Friday, February 28, 2014

His Tenacity

This afternoon after school, the kids came in demanding a snack (like every day). Rio and Nolan immediately went to the pantry and started pulling out crackers, fruit snacks and all manner of other food items and placing them on the counter for me to assemble something to their liking.

Asher obviously cannot bulldoze himself over to the cupboard like the other two, but does he sit in a corner and take it? Oh no. He first demands (ok that's an overstatement - Asher rarely demands anything) I take him to the cupboard, and then he proceeds to tell me exactly what items he'd like placed on his tray. No messing around.

I know it seems like a silly example, but every time Asher does something like that he may as well be screaming out the words "MOM, I'M GOING TO BE JUST FINE". He shows me that he knows how to speak up for what he wants and he knows how to get what he wants, even if it takes asking someone else to help him with it.

Lately I've spent a lot of time reinforcing with Asher that there is nothing he can't do. He can do whatever the rest of us can, he may just need help sometimes. Today showed me he's getting the message loud and clear, and his tenacity is going to take him places. Not to mention that fierce blue steel on his side...


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Yellow Seahorse

Two boys were registered in swimming lessons. One passed, and one didn't.

I bet it's not the one you think -- so I'll back up a bit.


Months ago, we registered the kids for swimming lessons. This isn't new for Rio, but it is for the boys. They have only taken one set of lessons before - a parent participation class. But now that they are old enough to be in the water on their own that proved a little bit tricky. After discussing with the pool, it was decided that we'd register the boys in a regular class but Jordan or I would go in the pool with Asher.

Now before I continue, let me just say we had no expectations for Asher. Don't get me wrong, we know the kid loves water and would do his best to keep up, but we didn't really figure this a pass/fail venture. We kind of thought we'd continue to register him along with Nolan until it became no longer feasible and then we'd reevaluate a swim program that would better meet Asher's needs. For the time being, this was about Asher getting into the pool and having some fun.

Well, let's fast forward to the present day and Asher absolutely rocked the swimming lessons. I am pretty sure it's fair to say he was the best "swimmer" in his class (the term swimmer used lightly when they are concentrating on blowing bubbles and doing assisted floats). He was excited, attentive, and did everything that was asked of him. It was certainly helped by the fact that we ended up with an absolutely excellent teacher. Not only did she take his disability in stride, I think she actually thrived with the challenge of adapting the class to fit his needs and allow him to excel.

Nolan, on the other hand, is lacking confidence in the water. Sure, he was as excited as Asher, but when listening is not your strong suit, combined with anxiety about putting your face in the water, that made the class a little bit challenging for him. Additionally, it never crossed my mind that Nolan's CP would factor in once he got into the water, but it turned out that when he was nervous his tone really kicked in - more so than I normally see on land. (That pesky CP - never know how it's going to show itself at any given moment). So while Asher was given the go ahead to move up to the next class, Nolan was encouraged to try these lessons over again until he could master all of the skills every time they were asked of him.

Since they are now at different levels, which is a logistical nightmare, we've decided to pull them from lessons for the time being and concentrate on taking them to public swims and working on Nolan's confidence. In the fall we'll look at registering them in private lessons so the teacher can work with both boys on their specific strengths.

I am so proud of both of them (and big sister who passed her set too), but more importantly learned a lesson. I can never, ever underestimate what Asher may be capable of. Ever. It's good to be reminded of that sometimes.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Busy Being a Spectator

I've been so busy this week I haven't written any posts, and this certainly won't be much to speak of. And just to clarify, by busy I mean watching the Olympics.

Over the past almost two weeks I have been reminded of how patriotic I am. I have also been reminded of how stressssssed sporting events make me. When I watch these athletes - all their hard work on the line - I am sure I am as nervous for them as their own mothers. I have repeatedly had to give myself the following pep talk:

"Tracey, this has no bearing on your life. None. Whatsoever. This is not actually your life".

