Normal is a four letter word. Extraordinary is the new black.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hold on little buddy.

Woot woot, all aboard the Crazy Train.
Hmm just typing that brings to mind images of Ozzy Osborne looking mildly insane, but in that hilarious way, not at all intimidating like he was aiming for. So September....September means the chaos begins.

She just kept trying to stuff sweet potatoes through a mouth hole that didn't exist. Like a good mommy, I videoed it, and watched in horror and amusement. I was horrimused.

This year we are one kid light as the big girl is in University. Having trouble keeping score? The big girl- older borrowed daughter number two that is now part of this family. She looks nothing like any of our children, unlike older borrowed daughter number one. This confuses people when the kids call her sister, which in turn amuses us. We love her and her older brother to death. Older brother is, older borrowed son. He is biological brother to older borrowed daughter number two, has his own apartment and is in his third year of university. Our exchanges are mostly about counselling him in how not to get kicked out of his apartment for throwing parties and how best to preserve his liver for future use. Clear as mud? Need a diagram? Sorry- moving on.
Okay, so kids living under this roof now number one, two, three. This September brings a new thing, a buddy for little G to play with.
No, not a peer but rather a lady that comes in and tries to help us teach his amazing brain to fake it till he makes it for the rest of the world that "just don't get him".
She is lovely and all about a good impression. I think I scared her when I said,
"Oh sister, you are in. If we didn't like you, you wouldn't have made it through the front door."

In the coming weeks look for fun posts like "Little G's buddy tries to make him leave the house." and "Little G's buddy publicly humiliates him by making him ride a two wheeled death machine (aka bicycle)." We will round out the buddy series this month with "Little G and his buddy go to the pool AKA what it would look like if a cat went swimming."

September also brings the start of C-man's theatre classes. Basically it is minor hockey for dramageeks. It all culminates to two weeks in January with 18 hour days and a giant grin on his face that says, " I love this, bring it on. More more more."
A few years back I decided to help out with the props and took the job over. Given my background in theatre and my inability to balance things I love, it of course became a 1500 hour position with momma gluing handles on giant aluminum butter knives at a shop, in a questionable part of town, at 3am. Totally sane.

Little L, well she starts the year of experiencing all the world has to offer.
This means that she pwns Thursday morning ballet, is gonna ride a pony and sample assorted other stuff. This all helps mom pretend that Kindergarten is not happening next year.
Momma is all ostrich baby. Head in the sand, best way to fly.

Shhh look how quiet and mellow. Let's pretend our days are always this calm umkay?

Hubby, also a theatre freak, starts on his show build at the school he is teaching at. He does the sets and the light an

d sound. Every year he has a few dedicated kids that really dig in and own the show and their part in it. He loves to see kids inspired, but there are always a few that are more like herding cats.

Exhibit A: One of my grandmother's many feral kitties. I think we will make this little guy the poster child for September.

So it begins. In there too, we meet with the schools to write education plans for both little men so that their learning experiences are stellar and that their teachers "get them". Love those meetings. Especially the ones where un-named admin are all "There, there hysterical mother." So much fun. Sometimes the meetings make me laugh and sometimes they leave me feeling a little stabby.

We love this ride, but it is a wild one- we don't usually get to come up for air until January and given the rain we have here September to January, I suppose that isn't a bad thing. The house gets neglected and sometimes I run in during the chaos, look in a room for something, get scared that the mess is multiplying while we sleep and slowly close the door to pretend that isn't happening.

Hang on tight. Cue the circus music and the dancing monkeys, it's gonna be a great adventure experience*.
*The word adventure changed to reflect Little G's current hatred for the word, which sends him into a spiralling pit of horror and torture.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Summertime, and the living is easy

Summer is good here. Summer means that Daddy is home for the most part and that the kids are all home.
It means sleeping in. It means no more IEP meetings or battles with the school about this and that.
It means that we can drop anything and run away for a couple of days to wherever, (usually a local campsite) and make sure that the rest of the world can not find us.

However, as in all good things, summer does come to an end. So I sit here typing, realizing that I don't have a giant e-brake for the calendar and like it or not, Tuesday is right around the corner and with it, the first day of school.

So, in my Molly Sunshine way, I am going to find pluses and bright spots to talk about.

Our first spawn starts middle school this year. A whole new adventure, maturity, growing freedom (but not too much) and little things outside my comfort zone like warnings from leadership kids on how to avoid the drug dealers at the school. Fun!

