Monday, August 30, 2010

It's all in the timing. And the ability to hide behind the pillows!

Amazingly this morning the stars aligned and Rich and I were able to celebrate Noah's first day of 2nd grade with a few minutes of alone time. And when I say the stars aligned I mean both boys were watching TV downstairs and Rich managed to actually lock and latch the bedroom door.

After our little celebration we talking about the logistics of the week and my pre-op appointment tomorrow with the surgeon that is going to be repairing the ol' frankenvulva in a few weeks.

Rich is very much a "I'll deal with the details when I absolutely need to" kind of guy. I'm more the "need to know everything that is going to be happening a week month year from now" kind of gal. When I don't let it irritate the absolute crap out of me it kind of balances us out fairly well.

So Rich was asking me for oh, the third fifth tenth time in the last two days what time the appointment was. I reminded him and then said "remember, they are going to measure you tomorrow."

I heard a half choking/half coughing sound, and he said "ohhhh, really?"

"Yeah. Remember? You knew that. To make sure they get me tight enough."

"Oh, uhh, OK. Right."

"They measure you when you are erect you know." (At this point I'm practically hiding under my pillow so he can't see me trying not to laugh.)

"Huh, ummm, right. Well, I hope the nurse is hot."

Unfortunately, I couldn't hide the fact that I was laughing hysterically at this point and he was on to me. 


The fact that I couldn't follow it through until the appointment tomorrow was almost salvaged by our next conversation.

"So, how long after the surgery do we have to wait until we can have sex?"

"Six months" I mutter as I'm brushing my teeth.

"Damn, wow." 

*toothpaste splatters the mirror as I laugh*

"Fuck, you got me again."


Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's a warning, and not a good one.

Last night I lost one of my earrings. I noticed it while I was driving home after karate class. Suddenly I realized my ear was nekkid. 

They aren't expensive earrings, but to me they are almost priceless. 

Rich bought them for me on our first date. (Our first date lasted six days. Remind me to tell you about that sometime.) We were in South Haven, on Lake Michigan. They were in a little jewelry shop on one of the piers. Just little silver dangley things with a small garnet set in each one.

I've worn them almost every day since then. Almost every day, for more than eleven years. 

I love them because they are comfortable, and small, and I can sleep in them, and talk on the phone in them. They are perfect; simple and understated, just like me, HA!

But mostly I love them because they are the first thing Rich ever gave me. The first jewelry he ever gave me (there has been more since, but other than my wedding rings and the locket he gave me on our wedding day, these earrings mean the most to me). The first "just because I really like being with you" spontaneous thing he ever did for me.

I've asked the karate studio to keep an eye out for it, but it's small. And I was all over the studio yesterday, including training in their back room. And then I stood out in the parking lot for a while talking with one of the other moms. 

I'm really sad about losing this. I was near tears last night after searching the car. It seems "significant" some how, and not in a good way.

Our ten-year wedding anniversary is next week. I can't help but feel that this is a bit "omen-ish." 

I know I could ask Rich to buy me another pair. And I know he would, an even nicer pair I'm sure. But I've already told him we can't do a fancy ten-year celebration dinner out, because funds are tight right now. I'd rather pay for therapy for Noah than dinner for us. And I'm certainly not going to spend money on jewelry when I think we are going to need to get Noah glasses next week.

So yes, it feels "omen-ish," because I know what it is. It's a warning.

A warning that I'm getting my effing period and the wicked PMS is starting to hit. Because seriously, I lost a freaking earring, not my husband.

Fracking hormones...


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Touch my kid again lady and I'll set his TSS on you!

Yesterday Noah's TSS*, Jon, asked to talk with me.

Of course my first reaction was to sigh and feel a bit deflated. So often when someone who is involved with Noah wants to talk with me it is about something negative. Sadly, I've become a bit conditioned to react just as I did; like a balloon losing some air. Right back to feeling like I'm emotionally tied to the rail road tracks.

This time however it wasn't really about Noah. It was about how the staff at camp respond to him.

