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That time I did not have enough hands to wipe all the things that needed wiping

25 Feb

Last night, I was telling my husband Josh about how I was trying to get things ready for our trip.  Most people plan on going away and have lists like “Pack cute shoes” and “Don’t forget passport”.  Those were on my list, below “Maniacally organize Maura’s closet so even she can get herself dressed” and “Get Maura to poo.”.

The former went okay, though my fabulous plan of hanging up each outfit to stall Maura in her quest to unload every drawer onto the floor in search of the right shirt didn’t quite go as planned.  The latter though….


There was this moment, after dosing Maura with “special chocolate” – aka Ex-Lax – not once, but twice, and realizing that we had hit the stubborn “I really have to poo but I refuse to, I refuse!” screaming stage, and that I was leaving town the next day, and she’s a hot mess of needing to poo, and screaming at me in the bathroom, working herself up into a fine mess while also realizing that if she pressed her wet face against my shirt, it left wet marks, so I was now a bit of a hot mess myself, and I sat there, gently using phrases like “If you let the poo out, your tummy will feel better” and “It will stop hurting if you just let the poo out”, and she’s screaming, and I’m now certain my sister, who agreed to watch my offspring while I was away, was quickly packing as she ordered an Uber cab, and I’m trying to remember which saint is the Saint of the Constipated…

…or, you know, 5 pm on a Thursday…

But finally, the girl pooped.  And there was much rejoicing and high fiving and relief.

For one moment.

Because as my daughter bent over to have her hiney cleaned, and as I took many a baby wipe to do the job, I hear her go “Oh no!” and she stands up just as I notice blood on the floor…and her hands…and her face…

One of my superpowers is deducting where the blood is coming from within five seconds.  I realized that Maura had a nosebleed.  She was most concerned about the blood on her fingers as I tried to wipe her nose and keep her from stepping in the blood on the floor.  Then I realized I still needed to wipe her bum, yet that became impossible as trying to do that just caused her to bleed on the floor more.  Meanwhile, she of course stuck a finger in her nose, as if that would help.  It didn’t.  So then she once again was most concerned about the bloody finger.

And I realized in that moment, that I did not have enough hands to wipe all the things that needed wiping.

Did I panic?  Did I give up?  Of course not.  I decided to just start wiping in the order of importance – to Maura.  Finger, then nose, then floor, then bum.  And all was well again.

The moral of the story?  You can’t always do everything at once.  And sometimes, the priorities that need to be followed are not your own.  And never agree to watch your sister’s kids.

Oh, the things I go through for this little face!

Oh, the things I go through for this little face!

My child is a student too, not a learning experience for others

10 Feb

In the debate about whether or not to mainstream your child with special needs, one of the arguments that inevitably comes up is that other children need to be exposed to your special kiddo so that they can learn how to deal with those who are different.  It’s never worded “Our children need to learn what it’s like to be around neurotypical people”, it’s always the reverse – “The neurotypical kids should be exposed to those who are differently-abled!  It’ll make them more compassionate!”

My problem with this particular stance boils down to the fact that it sort of takes away from the legitimacy of the special student’s learning needs.  The fact that they’re to be some sort of social experiment for their typical peers is seen as a legitimate reason for mainstreaming.

I have three other kids, and when placing them in schools, I have never thought “What would be good for the other students?”  It has always been “What would be best for my child?”

So why should it be different for Maura?

Let me be blunt –

My job is not to expose your child to different people.  My job is not to ensure your child grows up to be a more compassionate human being.  The school environment should not be the only way to expose your child to people with special needs.  But still, I am told that she should be mainstreamed, so other children can be exposed to her disabilities. It’s as if her disability exposure only happens in the schools.  Trust me, we’re out there, in the real world, being all sorts of disabled in stores and coffee shops and movie theaters.  We don’t hide Maura at home, we’re right out there, in every conceivable scenario, showing our girl the great big world and teaching her how to live in it. Her life lessons don’t stop at the end of the school day, and neither should your child’s.

