Friday, November 26, 2010

Stumbling Through the Snow

It's no secret that the past week has been a winter wonderland here in our glorious city. Freezing temperatures. Record snowfall. I think its a record. 25 cm in one week and -40 with the windchill. Fairly wintry.

Now, then why is it that our luxury sedan decided to seize a pulley and throw a belt on Tuesday. The real problem with this is... many.
My favorite husband was out of town. Get used to that right? Right! Check!
Cost. It's always costly to fix a vehicle.
I had to get W to and from school and it's bloody cold.
There are no tow trucks available because emergency towing only is available.
"Are you at a safe location?"
"Call back when the Chinook blows in." Well, no one really said that part to me but it was implied!

Finally, finally last night a tow truck arrived. I'm sure the little boys think I hired it just to entertain them. Thrilled they were!

The car is gone and we...
we are stumbling through the snow to and from school. If you happen to see a hounds-tooth frocked lady with two little bundled boys "walking"...being pelted with snowballs (me) and then pushing the children into the snow bank as they giggle there toqued heads off....that's us!

If you see that same trio with the mother yelling or blowing a referees whistle (I kid you NOT) while the blue bundles completely ignore her and play in the snow. That's us too.

They boys are thrilled now that it's not -40, but it drives me bonkers as to how long it takes us to walk to school. Walking in the snow is painful. It's too distracting!

Through all of this I have heaps of gratitude to a couple of friends who drove us around on the coldest days...offered rides...picked W up and delivered him to school....etc, etc. My friends are fabulous! Thank you Ladies!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ADK - Attention Deficit Knitting

The knitting sticks have been on fire lately.

FIRE I tell ya.

Several scarves in various shades of purples, except one luscious super soft red one. The purples are in honor of Epilepsy month since purple is the signature color of Epilepsy. In my city anyway, it is.
"My collas are blush & bashful, Momma." Have you all not seen Steele Magnolias?

Scarves because they are quick and easy and I can see the fruits of my labor within a day. Don't I sound all professional when comment that I'm just going to whip up a scarf?! Such knitting panache!

Then the yarn stash came to mind. Several one off skeins. Hanks. Balls. Hmmmm....why not knit them all up into scarves and get rid of that mix matched stash? Brilliant!

However, there are two other projects currently on the go. One is a wrap knit in a soothing silk, merino cashmere blend for a sweet high school friend. I've been knitting it since September. Get off the pot already, Mrs M!

Not to forget the wool cardigan for myself. In a variegated yarn. Variegated. Ugh. Oh, how I usually loathe thee. I think variegated yarns are tacky. In a most un-southern way. Maybe due to being inundated with acrylic variegated yarns my whole life. Hello Mother!

What? Now I'm the yarn snob?! Hardly! I barely own more than one set of bamboo needles and have graced high end yarn shops only a handful of times....cause little boys aren't normally welcome there.

Where does the AD of my knitting come in? Not the fact that I have three projects on the go, including a "dark blue hat" requested by 5 yr old W, but also the fact that I have never attempted mittens or socks and vow never to do so. ADK would result in socks & mittens for the amputee community cause heaven knows I would only complete one!

So, what's on your knit sticks these winter days? It's perfect knitting weather. Car breaking down weather too, but that's another post and I digress.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Not a Help Meet

A special friend shared a book, that has affected her life, which I read... while sometimes hyperventilating and sometimes taking notes. The main theme of this book is a lesson on being a better wife. Being a helper and friend to your husband.

Last night I was NOT a Help Meet.

It was one of those evenings. I was so, so, SO Grouchy and in a hurry to get groceries after making the most disgusting soup ever from my favorite 7 Secrets cookbook. This soup was so gross that I couldn't in good conscience force the boys to eat it even if I had wanted to. So I threw it away, fed R cereal and W "bugs on a log", myself nothing, and then proceeded to get a can of salmon and some left over rice out for B. He likes that. Seriously. Not every night, but he does like it. Disgusts me.

Annnnnnyway, B arrives home me, the wife, waiting at the door to go grocery shopping with a big bad attitude. I let him know that the rice and salmon are waiting and he needed to put R to bed immediately as Bup was lacking in the nap department.

After stocking up on food, W and I returned home in the cold, cold snowy night. B met us at the door only to advise that life has hit a new low.

Not only does his wife leave him with a can of salmon and some left over rice to eat, but when he starts to "prepare" his meal, he discovers that the rice is actually, leftover porridge and cranberries.

Definitely not a Help Meet to my husband. More like a hindrance!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Remembrance Day

It's hard to appropriately teach young children about Remembrance Day. Everything is too graphic and grown up. For good reason.
So, in order to put this important event on their radar we took the boys to the Military Museum. Most of our time was spent outside and what little viewing was inside was loved by both boys, especially W.

