had either an evil cold or the flu.)  This filled me with terror as he had become obsessed with my Netti Pot but couldn't remember it's whole name.  I was convinced he had, as I worried about on FB, announced at school that I was sick and using my "pot" to feel better.  I actually texted his teacher just to check, she thought it was hysterical.  By the way, she had sent me no message and Conner had said nothing about my being sick at school.  Awesome!!!
  4. Laura-Elizabeth asked what testicles were--we actually have had these sorts of discussions, she must have forgotten and, might I add, the definition was more difficult now that the dog is neutered-just saying.
  5. I went to a movie with friends last Friday and the kids had to go to bed before I got home.  By 5 am, every last one of them had come to tell me how desperately they'd missed me in the hour and a half between when I left and they went to bed.  Don't get me wrong, I adore that my children love me, but let's face it--I adore it a LOT more after 5:00 am on a Saturday!
So, never fear, all of us are alive, well and still crazy after all these years.

Monday, October 24, 2011

22 Things I Have Done

Warning:  This is not the kind of thing that I typically post here, however, since so much of my journey is about my teaching and parenting experience, I think it belongs here.  This was written in a response to a writing prompt from Mama Kat's Losin' It.  The prompt was to write 22 things that you have done.  The example was a simple list but, surprise, I couldn't quite get my crayolas to stay inside the lines but there are 22 here.  I put the link to Mama Kat's site at the bottom of this post; it's a great one for writers and blog junkies!  Here goes:

      I have rappelled down the side of a mountain with my heart in my throat.
      I have laughed and wept at the same time.

      I have dreamed of being a mother and seen that dream come true through both the miracles of modern medicine and adoption--and KNOW each way is perfect.

     I have been the "belle of the ball" and I have been "the beast."

     I have held on, white knuckled, with both hands.  I have learned to let go.

     I have seen profound beauty where many saw only imperfection.
     I have railed against injustice and I have turned a blind eye.

     I have sobbed in the arms of a friend and sobbed on her behalf.

     I have loved and lost and dared to love again.

     I have heard the voice of God in whispers and shouts.

     I have crashed and soared, stumbled and danced, stammered and sung and lived to tell the tale, stronger and more at ease in this single skin of mine.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!

One Mama's tales of Minion Mayhem: Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!: I am not a litigious person. I think if you put a cup of coffee in your lap in the car, you should anticipate what will happen if it s...

Pretty Sure Someone Shoulda' Thought of That!

     I am not a litigious person.  I think if you put a cup of coffee in your lap in the car, you should anticipate what will happen if it spills.  I'm not sure what butt head inspired the warning on hair dryers that say not to use them in the shower?!!  I mean, I have 4 minions, I can seriously multitask but even I would not try to wet and dry my hair simultaneously.  I even shook with rage when they temporarily recalled Bumbo Seats after they were made available to the public at large, (we'd used them for years in special ed,) until they could be labeled with a warning about not putting them up on high furniture and walking away.  Seriously folks, babies are slippery little suckers, so just don't prop them up on anything high and walk away-ever!
    On the other hand, I think consumers should be able to have a reasonable degree of confidence that the most basic safety concerns in an item were considered before they rushed them to market.  For instance, I think we should be safe to assume that baby formula is not made with poison--thank you China.  I think if a motor manufacturer, (which employs over half of the people I know and love,) becomes aware that their brake system isn't working, they need to give a little heads up to their customers.  If your miracle cream that causes increased eyelash growth also causes permanent unibrow and explosive diarrhea, by all means put it right in your commercial, (mostly so I can mock it and laugh hysterically.)
      Today's "somebody really shoulda' thought of that" inspiration comes from Target, (and I do love me some Target,) which recently recalled a frog costume they sold.  The costume has a mask that, apparently, lights up and has sound effects--which is totally cool!  Unfortunately, it also suffocates children.  Yep, somebody hooked up electronics, they presumably checked to be sure they wouldn't shock anyone and the lights wouldn't get too hot.  Somebody designed the packaging and somebody else decided the price but, oops, nobody considered if they had actually made it possible for the child wearing it to breathe.  Really people?  Is it just me or is this just a little bit ridiculous?
     Now, I remember the flammable, plastic costumes that were sold when I was little.  I am not sure how any of us survived childhood without swallowing our Little People who were handily bite-sized at the time.  I am sure that more than one of my 70's era loved ones ate, nosed or eared a Lite Brite piece because they didn't have labels that said not to.  I personally got more than one brain freeze from my cruelly unlabeled Snoopy Sno Cone Machine and burnt the living #$%^$ out of my fingers on Shrinky Dinks.  So, I don't want to take this too far, however, here are 10 items that I think should have to carry warnings or be recalled:

