Friday, April 1, 2016

Book Publication!

If I have not yet shared this news with you, I will now. I submitted an essay to an anthology about multiples. It was accepted, and the book is now available for pre-order! The official launch date is May 1. I now have an author page on Amazon and Goodreads! Please leave a review of the book if you read it. It helps. I hope you enjoy it!

Here is where you can find it online:

Multiples Illuminated

Amazon

KINDLE

Barnes and Noble (Nook)

iBooks

Kobo

Saturday, March 12, 2016

First & Eight

My kids have spent the night at their grandparents' house a few times. Mostly that was when one of them was in the hospital. I don't consider that a sleepover, certainly not in the traditional sense. When our daughter was five, she wanted to have a sleepover with a friend, and decided it would be better if her friend stayed with us. She was fearful of sleeping elsewhere. It went very well, and no one was more relieved than me.


Now they are eight. Eight. I can hardly believe that part. While I digested this and the birthday presents wrapping paper has barely been cleaned up, two of them were asked to have sleepovers at friends' houses. On the same night. This would be a first. My son worried that he needs to sleep with the light on, and how to deal with that. We figured that part out, and packed both of their sleeping bags and PJs, and . . . off.They. Went. 

Though I was struck by the fact that they are old enough to have a sleepover with friends, I was more struck by another feeling. Sadness. Not because they are growing up. That's a normal feeling that I imagine most of my mom friends have. This was different. I struggled to identify it, and then I realized what it was. My third triplet. He is a very capable child. Smart, SUPER social, impossibly cute (by more than just my 'being-his-mom' standards) and funny. This, in spite of his Cerebral Palsy and having had a major stroke after an 11-week premature birth.

The reality is that he is still in diapers and has some mobility issues. We are so grateful he does not have more severe conditions. However, this does not negate that he still has therapeutic needs and support. This precludes him from things like attending after school programs, play dates and - sleepovers - without support. Thus far, he has been to one home for a play date without one of us. That friend happens to have a mom who is a nurse, a very kind and lovely friend who is willing to help him and change a diaper if needed. This is not to disparage any of our other friends and moms in any way. I just would not presume or even ask that anyone step in this way. 

So last night, as two of his siblings left for sleepovers, his face crumbled. It began to dawn on him that he would be sleeping alone. His sobs became uncontrollable and his face contorted in a way that broke my heart. I swallowed the lump in my throat and managed to get him into some deep breathing to calm down. Then I reframed the situation. This is the approach that seems to work best, but often takes a few tries until it sinks in. 

"Yes, they are sleeping at their friend's homes, but guess what?"

(sob, sob) "Wh-what Mama?"

"You get Mama and Daddy and your big brother who is home from college, ALL to yourself!"

More tears but it slowly sunk in and a smile spread across his wet face. Through his fogged up glasses I could see a small twinkle in his sky blue eyes when he realized he would be getting something the other two have never had. Plus hot chocolate and staying up super late with us watching a movie. I told him that second part once he really calmed down. 

The thing is . . . though his siblings tell me he knows more people than they do at school and has more friends, he gets invited to precious few birthday parties, play dates and certainly no sleepovers. His classmates are a wonderful, friendly and accepting group of kids, so I cannot explain it, other than maybe his social situation is not as in depth as it is wide. From time to time I get reports from my other two that my son does not play with anyone except his aide. Or that he only plays hopscotch or with hula hoops, but not with friends. This makes me sad, to think of him alone on the playground. At this age the boys are definitely more rough and tumble, playing soccer, catch, climbing on things. While I am not a fan of the word 'can't', this happens to be true for my son in relation to those activities. For now. He has overcome an amazing amount of disability thus far. 

Throughout the evening he randomly began crying, as part of his brain trauma affects his memory. He forgets things he already knows and has to be reminded frequently. Other things he remembers produce perseverating behavior. This is where he reminds US all too frequently. He was thrilled to share hot chocolate with just us, and fell asleep on us in the living room. We knew this would be the only way to get him into bed without complete disaster. We had agreed in advance to leave his bedroom door open. Fortunately it all went off without a hitch. This morning he got up and hung out with his older brother, had a donut and played on the computer. Uninterrupted. Once he called out to share something with his sister, and then realized she wasn't home. No tears. Whew.

We made it through this one. But what about the next time, and the next? I should not borrow trouble, I know. In no way do we try to remove obstacles from our children's paths. we firmly believe they need to grow strong by learning how to get past difficulties. But how does that translate to a child with special needs? In figuring out what this means for each of our children, we have learned that one size does not fit all. I have often told the triplets that 'you don't always get what everyone else has'. And I mean it. That was severely put to the test last night. #walkthetalk

What it means is that we learn the best way to describe situations to the kids and help them, and ourselves, learn how to see and approach things in the best light possible. Also, with a healthy dose of reality. Reality is important because no one can be good at absolutely everything. No one can do absolutely everything. You don't even have to try absolutely everything. Finding what you like and what you can do best, that's the thing to do. Football moves at a goal pace of 10 yards per down (try). We may be moving at a goal pace of eight years per try, maybe less. But as everyone woke up this morning seemingly unscathed, and all had an enjoyable night and morning, I'll consider this first pass a touchdown in our own personal Superbowl. 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

List - Bucketed

I've been reflecting a lot on 'if not now, then when?'. I often wonder (when
the glass is half empty) what life holds next for me. Sometimes I also wonder (when the glass is half full) what I hold next for life. I decided to make a list of odd/interesting things I have done and enjoyed thus far, just to see what kind of perspective it would bring me. The spirit of the ah-ha moment means you don't see it coming. So while I do not particularly have a bucket list of must-do items, I do have a few lines yet to fill, which brings me to the ponderment of 'if not now, then when?'.

