Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Tonight Honey.

I learned a song when I was in college called "How Do You Keep the Music Playing". I was 19 and that was 15 full years ago (damn...). I remember thinking that it was a sweet song, and thinking that when I found the person I was meant to spend my life with, none of the things this song spoke of would apply. Because you know, true love conquers all and all that jazz.
I'm often blamed of over-sharing and making it weird, so forgive me if this makes you uncomfortable. But I had great plans for tonight. All week, I thought to myself, it's been a tough slog lately, I was out of town last weekend, toilet training is no fun, and it's time to reconnect with the hubby and remind him why he married me. Fast forward to our week, and we have one very stressed out little boy who as I write this is shrieking his head off in his room because he does not want to go to sleep. You have one super exhausted Fickle Feline downing a very stiff drink because I just spent the last 3.5 hours locked in a bathroom with my 3 year old Autistic son trying to get him to do his business in the potty, and you have one husband reading his book on the back deck in hopes of getting a break from his first born who is screaming blue murder.  Very sexy, I know.  

Having a child with special needs, or who is "heavily involved" as we like to say in the industry of paediatric health care can really, really take its toll on a marriage.  You work so hard to keep it together, to make sure your child is getting everything he needs.  Then there are you other children - are they getting enough of you?  Are they resentful that so much focus is placed on their sibling?  And your spouse... how is he coping in all of this?  And after you've taken care of everyone else, how you doin' mom??  You feeling like putting on something slinky, touching up your makeup and slipping on your f*ck me shoes?  Right.  Me too.  

It's work.  It's work I want to do.  I'm lucky that I'm married to my best friend.  I love him and I respect him and I find him very interesting and sexy.  And when I have my child's poop running down my arm and I'm holding his wailing body tight to me, sh!t and all, I have to remember that it's me this time, but last time it was Scott.  He is my partner in this.  He is one of the strongest men I know.  He laughs with me on the hard days.  Takes shifts with me on the nights when our kids tag team us, and happily orders take out when he sees that I have nothing left.  And if I say "Not tonight honey" he understands and just tries again tomorrow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

#Pottytraining #Fail

We started toilet training Max on Tuesday. Wait. Let me pour myself a stiff drink before I start this tale of feces and woe.

We started toilet training Max on Tuesday. I have the grey hair to prove it. And sticky floors. And now that you mention it, I am pretty much caught up on all of my laundry because I've been running my washer and dryer non-stop for the past 2 days. Who knew that one little boy could produce so much excrement? Who knew that parking a child on the toilet every 15 minutes could be so dog damn exhausting? Add to that, we are tracking every toileting attempt and every accident, modeling how to pee and poop in the potty, doling out M&M's for our successful eliminations and patting ourselves on the back for going #1 and #2. Actually, we get really excited when we go #2, and we point it out to Max, do a little dance, and comment on how wonderful it is to go poop in the potty. It's good times in the Carefoot household.

Toilet training a regular kiddo is challenging. Toilet training a child with Autism is something else altogether. You can do it right (basically go hard at it for 10 days straight until your kiddo aces it), or you can torture your child and your family by doing it half "ass" (get it?) and not providing your child with the intensity he needs to master this new skill. So far, Max has successfully peed once (at daycare) and pooped once (at home) in the toilet. That was on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. If Thursday was a twitter message it would read: "seriously, this sh!t is going to kill me - Max 1, Mommy 0, #pottytraining #fail".

Now that we've started, there really isn't any turning back. While toilet training is extremely stressful and I am super tempted to quit and go back to diapers, it can suck now or we can change diapers for two more years and it can suck when Max is 5 and even bigger than he is now. The most challenging part about all of this is putting Max on the toilet every 15 minutes is hard on him (too many transitions for his liking) and it is very disruptive for his therapy sessions. As the emails flew back and forth between Max's team at blueballoon today, I felt like I was going to have an anxiety attack. What would we all do? How was this to be handled? He has an intensive therapeutic listening block coming up, and Music Camp, and he's supposed to be transitioning into the preschool room!!  And why did I think this was a good idea in the first place?!!

