Friday, September 28, 2007

They don't get it . . .

Today I was reading one of my first reads of everyday, Thoughts Preserved, and I Kari's newest post about the trip to the dentist office yesterday. She has 2 children with FAS and one particularly is very much like Dustin at her age. The dentist wanted to count her teeth and instead of letting them count them all, Anna finally had had enough after counting 17 of 20 teeth. To the dentist that wasn't successful and she didn't get her prize they were trying to bribe her with. Kari says this:

"So they put the toothbrush back in the drawer and told her that maybe next time she could get one and they took her bib off. No toothbrush, no prize. Now I'm supposed to reschedule her appointment so they can try again. I'm hoping she forgets what happened today because her previous dental appointments have been much better than this one.

What would have been the harm in giving a little girl with brain damage a new toothbrush for allowing them to look at 17 of her teeth? The more I think about it the madder I get."

I get mad also. That toothbrush probably cost that dentist 20 cents or less. It wasn't about the money it was a power trip. He didn't get what he wanted and thought it would be a good plan to "punish" the child with "no toothbrush today missy". How in the world is that okay?

This reminded me of an issue I had a couple weeks ago when Robert was in D.C. I took Dustin to have his weekly blood work done. We go to the same hospital, the same day of the week and about the same time of day. Robert and I used to share the burden, but we realized he is horrific when I go and pretty darn good when Robert goes. So it's Robert's job now. Well, I went in the morning before school which was my first problem. I didn't even think about it until I walked into the hospital that it would be different techs. But, I saw one tech who had done his work before so I decided to stay. I informed the check in nurse that we don't ever wait, due to his anxiety about the blood draw they always put us in front of the line. She rolled her eyes, but then did call him back right away.

The tech that we kinda knew called Dustin by name and I was pleased to see that she did remember him and his issues. We shut the door and I braced him against the seat. (Robert doesn't have to hold him at all, but I have to brace him.) He was talking loudly saying, "Wait a minute I have to get ready" when an unfamiliar tech walked into the room and began putting gloves on to hold him down. I politely said, "Ma'am my son is special needs and if you hold him we will never get the blood drawn. We do this weekly and we have a system." She shrugged me off, turned to Dustin and said, "Son you have to sit still; I will hold your arm" and grabbed his forearm. He shot out of the seat and began screaming. I forcefully said, "Ma'am, I apologize, but I need you to stop holding him you are going to make it worse. Please give him a chance." The other tech, was echoing my pleas and she was refusing to listen. Then "it" came. "Do you want a prize? You need to stop acting like this." To which I rebutted, "You're not listening to me. You need to step out of this room NOW. Please go."

Finally we got the blood drawn with a heck of a lot more difficulty that could've been avoided. The woman in charge of the lab came in and said "Dustin, you're here early! They didn't tell me you were here!" and totally subdued the situation. I apologized to her for irritating the tech (who by the way was talking rotten about me right in front of our room's door) and explained that she didn't even give me a chance to talk to her before brushing me off. She assured me that the tech was out of line and she would deal with it and explain that I was not simply being rude.

We walked out of the room and the "nasty tech" said, "I guess there's no prize for you today." Dustin wheels around and says to her "I don't get a prize. I come here every week and I save the prizes for other children who need them. You were mean."

Chalk one up to Dustin.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, McCartney . . .

Four years ago today my baby girl was born. She was a precious little thing and we were ecstatic to complete our family. I knew from the minute I found out I was pregnant that she would be our last. Robert and I were both getting older, and with Dustin more than 3 kids seemed impossible to me. I gave birth and was taken into surgery within minutes to have my tubes tied. When people find out our kids are named Harrison and McCartney we are inevitably asked if there will be a Lennon and Starr. I attempted to fake a laugh and say "no can do".

McCartney is strong-willed and very opinionated just like me. She has an iron will when it comes to what she wants and how she wants it. She definitely carries my OCD and has a real affection for cleaning. She is independent and yet very lovie and cuddly when she wants to be. In fact most everything happens on her terms and her terms alone. She knows precisely how to push her daddy's buttons and unlike Harrison she will not perform for you.

When Harrison was born he was definitely his father's son. He took to Robert much more because he was his primary care-giver. He certainly loved me, but preferred Robert. I never knew what it was like to be adored by your child until McCartney came along. She is mommy's girl through and through. We actually had to buy a sling to help Robert and McCartney bond when I went back to work so she wouldn't wail for me all day. When I leave the house she goes, she's the easiest for me to take, but the worst for Robert if I leave her. If she doesn't go she waits and waits for me to return, sometimes sitting in the window watching for the van.

I adore my baby girl. She completes my world. I love you McCartney.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at it's best . . .

