Tag Archives: sibling

5 Ways That Motherhood Has Changed Me

8 Feb

1. I can’t stand silence.

I used to revel in the silence. Now if no one is crying, giggling, arguing, singing or asking me a thousand questions I feel like the apocalypse may have happened and I was left behind.
I also can’t stand it because I know what it means. . .someone is coloring on the walls, making hair and dresses out of the toilet paper, or gluing my new earrings to paper.

2. I cook

No, I don’t cook well. But I do cook. Before I had kids cooking consisted of pouring a bowl of cereal and adding milk. Now I am like a mad scientist. You can find me in the kitchen whipping up concoctions, smoke billowing from burning pots and pans and children begging me for McDonalds. (They just haven’t developed their pallets yet to appreciate my cooking.)

3. Drool no longer bothers me.

I seriously had a major hang up about drool when I was pregnant with my first child. Thick, drippy, smelly, liquid constantly hanging from a baby’s mouth was one of my phobias. Gross. I never thought I’d get used to it. Now I don’t even think about wiping my kid’s mouths with my shirt, pants, hands, arm, or the nearest toy or baby blanket if it suits me. Sometimes I’m sneaky and wipe one of my kid’s mouths on the back of my other kid’s shirt. Excellent reason to have multiple children. You never run out of clothing surfaces to wipe faces on.

4. I don’t sleep.

Ok I do sleep, but I definitely don’t sleep like I used to. I used to close my eyes and be completely comatose until my alarm went off the next morning. Now I am on night time mommy watch 24/7. I hear a cough, sneeze, or fart in the night and I am suddenly the world’s fastest, sneakiest spy. I creep into their room, find out which one made the sound, decipher if it needs further investigation and then escape like Houdini before I am spotted by the enemy.

5. I think yoga pants and pajamas should be a strictly enforced dress code for stay at home moms.

Before I had kids I wouldn’t have been caught dead without my hair brushed, make up on and a properly thought out wardrobe. Now I think. . .Why do I have to get dressed to go to the grocery store? Why do I need to put on my “good jeans” (you know. . .the ones that don’t make my ass look like a deflated saggy pillow) to go sit in a circle with 15 other toddlers, singing The Wheels on the bus, coloring happy faces and trying to keep my kid from gluing the picture to the table? No my good jeans are reserved for the times when even my pallet is too underdeveloped to appreciate my cooking and we need to go to out to eat. I mean really out to eat. Like going to McDonalds and forgoing the drive through to sit in the exceptionally fun play room. I mean Playscape. . .yes, my jeans must be worn to the Playscape. If for no other reason than to provide a thicker barrier between my knees and the pee soaked tunnels my kids ask me to crawl through.

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What about me mom?

7 Feb

“A sister is God’s way of proving that He doesn’t want us to walk alone.” -Anonymous

Apparently I have seriously offended one little person in my house by not writing about her yet. When I picked Kekoa up from school yesterday I excitedly told him that I was able to tell a story about him on a website.

“What’s the story about mommy?”

“I just told people what an amazing person you are and how much you love your sister, Oli.”

At this point I hear a little voice pipe up from the back seat.

My 2 year old Ginger, is not about to be left out.

“Me too mom! You wrote a story about me too!”

She is far to grown up and sophisticated to use silly words like ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’. We are mom and dad and sometimes, we are Shannon and Seth.

“Not yet Ginger. I haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet.”

“Awwww….I want a story.”

So now I find myself needing to write about Ginger. Although it in no way follows the normal sequence of Oli’s story, I have to tell you about my little princess. She is not about to be left out, let alone not be the center of attention.

This is Ginger.

Ahhhhh….Ginger. Where do I even begin?

Ginger was born when Oli was 2 months away from being 3 years old. I thought that it would be easy to have another baby at this point because Oli was getting a little bit older.

I was wrong.

To describe Ginger as being a difficult baby really doesn’t accurately portray the first 5 months of her life. I had no idea what I was in for when she was born.

She was a terrible infant. She cried all the time. And I do mean ALL THE TIME. Literally. If she wasn’t eating (which she always did) and she wasn’t sleeping (which she never did) she was crying.

Oli had a really hard time when she was born. She is very sensitive to loud noises and Ginger screamed like she was in a special baby crying contest and was intent on winning first prize. I’m sure my neighbors were convinced that I was somehow torturing my newborn.

We found out when she was 1 year old and stopped nursing that she was allergic to milk. She would break out with a rash all over her face every time I gave it to her.(I’m sure she was sensitive to breast milk too.)

Yeah. . .that would have been good to know when she was a baby.

Oli really wanted nothing to do with her. Every time I would try to put Ginger in Oli’s lap or even next to her, she would push her away immediately. I couldn’t blame her. Sometimes even I couldn’t handle her screaming anymore. But by the time Ginger was 5 months old she was much better.