At the suggestion of Max's head therapist, it looks like we are going to hire a respite worker to stay home with Max for the next week to train him intensively. This way by the time he starts his intensive block on August 10th, he'll be able to make it 30 to 40 minutes between bathroom visits. His therapists have assured me that this will work. Never having toilet trained before I'm going to try to relax (which everyone keeps telling me to do) and have faith. Can one be zen about poop?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wiggle Less Wednesday: An Open Letter to My Body.

Dear Body,

I owe you an apology. For years I have been an unappreciative jerk. I have put you down, used you as a punch line and denigrated you. Instead of celebrating your beauty and strength (because as you can see from the image below, I clearly know how to celebrate), I have wished for a body that came in a taller size, with the ability to tan. I have complained about being curvier than I would like. I have looked in the mirror and hated you. I have covered you up in baggy t-shirts. I have looked at other bodies and wished you away. I have put you on stupid diets, and overfed you too. Then there was the red wine, spaghetti and licorice incident - a million apologies for that - it won't happen again.You have given me the greatest gift, not once, but twice, in the form of my children. And you didn't stop there, you nourished them for over two years all told. And how did I repay you? I criticized you for the stretch marks that occurred as you made room for their growing bodies. I lamented that you weren't "quite the same" since you'd  been busy creating life. To top it off, I publicized my displeasure with you on my blog - where I focused on a number on a meaningless inanimate object as a way of determining if you were worthy of being loved.

Every day, you get out of bed. You are healthy and strong, lifting my children up as if they are light as feathers. I put you through long days, and you don't complain. I don't always eat right, definitely don't give you enough water, and abuse you with too much caffeine and other liquid substances. Yet day in and day out, you stand by me. I have not been a good friend. I don't know how to make it up to you except to do better by you, respect you more, and celebrate you.



There will be no more "Weight Loss Wednesday" posts. And don't think for a moment that I have given up on having that fit physique I have coveted for so long, because that is the furthest thing from the truth. I am going to try a different approach, because clearly the one I've been trying isn't working. Letting a number on a scale dictate how I am going to feel on any given day is asinine and I know better. There is so much more to health and fitness than what you weigh.  From now on I am going to focus on making my body strong (hence the "Wiggle Less") and that is what I will be writing about on Wednesdays moving forward.   

You may wonder where this is coming from, and I'll give credit to the "Blogs & Body Image: What are we teaching our kids?" panel at BlogHer for giving me a good quick kick in the pants on this subject. They helped me give my head a shake and think about how my attitude towards my body will absolutely shape how my children, especially my daughter, feel about their bodies. I need to change my attitude now so that I don't burden them with the negative body perception that I have carried with me since my teens.   So thank you to Heather, Carla, Claire, Kate, and Roni.   We are the real deal.  It's time for me to start using my power for good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IBI Wait List Assessment at ErinOak: Part 2 (Heartbreak in an Envelope).

I have been waiting for three long months to find out whether or not Max is Autistic enough. Autistic enough to qualify for IBI funding through ErinOak. The assessment was horrible. I was made to feel like I was asking for something my child did not deserve, did not need. It was inferred that I was exaggerating when I spoke of Max's challenging behaviours, that I was somehow misrepresenting just how Autistic he is. And dog forbid if he was too Autistic. What then?

The envelope that arrived in the mail from ErinOak yesterday was big and thick. I suspected that meant we were receiving "good" news. Good in that he will eventually receive funding. Heartbreaking because the wait list for funding is 24 - 36 months, and we only started our waiting in December 2008. We spend $1000 a week on Max's therapy. We receive no help from the government. For all of my friends in the US who think we have it so grand up here in Canada with our public health care, let me tell you it isn't all it is cracked up to be. For all of my friends in Canada who think that just because the Ministry of Ontario website states there is funding for Autism therapy, let me tell you this is a bold face lie.

