Monday, July 30, 2012

Deep Breath

I took Milly to her 18-month checkup last week. She's growing like a weed and is getting more adorable every day. We've had a rash of ear infections over the last few months and it's left a good bit of fluid in her ears. We've been seeing an ENT to see if she needs tubes and it's been established that she can't hear us very well. While speaking with the pediatrician and trying to wrestle Milly into giving up the tongue depressor she kept using to gag herself, we turned to her vocabulary.

I realized that Milly doesn't speak. She says "Dadadada" and she smiles. That's it.

The pediatrician asked me to call ECI. We need to get on this as soon as possible to find out the cause.

  • Is she imitating her siblings?
  • Is it because she can't hear us?
  • Do we have another spectrum kid?
So I took a deep breath. I prayed. I cried. Then I picked up the phone and called ECI and her ENT. We will get to the bottom of this.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Puberty 2: Electric Boogaloo

After you have babies, your body does weird things. I'm not talking about the bizarre fluids and puffiness that happens right after birth. I'm talking about when you have 3 kids under 5 running around destroying your thank-the-Lord-It's-second-hand furniture.

When I was in high school, I had long curly hair. BIG curly hair. I was called Roseanne Roseannadanna on more than one occasion.

After having kids, I realized that my days of thick and curly hair made worse by humidity were gone. Now I had limp, fine strands of straw that still flew straight out whenever Texas summers hit. At first I got excited! Maybe I could transform this into the straight luxurious locks that I had craved since middle school! dreams of Loreal-worthy hair were not coming true. In fact, I was losing my hair at an alarming rate. I have a new hair regiment now and I'm hoping that it's going to work better than wringing my hands and buying Drano.

Help me, Paul Mitchell. You're my only hope.

There is a picture of me waiting for the bus to go to a band trip from my freshman year. My hair is in a french braid and I'm in my flag corps warm-up suit. I'm with a friend and smiling. I also have SEVERE acne all over my face. I look at that photo and cringe. Then I look in the mirror and cringe more. Hello, acne! Haven't seen you in a while! I had to go on prescription medicine the last time it was this bad. I truly thought I was done with being embarrassed to go out because blackheads had invaded my nose like tiny irritable Visigoths in the night guarded by two whiteheads on either side. My first reaction to these facial impurities was to go and get the same thing I used in high school.
Clean and Clear and makes you sing Waterfalls by TLC.

Then I realized that I was fighting more than angry Visigoths. The high school face wash made my face look a little better but I was still getting...wrinkly. I began to look at night creams for my baggy eyelids. I never go out without some sort of sunscreen built into my makeup or moisturizer.

I know what retinol is, people.

Remember in 5th grade when they split us up into boys and girls and made us watch The Movie? You know, the one that was horribly out of date and told us how we were not going to die every month and that hair was going to start coming in various places? Did they mention "special feelings" in the boys video? I still can't find a guy to break the code of silence surrounding that mysterious video.

After babies, my body is changing again. Carrying three monsters has left my hips wider and I don't think there are any gym machines to actually change my bone structure. I carried Gideon sideways for quite some time and he's responsible for most of that damage along with the only damage to my hoohah that I sustained in three births.

(Someone pick Mom up off of the floor.)

I've joined a gym and I'm still trying to watch what I eat. The pounds are coming off but I just look different. There's a pooch in the front that I don't think will ever go away without plastic surgery. My back hurts enough that I'm considering a visit to a good chiropractor. I can't eat a box of Pop Tarts in one sitting and lose it the next day in a marching band session. I gain weight by driving by bakeries. My cycle is wonky again like I'm a newbie. I saw a girl wearing white capris and I sighed with jealousy because I just can't do that. Luckily the special feelings are back in force and now I have a husband instead of just my imagination.

(Go pick Mom up again.)

My hair, my face and my body are no longer my own. The 20's were good while they lasted. 33 is by no means old but it's looking forward that makes me want to take care of this vessel. I may never wear cutoffs and a tank top to Edgefest again but I can eat ice cream for breakfast now. Growing up isn't so bad.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Princess and the Pothole

Sophie likes to look around and comment on everything in the world while she rides in the car. We hear commentary like "Red light! Red light means stop!" and "Issa red octomagononon!"

I love it when she adds 19 extra syllables to her words. Cutest thing ever.

Whenever we go over a bump, no matter how small, Sophie asks the riders of the car "You OK? I'm OK!" Every single bump. Every single time. Sometimes we answer her and sometimes we just let her talk to herself.

Last week we got to go and visit my new niece and my beautiful sister-in-law. (Fine. And my brother.) It took about 45 minutes to get to the hospital. During about 15 minutes of that commute we went over some grooved pavement. This turned Sophie into the Micro Machines Man on crack.


There was no breath in between shrieks and answering her didn't stop the script. I turned on the Imagination Movers soundtrack but she just got louder.


When the ground finally smoothed into regular pavement again and we were able to turn down the Movers, I glanced back at Sophie. She had been sitting rigidly upright in her seat and was frantically looking around to make sure that WE WERE ALL OK, DEAR LORD WHAT IS HAPPENING TO MY WORLD IT'S GONE ALL SHAKY. After it was all over, she just calmly sat back and began pointing out yellow trimangangles.

The twitch in my eye is almost gone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sophie Sings!

You learned how to sing the alphabet song. Mama is so proud of you, Sophie-Chan!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Laundry Fairy

Me: "Hon, could you put the delicates in the washer?"

Ben: "...delicates?"

Me: "Um...*pointing* that pile. Just put them in the washer on the delicate cycle."

Ben: "There's a delicate cycle?"

Me: " know, I'll just grab them."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"TOP Men"

Yesterday was my vague and grownup post about parents of special needs kids. Today is my vent.

