Friday, July 20, 2012

Shopping ain't what it used to be...

I have been asked how on earth I can shop and go into public so often with all three kids and not lose my mind.  These parents always sound tired and desperate.  This post is dedicated to you all.  The ones who think I am different than you.  Shopping ain't what it used to be...

When I think back to myself before children I think of shopping and movies and lunch with friends.  Shopping was usually a focal point to any day out with another girl.  We would slowly walk through every isle of every store we came to picking out little treasures of awesome to buy.  This would go on for hours.  There would be stories and laughing and stopping for coffee. Stopping as in stopping with sitting and sipping involved.

Fast forward to life with one baby.  Man I thought life was tough.  I would plan my whole day around going to the store so as not to mess with Natalie's nap or a feeding.  I mean, heaven forbid my perfect angel have to nap in the car or even worse...miss one all together!  **Gasp**  I would pack the nine bazillion things that I thought I would need in the two hours I would be gone.  Diapers, wipes, creams, bibs, clothes, food, bottle, dresser, bedroom know, the norm.

We would shop and I would talk to her like she gave a crap what I had to say.  I would rush through the store and get everything I needed and if I was lucky I would hit up a Star. bucks on the way home and try to slurp it down in between the massive amount of work it was taking care of her.  Did you hear the sarcasm there?  It was intended.  Go back and listen again if you missed it.

I would get home just in time to feed her again and get her down for her very important nap.  Ahhhh, "I am the perfect mom!" I would tell myself.  What a douche I was.  sigh

Fast forward again to the present.  I now have three children in tow.  One of whom goes through random spurts throughout the day where her sole purpose is to only do what she feels like doing along with little to no impulse control, one dramatic four year old (who thankfully is a dream when we are in's like she knows I would literally duct tape her to the cart) and a 9 month old....who needs to eat and have naps and stuff.  

Now shopping looks like this:

"Ok, before we go in just remember to be safe.  Stay with me." 
I take 10 minutes getting the stroller or carseat out, unbuckling the girls, getting Alyssa situated next to Bennett while I coax Natalie out of the car because she dawdles just a tad.  Sarcasm...get used to it.  I then get her situated trained holding onto either the cart or stroller and we are ready to shop.  

We walk into the grocery store looking like the trains in India covered in people.  Natalie on one side, Alyssa on the other and Bennett riding.  Got the visual? 

Yep, we really do look like that.  

Then we proceed to start shopping.  *I do have to add here that I am super impressed with Natalie this summer and staying with us in public.  Hardly any running off and if she does, one time out takes care of it for the rest of the trip.  Completely amazing and a 180 from last year.  Thank you kindergarten!*

"Natalie do not poke your finger through the meat package.  Alyssa stay here or Natalie will bolt after you.  Hi Bennett!  Natalie please don't put things in the cart without checking with me.  (I have found the most random crap in my cart at checkout) Here Alyssa go find x,y,z in this isle for me.  Natalie you go find x."  I hurry and get the other things I need from that isle and we carry on to the next one. They don't ever ride in a fun kid cart since I hate pushing those things.  Whuck is up with putting the part that turns in the center?  May as well just put a sign on me that says "Hi my name is Lori and I will be knocking over every display in the store today"...for real.  Plus I think it's important and honestly, just expected, that a 4 and 6 year old should be able to walk like humans for an hour while we shop.  

This continues until we finish.  At some point Bennett will fall asleep and reawaken thus ruining the chance at a super long nap for the morning.  He will also sleep in the car on the way's kinda the same as a real nap right?  Welcome to being the third kid.  Get used to it.  Mommy is busy.  ;)  We checkout where Natalie will try and run everything across the scanner for the grocer like they just can't be trusted to handle it.  Sometimes they think it's cute and she gets to "help".  With others I have to find her a different job like getting things out of the cart instead.  Hey, whatever works!  Then it's "Everybody back on the cart!" and we run, yes I did say run, it's quite a sight, back to the van.  Bennett goes in as the girls climb in and buckle in... kinda.  I put all the groceries in the car and finish buckling them in.  We are off!  I usually feel like I have earned a coffee at this point so I drive through and get one, drinking as we arrive home.  Kids out of car, unlock house door, get Bennett settled somewhere, unpack car, put groceries away then usually make lunch, feed B and get him down for a real nap (finally) and we move on with our day.  "Plan my whole day around a nap?" ...uh yea, that was about two babies ago.  That is something that new moms do because you can and think it's needed.  In reality, you are just stupid.  HAHA!  B is a great sleeper both for naps and at night.  He is not suffering due to living this way.  He is actually much more laid back and able to go with flow....duh. I wish I had believed this when I only had Natalie.  Oh the things I could have accomplished in a day!