At a minimum, we have 1.5 years of waiting ahead of us before we receive funding for Max's therapy. I've said it before and I'll say it again: the key years for early intervention for children with Autism are between the ages of 2 and 5.  In the best case scenario (a mere 24 month wait) Max will be almost 6 years old before he receives funding. And that assumes that he is still considered "Autistic enough" by the time his name comes up on the long list of children desperately waiting for funding. The "risk" of paying for IBI therapy out of our own pocket is that he will progress too much while we wait for funding. Makes sense right? The very therapy he needs to learn is working, and if it is proven to work too well, the government will not fund it.  Excuse me while I go jump out my basement window.

But for now, I am relieved that at the very least he gets to stay on the wait list. Relieved yet heartbroken as I read Max's assessment which describes him as in the "Low range (less than 1st percentile)" for communication, daily living skills, socialization, and motor skills. If he is in the bottom percentile, why then was I made to think there was a real possibility he wouldn't be accepted for funding? Why would they do that to me? To Max? They didn't see his magic. The twinkle in his eyes, the joy in his smile was lost on them. They didn't see it.

My Max, you are an incredible little boy.  You are smart, and funny, and beautiful.  You have something special to offer the world and I promise you, I will never give up on you.  I won't let the system fail you.  I see your magic and I will make sure others do too.  Light of my life, I will get you everything you need.  I will find a way.

Monday, July 27, 2009

BlogHer '09: Rock Your Socks Off.

Once in a blue moon, you meet a person who rocks your socks off. I hadn't come to BlogHer anticipating meeting this someone. I wasn't expecting it at all. PatientBloggers - You Are Not Your Disease, You Just Blog About It Every Day was a seminar I had been planning on attending since I first eyed the BlogHer agenda. I had no idea who anyone on the panel was, nor did I bother researching them. If I had, I would have been suitably impressed. I wanted to attend more because I blog a lot about Autism, and I constantly struggle with balancing being a mom to an Autistic child and being "me". Some days I write about the battle against Autism, and how pissed off I am at the system. Some days I live blog about reality TV. Other days I write about things I should probably keep to myself, and every once in a while, I 'fess up on how much I weigh. Is that okay? Is that what people want to read? Do I care? Should I care?

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

BlogHer '09: The Whirlwind.

If I look a bit tired in this picture it's because I have been going to sessions all day, and partying into the wee hours with all of the incredible women I have met over the past three days. I swear I have blog content for the next 3 months, just based on the inspiring conversations I've had, seminars I've sat in on, and elevator chit chat.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

BlogHer '09: Wish You Were Here.

When I won the Mabel’s Labels BlogHer Correspondent contest, the first thing that went through my mind was, “OMG, I HAVE TO CALL JENNIFER AND TELL HER”.  The second thing that went through my mind, was that I wanted her to come with me.  She is my best friend, my honourary sister, my sounding board, and one of my only friends that really gets blogging.  She gets it so much, she has two blogs.

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BlogHer '09: Day 1 Recap.

Incredible. Overwhelming. Mind bending. The first day at BlogHer '09 blew my mind. I have had my horizons expanded and I do believe there is no turning back. The sessions have been really strong, with great panels, and thoughtful, respectful debate. The keynotes left me wiping mascara from my cheeks and so incredibly proud to be a part of this creative community of women writers.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

BlogHer ‘09: Getting Here Was Half The Battle!

Eight hours door-to-door from Toronto to Chicago. Not bad, right? I suppose so, if you were driving! But Julie and I were flying, with her 12 week old baby boy Finian at that! After circling above Chicago for 30 minutes due to a crazy rain, our little pond jumper plane needed to refuel so we diverted to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Lucky for Julie and myself (and all the other passengers), Fin was an angel baby, and kept his cool. As the minutes ticked by, we texted like mad with our BlogHer counterparts already in Chicago and let them know that we were going to miss (BIG SIGH) the SocialLuxe party. I am still recovering from missing this event (and don’t even talk to me about the swag we missed out on).

Continue reading this post on The Mabelhood....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

So Much For Cute Hair.

