#InAllNonSeriousness

Because I just can’t be super serious all the time…..

Hummingbirds are rude. I have one male that frequents my feeder. By “frequents” I mean he sits in the tree across the street and watches it all day long only to then chase off every other hummingbird that tries to fill their bellies. This feeder has PLENTY of food in it. I make it myself. It has plenty of fake, plastic flowers on it for them all to eat from. Nevertheless, Fred persists. Yes, I named him. Yes, his name is Fred. No, there is no specific reasoning behind this, it’s just what popped into my head as he was chasing off a female for the FIFTH time one morning. Sometimes we have 4 hummingbirds fighting with each other over the food. I’ve gotten a second feeder and I’ve offered it to them as a sign that I am here to make peace within the families. Maybe they’ll allow me to remain on my porch. Their favorite pastime is flying at my face in groups of two or three, chirping all the while. Never knew they were so noisy.

Have you ever woken up at 3 in the morning, unable to go back to sleep? And by 9, realize that you’ve had all this extra time to have gotten a HUGE jumpstart on your day yet the most you’ve done is catch up on shows on your DVR? Is that just me? Okay, so I’ve actually done more than veg out in front of the TV. I’ve dreamed at least 6 impossible things and I still haven’t had breakfast. Alice would be proud. Granted, the 6 impossible things involved Pinterest and my lack of artistic ability but I digress. I have gotten a few e-mails sent and I’ve blogged. I’ve taken care of my daughter and my animals. I’ve party planned for my son’s 7th birthday. Okay, so maybe I have been semi-productive. But I also watched The Resident and Manifest. Falling asleep at 10pm with the lights on apparently leads to this craziness because this has happened to me multiple times in the last week or so. Although, I usually at least go back to sleep for a little while. Hah! Not todayyyy!

Today it’s just me and the little munchkin so far. I very much so need to make it to a craft store to get plastic animal eyeballs for a stuffed baby Groot I’m crocheting for my husband. Big Kid should eventually be coming home from his Grams’ house and then the fun begins. Sifting through all the toys in his room and cleaning up and out. His birthday is at the end of this month so we must make room for new things! Not that he fully comprehends this and his OCD doesn’t quite allow for cleaning out toys he hasn’t touched in 4 years but hey, we’re going to try.

On tap for today is to clean the top of the stove, scrub out at least one of the ovens, get rid of the decaying fruit that’s hiding somewhere in my kitchen, causing a horrible stench to permeate my nostrils when I step near the kitchen, and actually load and start the dishwasher. Am I the only one who hates dishes more than any other household chore? Give me tons and tons of laundry. I’ll do it all day long. Really, I’ll scrub toilets over having to do dishes. I don’t know what it is but I hate it. If I could hire someone to come in and do my dishes, I would. This includes loading the dishwasher. I mean, I don’t have to wash everything by hand. I have a dishwasher. It does the work for me. You would think that would be enough and I wouldn’t mind but nooooo. Something about it just… ugh. And my husband is notorious for using a million different things when he cooks. Yes, he cooks, hold onto your hats. But he doesn’t clean up after himself! Now, you may be saying, “If he cooks, you can clean up.” Yes, I can agree with you on that. To an extent. A) He doesn’t clean up after I cook, B) When I cook, I clean up after myself as I go along, making it much easier to clean up after the cooking is over, and C) I clean the entire rest of the house as well plus take care of the kids and animals and him, can’t he clean up his own mess after he cooks? 😉 I say all this knowing that as soon as I hit publish and head inside, I’ll be going straight to the kitchen to find the source of the smell and eliminating it then carrying out trash and finally cleaning up his mess. So while I can talk a big game, I still end up cleaning up after him anyway.

Of course, before any of that can take place, I must now answer the call of my daughter’s people and insure that she is well fed before she finally gives up her never-ending battle with sleep and succumbs to the wonderful land of dreams. One day, probably in the very distant future, she will be all grown up and wishing that she could sleep and I will remind her of the months she spent fighting sleep as if her life depended on it. All this time she could’ve spent sleeping, wasted on the desire to not miss watching Momma clean, cook, sleep and repeat……

yep, that’s the end. Bye y’all!

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#LiftHerUp

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? When you don’t know what to say? Today, there are so many things on my mind. I have so much to do, so much going on, so many things to figure out, so many appointments all spread out for the kids, trying to get something done for myself so that I don’t constantly feel like crap. Besides all the things going on in my own life, my best friend is going through something that I can’t fix for her. I’m two hours away from her and all I can do is be a voice on a phone to give her feedback, lift her up, remind her of what she’s worth and to shut my mouth and listen when she needs it. I can’t hug her. I can’t hold her hand through everything. And all at the same time, I have to let her make her own decisions and support her no matter what. I can’t tell her how to live her life, what choices to make or what to do next. Today isn’t going to be quirky or witty or funny. I just don’t have it in me right now.

Speaking to the ladies, because I’m not a dude, lift each other up. This world is nuts. Things are happening all around us all the time. We never know if the woman we pass in the aisle at the grocery store who looks like she’s worn the same thing for the last three days is in the middle of a divorce and confused or depressed or actually might be extremely happy to be getting out of the situation she’s been in. We don’t know that her soon-to-be-ex isn’t calling her constantly, keeping her up at night, threatening her, trying to scare her into coming back. We don’t know if she’s living in her car right now just so that she doesn’t have to be in the same house with him because she’s scared of what he might do. That woman we pass with bags under her eyes might be laying awake at night, worried about her kids because one was just diagnosed with autism and she hasn’t accepted it yet. That woman we pass who obviously hasn’t brushed her hair in a week might be working on the weekends, going to college during the week and sleeping never. That woman we pass who looks like she has it all together with her manicured nails and her hair in that perfect style and her nice clothes on may be getting out of her house for the first time in a month because she’s battled crippling anxiety and depression and this is the first time she’s felt human in a long time. That woman with the kids who are exceptionally loud in the store might be smiling, while you scowl, at the noise because her children are happy after a week’s worth of meltdowns and not being able to leave the house. That woman who looks like she just can’t take any more really might not be able to take any more. Ladies, be kind.