. . . or worst I suppose. Last night Dustin was angry with me because he didn't want the supper we had prepared. You have choice in our home. You eat what we eat or you eat a peanut butter sandwich. He wanted nothing. I know he LOVES the meal we prepared. It's actually a favorite of his. I could tell he was being obstinate. I thought he would choose eat once we all sat down at the table.

Nope. He pushed and pushed and pushed. I was not going to be pulled into a power struggle and that made him more irritated. Later I was getting the kitchen cleaned up and he came in a sat down on a stool. After about 5 minutes of silence he said one thing. "I wish I had said no". I was confused as to what he was talking about and I asked him to clarify. He said, "When the judge asked me if I wanted to be a part of this family, I should've said no". I was shocked on several levels. One . . . I can't believe he actually remembers that day. That is astounding. Two. . . he isn't typically a hateful and spiteful child.

I immediately stopped what I was doing, turned to him and said. "Dustin. That breaks my heart. That day was one of the best days of my life and I would completely miss having you in the family. Is it always happy? No. Is it always fun? Nope. But that's what a family. We are a family and you don't give up on your family." He shook his head and said, "I want a peanut butter sandwich."

And with that the crisis was over. He was a lovie and cuddly the remainder of the night as always. FAS is crappy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My hubby is home . . .

Robert strolled into the house last ngiht about 8:45. I was thrilled because the kids were waiting to see him and it was just after bedtime. He walked in, I said "Welcome home! Now you can put the kids to bed!" And I grabbed my time card and officially checked-out. Bedtime is ugly at our house. It has been a battle ever since McCartney was 2 years old. Robert had a routine, a plan and is patient. I, on the other hand, am not and they know it, and they take advantage of it as much as possible. I am so not made to be a stay-at-home mom and you women who are single-moms have my utmost regards.

I was visiting Carol for Peace and looking at her pictures from the weekend march. This one I borrowed from her of Carol, Robert and Mary from Get Your Own. I loved Carol's assessment of the march and the importance of it. She says this:

Anyway, I have little faith that our administration will change any foreign policy in response to yesterday's march. Because I am so sickened by the death and destruction that our nation causes around the world, my hope is that the march will at least be a sign to people everywhere that our government is not a reflection of the will of the majority of Americans.

Mary attended the march with her family, well, all but one of her family. Mary's son is stationed in Baghdad. She had this to say :

Robert was so kind as to introduce me first to Cindy Sheehan's daughter, Carly AND then to Cindy! What a great moment for me as I really respect everything she does. I was also introduced to Tina Richards who could not have been kinder to me and gave me a big hug when she heard Michael was in Baghdad. I can't thank Robert enough as I really admire these women.

I love that Robert enjoyed himself. I would love to join him at one of these rallies, but alas, Dustin is not able to be left with just anyone and if we took the kids the prospect of 12 hours in a car with him scares the pants off me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Polly want a cracker . . .

Alex is an amazing African Grey Parrot who died recently. He was bought at a pet store when he was about 1 year old and wsa the subject of a study at several universities over the years. The video is a great example of things Alex can do. There is also los of information all over the web about Alex and his owner, Irene Pepperberg.

Goodbye Alex, we will miss you.

The following is from Wikipedia:

Before Pepperberg's work with Alex, it was widely believed in the scientific community that birds were not intelligent and could only use words by mimicking, but Alex's accomplishments indicated that birds may be able to reason on a basic level and use words creatively. Pepperberg wrote that Alex's intelligence was on par with that of dolphins and great apes. She also reported that Alex had the intelligence of a five-year-old human and had not reached his full potential by the time he died. She said that the bird had the emotional level of a human two-year-old at the time of his death.

Alex's death, on 6 September 2007, came as a complete surprise; the average life span for African grey parrots is 50 years. He had appeared healthy the day before, and was found dead in the morning. The cause of death is unknown. According to a press release issued by the Alex Foundation, "Alex was found to be in good health at his most recent annual physical about two weeks [before his death]. According to the vet who conducted the necropsy, there was no obvious cause of death."

Robert and I have an African Grey Parrot as well. Caesar came to live with us shortly after we were married. I wanted one so badly after reading about Alex. Robert found an ad for an African Grey for sale at a pet store. He has an amazing vocabulary. He asks questions and makes smart-alec comments. If I am home from work he will ask, "Honey, what's wrong are you sick?" IF I respond yes, he will tell Boomer, the macaw, "Shut up Boomer, honey has a headache". He is always aware of what is going on around him. He figures things out and constantly amazes me with his wit. He is by no means as smart as Alex, (do not tell him I said that) but I can definitely see the possibilities of the species in him. Sometimes it frightens me that I am actually conversing with a bird. Caesar does say the "f" word, always in context when he is irritated with me and always quietly so the kids don't hear him. We have owned several parrots over the years, Caesar is by far my favorite. Caesar only likes Robert to handle him, he only remotely tolerates me.

