Friday, June 13, 2014

I'm not sorry

Now that we're fully entrenched in this life phase of having not 1 but 2 children who are fairly steady walkers, if not always fast or focused in that task, I find us moving at a different pace than most of the world around us.  It's definitely a different pace than we were moving at even a few months ago and it's exciting and awesome and interesting in all kinds of ways.  And while "slow and steady wins the race," I can't help but notice that we tend to cause a bit of a traffic jam as we walk down the aisle of a store or make a slow exit from a restaurant (restaurants especially take more effort just because of the doors and mud rugs that need to be negotiated).

So far (knock on wood) we haven't gotten many negative comments--Loud Anonymous Neighbor Guy is really the only negative person I've heard so far--but I can see when someone has to abruptly stop and wait for us to pass that sometimes they might be thinking something along the lines of "Hurry up already!" or "You brought a wheelchair; use it!" or "Just carry her already!"  (That last one is really ironic because most people, when they see you carry a 3 year old, will bust out with the helpful opposing advice "Let that child walk!")

For whatever reason, I usually feel like I need to acknowledge that we have interrupted a stranger's day.  Yes, it's about a 5 minute delay on getting their French fries or getting off the elevator or getting to the shampoo aisle, but it's still something they didn't expect to find.  I started out apologizing when we were first encouraging Addy to walk any- and every-where, but that felt so wrong.  The truth is that I'm not sorry that she walks slowly and I don't want her to be sorry either.  I'm proud of her.  She works hard--really REALLY hard--and has made a ton of great progress as a result. I'm grateful more than I am sorry.  Grateful that she's able to walk and dance and be independent and be so self-motivated to keep working at something that is such a challenge.

So "sorry" is out.  What do I say instead?  I choose to say "Thank you" instead.  "I really appreciate your patience."

Monday, June 9, 2014

News Flash: I have bad days sometimes

Let me just preface this with a quick disclaimer: the title of this post should not be taken to mean that things are "bad" right now.  They're not.  Things are actually pretty rockin' awesome.  Kids are healthy.  We're healthy.  Nora is a talking, singing little crazy ball of energy (actually a pretty tall ball of energy; the little stinker is wearing clothes that Addy wore last summer already).  Addy is a walking fiend and is getting fabulously quick with her crutches.  The house is a wreck with toys and whatnot, but that's to be expected.  It's a little rainy this week, but we have food, a roof, and good jobs.  And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go knock on every piece of wood furniture I can find...

The back story for this post is that someone had posted a picture on FaceBook yesterday.  It's a picture of the person's son with a Superman cape draped over the back of his wheelchair.  To the image she had added the message "Always Be Strong Because You Never Know Who You Are Inspiring."  

Not cool Mostly Anonymous Woman On FaceBook.

"Always be strong" is just about the dumbest, most misguided, sanctimonious advice you can give out.  I am strong most days, mostly because I don't know how else to be and still get stuff done.  That's how most moms--and dads!--are and special needs parents are no exception.

And let me tell you: it's downright exhausting being strong.  Physically.  Mentally.  Emotionally.  Every aspect of it.  It's hard work finding therapists, doing therapy work at home, going to doctor's appointments, dealing with medical supply orders, lifting wheelchairs, finding clothes and shoes that work with braces,  finding clothes and shoes for skinny beanpole kids with crazy narrow feet, feeding picky eaters, feeding non-picky eaters, doing laundry, keeping siblings from killing each other (yeah, did you know that kids are kids and they'll totally snag toys from each other, regardless of how disabled either one is?  And that this, without fail, causes World War III levels of fighting between said children?).

Most days, I'm strong and I can take whatever life (or my children) decides to fling my direction.  But sometimes, there are just a few too many things going on.  One too many insurance claim denials or foods that tickle the tongue just right or loads of laundry or can't-possibly-live-without-it toys.  Or maybe it's the thought of spending an hour walking through the grocery store just to get a gallon of milk or getting your finger caught in the hinge of a brace.  Or the tantrums or the never-ending string of "Why?" or the fights over whether we need to watch "Frozen" for the 10th time today.  Sometimes being strong just isn't an option.

That's okay.  It's healthy, even.

Sometimes you need to just take a break.  Let someone else take care of dinner (or just let the kids eat grilled cheese for the 4th meal in a row).  Cry.  Scream.  Hide under the blankets.  Do whatever allows you to regroup and reset and try again tomorrow and, most importantly, do so without worrying about who might be watching.

As far as being inspiring goes, I see two interpretations for that.  One is me motivating you, pushing you to work harder, do better, feel better about your lot in life.

Not happening.

Did you read through the seriously edited list of stuff we juggle around here?  I am not a motivational speaker.  I'm not your life coach.  I don't have time for giving pep talks to strangers.  (Friends and family are totally different, by the way.  Pick-me-ups are always available to y'all.)

The other interpretation I have for "inspiration" is more of acceptance or peace about your situation.  We're normal, boring people.  We do ordinary things like go to the grocery store and Walmart.  It's a bit comical now because it's usually mommy and Nora with the cart in front, Addy with her crutches behind us, and daddy behind her with the wheelchair for back-up, and we go at a pretty slow pace.  If seeing that everybody has a different "normal" helps you accept and love your normal, that's great.  That makes me feel good.  However, I'm not going to feel bad that you might see the other side of normal.  The side that sometimes ugly cries because things get overwhelming.  The side that lashes out at the people at the store who just stare at my kid.

Life is good.  But life is hard, too.

So, to the Mostly Anonymous Woman On FaceBook: please, for the sake of your own sanity, don't take your own advice.  Just live.  Enjoy your son.  And don't worry about what other people think.

On repeat

Nora, inquisitive child that she is, was investigating a box of sodas last night.  It happened to be a box stacked on top of another box of sodas and, she-Hulk that she is, she pulled it down onto the floor.  Fortunately, she didn't smash her toes.  Unfortunately, she exploded one can inside the box and nearly exploded a second in the process.  During the clean-up, she decided to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" to me.  Literally just "Twinkle, twinkle" because that's the only word she could remember.  Maybe she'll add "star" to her vocal stylings.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Favorite book

Nora, having the attention span of a toddler, can be a bit difficult to read to.  There's a lot more pointing at pictures and occasionally reading the first or last sentence on a page, and forget about looking at every page or even looking at them in order.

But there is one book that she seems to really love: "Inside, Outside, Upsidedown".  Granted, it's the board book version (and possibly rather abridged), but she sits still and actually listens to the whole thing.  This morning she grabbed the book, climbed on my lap, turned to the last page, and said "Mommy! Mommy! I town! Side!" (go find a copy and see just how close she was). It was super adorable!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

All the better to stomp with my dear

Addy was asleep on the sofa this afternoon when Nora suddenly became interested in putting on sandals.  The child is normally all about being barefoot, so this should have been a tip-off that she was up to something.  As soon as she got her sandals on she started to do a very heavy-footed march around the living room, so she could try to wake Sister up from her nap.  Well-played, Nora.