In the South, we grow up hearing, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” A lot of parents don’t teach that anymore. They lead by bad examples. They pass judgment on people, those ladies in the grocery store aisles, without knowing their stories. I realize that the world’s problems won’t be solved by telling the woman in the checkout line that her screaming kids are blessings even though she looks like they’re about to make her pull her hair out but would it hurt to be kind rather than hateful?

Recently, while at a store, my son who is Deaf+ (meaning, he has something else going on besides his Deaf gain; most likely a spectrum disorder but not determined which yet) was having a rough day, He had been having a rough few days with lots of stimming and chewing on things and tip-toe walking and OCD sequencing. He was chewing on the handle of the shopping cart and when told not to, he had a mini meltdown. This resulted in a VERY loud negative vocalization, that echoed off the store walls, to let me know that he was displeased. Understandably so, this made a couple of people jump. Rather than anyone asking if everything was okay or showing any kind of concern for the fact that my almost 7 year old was now in a ball on my lap in the floor of this store, I heard a couple of people make comments such as, “Good God, what great parenting,” and, “that kid needs help, maybe you should get him some.” Now, thankfully, the Deaf part of Deaf= means that my son didn’t hear that. But I did. I instantly was angry. I kept my mouth shut and took care of my son, hugging him tightly and wiping the tears from his face as he squeezed his eyes shut and continued to vocalize, quieter. As we got under control, he began OCD sequencing which looks like scratching behind one ear, then the top of his hand, then behind the other ear, the back of his head, his stomach, under one arm, under the other arm and ending at the top of his head again. We stood up, we talked, in ASL, about why chewing wasn’t okay. He continued to sequence as we walked down another aisle. People stared. Some with disgusted looks. Others seemed genuinely concerned. No one asked questions. Had someone stepped over to us while we were in the floor and asked if he was okay, I would have had no issue saying that he was having a meltdown, we’ll be fine in a moment and everyone could’ve moved on about their day. But hearing that I’m a bad parent for dealing with an unforeseen incident in the middle of a store, hurts. I love my kid. I love all of his quirks. I love all of the things that make him who he is. Not everyone has to love it. But no one HAS to be rude. You never know what someone else is going through.

That man who said I needed to get my kid some help has no idea that I’ve been trying desperately to find someone who will do a psychological evaluation with an interpreter for my son. He has no idea that I’ve known that something was going on for years but doctors make you wait. He has no idea that I am awake night after night, researching and trying to plan out our days in ways that will hopefully not cause meltdowns. He has no idea that we’re still figuring this out and that some days certain things cause problems and other days it’s something brand new that we’ve never encountered. He has no idea that my child had to go to the doctor three days before and that stressful situation has caused him problems but keeping him locked up inside the house makes it worse. That woman who questioned my parenting doesn’t realize that I give my all to my kids. She doesn’t know that I wake up at 6am every day and feed my daughter then make sure that the plan I made last night will still work well for the day. She doesn’t know that I try three or four different breakfast foods with my son before finding one that he’s willing to eat today or that he might be on the 9th day in a row of eating the same thing at every meal. She has no clue that I worry constantly if I’m doing the right things. She doesn’t know that I spend all day taking care of my kids, my home, the errands, homeschool my son, care for our animals, do things for my husband, and once everyone is in bed, I work on my plans for the next day, lesson plans, and I’m going to college online. Can I say it again? You never know what someone else is going through.

Maybe this touches your heart today because you can relate on the side of being judged. Maybe this touches your heart today because you do the judging. Maybe a little bit of both. Either way, remember to be kind. Smile at a mom today who looks like she’s having a rough month. Say something nice to someone. Hug your best friend. Send a text to someone important in your life and remind them that they are awesome! Kindness might not solve all the worlds problems but it sure couldn’t hurt.

Until next time…

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep, Repeat.

#OhYoureTHATMom

Yes, yes I am. I’m that Mom who has sat here and written and rewritten the beginning of this blog multiple times. I’m that Mom who has let the laundry sit in the washer for two days. I’m that Mom who has ordered pizza when I should’ve cooked. I’m also that Mom who has spent every morning on the phone with one doctor or the other or trying to get in touch with the Director of Special Services. I’m that Mom who is fed up with non-answers and no responses. I’m that Mom who has put my face directly in front of these people to get what my son needs. Yeah, I’m THAT Mom.

While things inside the house might slide a little bit, when it comes to what my kids need, I will go to the ends of the Earth to make sure they get it. Babygirl is on-deck for an appointment with an ENT to have an Audio Brainstem Response test scheduled to find out whether or not she actually is hard of hearing like her sound booth testing is showing.  Kiddo is scheduled with the same ENT on the same day because he’s never seen one before. I was never informed that it was something we were supposed to do. He has fluid on both of his ears which is causing middle-ear dysfunction. So now we get to take care of that in a few weeks. On top of this, I’m trying desperately to get him into a place nearby that can handle a Deaf patient for a psychological evaluation to see where he falls on the spectrum. The new audiologist we saw last week asked if he had been diagnosed with a Spectrum Disorder within 2 minutes of meeting him for the first time.

