Posts Tagged ‘siblings’

First Signs

I remember it happening with Elliot…those first signs.

They started suddenly and on their own. Nothing I asked for. And they increased over time, until they just became a way of life. The new norm.

It was welcomed when it happened with Elliot. Surprising, but pleasantly surprising.

Just one day he started helping me with stuff. Stuff that needed to be done. Without being asked. He started stepping up and being a young man helping his mom. Helping his mom take care of his brother and sister. Seeing something that needed doing and just doing it.

And this week, it happened with Zippy for the first time. Yep. I was moving our stuff from one vehicle to the other since my van was going to the shop. I made multiple trips back and forth carrying stuff. And then it happened.

Zippy opened the back of the van and lifted Chloe’s wheelchair out of the back, moving it to the other vehicle for me. Without being asked.

He had seen his mama working hard and realized there was more to be done. And then he took it on himself to do a big job for me. Amazing.

(I won’t mention here the amazing crashing and banging that came from the back of the van as the wheelchair banged in to the back of the van and then crashed onto the driveway and onto his big toe…)

He had seen something that needed to be done, and he did it. Without being asked.

So now it is happening with Zippy, too. He is growing up.

It sure makes a mama proud!


Painful, Tear-Inducing Conversations

Sounds like this might be a tear jerker, eh? Well, believe me, it was practically a tear jerker for me, but thankfully we were able to laugh together in the midst of the pain …. 😉

I’m not positive that all parents experience this — I’m hoping y’all do — but it seems like Paul and I experience it all too often. Those conversations that you have with your children in which they appear so clueless, so … not-with-it-all, so …what-the-heck-is-going-on-here …. I obviously don’t know how to explain it. But as usual, please tell me I’m not alone here …

The scene: Paul checked out the graphic novel of The Lightning Thief for Zippy. Zippy, very excited, began reading it immediately. By dinner time he had read a couple of chapters. Below are some painful snippets of our dinner conversation:

Zippy: Elliot, is Luke in The Lightning Thief?

Elliot: Well, yeah! He’s like one of the main characters!

Zippy: I know that, but …

Me: What??? What do you mean you know that?? You just asked if he was even in the book!!

<shaking head>

Zippy: Elliot, does Luke fight Aries for the lightning bolt in The Lightning Thief?

Elliot: (with a how-could-you-be-so-stupid tone) It doesn’t have anything to do with the lightning bolt.

Zippy: (genuinely) Then why does he fight him?

Elliot: (frustrated) Because Aries was trying to get it!!

Silence … as Zippy and I just look at each other … stunned, … confused.

Me: (amazed at where I think this conversation is headed) Trying to get what?? (I nearly hated to ask…)

Elliot: (with his now-Mom’s-being-stupid tone) The lightning bolt!

Me: But you just said it had nothing to do with the lightning bolt!!

<shaking head, fighting tears>

Then Elliot informed Zippy that Rick Riordan (the author of the original novel) didn’t even write the graphic novel. I jumped in and informed my know-it-all teenager that Rick Riordan’s name is, in fact, on the book. Elliot was surprised and stood corrected.

Zippy’s response was a genuinely confused yet interested, “What book?


And that’s when I started screaming and yanking out clumps of my own hair.

How do I do it? And why do I have to do it? And how do either of them have intelligent conversations when I’m not there to help??!!

As I said, we all had a good laugh at their … their … odd and clueless … amazing … weird … clueless …. Oh, sheesh. I guess I have no words. Just shaking my head.


Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our family doesn’t watch much TV. We don’t have cable — just an antenna. Most mornings before school and most afternoons after school, we will have the TV on tuned to PBS for a while.

During football season, our TV is often on for the Saturday college games.

Other than that, our TV generally isn’t on.

We are never able to join in the popular conversations of this primetime show or that primetime show. We never know actor names and are never familiar with current commercials.

Well, I take that back. A couple of years ago we got hooked on Extreme Home Makeover; another time we got hooked on Wipeout; and now and then we get hooked on Funniest Home Videos. You get the idea.

But for the most part, we really aren’t TV watchers.