  1. Bikini Wax:  Not just keep away from children, DO NOT USE IN SAME HOUSE AS SMALL CHILDREN: Unless you want them to learn some new words that are less attractive than unwaxed bikini lines
  2. Lego:  Warning:  Your kid cannot build what is on this box without your help and then the little punks are gonna scatter these little crapdingies all over your house
  3. GI Joe toys: Yes, they're back and their little missile thingies are gonna make you cry when you step on them, just like in the good ole' days
  4. Skittles:  With all of the sugar and artificial coloring in this candy, you could just give your kids amphetamines and get the same effect.
  5. The Toilet:  This item will double as a magician's act for your toddler-it makes things disappear, for a while
  6. Washable Crayons:  Will make your kids look like zombies when they hold them in their mouths AND will dissolve in your washing machine, or when juice gets spilled on them, or for fun!
  7. Kidz Bop CD's:  Warning:  Don't buy these without headphones and it is entirely likely the kids will sing these questionable lyrics at church
  8. Barney/Wiggles/Dora/Yo Gabba Gabba:  Warning: May make adults suicidal
  9. Cheerios:  Warning:  Once wet and dried again, these are a permanent part of your furniture/flooring
  10. Any Musical or Talking Toy: Warning:  If you buy this for the children of anyone you love, they will hate you.
So please reply, FB or Tweet, what do you think should come with a new warning label or be recalled?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Listen to Your Mama!!!

     I found myself repeating phrases over and over this weekend, occasionally through gritted teeth.  These phrases almost ooze out of my pores onto the minions because I say them so often to their semi-listening ears and rolled eyes.  I was about to yell, "I would stop saying this stuff if you all would just do it already!!!" (Yes, I was definitely about to say it in a three exclamation point kind of way.) Then, it dawned on me, the things I was saying over and over to the minions are the very same things that could change the world if only grown ups would do them too.  So here goes, a list of the 10 phrases that my children and the rest of the world ignore, that could make life better for everyone:

  1. I'm going to need you to use kind words and gentle hands.
  2. You're going to be bored with your stuff in about 10 minutes, you'll be much happier if you just learn to share.
  3. People are a lot more likely to do what you want if you ask them politely.
  4. God (and your parents,) provides everything you need, no promises about everything you want.
  5. I don't care what anyone else is doing, you are going to take responsibility for yourself and your stuff!
  6. You'll never get people to see your side by yelling, bullying or hitting.
  7. Every living thing has a purpose and deserves respect. (said when I put spiders outside and when they want to pull leaves/limbs off trees.)
  8. What makes you think you should get more stuff when you aren't taking care of what you have? 
  9. No one says you have to like your family, (one could substitute neighbor here,) but you are required to love them.
  10. God made him/her, are you sure you want to treat him/her that way?

     I certainly don't claim that any of these are my own ideas, some not even my own words, but they are certainly the stand-by's at our house.  Funny how much deeper they are when applied globally.  So there you go, folks, listen to your mama and you might just change the world:)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Right Here In My Skin

      Well, for the first time in three months, the Girl's Night Out group finally met again last night.  Right on schedule for our "monthly" meeting;)  Fact is, when you have a group dedicated to dragging way-too-busy mamas out of the house without children, it's darn hard to get there.  Most of the group couldn't make it and we missed them, those of us who went had a great time.  As usual, the process of getting myself ready to go out was filled with craziness that I was eager to share on the blog but somewhere along the line, this post reshaped itself into something sort of different, so here it is--the funny, the sort of gross, and the truth.

      As I was preparing to go out with the girls, I decided that I would like to disguise the ever increasing gray streaks in my hair.  Heaven knows, I don't make it to the salon often so I buy the box stuff.  Now, I have colored my hair all colors, with all types of dyes, fruit drinks, plant products, you name it, over the years so this was nothing new.  I was trying a new product which is always a risk and after putting it on my head, I sent a text to a friend that said, "In 23 minutes, my hair is either going to be awesome or tragic, there's not much room for middle ground here."

      I was wrong, 25 minutes later I texted her, "I would call this color anticlimactic with a side of weird sauce."  It's true.  The dye took to my hair oddly.  It didn't have much impact on the darker parts of it one way or the other.  The gray, now becoming color resistant, is sort of pink and highlighted oddly by the darker parts.  The parts of my hair that were sun lightened and/or previously highlighted, (who really knows after all I have done to it,) looked as if I colored them with a red Crayola (TM)  marker.  Then, when I get under different kinds of light, it explodes into multiple shades of red, pink, fucshia, some colors that I'm fairly sure only have names in physics labs that specialize in light...  In truth, there are probably times in my life that I would have loved this color but I am too old for it now.  There are also times in my life that I would have sobbed and hated my foolishness and hidden under the covers because of this color.  I don't feel like that at all.  I don't even hate it, I think it's kind of funny, and I also know it will fade quickly.  It will be fine.

