November 17, 2014

We Need To Talk About Kevin

What people said when I told them we were getting a cat.

A) We have reasons.
B) Correct, I'm a dog person. Cats are pretty weird.
C) You can never have too many pets, can you? Wait. Cat horders. I suppose you can.
D) I am a little allergic—hives, scratchy throat, red eyes swollen eyes, sneezy allergic.

So WHY get a cat??!!

Because.
Her.



Our girl likes loves animals. Dogs, cats, anything with fur.

Or without fur even. RIP Ernie. We miss you tremendously.


http://www.foreverinmomgenes.com/2014/06/when-pet-dies.html


When she grows up I imagine she'll choose a vocation involving animals. Perhaps she'll work as a vet tech? Or at a vet clinic or animal shelter in some capacity—greeting clients, feeding and grooming the animals. How perfect would that be? When she's a bit older, I plan to help her set up and run a pet sitting or dog walking business.

The way I see it, Avery's passion is clear. So if we can do anything to help her gain the experience to guide her along that path, shouldn't we?





So this leads us to... KEVIN.

Kevin the cat. My friend Ali was telling us about her cousin's cat, the original Kevin. RIP to you too Kevin the 1st. (He's probably in heaven chasing Ernie.). Avery heard the name and loved it. So, Kevin the orange tabby it is.

He's curious and cuddly and a little bit cheeky. I'm smitten with this kitten. It turns out I actually AM a cat person. Who knew? And one allergic pill a day and my hives are held at bay. It's worth it.

Where did Kevin come from? 

A perk of having a sister in law who's a vet. She's truly the cat's meow. Doctor Fraser rescued Kevin from a shelter, nursed him to health, neutered him and fostered him until he was big enough to be handled by an enthusiastic eight year old.

My poor brother took the brunt of Kevin's enthusiastically wild sharp-nailed pouncing for the several weeks Kevin lived with them.

When our mom asked him on the phone what little Kevin was like my brother said (while dressing a particularly deep scratch), "This cat is nuts. He's got no fear, feels no pain, he's all over the place and he gets into everything. Oh my god, he's the cat version of Avery! Good luck to them with that!"

He's right. Kevin is a little stinker.


And he IS the purrfect match for his new cat mama—both Avery and Kevin are always in search of a good time.

When I told my husband my brother warned we'd have our hands full with the "feline Avery," he clearly took it to heart because the next morning he woke up and said, "I dreamed we went to pick up Kevin but your brother was a cat. Like, a giant man cat." Of course he then demonstrated my brother Mike walking around meowing and banging into walls.

I laughed until my stomach hurt and then of course I made this.



Mike.... um, we need to talk about Kevin.* Wait, forget Kevin, let's talk about YOU as a man cat. I can't stop laughing. I hope I didn't hurt your felines posting this at your expense but... LOLOLOL!




*Every time my brother phoned me while Kevin was residing with them he'd say, "Lisa, we need to talk about Kevin." And we'd laugh. Because we're both giant idiots and easily amused.

FYI My sister in law had never heard of the movie "We Need To Talk About Kevin" so out of context, it didn't make sense and she thought we were weird. Know who else is weird? Kevin.

November 13, 2014

3 ways to keep kids with special needs safer



Children wander, some more often and farther than others. 

If I could microchip my daughter like a pet, I would. Wait, can I?! Our cat has a teeny chip the size of a grain of rice between his shoulder blades. If he’s found far from home, the finder will be able to return him to us. Mental note: ask sister in law the vet to micro chip Avery.

Children with special needs may have trouble identifying themselves or asking for help. Avery doesn’t know her phone number or address—I ordered this bracelet for her from Etsy. It’s stainless steel so she can wear it 24/7. My cell number on the reverse side so if she wanders (just typing it makes me queasy) she’ll be more easily “returned to owner.”




When we’re out and about—visiting a theme park, hiking, playing at the park or taking a walk in the city, Avery wears a GPS fob. My friend gave us this one by T R I P LE  C

http://gotriplec.com/


The funky fashion forward fob is synced with your iphone which allows you to locate your most valuable possessions (computer, pet, child!)

You can also determine a perimeter. For example, if Avery wanders more than 100 ft away from me an alarm will sound on my phone. I'm not suggesting technology replace responsible parenting, but extra proactive measures in place gives me peace of mind. Ask any parent of a "bolter" and they'll nod enthusiastically in agreement.