Now, don’t be fooled. Zippy is my I’d-watch-TV-every-second-of-my-life-until-I-die-and-the-world-disintegrates-around-me kid, but we usually keep a good handle on the hours he spends in front of the TV.


But this summer, Netflix entered our lives!

And we. were. sucked. in.

We spent a chunk of the summer watching Disney Channel‘s Good Luck, Charlie and Suite Life of Zach and Cody.

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody

The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the couch. TV on. Eyes glued. Pause the show to go potty. Turn off the TV so we can eat dinner. “Ok-This-is-thelast-episode-for-the-day!” sort of sucked in.

We had it bad.

We (the boys and I) were totally sucked in and watched and watched and watched! These shows are so clever! There are a million and three episodes of both (and I seriously think we watched them all!), and they are hilarious. I mean, they are laugh-out-loud funny! I love them and the boys love them. Zippy laughed himself right into an asthma attack on many days.

And we have spent hours — hours — watching the TV.

Our subscription to Netflix is finally about to end and we will not renew! We must get our lives back!

But if you’ve never seen these 2 clever shows, you must watch a couple of episodes! Promise me you’ll tell me what you think because they happen to have become my two new favorite shows!

Good Luck Charlie

Good Luck Charlie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, yeah. Here’s hoping we get our lives back real soon! 🙂


School: Week One

Well, we survived the first week of school. It was an amazingly great week; but every week, of course, includes some Goods, some Bads, and some OMGs That’s Greats. Here’s our list!


no one getting any tardies

Chloe waking up to her alarm clock every morning

no one having homework on the first day of school

Elliot enjoying football practice until 5:00 everyday

everyone having their supplies

3 of Elliot’s teachers giving him candy on Thursday

Zippy’s school still serving chicken nuggets on Wednesday

no one’s eyeglasses getting broken (always seems to happen 1st week)


Zippy’s school not offering strawberry milk this year

Elliot getting lost in the 8th grade hall a couple of times

my not getting to Zippy’s school until 3:11 everyday

Elliot having homework 4 days this week

Zippy getting a cold

Thursday’s lunch choice at Zippy’s school being Chinese food

my not allowing Zippy to use a calculator for his math homework

Zippy’s bagel sandwich not having a top on it

mom going back to bed a couple of days, avoiding the stress of 1st week

Zippy’s cafeteria making the rolls smaller than last year (sensing a theme here?)

OMG, That’s Greats

Chloe having “a good day!” all 5 days

Elliot finally finding his locker

Chloe yelling out “globe” when the teacher pulled the globe out and asked the class what it was

Elliot getting bragged on by the coach for knowing the plays

Chloe eating some bites everyday at lunch

Chloe raising her hand to answer a question in social studies

a sweet friend picking Zippy up on Friday so he didn’t have to wait on me

Chloe getting the answer right in social studies

Zippy’s teacher calling him “Elliot” (he loved it!)

the whole family looking forward to a 3-day weekend ahead!!

Getting Noticed

I have often said that our family tends to stick out like a sore thumb.

On the best of days, we are at least an inter-racial family which makes heads turn; and we have Chloe who is either in her wheelchair or is walking wobbly, fighting gravity with each step, which also causes folks to look. Add to that the days that one of the children is in a mood or is loud or ornery, the times when we have some extra equipment or whatever, and what you have is a family who really sticks out. We get noticed.

A good thing (I think) is that Paul and I are both ultra laid back so at least our anxieties or noise or activity don’t add to the picture in an annoying sort of way. (Unless folks are annoyed that we aren’t more bothered by our lives!)

But rest assured, our family cannot sneak into any place. No tiptoeing in for us! It is as though our presence is a magnet and the general population’s heads are attached to the other pole of the magnet, snapping them quickly in our direction as the spotlight lands right on us!

I’m sure it was no different today when at lunch time the kids and I walked into Discount Tire, seeking new tires for our van. I hopped out of the car and hurried to be next in line since the store seemed a little crowded. Zippy followed shortly after me and found a seat. Elliot got Chloe out of the car and carried her iPad for her and helped her walk into the tire place.

