Friday, September 9, 2011

All about haircuts

In the course of getting ready for school, my boys needed haircuts. Given the difficulty with my oldest I decided early on it was my husband's turn to be responsible for boy haircuts. And the first year of haircuts for our youngest have been a little traumatic with whimpering and head thrashing as told by my husband. He would also complain about how he needed to hold E on his lap to keep him still. Not sure if this was all an attempt to guilt me into taking over, but it wasn't working. Since this time my husband also needed one, I needed to go because the last time he took our baby bear he ran out the door during his haircut. As I stood behind little E to let his head rest against my hand, I watched his many expressions and tried to ease his discomfort. A few wiggles here and there but overall he did great! To which my husband hinted that now haircuts can fall back under my jurisdiction. And he's right, I don't want to miss a moment, good or bad.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Time for a haircut

I love going to get my haircut. Maybe that's why I opted for a shorter do, it means I have to go back a little more frequently than once a year. My favorite part is the hair wash. Head resting back, warm water trickling down my scalp, soft yet firm hands massaging my head. Five minutes of absolutely blissful silence. How can you not love a good haircut?

My older son hated haircuts. I used to cut his hair. Not because I can or was good at it, there was no other way. This is where I mention that he's speech impaired due to autism. But that doesn't really define him. Anyways, starting at 3 he'd howl, melt down and move like a crazy flag caught in a wind storm. No amount of candy or favorite video could entice him to change his mind. And not something you really want to approach with a pair of sharp scissors. So I waited until he fell asleep. Of course when that finally happened, I'm a little blurry-eyed too. We'd wake up in the morning to find little tuffs of hair poking out where I missed or one side completely undone because he was laying on that side and woke up when I tried moving his head. Then we moved and had access to a really cool pool and finally I had some leverage. At 6 years old it was still a struggle but his movements were less jerky and meltdowns were shorter knowing once we finished we could go swimming. And all done while he was awake, Yeah! At 8 years we peeked in a barber shop, he heard the razors and promptly turned around. I started plugging in a razor so he could get used to the noise and vibrations. Finally at age 9 I started to use a razor and the ensuing meltdowns were due to my really bad hack jobs. The good news was he could tolerate the noise so I told my husband it was his turn. The first time he took our son to the hair salon, he cried and moved around but he eventually let them cut his hair. The second time he didn't cry but did reach out and kind of 'copped' a feel on the lady cutting his hair. I want to believe he reached out to get her attention because he hasn't done that again. Though out of embarrassment my husband left a larger tip that time. He was still unhappy though. He missed his hair. By 11 years, I noticed when he came back it wasn't the basic buzz cut, it was a bit more stylish. Longer on the top, short on the sides. He likes to add gel, making it spiky and then goes around pretending he's a porcupine. His laugh is pretty infectious when you give a little 'ouch' from the pokey hair.

Today he is another year older and haircuts are no longer a problem. I'm a mixture of happiness and sadness as I reflect back on the little baby steps and achievements we've made through the years. His growth and maturity have snuck up on me and I realize that though we give him gifts on his birthday, he's the one that has always managed to give me exactly what I needed, be it the patience to accept his timetable or the problem solving skills I never thought I needed to acquire. He made me think outside the box because I couldn't compare him to any development chart or set certain expectations based on age. I came to appreciate the small things that I would have taken for granted otherwise. I can't wait to learn what he'll be giving me next. Happy Birthday!

Love, mom

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer, where art thou?

As a parent it's easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Things come at you from all directions, leaving me angry or sad or frustrated. My two older kids were late bloomers and continue to have their unique issues and now I'm turning my attention to my youngest. Does he or doesn't he, sometimes he babbles like a baby then he'll surprise me with a three to four word sentence. Sometimes he'll hold himself back from social situations then other times he'll be in the middle of things. He doesn't cover his ears or cower under a table when there is a loud noise like his older brother but he will complain that something is too loud. If I didn't already have a son on the spectrum I'm sure I would have brushed aside these feelings that something is wrong. Or maybe I am so hypersensitive I'm turning a few quirky moments into something much bigger. I've even considered that my three year old is really a mischievous genius just messing with my head. Even the weather is conspiring against me. It's cold, now it's hot, now it's wet, well it's always wet here. On the few days it has been nice though I tend to forget those bad days, why waste the energy and the day being sad or angry or frustrated. Better yet, why waste the energy on things I can't control. And that's what I have to remind myself of; put aside my various concerns even for a moment to enjoy the sunshine provided by my children everyday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Love it when a plan comes together!

I love those random situations, where you find something that you didn't even know you were looking for and once you do find it, wonder how you could live without it. It all started with a friend, JH, inviting me to a pampered chef party. I wasn't sure I could make it but decided an hour before that I would go. JH was also bringing another friend and in the five minute drive to the party found out: 1. E is a teacher on a break but wants to get back into it. Ring a ding ding ding! 2. She's looking for a challenge, maybe an older student with special needs. Double ding a ling a ling!! 3. She believes in a multiple discipline approach rather than focusing on only one subject. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven or maybe an angel had been sent to answer a unasked for prayer.