     Next, I had to move on to the hair removal process.  I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS.) It is a fetching little disorder.  It basically means that I don't ovulate much, my hormones don't work well, I store fat remarkably efficiently and hold onto it like July tick on a hound dog.  The most lovely thing though, is that it makes hair grow in weird places.  In fact, without intervention, I would not be a true bearded lady but I could make a kick ass Jack Sparrow (Darn it! Last night's waxing totally cost me first prize at the Eckman's Halloween party.)  Never the less, I started plucking and waxing, making up jokes to put on the blog about it to distract myself from the searing pain.  In fact, the original title of this post was "Remember When Primping for a Night Out Didn't Require a Weed Whacker?" still a good one!

   Then, it was make up time, which I love.  My husband hates make up and can't believe that women think that they "need it."  Obviously, I don't think that because I don't wear it nearly as often as I should. However, I really like putting it on.  The drama geek in me would probably go out in full costume make up from Cleopatra to zombie just because I love to do it, if I didn't have so many kids and so little time.  Still, I painted on my magic; camouflaging second chins, highlighting cheekbones and carving hollows into my round cheeks, making my dark eyes the highlight beneath newly mowed brows, painting lips with a new shade purchased that day so it wouldn't clash with my weird hair.  I smiled at the reflection in the mirror, it wasn't perfect but I was rocking what I had.

    "Ugh," I thought, "now I have to figure out what to wear."  Do I wear the spanx which force my folds into submission?  Do I wear no shapewear and wonder what lump and bunches were waving at my dinner companions?  I chose a middle of the road,"help-a-mama cami".  It gives me a little confidence but isn't uncomfortable and allows for the imbibing of mass quantities of melted cheese and chocolate on these special occasions.  I threw on jeans, all of mine are a little too big right now, I've lost a few pounds.  I picked out a blouse of which I am tired but it is fairly presentable and I am seriously lacking in non-t-shirts these days.  Finally, I threw on one of my favorite sweaters, mostly because I love it and because, it is finally cool enough to wear sweaters (and I think the advent of sweater weather should be a national holiday.)  Did I love anything about the way this outfit looked?  Nope!  Did I hate it?  Nope?

      "How could that be?" I wondered.  I have spent the bulk of my life detesting how I looked.  I've permed, fried, painted, dyed and starved myself a billion different times over my lifetime.  There was actually a time when I was a thin, beautiful young woman and I totally missed it because I focused on my every imperfection.  I honestly used to hate the size of my rib cage--seriously, I was a doofus.  Still, here I stood in front of my full length mirror, with an ill fitted outfit that I didn't like, with Martian hair, with recently plucked chin hairs, with new wrinkles and an extra chin, and right at this moment, I was totally okay with it.

     You see, I've never had a problem seeing the beauty in people.  I have known and adored human beings with profound physical disabilities and deformities and I can tell you about a girl with a broken body who has the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.  I know a man with facial deformities who's eyes are the most breath taking, spectacular shade of aqua. I remember a young man with fetal alcohol syndrome who was probably the most ill behaved human being I've ever met but his laugh still resonates within my soul as the epitome of the sound of joy.  I have known and loved hundreds of people that the world would have overlooked or even turned from and I can tell you about their spiritual beauty but also their physical beauty.  You see, until now, I've afforded them a luxury that I haven't afforded myself.  I allow the quality of the souls of others to open my eyes to the physical beauty that God sculpted in them.

     So, I am about to do the least southern thing that I have ever done.  I am going to pay myself a complement in the eyes of whoever chooses to see this blog.  I may not be the world's greatest beauty, but I am kind of a cute, if slightly round, mama.  I have straight teeth, thick hair, nice eyes, a cute nose, small feet, a great rack (sorry if any of my preacher friends are reading this, and to my mother-in-law and my husband who are probably blushing,) and I am tall.  I also have a decent way with words, a slightly vicious but funny sense of humor, and a generous spirit that genuinely loves to help people.  I, like my pinkish hair, am okay.