Just like any other parent, my job is to help my child reach her full potential.  My job is to figure out the best way to do it.  Whether or not she’s exposed to her neurotypical peers during school hours shouldn’t matter more than her learning those valuable life skills your child has already mastered.  Accepting her differences means accepting that she needs to be taught differently, that she learns differently.  My child can’t learn like her typical peers do – her brain doesn’t work that way. So why should she be put in a typical school environment?  So she can be a good learning tool for others?  Forget that!

Really, the best way for your child to learn how to be a compassionate and accepting human being is for you, the parent, to model the behaviors.  That is your job, not my child’s.

as seen at the local coffee shop...we don't hide our light under a bushel ever!

as seen at the local coffee shop…we don’t hide our light under a bushel ever!



It’s been one of those weeks

9 Feb

Okay, so for us, it was still in the realm of “normal”.

First, Maura cut her thumb on her sister’s razor.  Because she was trying to use the razor case as a flip phone.  Of course.  The good news was, it didn’t need stitches.  And after a couple of failed attempts of bandaging it, Maura finally left the bandage on long enough to let the wound clot up (not before she bled all over the bathroom rug.)  Of course, this was the night I had places to be, so I spent some time after it all apologizing for being late here and there because I had to re-bandage the bleeding thumb and telling her brother what to do if the bandage came off again.

Of course, in the midst of this, I had this brilliant idea of a home healthcare service, where a trained medical professional comes to your house to stitch up minor wounds of the children, so you don’t have to drag them to the flu-ridden ER for a couple of stitches.  This could also have an extra service of determining whether or not your child who’s knocked their little noggin against something has a concussion or not.  I need this to happen please.

Then Friday morning, at five a.m. I woke up out of a dead sleep to the sound of vomiting.  I knew it was Maura, and got up to find her sitting on the carpeted floor, looking miserable as she vomited again.  All over the carpet.  Because this house is chock full of cream carpeting.  Luckily, I just bought a Bissell SpotPro Cleaner so I cleaned the carpet as Josh cleaned the girl up.  He took first shift, God bless the man, because she threw up again.

Yeah, I’m not good with vomit.  Not at all.  So Josh is the go-to guy when this happens, and I love him all the more for it.

Needless to say, Friday was canceled as we wandered about like zombies watching Disney movies with Maura.  I had plans with friends, but had to cancel those.


And then as quickly as it hit, Maura was better.  By Sunday, she was back to destroying one room as I cleaned the other, and playing with her dolls while fighting with her sister over the Xbox.  But then, as I sat for a moment, I heard the distinct sounds of the lid of a bathroom container clinking back on.  There’s only two things that are in such containers in the bathroom, and one of them is Q-tips.

Sure enough, I caught Maura with a handful of Q-tips.  Which lead to the question “Did you put something in your ear?”

Oh yeah, both ears.


I couldn’t get the white stuff, which turned out to be styrofoam pieces (which where she got those from, I have no idea), out with regular eyebrow tweezers.  But our long narrow medical tweezers (a gift from a doctor after he stitched up one of the boys, lol) were MIA.

First, I called Josh.  “Do you know where the long narrow tweezers are?”

“No…do I need to pick some up on my way home?”


Then I called a friend, who brought over two different kinds, and some knitting because hey, while here…

Meanwhile, Josh came home and asked “So, ears or nose?”  Because we’ve played this game before.  I had gotten most of the styrofoam out of one ear, he got it all out of the other, then we had to wait for Maura to chill to get the little tiny chunk of styrofoam still stuck to some ear wax out.  Go figure, the thing that got it out was a Q-tip.  Let me tell you, that moment was nerve-wracking because I was either going to nudge it out, or nudge it further in. I won that round.

Needless to say, we happily sent Maura off to school this morning.  Just so we can take a few moments to relax before it all starts up again.



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