All the flat ironing in the world isn't going to put an end to the frizz that has taken hold of my hair. It is raining small domestic animals out, and I'm just waiting for my favourite jeans to come out of the dryer. I have packed way too many pairs of shoes, probably more outfits than I need, and still haven't eaten (unless half a pot of coffee counts?). I'm super excited about BlogHer, but I have mixed feelings about leaving Max and Cameron, well, specifically Max. He is having a tough week - lots of new behaviours coming out. I'm trying to remind myself that these usually come hand in hand with progress, but there is one thing in particular that he is doing that makes me crazy.

He is making this new sound - it's kind of like a moan? He does it when he is excited I think - I'm actually not sure what the function of it is (we're still trying to get to the bottom of it). But it is the first sound that he has started to make that really announces to the world loud and clear that he is "different". And I hate that it makes me cringe, because I love him and I am proud of him. But I want so badly for him to be accepted and I worry that this new sound he is making will stick and not just be something that he does for a bit and then drops. I'm the first one to tell people that Max is Autistic, so why does this bug me so much? Anyway, I'm hoping he has a good weekend and that he doesn't run Scott ragged.

Time to finish packing, eat a sandwich and head to the airport. Later peeps!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BlogHer? I Hardly Know Her.

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for Chicago to attend BlogHer '09 as Mabel's Labels Official BlogHer Correspondent. I'm flying with Julie Cole and her new baby boy. When we get there we will be dumping our bags and heading out to party #1 of many (there are so many parties I can barely keep track of them). Also, my best friend Jennifer (that's her in this first picture) of Also A Talker and It Ain't Meat Babe fame is attending as well. I can't wait to see her. I really can't wait to have a conversation with her without having a child crawling all over me. It has been a long time (about 4 years) since we had 3 whole days together to just relax, shoot the breeze, and truly be Jennifer and Katrina again.

Of course, I'll be tweeting and blogging a tonne. The agenda each day is jam packed, and seeing as I am there on official correspondent business, i feel like I should make the most of it. I have already picked out which sessions I am going to attend (geeky, right?) and now all I have to do is a mountain of laundry, figure out what I'm going to pack, and make sure I leave Scott set up for success with the kiddos while I'm partying it up in Chi-town.

One of the things I'm really looking forward to is getting to meet some of the bloggers I read on a regular basis. There is Cecily Kellogg of And I Wasted All That Birth Control fame, who impresses me on a daily basis with her brutal honesty, integrity, foul mouth and terrific writing. She writes about being a recovering alcholic, infertility, losing her twin boys half way through her pregnancy due to pre-eclampsia, being a mom to a little girl, and being overweight. And she's funny.

Jess Howard from Drowning In Kids is also going to be at BlogHer, and I know she is super shy, but I'm hoping I can buy her a glass of wine and tell her how powerful I think her writing is. She has four kids, is going through a divorce, and has blogged through being separated, reconciling and getting divorced. Add to that her frankness about suffering from depression, dealing with being medicated and non-medicated, and all the messy stuff that goes with it, she is an incredible woman.

I'm hoping some of the other mommy bloggers who entered into the Mabel's Labels BlogHer '09 Contest will find their way to Chicago. There are some really talented writers in that bunch. I expect I'll also meet a lot of inspirational women over the next few days and that my daily blog reading will increase by ten fold.

If you are interested in following along, I'll be blogging over at Mabel's Labels. I'll be sure to link to my posts from here as well. See you in Chicago!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Car Sh!t Drives Me Batty.

I hate haTE HATE dealing with car sh!t. Effing loathe it actually. I want my car to get me from point A to point B, and I don't want to worry about it breaking down. I don't want to hear funny sounds from under the hood, and I most certainly do not want to see those indicator lights start flashing menacingly from my dashboard. Those lights? They make four letter words in languages I've never even heard spout from my mouth. My trusty 2001 Camry, who has stood by me for the past 5 years, (with a mere 95,000 km on her) has had a rough spring, none of it her fault. Regardless, she has caused me much stress over the past few months.

First there was the accident, which completely threw me for a loop. Then there was some pain in the ass air conditioning problems. And then, when finally everything seemed to be running smoothly, some car I had the misfortune of driving behind on the highway decided to deposit assorted parts from its transmission on the road in front of me, and you got it, they bounced up under my car, somehow managing to damage the A/C compressor and the belt. The mechanic told me in all his years of fixing cars, he had never seen anything like it. To which I replied, "of course you haven't, because that is just my  luck*".

