Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Glowing in Canada from all over the world

I couldn't access my blog while we were on the road,* so I haven't had the chance to tell you just how much this World Cup means to me, and feel I won't possibly do the subject justice in the short time between now (and afternoon crafts at the library) and the big USA - Germany semi-final this evening, but I must try.

I wrote last year about the world part of the world cup being important to my mother and me, and about how I seem to be always travelling during world cup soccer.  While I was pregnant with Aster four years ago, the Women's World Cup brought me to tears.

Turns out it still does.  Sitting high in the stands in Vancouver, I missed the big Ecuador-Cameroon handshake for peace because I was crying so hard.  Dianthus asked why I was crying and I tried to explain I was crying because I was happy, to which he replied, "I know tha-at, but why are you crying?"

Before first match, after first big happy cry.
I was crying because it seemed perfectly normal to him to have driven almost 3,000 miles to watch women from South America play soccer against women from Africa at a stadium in Canada with his grandparents.  He has no idea that lots of people still don't consider women's sports a sport worth watching.  Half his soccer team is made of girls and he passes to them just as much as he passes to the boys on his team**.  He has no idea that his grandmother played half-court basketball in her youth, and the logic that girls couldn't run the whole court would baffle him.  He has no idea that his mother, who played soccer for ten years, never dreamed of playing in the World Cup because the Women's World Cup didn't exist when she was young.  He has no idea how excited his mom was when she met his dad twelve years ago, because not only was he a soccer fan, he was a women's soccer fan (with previous world cup experience and a Boston Breakers shirt to show for it).

Because I selected the short sleeve (Ecuador) shirt,
the Mister made friends and official FIFA pre-game footage.
Dianthus was amused by the internationality of it-- that people kept taking pictures of his Dad in his rare Cameroon jersey or of our whole family sporting our Ecuador, Cameroon, Germany and Italy (not actually in the tournament) allegiances, and he keeps asking who we are for in every match (he cannot imagine why we are not cheering for Germany tonight when he has cousins who live there).  But he is not overwhelmed by the idea that these people have come together from all over the world because of women's sports.

And the very fact that this is ordinary to him overwhelms me with joy.
 *8 years of blogging with nothing other than a password and now blogger wants me to verify with a phone number from West Virginia?  We are home now, by the way.

**Which, for accuracy sake, I should add is not at all, but that will change as other teams start to learn things about defense.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tear Reduction

I was reduced to tears over shoes once again yesterday* so I can't write about that struggle yet.

So I'll end this year's official streak for stroke with a link to the 2015 Pediatric Stroke Awareness Montage (Aster is in the upper right in a middle section), which also left me in tears, but in a good way.

*It's not about the shoes.  It's about being a competent mommy.  Spending hours comparing and measuring and ordering expensive shoes only to receive them and struggle mightily to force them over Aster's newer, smaller AFO, when they clearly don't fit, leaves me in a heap of incompetent tears.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In Their Great-grandfather's Hats

Great grandparents and great-grandparents have been on my mind recently as we set out to travel to see both The Mister's parents and my parents and to meet up with each set again in far-off locales.  I want to write about how special they are to Aster and Dianthus and to write about my own much-missed grandparents, but as I look at these images of Aster and Dianthus in my grandfather's hats, I can only tear up and smile.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Unsightly Glow of Persistent Flash Problems

The rain was great for the roses. Well, it was great until the leaves turned black and yellow and fell off (fungal problems in Western Oklahoma!).  I had beautiful bouquets for Mothers' Day and my birthday, but have the persistent problems of being unable to ) the flash.  All of the blossoms are from our yard.  The white is mock orange.
May 11, 2015
May 19, 2015

Friday, May 29, 2015

Of Biblical Proportions

I was at crafting night last week when conversation turned to the weather.  As everyone commented that they had never seen rain like this in Western Oklahoma, one woman added, "And Noah* says we should get 2-4 more inches over the weekend."
"Noah?" asked another, clearly rattled.  "Surely, we don't need an ark yet?"