If choking is a concern, use a chain with a break-away clasp.


Speaker Sarah Kupferschimidt, MA, BCBA, founder of Special Appucations, is on a mission to empower parents and educators with practical tools to teach children with special needs skills that will improve their quality of life.


She's hosting a 2 hour interactive workshop NOVEMBER 19, 2014 where you will learn:

  • How to teach your child what to do if lost
  • How to know if your child is ready to learn this and what pre-requisite skills are necessary
  • 5 Strategies you can use to practice this skill

If you'd like to attend, RSVP to info@specialappucations.com

http://www.specialappucations.com/our-solutions/street-smarts/


*Disclosure. This post is NOT sponsored in any way. No moola has been exchanged. This is simply good info to share. We special needs advocates gotta have each others backs. Right? 



November 10, 2014

The Hills Are Alive, With The Sound of.... What IS That Sound Anyway?

You've heard of the Von Trapps — a beloved and marvelously musical Swiss family whose music lives on amongst the hills and beyond. Our family is also musical. That is to say we attempt to make music. It may not be harmonious or even bearable to listen to, but it's a fun way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon with family.

So pull up a chair, insert some earplugs and get ready to witness the most horrendous and off-key music you've ever heard.

I give you, the Von Crapps!

You're welcome and I'm sorry.


November 6, 2014

What Is The Time Limit On Grief?


The minute you think you've come to terms with loss, grief comes back—quietly sneaking up on you as a fleeting pang, or slamming into you like a visceral punch that forces the breath from your lungs, making you gasp amid sobs.

My friend Heather said the other day in reference to the loss of her son that, "Grief has no time limit." She and her family have been through it. They're still going through it. They will always be in it to some degree. There may indeed be five stages of grief, but there's definitely no fixed schedule or order to them.

My husband's mom passed away last February. She was more a friend than a mother in law and the close bond she shared with my children was uncommon, I think.

My son was ten when she died. She wasn't sick—her death was unexpected and a shock for everyone. Of course my boy was devastated when she died, but after a month or so, the cloud lifted for him and he claimed he had made peace with it and that he was okay. He later admitted he felt guilty for not crying anymore.

"We all grieve in our own way," we told him. We assured him that he wasn't disrespecting his Grandie's memory by smiling or being happy and that in fact, she would be proud of him for living his life.

Nine months after her death, seemingly out of the blue, he sharply felt the full weight of the loss. He confessed after school one day that he felt sad. "I miss Grandie," he said. "I wish I was five and didn't understand death. I'm not an adult and I can't handle it like you and daddy can. I'm in the middle and it's hard."

It is hard. He's right about that. He's also correct that he's at a difficult age for dealing with something so incredibly sad. It's not like he had the chance to tip toe into grief by losing a distant relative first. His first experience with death was with one of the most important people in his life.

He said he knows that this is only the first—that other people we love will die one day. I told him the only thing I could—that he was right. But, that if we could get through losing somebody as special as Grandie, we can get through anything. Together as a family, we'll be okay no matter what.
These moments are difficult, but I'm glad we are able to have these conversations. It's important for everyone, kids especially, to feel safe to express their emotions—to get them out and to know that what they're feeling is normal.


He told me what he missed most about his Grandie and that he can't believe that she is really, truly gone. He asked for details about the final moments of her life. He said he needed to know. He cried and said he worried that his sister wouldn't remember Grandie as well as he will because he's older.

Well. THAT is never going to happen. Avery and Rota had a very unique relationship. They understood each other in a way I can't explain. Avery still talks about her every day, at least once. Now this is a child who through a random genetic deletion has significant memory issues. Facts and concepts are exceedingly difficult for her to recall, but emotions...those stick. She remembers details and experiences surrounding her grandmother that amaze us.

In the middle of the grocery store tonight she suddenly burst into tears. Something triggered a memory and she buried her face into my hip and cried, "I miss my Grandie."

She continued to cry as we made our around the store. To onlookers, I'm sure Avery must have looked like a tired, cranky kid who was unhappy about not getting her way.

As we stood in the pasta aisle at Longos, we both cried. I didn't expect it. But like I said, grief has a way of sneaking up on you.

I wiped Avery's nose on my sleeve and we carried on and bought a giant cinnamon bun to share because sometimes only a sugary pastry will do on the days when every little bit of sweetness helps.


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