Sunday, June 29, 2008
"Get your crocs on!" I tell Seth.
Riley's mad because I'm taking him and not her.
I yell over my shoulder, "You two need to get away from each other!"
Out we go, leaving her crying with her Dad.
Holding hands Seth and I venture out into a gentle rain. There are puddles everywhere. Seth jumps through a couple of them, and after a little while, I do a sort of side stomp in his direction, drenching him. He is shocked, but then looks up with the biggest grin.
Our street is about half a mile and we go the whole way, stomping at each other. Every tree with low branches gets him a shower when I shake it. He's mad he can't reach the branches to reciprocate.
"Too bad shorty!"
It starts to really pour. The rain feels so good after the hot humid day. We return home soaked and happy.
Riley's still crying, but Seth's orneriness is gone. He invites her outside and we reenact the scene. She's a bit more dainty. Doesn't want to be side stomp splashed, but she loves the rain and the tree showers and she is cooled off too.
The grown up neighbors look at us funny but the kids stand on front porches longingly.
Later they will appease the children by letting them run in the hose.
But us? We got the rain.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Drama Mama is an inspiring high school theater teacher and has two daughters. One, is Seth's age, and the other one, happens to be Riley's pen pal. They are so much alike, and both have been going through incredible metamorphosis's as of late.
This isn't the first time Drama Mama has blown me away with her beautiful writing, but this post is so truthful, and hopeful and so brilliantly amazing I just have to share for those of you that might not yet know this treasure of a blogger.
Here you go. Enjoy the fabulousness of Drama Mama and Ms. M.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
"No Seth," I laugh. "It's water. No alcohol."
"Good," He says. "Cause you're behind the wheel."
*BTW...the child has never seen me drunk, which is quite the evolutionary leap I might add.
Stayed in bed, leisurely taking 20 minutes to fully wake up.
HT has a new schedule(meaning he can get up with the kids and does not have to be in to work early).
I think I'm gonna like this!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
At first Riley was terrified. The guy with CP drools. The young woman with autism is a little unpredictable. The MR guy is adorable, but he can be loud. They are all waaaay bigger than Riley.
"Mommy will you stay?"
"Of course I will." Sigh.
The Equi-Club is a precursor to actually riding. I think riding will be so good for Riley. She has absolutely no trunk strength. Could not do a sit-up to save her life. She also does not know where she is in space, and I'm hoping being on the horse will be a grounding sensory experience.
The first day, they went on a scavenger hunt finding all the tools you use for grooming along a little lane between pastures. Who was the superstar? Riley was the superstar. Most things like that, (Easter egg hunts, diving for candy at parades) the kids absolutely smoke her. She can't keep up. It's confusing and fast. Riley didn't appear to notice that the other three in her group didn't seem to care about the scavenger hunt and that the volunteers were actually handing them the tools. She got eight! The most anyone else got was three tools. She stood in the meadow, beaming, listening to the imaginary cheers of her fans. Eight points means eight treats to feed horses.
She mosied down the barn, determining which horses were going to win the prize. You don't feed them by hand at this place, you put their treats in buckets that hang from their stalls. She got scared at one point when a horse stuck his head out (he really wanted a treat) and she beaned the poor guy in the face with the biscuit, trying to throw it and run away at the same time.
So she's brushing with the curry comb, and the hard brush, and the soft brush and the mane and tail brush and she's helping to pick hooves and she's loving all the info which she retains like an encyclopedia. Isn't it funny that there is a part of a horse's foot called the frog? Hysterical.
She didn't even want to call it quits and never come back when the old codge of a horse we had yesterday passed an enormous amount of gas, or when another one had boogers. Or when one sneezed right on her. (Who knew some horses had such bad manners)? Sneezing used to be a major phobia for Riley. A nightmare.
So, that's what we're up to this summer. That and swimming, and clay/sculpting in the afternoons (a week here and a week there) and hopefully karate, and lots of unscheduled time between things to play.
The equi-club is giving us a nice opportunity to discuss other people with disabilities, how they might feel, what their challenges are, as opposed to what Riley's challenges are, and how everyone has them.
"Even you Mommy?"
I think about how I've actually enjoying Equi-club with Riley. After I let go of my "no one else has to stay with their kids everywhere they go, woe is me" crap.
"Even me, Sweetie. Definitely, me."
Monday, June 23, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
"Now, we're going to do......."
He clung to her, white knuckled, and just kept saying,
OMG he is so sweet. Terrified but remembering his manners.
Riley was very brave too. So brave.
The instructor would do something with her, Riley would freak, the instructor would stop, and ask Riley..."Who's in control?"
Her point was that Riley was in control. They could go in little tiny baby steps until Riley felt secure.
"I am," she finally had her saying.
Then, Riley would start to get ramped up, and the instructor would say in a very gentle voice,
"Before you scream,can I just......?"
Riley would actually stop in mid "fight or flight," and listen to the suggestion. It was incredible.
