only who i am

random musings of one mama contemplating life as she knows it

how to be E for a morning April 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — jen @ 12:23 pm

6:15 wake up. Chat in bed, saying “pee! pee! pee! pee!” over and over. Make moms wonder “is he saying ‘pee’, or is he saying ‘play’? Because the two sound almost identical…”

6:30: Mommy gets up and discovers that you were indeed saying “pee” but thankfully weren’t talking about having peed in your bed despite having removed your sleep sack and nappy. Fight and kick while mommy puts new nappy on.

6:45: Get out of bed, resist being brought to sit on bed to get dressed. Fight and kick while mama takes off pj shirt, puts on clean t-shirt and jeans. Kick extra while mama is trying to put socks on.

6:48: creep up on mommy for ritual morning kiss and attempt to peel back covers. Be as loud as possible because mommy especially LOVES that in the morning.

6:50: be carried downstairs to prevent waking brother with a mad dash and tackle into his room and onto his bed (and him in bed).

6:52: smack Chuck (favorite doll) against closed mini-blinds. Try to help mama as she pulls up the mini-blinds. Pick the one blind that has separate strings so that only one side of the blinds goes up. (In the end, do indeed be helpful!)

7ish: be sure to stretch legs out as FAR as they go and consistently alternate lean of head so that it is as hard as possible for mama to see and tie shoes. Make mama mumble about children who can leave shoes with Velcro on their feet.

7:00: refuse food, throw bottle of PediaSmart all over to show people how VERY UNINTERESTED you are in food. But when brother comes down to eat Cheerios, stare intently at him while he eats. When offered a Cheerio, throw it.

7:30: Play with Chuck. Remove folded laundry from laundry baskets and distribute liberally around the living room. Run away when mama says things about how she hates doing work twice.

8:05: find coat when requested and cooperate when mama helps you put it on. Go outside to go to car but stop on deck to smell the day, look at everything, seek squirrels. Marvel at the fact recycling bins are not there. Ignore (patient) requests to come down deck stairs and go toward car.

8:08: finally go toward car. Reach out but think better of running fingernail along the headlights as you’ve finally realized that mama screeching and covering her ears is not a good thing. Try hard to open car door; accept help. Climb into big boy seat (facing forward now after 3+ years rear-facing). Try to help with seat belt.

8:10: exclaim “OHHHHH!” at everything that drives by or looks interesting, especially if it is a school bus. Explain important things to the others in the car about backhoes and orange construction cones. Wish, along with everyone else, that your mouth spoke the words your brain is thinking (damn dyspraxia). Say “bye!” and “ahvu!” to T when he gets out of car to go into school.

8:20: Exclaim “OHHHHHHHH!” at every big building downtown. Say “bye!” and “ahvu!” and give kisses to mommy when she gets out to go to work. Chatter happily to mama all the way home and point out the truck hauling a dumpster on the freeway. Make mama not hate driving as much today as she did yesterday.

8:40: finally deign to have breakfast. Try to help mama unload the dishwasher despite repeated explanations that the dishwasher is currently full of dirty dishes and shouldn’t be unloaded. Unload the drawer of plasticware instead while mama scrubs out bottles. Run away and stand in a corner when mama asks you to put the boxes and cups back in the drawer. Move the jar of honey from one shelf to another. Lick the outside of the honey jar, because that always makes mama nuts. Hear mama say something about needing coffee. Coffee? Go see about getting a taste of coffee.

9:15: there is no coffee yet. Dangit. Try to unload the drawer of pots and pans and get redirected. Why does mama keep talking about things being clean and it being better for them to stay in the drawer? What fun is that? Go check out the cat corner. OMIGOSH! THERE’S A CAT EATING! Watch mystified while the cat eats and then inform mama with great vehemence that the cat needs more water. Correct self to say ‘more eat’. Follow cat to living room. Try very hard to pet her gently, have difficulty controlling excitement and pat her a bit too hard. Be grateful that the cat is very patient.

