Saturday, January 25, 2014

What's the use of five?

I’ve talked before about how all the tough conversations seem to come in the car. I can never figure out what’s up with that. Is it because the kids are not looking me in the eye? And it’s not one or the other that does this more often. It’s both the kids. I am Sidney’s girl scout leader (about to be inundated with many cookies, but that’s another post), and as we were driving over to the meeting, out of nowhere she said to me, “Mom I wish I could be like everybody else.” She has expressed on occasion that she would like to have five fingers to which we ask her if there is anything that she is unable with three fingers that we can do with five to which, of course, she answers no.

This time she was simply saying it’s frustrating sometimes to look different. I think going to school there have been children who are kindly curious. It’s the curiosity that means they don’t understand why. There might be a frightened look or a question. Typically these are the children that understand quickly this is the way God made her and move on. Then there are the gawkers, the repeat offenders who come back to us on a weekly basis in places like church and grab her hands. Mama bear takes care of those.

“Sidney God made you perfect. God made you, you. There is no one else like you. Is there anything you can’t do with your three fingers that I can do with five?” “No mom,” she answered in the familiar mantra that has become our conversation. Tom is ready to let her tell kids that a shark bit them off. Sorry maybe some people don’t find that funny, but we prefer to keep a sense of humor about all things in our house.

What she told me next shocked me. She started talking about the girls in her class. Her two closest friends have made no mention or worry about her differences. In fact at the moment she is caught in a friendship triangle. Sidney is not one of two vying for the other person’s attention. No, she is the one being fought over. Instead she said, “(Enter girls name) said she wishes she had three fingers. She thinks it’s cool.” That’s when was reassured once again everything will be okay.

Sometimes she is so mainstreamed with her differences that forget. I shouldn’t say, “Sometimes,” because it’s really all the time. She goes to school with her peers without an IEP. She has such an outgoing personality, that I’m not sure from the time another child meets her to the moment they realize there are differences that they have time to care.  Her friendship and spirited nature take over before it matters. So we will take these conversations as they come.

I’m not quite sure where to stop writing, so this is it. I am off to start my day which includes cleaning and baking. I have to force myself to do the first part and give myself the reward of the second. The kids have an open house tomorrow, so stay tuned for more pictures. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Extendo Holiday

More Christmas pictures! Celebrating at my parents, it was one of the only days warm enough to enjoy being outside. 
I love the nights we make “mashed potatoes.” While the kids are lapping them down, they have absolutely no idea they are actually eating a head of cauliflower. This is the only secret ingredient we use cooking.  Tom is the master, covering the top of the pan with sliced potatoes. We don’t typically deceive our children about anything; however this is a matter of heath. I thought our plan was foiled when Tom was called out for work leaving me to complete the process. Eli came in the kitchen rambling as he does about a fact he’d learned as I said, “I’ve got something hot! Stay in the living room,” despite the fact that he’s 11 and knows to stay away.

Uncle Jason (my brother) was such a good sport to keep pushing me on the sled!

This is the 19th day of Christmas break. Can you tell I’m feeling crazy? Sidney has finally succumbed to the lack of routine with a couple of meltdowns while the days drag on. We are experiencing the “polar vortex” discussed everywhere on the news. Mother Nature is having her way with the weather which doesn’t allow for time outside. This is vital for Sidney. Yesterday morning I picked up my phone to see it was -18 outside. The complete opposite of his sister, Eli is elated to have the additional time on break from school.
Tromping around the yard with my cousin Finn and the neighbor dog.
Speaking of school, we had a hard conversation with Eli the other night. We are looking at sending him to public school next year. He’s attended our small private Catholic school since kindergarten, so starting in 7th grade when everyone else in our community goes to the building for 7-1th grade, we would like him to go at the same time as the other kids. 
I love this glazed over look on my nephews face. Ah the magic of Christmas
Yesterday during Sunday School one of the kids in our class told him, “But you’ll be with all your friends.” Awesome! This is exactly what he needed to hear. Actually he thought of getting an iPad for his own use was also enticing. Obviously our decision will be based on much more than technology. I can’t tell what he’s thinking. Of course that’s nothing new. Part of me thinks, he wants to make the decision to move over, but it’s a really scary thing to think about. I’m sure he would just love knowing this was on here for all the world read. Of course, he might be more upset about the cauliflower.