And this is not an internal monologue. Sadly, I actually need to repeat these statements to myself out loud. It's a little embarrassing really. But how is it, when it clearly does have no real bearing on your own personal life, it feels so good when your own country succeeds, or so terrible when they don't? I will never understand that, but know that most of our country is also in a bit of a frenzy cheering on our athletes. So while I've cried a whole lot of tears and yelled much profanity over the past days - mostly happy on both accounts - I am pretty sure I'm not alone, crazy as it is.

Go Canada! At least one more gold to bring home (hockey gods do you hear me?)

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Contrast


She was born ten days early, after a textbook pregnancy. It was a short, uncomplicated labour, with my husband by my side to calmly and peacefully greet her.

They were born more than three months early, after a complicated pregnancy. Their delivery was so emergent and chaotic I wasn’t awake to witness it and my husband was not allowed in the room.

She took a breath and then she cried - both within seconds of being born.

They could not breathe when their tiny, lifeless bodies were pulled from mine. Machines acted as their lungs and only when they were weeks old did we hear the first squeaks of noise, barely resembling crying.

She ate by breast moments after birth, and then by bottle, and by hand. She rolled, sat, crawled, and stood. She walked, then ran, then jumped - all just as she should have.

They ate by tube for months. Eventually they ate by bottle and breast, but with much training under the watchful eyes of nurses. The rest of the physical milestones came late, or not at all. Nothing happened for them as it should have.

For each and every milestone there were endless photos and detailed entries in her baby book.

There are fewer photos and almost no entries in their baby books. Recording how and when things happened no longer mattered.

She and I learned together. I was confident and believed I was born to be her mom. I was incredibly thankful for her, only in a way you can be when your life and your plan for motherhood go exactly as expected. 

I was taught how to take care of them by nurses who knew them better than I did. I lacked confidence and perpetually questioned my role as their mother. I was bitter and angry, only in a way you can be when your life and your plan for motherhood go completely off the rails.

Quite the contrast.

Their starts in life could not have been more different, but the end result - the important part - is the same: unconditional love, boundless pride, and gratitude for the countless blessings each of them brings to our family.



Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's!

I have never made Valentine's cards before. Sure, in elementary school when you made a card for your parents, or maybe even in the early love-sick days with old boyfriends I made homemade Valentine's cards - but that's it. My mom bought boxed cards for me to give to my friends, and I did the same for my kids. Until this year. This year we did them en masse.

This is very likely "the last year" - the last year before I go back to work that is. 2014 marks the last year that I am home full time with the kids, and therefore a lot of "last chances" to do things. Things like making Valentine's cards, for instance. I decided if I was ever going to help three kids make 60 Valentine's cards, this was the year.

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, narrowing down cute and age appropriate choices for the kids. We then had a family meeting about who was choosing what (because I knew a fight would ensue otherwise), and this is what we came up with:

1. Asher's choice (the card is attached to bubbles)



2. Rio's choice (superheroes!)



3. Nolan's choice (a direct rip off of Rio's)



4. Teacher presents (a pack of Rolos wrapped up to look like a pencil).



Lastly, remember how we were involved with the winter donation campaign for the foundation that provides the boys' therapy and a whole other bunch of good stuff for our family and others like it? Well at Christmas time they asked Rio to design a Christmas card that they then sent out to their donors. It was a beaut! They were so happy with Rio's Christmas card, that they had her draw one for Valentine's day. We got this postcard in the mail - I am one proud mama!






The kids and I had so much fun making all of these Valentines. I know many people think Valentines day is a bit of a commercial crock, but I look at it as a nice reason to tell the people you love how much you care about them. So to that end, Happy Valentine's Day to YOU! Hope your day has you feeling special!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tales From the Vault - Rio: A Video

Tales from the Vault is a feature where I bring back some of my favourite posts from the archived blog. All text from the original posts has been left completely unedited; however, where I think context is required it's been added.