9:45: follow mama into the porch when she steps out to recycle some papers and discover the box of Legos. Bring the Legos into the house. Play with them on the living room floor with moderate frustration. After 20 minutes, start to get really fed up and throw Legos. Much to her astonishment, take mama’s suggestion to clean them up. Help clean put them in the box while mama sings the clean-up song and then help to carry them back into the porch (?!!!) and then willingly return to the house (?!!!!!) when they have been returned to the porch. Stand next to end table and make suspicious squeaking noises. When asked by mama if you are pooping, adamantly shake head and say ‘NOOO!!’ which means yes. Get carried upstairs while mama explains about pooping on the toilet instead of in pants. Cheer for yourself when you proceed to do so. Cheer more when you flush the toilet yourself. Get angry when mama won’t let you eat the soap. Get angrier when mama insists you rinse all the soap off of your hands. Kick and wiggle as much as possible when mama tries to get a new diaper on you. Turn the ceiling fan on high while mama is washing her hands. Visit the study that your parents promise you will soon be your very own room. Try to lick the windowsill but find mama’s hand between your face and the window at the very last second. How does she always manage to do that?

10:10: start asking mama about watching Signing Time. Wiggle around excitedly and try to approximate signs you see. Convince mama to let you taste her coffee by signing (and kind of saying) “more coffee please”.

10:45: Signing Time is over; always a sad moment. Throw self dramatically onto couch. Regain composure when mama mentions the school bus. Go look for coat and backpack at mama’s request. Find backpack and become so excited that you forget the coat. Go back for the coat. Shake head frustratedly when mama tries to coach you on putting on your own coat by flipping it over your head. What is this ridiculous flip move, anyway, and why do all of the adults espouse it?

11:00: you have your coat and backpack on and are ready to go, but the bus does not come until 11:20. Go outside with mama. Help push the garbage bin back up the driveway and then pull the blue recycling bin up the driveway while mama brings the green one. Say ‘Yaaaaaaay!’ when mama thanks you for being helpful. Thrill mama with the fact that you look at street but do not run into it. Help mama pick dandelions and pull out dried hosta flower stalks. Carefully step over blooming tulips. As you are admiring one, your bus pulls up. Say hi to your new driver – he’s nice, but he’s not your darling former driver Cheryl – wave bye to mama and go sit in your seat where the driver buckles you into your harness. Wave bye to mama and blow kisses as the bus drives away.


trapped, stuck, why? November 15, 2011

Filed under: Down Syndrome,life,motherhood,parenting — jen @ 2:40 pm

I am sitting here at my dining room table and I feel like I cannot move, like I can hardly breathe. I have work to do – around the house, for the league, outside – but I cannot get up from the computer.

I think about the things coming in the future – E’s 3rd birthday, my mother-in-law’s impending visit, the fact that I have a 5k on Sunday, Christmas not really that far off – and I think of the things that I want to see: E with a great cake, happy with his presents, surrounded by family who loves him. House tidy and cozy for Christmas with at least some of our decorations set out, even if we can’t decorate a whole tree because (a) there’s nowhere to put it and (b) E would pull it down anyway. Kitchen clean? Laundry done and put away? A plan for dinner?

I make lists and then I blow off the lists. I have things to mail to friends and I just don’t go to the post office. I lost 12 pounds this summer and I am sure I have gained them all back because I have no motivation to run anymore.

I seem to have a case of the “I don’t care”s.

I have to wonder if part of it stems from the fact that today E started in a public school preschool for kids with speech/language delays. I feel like I am holding very tightly to a rope connected to a far, far-off dream star – the dream that he will be able to go to school where his brother goes to school. And I feel, today, like my hand slipped, and we are sliding down the rope, away from the dream.

Everyone says to me “oh, don’t worry, he’ll do just FINE! He’s so social, and friendly and sweet and sensitive and smart, he’ll do FINE! just FINE!”. Well, THANKS, that’s FINE. But hey, all of you, haven’t I see you look at more than one school for your typically-developing child?

