...because everything is funny when it's happening to someone else!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Well played, Kermit

Today I finally dug out my big bin of Christmas music.  Can I get a whut-whut?!  I love me some Christmas music, as evidenced by the ridiculous number of CDs I have socked away.

Along with the music were two DVDs..."A Muppet Family Christmas" and "Rocky Mountain Holiday" with John Denver and the Muppets.  Muppet fan here, obviously.  Tank and I were heading out to run a couple of errands, so I grabbed the John Denver one to pop in the Jeep DVD player and see what Tank thought of it.  Lately, he has been into "Back at the Barnyard."  And ONLY "Back at the Barnyard."  Over and over and over and over and over....well, you get the drift.  He used to LURVE the movie "Cars"--"Guhs" in his Tankese language, but nowadays, he whines and fusses if you put anything in other than Otis and the gang from "Back at the Barnyard."

So, anyway, I stuck in the John Denver and the Muppets movie to see how long that would last.  I was shocked that he seemed drawn in from the get-go.  We stopped to get gas and while the tank was filling his college fund was draining away, I sat in the back seat next to Tank and we watched together.  "Rocky Mountain Holiday" is really just about a camping trip and there's a lot of "be kind to the earth" messages in it about loving animals, picking up your trash and generally being a good steward of the planet.  Since we had just dropped off a Jeep-load of recycling, I felt righteous enough to watch as John Denver led us all to greater, greener enlightenment. 

And there I was, with my boy.  We were sharing a Muppet adventure together.  I've always loved the Muppets and--in my pre-baby days--had dreamed of one day having a child who loved them as much as I did.  Dream Parenting is like that...you imagine all the soft-focus fun you're going to have, spinning around in a sunlit meadow, making daisy chains, baking cookies at Christmas, sharing favorite songs, books, movies.  Then you actually HAVE a kid and suddenly you experience Real Parenting.  Real Parenting kicks Dream Parenting in the groin, takes its lunch money and flicks boogers on its homework. 

My little Tank didn't like to do any of the things I'd dreamed of doing with him.  Nada. Zippo.  Zilch.  Spin around in a sunlit meadow?  Um, try charging around the front yard and managing to hit every single pile of dog crap my non-leash-law-abiding neighbors' dogs dropped.  Daisy chains?  Please!  I'm afraid he'd garrotte me with one.  And the heartwarming vision of me baking Christmas cookies with my little one has been bitch-slapped by the reality of trying to microwave Unhealthy Choices with a two-year-old's head stuck halfway up my butt.  So I wasn't too optimistic about sharing Muppet Love with this little Man Beast.

But then he surprised me.  He liked it!  He watched intently and recognized Kermit and Fozzie.  He bobbed his head side to side when they sang.  He watched the whole DVD without a peep.  Hunh.  How about that?  I've got to say, I was a little teary-eyed over it.  Sure, we were sitting in the back seat at an Enmark station and neither of us was the perfectly coiffed magazine model of parent or child I had thought we'd be.  But for a little while, my boy and I had something even better...we had the Muppets.  And each other.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Well, I'm back!  Yesterday we had our first meeting with the speech therapist who will be working with Tank.  Krista is young, energetic and all the things that you'd think a successful toddler speech therapist would be.  She's also very earnest and cheerful.  But I'm trying not to hold that against her.

She did an evaluation in which she showed Tank a page with about five images on it.  At first, she asked him to show her the car, the dog, the shoe, etc.  Later, she asked him to say the words...."What is that?"  She was met with his usual silence.  The last part was more along the lines of problem-solving:  she showed him a page with a shoe, a tricycle, a spoon and some other things on it and then asked him, "Which one of these goes on your foot?"  Tank pointed to his own foot and then, once he got what she was talking about, he did point to the picture of the shoe. He also identified the tricycle when asked which was something you ride on.   I was surprised by that, since I've never gauged his ability to identify the purpose of an object.  Well done, Tank!

Krista's unofficial opinion was that he would indeed benefit from speech therapy, not because of broad delays, but because he obviously understands far more than he can communicate.  She said it's got to be frustrating for him and that therapy can help with that.  So, the next step is for Krista to write up her official findings and then the program coordinator will come go over the plan of action with us.  After that, we'll start seeing Krista on Mondays.

And I started voice lessons yesterday, too!  So, both Tankie and Mama are trying to learn to use our voices.  Tank went with me to voice and he was SO OVER it, after about five minutes.  We've really got to find a good babysitter, because not everything I do is something that works well with a toddler!

