Archive - 2013

1
When Your Child Chokes
2
Chimichurri Garlic Bread
3
Skinny Pig Doppleganger
4
In Her Eyes
5
Kids, Pets and Naked Rodents
6
Sometimes When I Clean… I See Dead Things
7
First Haircut
8
Loom Lemmings
9
Little People, Big Discoveries
10
Special Needs — Learning the Lingo

When Your Child Chokes

  Not all parents of children who have a disability of some kind obsess. Admittedly, I do. I struggle to tame the worries that invade my thoughts and I tend to hover over my daughter. (Think helicopter blades whirling furiously over head, bubble wrap dispenser on the ready.) My child has global development delays, speech and gross motor issues, and seizures. Despite her diagnosis she has made incredible progress. For a child who doctors said may never walk or talk, she is doing both — in your face, science. Our girl is no longer a baby. She is active and bold and curious. To deny her independence and the chance to explore would be cruel, so I hold my breath and let her go. Up the stairs by herself; higher on the swings; in the pool, close by, but liberated from her water wings. As it is for any child, loosening their reins allows them to reach further. So despite my racing heart, I’m trying to give her space to grow. My other child, Avery’s big brother, laughs when I remind him to chew his food. To him, grapes are juicy mouthfuls. To me they are ominous orbs of imminent choking. I’m not completely insane though — I stopped cutting[…]

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Chimichurri Garlic Bread

  Hello chimichurri sauce. Where have you been all my life? We first met at a restaurant and you had me at the first savoury mouthful. Then I made you at home and put you on my chicken breasts. (That sounds wrong somehow, but at least I didn’t say pork loins!). Then I spread you on a warm loaf of garlic bread and introduced you to my girlfriends at Games Night. You made us swoon. You’re one little hottie of an appetizer, but it’s also possible that I got slightly carried away with the red chili pepper flakes… Chimichurri Garlic Bread Ingredients: garlic bread loaf, homemade or store bought 2 cups fresh parsley and/or cilantro 6 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on how garlicky you like it) 1/4 of a small red onion 1/2 cup olive oil splash of red wine vinegar (optional) 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice kosher salt  red chili pepper flakes, to taste diced fresh tomato 1 ripe avocado, cubed Method: Pulse garlic and onion in food processor until finely chopped.  Add parsley and/or cilantro, and pulse briefly.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, lime/lemon juice, vinegar and stir.   Season[…]

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Skinny Pig Doppleganger

I’m in love with my son’s Skinny Pig Ernie. Ernie may be ugly to some of you. Okay, to any of you who have seen a photo of him or met him in person. I know this because you’ve said things like, “Dear god he’s ugly.” Or “Wow. What the hell IS that?!” And, “You have a walking penis for a pet.”  And this. Which made me laugh uproariously.  “Why the heck would you get an animal who doesn’t have fur?” somebody else asked. “He’s disgusting.” He may be “hair challenged” but he’s certainly not disgusting. He’s friendly and he loves to snuggle. And even without much hair, he’s baby soft. He’s like holding a warm peach with toenails. Ernie is the perfect fit for our family. We get “different.” And why did we name him Ernie? His namesake is my Grandpa Ernie. Ninety-four years old, he’s a force of nature. He lives on his own and until a recent foot infection, he did his own shopping, cooked his own meals and took care of his house. He’s witty and sharp and completely with it. Ninety-four. A few years ago he decided he’d try growing a gotee, just to switch[…]

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In Her Eyes

  Sometimes she’s here — fully present, eyes filled with light.    Other times she’s gone — eyes vacant, staring off at some unseen point. Unseen by us, anyway.    Where does she go when she disappears? Is she daydreaming or processing something new; filing experiences away for later? Or is her mind quietly resting after performing a taxing challenge?   The moments when her eyes lock onto mine and I know she’s completely with me, are happening more and more these days. It’s a beautiful thing.   So when she brought home her school photo this year, I had to have it. This is one of the first photos where she truly connects with the camera and she’s smiling with her eyes. And like I said, it’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

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Kids, Pets and Naked Rodents

The trouble with having a responsible child is that when they negotiate for something they really want and truly deserve, they make it virtually impossible to say no. Our ten year old son is an animal lover. He spends countless hours on the internet or with his nose in a book researching furry, feathered, finned and scaly creatures — their habitats, diets, origins, unique characteristics, whether they’re endangered, etc. The boy is a virtual walking animal almanac. Every day at breakfast I’m bombarded with facts like, “Did you know giraffes have no vocal chords?” or “A Flamingo can only eat when its head is upside down.” shared in between mouthfuls of toast, but not bacon. He researched animal cruelty and is now a vegetarian. He feeds our two dogs every morning and fills their water dishes and walks them whenever I ask. His sister isn’t technically his “pet,” but he cares for and watches over her too. So when he asked (begged) for a guinea pig of his own, how could we say no? Do I want a messy, squeaky rodent living in my house for the net five years? Not particularly. No matter how responsible a child is, we[…]

