Friday, April 27, 2012

Pearls of Wisdom

{hahahaha!! I just found this post in my "Drafts" folder. I started it when we were moving to our last house in August. I didn't get very far apparently,but it made me laugh just now when I read it. Wow, Mommy needed a hug that day!}

     Here's some advice on how to pack and clean your house while entertaining two very bored, and eager-to-help-Mommy toddlers:

                                                  For the love of Jesus, DON'T.

     I'd like to end this post right here- but that's not overly interesting, is it?
My day started poorly- the kids were terrible last night and I think I had some lasting residue left over from being mad and frustrated before I went to bed. I was in a pissy mood. Plain and simple. I did not think that I could make it through another day with them and their neediness and for fuck sake where is all my Pepsi...


Just Mommy and the Girls

    Wednesday night Nick got up and did both of Raegan's night feedings without me having to ask or threaten him. The next morning he stealthily took her and the dog out of our bedroom, shutting the door behind him, and woke our two older kids. He fed everyone, prepped Noelle for school and put her on her school van. He then loaded Dryden and Raegan into our van and left to run errands: they went to our lawyer's and then to Costco to get 38 pounds of minced garlic and 500 bags of microwavable popcorn. I was left alone, in a silent house, to sleep in for the first time in...I have no idea. I floated downstairs at the shameful hour of 10:30 to brew my first cup of coffee (that I drank without having to re-warm it in the microwave four times) while sitting down! I then took the longest, hottest shower I could before my David Suzuki senses started tingling and made me feel guilty. Today, while I was gone to get groceries (I need stuff to go with all that garlic) he bathed and dressed all the kids, did the dishes, and tidied the house. No, no, I am most certainly not on drugs- this stuff actually happened. And no, I am not blackmailing Nick with nude pictures. You see ladies and gentlemen, this here is what I like to call: Nick sucking up like a boss. This weekend is "Guys Weekend." Nick and his friends get together and go away to a hockey tournament (in Kingston this year) and they all pretend that they are young, carefree, unattached, childless guys and spend three days drinking beer, smoking butts, going to bars, eating horribly unhealthy food, and acting like giant 13 year olds. Apparently hockey gets played somewhere in there too (I have my suspicions about that though. I can see them in my mind stopping at a sports store on the way home and buying hats, and skate guards, and towels and telling us wives that they were prizes for placing 2nd in the 'B' division.)

     We try to do this once or twice a year, each of us going away separately for a weekend with our own friends. It's a great way to reconnect with friends that we don't always have time to devote our undivided attention to for long periods of time now that we have kids. It also gives each of us a little break to recharge and let loose. So while Nick is body checking, and laughing at crude jokes without having to look over his shoulder to see if I'm frowning, I'm at home. No, no- don't feel bad for me...Nick covered his bases; He asked his Dad to have a Dryden/Poppa day and sleep over and tomorrow his Mom is watching Dryden and Noelley AND having a sleep over. Tonight was pretty easy: Noelley wanted to play in a bubble bath after supper and then promptly passed out after. And Raegan was especially adorable tonight, cooing and smiling, and making pretty eyes. She too has passed out, snoring softly with the slight scent of milk on her breath. I have the rest of the night to watch trashy TV (Gypsy Wedding? Yes please!) and lounge in a bubble bath. Tomorrow after I drop Miss Noelley off at Nick's parents' place I will be taking the baby to Ottawa to a dinner party at a good friend's house without feeling guilt or pressure to rush home. By god, I'm even going to sleep in Sunday (with Raegan's approval and permission of course.) I must say, I'm loving Guy's Weekend this year...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Now You Know

     I should have been born an Italian- I could have been Carmella's sister on the Sopranos. I have a quick, hot temper and my venomous tongue is rarely kept in check- I prefer to let it roam freely and attack at will. Those of you who know me will be surprised to learn that I am also a master at keeping things close to my chest; I remain quiet and unassuming about a lot of things. If you are family or a friend I usually censor my strong opinions and try really hard to bite my wicked tongue. Usually. If you aren't related or well liked, watch out, because this bitch will gladly snap on your stupid ass for doing/saying something mean spirited/selfish/assholish in any way.