I like to think I lived a charmed life. I tell myself that all the time and most times I actually believe it. I think what it is is I recognize a good thing when it falls into my lap because most good things in my life happen when I don't plan it out. I had been trying to figure out the summer, you know, what to do with three kids, big age spread and developmental spread. I wanted something fun yet educational and that wasn't going to break the bank. Due to health reasons my daughter not only missed the fall of third grade but now learning has become slightly harder. My older (autistic) son will be going into middle school at a first/second grade level and there is not as much hand holding there. My three year old just seems to thrive on chaos.

Suffice it to say I am going into the summer much more relieved knowing I won't be doing it alone and trying out this experiment of cooperative teaching is exciting. She's coming up with lesson plans and field trips tied to IEP goals while I'll be playing the supporting role of driver and watching all the little ones and hopefully will become a little wiser myself.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wish my first job was this cool

I think my first paying job was riding an ice cream bike around my hometown. My dad owned an ice cream truck and made deliveries to local stores. Somewhere he picked up an ice cream bike complete with an umbrella stand and twinkling bells. The large, square ice box sat on what essentially looked like a large backward tricycle. My older sister and brother where the first to experience the joys of self-employment and the freedom to ride a bike all day. I couldn't wait till it was my turn and at the tender age of 12 my legs had finally achieved the necessary length to reach the pedals. With the hot summer days and long hours, the job wasn't quite as glamorous as I had imagined and I was ready to explore other opportunities for the following summer. The part of the job I did enjoy was earning money and all the ice cream I could eat.

As my kids get older, they'll be looking for opportunities too. The bike is gone and well, I don't think I want them off by themselves at 12 years old. We have started an allowance system of earning money for jobs completed and putting half in their wallet and the other half into a savings account. Hopefully, by the time they are old enough for a job paying more than $2 a week, they'll have the discipline to save some of their earnings instead of eating it.

One day I came across a tweet. Verity Credit Union was looking for a mom with kids to appear in a commercial. That was a year ago and my daughter still brags about appearing in a commercial. To her, watching herself over and over and over again on TV superseded any amount of money earned. Though, she did like making money and her $100 portion seemed like a huge amount. So we talked about how many boxes of crayons and Barbies it could buy. But in the end, we decided to open a savings account until she could decide what to do with it. Going to the bank was another big adventure and I'm happy she wants to earn and save her money.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I want to be Verity Mom

I did it, I came out. . . . . I'm a tea drinker. No that's not it. I applied for Verity Credit Union's wonderful opportunity for all "wildly creative, funny, talented" moms. I'm talking about their search for a mommy blogger. As if that's not incentive enough, they attached a nifty little cash prize. All I needed to do was create a video and a blog posting and here they are.

After a busy week, I look forward to the early Sunday mornings, sneaking out in my PJs to grab the paper and sitting down with my tea (gasp! I drink coffee with my milk too.) Under the guise of ‘weekly planning’ where I look busy by clipping coupons and coordinating the weekly schedule I also jump on the computer for ideas and entertainment. After an especially hard week with no thanks and little appreciation my mind wanders to “what they would do without me” and for a second I’m ready to declare “you couldn’t pay me enough.” So to prove my point, I hop over to to see what I’m worth, though mostly it’s for my own ego boost. I figure out the hours spent doing the top 10 jobs I do the most, like housekeeper, teacher, and cook. For the more commonly picked occupations, hours spent on the chore are already suggested. I try to be conservative my first time, I mean do I really spend 16.5 hours on housework not including laundry? And I cook, but not every night because I rely on leftovers. The result for a total of 84 hours worked is $110,899. That’s not a salary I can really complain about, but I feel I’m worth more. Time to go back to the program to really examine my options and decide about my occupations. A facilities manager makes three times the salary of housekeeper and essentially does housekeeping and more. I allocated only 5 hours to the job of psychologist, but my daughter is seven and already showing her sassy side and my son is only a few years off from puberty, somaybe I should cushion that field a bit. I like the salary of event planner and really, maintaining a calendar for a family of five is an event between birthdays, weekly activities and planning weekend family fun time. I also think there is a future for me in the nursing profession as my toddler proved with a recent trip to the emergency room to get stitches. The wonderful staff instructed me on caring for the wound and provided extra ointment. If only real degrees could be so easy. After working 100 hours I am now worth $139,698. But honestly, who wants to work 100 hrs a week. I’m ready to advance myself to CEO, hire the necessary help and call it a day. I’ll take my paycheck in hugs, kisses and tickle fights and join the rest of the family relaxing on a Sunday morning and think about clipping more coupons. It might only yield $30 in savings at my next shopping trip but at least that is real cash and that’s money I can put in the bank.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Grandma's pearls

My grandma is 93 years old and still going strong. I don’t visit nearly often enough but she has never made me feel guilty, just excited to sit with me and catch up. Recently she suffered a fall and is rehabilitating at a care center. Though slow going, she has every intention of getting back on her feet and back in her apartment. I love her determination. During this visit, she had some pearls of wisdom to share with me and I wanted to write them down to look on them whenever I’m feeling low.
"Enjoy life now. I have had a long and happy life so far and wants to keep enjoying it. Life is too short to hold onto grudges or dislike others because of some fault. Nobody is perfect, least of all me. I'm sure that along the way of bringing up my daughter and son, I've embarrassed them both but they are adults now and have to navigate their own paths. So love the family around you and enjoy the time left with friends."
Better than any real pearls, these are pearls I will dearly hold onto. I love my grandma and look forward to more years of her stories, her wisdom and warmth.