Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday with Friends

 Some days I feel like I've woken up to some sort of weird experiment or at best, a kooky Japanese game show.  Just when I think challenging times are behind me, wham-o!  "Let's see what happens when we do this!"  What does this all mean, you ask?  Let me explain...Middle of last week we had a new sectional delivered.  Woohoo!  The Kid and I were home and were positioning into, well, position! I went upstairs for a moment when suddenly I heard a sickening, thud.  Then, the silent cry that only mom ears can hear.  (something like the dog whistle thing.) I raced downstairs and realized The Kid was testing out the bounciness of the cushions, and since I hadn't pushed the mammoth thing against the wall, his face tested out the hardness of the window ledge.  Yeah, it's hard.  His forehead grew an egg in front of my eyes and by the time we were upstairs, his right eye was looking like he took a left hook in a prize fight.  His nose was slowing matching the rest in swollen size.  Ugh.  Somehow one of the japanese judges was on my side (remember how I'm on a game show?) and had me infuse the child right before the chaos began.  I'm sure I have a lot of kharma to make up for that favor!  All in all, life went on.  Nurses were called, extra infusions were given along with ice, kisses, hugs and a few sweet treats.  Fast forward a couple days. (still infusing...) The Kid had turned the big 3.  This meant the annual well check.  All went well until the doc freaked out over his being 42 solid lbs.  Personally it's no big deal.  Height and weight all evened out and when I asked her to check out the Captain at age 3, uh yeah, he was about 40.  Eventually they stop gorging themselves and stretch.  Why do I bother with this obscure moment of well checks, weight, and shots?  Yeah, shots.  Oh because, the one shot The Kid DID get, left him with CELLULITIS! Cellulitis is a bacterial infection that can become extremely life threatening if not treated. Sunday morning The Kid woke up with an arm almost twice it's normal size!  What the hell?!  Any parent would freak out over this right?  Yes.  But I was not freaking out from the usual, "what's-wrong'with-my-kid's-arm!" parent reaction.  I was freaking out because his birthday party was in 4 hours and a call to the nurse was sending us to the ER to confirm the cellulitis.  Seriously?!  I want off this damn game show RIGHT NOW.  I forfeit!  This was not ANY old birthday party.  This was The Kid's first "real" birthday party WITH FRIENDS.  I made a fancy cake and cupcakes.  Oh no, this was not going down this way.  So with encouragement from our nurse who said we can make it we raced off to Seattle.  I'm pretty sure I told every medical personnel I came in contact with that it was The Kid's birthday party with friends.  When the countdown was zero minus 20 minutes and we were still in the exam room waiting for "Mr. attending doctor" to give us his pope-like blessing to leave, it was time for me to take charge.  Somehow I found the guy and convinced him to let us leave while I promised to give the antibiotics that very day from home.  Yeah, yeah, sounds good but we have a party to go to!  Not sure how we managed it but The Kid and I made it to that party only about 5 minutes late!  Take THAT you jerky little bacteria!  And your game show!

Post Script:  The Kid had a blast.  The party was a success and cake and ice cream were happily had by all!  

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I recently wrote an article for our local Kindermusik blog entitled "The Process."  This wasn't the first blog post for them but it was the first to really be recognized by complete strangers.  As a lover of literature and a (someday)aspiring novelist, it made me proud and feel "published."  Not only did it go to our local kindermusik blog but it was asked to be posted on the Kindermusik International blog site as well as another mommy blog in Canada.  Heck, my writing has gone international!  Woohoo! Below is the article as well as the links to the other blogs.  Thanks strangers!

As a mom of 2 very different boys, one with sensory processing issues and one with a severe bleeding disorder, I know things in my house can be far from considered normal.  I remember going to Kindermusik when the older one (with SPD) was little.  He was always so BUSY!
It seemed like all the other 6-9 month old babies were happy and content to sit in their mommies’ laps and smile and clap with the music.  They would wave as the shakers were put away and smile again when the next song would start.  Not my baby.  He would crawl around the room, looking under curtains, pulling himself up where ever he could.  He’d look for anything out of place to discover and get into.  I was practically chasing him around the room!
When shaker time was over, he’d fight to keep that thing in his hand and when the shakers disappeared, he’d scream and cry through the entire next song.  I’d quietly soothe him, whispering in his ear.  I could feel all the other moms looking at me.  Sometimes we’d leave the room until things got calm.
This is when I’d come back and Miss Allison would talk about “The Process.” My younger boy never had this issue, although his deal is to just lie like a log on the floor during the dancing music.  Everyone just dances over him like he’s a prop on the carpet.  Of course I’m used to being the family that stands out in a crowd.  Neither child really follows anything.
After years with Miss Allison and learning from Montessori school, I have become adjusted to knowing what “The Process” really means.  At 6-9 months old, the older child was processing everything in his environment.  Including the music and songs of Kindermusik.  A week or two after learning a new song or dance he’d try mimicking it at home.  Not often in class.  He was too busy there.  Too busy PROCESSING everything.
The little one does the same thing.  He may just lay and roll on the floor in class, but on the way home he sings every single word to every song.  I learned something else about The Process over these 5 years as well.  Letting go of the Perfectionist in myself.