     That being said, I belong to two private Face Book groups for families with Isodicentric 15 Syndrome, like our daughter. It is a safe place for us to vent and listen, share and encourage, learn and grow amongst other people who not only understand our situation, but are living it as well. I often come across postings about family and/or friends saying or doing something that results in them being immediately deleted, blocked, and dismissed in real life. I often wonder if this is a knee-jerk reaction or have these people been previously made aware of their feelings and they chose to act like a dipshit anyways. I got to thinking: Do my family and friends know how I feel? Maybe they don't "get it" because I'm so tight lipped about it. Maybe Nick and I should stop trying to make it look so easy and let our guards down, letting others see it for how it really is: difficult.

Things You Might Not Know:

1. I hate the word "retard." The context that you are probably using it in is offensive and unnecessary. I won't call you on it if you use it in my presence because you are an adult and I feel that you should already know better. I'm not your mother, or your wife so it doesn't bother me that you look like a douchebag. Just know that "retard" makes my insides crawl with disgust.

2. "It's just a runny nose" makes me want to back-hand you across the room. If your child is sick, don't bring her around Noelle- or at least warn me so I can lie and make up some excuse as to why we can no longer go. What is a three day runny nose for your kid is a three week ordeal for Noelle ,in which she gets really sick and her illness always holds on, white knuckle tight with both hands. She stops eating when she's sick, and since she doesn't drink, her food is her only source of hydration- great, now we're on dehydration watch and might have to bring her to the ER for an I.V. The flu she fought last week made her lose 4 pounds- a lot of weight if you only weigh 30 pounds. Show some consideration.

3. "Really? She doesn't look like there is anything wrong with her..." I get this frequently after explaining Noelle's chromosome anomaly. I understand what they mean- their wording is just tacky. This actually doesn't bother me. Other parents of special needs kids may not be so easy going though, and will karate chop you in the face. Beware, you've been warned.

4. Declutter your house and hide all breakable, valuables when you know we are visiting. Yes, I know that this is bold to ask,but Noelle isn't great at walking, she has an uneven stride and wonky balance, and she bumps into things. She also has poor vision and trips on things (even 100 pound dogs) on the floor. If you consistently don't declutter, we usually stop visiting. It's too dangerous for Noelle and stressful for me: I can't afford to replace your great-grandmother's heirloom collection of Royal Dalton figurines from the pre-Depression era. Christ...

5. When I cancel a morning date- I'm not being a jerk. It usually means that Noelle was up all night kicking her door for fun and our entire household is exhausted. Or we had a midnight "shit-uation" and had to spend hours scrubbing crap. Literally. Off her walls, off her bed, off her door, off of her, washing her bed linens and blankets and toys. I'm tired and in a shitty mood. har har..

6. When I cancel an afternoon date- I'm not being a jerk. Noelle has many nights where she doesn't sleep. If she has a few of these back-to-back, she'll go down to nap at noon and sleep until the next morning. I'd rather hang out with Rachel Ray and listen to her laugh all afternoon than wake Noelley up.

7. It's hard to get a babysitter. Usually our parents watch our kids. We can't just pay some teenager $7/hour to watch them- we need someone who can recognize seizures and who knows first aid if she chokes on her food. If our parents are gone or booked watching other grandkids, then we have to dish out $20-$25/hour for a sitter qualified to care for Noelle.

8. Noelle doesn't chew her food and chokes easily. She also doesn't drink anything. Ever. She won't touch food with her hands. We have to cut or mash everything up and ensure that she gets enough liquids through her meals. It has taken us years to teach her to feed herself. Not every restaurant has food that she can eat; not everything on your table is suitable for her. Meal time is all-encompassing and tiring. I rarely get to sit down to eat.