But back to the voice lesson.  I didn't know what to expect, since the last time I took voice lessons, I was a teenager and my sister and I went to an extremely hairy dude we secretly nicknamed Chaka Bear.  I remember at the first lesson, he had us place a hand on his stomach to feel how he took air into his diaphragm.  I can still feel the wiry stomach hair through the fabric of his oxford cloth shirt.  Yeah.  Good times.  So it's no wonder that I waited all these years before trying THAT again.  Luckily, this time I have a fun, laid-back surfer chick type teaching me.  Nancy plays at our church and also has a regular gig as an entertainer at a local historic eatery/watering hole.  She has such a great smoky alto voice! 

The first thing we did was figure out where my range was.  The way she did that was to ask me to sing "Happy Birthday."  So, I did and she immediately picked it up on the piano and followed along.  She said most people start "Happy Birthday" in their comfort zone, so that's a good way to get going.  Then, she went up a step at a time and had me sing "Happy Birthday" in each key until it got too high.  After that, we went down a step until it got too low.  Nancy said I had about an octave and a half range and that was good. 

One of the interesting things about the lesson was that she said most people who don't sing well make one of two mistakes:  they try too hard or they don't try hard enough.  She said I fell into the not trying hard enough stack.  I told her I always felt like I didn't sing well, so I tried not to sing too loud.  Nancy said that makes singing well even harder, because you've got to have that air moving.  So, we're going to work on breathing and getting more volume and also on expanding my range.  I think it'll be fun.  I was stunned when Nancy told me that her mother heard her sing once and said, "Nancy, give it up!  You just don't have a voice!"  Undeterred, Nancy (who admitted she sounded bad at that time) taught herself to sing.  Now, she makes a living doing it...so I guess I'm in good hands!

A friend from church is taking lessons with me.  I will have to come up with a nickname for her eventually.  All you need to know for now is that she is a total hoot and between me, her and Nancy, there's no way we'll get bored!

Off to more adventures!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The one where my sister is no longer allowed to talk to me*

*About our father.  While I am eating.

Yesterday was a long day here in Mamaville.  I worked at the church in the morning, with Mini Monster "helping" me by running a very loud and annoying battery-operated train on the desk.  And demanding snacks and juice about every 0.00001 seconds.  After church, I had a couple of hours at home before heading off to Job B, the adoption agency gig.  I was doing the final home study visit for a really great couple and I enjoyed the visit immensely.

On the drive home, I called my sister.  It's about a 45-minute drive, so I figured we could visit a while.  Well, the conversation turned to our father and we once again started trying to figure out how we came from such a dysfunctional bunch of crap and still turned out to be good people not serial killers.  Because this is a topic that we tend to go on and on with, the call lasted until I got home, made a quick dinner of leftovers (it was 10:00pm and both my man beasts had already eaten) and continued while I chowed down.

Fast forward to 3:00 this morning...I am on my knees, head inside the porcelain, praying for death to come swiftly.  I have no idea what it was, but as soon as my body was done sending it back I felt fine.  I'm SURE you wanted to hear all about me retching forth everything but my toenails and a snack I had in first grade, but hey...I felt like sharing.

It's not MY fault.  Tell my sister not to discuss our father while I'm eating and I promise not to do it again!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I did it

Well, I finally did it.

I called the local office of Babies Can't Wait and I told a very nice woman what I have had such a hard time admitting, even to myself. 

My son isn't talking.

Sometimes I feel like a terrible mother because my 26-month-old son has a vocabulary of only about 15 words.  Most of the time I feel like a terrible mother because it really doesn't bother me.  Every once in a while, we'll be around another child about Tank's age and I'll get a shock when I realize just how much other kids are talking at his age, and just how little he is saying.  But then I remind myself that he's plenty smart, can hear very well and is able to make sounds.  He just hasn't decided to let us know what's on his mind yet.  And then there are days when he's in that MOOD when I honestly don't want to know what's on his mind...I might fear for my life.

Anyway, I made the call and I finally admitted to a professional that I do think there might be some cause for concern.  I should hear back in a couple of days about an evaluation.  I have visions of lab coats and needles, but of course it'll just be some very earnest and determinedly cheerful person with lots of stuffed animals, trying to coach sounds out of my reticent little dude.  Too bad he hates stuffed animals and I hate earnest and determined cheerfulness.  Hmmm.  We might get recommended for a whole different program!

Well.  I feel better now.  Sometimes admitting you have a problem really is the first step to solving the daggum thing.

I'll let you know what happens next.