     Does that girl who can see all of her flaws still live here?  Yeah, she does, but her voice isn't quite as loud as it used to be.  I need to eat less and exercise more.  On a dime, I can tell you 100 things I would love to improve about myself.  However, I am standing here in this skin of mine, skin that doesn't hang quite as tight as it used to, and I am okay with it.  In my heart of hearts, I hope someone whose inner teenage self-loather still screams louder than she should will read this and feel better about him/herself.  I promise you, if I meet you, I will see your beauty and I pray that someday, you will see it too.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One of THOSE Days

When the alarm went off this morning, I didn't argue with it quite as long as usual. I knew there were about 1,000 things to do because the kids and I have been sick. No point in putting it off, (despite the fact that I am a world class putter offer.) Up I rose, made the kids eggs and grapes for breakfast and woke them up. I took the dog out and had to stand in the damp grass because he didn't want to leave the porch.  UGH Wonderlump, UGH to you and my wet slippers. 

 Still, this is just how morning is for us. I got back in and Laura-Elizabeth was playing up her sniffling and cough while Conner just sat there making no attempt to get ready. Ah yes, morning! I gave them individualized speeches and an implied threat and sent them off to get ready while I changed the littles, wrote LE's sick note and signed agendas. I tucked LE's note into her trapper keeper and signed C's homework page. Then, as I went to initial his agenda in his folder, I saw the red face. At our school, a green face with hair means that your kid had a great day. A yellow face means they had a good day after a warning of some sort. An orange face without a smile means that the child had to be corrected past a warning. A red face means that after a warning and correction, the child continued to misbehave. There is actually a purple face that means something like, we are considering caning your child and putting him in the stockade (just kidding.) There is a purple face and I think it means your child went to the Principal's office. I should mention here that I love C's teacher and she goes way out of her way for him, therefore, I am certain that he really earned this red face. I also know that she wrote me a note to explain whatever happened except that my son has done away with it. I asked him to give it to me and, of course, he has no idea where it was. He proceeded to illustrate this by dumping everything out of his backpack, the backpack of a hoarder-who has had a sick mother, who has not forced him to pick and choose between the paper scraps and bazillion works of academia and art in his bag for 2 days. LOVELY!!! Irritated, I write the teacher a note to let her know that I had not seen hers and that I would deal with my son and stuck it in the folder in his backpack. "Let's go!" I yelled trying my best to maintain my cool; no point in letting yesterday's issues mess up today. 

 That's when he said it, my sweet, first grade ball of love and cuteness (he of the red face) said, "But Mom, you didn't put socks in my organizer." 

 "Conner, are there no socks in your drawer?" 

 "Um, I'll check..." Really? He just sat there waiting for me to ask him about the fact he had no socks and shoes on rather than letting me know that I had skipped Wednesday's cubby with socks or--heaven forbid--reaching into his own drawer and pulling a pair out! I'm pretty sure my face matched the one on his agenda at that point. Never the less, with C properly shod, we all marched out to the van, prayed on our way and I dropped the bigs off with a smile.

 Next on the agenda, hit the store with the littles to get ingredients for veggie soup and cornbread for dinner. We made it a quick trip, I only purchased one item not on my list!!! I was proud, red face fading into the background. So I drove home. In the driveway, I handed Mylie a light bag to carry and loaded the other 3 onto my right arm so I could carry Isaac in the right, (he can't walk without a walker and we have steps leading into the house.) So I throw Isaac up on my hip and he pulls one of his least pleasant tricks, the one where he goes completely limp rather than assisting me in carrying him in any way. At this point, I decide the best thing is to dash inside so I can plop him on the couch as I cannot think of a good way to reshuffle anything to make this work better that won't involve Mylie panicking because Mommy has run back outside to grab damp groceries from the driveway. It would have been okay but I have lost a few pounds and the pants I was wearing started sliding down my leg along with my son. I am pleading with Mylie to go in the door so that I can get inside before my pants actually hit my ankles and she is picking me a bouquet from my potted plant on the porch which never gets a chance to bloom because it is always, always plucked of its plumage by this princess. A billion cars are flying past, my hind end is exposed to the elements but hidden by a long shirt, thank goodness, and I finally step in the door, toss down my groceries, put my son on the floor and pull up my pants. I thank Mylie for the bouquet and put up the groceries. 