See, here’s the thing… Kiddo’s entire life has been silence. For him, at least. For us, he’s been very loud. And that’s perfectly okay. We’re all used to it. Our lives have been one big adjustment. We adjusted when we found out he was deaf and we started learning sign language. We adjusted when he wore hearing aids and went through speech therapy. We adjusted when his Deaf gain was more than the aids could keep up with and he didn’t want to wear them anymore. We have learned more sign language, adjusted the way we homeschool and I’ve come to terms with the fact that he needs more help than what is within my capabilities. I am not a licensed professional counselor. I am not licensed in occupational therapy. I do not have the medical/educational background to help him in the ways that others can. But getting these services for him? I never thought it would be this difficult. We go through testing in sound booth last week, without an interpreter, me sitting in the floor, trying to interpret for him and also have a conversation with the audiologist which means, he loses access to the language around him because I can’t English and ASL at the same time. He doesn’t talk much. He responds to the sounds he can hear and says he hurt his leg. He says, “Yes” from time to time when he hears a sound. He tells them bye and says “I love you” because this is what he says to everyone when he leaves their company. I’m told yesterday in a phone call with this audiologist who, again, has met him once and observed him for less than an hour in a somewhat stressful situation where he was exhibiting exacerbated behavior of someone on the autism spectrum because, stress and new people, this woman tells me that he has no language. No. Language. She says because she only saw him sign 3 words that he isn’t fluent enough to be evaluated by a psychologist with an interpreter present since he has no language and what the interpreter says will be things he’s never been exposed to and he won’t understand. But couldn’t give me an example because she said, “They’re so tight-lipped about it, I don’t know what they would ask.” But you know well enough to tell me that my kid, that you don’t know has an extremely extensive vocabulary and will talk your dang head off for hours, has no language? And doesn’t need an interpreter?! No. He WILL have access to HIS language. Period. You can’t stop me, lady. And you won’t. Interpreters at all appointments, everywhere.

I’m not in denial that something is going on with my kid. I want validation that what I’ve thought for this many years was, indeed, correct. I want it documented, on paper, so that he gets ALL the right resources that he NEEDS in order for his education and his life development to flourish. I want what’s best for my kid. I will not stop until I get what’s best for my kid. No matter where that takes us or how many appointments we have to make or how many times I have to defend my child’s right to language access.

School has been in session for nearly a month and I can’t get the one person I HAVE to talk to at Special Services to call or e-mail me back. 5 e-mails, 4 phone calls. Not a word from her. Tuesday, I will be in her office, showing my face. God help me, hopefully not my butt also. I’ll keep my cool. Because Momma always says you catch more flies with honey. There’s so much more to all of this but I honestly can’t even start to process it all in order to write it all out. Just know that if you were to ever pass me in the street, yes, I am THAT Mom. The one whose hair is up in a ponytail and is probably wearing the same shirt from the day before (or the day before that) but don’t worry your pretty little head about whether my kids are taken care of or not. I will fight for them until the end of time. If you’re THAT Mom too, I salute you! Here’s to us! Giant coffees all around!

Til next time….

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep and Repeat….

#3AMWeMeetAgain

Here we go again…….. but let’s talk about something different tonight.

It’s almost the 4th of July. Independence Day. We celebrate with BBQ and Fireworks and fun with friends and family, right? Well, I would imagine that lots of places, people start celebrating with, at least, fireworks early. They definitely do here. Our town has this thing called Freedom Fest which is normally held the last Friday night in June. For the last 6 years, Big Kid hasn’t heard the fireworks. He hasn’t really even noticed them unless I take him outside to watch. And every year, I do. You can see them extremely well as we live across a field from the place where the festivities are held. This year was extremely different.

Two cats who aren’t fans of loud noises. Two dogs who seem to feel physical pain from the extremely loud booming sounds. My Deafie who, for the first time, noticeably felt the vibrations from the booms. And for the first time ever, a kid who was actually disturbed by the sound. This was a first experience for both Babygirl and me. She got freaked out and started to cry, hearing he unexpected loud pops and bangs from the fireworks. Big Kid asked, “what feel what?! Ground shake! What that? Big monster? Big dinosaur? Shake!!!” I shook my head, signed, “you feel? Fireworks. Everything okay. Want go outside see fireworks?” He signed an emphatic, “yes!” And out we went. Wrapped Babygirl in a blanket to lessen the risk of mosquito bites and, oh my goodness.

She jumped at every pop. He wowed at every colorful light in the sky. He loves watching them. But my first ever experience with a hearing kid and fireworks was still quite interesting. The echoes from the booms rolled down our street and her head turned to follow the sound. I’ve never seen that before. Big Kids hands were flying! “Wow! Awesome! Mom look! What sign? Stars? No. Fireworks! Colors! Wow! Many colors!!!! Shake ground! Shake me! Feel!” Babygirl just looked in awe. She watched her brother sign then watched the sky. She watched the dark street as the noise kept rolling, over and over again. She seemed so confused. I was in awe, myself. Watching a hearing kid react to fireworks. It’s so funny to me how similar they are and yet so different.

So many things are so different. And honestly, I was terrified of having a hearing kid because I had no idea how to navigate life with one. I will say that things have had to be much quieter. I can no longer vacuum at 2:30AM. And naptime during the day means Big Kid and I are voice off ((and voice off for him simply means no yelling)) and must play quietly so as not to wake sleeping beauty who requires her sleep to keep the monster baby at bay. Hah. Life with a Deafie is amazing. Life with a hearing kid is amazing. Life with both? Off the charts!

Also… learn ASL… at least a few signs. One, it’s a beautiful language. Two, meeting people, anyone, who know sign language, is amazing for my kiddo and me as well. There are many websites to learn from. Lifeprint.com, Signitasl.net, aslpro.com… just to name a few.

It’s now just a few short minutes away from 4AM and I’m finally starting to get sleepy enough that I might actually be able to fall asleep!

Oh!!!! I have a story to tell tomorrow about something that happened today but I really don’t think I can keep my eyes open long enough to tell it tonight/this morning! Yes. Must tell. Will tell. Tomorrow. Or later today. Whatever you want to say. Goodnight. Momma sleepy.

Until tomorrow…

I’ll CleanCookSleep(Finally)Repeat!

#LetsGetReal

How about we get a little real today? As I start this installment of the blog, it’s 3AM. Babygirl will be up in roughly 3-5 hours and there are ZERO signs of sleep coming soon for me, regardless of the fact that my body is utterly exhausted. I can NOT sleep. I have been up since about 7:45 yesterday morning ((both kiddos slept in, PRAISE JESUS!, but still….. Mr. Sandman decided dream were not for me. For a moment, I’d like to discuss why. Mostly because it’s irritating and I need to vent. But also because I am absolutely positive that some of you, somewhere out there, can relate.