Following up on Asher's super cute walking video last week, here's one of Rio. Remember when she looked like this?! This was first published in November 2009 when the boys were only 5 days old and I was nearly discharged from the hospital. We did end up staying away the entire weekend - the one and only time I did during their hospitalization.

***


Again a much needed distraction. Check out the brilliant husband and child and the video they made a few weeks ago. Make sure you have sound on for the full effect (Jordan did the music too).

At the insistence of our social worker, we are taking the weekend off from the hospital and spending some much needed quality time with Rio, and just the two of us. She is handling this all brilliantly and we couldn't be getting through any of this without her.

We will call the hospital regularly for updates but will not go back til Monday. You'll hear from us then.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Batman Takes Off

This video. This guy. No words needed. Just watch:

Monday, February 3, 2014

Patrice, Reunited

The other night I went to a friend's birthday celebration with a bunch of her friends, most of whom I didn't know. It's always funny to get chatting with people and find out all of the things you have in common, especially when Victoria isn't a big place so chances are there's quite a lot. It was funny enough that one of the women was born in, and still has family in, my very small home town. But the next story that came out through the night I could not have dreamt up if I tried. 

Of course you talk about your families, and no doubt it didn't take long for the twins to come up, not to mention Jordan and Rio. Eventually, someone asked what it was like to get the news we were expecting twins, and wondered what our thoughts were. I told her we were ecstatic in every other regard with the exception of having to sell our beloved Toyota matrix to buy the dreaded mini van. The conversation then moved on to far deeper things about the twins and their birth (imagine that). 

A few minutes later my friend said, seemingly out of the blue, "So about your matrix, why did you love it so much?". I thought it was a weird question but went with it because, hey, we were drinking so a weird question wasn't really that weird. I proceeded to tell her all the things we loved about it and how sad we were to see it go. She then asked if I knew what happened to it and I told her we sold it to a young couple. 

She then pointed to her friend across the room, who I had been with all night, and said "You sold it to her. They bought your car".

Needle. Off. The. Record.

I looked back and forth between the two women and thought my head was going to explode. They were nodding and laughing while I shrieked "WHAT" about four times while my brain and ears and heart all got in sync. I was completely shocked. 

Turns out that the woman who bought the car remembered she bought it from an RN named Jordan who had a young daughter and a wife expecting twins. She had slowly put the pieces together listening to me talk about my family throughout the night, and then the deal was sealed when I mentioned selling the matrix. Hence the strange line of questioning, segueing into telling me the connection. Not only we were connected through this car, but my friend then realized that her husband had carpooled to work in it with this friend for years. So in fact, before they had ever known me, they had known the matrix. So weird. 

This was not the end of the story however. If you think my mind was blown by all of that, imagine my surprise when she pulled out this:


My gas points card, in my maiden name (both names misspelled). Evidently I had left it in the visor when we sold it. She found it a year ago, after already owning the car for almost four years at that point, and for some reason never threw it away. What are the chances we would meet, she would piece the story together, and she would have my gas points card to be the final piece in the puzzle?! 

I can't tell you how insane I think this story is. I also can't believe how happy it made me to know that another nice couple, with two kids no less, has our car. Seems ridiculous to be attached to a car, but we were. Neither of us had ever owned a new car (and haven't since) and we put a lot of thought into the purchase. We wanted something small enough that it would be good on gas, but big enough that we could have two (planned) kids. The matrix was it and we never questioned our decision as being anything but the best possible car we could have bought. There were a lot of memories in that car. It was part of the move in to our first home purchase. It was what we brought our first baby home from the hospital in. It traveled several thousand kilometers through the Southwest USA on an epic road trip with a 4 month old Rio. It - or should I say she, because she was named "Patrice" - treated us very well. I'm happy to hear she's treating her "new family" well too.


I can't for the life of me figure out why we were meant to meet up and discover this commonality of the car. My best explanation is that it serves as another sign that there are no such things as coincidences. What a fun way to be reminded of that!