This year's gingerbread house!
After setting out all the supplies for our family gingerbread house, I had ideas of creating a masterpiece, but after several summers of Kindermusik crafts and home art projects I knew the house was going to be anything but that.  The boys jumped right in icing and decorating until every bit of candy was either on that house or had been eaten.
Throughout, I kept reminding myself that it’s all about THE PROCESS.  I’ve seen other moms do all the gluing and sticking and messy work for their art projects or have a separate “kid’s Christmas tree” so that the “real” tree can look like Martha Stewart’s, and that’s fine.  Those trees are beautiful and the projects look just like the originals.
What I’ve learned about The Process is that as much as I want that perfect looking tree and gingerbread house for my very own, I remember the original ones even more. I remember the hand turkey with 3 eyes and feathers on his head but none on the fingers part.  The gingerbread house with candy only on one side or only decorated with the blue candies.  I remember the Santa picture that I had to be in with my sweats on, hair a mess and no makeup because the little one would not go near the man in the red suit.  This is all part of The Process.
The Process, where not only the children are learning and growing and absorbing, but I am too! The perfectionist still wants to fight it but I remember all these things to keep her at bay, and until the children can hang outside Christmas lights on their own, I can still light up the neighborhood in my own Martha Stewart-ness.  So the next time you see us dancing to the beat of our own drum, you can stare, it’s okay. We are just processing and making memories while doing it.
-posted by Kindermusik mommy Heidi Forrester, who still hopes her gingerbread house will one day look like the picture on the package.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Act of Giving

One night at the dinner table after The Captains birthday and right before Christmas, he announced that he wanted to give some toys away.  "For kids that don' have any."  I told him that sounded like a great idea.  He volunteered to give away 5 so I looked at The Kid and said he should give 3 toys away.  (One for each year of age.) He promptly yelled that he was only "2 1/2!!"  After a few moments of negotiating we all agreed on 4 toys from The Cap't and 2 toys from The Kid.  We left it at that for awhile and got through the mounds of holiday gifts and declared it was finally new year.  Back into our normal routine I asked the kids  to go to the rooms after dinner and pick out the toys they'd like to send to Kids Without Toys.  Surprisingly, they said okay!  The Cap't quickly dug around and found a couple of crappy fast food toys and a couple of random toys he pulled out of who-knows-where.  I had to praise him for trying.  It was really the Act of Giving that I wanted to teach.  We'd get to the other stuff later.  I went to The Kid's room and pulled out two bins of toys from the closet and asked him to pick two toys to give to some other little boys.  Sure enough he picked out two toys and promptly dropped them into the sack.  I pause here only to wonder what is going on in their little heads.  Hopefully they are so smart that they realize they have so many toys, they could open their own toy store.  Really though, it's more like, out of sight, out of mind.  The Kid actually picked out two good toys. I hope it doesn't come to bite me in the butt later when he's looking for his Fisher Price rocking guitar or his truck that the kids are convinced hollers "comcast to the rescue!"
Once they finished with this task, I thought, "wow!  That was sooo easy!  I should do this every week!" Instead I challenged them.  "Now go pick out 1 stuffed animal to give to babies."  Happily and feeling great about their giving, they yelled "okay!"  The Capt came out with some random bear.  The Kid came out with a cute red and pink turtle with big sweet eyes.  The kids gave this to me last Valentine's Day.  I was a little sad about this but I started this and was trying to prove a point.  Well.  The Capt did NOT want to give the animal up.  Let me tell you first off that the kids have not looked through these stuffed animals for months!  The cats drag them out on occasion but the kids kind of have their 1 or 2 favorites at bed and that's it.  Call me Mean Mommy, but I stood my ground.  The turtle was in The Kid's room and he made the choice.  The Capt burst into tears and wouldn't stop crying over it!  I really started to feel bad.  I had to come up with a plan.  I decided to let him make a swap.  He could save the turtle BUT he would have to give up another stuffed animal.  You know what?  He did it!  And the crying stopped. Maybe the Act of Giving should really be called the Art of Giving.  Hm.  We will see how it goes the day Salvation Army comes to actually take the stuff away.