It goes by many names; Shark Week, That Time Of The Month, Aunt Flow’s Visit, Period Week, Lady Business, Mother Nature’s Gift, Carrie, etc…… There are lists all over the internet.  It sucks. The whole week is just shot. You want to do so many things but you either don’t have the energy or you can’t hold yourself together long enough. Post-baby periods have GOT to be the worst. They last longer, they hurt more, they give you brand new symptoms that you don’t remember having pre-pregnancy, I’m experiencing one of those symptoms that was not a normal Shark Week indicator prior to Babygirl; insomnia. Don’t get me wrong here, I’ve dealt with insomnia for years. but it was never in conjunction with this particular week of the month, For the last 5 months now, two days before and all throughout the 8 DAYS THAT THIS HAS EXTENDED, I cannot sleep. No matter how early I wake up. No matter how exhausting my day is. No matter how little caffeine I drink. Nothing. Helps. Anybody else deal with this? Anyone have any tips on how in the world to beat it? Add to this the fact that I have RLS ((Restless Leg Syndrome)) and it now worsens around this time and that just makes trying to fall asleep even worse. Really…. Eve…. why did you have to eat the apple??? WHY?!?!? ((Yes, I know, not really an apple, more likely a quince. And without that one thing, all sorts of other things would’t have happened and yeah, I know, but right now I am shaking my fist at my ceiling and feeling the urge to drop to my knees and rip my shirt in half.. if you don’t get the reference, I apologize for not apologizing because movies. They’re great.))

I have seriously considered a complete hysterectomy. Just to not have to deal with this anymore. I consider it the most during times like these where I’m left awake with my brain that keeps chugging along while it wants to give up. But I am woman, hear me roar… meow…

Did I mention that they now last 8 days? Yeah. 8, sometimes 9. What is this????

I have PCOS also. So these weird periods that last a long time ((have lasted 2 weeks in the past)) or that show up twice a month ((those are always a blasty blast)) are not totally out of the realm of normal. They just suck. And sometimes you just have to put it out there that being a chick SUCKS. Painful, heavy periods. Excruciating ovulation. Y’all, I could go on forever about this. But when it is over, I’ll be good again… for the next 21-28 days. Hah. Then I’ll feel this way again but I’ll spare you.

I love my kids. I appreciate the ability to have had them. I understand the pain of lost pregnancies because of personal experience, time and time again. I understand the pain and longing of infertility because I spent 3 years not being able to get pregnant. I, like most women (probably), just wish that there was another way!

I’m sorry that I went silent and came back with this. I have been crying my eyes out at every little thing I see on TV or read. My mind, body and emotions need a break.

One last thing and I’ll leave you for the night/morning as it is now 3:40AM. Hug your loved ones tightly. Speak to them as if the last time you see them or talk to them could be the last time. What do you want your last words to be to someone you love? 7 years ago today, in just a couple of hours, my grandfather passed away. For all intents and purposes, he was my Dad/ Mine walked out, he stepped in. He was the most important man in my life. He was my entire world. This is not to discredit my Mom, she was and is amazing. There is just nothing like the bond and love between a father and daughter. She knows. He was hers first. She just let me borrow him. He was the epitome of kindness. He loved to laugh. His smile was contagious. He always sang or hummed or scatted around the house. He let me dance on his shoes. He let me cover him in jewelry, face paint and nail polish. He held my hand. He tucked me in. He made sure that every second of every day I knew without a doubt that he loved me. He was the best man I have ever known. I gave my son his name. I started losing him to Alzheimer’s when I was 9 years old. I spent as much time with him as possible. Soaking up everything. I chose a college close to the nursing home he had to go to when it became unsafe for him being at home. He shaped and changed my life in some of the best ways possible. I had a dream the other night. He was there. Healthy, happy, whole. My cousins and I were all our current ages; married, kids, dogs. Everyone was together. My grandmother, too. Also whole and happy and healthy. I woke up, sobbing. He visits me in my dreams around this time every year. Always smiling. I always get my Daddy back, even for a brief moment. And here I sit, crying, and that’s okay. I miss him. And I’m so incredibly thankful that I had him to miss. So hug your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them. You never know when the last time you see them will be the last time you see them. When the last time you hear them laugh…. will be the last time you hear them laugh outside of your dreams.

4AM… Until next time…

CleanCookBeAnInsomniacRepeat

#WhatMommingLooksLike

Hats off to all the moms who have it together! Who get up in the morning and do their hair and makeup. Who have floors so clean you can eat off them. Who make trips to the grocery store with 2+ kids in tow and leave with all their hair still attached to their heads. Who work 9-5 (or whatever schedule you have) and come home to clean, cook, sleep and repeat. Who stay at home and don’t put the dishes in the refrigerator and the milk in the cabinet. Who manage to do everything on their own because it’s just you and the kid(s). Who have done this already once with your own kids and are now either helping out your kid or taking full responsibility for caring for your grandkids. Seriously. Here’s to you. Pour yourself a glass of wine or what have you and celebrate. You deserve it.

The last time I wore makeup was two Saturdays ago to a friend’s wedding that Hubs was in as a groomsman. Know what I had to do to make that possible? Big Kid and Little Baby were BOTH out of the house. I had to take them to grandparents so that I could shower, dry my hair ((Little Baby HATES the sound of the hair dryer)) and apply any kind of makeup. I am so out of practice with any of those things that it took me a solid 3 hours. Half an hour was spent attempting to find my makeup, figure out what I was going to wear and finding my shoes.