9. When I say "I need a break" what I really mean is I need a fucking break. Now! I'm tired from not sleeping well, I'm worn out from carrying Noelle around everywhere when she won't walk, I'm irritated to my limit from having to snuggle her non-stop for the last 8 days and getting nothing else accomplished, and my left eye is twitching from her constant whining- which is how she communicates 95% of her needs. I can go long periods without this stuff weighing me down, but when I've had enough...if you can help, please do. If you can't, stay clear: shit is about to get nasty.

10. We never sleep well. We have a serious fear of Noelle passing away during the night. One unexplained, and devastating aspect of Noelle's syndrome is Sudden Unexplained Death in children. We check on her twice a night. If she sleeps in, we worry. If she sounds funny while sleeping, we're tempted to wake her. It's a topic that makes me feel sick; I have a hard time even discussing it with Nick. I think it's just more practical not to sleep until she is 20...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lunch Date

     Today was Noelle's very first day staying at school for lunch! Now to most parents, this is pretty normal. You pack a cheese sandwich, a baggie of crackers, a pear, a juice box, and a cookie into their Shrek lunch box- send them to school and assume that most of what you packed will be eaten (if not by your child, then by someone else's kid who bartered for it.) It seems simple. We, however, are not "most parents." It took us, along with the school, three weeks to plan and prep for Noelle's integration into the lunch room. Her occupational therapist had to come and asses the school and make recommendations on what equipment the school needed to get to accommodate Noelle's dining needs. Then the school had to put in a request, wait for confirmation, and then get everything: think little chair with a built in booster seat and strap to keep her sitting, a table to go with the chair, a heavy wooden tray and plastic bowl of contrasting colors so that Noelle can see and differentiate between the two, large bibs in neutral colors (we didn't want babyish ones...not that Noelle gives a shit), and having Noelle's E.A being re-certified in first aid. Noelle does not bite or chew her food or drink anything; we're used to it now. She eats everything that we do, we just have to make sure everything is cut up small or mashed a little bit, and we introduce her liquids through her food. The biggest worry is choking. Both Nick and I have had to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her [Nick is a former volunteer firefighter so he knew it already. I learned on the fly out of sheer panic and terror...] So we cannot rely on the lunch box staples such sandwiches, crackers, cheese, etc...her meals will be pastas, goulashes, Shepperd's pie, soups, meatloaf...stuff like that. Paired with nutty apple sauces, pudding, fruit laden yogurt, and/or thick smoothies. Equipment: check! Menu: check!

     I went to the school at lunch time today to show them how we do things at meal time and tricks we use with Noelle. Apparently the adults at her school are not idiots, and I had nothing new to teach them. But the lunch date was not a waste of time. I love seeing Noelle with all her little friends. They were sooo excited that Noelle was staying for lunch and recess- it was hilarious. They were yelling and high-fiving each other and fighting to see who got to sit near her. The teacher informed me that they were going to make a rotating schedule of who gets to sit at Noelle's table every day to eat lunch with her. My face hurt when I left from smiling; these kids are adorable and amazing. Noelle ate her lunch, stayed for recess and took her van home at noon. She was fast asleep when I opened the van door to take her out- she continued snoring as I carried her upstairs to bed and napped straight through until supper time.

     I'm feeling very blessed and appreciative to be able to celebrate and bask in these simple milestones that at one time we feared we would never know with Noelle. Eating lunch at school by herself with some friends...check!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Just Another Manic Monday

Wake up: see that it is grey/rainy outside. Roll over and go back to sleep until the kids wake up.

Wake up to three kids with runny noses. Shit.

Check kleenex inventory.

Make three different breakfasts so that everyone will actually eat something this morning.

Eat a mini Cadbury cream egg (1 WW point!)

Unpack half of our DVDs and put them away. Pick my battles and let Dryden play with the other half.

Wipe every one's noses.

Empty big box of bath towels so that Noelle can play with it. Hide towels in the office.

Eat another cream egg.

Bounce Noelle on my knee while feeding the baby a bottle.

Change every one's crappy diapers.

Light a really strong candle.

Force the big baby dog to go pee outside in the rain. Spend 10 minutes drying him after.

Try to organize our toy room. Abandon idea: kids suddenly want to play with everything I touch.