I actually snicker while telling you these things because if y'all came over the visit Caesar probably wouldn't perform at all. He only speaks when he is with familiar people or people he is immediately comfortable with. We had a friend that was totally enamored with Caesar and would talk to him like crazy while visiting. Caesar would turn his head and tuck it into his wing feather ignoring him. When Kevin would leave, Caesar would begin answering all the questions he asked him in order and then laugh up a storm. Funny bird. We have attempted to videotape him on numerous occassions, but he is always the wiser.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The weekend kicks off early . . .

Today Robert's plans for Washington DC took a sharp left (no pun intended) turn. His ride to DC called to tell him that he was leaving tonight instead of Friday evening. Yikes. He didn't thin kit would still be possible to go, but a little schmoozing at my work and he is off. You see, when you have a child like Dustin, you cannot just up and leave without finding suitable care, and suitable care means one of us. With Dustin only going to school 3 hours a day, one of us has to be at home.

This means my night got a little hairy. McCartney and I left work and headed to Meijer to do some grocery shopping, because there is no chance in hades of me doing grocery shopping this weekend with all 3 kids. That would be nuts. We got Daddy all kinds of goodies for his trip. McCartney was an excellent helper.

I came home to a house in chaos, with camera batteries plugged into every conceivable outlet, and the boys ready for a late dinner. I spent the greater part of 5 minutes putting my foot down and having a discussion about why Robert cannot take the laptop to DC. I won, but did you really doubt that? Right now, the kids are in bed, Robert is making a quick run to the grocery for the milk I forgot and purchasing another memory card for the camera and one for my new phone.

Oooo, since I have the laptop, and the memory card, maybe I will try to spend some time this weekend importing some music into my phone. Yippee-skipee. I will try not to get too excited, because I'm not certain I will have the time or the patience to try to navigate new software while I have all three kids at home. I will however look forward to some downtime from work. It has been particularly grueling with the move and such, and I just realized I haven't taken a day off since early summer. . .

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

9/11 . . .

I wasn't going to post anything about the history of today. But I was watching TV tonight and came across the MSNBC repaly of the morning show that fateful day. It is shocking to re-watch it. I recall that day very plainly and since everyone else around the blog-o-hood is talking about "where they were then" I will too.

I had recently found out I was pregnant and had wicked morning sickness and Dustin had been kicked out of school for something or other. So, I had taken the day off work because Robert had just started a job with Van Dyne Crotty. By the time I had heard the news, the first tower had fallen and I sat riveted to the TV the remainder of the day. Our whole world changed that day.

I remember the fear, the disbelief, the outrage. My brother was born September 11, 1977. I remember him once talking about being sad it was his birthday, he felt wrong to celebrate on this day.

I read a blog post about someone being angry about people looking at 9/11 as a holiday and then began talking about it being a day to honor our fallen soliders. Huh? People talk about 9/11 because of the tragic events of this day back in 2001. I see it as a day to honor the victims of that day and their families as they have endured a tragic day in our country's history. (Similar to April 19, 1995 when the Oklahoma City bombing occured) I certainly don't see 9/11 as a holiday. I see it as a day that our country came to realize we are not exempt from the hatred and voilence we have seen for so long in other parts of the world. It sucks. They then said the following: "Seems to me the same people that feel so strongly about 9/11 should be the same ones that believe in this war against terrorism." Huh? The attack that we began in Afghanistan on October 7th, simply 26 days after the attacks, was directly linked to the attack on 9/11. The war in Iraq has nothing to do with that day. The fact that people say that still boggles my mind.

Today I was told that one of our employees will be deployed to Iraq in February. I posted about him when he joined the Air National Guard because he was "PROMISED" that he would not have to serve overseas unless he choose to go. I knew it was a crock. I was pissed because I felt they directly lied to him to get him to join, saying he could decline, He has declined a deployment 4 times. This time he was "volun-told" to deploy. Bascially he was told he had declined too many times and he didn't have a choice. I understand fully that the military is volunteer. He made his choice when he enlisted. I take HUGE issue with the fact that he was deliberately misled. I take issue with lies to get boys to enlist and giving them large enlisting bonuses to attract them. Don't get me wrong, he will serve proudly and I am proud of him. I simply wish he had been told the truth up front.

Monday, September 10, 2007

FASD Awareness Day

Yesterday I had a wicked headache. I spent most of the day covering my head with a pillow and snoozing on the couch. I missed posting about FASD Awareness Day which is on the ninth day of the nine month, Sept. 9th.