Yesterday at arts and crafts one of the specialists** (let's call her Mary because I have no idea what her name really is) became frustrated with Noah and made him leave the room. The problem is Mary made him leave the room by holding on to the back of his neck.

Jon saw this and (in his own words) went ballistic. He told her to get her hands off of Noah. And then they had words. And then the head of the specialists was called in, and the program director. More words were spoken. Differing versions of the event were given. Very 'he said, she said' it sounds like.

Jon was still upset and concerned when he spoke with me at the end of the day. He acknowledged he may have initially over reacted in how he told Mary to get her hands off Noah, but he felt strongly that she had crossed a line by holding on to Noah the way she did. He was also concerned with how she spoke to Noah earlier about the project he was working on.

Jon told me all this and my thoughts jumped back and forth between "wtf, you grabbed my kid you bitch" and "shit, just how upset should I get about this because seriously I'm not sure how willing I am to rock the boat considering our fear he may not be allowed back at camp."

Clearly I couldn't ignore this, nor did I want to ignore it. Jon has been awesome with Noah all summer, and after working with him for eight weeks, seven hours a day, he has a pretty good handle on Noah and his behaviors. Jon is also the first person to work this closely with Noah with the new understanding that attachment is the umbrella over a lot of his behaviors and emotional problems.

Jon also see's first hand how Noah and the camp staff interact. Something I don't get to see at all.

And most importantly? Jon has Noah's back. And as he put it, "not that many people do." Awesomeness yes? I mean awesome that Jon will stick his neck out for Noah in that way. Sad that so few people are willing to.

Once again we walk a fine line. Noah is a special needs kid at a regular camp. Just how much can I realistically expect the camp to "change" for Noah. The administration has shown over the last two years that they are willing to work with us. But how far can I push it?

I know Noah can be a PITA and that he often appears to people that don't know him as a bratty, spoiled kid. I just didn't expect that reaction from the counselors and specialists at camp because I thought they were informed of his "special needs" and what role Jon is there to fill. I'm not sure how much more "informing" I can do. I meet with the owner of the camp prior to the start of camp. I document on his application form his diagnoses and things to look for. I spoke with his bunk counselor on the phone and at the pre-camp visitation. And I've had regular talks with the head counselor, Kim, throughout the summer.

I spoke with Kim yesterday, and then with the head of the specialists, Martha, today. Both conversations were productive, although I still don't have a very clear picture of how it all went down and Mary insists it didn't happen the way Jon is portraying it.

As is often the case in situations like this, you are more likely to believe the story of the person you know/trust the most. I trust Jon. I lean more to believing what happened unfolded as he describes. The camp knows and trusts Mary, they tend to believe her side.

Fortunately, Martha has life experience, and she knows, as I do, that when there are two such differing stories the reality is often a combination of the two.

So yes, today I had a good conversation with her (the first conversation I have ever had with her). I'm sure once she realized I wasn't "that mom" that was going to make a huge stink about this made a big difference. She told me what she was told happened. (She took notes of the conversation she had with Mary and Jon yesterday, and then made them shake hands at the end. I thought that was awesome.)

The short version is that Noah has been rude and bratty during arts and crafts all summer (I'm sure the fact that Noah drew guns and shooting on one of his craft projects during the first week didn't help, since it freaked out all the adults) according to Mary. Yesterday he continued to be rude and difficult to work with and Mary had had enough, so she told him he could leave and join the half of his bunk that was already outside. Apparently he refused to leave, and that is when she "helped" him by guiding him by the back of the neck. Mary said she did not know Noah was a special needs kid or that Jon was there for him.

Martha acknowledges that if what Jon said is all how it really happened she is concerned, and what Mary did was inappropriate. She applauds Jon for sticking up for Noah.

She also expressed concern that this is the first time she has been told that Noah has been a "problem" in arts and crafts all summer. And that Mary had no idea who Jon was and that he was there for Noah.