 Then, it dawns on me this is one of those days. It's one of those days where I try to remain positive and life makes it hard; where I can breathe through only one nostril, where I will wonder all day what my son did to get a red face, where my slippers will get soggy and my little son will play wet noodle, where I will very nearly provide adult entertainment for the poor unsuspecting hoards of people driving up my street on their way to work and school. This is one of THOSE days where I have to make a choice. I can decide, here and now, whether to let this make me grumpy and irritated or if I will decide to laugh, because it's kind of hysterical. I can decide to let my morning make the friends who read my blog smile. I can decide and I have. So, red faces and near moonings aside, I hope you smile friends. I hope, like me, you decide to look this day in the face and keep on going. That is what I am going to do!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A PSA About What NOT to Say to a Mom

Today's blog is my own special brand of Public Service Announcement-warning sarcasm ahead.  I realized while pondering a new topic that I am uniquely equipped to write a post about things not to say to a mother.  I say that I am uniquely qualified because I am the mother of 4 kids, the mother of children with special needs, an adoptive mother, an ex-foster mother, the mother of children of multiple races and have both had a miscarriage and struggled with infertility.  As such, I have been privy to more idiotic statements about a wider variety of things that are no one else's business than the average mama.  Thus, today, I offer this list of things never to say to mamas in each of these categories followed by how I actually reply in bold and how I would love to reply in italics.  Enjoy!!!

DISCLAIMER:  This blog does not refer, for the most part, to close friends and family who support us mommies and are living this stuff with us.  It is about new acquaintances and the ever present Wal-mart/pharmacy woman who inevitably feels compelled to say something really, really stupid.

To Mothers Struggling with Infertility:

  1. Just quit trying, that's when it always happens: I said, "Well, we have actual medical issues for our struggles." I wanted to say, "Look, deary, we did a whole lot of not trying before we bothered with this sweet hell that is TRYING to get pregnant!!!"  See how this will work?  
  2. Well maybe it's just not meant to be:  I said nothing.  I thought:  Maybe YOU'RE not meant to be and I'm the chick that's about to make it so!
To Mothers Who Have Miscarried:
  1. Obviously something was wrong with the baby:  I'm not sure what they are trying to make us feel when people say this.  I said, "I've spent my entire career taking care of children with something "wrong" with them, I am willing to raise an imperfect baby."  I wanted to say, "Obviously something is "wrong" with you because you think that way.  Should I kill you?"
  2. Maybe you just aren't supposed to have a baby/maybe it's time to let go:  I only miscarried once and didn't get this one but friends have.  "Maybe you should mind you're own business and shut the heck up!"
  3. There will be other babies:  "I hope so."  "That's all well and good but I'm going to mourn this one, thanks."
To Mothers with Lots of Children:
  1. Don't you think that's about enough?: "We believe children are gifts and are feel like God will make his plans clear to us."  "I sure wish your parents decided that right before having you."
  2. You do know how to stop having kids, right?:  "I actually only gave birth to one of these, so my husband and I are still well under our population replacement rate, thanks"  "You do know how to STFU, right?"
  3. Better you than me!: "Aw, they're a challenge but we are deeply blessed."  "Yes, yes it IS better me than you!"
To Foster Parents:
  1. I could NEVER be a foster parent, I love kids too much, I could never give them up:  "We feel like this is our ministry and know that God will never lead us where His grace can't keep us."  "Well, clearly, we signed up because we hate children.  Foster parenting isn't really about my warm and fuzzy feelings, moron!!!"
  2. My sister/cousin/neighbor really wants a baby, maybe you could give them this one:  "Well, it doesn't really work that way.  If the court decides that this child needs a forever home, he/she will stay with us."  "It's illegal for me to give them my baby but there's definitely a process for you to give them one of YOUR children."
  3. You get paid a lot of money for that, right?:  "I had to quit work to adequately provide for the special needs of my children and I make less per day for the three of them than I did for two hours of work as a developmental interventionist."  "Yeah, can't you tell by my bitchin' 2003 minivan, 1300 square foot home, and Wal-mart fashion sense that I am rollin' in the benjamins?" (Because snarky is even more fun with awkward sounding hip hop slang!)
To Adoptive Parents:
  1. Now, which one's your real child?:  "Laura-Elizabeth is our BIOLOGICAL daughter."  "Honey, they're all real, not a single one of them runs on batteries."
  2. (Of my sibling set) Now they're really siblings, right?  They must have a special relationship:  "Honestly, there is no difference between their relationship with each other and their relationship with the others.  They love each other dearly and fight like cats and dogs.  Truth is, any one of them would probably sell out the others for the baby."  "They are 4 and 6 year olds with brain injury.  The four year old came here straight from the hospital, their biology means far less than their history."
  3. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't want him/her! (Especially horrifying when said in front of the child): "All of my kids' birth parents wanted them, they were just not able to care for them.  Giving them up was selfless."  "By the way, how many special needs kids are you in line to snatch up?"
  4. Anything using the term "real mom":  "In our house, we know that your real mom is the one who takes care of you every day.  I will answer any questions the children have about their BIRTH PARENTS when they ask."  I really just want to punch them in the face.
To Mothers of Kids of Multiple Races:
  1. How many fathers do your kids have?:  "*big smile* 5 (if you're doing the math, this is exactly one more dad than the number of kids)"  "Seriously, did you just ask me that?"
  2. Awkward stares at my kids, my husband and I followed by, "He's cute," while pointing at Isaac: "Yeah, he's the only one with brown eyes like his mommy."  I always want to finish that statement by singing "One of these things is not like the other" from Sesame Street.
  3. Oh, you must babysit!:  "Nope, they're all mine!"  "Oh, you must be stupid!"
  4. ANYTHING remotely racist:  Quite frankly, I say exactly what I think at the time because this person is not deserving of anything better.
To Mothers of Kids with Special Needs:
  1. What's wrong with his legs (substitute any obvious issue):  "He has arthrogryposis and the braces/casts help to keep his joints straight."  "What's wrong with your face?"
  2. Why does she have seizures?:  "Epilepsy is part of her brain injury." "She thinks it's tons of fun and some of her medicine tastes like bubblegum!"
  3. If my kid was acting like that, I'd spank them:  "Sorry, he/she has sensory integration dysfunction."  "By all means, come over here and I'll smack you around some."
  4. My son/daughter didn't like wearing shoes either but I just made them.:  "My child has a sensory disorder."  "Really, did you do that right after cutting out every tag, holding her down to get medicine down her, torturing her by brushing her hair and forcing her to wear the clothes she also didn't want to wear, because that's what I did this morning."
  5. Really, he/she has a disability? But he/she looks so normal:  "Disabilities with recognizable features make up a fairly small percentage of all disabilities."  "Darn it, I can't believe I let him/her out without her handicapped sign again!"
  6. But eventually he/she will be, like, normal, right?:  "Well, his/her diagnosis is a life long one and there is just no good way to know what the future holds right now.  We're hoping for the best."  "Babe, take a look at your little mouth breathers, I'll show you my normal when you show me yours!" 
I know it was long but I hope you laughed along with my little PSA.  Beware the Wal-mart momsters!  I think it's a great idea to close with some awesome things to say to the harried mommies you know:
  • I love you
  • You are doing a great job
  • Girls with vomit on their clothes/boogers in their hair turn me on
  • Here's a Starbucks gift certificate
  • Hey, I'd love to babysit for you some time:)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Girls ROCK!!!