Seriously.  This is my normal.  This is shopping now. It looks identical to this if I go to the mall so I just used grocery shopping as an example.  What happened to relaxing?  The difference is instead of feeling relaxed now I just feel like I have accomplished a mission equal to going to the moon.  Do you think they stop for a Star.bucks on the way back from the moon?  No?  Well then, I am definitely more accomplished.  :) 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blog rewind- Field day, an unexpected lesson in happiness

When you are pregnant you lay with your hand on your belly and dream of all of the things you will do with your child.  Their first steps, first words, riding a bike, learning to read, their proms, graduation, college, get the idea.  Being a former teacher I could not wait for school activities.  I saw myself volunteering in my children's classrooms and being there to see them on fun days like field day.  When Natalie was born I (hangs head in embarrassed shame) felt like those dreams shattered.  I felt like she wouldn't be able to do them and selfishly that meant I was going to miss out.  Do you see how a new parent still puts their own hopes and wants onto their children?  I wasn't thinking in terms of the experiences being hers to do with and feel however she wanted to.  I wanted to experience it.  Me.

Six years later here I sit.  Mommy to the most amazing three children.  I look at them and all I hope for in their lives is good health and for them to be happy....whatever that may look like to them. 


Yes, yes she did painstakingly choose that outfit for field day....down to the flower.  When I told her she needed to have some kind of pants on since it was sports she found pants and put them under her tutu.  Happiness!

She was too small to jump the hurdles so I told her to just run around them.  :)

 I don't care if they are doctors or hauling garbage.  I only hope that whatever they do it is something that they choose and something that fulfills them and leaves them smiling at the end of the day.  Natalie in particular has taught me that having children has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them.  It doesn't matter if I envisioned volunteering on field day and watching my child be awesome and win.  What matters is that she was there and had a good time.  THIS is the part of me that is changed still changing and evolving the longer I have been a mom.  

Notice all of the other children pulling and fighting to get that rope across the line and win....notice my girl not pulling at all.  Notice her smile, notice their lack there of.  Happy!

Field day.  It was finally here.  The real deal, at the school I used to teach at, surrounded by former colleagues with their students.  I was there as a parent.  I was there to cheer on my daughter no matter how she chose to enjoy HER field day.  I wanted (note, it shouldn't have been about what I wanted at all) to see her fit in.  To mainstream in with all of the kindergarten classes and not stand out.  After six years I want her to be happy first but that damned little voice in the back of my head still insists that fitting in means happiness.  Lesson learned my girl.... lesson learned. 



Joy and being able to find it no matter what is the essence of what happiness is really all about.  I watched my girl get a bit overwhelmed by all of the rules of the games and the amount of people on the field.  I watched her not really comprehend what the heck was going on on what is usually her playground and gymnasium.  I watched that last itty bitty piece of the old me shatter (FINALLY) and what was left behind was the knowledge that it doesn't matter what I feel should make her day fun.  SHE FINDS FUN.  SHE MAKES FUN.  She IS fun. If she doesn't understand what is going on she just does what is fun to her and in the end she had the blast that I wanted her to have to begin with. 



 It was tear jerking and awesome and I went home feeling a bit emotionally raw.  I feel like I walked away from that field that day just a little wiser, a little bit of a better parent and even more in awe of the girl sent here to teach me all of it.  I watched her sister compete with Natalie's class and do everything I used to hope Natalie would do.  I also watched her cheer for her sister and stop to help her succeed.  I watched her get sidetracked into Natalie's world and just have fun.  I watched her naturally be the person I have spent six years morphing into.  I love that.  I love that she just gets "it" and at the end of the day everyone had a blast.  Thank you big girl.  Thank you for teaching us all what happiness really is about and how to just not give a crap what people think.  What would our lives have been without you?  "Perfect"?  Full of blue ribbons and competition to be the best at everything?  No thanks.  I choose belly laughing at my girl having the time of her life running away from the finish line.  I choose a field day all about living in the Id. I choose laid back fun and supportive siblings.  I choose her.  I choose happiness. 