I couldn’t convince Oli to like her though. I’m sure she had no idea what this little loud thing was. She’d never been around a baby before. So, one minute it was just her and Kekoa and life made sense. She had routines and structure and plenty of mommy time. The next minute she had erratic routines, no structure and mommy time usually meant sitting with me while I had a wiggly little body attached to my boob. It took Oli about 18 months to let Ginger get near her and now she loves her. But that was only because of how Ginger approached and treated her.

The personality differences between my oldest and youngest children are striking. They are polar opposites.

Where Kekoa is quiet and sensitive, Ginger is loud and bossy. Kekoa wants to help other people and never strives to be the center of attention. Ginger just wants everyone to cater to her and will do whatever it takes to make sure that someone is watching her. She is constantly singing, dancing, and performing. And if what she is doing is not immediately grabbing your attention she will get in your face and absolutely demand it. And that is exactly how she approaches Oli.

She just grabs her by the hand and pulls.

“Oli! Come play with me!”

(Oli has a lot of trouble standing up by herself.)

“Ginger, you can’t just pull on Oli. You’re not strong enough to help her get up.”

She will not be detered.

“Yes I am mom. See. Look at my muscles!

Come on Oli! Stand up. Let’s go.”

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She has never ever treated Oli like she is any different from anybody else. I would like to explain this away by her age. She just doesn’t understand yet. (She will be 3 in March.) I don’t think that’s it though. Only because I have always watched how Kekoa interacts with Oli.

Kekoa is more reserved with her and always has been. He is concerned that things are done properly with Oli and he is always cognisant of her visual impairment and her mental age. He has been like that since she was born. He doesn’t ever treat her like she is less than, but he is aware that there are things that she just can’t do or needs help with. I frequently hear him tell Ginger,

“You have to put the toys in her hands Ginger. She can’t see them when you just throw them at her! Put them in her hands!”

Kekoa wants to teach Oli things and makes sure that she gets what she needs.

Ginger wants Oli to pay attention to her. Ginger just wants to make sure that they are friends.

I really love this about her. I don’t have a sister so I know nothing about the special bonds of sisterhood.

I see it in my girls though. Despite their differences I see that bond.

Oli is so lucky to have two people who will always stand by her side. One who will make sure that no harm ever comes to her and the other who will make sure that no one ever leaves her out, pity’s her, or treats her differently.

Growing up with Oli

4 Feb

IMG_1076“You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”
― Woodrow Wilson

I have often wondered what it is like to be a sibling of a child with a disability. I know it’s an adjustment for any child when a new baby is brought into the house. But, what about the child whose life is forever changed beyond just having another little person to live with. It is so much more than parents now being more preoccupied with feeding routines, frequent diaper changes and crying episodes. And it’s more than just knowing that you now have to share mommy and daddy’s attention with a new sister when, well lets face it, you probably weren’t all that thrilled about her joining you. Especially since you were an only child up until now.

Your life changes because now life is riding in the car for hours and then sitting in little rooms with crappy toys and being told to “be quiet” while you try to wait patiently. It’s waiting in these rooms several times a week when all you really want to do is go back home and play with your toys and watch the Cars movie…again. It’s sensing the atmosphere change in your house and feeling the weight of a sadness that you don’t understand but, seems to have followed your sister home from the hospital. The weight that seems to intensify after waiting in another one of those little rooms.

As you get older you start to notice that your sister, who you have waited to play with since she was born, never seems to get old enough to play like you. She doesn’t sit up very well when she does learn to sit up and then she can’t see when you try to show her your newest Lightening McQueen car or your new Hot Wheels race track. Mommy tells you to put your toys in her hands to show her things, but frankly this doesn’t make sense either because then she only puts your new toy in her mouth and ruins it with slobber. She never learns to move around the house which means mommy has to carry her every where. The words “Oli just needs more help” are lost on you when you just want to be picked up and carried around like before. You love your sister but, just don’t understand her. You ask questions and want to know why she is so different than you but, mommy’s explanations that God made her different don’t make sense. Why can’t the doctors just make her better. She is obviously sick and this is what doctors do. Why doesn’t she ever get any better? Why do they keep taking her to the doctor if they don’t fix her?

As you grow and change, learn your letters, learn to count and tie you shoes you try to show your sister so she can learn too. But, your attempts are to no avail and she doesn’t seem to get it. She won’t talk to you and now you are drifting farther and farther apart. She starts to do strange things like flap her arms, hum loudly and shake her head. You try to play like her to connect with her in some way but, what seems to amuse her is just boring to you.

You never give up though. You never give up trying to form that connection with her.