Don’t I read about how a school rubbed YOU the wrong way and you wouldn’t send your child there because it’s not what YOU want for them?

Oh, wait – didn’t you stand in the hallway of our children’s school holding back tears because going to the school fair and trying to pin down a public school option that even halfway met your understanding of what a school should do for children made you depressed and physically ill?

So why is that okay for you but when it comes to my child, I should just relax and swallow all the recommendations because he will be FINE, just FINE?

I see the person I want to be, but I don’t know how to get to her.


Dear PT: May 5, 2011

Filed under: derby — jen @ 10:31 pm

Are you nuts, or just ignorant?

OK, so we’ve narrowed it down to sciatic nerve pain at times, at my lower back being weak. I realize that you and everyone else except my chiropractors believe that I am going to blow out a disc at any moment.

I appreciate that you were a skater yourself and that you understand the mechanics and physics of skating and what it translates to for athletes – where you need to have the strong muscles, where you can easily overtax your body.

But did you ever think of how ridiculous it sounded to tell the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old to avoid doing “anything that involves the lower back”?

Really, now?

I felt like I was about 10 when you scolded me for how I removed the skirt I had on over my leggings, which I did so that you could check the alignment of my knees. And yes, I did shed a couple of silent tears to myself with my face buried in that towel as I was doing the brutal ab-butt-knee clenching exercises you were having me do, simply because I am fed up with feeling so weak and no one being able to pinpoint what I’m doing wrong and how to fix it.

Part of me wants to just blow you off and go skate again, gently, just because I feel like a lump not doing anything. I know, I know, strengthening and PT is doing something… but where is the groove I had found just a year ago? Why do I keep hurting myself when I try to do things? Why am I so weak? I’m only 37, for cat’s sake. My mom’s twice that and hurts herself less.


whom to believe? April 16, 2011

Filed under: derby — jen @ 12:35 pm

I went to my chiropractor on Thursday because my pelvis felt, for lack of a better term, all loosey-goosey – like things were moving in a funny way that shouldn’t have been. My regular chiro was booked, as always, but one of her clinic partners (who also happens to be her husband) had an opening, and I took it. He has put me back together after injuries before.

I told him my whole story and the first thing he did was throw the possible low back component right out with a flat “you’re not presenting anything that would indicate a disc problem”. Given that he knows a thing or two about backs, including mine personally, I’m inclined to believe him (and trying hard not to just believe him because it’s what I wanted to hear). Second, he agreed with my two friends who are in med school who both suggested the illiotibial (IT) band. He did some horrific sadistic very intense and quite painful stretches on the affected muscles and told me what to do to get over the pain and regain the motion.

I’m still regaining complete use – it does not feel good to lift my right leg up so that my thigh is parallel to the floor – and if I push it too long, like walk too far or take the steps with too much gusto, the right calf starts aching again.

I managed to get a PT appointment on Tuesday – we will see if the PT complements the chiropractic and vice versa, or if the two practitioners will be at odds with each other, which they sometimes are.

Also, the PT will tell me when I could safely return to skating.


hardly a blaze of glory April 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jen @ 3:16 am

Verdict from doctor’s office: strained medial hamstring, strained lateral calf, greater trocanteric (= hip) bursitis and “possible low back component” – slipped disc?

Ice, Advil, PT.

All I can think is “WTF? Really?!”

Feeling like I maybe should have stuck with writing.

Seriously, I think I put my finger on it. When I am in group athletic situations where it’s every woman for herself and you’re only supposed to be focusing on doing it for yourself, I push myself too hard and get all mad at myself that I am so incapable. One, yes, I know, I probably am not as incapable as I think. Two, it’s only supposed to be about my own self-improvement. But I hate feeling like I suck, and so I push myself harder and inevitably hurt myself or have a bad experience. (This would be why I end up crying in bitter self-disappointment every time I do yoga in a group setting, and might also quite possibly be why I was successful with my C25k program last year, since I did it all by myself.)