With my wallet $400 lighter, I got my car back today and she seems to be back to her old self. For now. I'm hoping that my car problems are done for 2009, and that my trusty Camry will last me a few more years. It would be nice to be without car payments for a bit, at least until Max gets picked up for IBI funding (speaking of which - I STILL haven't heard from ErinOak yet about his assessment!!). Life, it ain't easy I tell ya!

* insert colourful language as you see fit

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Cure.

There is no cure for Autism. I often hear parents describe their child as "cured" or "recovered" from Autism, and I think to myself "I pray that will be me one day, that I will be able to say Max is cured or fully recovered". But truly, there is no cure, there are only best outcomes. Do I think Max will be a best outcome case? Absolutely. I am only now starting to accept that he will never be cured.
What does this mean? It means that I am coming to terms with what Autism is, what it means to Max and our family. It means that I am reassessing all of the relationships in my life, observing other people's relationships, and trying to determine what a normal relationships is.  I'm asking myself questions like "are normal relationships the be all and end all?" and having internal debates about the assumptions I make about what I deem necessary to live a happy, fulfilled life.  Just because I think one needs X, Y, and Z to be happy doesn't make it so.  I only think that because it is all I know.  Who am I to judge what makes a good relationship?  Maybe it is okay to have a relationship 100% based on mutual love of a certain topic, or relationships where one person has the understanding that the other is not able to have a fully functioning emotional connection with them, and accepts it for what it is and for what that person is able to give.  All along I have been thinking that Max needs to be able to experience life based on my "ideal scenario".  It probably isn't going to happen, and that is my problem, not his.  
I really have no idea what the future holds.  I certainly have high hopes, and I dream of Max being happy and fulfilled  (whatever that looks like).  I don't look at video of Autistic adults on youtube as an indicator of where we are going, because I don't think they are an accurate prediction of what Max will be like as an adult. The therapy Max is receiving is ground breaking, and he has received early intervention.  I know that the progress will continue in tiny incremental steps, and I need to be patient.  There is no magic cure, only hard work and a tonne of perseverance.  All that to get to a best outcome.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Farewell to Boobs.

My boobs, they are pretty incredible. And by that, I don't mean that they are spectacular in appearance (though by the constant ogling they receive, I would hazard a guess that they aren't half bad). What I do mean, is that they have done right by me, and my kids (and likely my husband). The past 4 years have not been kind to them. They went from being swollen and tender when I was preggo with Max, to getting completely abused for an entire year of breastfeeding. I weaned Max and was pregnant again within a few months so back to being swollen and tender - followed by another 14 months of breastfeeding with Cameron. And they did it - with very few complaints I might add. But as I wound down breastfeeding Cameron over the past month, I started to get very, very concerned. What had four years of hard work done to my girls? I have heard horror stories from other women about how when they weaned their last baby, their breasts all but disappeared, a mere shadow of their former perky selves. Would I be saving pennies in a pickle jar to hoist the sisters back up?
Cameron has been fully weaned for 2 weeks now.  Every day I give the girls a squeeze, check them out from different angles and assess the collateral damage.  I have even inquired with Scott as to whether or not he thinks they still look good.  Of course, he is not stupid and has said comforting things like "of course babe, they are wonderful" and "they are still more than a handful".  They are definitely different than they were before I got pregnant, but I think they have weathered the storm and come out the other side as beautiful as ever.  Resilient, that they are.  And in my opinion, they still qualify as bodacious ta-tas, even if they don't overflowith from my top anymore.  And girls, not to worry, you are officially off duty.  No more babies and no more breastfeeding.  The bakery is closed. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prepping For BlogHer.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Mabel's Labels offices today and seeing where the label magic happens. It was wonderful to finally get to meet all of the ladies I've been emailing with and chatting with over the past 6 months. Funny how we all have these online relationships, and when you finally get to be know each other "IRL" (in real life), you just kind of pick up and continue on. I love that!
The Mabel's ladies - Mumby, Caitlyn, Melissa and Melissa took me to a local restaurant (can't remember what it was called for the life of me). We are all super excited about BlogHer - and Mabel's has some amazing plans for the convention. We nailed down some technical details (like, which parties we are all going to), you know, the really important stuff. Seriously though, we did talk about tweeting, blogging, networking, and bowling.

