Archive for June, 2013

Beauty and Her Very Handsome Beast

(This is the story of a very handsome beast. I’m using the word “beast” in a very complimentary “You’re such a beast” way.)

Beauty and the Beast (1992 film)

Beauty and the Beast (1992 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There once was an 11-year-old Beauty who had some difficulties with walking long distances. She tired easily, her muscles were weak, and she lacked good balance for getting around efficiently.

But luckily for Beauty, she had a handsome Beast who loved her very much. This Beast, whom she usually called Daddy, was determined that Beauty have all the experiences possible in life, namely on the family vacation to Colorado.

While the family went up and down hills and mountains, Beast happily pushed Beauty’s wheelchair all the way to the top of the hills and mountains and all the way back down to the bottom. Over rocks, dirt, grass, and gravel, on trails, roads, and rocky paths Beast pushed her wheelchair, never once complaining or frowning.

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When faced with a hill or a mountain that Beauty’s wheelchair couldn’t climb, her handsome Beast happily donned a back pack carrier and carried Beauty up to the top of hills and mountains and back to the bottom.SAM_1170

Hills and mountains that would have been out of Beauty’s reach were reached because of Beast’s dedication and love, determined that Beauty would experience life (and this vacation) to its fullest.

Because of Beast’s determination Beauty experienced all of the mountains, all of the hills, and all of the waterfalls. Beauty appeared in all of the family photos and was a part of all of the fun. Beauty experienced all the views and all of the sights. And Beauty owed all of the thanks to Beast, her Beast.

But Beauty’s Beast wasn’t big on accepting gratitude and thanks. Beast didn’t see himself as going an extra mile by carrying or pushing Beauty up hills and mountains. Beast really just thought it was something that he should do to aide in Beauty’s experience. Beast just saw it as his life … like breathing or eating … or waking up in the morning. Beast saw helping Beauty experience life as simply a part of his life and a part of his being.

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But I, the narrator, am hugely grateful and indebted for Beast’s sacrifice and hard work. And the fact that Beast doesn’t view himself as a hero makes him more of a hero in my eyes. I’m impressed and am looking forward to living happily ever after withChloe’s handsome Beast.

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Making Way

Chloe and I had an experience this week.

We are in Colorado for a week on vacation.

Earlier this week we rode the cog railway train up Pikes Peak. After the hour train ride, Chloe and I waited in line to potty. It was a long line, sticking out into the shopping area. We waited in line behind a group of teen girls — maybe 13 years old. I didn’t notice them paying us much attention while we waited.

But as the line made its way into the restroom, I noticed the teen girls turning around facing us, getting our attention. It ends up that they were motioning us toward the open accessible stall which was empty. They were motioning us to go ahead of them into the accessible stall where there was room for Chloe’s wheelchair.

I tried to hide my shock and near-confusion as I thanked them profusely and pushed the wheelchair into the stall.

I have never experienced anything like it. Most people wouldn’t even clue in that a person behind them would have to wait until the accessible stall was available! Much less would a person let someone cut in front of them in a long line at the restroom.

Maybe I’m over-reacting, but this restroom experience filled me with hope. Hope for our future — for Chloe’s future. These girls who weren’t much older than Chloe, didn’t feel the need to stare and feel weird in front of Chloe. But they noticed her, sensed her needs, and met those needs to the point of making a personal sacrifice (arguably small) to accommodate her.

Wow. I’m truly touched. I really am.

Doctors Need Education, Too

We have great teams of doctors who work with my kiddos. I love most of them, like some of them, and can only barely tolerate one of them. Not bad when you have as many docs as we do that you see as often as we see them. We are blessed.

I like Zippy’s psychiatrist a lot. I think she’s good and thorough at what she does. I love that she’s dark-skinned — she’s from India and has a dark complexion which I like so that Zippy isn’t always the glaring minority in medical situations. (We very purposefully have several docs who are not light-skinned.) I like that she’s beautiful. What?? Sounds materialistic and shallow? Well, just try sitting down face-to-face for appointment after appointment after appointment with an unpleasant doctor; it makes you appreciate beauty!! 😉 But overall, I really do like Dr. N.

But she isn’t perfect. She’s human. She’s not an expert at everything. She doesn’t know correct language and lingo for every situation. She needs reminders. She needs to be further educated sometimes.

Case in point: At Zippy’s last appointment, Dr. N was asking for a review of Zippy’s case history, starting at birth, just to serve as a reminder to her since she’s been treating him for close to 8 years. After the birth history was filled in, she moved on to family history. And that’s when she showed that she needed an education.

“And you have 2 children of your own, too, right?” she asked.

Ouch. I’m sure Zippy felt as though his fur had been rubbed in the wrong direction. I know I did.

The education needed: correct language when talking about adoption.

Not “children of your own”  or    “your real children”

Not “your natural kids”  or    “your blood kids”

I (and surely all adoptive parents) feel that Zippy is just as much my child as my other 2 are. They are all my own children. They are all my real children. They are all my natural kids since I happen to think adoption is quite natural.

The question she could have asked is this: “And you have 2 biological children, too, right?”

Or better yet: “And you have 2 other children, too, right?” (although in her defense, it is important for a doctor in her role as counselor to know the specific dynamics of the family — how many adopted and how many biological)

The word she was looking for, if she even knew she should be looking for it, is biological.

I am sorry to say that I did not offer Dr. N an education that day. As you’ve heard before, it really depends on my mood whether you get an education and what form that education may take on. This particular day, given Zippy’s mood and anxiety, I decided that less conversation was best and left it at that.

