Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ode to the Gray Hair

I discovered a gray hair recently. It was this wiry thing that was refusing to lie down and be clipped to my head. After careful examination, I discovered it was a gray hair. I did what every woman does when she finds that first gray hair (she just won't admit it), I yanked it out, cursed it, and washed it down the drain.

I don't buy into the whole theory that seven will grow back in its place because if that was true we would have the cure for baldness. The person would have a full head of gray hair but who cares what color it is as long as it is there.

Other gray hairs have since appeared (not in the same location), and I have treated them just as unkindly. My mother had her first gray streak at twenty. Yes, an entire streak, not just a single hair! I should be happy that I have lasted as long as I have without any gray hairs.

Honestly, I am not surprised by the arrival of gray hairs. Gray hairs are a sign of only one thing. No, strike that. They are a sign of several things. The biggest thing is that they are a sign that I am not taking enough vitamins or else I would not have gray hairs. (No, don't correct me! Let me languish in denial...for once.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meanwhile....Back in the airport

So, we are in the throngs of negotiating the waters surrounding the island known as the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities. The very term makes me wince. I am not sure that I have really come to grips with the term "special needs" or disabilities. I'm thinking the entire thing needs a new name, like "Preschool Program for really adorable children with parent's stuck in an Amsterdam airport." Yes, it's long but makes a lot more sense.

I have spent days doing paperwork. For every question they asked, I attached a separate sheet explaining my answer. For every milestone listed, I checked "delayed." For every health problem listed, I checked "yes."

I attached 5 extra pages of data, not including more pages and a booklet on 7q11.23 duplication, and prayed someone would actually read all the data provided. (Thanks to my Dup Group buddies for helping with that!)

In the midst of doing the paperwork, I have returned to the airport and the aisle of grief. Once again I am mourning. Once again I am struggling with denial, struggling with change, struggling with wanting to have a "normal" life for my child all the while struggling with the need for professional intervention to get him where he needs to be for kindergarten. (The more I hear about kindergarten, the more worried I become.)

I was brought almost to tears one day as we played Legos in the floor for the very first time. We spent two hours building bridges, roads, and stairs for his animals and trains. I was brought to tears by the thought that our spare time was once again being whittled away. You see school won't be in place of therapy two days a week but in addition to therapy. Selfishly, I want a day each week that we can spend together as a family, and selfishly, I want a day each week where Snugglebug and I can crash, relax, and unwind. You do the math. There aren't that many days in the week or hours in the day.

I love our quiet down-times when we sit playing (a.k.a working on OT and speech homework). I have come to grips with so much of this adventure, yet just as I find bit of balance, a new ball is thrown into the mix, and I must find balance juggling even more than before. I can't even really put my emotions into words. I want things to stay the same, yet I want to embrace change. I want to accept once and for all that life for us is going to be full of challenges such as this, but it seems acceptance is outside my reach.

I'm peering at the daffodils outside the airport. I'm glad there are at least windows here, and I seem to have located a payphone to call friends and family for a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.

If you are clueless as to what I am referring to, I advise you to read: Amsterdam International.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Ode to Sickness

My husband and I were struck by an awful stomach bug the last two weeks. It wasn't the flu but minus the muscle aches and fever, it seemed to be just as vicious. I was sick for a couple of days and under the weather for several more. Despite my best efforts to keep everyone else from catching it (i.e. frequent bathroom sanitizations), my hardworking husband came home from work feeling ill on Friday and followed my pattern, sick for a couple of days and under the weather for a few more.

With both of us down for the count, I thought for sure Snugglebug would catch it. I didn't look forward to that. But, to my surprise, he never caught the horrible bug! He just kept plugging along. He was a bit upset that Daddy was home and spent the entire day in bed. He didn't understand why with all of us home, we weren't playing chase, catch, etc. On the upside, he got to watch a LOT of TV (A rare thing for him, since we are on the go so much that when we are home, I limit his TV consumption.) Everything in moderation!

I shouldn't have been surprised that my child never caught the bug. He has an astounding immune system. In his almost 3 years, he has had only one ear infection, one stomach bug, and three bouts of bronchitis. Bronchitis is an annual event.

Despite the fact that we visit 6 specialists for a variety of health issues, his immune system is a feat of nature! While I seem to catch every bug that goes around and currently have a head cold, he seems to avoid these germs with ease. If I could bottle his immunities and sell them, I'd be rich!

