Thursday, February 9, 2017

Just a Suggestion

I don’t take ‘suggestions’ well.

I know this. My husband even commented on it last night.

I often feel like when someone makes a suggestion to me, what they’re really saying is that I’m an idiot who can’t figure something out for myself and so they have to suggest an alternative because there is no way I’d have come up with it myself.

Last night, for example, I was getting ready to help Olivia write out her Valentines for her class party tomorrow. She had one new kid join her class this year, so this girl’s name isn’t on the list we had from the beginning of the year.

I said, “Okay, we don’t know her last name but we do know her first name…”

At this point, Tom interjected, “Are there any repeating names in her class?”

I glanced at the list and declared, “Nope, all the Addisons and Aidans are in the other class.”

“Well, then, I’d just have her write the first names on the Valentines,” he suggested.

In what I thought was a reasonable tone, I said, “That’s what I was going to have her do.”

Apparently, I was snippy when I said that to him because about ten minutes later, he came back to where we were still working on the Valentines and said faux-casually, “You don’t like it when I make suggestions, do you?”

I had forgotten all about the suggestion about the first names so I looked at him in confusion and asked what he meant.

He told me I’d been really short with him when he suggested writing just the first names.

Huh. Okay. Maybe I had. I wouldn’t put it past me to do just that.

Because…all of fifteen minutes before the Valentine ‘suggestion’ we’d been discussing Alyssa’s next orthodontist appointment and I got the distinct impression that I’d rescheduled her appointment wrong.

How does on reschedule an appointment wrong? Well, in this case, when I’d called to reschedule the appointment, the lady with whom I spoke said that the times we like best (after 3:40 because of school and bus drop off time) were going to be pretty far out, like in another month.

I remembered that the girls don’t have school on Monday, February 20 and so I asked her to check that day, any time being fine because, yeah, no school.

She told me that the staff would be in their other office, which is in another town about a half hour away. I decided I could take a half day vacation and accepted an appointment for 2:00 that day.

Tom didn’t understand why I didn’t just take one for a later time in our usual office later in the month. Why did it matter, he wanted to know, when her next appointment was.

It didn’t, I explained but I was TRYING to keep from inconveniencing him!

It was just weird and it put me on edge and made me feel like he thought I was an idiot and that’s probably why I snapped about the stupid Valentines.

So yeah, a wordy explanation about how much I dislike it when people make ‘suggestions’ to me.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Late to the Game

I’m trying to find ways to deal with the low levels of constant irritation that I feel coursing through my brain these days.

So, two weeks ago, I bought the first season of Game of Thrones. I know…it’s been on forever. It’s been on long enough that people are naming their kids Arya and Khaleesi (please, just…don’t) and the oldest of those kids are starting preschool (kindergarten?) So yeah, I’m late to the Game of Thrones.

But it’s a nice distraction. I can just sit and veg out on fictional kings and queens and dragon eggs and boobs (so many boobs!) But wait, was that a penis? There was an episode in which they showed TWO penises! Holy crap, now there’s a distraction.

Yes, I am about as mature as a twelve year old, why do you ask?

On the bright side (another thing that helps ease some of my agitation) since I’m so late about starting to watch this show, there are six (seven?) seasons for me to catch up on. No lines, no waiting. For just under $30 I can start the next season the minute I finish the last. That’s kind of awesome since I’m not a fan of waiting.

Oh and the spoilers! I love spoilers. I love knowing what’s coming next. I love not being surprised or held in suspense. I love being able to go look something up rather than wait for the next episode or season. I’ve already read about every single death and marriage that takes place on the show in the first six seasons. It’s a dream come true for me, I tell you.

It may not be solving all the world’s problems but it’s a little bit of time during which I can forget that we might just be facing the end of the world as we know it. I can watch one episode, destress for a minute (an hour?) and then go do something productive in hopes of making our world a little better for my girls and your girls and boys and everyone’s children.

Ahhh, now I need to go put watch the last episode of season one just to come down from the stress of that last paragraph. It’s a vicious circle. Ugh!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nice Lunch!

So I’m sitting at my desk at work, minding my own business, eating my lunch, hoping for ten minutes of peace and quiet.

I suppose I should have shut the door if I REALLY wanted peace and quiet. But because I’m, well, stupid, I didn’t shut the door and that meant that every single person who passed my office had to comment on my lunch.

One such co-worker happened to be passing by as I was taking a bit of my Big Mac (not the giant mac or whatever it's called, just a normal, regular old big mac.) and he stopped to say, "Nice lunch!"