The last time I brushed my hair…. was Saturday. This past Saturday, so don’t judge me too harshly. I picked between fixing my hair or putting on makeup and I went with fixing my hair. The curl didn’t hold and it rained so… frizz-fest. But I did it. Hubs’ birthday was Saturday and he worked all day but we decided we would actually go out and have dinner together. Something we don’t get to do terribly often. Big Kid, yet again, was with his grandmother ((she likes to steal him away often)) and Little Baby went to Hubs’ parents to hang out with them! It was wonderful to get to spend time together. He has been working so hard, non-stop, since starting this new job. Getting even a few hours together that aren’t filled with kids screaming, baths being given, dinner being eaten, bottles being washed, dishes being done… it’s nice. I’ve missed it.

Yesterday, my plan was to commit to self-care. Simply taking a shower, fixing my hair, dressing nicely, putting on makeup. Ya know what happened? Life. Life happened. I have a 4 month old baby who is teething. A 6 year old Deafie who is EXTREMELY loud and doesn’t realize it. Both of them were up before the sun and this Momma had about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. So out the window went taking care of myself. I made it to the grocery store, with the help of my wonderful Mom. And Cracker Barrel made us dinner last night. Can I tell you something? I feel no shame.

Social media promotes the best parts of ourselves a lot of the time. It doesn’t always show off the truth of what goes on behind closed doors. Few and far between are the posts about how you’re on your third day in a row of wearing the same spit-up covered shirt. (guilty….. right now…..) Or how you set out to get your dishes into the dishwasher and because one kid needs attention and the other is upset and won’t sleep and you’re just UTTERLY EXHAUSTED to the point that you can’t remember what you JUST did with the phone you need to send a text to your husband on when you realize that it’s in your hand and, look at that, you’ve already sent the text you were thinking of sending… and hey…. dishes? It’s great that we can be all smiles and happy thoughts on social media because in a world with so much negativity, positive things are necessary to get us through the day. But, it can also breed more negative thoughts in the minds of those Moms who don’t have it all together. We start comparing ourselves and we feel bad because it’s been two weeks since we last wore something that wasn’t covered in our kid’s favorite food or formula. It’s tough. It’s okay to not have it all together.

Before we delve into what “Momming” looks like for most people, let me say this. I am in no way ungrateful for my kids. Each one, in their own way, has presented new challenges, new adjustments, new experiences. Each one of them are a gift from my faithful God. The first one, Big Kid, I was told I would never have kids. After a miscarriage and feeling like the doctors might be right, here came my first rainbow baby. My miracle. He has grown into this AWESOME little person with an amazing Deaf identity and a love for himself that makes my heart smile. Years later, miscarriage after miscarriage, being angry with my body, hating myself, begging God to not let me get pregnant again unless it was going to stick, Him answering my prayers, three years of infertility, a surprise came in the form of a beautiful little girl. Her name means gift from God. Because that’s exactly what she is. My two rainbow babies. They make me a Mom. But from time to time, they make me lose my mind. Sometimes, I need a break! And that’s okay! This whole being a Mom thing isn’t easy. No matter what anybody says. We are raising and training little people to grow up to be fully functioning, productive members of society. It’s hard. It’s overwhelming. The strongest of people, no matter what you see on social media, still struggle with something! I am grateful. I am thankful. I still struggle.

Here’s what “Momming” can really look like most days;

You wear your pajamas all day long. You have your hair up in a falling-down bun or pony tail that’s nothing like that Pinterest looks you’ve pinned recently. You wear yoga pants because you got hooked on them while you were pregnant and now wearing jeans=dressing up. You can’t remember the last time that you took a shower in the actual shower and not a bird bath in the sink. The shirt you’re wearing is covered in substances that you no longer can discern from one another and a smattering or twenty of spit-up. You have bags under your eyes. You catch a snack a few times a day. You sleep much less than the recommended number of hours per night. Leaving the house is too much of a chore that most days you don’t do it. Walking to the mailbox counts as your exercise for the week when you remember to do it that one day of the week. You love your animals but wish sometimes that they had opposable thumbs and could feed themselves. Your floors aren’t even clean enough for the dogs to eat off of, if they could find the floors hidden beneath the toys. You have dishes piled in your sink, on your counters and on your kitchen table but you most definitely have clean, sterile bottles. Paper plates are your best option, always. Not knowing where your keys are is an every day thing and you constantly think that a key holder for the wall is a good idea but never get around to buying/making or putting one up. You lose your phone, wallet and mind multiple times throughout the day. Time without the kids sounds SO wonderful until you realize that every second without them will break your heart, you’ll worry and/or feel guilty that you felt you needed a break. Someone always tells you to “enjoy this time with them,” “they’ll only be little for so long,” “you’ll miss this one day,” and you know that it’s true but right now, in this moment, you need someone to tell you that it’s okay to stop for five seconds and take care of yourself.

Mommas, hear me. It IS okay to put on YOUR OWN oxygen mask first! You can’t help anyone if you’re dead! You cannot pour from an empty cup! You can’t be that mom who has it all together without taking care of yourself at some point. So many people have so many opinions on whether or not to allow their kids to cry, ever. I’m here to tell you that a Mom who lets her kid cry for five minutes while she washes her face after a night of 2 hours of broken sleep, is a GOOD Mom. A Mom who makes time for herself to grab a shower is a GOOD Mom. A Mom who makes the effort to clean the house, even if the Big Kid and the Little Baby aren’t all that ecstatic that her attention is given elsewhere, is a GOOD MOM! You can’t rest in a house in chaos. You can’t take care of anyone else without first at least taking care of yourself somewhat. I’m not going to lie, I’ve been that Mom that has hidden in the closet with a chocolate bar and cried my eyes out watching videos of cats on YouTube because I was just SO worn out and needed 5 minutes to myself. All the while, my Big Kid was on the other side of the closet door, banging, wanting me to put batteries into his motorized Thomas the train.