Our middle dude, starts his last year of primary grades. He is on top of the little kids and absolutely clueless as to what, if anything that actually means.

Our youngest, it's her last year "at home". She gets registered to start kindergarten for the following fall and is stuck spending the year with a momma who will try to suck the marrow out of every last second of this precious last year at home with a little person.

Daddy, starts back at work full time and is stoked to start building sets for the upcoming show, and I try to remind myself that I get to start doing props for our local production.

The cool days, mean dinner in the crockpot, warm hats, the glow of warmth that is a housefull of friends over for dinner.
It means we draw nearer to those family celebrations, laughter and music. It means movie nights and making the most out of Friday night to Sunday evening.
It means that we actually have to pay attention to what day of the week it is, what the date is, what month it is, even what time it is.

The end of summer is saying goodbye to hot nights and beach days but hello to pouring over and editing the photos of all our adventures.

So like each year, I march into it. Unwillingly? Yeah a little, but excited because it starts a new chapter here at camp bliss, and new chapters are all about adventure.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

All about our first teacher

Sometimes on a rainy weekend day, when there are no big plans on deck, I just sit and be. I wonder sometimes how many of us can sit and be anymore. Do we really have ten million places to be all the time or do we just think that we need to have ten million places to be?

Here, at camp bliss, there is so much going on when there is nothing going on. The morning usually starts with one or two of the little (sometimes big) munchkins crawling into our bed to start the day. This morning our 11 (almost 12) year old, made an appearance in the morning cuddle. I love that he is that kid that still will crawl in with us in the morning. That he still needs those cuddles. My hubby and I often talk about how to keep his heart soft and yet still make sure that he is armed with all that he needs for the world.

He is growing up. It's thrilling, and beautiful, and scary and emotional all at the same time. He is this amazing spirit. So stubborn. So sure of himself and yet terrified and always looking back to make sure that we are standing right there in case he needs us.

His past few years have been filled with so much. His entry into the world of the pre-teen was kicked off by an increasing intensity in the tics that he has always had. After a few convulsive days we finally decided to get officially confirmed what we already knew, which was our monkey has Tourettes.

When I went to school, in grade 11, there was a boy in my English class that had Tourettes. I didn't know it at the time. I knew that he fidgeted a lot and that he grunted and cleared his throat often. One day, he was absent, it was then that the teacher took a minute to explain to us that this kid had Tourettes and that he couldn't control those sounds and movements and we needed to understand and not make him feel outcast.

All I could remember thinking was, "Wait a minute, he doesn't swear." I couldn't understand why he was labelled with this thing. My knowledge of Tourettes was that small sliver of misinformation, which the media had done such a good job turning into the definition of a complex neurological disorder.

So, here's the thing. At the time, being a kid, I had no idea what to do. I was sad for the kid. I thought, "What an awful affliction." The 17 year old me understood nothing of the idea that what makes us imperfect in this world does not define us. In fact it is in owning and welcoming that which makes us unique, which makes us extraordinary.

Our little monkey, he is all about owning it. He is comfortable in the shoes he was given to walk this world. He gets that in the big picture, he is crazy blessed. How to have him continue to hold that close as we stand on the edge of his elementary years, overlooking the start of middle school. Hmmm there's the challenge.

Until then, we will celebrate the whole of him. Tourettes is not a definition of who he is, but rather a small part of his whole. He is a talented little man, who loves to sing, dance and act. He has a sense of humor and a passion for all things Star Wars. (The Star Wars thing might be genetic.) He is creative, loving and so kind. He is a stubborn little man, who knows his own mind and will fight his own corner hard, so hard sometimes that he can not hear the other side regardless of how loud the opponent shouts. He gets carried away, he gets loud, he laughs with abandon, he has friends that he has grown up with that are right there with him every step of the way. We are so lucky to have him.

Being his mom, he has taught me to persevere, through anything. He has taught me that what other people think, have no bearing on who I am or who he is. He has taught me patience and to see the world from an angle that I would never have looked from if I hadn't met him. Being his mother has made me a better parent, but it has also made me a better person.

Before kids, people always said that they learn more from their kids than their kids learn from them. I didn't get it. Isn't the job of the parent to teach their child? Becoming a parent revealed a truth, yes, we are here to teach, but we are also here to listen, to provide the guide rails for them to bump along on their journey to adulthood. We are there to pick them up and dust them off, to cheer them on and to love them unconditionally. While we are doing all that, they are teaching us.