As all this was being explained to me I realized that I was less concerned about the actual incident. (I spoke with Noah about it last night and he didn't seem at all traumatized by it. If anything he was confused that all the "big people" were talking and said he felt sad for Mary because they were all talking to her. Perhaps some empathy on his part, since it's usually him they are talking to or about.) I'm very concerned however that the arts and crafts staff went eight weeks thinking Noah was a pain in the ass and had no idea he was one of the special needs kids at camp. So clearly none of the information I gave the camp initially was filtered down to the staff.

The good thing is that Martha came away from her conversation with Jon and Mary yesterday with the same concerns. So at her morning staff meeting with the specialists today she asked them if any of them knew which kids had a TSS and what their job was. One person said he knew there was one TSS there. There are in fact three children there with a TSS.

So what we have here people, is a failure to communicate.

A failure on many levels apparently. The camp administration needs to do a better job educating their staff if they are going to continue to allow special needs kids to attend and insist they provide their own TSS. The TSS should have their own mini orientation and need to be introduced to the rest of the staff. And the TSS have a responsibility themselves to make sure they introduce themselves to the counselors and support staff as well.

Jon's role is to intervene when necessary, to hep redirect Noah, and to teach the camp staff how to better interact with him. His job is not to be his "buddy" or his one-on-one personal counselor. The goal is for Noah to have as normal of a camp experience as possible, and that means that the camp staff work with him just like they work with all the other kids.

Martha told me that she is going to make sure that this doesn't happen next year and that her specialist staff are given information about the special needs kids and the role of a TSS during their pre-camp orientation. I told her I'd be happy to come in and be part of that portion of their orientation and that I could bring in Noah's BSC to talk too.

While it's a crappy thing that happened, and upset a lot of people, I think we can turn it into something positive and use it to make Noah's (and the other special needs kids) experience at camp even more positive next year.

*therapeutic staff support
**any of the camp staff that aren't counselors but work with the kids in drama, archery, sports, swimming, etc.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hitting the Milestones

We celebrated a trio of anniversaries the last two days. Well, perhaps acknowledged is a better descriptor.

Five years ago, on August 10, 2005, I wrote my first blog post. A silly little post about having to leave work early to pick up Noah and how I couldn't get the key to turn in my car. A very nothing post. But it was my first post. And I kept on writing from there. Often hit or miss. Gradually, months into it, people started reading me. And from there I was hooked.

Five years of blogging. That's pretty amazing for me, to have something I do and love for this long. I fully expect to have five more years in by 2015.

Thank you to all of my regular readers. An even bigger thank you to those who comment. You have no idea how much it thrills me when I see I have a new comment. So please keep reading and commenting!

Now, for an even better anniversary, today is Noah's 7th gotcha day. Seven years ago today we were in a Russian courtroom in front of a judge pleading with her to let us adopt a little boy named Vadeem, soon to be Noah Alexi. It was an absolutely surreal experience in many ways. And then after it was over, and he was officially ours, we had to wait for paperwork, and then we were taken out for lunch to celebrate. And then we went to a market to buy treats for the orphanage workers to have a party. And then finally, we were at the orphanage, and I had my little boy in my arms. I don't think I let him go for a very long time that day. I don't think the smile on me left my face all day.

Hours later we were finally in our hotel with Noah. We ordered a feast from room service and danced around the room with Noah. We gave him his first bath. We fed him bottle after bottle.

And then the phone rang and it was my mother and father. And I quickly knew something was wrong. And then they told me my grandmother had passed away the night before. I was devastated. We were very close and I knew she wanted nothing more than to meet her newest grandchild.

Bitter sweet memories of a day that changed our life forever!

Happy Gotcha Day Noah!

I love you more than you will ever know.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Stuff that Never Happened - except that now it has!

Is it incredibly un-feminist of me to admit that knowing a man would fight for me is a huge turn on? And I don't necessarily mean the "throw himself in front of a bullet" for me fight. Or even the "get yourself beat up in a dark parking lot" kind of fight. Because quite honestly, I like my men smart too, and both of those things are pretty darn stupid. What I do mean is the "stick up for my wife/girlfriend" way. Hell, even a dad protecting his daughter way (although that is definitely not in the "turns me on" category).*

Yeah, kind of old fashioned, I know. And quite easy to take out of context considering that I do consider myself a strong, capable woman that doesn't need to be taken care of. A strong woman that will also admit that being taken care of at times is awfully nice and does make me a little gooey inside.