I ordered a triple decker grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato, with fries for lunch (and a diet coke, natch). They proceeded to order healthy wraps and salads, making me feel like an A1 Junkaholic. Mind you, when our lunches came, they were all sorry they didn't get on board the grease train with me. Since they weren't feeling like having their pictures taken, I photographed their lunches instead. Fair warning ladies - you better be ready to work the camera in Chicago, I will be taking pictures, and I will take no prisoners!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lunching With the Ladies From Mabel's Labels.

One week from today I'll be getting ready to go to Chicago for the BlogHer convention. I can't believe that it is almost here! It feels like a lifetime ago that I won the Mabel's Labels BlogHer contest - so much has happened since then. But here we are in mid July, and another adventure is coming my way.

Tomorrow I'm going to meet all the ladies from Mabel's - and I'm getting a tour of their office! I'll take lots of picture, maybe shoot some video and get the deets on the big trip. I can't believe how much is going to get packed into 3 short days. Also, I can't wait to see Jennifer without the kids! Is that bad?  I have a feeling this is going to be a great trip, both personally and professionally!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Max Update.

Max is having a burst of progress this week. It is so important to acknowledge these periods of progress, because as much as we are waiting for them, praying for them, they do sneak up on us.

On Saturday, Max got on the swing.

On Sunday, he walked into the kitchen, pulled a cup off the counter and handed it to me. He wanted milk. Pretty clear communicating, eh?

On Monday morning, when I was driving him to daycare, I pulled up to the stoplight where I usually turn left to take Max to blueballoon. Instead, I turned right, to go to daycare, and he got really upset. All this time I assumed he wasn't paying attention to where we were going, but he clearly knows exactly where we are going, and he doesn't want to go to daycare!

On Monday afternoon, in his speech therapy session he said "nut", "mommy" (which according to his speech therapist, Kim, sounds like "duhduh" but she insists he IS saying mommy though, not daddy even though it sounds like daddy). He also said "pig", "cookie", "chips", and "crispie".

On Tuesday morning, Max pulled his pajama top over his head all by himself when I asked him to take his "shirt off".

On Tuesday afternoon, when Max's Bumpa pointed out that he had "poopy pants", Max patted his bumm, walked to the bathroom, opened the door, and pulled the toilet visual off the visual schedule.  He then laid down on his change pad.

All small steps, but together, it's a mile. I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Go Max!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Sound Guy Finally Gets Some Love.

My super talented friend Michelle Mailhot is the soprano for the group Toxic Audio. They decided to show their often overlooked and forgotten sound technician some love with a tribute video. Pretty dog damn funny. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Is It Bedtime Yet?

Cameron is a handful. I love her - she is my pride and joy. She likes things how she likes them. She firmly believes that we all exist to be at her beck and call. She likes to be held, does not like to be put down, and gets super pissed off when there isn't a wide selection of pacifiers available for her to choose from. Because you know, the pink one tastes different than the purple one, right?Today was a particularly challenging day. Did I mention that Cameron has also figured out that she can scream? Really loud too. It brings her great joy, especially if she can make Max scream too. Bonus points for that! So, good thing she's cute, because she has started making me ask "Is it bedtime yet?", at 6:30pm (a full 90 minutes before she usually goes to bed).  But she's so cute, I can't resist her.  Anyone feel like babysitting?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I Choose Hope.