Calling the PT tomorrow, we’ll see what they say.


no, you’re kidding, right? April 10, 2011

Filed under: derby,life — jen @ 10:25 pm

So, this morning my wife asks me if I could check if one of her slippers had been relocated to the porch by E, and indeed it had. I squatted/bent down to pick it up and something in my right leg sort of went “poing!”! – not literally, like there was no Warner Bros sound effect, but everything went tight and painful and today I have had a hell of a time going up stairs (going down is fine) and bending over to pick stuff up. So much for practicing that derby girl stance. No clinics until this is feeling 100% better! :(


clinics, day 2 April 8, 2011

Filed under: derby,life — jen @ 11:04 pm

It took a lot of work to get out the door to this clinic, both personally/mentally and family-wise. We got home from the chiro at 5:30 and I was trying to get out the door by 6. Ha. I cooked for the family and then left with a cup of applesauce and a coconut water for myself. Ended up parking in the expensive ramp AGAIN because I was late and got slowed down by a man who wanted me to believe that he was new in town and had a BA from SoCal and obviously was educated and had money and his car had been towed and it was in the impound lot and he couldn’t get his personal possessions out of the car and he only had $108 toward his impound fee and did I happen to have $18 to spare so he could get his car out of the impound lot? He lived down by Lake Nokomis and would pay me back the money. He could have spared me the story, I was running late and told him so. It was a really nice story. He must have spent a lot of time cooking that one up.

Missing the running warm up really spared my lungs. No day-long coughing this time. I got there just in time for jumping and standing up and down on my toes, which probably has a proper name but I don’t know what it is. The trainer I was paired up with didn’t want to touch me. But… but… I just had a shower! It was a too-much-kids-energy thing. I understood. Russians (core exercise involving leaning forward from the knees while kneeling, keeping legs and torso in a straight line) went well like last time. I am happy to do core work that way.

There was another round of 80/100s which went all right. I told a trainer that I hoped someone could teach me to do crossovers so I didn’t feel so scared going around corners. She did! Hooray! I’m nowhere near even passable at it but now I feel like I at least have more of an idea of what I need to be doing.

The challenge of the day for me was the grapevine. Stand on two skates and step over with one, then pull the other out behind and set it back down. Keep the skates straight, don’t roll, butt out, chest up, head up, arms out. I think that a snail could have done these faster than I did, even not on roller skates. My body – my legs, my core, nothing is used to being in the butt-out-chest-up-head-up-arms-out position all the time, and so grapevining much of the length of the hall was a challenge. One wonderful trainer came out and stood face to face with me and did it with me. Blessed distraction. It took me what felt like a million years, but I eventually got it and felt like I improved from the start to the end.

I was thrilled that we spent a good chunk of time working on stops, and I finally discovered why people have been saying that my Poisons would be “too sticky”. It’s hard to execute a t-stop when your wheels absolutely REFUSE to drag at all across the floor. I had more success with the plow stop but could not produce the desired wheel scream.

Next: more falls. Getting back up from falling on one knee was almost impossible this time – my quads were back to maybe 70% of what they were the first night. At least I could laugh this off a bit more this time. Double knee falls weren’t as bad – I managed to get up for those. Wonderwoman / all 4 falls: how UNNATURAL does it feel to throw yourself at the floor? Pretty darn, to me. I tried. I will keep trying. Engage core! Engage core! Did not attempt the baseball slide. My feet were in such pain by this time.

Went home feeling so sore, but so happy.

Notes to self:

  • Check meter map so as to park at an expired meter. This parking in the ramp thing cannot continue.

  • tighten down that right toe stop.
  • get some sort of squishy Dr. Scholl’s cushioning footbed or something to prevent the aching feet. Part of it is the muscles and part of it CAN be alleviated with the squishy footbed.
  • keep smiling.


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