Let’s not let ourselves get to that point. Let’s take care of ourselves before we feel like we have to hide. Whatever taking care of yourself looks like, I challenge you today to put aside time for yourself. Every day for a week. See what happens. See how you feel. See how much easier you can handle when your day doesn’t go the way you planned. See the amount of patience you gain. See how much happier you are, spending time with your kid(s). For me, today, this was part of my self-care. Getting thoughts out of my head. Here shortly, I’m going to take a shower. We won’t talk about when the last time I took a shower was… partially because I can’t remember and partially because I’m not sure I WANT to remember. Your kids will thank you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day, they will see that they spent their time growing up with a Mom who was happy. She might not have had it all together all the time… but she was happy and truly enjoyed the time she spent with her kids because she allowed herself to not feel guilty about taking care of herself.

I’ll step off my soapbox… for now… mainly because Ladybug is awake and hungry again. Until the next time…

I’ll Clean, Cook, Sleep (Lord, I hope) and Repeat..

#HearingAids:TheBeginning

Time for the serious business I talked about. This is the part of Kiddo’s story that I talk about now for  educational purposes only. Kiddo no longer uses technology of any kind in order to hear. He likes his silent world and that’s where I’ll let him stay.

Many moons ago, (okay, so it was 6 years ago this past month but who’s counting?) I was told to pick colors for ear molds that would be stuffed in Kiddo’s ears for the rest of his life (hah, how little they knew my child then) and attached to these battery-powered things that would hang behind his ears to help him “hear.”

Let’s go further back.. to the VERY beginning when all I knew was that Kiddo had “failed” his newborn hearing screen. First and foremost, let me say this: my child did not fail a thing. He PASSED his deaf test. Yes, according to the hearing world, he isn’t normal. According to a lot of people, he is broken and needs to be fixed. According to me, he’s perfect. He is EXACTLY as God intended him to be. If you want to go back even further, when I was in Junior High, I learned the manual alphabet. I learned some, not much, conversational sign language. Want me to get really honest? *I learned dirty words in ASL…….* Shhhhh.. I was in no way prepared to have a Deaf kid… but I at least knew that I absolutely loved ASL and my thoughts on deafness and ASL were that ASL was the language that was most natural to the DHH crowd and I wanted to learn so that I could communicate effectively with anyone I came in contact with who used it. And like most people with good intentions, that’s about as far as I got. Until college. Where I became friends with some people who were Deaf, who communicated using sign language and who I wanted to be able to actually cultivate relationships with. So I learned more. I practiced. But this is a language that if you don’t use it, you lose it when your primary language is English and you stop thinking in ASL. wow… the rabbits I chase….

One more time… 3 days post-birth, Kiddo “failed” his hearing screen. The nurses at the hospital told me that their equipment was old and that’s probably why he failed so bring him back when he’s 7 weeks old and we’ll try again. So I did. He failed again. Again they said  that their equipment was old and that was all it was most likely. They told me to call an audiologist and have him evaluated. In the meantime, Early Intervention has called me. Three times. Over the course of the 7 week wait, they managed to call me three times. I spoke with the same woman every single time. Every single time, I explained that the hospital told me to wait until he was 7 weeks old and bring him back in to recheck his ears. Every. Single. Time. Yet they continued to call. At this point, I’m incredibly annoyed with the EI people and I’m waiting to figure out what’s going on with my son. This was probably the longest 7 weeks of my life. Not because I was upset at the possibility of him being deaf; that part actually didn’t bother me. It was the constant searching the internet to find reasons as to why a newborn might fail their hearing screen. Let me say this too… Mommas have it pretty good these days. I recently gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl and let me tell you what… I was shaking like a leaf while they had her hooked up to the ABR. We didn’t get such a thorough test for Kiddo. And since this is nitty gritty post about deaf gain ((not hearing loss)) I’ll tell you I was shaking because I expected her to pass her screen and that freaked me out. Now, after this last test with Kiddo, I called around, got recommendations and eventually just asked my pediatrician to send me to the best audiologist she knew of who would best fit our family. I called the audiologist that she recommended and set up my son with an appointment for the nest week. Here we go.

At 8 weeks old, my son was rushed to the ER at our children’s hospital, on oxygen, due to RSV. That is something I would never wish on any parent, ever, especially not a first time Mom. That was the most terrifying experience of my life. For the next 48 hours it was IVs and wall suction every 2 two hours and oxygen tubes being held under my sweet baby’s face to try desperately to get his O2 saturation up. Here I had been worried about what was going to happen with his ears or if there was something worse that was wrong with him and I could very possibly lose him to something as simple as RSV. For a baby, RSV is no joke. In the middle of this, I reluctantly leave the hospital to come home and shower and take a nap and get his room ready for his return. We were about to spend the next 2 weeks in his bedroom alone and not venture out ((well, I could leave the room to use the bathroom but that was it)) and the next two weeks after that, still inside our house. Now, my son was born in October so when this happened, it was the beginning of January. It was freezing outside. Ordered to stay in? No problem! Perfectly fine with me! ((two weeks in, I was ready to pull my hair out… but I digress..)) In this short break that I took, which involved me disinfecting every inch of his bedroom, I called the hospital three I times to talk to the nurse on the pulmonary floor to make sure he was okay. I had slept maybe 30 minutes total in the last two days. I was utterly exhausted. Just as I laid down to try for a quick nap, the phone rang. Yes, 6 years ago I still had a landline in my home. Crazy, right? I answer. Guess who it is! Can you guess? Just a shot in the dark… a wild guess..

It was Early Intervention!!!!! These people who could do nothing but ask me over and over again why my son hadn’t been evaluated yet when he was 3 weeks old, 5 weeks old and 7 weeks old. No one had given us a for sure diagnosis because we had to play the waiting game for weeks. His appointment was set for the next day but there was no way that we could go to the audiologist as we had to be in Kiddo’s room for the next two weeks. Remember now, I’ve slept 30 minutes in 48 hours. This woman started off on the wrong foot with me when she called. Here’s how this went…  *names have been changed to protect… well… no one really… but it’s been 6 years and we’ve met tons of people and I honestly can’t remember her name now… Hah! And I always refer to Kiddo as…..Kiddo… so…. there ya have it… enjoy..*

EI: “Hello, this is Barb with Early Intervention. I see that you still haven’t updated us with a diagnosis of hearing impairment ((*cringe*)) for your son. Can you explain to me why you haven’t taken him to an ENT or do I need to alert Child Services?”