Sophie and Gideon have never been to Vacation Bible School because most start at 5 years old. When the church where they are going to MDO put out their VBS info and it said that they start at three, I began to do my usual scouring the info to see if this would work. It was from Sunday to Thursday at nights for 2 1/2 hours. Not too long but long enough to let them have fun but not get overtired. It was at a familiar place but they would go to different rooms letting them know that change is still OK. Gideon would go into the three year old room and not really participate with the Big Kids until the last night when they have a big closing doodah in the sanctuary. He would still do the crafts, get a shirt and learn the lessons. The children's director knows my kids and knows their limits. I felt comfortable.

Sign them up!

Everything went well until last night when Ben dropped them off. When he got to Gideon's room he was informed that Gideon was being moved down to the room with the volunteers babies. According to this woman, Gideon's room was not equipped to handle a child in diapers. Ben came back upset that Gideon was being held back. I got in the car and drove up to the church to find out more about what was going on.

Side note: Did you know that the Mazda 5 can reach 95 MPH?

I prayed that God would keep my temper in check and stormed into the church to see what had happened. The children's director was found and I explained that Gideon had been moved. She was confused at my explanation and had no idea that he had been moved. She said it didn't make sense. Another woman was walking by and heard us talking. It turns out that she was the one who had made the change. She was the associate pastor in charge of the children's ministries. She said that Gideon had been "messing in his pants" and had been moved to a room where there were people who were "trained to handle that kind of thing".

As if you need an advanced degree to clean poop off of my kid's marblesack.

After I was able to put a stop to the condescension and get a word in edgewise, I explained that if I had been told earlier that kids must be potty trained before attending VBS, I would not have brought my kids. Even my 4 year old has accidents. I told them that I had no intention of making more work for their volunteers and said that I would take my son home and he would not come for the last night since he was not a part of VBS.

I was reassured by the children's director that Gideon was still doing the same thing as the three year old group but was just in a room where more diapers were changed. (If that woman said "people TRAINED to handle that" one more time, there was going to be a situation.) That class would also be involved in the big closing doodah tonight and he was still learning the lessons. She took my point seriously and said that future VBS info would make it clear that three years olds attending would need to be potty trained.

I left with an apology and reassurance that Gideon was having fun and they loved having him there. I'm still going to leave the kids in the MDO program because I know that Gideon's teachers ADORE him. I felt like I was heard and was able to get them to see that the situation could have been handled better.

Now to go see how much one of those trained professionals go for so I can see how much I'm worth.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Just Say No

When you are the parent of a special needs child, no matter what the diagnosis or level of adaptation, you look at mainstream activities differently. You carefully check the rules for every Mother's Day Out and VBS to see if your child doesn't meet any of the criteria. You make a point to speak to the head of whatever program you like and let them know details about your child to see if they are able to handle what comes with your little darling. The best thing that you can hear is "Of course they can come!" What people don't realize is the second best phrase we can hear.

"I'm sorry. We can't accommodate your child's needs."

It sounds counter intuitive, but this is actually a good long as you tell us BEFORE we put down deposits, get our routine-loving children into going somewhere new and make time in our already packed schedules for another possible socialization-skills-building activity.

If you work with kids at a church or other location, please understand how important it is to us as parents to hear that you understand our childrens' extra needs. Just because a child is three does not mean that he talks or is potty trained. A four year old might become agitated if Mama does not leave quickly enough because school is for teachers and home is for Mamas in her mind. If we give you a label for our children and you don't fully understand what they need then ASK QUESTIONS. Tell us no. We've heard "no" before and we're OK with hearing it again.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Sauce

I've been on Weight Watchers since January. I've gone from a size 26 to a size 20. It blows my mind that this is actually working! This is the first time that I've lost a significant amount of weight in years.

Then...I got lazy. I started eating cheeseburgers and fries, pasta and garlic bread, carbs, carbs, carbs and more carbs. Not surprisingly, the scale started to go up again and those size 20 capris felt a little too tight. So, I joined a gym and started looking for some low-carb recipes to satisfy my cravings while letting me keep wearing my new clothes.

Italian food is my downfall. There is nothing better to me than a large plate of thin pasta swimming in creamy sherry-spiked marinara sauce with chicken draped in provolone served next to a basket full of garlic rolls dripping in oil and butter.

Evil, I tell you.

I kept running across recipes for spaghetti squash. It's a vegetable that, when roasted, can be shredded into spaghetti-like strands. I kept reading about the health benefits (Folic acid! Beta carotene! vitamin A!) and marveled at how an entire squash was only about 50 calories when cooked. After reading a few recipes, I came up with this.

The Stuff

Football sized spaghetti squash
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Half of a zucchini, cubed
3 oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 jar of light Prego marinara sauce

The Process

First, you have to cut that sucker in half across the long side. It took some doing! That thing has some thick skin. Then, take a spoon and scrape out all of the seeds and gross stuff. Preheat the oven to 375 and put your halved spaghetti squash on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the EVOO and sprinkle your seasonings all over it. Then turn it cut side down and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the squash cut side up and bake for another 45 minutes.

The sauce comes together so quickly that I waited until the squash was cooked and let it cool. I put a large skillet over high heat and melted the butter. Add the sliced mushrooms and zucchini and saute until they are soft. I had to add a little extra EVOO to keep things moist. Then I added half a jar of the sauce. While everything simmered on low, I scraped out the squash into long spaghetti-like strings. It all got added to the sauce and sauteed / simmered everything together. A sprinkle of Parmesan and my dinner was done.

An entire skillet of delicious Italian food was about 168 calories. I practically gorged myself on dinner that was about 3 points total and high in all of the vitamins that I've been needing. Do yourself a favor and try this. Don't be afraid of something new!