Christopher Reeve was once quoted as saying "Once you choose hope, anything's possible". On the tough days, when I am filled with worry about what the future will bring (or not bring), I remind myself of this great man's words. I think a lot of people look at me and think I'm super strong, that I am this unstoppable force, and that's okay - most days that's probably an accurate assessment. I operate under Newton's first law of motion, that being "an object in motion tends to stay in motion". Meaning, to avoid getting stuck, or depressed, I simply keep moving, one foot in front of the other, no matter what. Sometimes I am hard to keep up with (Scott would be the first to tell you that). Those that like to take their time making decisions, or just move at a slower pace get overwhelmed by me. I can often be heard saying "let's go ahead and pull the trigger on that". As in - let's stop talking and start doing. In fact, by the time I'm talking about something, it's probably half way done.
Anyway, I'm off track here...back to "hope". I was out walking with the kids today, singing to Max, and he wasn't paying attention - it seemed like he was zoning out on me. I felt the panic rising in my chest - why isn't he looking at me? Why isn't he responding to the songs that usually get him singing? I was frustrated, and tired, and worried. We got back to the house and went into the backyard, where Max started running around, full of joy. A few minutes later he came over to the swings, where Cameron was already buckled into the seat swing (which is usually what Max uses). Instead of getting upset, he went over to the regular swing, and tried to sit in it. I helped him into it, and held onto him to make sure he wouldn't fall or lose his balance. It quickly became clear that he didn't need me, he was just fine. I called Scott out, and we marveled at the fact that our little Max was now using the big boy swing all on his own, and loving it. Just last month he wanted nothing to do with it, and today he sat on it for over 20 minutes, swinging away, with the wind blowing in his face. This is a testament to the hard work he is doing with this team at blueballoon, and especially his Occupational Therapist, Jess. So, good job Jess and good job Max! I choose hope.

Friday, July 10, 2009


What a week. On Monday I was in Minneapolis. On Tuesday I started a new job. Somewhere in there Wednesday and Thursday happened (all a blur) and today, today is blessed Friday. Scott and I ate our usual super late dinner after the kids went to bed and watched the new British version of Law & Order. I love Law & Order, always have and always will, but I'm not sure about this latest spin-off. It takes me half the episode just to acclimate my ears to the accent, and I just can't get over the courtroom wigs and bad teeth.

In less than two weeks, I'll be headed to Chicago for BlogHer. The days are flying by. Cameron is now walking around like she owns the place, Max is a master at puzzles, has figured out how to climb over all of our baby gates, and seems to have grown about 6 inches in the last week (where did my babies go?). I've always been one who likes to stay in motion, but wow - life is moving a mile a minute right now.  

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My Favourite Position: Horizontal.

My bones are tired. Thank dog the kids have been sleeping through the night. Add that I'm no longer breast feeding (Cam was totally fine with being weened, bless her heart), and I may actually manage to get a full night's sleep. I've been going to bed much earlier this week as it seems I get to about 10:30pm and just fall over. The thing is, I'm actually excited to get up in the morning, and fairly relaxed. Today I spoke with about 20 clients. And it went just fine. They didn't bite (wink), and I didn't make a fool of myself. And I learned a lot. Also, my coworkers are INCREDIBLE at what they do and blow my mind pretty much every time I speak with them.

Excuse me while I crash. Tomorrow will be a full day by its own right. Then it's the weekend, which feels as if it is well earned already!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Drinking From a Fire Hose.

My new boss warned me. He said, "you realize that this job is going to be like drinking from a fire house, right?". Yeah....I had no idea. I'm sure I can manage it, but wow, this is something I have never experienced before. I feel like I blink and the day is done...a list as long as my arm of things I haven't gotten to, and my brain leaking out my ear. I love it. Time for sleep.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

First Day.

Today was my first day at my new job. I was a bit nervous about it, as there are parts of my position that will definitely push me outside of my comfort zone.  The other part that will require some juggling is that I already know a lot of the people I work with, but as a client.  If you haven't guessed already, I am now working at blueballoon, where Max receives all of his therapy.  So, while my coworkers are trying to get used to our new dual relationship (and bumping into me in the staff kitchen), I am navigating between the fact that I am still a client yet also a coworker.  Weird, eh?  I suspect there will be some bumps in the road while we all sort this out.  I need to figure out how to wear two different hats.  Add to that one of the great benefits I bring to my role is that I truly understand the customer experience, yet I have to be careful as to how I refer to it and also tread lightly when I am wearing my client hat...I'm sure I will work it all out, but it is something I have never experienced before.    