So yes, while I can fight my own fights, knowing my husband would step in and protect me gives me those little goose bumps that flutter up and down my spine. (Although I can't imagine being in a situation that would warrant Rich punching someone, it is sexy as hell to consider.) And it warms my heart. Because knowing someone would step outside of their comfort zone for me, to protect me, because they love me that much, is huge. 

On a deeper level, a seriously deeper level, what this means is that I really am worthy of love, at least from one person. I've definitely doubted that at times, as both a girlfriend and as a daughter. But as Rich's wife, I don't doubt it for a second.

It's amazing what a book can get you thinking about, isn't it? This post is inspired by The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson and is part of the From Left to Write Book Club. This was one of those books that I just couldn't put down once I started reading it. While Annabelle's life unfolded very differently from mine, there were so many parts of her story that spoke to me. There were several directions I could have gone with this "inspired post" including one about "unanswered prayers," but Neena wrote it so much better in her post What If. Go, read it, just so you too can say "Wow!" when she says "I wouldn't be me. I'd be her."

This post was inspired by the From Left to Write August book club featuring The Stuff that Never Happened by Maddie Dawson.  In full disclosure I received a free copy of the book for this review. 

*After breaking up with my first serious boyfriend after college, I was devastated. Truly and completely devastated. Like deep depression devastated. I remember talking with my dad, and while I don't remember the actual conversation, I do remember asking him if he would go beat the guy up. Now I never actually expected him to, or even really wanted him to, I just needed him to acknowledge that I had been hurt and he wanted to protect me. Unfortunately, his answer was  a very simple "No." It's interesting how what was probably a silly conversation to my father, had such a powerful effect on me and how I saw myself.


Monday, August 09, 2010

They say it will grow back

I did something horrible. And now I'm paying the price.

It's going to take a while to fix this one.

Remember this? The book, the ugly cry, the puffy eyes, the wine? And then the short hair?

Well, I freaking did it again. Only this time I don't have a book or puffy eyes to blame it on. This time I totally blame it on my mother. Who really had nothing at all to do with it, but I'm going to blame it on her anyway.

Because she's the one that passed down the crazy to me, and the crazy had me convinced that my hair was starting to look just like hers. And if there was anything I promised myself I was not going to do like my mother it was going to be my hair. OK, there have been a lot of things I promised myself I would not do like my mother, but that's another 10, 35, 47, 105 posts. This one is totally about my hair.

And OMFG but I cut it all off. Well, I didn't. I just sat there with the glass of wine and told my stylist that I was looking too much like my mother and she had to cut it completely different. And since it was fairly short to begin with, that didn't really leave her much to work with.

So I totally do not look like my mother now. Nope, not even close. Because she at least has hair.

Actually, that's not true either. I completely look like my mother if she was 30, 40, fine 50 pounds heavier and decided to go butch.

So I'm pretty sure I don't like it yet. Especially since I have a tendency to play with it when I'm working. And with it this short any playing I do tends to puff it up and out in a rather crazy fashion.

I definitely think it is too short for my pudgy face. The cut itself is awesome. If it was on a less fat face it would be adorable.

You may think I'm just being hyper-critical of myself, but not a single person at work even commented on my hair today. Not one! And there is no way that no one noticed. So...I'm thinking I won't be staying with this look.

Thankfully hair grows. And for now it is awfully easy to fix in the morning.

Oh well, in other news Kiel might have the coxsackieviruses (hand, foot and mouth disease). I imagine I'll know more tomorrow if he has more blisters. I think it's going to be a rough night for all of us tonight.

I'm getting over a five day migraine, which coincidentally seems to have come and gone with Aunt Flo this month. So kind of her to gift me with a migraine during her visit, don't you think?

Rich is heading off for two days to Atlantic City with his best friend for a little sun on the boardwalk and gambling. It never fails, that when he goes away to a conference or just for a day out with friends something crazy happens or one of us is sick. I think I can downplay this one enough so he's not feeling guilty about going. He deserves the time away.

And in other news, tomorrow is my 5 year blog anniversary!!!  I should be doing something awesome for my readers to help me celebrate. But I'm not. Sorry. I've been spending what free time I have researching new brain therapies for Noah and putting together a new team to work with him. I hope to have more to report on that in a couple weeks.

Maybe tomorrow I'll grab a few minutes and get some thoughts down on how it feels to have blogged for five years and how amazing it has been.


Monday, August 02, 2010

Man on the Run. Let me hum you a few bars.

Rich and I had date night Saturday. We saw Eclipse. He's so good to me.

Then we went shopping.

That's typically how our date nights work. We do dinner or a movie, then spend the rest of the time food shopping or doing errands. It might not sound romantic, but its a heck of a lot better than trying to do those things with kids hanging on you. Why, we occasionally get downright romantic over in the organic produce section.

One of the best parts of our relationship is that we make each other laugh, so even shopping we are making jokes that typically only one of us can understand.

Occasionally the joke is at one of our expense, but sometimes that is even funnier, because it usually means we walked right into it.

Case in point, Saturday night as we were driving I asked Rich if he didn't ever get tired of listening to the Springsteen channel all the time on satellite radio. And I really do mean all the time

He said "nope, never. In fact, when I die I want to be burried with all my Bruce CD's."

What about all the vinyls you still have, I asked.

Nope, just the CD's.

Well, OK then. So what song do you want me to have them play for you at the funeral, Man on the Run?

He looked at me funny, then said, Do you mean Band on the Run?

To which I said, uhh, no, that doesn't really have the same message does it? (Because at this point I'm thinking myself to be very clever to have come up with this one - because really, Man on the Run at a funeral? How appropriate right?)

He's still looking at me funny and he hums a few bars of it, and I say "yeah, exactly, that one."

Babe, it's Band on the run, not man on the run.

Really? Are you sure?

And it's not a Springsteen song, it's a Wings song.

Hmmm...and I was so sure. Wow, so all those years I've been singing it wrong. Oh well, do you at least get why I thought it was funny?

Umm, no.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Incredible Yankable Chin Hair

I have a new obsession. Or is it a compulsion?

Either one, I'm rather WTF about it.

Because, Hello! My name is Mommy Needs Therapy and I'm obsessed with my chin hairs.

And neck hairs.

So now do I not only pull at my eyebrows when I'm stressed and/or nervous and/or bored, but I obsessively check my neck and chin for rogue hairs.

But not only in the mirror, which I do at least twice a day. OK, four times a day. Minimum. Shut up! But I find myself doing this half stroking, half plucking/pulling motion with my fingers along my chin and neck all fucking day long.

Sitting in a meeting: I'll be stroking and pulling.

Sitting at my computer working: stroking and pulling

Driving: stroking and pulling

Watching TV: and I'm stroking and pulling.

Because I'm certain, that even in the hour since I last checked in the mirror, that a super fast growing hair has sprouted and is about to wrap itself around my neck and choke me.

I've started to stock up on tweezers, so I have them and can easily access one, rather than trying to hold on to the offending hair all the way upstairs to the bathroom where the tweezers reside. When I do this I most often lose the hair during transit and then can't find it when I have the tweezers in hand and a mirror at my face. I'm half convinced they are actually retractable hairs, and that when I pull on it long enough it springs back in, just before I can actually pluck it out.

The crazyest part is that I'm now yanking all day long at the normal body hair on my neck (called vellus hair if you are interested) so half convince myself at times that I'm growing a fucking beard. 

I have made Rich promise me multiple times that he will immediately inform me if he notices any crazy hairs on my face or neck. Of course that means he actually has to be looking at me, so I don't exactly consider him my first line of stray hair defense.

There are a lot of things I'll accept semi-gracefully as I get older, but whiskers are not one of them.