Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oh The Places We Will Go...

These are the places we enjoy:

1. The Children's Museum
2. The Zoo
3. Botanical Gardens
4. Lowe's
5. Target
6. The Mall
7. most restaurants (The kids are well behaved if they are eating.)
8. Therapy places
9. Hospitals
10. museums
11. walks
12. parks

Now the place I would like to add to that list is church. When I was Jack and Ingrid's ages, I spent several days a week at church. I loved the building and the people. I have memories about Sunday school, Wednesday night suppers, Friday family game nights, Family camps, well, a lot of things. I want that for Jack and Ingrid, but it is difficult to make this happen.

I have emailed pastors and met with them, and they told me Jack is needed in the church family. (I was actually asking them to recommend more special-needs friendly churches.) But Jack is not welcome in childcare during church, so we are only invited to Sunday school. We have tried to have him attend church with us (the pastors encouraged this explaining everyone is welcome), but I felt uncomfortable. There were lots of questioning looks from people. I still feel like our family is viewed as such unwanted outsiders by many people in the church.

A special-needs ministry is not offered in so many congregations. It may not be necessary in all churches, but I think we need to find a place where all four of the Busbys have a place and are loved just the way we are.

Keeping Things in Place

This is Ingrid's brace. She will have something like this until she reaches skeletal maturity, maybe longer. Skeletal maturity will be in her late teens.

Ingrid attends physical therapy twice a week where she is working on her gait and exercising the muscle in her thigh that controls her knee (something she hasn't used in about a year).

I am constantly amazed by this girl's spunk, tenacity, and humor.

Miss Honey

There's a wonderful bakery and coffee shop right across the street from my school The last couple months of school, I got into the delicious habit of walking over during my planning period 3 or 4 days a week to get a medium coffee and (this was a habit even later in the school year) a croissant with strawberry butter. Divine.

I would walk over, smiling, order my coffee and treat, smiling, fix the coffee with loads of sugar and creamer, smiling, and walk on back to school. Most of the time I would yell out, much like a five-year-old, to a stranger or friend, "I like your sweater! or I love your hair!" Compliments and smiles would abound. Okay, now I don't want to exaggerate. Sometimes I would just jam out to my "new to me" ipod, but most of the time I would be happy and engage with the world around me.

The last few weeks of school, one of the baristas at the coffee shop asked me if I'd ever read the book Matilda. Yep. Well, she explained, I reminded her of Miss Honey. It made my day. What a character! A couple days later she went on to admit that many of the regulars had nicknames, and my nickname was Miss Honey. I loved it.

Well, not always have I been Miss Honey. I have to thank chemical regulators for that help. Yep, I'm on anti-depressants, and I am not ashamed. The last few years have been difficult ones. Jack's diagnosis, Joe and my denial over his diagnosis, our cautious and secret acceptance of his diagnosis, my control mechanism (also known as National Boards) didn't last forever, Ingrid's diagnosis, Ingrid's surgery in November, and my admitting I needed help. I called my doctor and cried on the phone to her nurse. I was in to see a doctor the next day. It was the most awkard appointment I have ever had. The doctor told me it would just be a bandaid, that I needed to fight more for Jack and get a parent advocate (she had moved to Memphis from CA the month before), and I cried. Finally I walked out with a perscription in my hand. A couple months later, I saw my doctor and she listened and understood.

In November of this year, before anti-depressants, I might not have been Miss Trunchbull from Maltilda, but I was no Miss Honey. I could not rest long enough to see the positives of my life. I could not chill in order to create the comfortable environment that usually comes so early and easily in my classroom. I was off. I was angry at the world, for celebrating holidays and life in general.

I think about how quickly Jack goes to sleep at night. He has such a routine to bedtime: bath, teeth, massage, 3 books, prayer, music, and light off. Every part of his routine allows him to begin to rest, to calm, to take it easy and figure out what is important. That is what my medicine does. It allows me to finally live the serenity prayer. And I thank God for that.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

And the Winner Goes to....