     As a mother of girls, I have always tried to be mindful of raising strong, confident women.  I pray that my girls will not engage in self loathing and make some of the poor choices I made out of insecurity.  To that end, I read lots of articles, books, etc. that focus on how to raise strong, healthy women in a world that sexualizes toddlers and would have them believe that their best asset is sex appeal.  However, I see this growing trend that is very hard for me to swallow.  It seems that much of the advice I am reading and many of the accounts of mothers who think that they are winning this battle seem to be pushing a gender free agenda.  I want my girls to believe that they can do anything but I still want them to be girls--is this so odd?
     I have two dramatically different daughters.  Laura-Elizabeth is very much like me.  She's girly but definitely more rock and roll than rainbows and lollipops.  She likes pink but she likes it best in cheetah print.  She loves animals more than dolls.  She adores art but is also head over heels for science. She's a drama queen with a big heart; a diva with an independent streak but also a generosity of spirit.  She is awesome.
    Mylie, on the other hand, is the pink and purplest princess on the planet.  She loves a dress and her princess dolls, (I still don't really do barbie around here unless its a fairy or mermaid or something-much to her chagrin.)  Is it what I would have picked myself, no, but she's not weak or oppressed.  The child will put on a show at the drop of a dime.  She slays dragons wearing wings and high heels all the time.  This is the child who responded to her brother's refusal to play with her with the phrase, "Fine, I am fun all by myself.  You'll be sorry because I am a princess and I am delightful!"  See?  She's a princess that packs a punch and she's every bit as awesome in her own way as her edgier sister.
    You see, I want to celebrate my girls, and my boys for that matter, for all that they are-including their genders.  I want Isaac to grow up as a strong, confident man of color; I would never do that by down playing his racial heritage.  I want him to know about both African and Hispanic cultures.  I want him to know the strength of the people from which he came.  I also want him to know the strength of the people who love him and are raising him.  I adore all of these parts of him.  Why on earth would I want less for my girls?  I want them to know their strength within their femininity not to deny it.
     Femininity is beautiful-yep, I said it, beautiful.  Many child advocacy groups would love to make us believe that speaking of beauty is near profanity but I don't buy it.  First of all, let's face it, women want to feel beautiful.  I don't think it's all cultural, it's in us, because this desire has spanned history, culture, and location forever.  God made us this way and if you don't believe me compare the skeletons of men and women.  Female skeletons are dainty and smooth, rounded, lovely.  Male skeletons are bigger, squarer, with sharp edges and bony protrusions, burly if you will.  I will be kind and refrain from a discussion of the smells and body hair that also support this theory.  I tell my kids, all of them, that they are strong and smart and kind every day.  I also tell them that they are attractive and I don't apologize for it.
     Being a woman can be hard.  I tell the girls that too.  You have to be strong.  You have to stand up for yourself.  You have to be ready to do things for yourself.  You have to remind yourself of the things that make you special.  But, being a woman is also really, really great.  We can focus on multiple things at one time.  We have girlfriends who talk about feelings and cry with us rather than chest bumping us and grunting condolences without making eye contact.  We can weave relationships and anticipate the needs of our children (yes, men do this too but there's nothing quite like a mama.)  We get to buy really cute shoes and know what to do when the toilet paper roll gets empty!!!
     Please don't mistake this as an anti-male blog.  I love men!  Men are great and wonderfully made in their own right.  Don't forget, I'm raising two of them as well.  It's just that I want my girls to feel empowered without feeling like it's not okay to paint their finger and toenails.  For heavens sake, I have felt a tiny human life growing inside me.  That's one of the special gifts that only we girls will ever know.  So, do I seethe with murderous rage when I see advertisements for "Toddlers in Tiaras" and watch cute round girls from Disney Channel waste away into gaunt monstrosities as they try to break into adult media--ABSOLUTELY!!! But am I going to banish pink, hair bows, dance classes and dresses?  Heck no!!!  My girls are gorgeous, funny, confident ladies and I'm going to help them rock it:)