Monday, July 9, 2012

Blog rewind- Natalie and school

This post has been written and rewritten in my head all before I have had a chance to sit down and get it onto this blog.  I keep saying I WILL make time to post here, I take photos and think "THIS WILL BE SUCH A GREAT POST!" ...then I never get to it and something new happens and I take more pictures and think "THIS WILL BE SUCH A GREAT POST!" ...then I don't post, and so it goes.  So I am going to go back to a very important time that needs to be written about even though I am almost two months late in posting it.  hahahaha  

Natalie turned six this year....SIX!  She (and her teachers) survived the whirlwind that was her kindergarten year.  I hesitated for a fraction on the first day of school when they wouldn't let me walk her to her room.  It was the beginning of REALLY letting go and trusting a school.  I had to let her be a big girl and it was so insanely hard I can't even describe it.  Teachers lovingly take her hand and think nothing at all of walking away with her.  It's what they do.  It's what I used to do, only now it's so different.  Now I have her.  My girl who won't necessarily tell me what happened at school that day.  My girl who is so sensitive and empathetic but who also gets lost in a world of sensory overload.  My independent girl who knows what she wants and how to do it if only she could be consistent in doing things.  It's the 10% of the time that she runs the wrong way or lingers too long and gets separated that kills it.  

It's hard to trust that a teacher will love her like we do.  It is HARD to walk away from her not knowing if they will take the time to really know Natalie or if they will just put her in the box of "Down syndrome" and treat her the way they think kids with Ds always act.  Just to be clear I have run into that.  Not with her teachers but it has happened.  The old "Well, every kid with Ds I have known does x,y,z".  Really?  Every single one?  Just because of a chromosome?  I think not.  It is the number one way to make a parent distrust you just so you all know.  ;)  

Natalie is such a tough cookie sometimes.  She doesn't fit the Ds stereotype AT ALL and in some ways that actually scares me where school is concerned.  There are so many things about her that are tough when not dealt with correctly (her correct) and it scares the crap out of me every time I have to trust someone I don't know well to watch out for her and love her all day, every day.  

That being said, this year was AMAZING!  Her teacher (I'll just call her Ms. A for Ms. Awesome) and her para blew my mind!  This was a tough year with adding Bennett to our family and having Natalie and Alyssa in school and preschool.  It was survival mode there for a bit.  I didn't know which way was up half the time....and I was the room mom.  FAIL!  Poor Ms. A. 

Overall I am so, SO happy with this school year.  Within a week her teacher had her personality pegged and knew how to reach her.  She completely amazed me time and time again.  She gained my girls trust, she taught her how to read, sit on the carpet and participate, how to walk in the hall independently and helped navigate the world of fears and sensory stuff that is Natalie's normal.  I got so I trusted her so much that I would go a week or more without emailing which for me is unheard of.  I KNEW she was ok, better than ok, she was flourishing.  The proof was in the girl I saw getting off the bus.  There is nothing like having a teacher you trust that much taking care of your child.  Now if I could just get her to quit her job and be Natalie's teacher until she graduates....I mean, is that really so much to ask?  ha!

My girl left kindergarten reading on grade level.  I cried the first time she brought a baggy book home and read it to me.  That memory is tucked away alongside her first steps, signs, and words.  love <3

We are now about 6ish weeks into summer and as school approaches I am starting to get the new year anxiety again.  Will her teachers really "get" her.  Will they take the time to build her confidence so she can successfully be independent or am I going to have issues with her feeling dejected and pulled around all day?  Will they truly understand that out of sight is GONE since she won't answer to her name?  Will they always be in full control of the gluten free issues?  It's hard being a mommy of a child with special needs.  It's hard to let go of my other children BUT I know they will hold their own.  I know they will be ok because we talk and communicate about their lives.  Natalie doesn't do that.  I won't know if someone is hurting her feelings or making her feel small.  

So if you see me in panic mode at the beginning of the school year you will know why.  Until then, I shall show you how we greeted our big girl on her last day of kindergarten.

Cliff came home early so he could be here to get her off the bus with me.  We gave her big hugs then proceeded to eat big bowls of ice cream to kick off the summer. (Thanks Debbie for the idea!)  She was just a little happy about this new arrangement...Alyssa didn't seem too disappointed either.  haha!





This was the first bite.  She is so dainty like a little flower. 

I know you are as impressed as I am that she got all of the whipped cream in in one bite.  


I love this one!  She is all "What?"  HAHAHA!

Now onto some summer posts!  Stay tuned...I really am trying to keep you all updated.  Unfortunately, playing house and cuddling (and laundry. BOO!) come first.