The impact of Remembrance Day is getting farther and farther away from our society even with our troops giving their lives for the war on terrorism. I have old friends who have served and shared their experiences of tragedy with me. It also came to light that my sisters' grandfather served in the war and we as kids would play with his old army helmet. I never did meet this man as he was gone before I was born but the helmet remained. Also, my sisters, the identical twins, their dad served in the military as well. It's all closer than I had thought.

This day of remembering, mourning and gratitude is one that we all need to recognize more and not just a day off of work, but a day to be grateful for those who have brought our country and lives peace and freedom.

It's commonly known that the Dutch love Canadians due to Canadian soldiers efforts years ago. However, did you know that school aged students are assigned a Canadian soldiers' grave to care for?
How incredibly thoughtful, touching and an example of respect and humanity. Canada could take a lesson from our Dutch friends in this area. I think it's a wonderful gesture that we should take a lead from.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mashed Monday

It's Mashed Monday today. On a couple of levels.

The original Mashed Monday is part of our weekly meal plan. Mashed Meatballs (ground beef gravy) topping mashed potatoes with a veggie and salad on the side. W named the meat portion Mashed Meatballs as that's what it reminds him of. Good thinking! Favorite Husband made it one evening that I was out and it was a true we now have "Mashed Monday" every Monday evening. Easy, comfort food and loved by all in this house.

Tonight was no different...except time wise.

The boys watched Toy Story 3 while I got the potatoes and vegetables on the go. The meat gravy was done as it had been placed in the crock pot earlier. After their movie, and much, much later than usual, we attempted to sit down to dinner. We were completely late tonight which is out of sinc for us, but it happens sometimes. Best laid plans.....right?

So, 7pm rolls around and we are beginning dinner. 7 pm dinner?! Aghast!

The boys adamantly refused to eat. Ws tummy hurts and Bup just said, "I no like dinner!" Rather than fight with them we advised there was nothing else to eat and they could look at a Christmas book on the couch while we ate. Yes, I took all their Christmas books out today.
A couple of books later and Bup is standing by my side while I read and eat at the same time. Talented, I know. Please, no applause.

W is on the floor looking through an I Spy Christmas book.

Suddenly for an unknown reason that neither I nor my Favorite Husband can recall, Bup is on the floor, face down, with his arms around his head, refusing to speak to either of us. He's mad! Then, to make matters worse, W goes under the table and dares to speak to Bup, who goes into full melt down!

Sobbing his little, fist sized heart out. LOUDLY. With great gusto.

Still face down.

B and I let him cry, do not try to rouse him as we know what kind of reaction this provokes.

W leaves the room as soon as the crying escalates as it hurts his ears. His bedroom door slams! Uh...foreshadowing for the teenage years? I think so!

Poor Bup continues to wail and if we speak to him. Look out!

W returns and finds it necessary to attempt a new Cirque de Solei move with his feet on the edge of the roll top desk and his palms on the island. Of course, it is not ideal for W to be practicing acrobatics in the kitchen during the meal time, so Daddy, with a fresh plate of "Mashed Meatballs" in his hand, hooks his arm around W's stomach to get him down.

As W kicks his foot up, it catches the bottom of FH's plate spilling the meal all down W's back!

AAAAAHHHHHH!!!! W screams and starts to cry.

Bup is still sobbing in very loud decibels on the floor.

Daddy is frustrated and trying hard not to swear, while he raises his voice a little to W.

I am sitting at the table. Coaxing W, who is now crying, to come to me; once B has his him stripped. Bup is still sobbing face down in a puddle of mucous and tears, and I am really, really trying not to laugh! And then I say to my sweet, frustrated husband,
"Isn't this a lovely family dinner?"

Come now, you have to laugh or one would just be angry and cry. At the same time, it bodes well as to why we put our kids to bed by 7pm 90% of the time, why we don't go out to dinner in the evenings, and why I like coconut rum!

Poor Bup though. It took almost an hour for him to calm down.

After about 25 min I had B physically carry him to his bed. Where he would at least be more comfortable. Even his beloved "kiki" and bottle would not settle him. He just threw them away.
By this time, his eyes were almost swollen shut. I was able to sit behind him with my legs wrapped around him and sing though. He continued to cry for another 30 minutes. I sang and sang his bedtime songs over and over again.
Finally, when he picked up his bottle and blanket I switched to Christmas carols followed by repeating softly, "You're so sad. I'm sorry you are sad" over and over again. Maybe it's the empathic statements? But that is when he quit. The poor little mite.

While he was drinking his bottle with his meds in the juice, the thoughts of me putting more poison into his system made me cringe. That one particular med is a big reason for this inconsolable sobbing and there I was giving him more. Ugh.

It also came to mind, that if he was an infant a parent or doctor would call him colicky. That's what it's like. Colic. True colic. The uncontrollable, inconsolable, unprovoked sobbing.
Heart wrenching to see my little son live this again and again and not be able to alleviate his pain and sadness.

I am only glad that we, B and me, are there for him when he is in that state. It's "other worldly" as B would say. That we stay calm and sympathetic. That we are the ones he sees when he can breathe again...peacefully.