His tone told me he thought my lunch was unacceptable for adult consumption. Then he chortled as he walked away. Asshole.

Why? Why do people do this? How is it any of their business what I’m eating?

I mean, please, it was a stupid Big Mac and fries because, damn it, I was hungry and sometimes you just need the comfort food that only McD’s can give you.

I don’t bother people when they’re eating because it’s RUDE to do so. I never comment on someone else’s food choice. Because, again, it’s rude!

People make me crazy. I need a job where I can just be alone…like always. I’m really not fit for human interaction these days anyway. This was just one more example of that.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Standing Still...Still Standing

Olivia was a year old when I started taking her to a chiropractor. She wasn’t sitting up independently at that point. Sure, we could prop her and there were moments of independent sitting but mostly…no.

I started taking her because I simply had no other ideas. She was a year old, wasn’t crawling, wasn’t sitting consistently and while we’d just started therapies, I felt like I had to try the chiropractor too. I figured it would hurt her and it might actually help her.

I took Liv to that chiropractor once a week for a year. During her time with him, she learned to sit up completely unassisted, she started crawling and she always seemed happy when we arrived at his office.

Just before she started crawling, he told me something that has resonated ever since.

He said, “None of these movements are natural for her. She has to learn every single muscle movement that is involved in sitting up and then in crawling and eventually in walking. It isn’t instinctive to her like it is for you or for her sister. She has to think about each muscle movement and concentrate on how each muscle is contracting or stretching.

He compared it to learning to drive a car. When a person first learns to drive a car, they have to think about every move of the steering wheel, every push of the gas or break. They have to learn to watch every mirror without taking their eyes off the road. And then…they just figure it out and it becomes second nature.

“But,” he continued optimistically, “she does have muscle memory. Once she learns something, her muscles don’t forget it and she doesn’t have to think about it quite so much. Like the person who’s been driving for a few year.”

I was reminded of this conversation with that long ago chiropractor this morning. Olivia was next to me, attempting to stand as still as a statue. She said, “Standing still takes a lot of orders.”

“What?” I asked her, confused about her wording.

“I have to order my arms and legs to not move. Standing still takes a lot of orders.”

Ahhh! I get it. And I am so glad she can articulate those things. She’s so clever and comes up with some of the most profound things. It kind of amazed me that she basically echoed what that doctor all those years ago said.

She’s come so far and yet still has so far to go. But then, don’t we all?

And just because…she loves her new glasses:

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Imagine...If You Will

Let me preface by saying that I love my daughters. I love my family. I feel VERY lucky to be married to my husband and to be my girls’ mom. I really do.

But I get tired. I get so, so tired.

The monotony of these days can get to me. I get up, I help Liv get ready for school. I go to work. I come home, we do homework, make dinner. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Olivia takes a bath. Week after week after week.

So last Friday was just another Friday evening. I mean, yeah, it was FRIDAY…yay! Except there was dinner to be cooked and dishes to be washed and a story to be read and children to be parented and I was tired.

While I was upstairs making putting clean sheets on Liv’s bed, I started imagining I was the respite care giver for our family. I was just there for the night, to give the parents a much needed break. I loved this family and appreciated all they do and all they go through. I made her bed lovingly, thinking about how hard the mom of the family works and how nice it is to be able to help her out even just one evening every so often.

When Olivia came in to hang with me while I was making her bed, I grabbed her and snuggled her for a couple of minutes, thinking about how much this respite care giver really loved this kid she saw only occasionally.

The peace I got from those few minutes of imagining lasted all evening long. It lasted through cookie and ice cream for Olivia. It lasted through the reading of a couple of chapters of The Tail of Emily Windsnap (Liv LOVED this book, which is about a girl who discovers she’s half mermaid and when she goes in the water, her legs turn into a tail.)

My sense that I was doing good, that I was helping someone else lasted through rubbing Liv’s back as she fell asleep. It was as if I’d recharged my own energy reserves by imagining that I wasn’t the mom in this situation. The mom was off at a hotel, watching endless hours of HGTV and sleeping next to her husband without interruption for as long as she needed. Just imagining that gave me a new verve for what we face in our day to day lives.

I was able to listen to stories about Pentatonix as if it were the first time I was hearing those stories instead of the twenty-seventh. I was able to sit next to Lyss and watching the same YouTube videos she’s shown me countless times because, in my imagination, I was there just for the night, just for her, for them.