((adding: yes.. what you just read is what the woman from the agency that is supposed to HELP US said to me. I might not remember her name, but I sure won’t ever forget our conversation.))

Me: “He has an appointment scheduled for tomorrow to see an actual audiologist rather than an ENT, which is what I told you a week ago when you called. However, he’s not goi-…”

EI: “Excuse me? He has an appointment but yet you’re not going to take him to it?! What, you don’t want him to get the help he needs and deserves? I’ll be alerting Child Services.”

Me: “That isn’t necessary, ma’am. If I could have finished my sentence, you would know that I plan on rescheduling the appointment for 4 weeks from now.”

EI: “What could possibly be more important than your child?! Rescheduling is unacceptable. He has to go to the doctor and be diagnosed so that we can step in and do what we need to do. You can’t reschedule his appointment. What a terrible mother you are. I feel bad for your child and any other children you might have in the future. What’s the name of the doctor you are using? I’ll be calling his pediatrician myself to alert them of your noncompliance.”

Me: “Look, lady, I have slept 30 minutes in the past 24 hours. The only reason I’m here and can take your call is because I came home to shower and disinfect my kid’s room and, if at all possible, catch a quick nap. My son has been in the hospital and on oxygen off and on. I almost lost him due to RSV. He’s coming home today and the doctor at the HOSPITAL instructed us to stay inside and isolated to one room for the next two weeks. We are not to leave our house for the next FOUR weeks. Whether I want to take him to the audiologist or not, I CAN’T. I WILL NOT let my child DIE just because you people have no patience!! Y’all are absolutely ridiculous. This is now officially harassment. I won’t stand for being threatened. You wanna send child services to my house, send ’em. What they’ll find is a bunch of paperwork from my kid’s pediatrician and discharge papers from the hospital, whenever we finally get them, with orders to be isolated for four weeks! If you wanna be a female dog, you better do it to someone else! Not me! Not today! I am so sick and tired of you people calling me over and over again and questioning my motherhood when I have done absolutely everything I have been told to do! I have your number, I told you that the last three times that you have called, and I told you from the start that once I have a diagnosis or an answer to what’s going on with his hearing, I will call you MYSELF and let you know!

EI: “Well, I didn’t know anything about that. You don’t have to yell.”

Me: “Of course you didn’t! You didn’t ask! You went from 0 to 60 in .25 seconds and threatened to send CPS to my house! I want the name of your supervisor. Now.”

EI: “That won’t be necessary. You know, you’re extremely rude. You might want to think about how you talk to people in front of your child.”

Me: “Did yo-.. No, ya know what… I’ll call and let y’all know what the audiologist says when she sees my son in a month. If you call me between now and then, I’m reporting it to the police as harassment. Have a great day!”

Pretty sure she hung up after I said I was going to report it to the police. Needless to say, we got no help from Early Intervention. I honestly don’t even know if she reported his deafness to the state like she was supposed to. 6 years later, I’m still not sure. Hah! It was absolutely ridiculous. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would have had to deal with something like that right out the gate. But, boy, did it set the tone for the rest of our journey.

4 weeks after us being stuck in the house, with some incredible cabin fever, we ventured out to the audiologist. She is most definitely the greatest doctor we have ever come in contact with. Sweet as could be. Genuinely cares about her patients. Wants to give you the best options possible, even if that means that no aids are the way to go. She was so helpful, so wonderful. She did the same test that the hospital did. The one that blows air against the eardrum to see whether or not there’s reverberation. Nothing. Both ears. She thought that maybe it was because of the RSV now and that he could possibly have fluid on his ears. So she scheduled us for an ABR ((Audio Brainstem Response test)) at the hospital and told us that it would give us a definitive answer as to whether it was fluid, the machines or he was actually deaf.

Off we go to the hospital. This test was supposed to last 45 minutes. Oh boy, were they wrong. Yes, the ABR itself lasted 45 minutes… but it took 2 hours to get Kiddo to fall asleep. Lots of crying, shushing, snuggling and a warm bottle later, we finally got started. I was sitting across the room from him and his sperm donor. They had hooked electrodes to his head to measure his brain activity as sounds entered his ears through these soft, squishy little earbuds. I could hear the sounds across the room as if the earbuds were in my own ears. I looked at the screen to my left and there was nothing. These super loud noises that I was hearing, he couldn’t hear at all. The test was over and the technician said, “after I give you the big news, you won’t hear anything else I say so here,” as she handed me a folder with what felt like an entire tree worth of brochures and papers explaining all the different resources (not for the state we live in, mind you) to help us along our journey of deafness, “are resources. Go over them when you get home or tomorrow or a few days from now. Give yourself time to process. Everything will be okay, I promise. This is not the end of the world. Your son has severe hearing loss in one ear and severe/profound loss in the other. He can’t hear you speak, he can’t hear much more than very loud noises. Be careful walking up behind him, as it may scare hi-…” and that’s about when I stopped listening. The tears immediately flowed. I couldn’t stop them. Spilling over my cheeks, hot and wet and a long time coming. But these weren’t tears of sadness. These weren’t tears of grief. These were tears of joy. You thinking this is weird? Hang on.

I cried that day because my boy was alive. He was healthy. He was happy. So what if he couldn’t hear my voice? He could feel it. I had seen that at night, rocking him to sleep and singing to him and his tiny little hand placed on my throat. He was going to be okay. My head raced with, “where do we go from here?” thoughts. At the forefront was learning ASL. How were we going to do that? Would we need to take classes? Were there any classes for babies? Did I need to become fluent before I could teach him anything? This is what I’m going to do; I’ll meet him where he is. Deaf = ASL so where do we start?” That was why I didn’t hear a word the technician said.