But for all of you well-meaning wonderful folks reading this post, I can sweetly pass on an education to you in the case that you’re in need of it. Repeat the word “biological” over and over until you’re comfortable with it. Use it instead of “natural, real, etc…” And remember that unless it’s necessary to distinguish whether the children are biological or adopted, don’t distinguish it at all. They are all equally their parents’ kids. 🙂

Any questions?

Summer Chores

Wow! What an oxymoron! When summer is all about relaxing and fun in my book, it is difficult for me to think, say, and type something like “chores” in a sentence with summer. But challenging my children is also a part of our plan most summers. And this summer is no different.

This week we start all of our summer goals, etc. Part of the goals is stepping up the chores. You should know that as a general rule I have hugely cheated my kids on the whole chore front. I know that I know that I know that I should require chores to build a good work ethic and let them be a team player and to gain the skill of actually completing the jobs. I don’t want to have a few young wives hacked off at me for presenting them with a couple of young men who can’t do squat to help her around the house. But I have really done a poor job at it over the years — partly because it’s just easier to do it myself than to train them to do it and because I really do value the time that my kids spend as kids and don’t want to spend much time doing grown up things like work. (I know, I know … it’s not doing them any favors!!)

All of that to say that most of you will probably not be impressed with the chores I plan to pass on this summer to my 3 kids.

In the past, the boys have regularly taken out the trash in the kitchen and other rooms of the house, taken out the recycling, “cleaned” their bathroom, put away their clothes, and Elliot has emptied the dishwasher. In the last couple of weeks, Elliot has started cooking simple meals: Ramen noodles and Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese; and Zippy has started learning to unload the dishwasher. Chloe hasn’t done much except the occasional dusting, wiping the table, or “helping” with the dishes, in addition to helping (ever so minutely) with cleaning her room.

Not too impressive, eh?

So. Here’s the tentative plan for the summer. And I say “tentative” only because I don’t know how it will go and if my plan is too lofty or too measly so it needs to be flexible.

Elliot will learn to cook more things and be involved in meal planning. He will learn to do his own laundry (and maybe the towels, too). He will continue to clean the bathroom and hopefully learn to do it a little more thoroughly. Taking care of the birds — maybe without being told!!– is also on his list.

Zippy’s chore list will consist of learning to clean the bathroom more thoroughly and empty the dishwasher more accurately. (I cracked up the first time I asked him to empty the dishwasher a week or so ago. I returned to the kitchen to find the entire dishwasher’s contents in stacks on the counter right above the dishwasher. He was genuinely confused as to how he hadn’t done it correctly — “I emptied the dishwasher!”) He will also fold his own laundry (not sure this one is doable ….) and vacuum the main areas of the house.

Chloe will learn to set the table for dinner (using plastic plates and cups for the process). She will also wipe the table after dinner. The wiping of the table will be part of the incentive for her to stay at the table with us during dinner — if she stays in there, then she won’t have to walk all the way back in there! She will also do some of the trash duty; the plan will be for her to carry some of the smaller trashes from other rooms and dump it in the kitchen trash.

And that really covers it thus far for chores. Thoughts? Again, I welcome any feedback on chore ideas and plans for carry through, etc. I’ll let you know how it’s going.

But for now … I’ve got chores to do!

photo credit: je.yalecollege.yale.edu  and thegreenhead.com

UPDATED!!! I must include an update since I’m in a bit of shock and total excitement! Elliot didn’t even know I had made lists or that I was thinking of making lists. I was going to have a little meeting this morning and announce it all. I made the lists and printed them off yesterday and even hung them on the fridge in anticipation of changes and announcements today. Well, guess what my firstborn did?? Before even having a conversation with me, he noticed the lists and took care of the birds. AND he looked for the supplies to clean the bathroom but couldn’t find them! Hallelujah! Maybe we’ll be successful!!

Summertime!

Those who know me know that I LOVE SUMMER!! I love my kids being on summer vacation from school. It is a wonderful time of long, fun, relaxed hours and days together that are really mostly stress-free. I love it! I count down the days til summer finally arrives, and then I laze around and play hard with my kids!

We just finished our first week of summer. It was actually an oddly busy week for me as I had a couple of trainings and meetings. Elliot had a Tech Ed Camp Monday through Thursday so he, too, was busy. Chloe started summer school reading class last week, too, so I was running back and forth taking her to class, taking Elliot to camp, picking Chloe up from class, picking Elliot up from camp … repeat. It was fairly crazy.

But this next week won’t be quite as crazy. Chloe still has reading class for a couple of hours everyday, and I do have a couple of more meetings, but it will be a little more summerish and normal.

Also, next week, we will start our summer limits on screen time and start our summer goals for the summer. This past week, Zippy had unlimited hours on the TV and with the PS3 and wii; he literally could be found in front of one of those screens at all hours of the day. But it was all part of the first week of summer celebration. Hopefully the reality and cruelty of this next week won’t be too much for him to handle. 😉

Our goals for the summer (dare I share them here for all to keep me accountable??) include the following:

  • Weekly library visits (getting cards for the kids, too)
  • Reading daily
  • Keeping rooms tidy (I can hardly type that with a straight face!!)
  • Chores (more on that later)
  • Math/Reading practice for Chloe and Zippy
  • Inviting friends over to play (hopefully every week to keep us from being hermits!)
  • Exercising
  • Getting outside
  • Practicing instruments

We’re starting tomorrow so wish us luck!

Would love to hear how you organize and challenge your children during the summer. I always am looking for ideas and inspiration and encouragement!

Happy Summer! 🙂 Here’s hoping for many laughs and memory making with my kids!!

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