On this day back in 1999 some families got together to raise their voices and educate people about the dangers in drinking during the 9 months of pregnancy. It also served to educate the public on children who have been afflicted with FASD and how their lives have been changed simply by their birth mother partaking in alcohol during those precious 9 months in utero. NINE MONTHS. Such a short time in the life of that mother has changed my son's life forever. I sometimes sit and mourn the life he could be living. The life that he would have without alcohol pervading his little body in the womb. The life that he could've had without the brain damage that he has due to those drinks. . .

Then I get angry. I get angry at the selfishness of birth mother's who should know better. I get mad at birth mother's who have access to birth control if they are choosing to drink or suffering from alcoholism. I get angry that I have to see the frustration and the struggles he goes through on a minute by minute basis. I get frustrated that his brain doesn't function in the way most people's do. I get livid that she still doesn't understand she has affeected him for life and created a child who can NEVER be fully functional on an independant level.

Then I get motivated. Motivated to educate every woman of child bearing age that you SHOULD NOT drink one drop of alcohol during those precious months. You should not drink if there is any possiblitiy of conceiving. I want to educate them that you can mess up a life in the same way that drunk drivers destroy a family by killing someone on the road. I want to grab them, shake them and make them understand what this child deals with on a daily basis. I want to educate people in restaurants, the grocery and my child's school that FASD is not a "made-up" disorder or a "fabricated" reason for my child's behaviors. I want them to realize that just because a child looks "normal" they still can have brain damage. I want them o stop looking at me like my parenting has caused this behavior. I want to make FASD a part of everyone's vocabulary.

I want to shout from the rooftops, "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the ONLY birth defect that can be 100% preventable!" It is up to all of us! Raise your voice, educate someone today! (even though it is a day late) Heck, educate someone everyday!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day . . . no kidding . . .

Okay, when I posted Saturday morning I had no idea what crazy things would transpire. I was cleaning my heart out while Robert went to the monthly peace gathering on the courthouse green. I got this twinge that I was forgetting something and decided it was simply because I forgot the time for my grandmother's surprise party next weekend. I decided to finally sit down and call my uncle to find out when it was so I could get that naggy feeling off my mind. When I got ahold of him heres how the conversation went . . .

Me: Barry, I lost the paper I wrote grandma's party info on.
Him: Well, you take a left on Fairfield . . . .
Me: I know where it is. What time is it next Saturday.
Him: It's in 20 minutes.
Me: &^#$@!

What came next was similar to that running in circles you do when you wake up late and start trying to get dressed for work even before you fully wake up. I called the cell phone and found it ringing in my purse. I run out of the house with a neighbor taking me downtown to retrieve Robert and tell him to get home NOW. I jump in the shower since I was nasty from sweating and claening. Robert dresses the kids, jumps in the shower himself. I throw on some makeup and we make it to the party in a half hour. We missed the whole "Surprise!" portion, but made it to the party none-the-less. I am so lucky I didn't just brush it off, my family would've killed me, and it was her 80th birthday, . .

I did come home and finished cleaning and moving furniture. Robert was terribly helpful as well. The kids drove me nuts, okay, McCartney drove me nuts. She has to be in the middle of everything I am doing. When I finally sat her on top of the dresser that was waiting in the doorway for it's new home she was able to see everything going on and she was a little better.

Saturday I moved outside and worked in the yard. I moved the gazebo because we are having a tree cut down that grows like a weed and gets tangled in all the wires and the gutters and everything else. I asked the neighbor for help resetting the gazebo and his wife and I ended up taking about 90% of the tree down ourselves. She is fearless and when she gets an idea in her head, there is no stopping her. We are usually a lethal combination when it comes to projects. We didn't have a chainsaw because I had planned to pay to have it removed, so we took it down with a reciprocating saw and a hand saw. Pretty darn amazing! I will never forget the look on Robert's face when he came to the back door and saw the giant part of the tree coming down. He had no idea what we were doing back there, When done, we looked around and saw the GINORMOUS mess in the yard and in the neighbors yard. ACK! We ended up loading it into their truck and taking it to the compost site. That pretty much did me in for the day.

Monday, the neighbor and I decided to chop up the old metal swingset we got Harrison when he was 2 and put up their big wooden one. The reciprocating saw came out yet again. I love destroying things. I did some more work in the backyard, trimmed some trees in the front and surveyed the gigantic pile of trash for the trashmen tomorrow morning. Mission accomplished.

I love being productive.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Spring . . . Fall Cleaning . . .

Today is a good day to purge. No eating disorder here . . . I am in the mood to CLEAN. My goal for the day is to make the garbage men hate me Monday morning. I aim to clean the upstairs, do some moving around of the furniture and some tossing of the unneeded junk. Sometimes it pays to have OCD . . .

For a comedy break . . . check out my boy .