I know it sounds juvenile but I’ve always had an active imagination and it makes the mundane moments go just a little faster, a little smoother. And last weekend, my imagination actually made me a better mother.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

About Those Villages

Speaking of our village, it hit met last week that while I often feel like our own personal village is pretty small and self-contained we’re incredibly lucky to be part of other villages. (And yep, Julie, you are ABSOLUTELY counted as part of our village, even being over 180 mile away.)

Last Wednesday evening the friend of one of Lyss’s friends texted me. She wanted to know if her daughter could ride the bus home with Lyss on Thursday and someone (a parent, a brother) would pick her up after 4:30. There wouldn’t be anyone home that afternoon and even though Sophie is fourteen, it’s been freaking cold around here and her mom didn’t want her to walk the half mile from the school to their home and come home to an empty house.

Obviously, I said of course Sophie could come over. She could stay as long as needed.

It warmed my heart to help. I felt so lucky that Tom is home every day when our girls get off the bus and I wanted to share some of that luckiness with Sophie and her parents. And of course, if the situation were reversed, I know that they’d welcome both A and O into their home in a heartbeat. Heck, they’d even be so kind as to put their two Basset hounds in the backyard to preserve Olivia’s sensibilities. (I know this because they’ve done it on every occasion that we’ve gone into their house. They understand that Liv can’t help being terrified of their dogs and they don’t take it personally.)

The day before Sophie’s mom texted about Sophie coming to our house for a couple of hours, the mom of one of Lyss’s other good friends called to ask what she called a ‘huge favor.’

This mom and her older daughter are going on vacation. Her younger daughter, Lyss’s friend Tessa, doesn’t want to go with them because it would mean missing several days of school and she’s a lot like Lyss, she likes school and doesn’t want to fall behind. Well, obviously, a fourteen year old can’t stay at home alone for over a week.

Tessa’s mom wanted to know if Tessa could stay with us this coming Friday and Saturday nights. She went on to explain that because Tessa is in the high school pep band, I’ll need to take her (and Alyssa, because…duh) to the basketball game on Friday. She said she hated to ask, that she’d found other arrangements for Tessa through the week and that Tessa would be going to Sophie’s house on Sunday but she wondered if it wouldn’t be too much trouble for us to take Tessa in for a couple of nights.

Of course I told her this was no problem at all. I was actually flattered that she’d asked. I feel honored to be a part of Tessa’s and her mom’s village. I feel like making lovely friends with entire families is part of the charm of being from a very small town. There are several families in this area with girls in my girls’ classes that we could call in an emergency and they’d step up to the plate for us. Just like they seem know we’ll do for them.

Now that January is finally making its cold, snowy exit from 2017, I’m suddenly feeling a little lighter, a little less anxious, a little more hopeful for the future…a little.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quality Care

It can be really hard to have a non-verbal child. It can be even harder when she’s actually only non-verbal in situations where vocalization is actually necessary for whatever is happening at that moment.

Take for example, our trip to the eye doctor yesterday. Guess who was the patient?

If you guess Olivia, you get a gold star! Go you.

Yes, Olivia needed to see the eye doctor. She hadn’t been seen since October of 2015 and it was time.

She was first seen by the technician who wanted to get a bit of an idea of how O is seeing with her glasses on.

Would Olivia read off the letters the tech was showing her? Nope. She’d barely nod when I asked her about the letters.

I tried to be patient. I knelt on the floor beside her chair and told her she could whisper the letters to me and I’d tell the tech. She sat there stone-faced. It was simply not going to happen.

Then…THEN this awesome young woman suggested that Olivia write down the letters she could see. How brilliant was that?

Liv was happy to write those letters for her. She wrote four different times, once for each eye to test her near vision and once for each eye for distance vision. I was seriously so impressed with the patience and innovation of this technician. I told the doctor when he came in how awesome his staff is.

Liv wouldn’t speak for the doctor either but lucky for her, he’s got other ways of figuring out what her prescription needs to be.

She got to pick out new frames for glasses that will be ready in about a week. She’s thrilled with the purple glasses that are on their way to her face.

I’m just happy we managed to luck into awesome medical professionals who take their time to treat Olivia like a person, like she deserves to be treated. I understand that at the end of the day, it might be hard to deal with a kid who just seems like she’s being a brat for the sake of being a brat but yesterday, no one did that. They saw my sweet girl and worked with her to the best of their ability to give her the awesome care she deserves, spoken words or not.