She is your sister despite your differences. Mommy and Daddy have always taught you to love her and help her and that is exactly what you do. Not so much out of a feeling of obligation but, because that is just who you are.

Kekoa you are such a special little boy. I love that you just love her and even though it’s been 5 years since everything in your life changed, it has never dampened your spirit or your love of your family and life. Please keep your kind heart and don’t pay any attention to people who may try to lead you down a different path.

You, my son, are going to change the world.

Life…it’s not always easy

28 Jan

“Life is loving so hard you inspire and become inspired to be the next level of the person you never knew.” -Unknown

After Oli’s bath that night I gave Kekoa his bath. He was so happy that we were home and he was especially happy to have his baby home. I got the cutest pictures of him with Oli that night.

Babykoababyoli1

He was so amazed that this little doll was real. She wiggled and cried. She would grasp his chubby finger if he placed it in her hand. He just kept staring at her tiny hands and feet.

After I took some pictures we went into the bathroom and I started filling the tub with water. When it was ready Kekoa climbed in and began to play in the warm water. I was just staring at my perfect little boy.

My little boy.

I cried the day I took Kekoa home from the hospital. I had to go out to Target and I started sobbing in the passenger seat on the way there. Seth looked over at me like I was crazy.

“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

“I don’t know. I’m just so afraid for him. I’m afraid we’re going to get into a car accident and he’s going to get hurt. I’m afraid someone will want to look at him and accidentally sneeze on him and he will get sick.”

“I’m afraid someone will want to touch my new baby.”

“I just want to protect him from the world.” I sobbed.

I remember all those fears while I watch my son take his bath. I am overwhelmed again by my fierce instinct to protect him.

I want to protect him from this challenging and unfair life that now lays before him.

I want to protect him from the bullies at school that will tease him because his sister is different.

I don’t want him to ever see people staring at Oli. Watching his little face as he tries to comprehend why people are looking at his little baby and then turning away with pity on their faces.

Watching him try to understand the question that will inevitably come.

What is wrong with her?

I just love him so much and I want to give him everything.

I realize now, that I just wanted to give him everything that was easy.

Life is not always easy.

She gave me a new meaning to that phrase.

It no longer meant that life wasn’t easy because the money was a little tight that month. Or that it wasn’t easy because I might not be able to afford the new car I wanted or the bigger house with a bigger yard.

It used to mean that life was hard because I might not get what I want.

Now it was hard because I began to see how small and insignificant this all was.

It was hard because I now realized all that I had taken for granted and just thought I was entitled to.

It was hard because I really wanted my old life back.

I didn’t want to think about all of the challenges that now faced my family.

I wanted to remain where I was, even if it meant I would never grow.

I wanted my son’s life to be easy.

I could only look at him and cry. I just looked at him and repeated the 2 words that had become my mantra to my children.

I’m sorry.

Destiny

24 Jan

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.” -Helen Keller

Destiny is a funny thing. There are times in my life where I have hated it and refused to believe in it and there are times that I have witnessed it’s amazing power. Destiny is a strong word. I do not say this lightly when I tell you that Kekoa was destined to be Oliana’s big brother.

This is the story about my 1st miracle. What better way for a miracle to arrive than in the form of a little, 18 month old boy named Kekoa.

The day that the doctor gave us the awful news about Oliana’s eyes was no doubt one of the most painful experiences of my life. It was absolutely devastating to my husband and I as well as our families. It was devastating to everyone except one little boy. One little bright light that happened to come to visit me that day to meet his new baby sister.

I had just finished telling Seth that our baby was going to be blind. Kekoa was wandering around the hospital room playing with his favorite cars and periodically watching the cartoons I had on the TV. After the tears were dried up and Seth and I had composed ourselves, I ask Kekoa if he wants to meet his new sister. We had been practicing for months with a tiny toy doll and he was very excited to show us just exactly how gentle he could be.

Seth picks him up so he can have a better view of her lying in the bassinet. He asks Kekoa if he wants to give her a kiss. He slowly nods his head yes and says “bee-bee”. Seth leans down and Kekoa gives his sister the sweetest little kiss on the top of her head. He then asks to be put down on the floor. Seth puts him down on the ground and…..

He starts walking around the room with his eyes closed and his little chubby baby hands out in front of him.

He is pretending to be blind.

Somehow this little boy, a baby really, has this whole thing figured out in 20 minutes. Tears that had been dry just a few minutes ago immediately race down my cheeks. How does he know?

He then opens his eyes, turns around and looks at his 2 astonished parents. He just looks at us like, “Yeah. So she’s blind. See I can do it. It’s no big deal.”

I will forever love my son for the millions of gifts he has given me as his mother. However, the memory of him walking that room with his eyes closed with be forever imprinted in my mind as one of the things I love the most. It was the moment I realized that Kekoa was more than willing to accept his destiny.

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