Kiddo’s sperm donor? “It’s your fault. You smoked while you were pregnant. You did this.” Then tears flowed for new reasons. The technician stopped him in his tracks. “Do not blame her. This isn’t her fault. Smoking doesn’t cause hearing loss. This could be genetic, it could be conductive, it could be anything, Don’t blame anyone. This is no one’s fault.” Don’t worry, it took him a few months and he was gone. He comes around now and then but the negativity is gone.

Kiddo’s audiologist wanted to fit him for hearing aids. I was flying blind. Whatever the doctors said, that’s what I was going to do. Unless anyone mentioned Cochlear Implants. In which case, I stood up. Absolutely not. Not my kid. Not now. It’s not my body and that’s not a choice I will ever make for him. If he wants to be implanted, it will come when he can be fully aware of what all comes along with it, the risks and is able to make a well-informed decision about something being surgically attached to his body. it will be his choice and his choice alone. This is not to say that I won’t support him if implants are what he chooses later on, I will. I will stand behind him and be there every single step of the way. But I just won’t pick that life for him.

So here we go, adventuring into the world of the unknown. The world of sound. Possibly. Access to the hearing world. Kinda. We learned ASL with the help of Rachel Coleman and Baby Signing Time at first. He signed his first word, “bug,” at 5 months. He thought it was funny. We moved to Signing Time and have watched and own every video. We now watch Rachel and the Treeschoolers but don’t own them all yet. There isn’t as much sign in them. We got ear molds and picked colors for his new ears. We went through test after test in soundfield to get them just right. We spent hours and hours and hours fighting about wearing them. Started with 5 minutes twice a day. Then 10 minutes three times a day. He would go a week at a time, asking for them to be on. Then the next week not want anything to do with them. We went back and forth and back and forth. He screamed and cried and HATED wearing them. He HATED getting new molds made. He HATED everything about this experience. And yet, I was told to persist. I wasn’t connected to the Deaf community. I wasn’t connected to anything or anyone. Early Intervention left us in the dust after I called to tell them that he was, in fact, diagnosed with a hearing loss. I was all alone. I have never, in my life, felt more alone than I did for the first two and a half years of our hearing aid adventure. I put him in speech therapy because that’s what I was told to do. It was trial and error finding a therapist that knew sign or was at least willing to learn. If a therapist ever tells you to interpret for your kid, walk out. First of all, it’s unethical for a professional to have a parent interpret and second, it’s illegal. They are to provide an interpreter for your child. On their dime. That stands for all medical professions. Including hospitals. We’ll get to that story in the next post. After 11 months of speech and 1 word acquired, we lost our therapist to a better job for her. Don’t get me wrong, we were THRILLED for her!! We still keep in contact! She has since married the man she got engaged to while she was Kiddo’s ST and had a BEAUTIFUL baby girl and is pregnant again! We love her. We miss seeing her weekly. The therapy group that we were with wanted to switch us to a therapist who would not accept sign as an answer ever and knew no sign language and was unwilling to learn. I pulled him from it and decided that English was not going to be the way we were going to go. The hearing aids brought him up to moderate loss, at best and gave him no access to spoken language anyway so what was the point? We tried Ultra powered aids when super powered aids stopped working for him. We got a little better speech access at first but then he kept telling me that they hurt. I asked which part hurt and he would point to the aid itself rather than the ear mold. I was done. I couldn’t take hurting him. I stopped using them then. Again, what was the point of doing all this? To make him more like us? To force this on him when at every turn he fought it tooth and nail? No thank you. I was done forcing him to do anything. I stopped forcing the aids on him. I stopped trying to teach him anything but ASL. Then we found our home.

Deaf Family Literacy pulled us in close and carried us. I finally wasn’t alone. I was with a bunch of parents who used tech for their kids and expected spoken language but they were all open to ASL. Whether they had taught their kids ASL or were interpreters themselves or used it to fill in the gaps that hearing aids inevitably leave, they understood. I hooked up with Hands and Voices, the Deaf community in my area, Deaf adults… I cannot begin to tell you the world of difference this made in me and Kiddo both. We found our people!

We went in for Kiddo’s yearly hearing evaluation and the look on his audiologists face concerned me. We were now with a different audiologist who had previously been a student. She called in our original audiologist and they spoke to each other on the other side of the glass as Kiddo and I sat in the soundproof room. I couldn’t see what all they were saying but what I caught while lip-reading didn’t sound good. The original audiologist came in soundfield and told me to bring Kiddo and come to the family rooms. “Let’s talk a minute,” she said. We sat down while Kiddo played with all the latest tech that was on display and books scattered around the room. She handed me a box of tissues and lowered her voice. “It seems as though he’s lost the rest of his residual hearing.” For the first time ever, I heard that he was a candidate for a CI (Cochlear Implant) because she had NEVER mentioned that it was even an option for us at any point. Another reason I love her. She said that, knowing Kiddo, she wouldn’t recommend CIs for him. He had serious tactile issues at this point, struggled with OCD and honestly enjoyed his silence. This was it for us. Our tech journey had been over anyway but this was that final nail in the coffin on tech. We were done. It was over. And then came defending my decisions all over again. I have spent the majority of my child’s life defending my choices for him. Defending not implanting him when he was tiny. Defending his lack of hearing aid use. Defending his ASL. Defending his abilities. Defending his intelligence. Defending him at every turn. Rather than being able to be proud of who he is and what his abilities are, I have defended his “disability.” I HATE that word…. He isn’t disabled. He just experiences life differently. He sees EVERYTHING! He feels things deeper than I could ever dream. He forms words with his hands and it’s beautiful. I have allowed him to be exactly who he is. No tech. All hands. And I am SO proud of him!

 

That’s all for now. I’ll be back soon to discuss our recent hospital trip and explain why interpreters are so important and advocating for your kids is a necessity!

Until then……

I’ll CleanCookSleepRepeat…. or CleanCleanOrderTakeoutCleanNapRepeat….. Life with a 3 month old and a 6 year old…….. zzzZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzzzzz… wha? Oh… Bye!!!