Sometimes angels arrive in little red one piece life guard suits.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
My grandmother was one of four girls. She never had her own bed. She slept with her sister Ruth, and the two girls would lie on their sides, back to back, keeping each other warm, not to mention providing good back support.
Ruth died young. I never met her.
Gramma never shook the need to "back up to" someone. In her nineties, she moved a firm couch into her bedroom, preferring it to a bed, because she could back up to it.
That's what I like about getting older.
To hell with it.
If I want to sleep on a couch, I get to sleep on a couch. That kind of thing.
I miss my Gramma.
At 87, she moved in with us to take care of my little brothers. They were 2 when my Dad left. I was 17. She insisted on getting me a high school class ring. Surprised me with it even though they couldn't afford it. It didn't occur to me until recently that the reason she was so adamant about it was because she never got one. She only went to the eighth grade.
Then I lost it.
With no reprimand, she took the original order form, and had a duplicate made. The exact one.
Years later, after I'd graduated from college, she saw what looked like the glint of a broken Christmas bulb in the radiator. She took her broom and swept out my ring. Now I have two.
I did not appreciate her enough.
Tonight before I go to sleep, I'll ask her to "back up to me" in my dreams. We have a lot to talk about.
* Doris Wilson 1902-1997
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
"I try to say good-bye and I choke.
Try to walk away and I stumble......"
Her hands would fly to her ears. She'd run in terror, shrieking,
"NO MACY GRAY! NO MACY GRAAAAAAAAAY!"
Something about Ms. Gray's voice sent Riley into fits. I tried telling her that MG's voice sounded "just like a muppet, doesn't it?" She wasn't havin' it.
So....we've avoided all things Macy Gray for years. It's been one of Riley's more quirky fears.
But last week at the library, I saw the CD.
Later in the car I popped it in.
Riley smiled and sang along.
Monday, June 16, 2008
But enough "business."
Since it was Father's Day weekend, I thought, "What better way to celebrate than to leave Todd alone with the kids to give them some quality Daddy time!"
I went off to Chicago to learn more about applied kineseology.
Last night I drove home, and the Universe put on quite a show! All through Indiana and Ohio, it was beautiful sunlit clouds to my left. Not up above, but a big unending wall of them about a mile out to the side, past the flat fields. Not to be outdone, a rainbow appeared to come directly out of the ground to my right (past the mile of fields in that direction) and stuck straight into the air (actually into more clouds) so it looked like this giant rainbow candy stick. In my rear view, pink and white streaked the sky, and in front of me, for hours, a lightening show, far enough out that it didn't effect me, but close enough that I could see the whole thing from where the crack started to where it zigged and zapped. The sky was this crazy slate blue with bright silver satin piping all around it. This went on all evening. It didn't officially get dark until...I want to say... about 10:00PM? I only hit about 20 minutes of actual rain during the whole six hour drive, and that was after it finally went dark.
Now I must run, because the kids are up and they want Mommmmmmeeeeee!
And I want them.
* Don't feel bad for HT. He got the fruit pictured above. And the kids.
Friday, June 13, 2008
This was to be the summer Riley learned to swim. Past summers, other issues were in the way but this was the year. I searched for months for a swim instructor who could handle the specific challenges that come with Riley, and I lined one up, who promised she was qualified, and eager to do it, but then the pool she works at closed, and so I found her a new pool, that offered to put her on the payroll just for the occasion, and I offered to pay her extra if it was a pay cut, but she dodged my phone calls, even though this was really really important for safety reasons as well as "fun" reasons. Well, it somehow makes me feel better to be able to type it out because I know you will understand, dear reader, how very disappointing it is.
You know what else I like?
I know that when, after searching some more, I find a swim instructor who is qualified, and eager to teach Riley...and we go to meet her, and she somehow has Riley in the pool within five minutes, and Riley completely falls in love, and lets this lady have her way with her, and says of herself, "I'm proud!" And when we leave, Riley tells the instructor sweetly, "I'll miss you. See you on Tuesday," I know you will cheer.
Thank you dear readers for giving a damn about this kid, and this family.
I really like you. A lot.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
So....the summer between our freshman and sophomore years in college (her Cornell, me community college) Kathleen and I went to work at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg in the oh-so-authentic German Festhaus.
It was the summer we pooled our earnings, storing it all in a coffee can on the kitchen counter, just like grown-ups.
It was the summer, I left my boyfriend behind, and wound up having sex with an older man, (he was 21) on the bow of a tugboat. Yes, a tugboat. Not a yacht. Not a cabin cruiser. Such was my life. I'm not a fancy girl.
But enough about me. This post is about Kathleen. It was the summer, that bad girl went crazy and finally bucked authority.
You see, to pour beer at the "German" Festhaus, we had to wear uniforms. Little green skorts(yes, skorts)with white tops and suspenders. A little white shower type cap on our heads, and light brown socks, pulled up to our knees.
Cool as I was, I did what any self respecting 19 year old would have done. I pulled those socks down. Casual. No knee sock crap for me. But Kathleen was afraid. She wore her socks regulation.