Wipe every one's noses.

Clean fingerprints off stainless steel appliances. Curse stainless steel appliances. Again.

Make lunch that no one likes/eats.

Force feed cold meds, slather Vick's vapo rub everywhere, tuck grumpy kids into bed.

Take a nap.

Wake up to the sound of rain falling on our tin roof   *love*

Self destruct and eat 6 or 7 cream eggs.

Get a chair and put the Easter candy on a high shelf. Eat a carrot as an apology to my body.

Snuggle with kids while reading Toy Story book for the 837th time this week.

Wipe noses.

Unpack craft supplies. Have no idea where they go yet. Put crafty stuff back in the box. Hide box in the office.

Sweep floors.

Return 13 Hot Wheels cars to their "garage."

Give Dryden one of Raegan's bottles so he can feed his stuffed cat who is "ungry."

Make supper that everyone gets to eat but me. Feed baby while clearing the dishes and singing "Old McDonald" to Noelle.

Rock screaming baby while two older kids do...shit, who am I kidding? I have no idea what they were doing for 20 whole minutes. No one died and the house didn't burn down so everything turned out fine. 

Trick kids into taking cold meds. I love the smell of Vicks. Wipe noses and blow kisses as I close their bedroom doors.

Do dishes and laundry and put toys away.

Feed baby while watching Fashion Police.

Blog until baby wakes up.

Get chair and retrieve Easter 2 eggs.

Pour a glass of wine and snuggle with Raegan.

Wipe her nose....

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Like To Move It Move It

     We put our house up for sale almost three weeks ago (I can hear the collective groans and mumbles of, "great, now we have to endure months worth of whiny moving blogs." First of all, stop complaining- I'm adorable when I whine. Secondly, have no fear my blog-reading-dears, the ordeal is already almost done. We put our house up for sale privately on Tuesday, had an open house on Friday, received an offer on Saturday and accepted it the next day. We signed the papers a few days ago, and voila! like that, our headache is gone. To be honest, that yard is fantastic, and the house has good bones; someone who has no kids and the time and energy to fix it up will be very happy there. As for us, we have three very little children, we hoard our spare time, and have zero energy after 7:30 pm (9:00 if I've had a nap.) Instead, we bought our dream house. When did I realize it was our dream house? When I not only allowed Nick to convince me to pack up all our crap and move yet again, but when I also started agreeing with his reasoning.
     We can grow here. The house is very big- we've lost Saku twice so far. He now wears a little bell on his collar. It has five bedroom- so we have a spare bedroom for overnight guests for the first time. Or an available room if we have a "Whoops!" baby....
     We will never renovate again. This house is beyond move in ready- no painting even! (There has come a time in my life where I no longer feel the need to paint over someone else's beige walls with my preferred shade of beige. Let's just buy a brightly colored rug and go to bed early.)
     The yard is a blank canvas. The property is an acre and has a dozen newly planted trees and two lovely flower bed. That's it. I am going to garden the shit out of this yard!
     We are in the same community, and the same school district- so no major upheaval there (thank goodness- it is exhausting convincing new people that I am, in fact, cool.)

     So there you have my last three weeks: We sold our house, packed all our stuff (I knew I had unpacked too quickly at the old place), bought a new house, moved all our stuff, and are almost finished unpacking. Nick and I wrote our own Moving Vows (like marriage vows, only more sacred) and exchanged them over candle light.

Rachel: "I promise not to bitch about how unorganized and random your packing is. I swear to unpack and put things away in obvious places that you will think to look for them. I would never throw away any of your clothes that I hate while you are away at work. I will shut my mouth when you say "I told you this was a great idea"  for the next ten years. I will let you organize the basement and utility room however you like...until it annoys me too much and I go fix it."

Nick: " I do solemnly swear never to look on MLS for a new house ever again. Because I love you, we no longer have to drive around looking for houses to buy on our way home from everywhere. I promise never to start a sentence with, "You know what house would be awesome to buy..." This will be our last house, for ever, and ever. Amen."