Thursday, October 20, 2011

Icing on the Cake

Sneaking frosting before it was time to blow out the candles was my typical birthday M.O. There's a picture of pinholes in the top of my 4th birthday cake (white with pink roses). Somehow I thought sticking one of my grandmother's sewing pins into the frosting and licking it off was a clever and clandestine method to sample the sweetness. The risk of getting my tongue punctured obviously outweighed by temptation.

When the time came, I poured myself into birthday planning for my own kids. Care and consideration going into every detail - the literal centerpiece being The Cake. But as the kids grew, so did the physical and emotional demands of Special Needs Parenting. Out of necessity and practicality, celebrations became simpler.

But in the coming year, I won't have to worry about The Cake. Icing Smiles, Inc. makes cake wishes come true for Special/Medical Needs children and their families. The bakers are local and turn out amazing custom creations for their most precious clients and their siblings. I was blown away by some of their incredible cakes - including a dragon birthday cake done for my friend's son that actually breathed FIRE. And they donate their time. The cakes are free.

Icing Smiles, Inc. has graciously accepted the challenge to wow my kids on their next birthdays, which means Mariah will be receiving her Dream Cake just a couple of months! And she has NO idea. Hopefully our baker can incorporate Mariah's Godzilla obsession in there somehow. I've got some ideas and I'm already dreaming up the themes for Isaiah's and Savannah's fantasy confections.

All birthdays are special. I am grateful there are people out their who understand the significance of what so many people take for granted - that their children will have a next birthday. The stress and sacrifice of their siblings. And want to make their dreams come true.

My personal Dream Cake? Haven't given it much thought. But based on my history, a giant Pin Cushion would seem appropriate.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Making it Work

I don't know how single Special Needs parents do it!

I don't know how Special Needs parents who work outside of the home do it!

~ posted by two Facebook Friends last week

I just finished cleaning up an epic toxic accident. Putting Isaiah on the potty and leaving him while I checked on dinner didn't turn out as stress-free as I had hoped. Because when he was ready to get up, he got up. Just because he was ready to get up didn't necessarily mean he was finished. So I spent a good part of my evening scrubbing tiles. Walls. Zaiah.

So when people ask me if I "work", excuse me if I scoff. I know what they want to know. If I am gainfully employed outside of the home. But I still like to make them squirm. "Work, you say? Where do I begin..."

Dinner still had to be completed and served. The laundry refused to transfer itself from the the washer to the dryer. Dishes had to be washed. Homework had to be accounted for. Of course, the Girls have responsibilities which makes me grateful that they are older now.

Especially now that I am considering a career outside of the home. My life is moving into a New Season. As God opens doors, I know the strength, faith, and courage He has been cultivating in me all along is coming to fruition.

How do single parents of Special Needs kids work outside of the house?

I have no idea. But if it is the Lord's plan for my life - I'll soon find out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

Quiet Saturdays are our new "in thing". Nothing on The Calendar. No obligations. No showers necessary. All I ask is that the kids brush their teeth.

What matters is that my kids and I are spending quality time together. Our weekdays are filled. The three of them attending three different schools on three different schedules. Mix in Zay's various therapies, girls' homework, doctors' appointments, counseling sessions,'s easy to see why we become Pajama-Clad Waffle Eaters a couple of Saturdays a month.

The kids have been back in school for well over a month now. Pulling Savannah out of public school last year is proving to be the best thing we could have done. Thank God for my mother. We weren't sure how Savannah would do with a full-day schedule. It would include Lunchtime. Which would mean crowds, noise, and eating in front of other people. With her Asperger's, that creates a nightmare trifecta. The day she hopped in the van and announced she had talked during lunch was the day my doubts melted away. She recently brought home her Progress Report - all "Excellent". The staff is so nurturing. And she is thriving.

Isaiah continues to push the boundaries of how much one can love a little boy. To hear people in our circle express their affection for him is beyond heart-warming. It's affirming. Makes me feel like I am not alone in caring for him. Few are immune to his big, toothy smile and loving disposition. The stubborn boy who, when faced with a task he'd rather not perform, will go completely and utterly boneless. As frustrating as it is (an act we've dubbed The Boneless Chicken), it is a testament to the will of a boy who has no words, but more than enough charm, wit, and personality to control the parts of His World he discovered he can. His communication for the past 6 months has been remarkable. He is making choices. He can express his discontent. He can bring me a banana for me to peel for him. And one day I was standing at the bathroom sink the and he teetered up behind me with a 6-pack of applesauce he wanted opened. When he wants a bath (one of FAVORITE things), he pushes me into the bathroom and shoves me to the side of the tub. He's taller and stronger, but more tolerant of new things. We found out from his teacher at Open House last week that he is staying in his chair and participates (read: cooperates) with the lesson.

Also wowing me this year? Mariah. She started a new school and is happier than she has been in almost two years. She is making good grades and new friends. She has expressed an interest in joining Chorus at school. I had no idea she could sing. That was until I heard her in her room one day singing along to a Godzilla video. Not only was she sweetly in tune, but she was singing IN JAPANESE. How did I get so preoccupied with the Special Needs Duo that I missed that The Typical One could sing ~ in a foreign language, no doubt?!

So I dedicate this Quiet Saturday to my Middle Child with a Heart of Gold.

Dōmo arigatō, Miss Roboto