Maybe it was all the beer we drank during every shift(Michelob Dark looks deceptively like Coca-Cola if served over ice in a coke cup), or maybe it was just my pure bad influence, but halfway through summer, Kathleen loosened up, and those socks came down!
I got the supervisor (a big authority because he was a junior in college instead of sophomores like us) to take Kathleen out into the center of the Festhaus and reprimand her. He not only did my bidding, but knocked it out of the park, by adding that the president of Busch Gardens himself ("Cal" somebody?) was going to be coming by to talk to her about her attire, specifically her socks.
I almost peed my pants, standing behind the beer line, watching her face drop, and watching her pull those socks up. In fact, I think I did pee, just a little. But it was worth it.
And that's my goody two socks story.
Now seriously....wouldn't you want to buy a house from someone like that?
*The closest I ever came to backpacking through Europe.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Go read her. And then I'll tell you about the summer we spent at Busch Gardens, working in the "German" fest haus, pouring beer. She started out "polite" there too. Or about the time we lived together in DC in a house full of four young women.
* BTW....not enough has been made about "not enough has been made about." Thank you Carrie and Terri. I could not get it to link, so....
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you.....Carrie Link:
Monday, July 03, 2006
NOT ENOUGH HAS BEEN MADE...
My dear, dear friend, Terry, a.k.a. "Toeless in Philly", taught me the best expression years ago, and I pretty much use it excessively to this day. It all started when I was visiting her across the country, we'd been up late at night laughing our heads off. The next morning she said, "Hey, not enough has been made about ____________", whatever it was. That started a whole new round of riotous laughter, and began a habit of making sure we got the attention we needed from the other.
I've taken this lesson, and the phrase, and applied it to everything. It works so well. It's a funny way of telling someone that they didn't give you what you needed, even if what you needed was pathetic and embarrassing. My husband uses it too.
"Not enough has been made over the fact that I emptied the dishwasher and re-loaded it." To which I reply exactly as he needs me to, "You are right. Not enough has been made. You are like the world's best dishwasher emptier and re-filler. Thank you. You rock. You are #1 husband."
It sounds silly, but let's face it, we sometimes need lavish praise. What's wrong with identifying the need, then directly asking for it? It's pretty painless to give, and with the element of humor involved, it's actually fun.
Posted by Carrie Wilson Link at 8:36 AM 8 comments
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
Our cat is a mess.
He's obese. He eats all my plants. He runs frantically from window to window, thinking he's going to "catch that bird" even though he's an indoor cat.
He's deranged with the kneading. It's almost violent. I won't let him touch me when he starts all that. He was obviously weaned way too soon.
But he's sweet...in a needy kind of way. He lets the kids carry him all over the house. He never complains. Not like Tanya who is all demanding with her loud obnoxious "mews."
Out on the deck this morning, HT and I got to discussing the cats.
When we found them at the shelter, Tanya was chill....up front in her own cage, kickin' back in one of those little ferret hammocks. She knew she was cute. She knew she was going home with someone, and she wasn't concerned. Riley wanted a calico, and there she was.
Sam was in a back room with about 400,000 other cats, and he begged to be picked. He stood on his hind legs, took the metal water bowl in one paw and ran it along the bars of the cage, back and forth chanting,
TAKE ME HOME!
I took it personally. Wow. He really likes me.
As I sip my coffee HT asks,
"Now, if you were at a bar? And a guy acted all desperate like that? Would you take him home?"
Touche' Hot Toddy.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
"Ruby Tuesdays!" Riley said.
Apparently their mac & cheese is to die for.
As we slid into our booth, Riley stopped to notice a tiny baby in a car seat at the next table. It could not have been more than a month old. She smiled at the little one and I smiled at Riley who until last year did not find babies at all fascinating, just another source of potential ear pain.
She slid into our booth, taking the seat by the window, her Daddy sat beside her. Seth was by me.
Peppy Ruby Tuesday music played overhead and after we ordered, she and Seth started to bop a little to the beat. She went side to side, but she's still not really sure where her body is in space, and she clunked her head on the windowsill next to her, hard.
Her whole body contracted, but she didn't scream. Todd took her under his arm and tried to soothe, her face contorted and turned bright red. Giant tears streamed down, but just a small steady little moan of pain,
She kept looking into my eyes from across the table and you could physically see her trying to keep it together, through the hurt.
"I don't want to scare the baby," she finally squeaked out when she got her words.
This is our child.
Anyone who would exclude her, anyone who is wary of letting their child play with her, anyone who can't see her, they are missing out. To hell with 'em.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Holy crap it wasn't good. The adults were nice enough, but they all knew each other. Their kids all knew each other. There was a bit of meditation, but in between, it was a kiddie free for all. Totally unstructured, wild play in which kids excluded Riley left and right. She was a mess. We stayed one night, but then I overheard one of the young (probably 20 year old) Buddhist "helpers" in charge of the kids, speak to Riley in the nastiest of tones about "that attitude of yours." Screw it. We were out of there.
For those near Chicago, Sonya is doing a double-header on Saturday, June 14: