Monday, July 30, 2012

So Much Pressure!!

Did anyone else watch the Olympic Women's Gymnastics last night?? The five girls competing are the best in the entire United States.  One of them, Jordyn Wieber, was heavily favored to win Olympic Gold for the Individual All-Around Final title.  Unfortunately, she missed qualifying for one of the two spots.  It was heartbreaking to watch her after she saw the scoreboard and knew she didn't make it.  She was so upset, she started crying.  I'm sure all the moms out there, and especially Jordyn's mom wanted to give her a gigantic hug and say everything is going to be okay.  The last thing in the world she wanted/needed were people taking pictures of her and shoving a microphone in her face. The hours, weeks, months and years it takes to make it to the Olympics are mind boggling. It isn't part of your life, it is your entire life.  Lauren did competitive gymnastics for a handful of years.  She trained about nine hours a week to prepare for competitions. It didn't matter if Lauren did a perfect routine in practice a bunch of times, it only mattered what you did at the competitions.  When I would sit in the stands and watch her, only one word can describe it, INTENSE! I can't even imagine what it must be like for those five girls' parents, watching their daughters fly high into the air, doing back flips and front flips, back handsprings and back tucks!!   When they perform, they have to be perfect, no wobbling, no falling.  SO MUCH PRESSURE!!!!  I was telling Lauren that the gymnasts are all around her age. In the end, they are just teenage girls. I'm confident that once Jordyn Wieber shakes all of this off, she will be giving 200% in the coming week.  Gymnastics is one of those sports that is individual, but very much a team sport.  She is part of a talented group of amazing gymnasts that I'm sure will do well :) GO TEAM USA!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Parking Lot/Parking Garage "Etiquette"

When did walking through a parking lot become so dangerous?!?!?!?!?  This week when I was running errands, I observed bad parking lot "etiquette."  As far as parking garages go, they scare the you know what out of me! They are so noisy, all you hear are screeching brakes.  They echo so much, don't you just want to put on a pair of earplugs?  When I go to a parking garage, I would rather park far away and walk, then get all stressed out when it's time to leave and I have to back up and pull out of the spot.  Lauren, being a new driver, is still learning how to navigate parking lots.  She does my trick of pulling through the spot and have the nose of the car pointing out.  Okay, back to yesterday.  I was walking towards Walmart and saw a car backing out, I had a feeling the driver didn't see me.  Sure enough, I had to stop in my tracks while he pulled his car out of the space.  I guess I looked a little ticked, so he pulled down his window and said, "sorry!"  I told him it wasn't a problem (even though it kind of was).  After Walmart, I headed over to Kroger.  After doing my shopping, I opened the back of my van and was putting all my groceries in.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car pulling through the spot next to me.  I assumed they would park the car and get out. WRONG! This lady pulled through really fast, never stopped and then turned and went down the aisle. She missed the corner of my van by inches.  I'm glad I was by myself.  I shudder to think if I had the kids and they were getting in on that side of the van.  One of my few pet peeves are people that cut through parking lot spaces and don't go down the aisles.  I have done it on very rare occasions, but what I notice is that most people just cut through, not really looking.  I have honked when necessary at these people, but most of the time it just isn't worth it.  I get a dirty look or the finger!  Even though I have the right of way, I stop and let them go. I really wish the Department of Motor Vehicles would require a course in parking lot/parking garage etiquette when you go for your learner's permit or license!! It would make me so happy :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Not Us??

I think when you have a special needs child, there are two roads you can go down.  The first road is denial and the second is acceptance.  I believe in taking the latter.  We could sit here and say, "why us? why does our family have to have a child with special needs???" My question back is why not us??  I totally 100% believe that Dominic was given to us for a reason.  I know one reason was to make me not so darn rigid about everything.  I like my order, if something changes, I don't always adapt well. Dominic has taught me that not everything is predictable and orderly.  He does something spontaneous everyday!!  My son has always been affectionate.  He shows us unconditional love.  When he comes home from summer school, most of the time he won't get off the bus until he gives me a kiss :)  The bus driver told me he even gave her a kiss on her cheek!  Lauren, Dominic and my stepson get along like typical siblings, which warms my heart.  They both accept Dominic for who he is.  My husband gets a kick out of telling people he has a son in elementary school.   He is easily old enough to be a grandfather.  Dominic's eighth birthday is today.  When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he told me he wanted meatloaf.  He also put in a request  for a yellow cake with white frosting.  I guess I need to alert the kitchen "staff!"  I know that I am blessed that he has come so far and can't wait to see what the future holds for him!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The "Look"

Last week when Dominic and I were walking into his music therapy class, I had a mom turn around and give Dominic what I call the "look."  Like some autistic kids, Dominic will randomly start talking to himself.  This mom heard him and turned around, shot me a look of disapproval, turned back around and went into the same building as Dominic and I were going into.  Dominic sometimes (well, a lot of the time) is not a very patient dude and while we were waiting in the hallway, he continued talking to himself.  This mom and her kids were also waiting in the same hallway. I think this woman was wishing she was anywhere but where she was. I guess Dominic was making her kind of uncomfortable.  She was trying her hardest to pretend that Dominic and I didn't exist. There is a little girl with some physical disabilities that has music therapy right before Dominic. She comes out of her therapy and has the biggest smile on her face and is so happy.   She and I always greet each other :)  I wasn't watching the other mom, but I'm sure between this little girl and Dominic we were making her super uncomfortable.  Dominic has been in an inclusive special education classroom since he was three.  This past school year, he was mainstreamed in some of his classes.  When I was in school, we never interacted with the special education classrooms, it was kept very separate.  I remember looking at the kids and wondering what it would be like to talk to them.  I think it did them a big disservice to keep them away from the other kids.  I'm glad that times have changed and Dominic has the opportunity to be with typically developing children.  It teaches the other kids at his school that not all children "look" and act the same and that it's okay to be different. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Trips

We just got back last night from a 10-day car trip out East.  Just about every summer when I was growing up, we would drive down to the Eastern Shore of Maryland or Delaware or make the several hour drive down to Florida.   Back when I was little, there were no Game Boys, Nintendo's, iPads, or iPods to help pass the time in the car.  Just for the heck of it, I counted how many "electronics" we brought with us on our most recent trip.  We counted 12 and that didn't include the GPS. Yikes!! I couldn't believe that we had that many!  On the last couple of trips back East, we drove straight through to Maryland. This time around, we broke up the trip, by stopping around Pittsburgh for a family reunion and then continuing on to Maryland.  On the way back, we stopped in Cleveland and then finished the rest of the drive the next day.  When we got out of the car last night, Lauren said she felt like kissing the ground.  Let's just say, by the time we have made it back home again, we are all ready for a little "space" from each other.  We had some interesting hotel and rest stop experiences on this trip, but that's for future blog posts :)  How do you and your family pass the time in the car, do you talk? is everyone doing their own thing?  I would love to hear how other families pass the time on the "road!"

Monday, July 2, 2012

Disciplining Other People's Children

Last week, as I was coming down our street towards the stop sign, I saw a boy, maybe about 10 or 11, riding down the sidewalk on his skateboard.  He had no helmet, no arm or knee pads and was on his cell phone.  He was going really fast and I had a feeling he didn't see me in our van.  Sure enough, when I was about 20 feet or so from the stop sign, he flew down a driveway and right in front of my car.  He never looked back, he just went right into the middle of the street, in front of me, to the left and then back in front of my car to the right.  When he went past my car a second time, he hit the curb and fell down.  The whole time, the boy never stopped talking on his cell phone.  After I made sure he was okay, I said, "do you know you rode your bike right in front of my car?"  He was like, "I'm sorry."  I thought he might cuss me out or tell me, "hey, you're not my mother!"  He knew what he did was wrong, I guess.  It made me think back to when I used to live on my old street in Maryland.  The street only had 24 houses and it was a dead-end street.  Right at the very end of our street, there was a family with three little kids.  The oldest was a boy and I don't know if he was ever told the word "no."  He rode his bike one time in front of my car one too many times, so I finally talked to his mom.  I told her, "you really should watch him better, he rides his bike in front of cars!"  I don't think the mom liked that too much, for pretty much the rest of the time they lived on our street, if she saw me, she would turn her back to me and pretend like I didn't exist.  I guess she didn't appreciate the fact I was attempting to discipline him.  I was actually just looking out for his safety.  When Lauren was little, like 2-4 years old, I think my unofficial nickname was the "playground police."  If I saw someone cutting Lauren off at the slide or felt she was being treated unfairly, I was right up in the kid's face. I was such a "helicopter" mom in those early years!!  When do you feel it's appropriate to discipline another parent's kid?  never? sometimes? always? I would love to hear!

My New "Relationship" with the Sun

Long gone are the days that I would sit on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean for HOURS at a time with just baby oil on my skin for prote...