The best part of the day was tackling the very thing that I was freaked out about most, which was calling clients.  Also, the day flew by.  I haven't had a day fly by like that in years - definitely a good sign.  Tomorrow will bring an entire new day of new experiences and challenges, and an entire new team of people that I have yet to meet.

I can't remember feeling this fulfilled.  And this happy.  I'm in the right place professionally for the first time in my career.  Feels good.  Scratch that.  Feels great.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Reunion Recap.

This past weekend was wonderful, and for so many different reasons. The main one was getting to reconnect with my friends Tanya and Michelle from college. I hadn't seen them in ages - since 1997 when we saw each other at the now defunct IAJE in Chicago. It's funny that in some ways, everything has changed, yet when it came to our friendships, nothing had changed. Tanya and I literally picked up where we left off, by hopping in our rental car at the airport and heading straight to the Mall of America to get our shop on (man do I love me some Nordstroms). We even had dinner in the Mall at a new restaurant called Crave. We got to the hotel around 11pm to check in and found Michelle, and really, it was like no time had passed.I had my own room, which allowed me to get some much needed down time as well. I found the events fun, but a bit overwhelming at times so I skipped a few of the sessions to sleep in, nap, and did I mention catch some zzzzz's? Getting that many singers in one place is kind of nuts. Add to that the fact that they are all jazz singers, and well, it was truly bananas. I don't listen to much vocal jazz these days (and haven't in over 10 years). Getting reintroduced to it reminded me that the voice really is the most incredible instrument, but also that I have a limited attention span for group singing. I have a theory that most of the time, it is more fun to sing vocal jazz in a group than listen to others perform vocal jazz in a group. For the most part, my theory stands up, at least for me.
Besides seeing Tanya and Michelle, the other person I really wanted to see was my professor Phil Mattson. He has been a huge influence in my life, and I wasn't sure when I'd get the opportunity to say thank you to him for being such an important part of my journey, and never giving up on me (even when I was a stupid kid in her first few years of college). It felt good to see him as an adult, and not only that, an adult who has her act together, who is happy and successful in life.

There were a few people who weren't able to make it to the reunion (the timing of the 4th of July weekend wasn't the greatest - lots of great gigs meant some of my favourite friends from college couldn't be there). Hopefully I'll be able to connect with these folks further down the road. And if not, well, there is always facebook, right?  I think the new friends I made this weekend balance everything out for the friends that weren't there.  One thing I know for sure - Tanya and Michelle - Orlando in 2010 - it's ON ladies!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Making it Weird in Minneapolis.

I promised I would do it. That I'd ask my old college friend Chris (the one who wouldn't accept my Facebook friend request) what was UP with that. Well, here you go - I captured it on video so we can all enjoy this awkward and hilarious moment. Good times, good times.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Minneapolis Here I Come.

We've had a hectic couple of days here chez Fickle Feline. Yesterday was a "holiday", though given Max's behaviour, I'm not sure who exactly enjoyed the mid-week day "off" (Happy Birthday Canada, btw). I have to remind myself when he exhibits challenging behaviour, that it is challenging mostly because he is usually so good. The only time Max really acts out or backslides into old behaviours, is when he isn't feeling good. But dog damn, does it ever suck when he acts out. Both Scott and I are completely fried, and Cameron also seems to pick up on the stress, which only adds to the tension. I'm just hoping that everyone gets some sleep tonight (cross your fingers for us!).

I am heading out to my college reunion tomorrow afternoon. I think it will be fun - and it will certainly be good for me to get a few days away by myself. I keep joking that I'm not actually going to my reunion at all - I'm just flying to Minneapolis and checking into the closest hotel to the airport - my grand plan being to sleep for three days straight. Now that you mention it, that doesn't sound half bad.

I'm bringing my trusty flip with the intention of shooting video of my friends Tanya and Michelle singing their asses off. You can bet there will be some great video and pictures from this weekend. I'm also thinking that the mantra "What Happens in Minneapolis Stays in Minneapolis" will apply, if only to cover my ass about my plan to visit the Mall of America.