I have . . . .

- Danced down Main Street in an official Disneyland parade
- Traveled alone through Europe with no plan
- Been selected from the audience to be on a TV show
- Won numerous radio contests (including $1,000, a trip to NY and
   various restaurant cards)
- Sung Jingle Bells at a crowded United Airlines gate to get an upgrade to
   first class
- Had triplets
- Spent New Year's Eve on the Champs-Elyseés in Paris
- Quit a career on the spot to begin a new one, across the country
- Organized a Locks of Love event that produced 286 ponytails (26 lbs. of
   hair)
- Threw a dart at a U.S. map and relocated to the nearest big city
- Took a solo driving trip around the U.S. (to get to that city and back)
   covering 23 states plus the lower part of 2 Provinces in Western Canada
- Camped under the desert stars with strangers I met on I-25 in New
   Mexico (on the way to that city)
- Lived in 11 U.S. cities (as a result of that dart)
- Driven solo through another 5 states (as a result of the relocations
   instigated by that that dart)
- Rock climbed in the desert
- Spent the night by a lake with a group of people I met along the road in
   the New Mexico wilderness
- Met an odd collection of celebrities in unexpected places (Bill Murray,
   Harold Ramis, Roy Orbison, OJ Simpson, Hulk Hogan, Sandra Bullock,
   John Candy, David Hasselhoff, Cheech Marin)
- Seen someone die inches from my face (this was not a bucket list item I
  wanted)

Reading this back to myself, I realize that every single thing on this list has been a spontaneous event. Very little if any forethought was involved. I'm not saying that has always been a positive outcome initially, but eventually for sure. The ah-ha that has now been produced is that if you put yourself in the right frame of mind and place, and allow yourself some freedom, interesting and amazing circumstances can develop.

What's next??

__________

__________

__________

__________

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Almost There

Only one more night after tonight, and Elfie will be on his way back to Santa's home at the North Pole. Another year that my children believe, another year I almost forget, every. single. night. to move the damn elf. But it really is worth it. There have been just a hint of questions about how Christmas works. Mostly a slight curiosity. In an instant it vanishes when the subject changes to what they want from Santa. But I wonder. When will they know? Will they let on? Will they spoil it for the ones in our home who still believe? Are we almost there? I hope not.

While we haven't placed formal wagers, my money is on my daughter to spill it, just to torture they other two. In an Ally McBeal style moment of thought, I envisioned her sobbing and devastated because she had 'ruined' Christmas for everyone. Indeed, if she did spill the beans, she would not have done it to eliminate Santa, only to torture her brothers. She unwittingly however, does things to torture them that backfire, and this would be the granddaddy of them. Thus, late at night, after my husband has obligingly cut paper and wrapped gifts (because I have been injured and spent too much time at the ER from self-inflicted sharp object accidents) I find myself in the garage peeling packing labels off boxes. This is where I imagine my daughter discovering the sender of said boxes and sharing her discovery with her brothers.

When I was a child, we posted our wish lists on the refrigerator. My brother and I still are convinced that we never got a single thing from those labored over lists. Maybe so, maybe not. I do know that my mother believes it's what the giver wants to give, not what the recipient wants. I suppose that's one way to look at it. My husband and I have not been particularly creative or overly romantic/demonstrative over the years with our holiday gifts. It's less important to us than the rest of the year. I used to really like the element of surprising him, but I'd rather he really enjoy what he gets, or just skip gifts altogether. So we ask each other. The kids are delighted when he and I open the gifts and it's good for them to see us exchange an item of affection. This is where I think Santa for my kids is exciting. Everything is still new to them at seven years old. Everything is exciting and full of wonder. While we don't go overboard with their gifts. Just enough for them to enjoy that fast fading bastion of childhood beliefs in something mystical, fun and exciting. I don't know when that will change, but every passing year brings us closer to it. Almost there. But not just yet.

For as long as they believe, I will.

Found Around

Found hiding in a bedroom he's never been in before.

 Elfie left a little surprise for the kids. 
Elf sweetened lip balm in sugar cookie, candy cane and hot cocoa!


 He was looking down at the Elf village we built for him one last time. Tonight he goes back to the North Pole!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Hanging Around

Yesterday Elfie was chewing on a candy cane in the house, 
upside down of course. 


This morning, the kids were distraught when they could not find him. I wondered aloud of they had been behaving well enough to make him want to stay. Because we're creating a police state, of course. 


He was found, perched on my rear view mirror in the car. I guessed that he missed the cold, since we actually have ice on the windows here on the West coast. Despite the fact that our friend's elf Trina, had a to build a snowman out of TP. No snow in Michigan right now as it turns out.