Best Brothers

When my Favorite Husband and I discussed having children in the dating days we knew we wanted them close together in age.

For several reasons but hopefully so that they would be good friends and have each other. This is the thing with siblings, friends, lovers, even spouses may come and go but you will always have your brother (or sister) get along! (The get along part is usually added by my sister to her daughters!:) But works for everyone...child, teen or adult)

As well, I am much, much younger than my siblings. An after thought one could say. The next in line to me is 5.5 yrs older. Yes, two of my siblings and I are very, very close now but not as children. Not really. It went in spurts due to age and stage. My FH and his brother are close in age, similar to our boys, and they were very close as well.

Add all this together and this is why we chose to have our boys 21 months apart. Oh there were days, months even, when I thought we were nuts to have done it this way. It's hard!

Then there is today.
This past week or so when the boys are playing so well together and W includes R to play at home. Except when it comes to W's room...his "private space"...and even though that's hard for R, it's okay.

But today! Today is grand!
Today, we were out for our Monday grocery shop, the boys riding in the back seat of the Caddy, and I hear,
"We're best friends, R. Right?"
"Yeah, W!"
"And we're best brothers!"
"Yeah! Brothers!"

Then at the movie store, there they are leaning against the counter, side by side, with W's arm around R's shoulders.

Melt. My. Heart.

PS: Notice Warner's matching clothes? He dressed himself...and wanted to wear it to school!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Special Needs Children

Special Needs - what does this mean to you? What do you envision when you hear this term?

There was a time when the term Special Needs only brought to mind people with severe physical and mental disabilities. There are so many levels of special needs.

Do you know that my children have "special needs"?

One son has been diagnosed....many times over, four in fact, with severe ADHD. In our case, it is NOT over diagnosed. It took over a year for us to even consider there was a need for a diagnosis. Once we got our heads and hearts around that, then what? Months and months later, through many phone calls, many appointments, talking until my heart was empty and my head full, we were able to get through the diagnosis hoops and start the process for getting help.

My husband and I work damn hard at taking care of our son. We meet with professionals regularly. We are always working on positive parenting specifically for children with special needs. It is kinda different that parenting a "regular child". We are good parents. We are NOT perfect parents but we are GOOD parents. We have our moments. Our weaknesses.

So does our son. You see, the challenge in all this is that our sweet son is human. With a mind of his own. A drive of his own. Couple that with the challenges of ADHD and wowza! It's not always smooth sailing.

Having said that, I am proud of our son. I am fiercely protective. I take comfort in knowing that my favorite husband, B and I do more than you can imagine for our child.

Then there is child number 2. Our Bup. He is a special needs child as well. Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. The maybe disease. Maybe he will be just fine. Maybe he will be developmentally delayed. Maybe he will have ADHD or Autism or more. Maybe he will live a completely "normal" life and only have seizures and benign tumors that aren't causing problems. Yes, he will take meds for his whole life. No he will not "outgrow" this. Yes, the meds affect him, his personality, his behavior. So does the trauma of having procedures done repeatedly. He's just a little guy. It would affect anyone; adult or child. Yes, we have our work cut out for us here too. We have to work with new complications, behaviors, seizures that creep up and rear their ugly heads, etc.

The most difficult challenge of having children with extra needs? Is it the complete and utter exhaustion? Some days.

Is it the confrontations and challenges with the boys? Some days.

More though....what hurts and angers the most?
People's attitudes.
People who feel our children just misbehave.
People who feel we as parents are out of wack and make too much of the situation. That our kids should be able to eat anything and aren't allergic to many foods.
Those who feel ADHD is over diagnosed and maybe not real.
Those who feel we should just discipline our children better. Maybe a good spanking would stop the outbursts, the inability to sit still at the dinner table, the hyperactivity, etc.
People's choice to not educate themselves.
People's eye rolling and body language of annoyance. We are not blind. We see this. It hurts and angers us. Our children feel this. We are not immune.
People's chosen ignorance.
People's uneducated opinion that they know better than we the parents of our special, loved, wonderful children.
That is what's the worst and hardest about having children with special needs. Not the child. Not the illness.

Now, when I think of a child with special needs. I think of a child with special gifts. Special intelligence. Special humor. Special challenges.

I think of the parents persevering to do the best for their child.

And I will smirk, and discount those people who chose not to see the truth. I will continue to educate and advocate and hopefully, those who are not knowledgeable will open their hearts, their minds and maybe, close their mouths.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Conversations in the Car

Bup and I went on a "big date" while W was in school yesterday afternoon. Towards the end of our special 3 hrs, we were both quiet in the car. Even the radio was off.
And then I hear....

"Nope. Nothin in my noggin."

Bup! Pardon me?

"Nope. Nothin in my noggin."
"Where did you learn that?"
"The fish."
Ahhhh....Dory. Finding Nemo...we haven't watched you for weeks and weeks and yet you have definitely made an impact.

Thanks for the laugh.