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That-or maybe I will?

     I have always said that I would do anything for my children.  Would I die for them? Yep!  Would I forgo sleep and food for them? Do it all the time.  Would I practically give up grooming because there is no time and bite my tongue instead of saying go away, at least until I finish peeing? Sure thing.  Will I clean for them? UGH, yes, but I'll snark about it on Facebook.  So what is the one thing I never, no way, not ever thought that I would do on behalf of my kids?  SALES!!!
    I am so not a salesperson!  I hated retail sales and market research in college--they may have kept me IN college.  Yes, I loved teaching, loved it enough to get 3 degrees/certifications, but somewhere in the back of my mind it was also insurance against ever having to sell anything.  In fact, I actually quit blogging the first time because I felt like I was selling ideas, "Here friends and strangers, I have something that I deem so important to say that I think you should read it!"  I'm sure this says a lot about me as a person, but whatever, it's true.  And herein lies the irony, (and I mean irony in a purely Alannis Morrisett kind of way and not it's actual definition,) I find myself right now begging all of my friends for money, an obscene amount of money, in order to get my kids a service dog.
    Here's the deal, I have found an agency that trains service dogs not only for kids with multiple disabilities but also to help multiple children with disabilities in the same family.  I've met families with their dogs, they are awesome, (and I mean that in high schooly, emphatic way that I am way too old to mean it.) The agency is non-profit and technically doesn't charge for the dogs but each family is asked to fund raise $13,000 for the organization, which spends $22,000 per dog, to keep them in operation.  I get it, they can't get blood from a stone and I absolutely believe that the dog will be amazing for my family but now I am stuck fundraising which entails--asking for stuff and selling stuff:(
   I've racked my brain with ways to make asking for donations less like selling and more like helping people..."Need a great tax deduction?"  "Want some really great purses, and if you don't mind, some of the proceeds will discreetly be sent to 4 Paws for Ability on behalf of my kids."  My personal favorite, some of my wonderful friends and family are out pandering on my behalf.  I love them!!!  I put on my sunglasses and a hat to make my website and invite roughly everyone I know to my Thirty One Gifts fundraiser.  You'd think that I'd be getting more comfortable with this but, not so much.
    SO lest anyone be confused and think I am writing this to beg for donations and not to vent my current "about to turn inside out with discomfort" status--I offer this out for all of you dear ones:  Should you get an e-mail, invite, FB post... with me asking for donations and you can't or don't want to do it, just hit delete.  If, heaven forbid, you see me walking toward you trembling behind shades and struggling to make eye contact and you don't want to or can't donate, do us both a favor and scream this code--"RUN FOR YOUR LIFE" I swear to you that I will not have hurt feelings or hold a grudge and, I promise, I'll run as fast as my chunky thighs will carry me, in the opposite direction.  If all of you promise to use the code, I may-still iffy-survive fundraising.
     Man, what a mama won't do for love!  My minions better keep their rooms really clean, they owe me-big time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Clearly, I Am A Hot Mess!