Chloe had to stop and rub on a couple of the tires on display that had little knobbies sticking up that made her giggle. Elliot stood patiently by and even reached over to see if the tires were everything Chloe was making them out to be. When Chloe had her fill of the knobbies, Elliot led her over to a seat and got her situated to wait — all while I stood in line at the counter.

A few minutes later, I walked out to the van with the tire guy to inspect the tires. As I walked back in the door, an older gentleman held the door open for me, and I could feel him looking intently into my face, begging me to look at him. When I looked up, I saw kind eyes … kind eyes that longed to return a blessing to me.

“I am so happy to see that big brother help his sister,” he said.

“Oh, thank you. He is a great big brother,” I said with a smile.

“He really is! Please tell him that I said so,” he added with sincerity. “He needs to hear that…. And so do you,” he finished.

And as I sat down, I couldn’t help but smile. Yes, we got everyone’s attention as usual. But today at least we were a blessing to one man.

It was interesting to me, too, how for the rest of the visit to the tire store, I was more aware of us being on stage.
I was more aware that people were watching.

Watching me feed Chloe her lunch of refried beans. Watching me sign “I love you” phrases back and forth with Zippy who sat across the room from me. Watching me clean up the floor after Chloe dropped her drink. Watching Elliot tell Chloe not to sit on the dirty floor. Watching my precious children waiting patiently and getting excited when the tire guy drove our van into the big garage. Watching Elliot support Chloe as she walked back outside to the van while I paid.

It’s nice to be able to bless others sometimes. And super nice when they tell us that we’ve blessed them!

So with 4 new tires and 4 happy hearts, we went on our way, continuing our errands.

Little Things

Today all 3 of my children are taking big district-wide exams. Math tests. Math tests that take 4 hours. Yuck. Picture with me, if you will, Zippy and Chloe taking a math exam for 4 hours … Yeah, nice.

But it’s part of life right now so we push ahead and make the best of it. (And pray fervently for education reform in our state and in our nation!!)

This morning I was having a talk with Chloe on the way to school. I was encouraging her to just do her best on her math test. Don’t let it frustrate you. Don’t throw your pencil. Just take your time. And use your calculator for adding, subtracting, and multiplying.

Elliot piped up, “She can use a calculator?”

“Yes,” came my reply. (Actually, unfortunately … I think my response may have been “Yeah.” Ugh. Trying not to use that word …)

“Why can she use a calculator?” he asked. And then the words that made me smile a great big smile. The words that showed how informed my 12 year old is. The words that proved how different his life is than other 12 year olds. The words that brought me joy. Words that others may have missed or words that other moms may not have even understood. “Is that part of her IEP?” he asked.


“Is that part of her IEP?”

Yes, it is part of her IEP. An IEP is an Individualized Education Program. An IEP is a very important part of every special education student’s education. It is the paperwork that lays out everything the child needs support in and lays out exactly what needs to happen for the child to succeed. It is the paperwork that is completed by the ARD committee or the IEP committee on behalf of the student.

While “IEP” may be a foreign concept and foreign word to many families, it is apparently a common phrase in our household. And it made me smile that my 12 year old again is listening and involving himself in the life of his sister. He continues to be an advocate for her. He continues to know what’s important in her life and in her education. He continues to understand — at least a little bit — how it is all so vital to her future.

And he certainly made me smile.

It is the little things, eh?


Good Friends

Sometimes my boys can hardly stand to be in the same room together.  It drives me bonkers when they fight and argue and go out of their way to be unkind to each other.  Sometimes it’s as though they have no patience for each other.  Do they actually find fulfillment in making each other miserable?

But then for a season, the sibling rivalry disappears.  My boys enjoy each other.  They play together like friends.  Their laughter — instead of their bickering — fills the house.  They love each other and they like each other.

I love it when my boys behave like good friends.

We are in a season of the boys really enjoying each other.  Their laughter is filling our house daily.  They are friends.  It blesses my soul!

Here are some photos of the boys enjoying each other’s goofiness after a recent basketball game.  I hope it lasts!  🙂

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