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Sometimes When I Clean… I See Dead Things

  Imagine your biggest fear up close, right your face. It happened to me and I still have heebies all up in my jeebies. Also my throat is raw from screaming like the victim in a B-rated horror flick.   I spent the better half of yesterday in our basement sorting and purging all minimalist-like. My goal was to condense the piles of Rubbermaid storage bins into a less “hoardery” number. I started with my old teacher books and supplies because after ten years in “retirement” it’s time to let it go and free up some storage space in the process. Then moved on to the bins of Halloween decor.   Before I could get very far, I called my husband downstairs and asked if he could possibly fix the light hanging in the storage area. I had yanked the string on it a bit too hard and pulled it right out of the socket. I was left in the dark. My spouse stared blankly at the light and said, “I don’t know how to fix that. Use a flashlight, maybe?” He’s tremendously helpful, especially when he’s in the middle of watching a football game.  I was making great progress[…]

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First Haircut

My daughter is seven and she’s never had a haircut. Not really. Her aunt gave her a trim one summer, but other than that, no snippy snippy. And no, she’s not all Rapunzel with hair past her waist. It falls just below her shoulders in baby fine waves. It’s beautiful and I’m in no rush to cut it. She was virtually bald when she was born. Her peach fuzz head was a surprise after her brother’s shock of thick black spiky baby hair. Her hair took years to grow even past her ears. Yesterday I took my son to the barber to tame his unruly mop. Usually his dad takes him, but after coming home last time with a mullet I thought it best to go to offer some guidelines. Avery came along and watched as her brother got spritzed and said, “It’s mine turn next. I so excited!” Oh dear. Now what? After she asked me several (28) more times if it was her turn yet, I asked the barber if they cut girl’s hair. He suggested I ask Joe the owner. This is an old school Italian barber shop. I was the only woman in the place and[…]

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Loom Lemmings

  If you have children within the ages of 4 and 14 you’ve heard of the Rainbow Loom. In fact, you’ve probably gone out with the throngs of other zombie-like parents to buy one and you now have a little sweatshop in your home where your children are pumping out bracelets by the dozens. How many elastic bracelets does one need anyway? Apparently a lot. In every possible colour combination. The story of the Rainbow Loom is an interesting — why the hell didn’t I think of it?! — kind of tale. Choon Ng, the toy’s inventor and the dude who came up with Silly Bands are laughing their way to the bank right now. And if you try to mock them, it won’t work because they’re rubber and you’re glue and whatever you say bounces off them and sticks to you. I was oblivious to this new craft craze until my daughter started coming home with dozens of colourful fishtailed bracelets up her arm. “My friends made them for me!” she told me proudly. I asked my son about it and he filled me on this latest must-have toy fad sweeping the nation. So what did I do? I[…]

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Little People, Big Discoveries

  The new phrase heard around our house twenty-seven times a day (No, not “Honey, pass the chips!”) is, “I do it myself!!” All of a sudden my daughter gets feisty when I try to do things for her. I don’t get it. I love it when people do things for me. If I had the choice I’d lay in my bed all day watching TV while people brought me things and rolled me over now and then to keep the circulation going. After years of having everything done for her from feeding to dressing to holding her hand every step of the way, my daughter finally has the physical and cognitive ability to do many things on her own. She wants to be independent and as difficult and nerve wracking as it is for us, we’re letting her flex her independent muscles. This includes letting her play on her own in her room without her parents or her big brother watching over her. Why on earth would we have to watch her playing in the safety of her own room you ask? Because of things like this… This kid is a climber and a risk taker. Left to her[…]

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Special Needs — Learning the Lingo

There are universal no-nos that need no explanation. Like the R-Word for instance. We don’t use it. Like, ever. And telling a parent that you’re so glad not to be in their shoes. Go there and you’ll find yourself on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich. This isn’t a lecture. Truly. Unless you’re living this life, how are you expected to know? So just in case you’re unaware, this is also this distinction… “Is your child Special Needs?” versus “Does your child have special needs?” There is a significant difference. It’s important to identify that our daughter has needs which require special attention since they pose safety risks. Also, by identifying her particular needs, we can focus on areas of her development which require special modifications. But is she Special Needs? No. She’s Avery. She is who she is. Her special needs obviously exist, but they don’t define her. My daughter loves her family and her friends, she adores animals, and she is friendly and affectionate. She doesn’t like soup, but she loves chili. She likes the colour pink and riding her scooter and climbing at the park. She’s simply an ordinary kid with an extraordinary set of DNA.

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