     It is always a hard thing for me to admit I am not perfect-I'm not sure why as I am so profoundly not.  Still, it would make me happy to run around in a delusional bubble that allowed me to believe that all of the people I know think that I have got it SOOO together.  I mean, I do realize that no one is perfect; but we all know those people, those women who look like they just stepped out of the beauty parlor in the car line at school.  The ones who post things like, "Just finished cleaning the whole house after my 5:00 am 5K, now I'm off to take homemade cupcakes to Trevor's class and then to volunteer at the nursing home, so happy"  I bet those people would never post something like, "Spent two hours cleaning some truly scary crap out from under Conner's bed, sure hope I get the rest of the room clean by Friday (on a Tuesday.)"  Maybe I shouldn't post those things either but I am coming to a realization.  I figured out that I was never going to be perfect a long time ago but I have finally realized that if I just fess up, if I just tell all of the horrible, goofy, gross stuff that happens to me, I feel better and my friends tend to feel better too and maybe share a few tales of their own.  In light of this epiphany, I submit the following confessions with the eternal hope that some of y'all will throw in your own at the end:
     1.  Let's start with those car line women, the ones who get up and get dressed and put on make up to drive their kids to school, (I am NOT talking about the ones who are heading to work after drop off.) Confession number one starts a little like this: Not only do I not get dressed for morning drop off, I often have on my pajamas.  In fact, on bad days, I haven't brushed my teeth yet and I almost never have on a bra.  Oh yes friends, I am that gross.  It gets worse, even when I am all dolled up and feeling really great about how I look to go out with friends, if you look really really close, one of my kids probably stuck a booger in my hair on the way out the door.  I am never, ever completely free of the gruesomeness that is motherhood. 
    2.  To the 5 am jogger moms:  The only time I am ever up at 5:00 am is if I have not been to bed yet.  I know that our culture is all in love with early risers and John Tesh swears that I will be so much thinner if I exercise earlier in the morning.  I don't CARE!!!  I am a night person.  I can write, read, clean, paint, whatever, until ridiculous hours of the night.  I would make a truly productive owl.  I don't require as much sleep as most people, (although I really need more than my kids sleep on their rotating sleep schedule!) and I like to be up late.  Part of the reason I like it is because the other people who live here are not up but mostly, I am just built that way.  HOWEVER, if I dare to sleep for even a few hours and have to get up at a crazy hour of the morning, I am a zombie, I would likely eat a brain if it was cleverly disguised as some sort of caffeine delivery system.  I used to get up that early to get from Lexington to Anne Mason every morning, it sucked.  I never got used to it.  I was an idiot until 7:30.  Not admirable, but true.  
     3.  Confession number 3, I'd rather muck horse stalls than clean my house.  Truth is, I love to muck horse stalls.  It's good work, there are horses there. Your muscles burn, your back hurts, but it smells like sweet hay and there aren't any broken toys that have to be hidden in trash bags.  The horses aren't crapping in the stalls you just cleaned while you're working on theirs.  Fact is, if there is a person out there that will come clean my house in exchange for me mucking their house stalls, I am totally in.  Don't get me wrong, my house is okay, we aren't going to appear on Hoarders any time soon.  The older the kids get, the easier it is getting.  Still, given the choice, house or barn-BARN BABY BARN
     4.  There are probably a billion other things that I could confess about why I am the farthest possible thing from perfect, or even mostly together.  Still, this one is the kicker-it was the real inspiration behind this whole blog-I AM NEVER SATISFIED  If my house is clean, I want to redecorate.  When I am redecorating, I hate having the house in an uproar.  If the weather is too cold, I get achy and don't want to go out in it.  If it's too hot, I hate that too.  Mostly, as tired as I get, as much as I think, if I could have just ten minutes to myself, I'd be truly happy; I don't want my babies far from my reach.  I am broken hearted that school starts next week and they'll be going off into a world outside of my control.  If I could go sit silently in their classrooms and still care for the littles, I would do it.  I don't care how tired I get, how much they eat, what they get into, I really just want to wish fall away and have more summer.  See-I am a basket case.

So, there you go.  If you ever thought, even for a minute, that I have it together, you are so very wrong.  I have nothing together.  Next Thursday morning, I'll shine up my bigs and send them off to school in their new outfits.  I'll be wearing pajama bottoms and flip flops.  We'll pray in the van and we'll have argued at least once.  I'll gag as I prepare their breakfast (which I never eat before 7:30) and I'll smile as they get out of the car.  Then I'll tote the littles straight off to therapy and we'll go back to the school year grind but on the way, with the radio up in the car, I'll cry.  Clearly, I am one hot mess.