* Note, before reading this decide whether or not you want to read some gibberish that is slightly pity-party-ish. It really is, but I will try to make a decent point by the end. *

So, Joe and I overhear a lot of comments about our kids when we are out. For instance: "Look at that gimpy baby!" or "Now, that's just pitiful," (also about Ingrid). We mainly just have stares regarding Jack's odd behavior. Sometimes the brave child will ask us what's wrong with him or why he doesn't talk. (Which I think are honest and appropriate questions.) Today I heard a 12 year-old girl (approximately 12, at least) explain Jack's odd behavior at Petco to her younger brother (Jack was excitedly flapping his arms because he found a toy, well a dog toy, that he was getting) by saying, "He's a retarded fag." It was almost too much, and I just laughed. That is how someone is explaining my four-year-old's behavior? I am frustrated because some people never accept differences in others. What is a solution to this frustration? I am not sure.

But my winner for the oddest insult we have ever heard about our kids was from an older gentleman walking into a French bakery while Jack and I were leaving. (Picture is from approximate time period.) "Look at that hair," he spat, "he looks like a little German!" Well, I guess stereotypes, labels, and cut-downs have been around for quite awhile. I just want to help my children build up enough callous to protect themselves while still being thin-skinned enough to feel other people's pain.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Botanic Gardens

We love to go to the Botanic Gardens to have a picnic. Then:

Jack runs until he gets to the Japanese Garden. At that point, Jack and Ingrid get completely freaked out by the koi.

Jack gets in the stroller. Ingrid pushes him. He crosses his legs. She doggedly pushes on.

Why I Love My Street, Part Two

For instance,

Fast forward to Easter afternoon. We have returned from grandmother's house, stuffed and sleepy. Joe volunteers to take the kiddos on a walk around the block while I get my lesson plans done. Joe returns quickly. He yells for me to come outside. I run out to the porch, and Joe, Jack and Ingrid are hanging out with a white goat and a black dog. (We later discovered the two are best buddies.) The goat and the dog had followed them home from the walk. Neighbors came out to discuss our options for finding the goat's owner. We laughed and took pictures. The goat trampled flowers and tries to eat things. Finally, a neighbor came out who knew the owner of the dog and goat. Joe and the neighbor walked the pair back home. It was quite an Easter and a great reminder of why I love my street.

Why I Love My Street, Part One

When I was little, I believe my favorite book was The Big Orange Splot by Pinkwater. The narrator vividly tells the story of a plain, boring old street where all the houses look the same and everyone says, "This is a neat street..." Well, one day a bird flies over one of the houses with a can of orange paint in its beak, and drops it on Mr. Plumbean's house. (I know, kickin' names.) Anywho, so he decides to leave the splot, and people on the street get annoyed because it is no longer a neat street. Well, Mr. Plumbean does paint one night, but he adds to the splot--he adds tons of colors and drawings to make his house his. He slowly talks his neighbors into making their house a home one at a time as they attempt to talk sense into him on warm summer nights under his tropical tree, holding glasses of lemonade. At the end of the story, all of the houses are different: a pyramid, castle, hot-air balloon, etc. When people pass they would say, "This is not a neat street." But the people would say, "This is us and we are it. These are all of our dreams... (or some type of seventies propaganda like that--and I do say this in jest.)"

So, back to my street. I believe the street where the Busbys reside is my own perfect street where all of our dreams reside.

First for instance:

Easter, three years ago

My grandparents and parents were coming over for brunch, and Joe and I were working on preparing the feast. Jack was crawling around, unaware that an Easter Bunny should have arrived. (We had no time for this type of foolishness.) Joe walks to the door--probably to take a trash bag out--and yells, "Sally! The Easter Bunny came!"

I thought he was joking until I saw the front yard and porch. Multi-colored eggs, at least 36, were all over our porch and yard. What the heck!? We didn't put them out there. It was absolutely magical. Jack went out and had his first egg hunt ever. The Easter Bunnies were the women who live in a house down the street. They stayed up late on Easter Eve, ringing in Easter with a few, and filling plastic eggs with candy and a dollar for every kid on the block. Then, about 3 in the morning, the 2 EBs made their rounds, apparently with lots of loud, SHHHH!sss and laughter.

This tradition has continued every year. We put out posters thanking the "Easter Bunnies" on our porches and leave "bunny" food and drink for them on their porch. What fun!