I'm very grateful that he is so healthy. It is one of the blessings that I have overlooked these last three years. In all my frustration of dealing with digestive issues, sight issues, hearing issues, and so many other issues, that I forget just how little we see the doctor. Well, the pediatrician that is.

Sometimes it is hard to see the trees for the forest. It can be quite overwhelming to try to find your way through a forest when you really only have to navigate one tree at a time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Closet Cleanse Time

Last year, I started a something without even realizing it. I started cleaning out closets and discarding junk that I didn't need and passing on good stuff that I never used. I got such a high from liberating myself and my family of all our unwanted and unneeded stuff that I am doing it again this year. I had no idea that I was starting an annual tradition.

Julie Morgenstern actually coined the term (or I think she did), Closet Cleanse. She set up 4-steps for clearing out and cleaning out. She uses the acronym: SHED.

  • SEPARATE the treasures — identify the gems that are worth hanging on to.
  • HEAVE the trash — eliminate what's weighing you down.
  • EMBRACE your identity — connect to who you are without all your stuff.
  • DRIVE yourself forward — explore the direction that connects to your genuine self.

I discovered a great deal about myself as I cleaned out my closets. Not everything was a good revelation, but it gave me a lot of areas to work on this past year. Those Revelations have completely changed my thinking and my way of life. I believe I am a better person simply because I chose to clean out my closets.

I rediscovered space in my house, too. I have been so happy with my results that I have refused to restock my home with more "stuff." I have turned down offers of "stuff." And...I am eying larger non-closet types of items that really, really need to go. (i.e. furniture) We have so much furniture that we don't need. What we do need is more floor space for cars to drive on and kids to wrestle on.

This year, I am returning to the closets with the same rule as last year: "If I haven't touched it or used it in a year, it goes." I'm also organizing my new found space, so I can find things like batteries easier. More stuff has already been tossed out. A box of items is already packed and ready to be passed on to one friend, and I am sure I will find more as I continue through the house.

With each cleanse, I feel lighter and freer. I am not identified by my "stuff." I am identified by who I am as a person. I have no reason to hang on to anything that does not have a specific purpose in my life.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let 'Er Rip

Snugglebug had no issues with wrapping paper this year. Last year, the texture of the wrapping paper was too much for him, and he wouldn't touch it. Everything had to be in gift bags with tissue paper.

But, before he started ripping open the packaging, he helped me wrap almost every present. There were a couple he didn't help wrap (including his own), but for most of the gifts he was right there, lending me a hand.

He learned to pull the tape off the dispenser. This was a hard job for
his low muscle tone. He really had to work at it to tear the tape.
Most of the time the tape did not end up in the right spot. But, I counted
it a success since the tape actually made it to the paper. About half
the time, he would try to stick the non-stick side to the paper. He couldn't
understand why both sides weren't sticky.

He learned to fold the ends and even managed to crease a corner.
That impressed me, since I have trouble with the corners, myself.
He did a great job wrapping. So great, in fact, that I may give
him the job altogether in the future.
When it came to unwrapping, he wasted no time.
He ripped and pulled and didn't worry about the paper in the least.

He was very neat about his unwrapping. With each piece of
paper that he tore off, he handed it to someone to throw away.
When he finished unwrapping, there was no stray paper around
He kept it neat and tidy.

Snugglebug walked away with a pile of loot. The photo above is just what he got from us. With as many aunts, uncles, and cousins as he has, one can't help but make out like a bandit at Christmas. He got so many wonderful books and toys. He should be a happy camper for a while.

My little boy only asked for one thing this Christmas. A football. Pictured above, his eyes lit up when he opened the package. He has been wanting a football for a while (since football season started, to be exact.) Now, the weather just needs to cooperate so he can go outside and throw the ball with his daddy.

Christmas Trees and Christmas Cookies

These lovely cookies are the 3rd attempt at making Christmas cookies.

Snugglebug had no interest in decorating cookies, but
Mama had a blast. I decorated all of these cookies.
This was my first time to decorated Christmas cookies.

Decorating the tree. A first for Snugglebug, he loved hanging the ornaments.
You can't really tell but the window is open. On this day,
the temperature was around 85 degrees. I thought it very interesting
that we were decorating a tree with the windows open and the heat off.

I hung the ornaments at the top of the tree since he
could only reach about 3/4 of the way up the tree.
He decorated very well. He even hung ornaments on the
back of the tree, facing the window. I didn't move any ornaments.
He did a great job of hanging them throughout the tree.