And that was before we really did receive 3+ inches on Saturday afternoon.  And more Sunday.  And Monday.  And probably Wed. and Thursday. and maybe today.  And before I was locked out of this account while traveling so I couldn't keep up the streak for stroke.  Who knows when that boat will come in handy?

*I don't think she thought it was funny that we were confusing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with the Genesis sailor, but I did.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Would it be better to be born without a hand?

There's a conversation about this happening among CHASA parents right now-- Would it be easier to parent a one-handed kid than a child with hemiplegic cerebral palsy?-- and most are taking the obviously correct view that we can never understand someone else's struggles, so we shouldn't even be thinking about this.

Still, once mentioned, we are thinking about it.  The actual "would it be easier?" question is futile (it's a bit like asking, "Would my life be easier if I were two inches taller?" when it doesn't much matter because I'm not.), but I think it is interesting why some parents are even discussing this:

  1. Because one-handedness is purely physical.*  Pediatric strokes frequently lead to seizures and have emotional, behavioral, speech, and cognitive consequences, in addition to the physical.
  2. Because one-handedness is known and definitive.*  No amount of physical therapy is going to lead to a new limb.  Lots of therapy might (or might not) change outcomes for a child with hemiplegia.  New braces might help (or might not),  Surgery might help (or might not). The symptoms might get worse (or might not).        
  3. Because people don't assume I one handed person is stupid.  Eh.  That's probably not true.  I'm sure there are a few idiots who speak loudly and slowly in the presence of a one-handed person because that's what they do with anyone who is different. But despite the Stephen Hawking example, many people correlate coordination with intelligence.  
  4. Because one can't see one-handedness from across the room, which may lead to first impressions other than, "walks funny".  
I'd welcome your thoughts.  And no, we are not going to chop off anyone's limb in order to find out.

*Remember that we are dealing with a perception of one-handed life here.  Not actual one-handed life.  I can think of lots of reasons these could be completely incorrect, but I'd rather post something from someone with knowledge than just speculate both sides.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sharing Small Victories

Just the mention of  Easter Egg Hunts starts getting CHASA parents agitated.*  For many "hemikids" such hunts are an ordeal.  Holding a basket while collecting eggs and running requires bilateral coordination that many of them just don't have.

Grasping the basket!
Apparently in big cities, there are also special Easter Egg Hunts for kids with special needs, but sometimes kids with CP get glared at for not being special enough and sometimes get put with the younger kids who are more their speed and get glared at for being "that big kid" among the little kids**.

Of course, my simple solution to this would be not to have large group egg hunts for anyone, but that's not the point of this post.  The point of this post is that CHASA is a community where I could post these photos of my kids at my neighbor's house and the other parents could immediately understand my excitement that Aster is actually grasping the basket with his right hand! and my teary sadness that I can't help but compare Aster to Dianthus, who can manipulate eggs with both hand without a second thought (shown here counting them in order to slow him down). I ache a little at how much harder most everything physical will be for Aster while cheering that he can do all the things he can do.
 It's invaluable to have a place where one can share the little victories and the nagging petty fears.  Thanks CHASA!

Two hands all the time.

*They agitate me because of the commercialization, the plasticization, the sugar, the materialism . . . And the fact that we had a school Easter Egg hunt agitated me because of all of the above and WHY ARE WE CELEBRATING EASTER AT PUBLIC SCHOOL?

**For the sake of clarity, Aster has not received these looks, in part because we do not participate in large Easter Egg Hunts (which takes some planning to avoid parks at certain times around Easter), but I have heard multiple reports through CHASA moms.   It's hard to believe that people glare at kids like this, but then you think about how humans are, and it is really not that hard to believe.  Kids with hemiplegic cerebral palsy have also been kicked off of sports teams for not being handicapped enough-- after all, they can stand.