learning to navigate the world, j-bear style

Tag: random (Page 2 of 3)


Hold up, everyone. Going to get sappy here. This is written to my boy, who currently has a cold and a half. It all started with a thought that occurred as I was putting him to bed so bear with me.

Little man, you are the biggest challenge. There is nothing about our lives together that does not involve creative thinking or learning a new way of being it seems. Every day there’s a new challenge and every day, we just go about it like this is what normal people do. It’s our normal.

I’m grateful for that.

When parents await their first child or spend years waiting for that first child to come, however which way they do, they make all these plans and have all these visions. When I found out I was having you, I was so scared. I saw how my parents behaved. I saw how unwanted and unloved I had been. I had all these broken pieces of myself, some so jagged they will never not hurt. I had these wayposts of good things and these pieces of solid foundation laid by the good people who came through my life when I needed them.

What I didn’t know was that I needed you.

Well, let’s clarify: Some part of me knew it. It’s how I loved you long before I knew you. But I didn’t fully embrace that part, or didn’t fully understand it. It was just a lizard brained instinct that blossomed into oh so much more once I saw it for the truth it was.

You stormed into my life, full of chaos and cute, and you’ve remained marching to your own rhythm since the first moments of your life. You are the balm on my heart and the mortar that brought together all those pieces so carefully laid by the good people who I’ve known. You took my shattered soul and gave me purpose. All of a sudden, unconditional love made sense. I’d seen it, I’d been awed by it, but I’d never felt deserving of it.

And then there was you.

So on the days where you’re blowing snot all over the house and I am gagging because few things nauseate me more, this is what gets me through. On the days where I am tired, impatient, worn out, burnt out, whatever… This is why it’s only fleeting. I write this silly blog because one day I hope you read it and realize just where we started and where we’ve gone. I hope you will always see what you mean to me and what you’ve done for me.

Thank you for being my little sunshine boy.

And please please please stop snotting soon.

I love you.


Kind of adrift, mentally. There’s always things I should be working on. I am getting little things done but major things seem to require more energy than I possess. It’s a mental state thing. Gotta power through.

Little boy is doing alright without the cast. He spent much of yesterday holding his arm in the same position the cast had held it. Today he was more loose with it and used his left hand a lot more, which is good. I am eager to get him writing/coloring again to see if he was truly as left hand dominant as he seemed pre-cast or if he has turned right hand dominant. He has tended to be pretty ambidextrous so far so he could just end up being that way again for a while.

I’m feeling defeated in a lot of ways. I feel like fundraising is turning out like so many other things have in my life: I pour in my heart and soul but, the moment I did that, life threw everything into chaos and made success seemingly impossible. It hurts twice as hard in this case because I am used to losing things/missing out on things but I am not as easily able to handle my son being in that position. I know a lot of this is just my bleak mental place of the now but I have to wonder how much is just harsh reality. I feel like we’re never going to succeed with raising this money and if we do, we’ll never succeed with raising the money to get to Ohio to train and bring home the dog.

I am Sister Suzy Sunshine, aren’t I? My stars.

J starts pre-school next week. I think him starting school will help me in a lot of ways. I’m nauseated thinking about him spending a full day there yet I know that while he’s there, he’ll be getting so much of what he needs and I’ll be allowed to work on a lot of sorely needed things around here. I can clean, plan for the yard sale, contact people more freely, even enjoy a shower without complete fear of what he’s doing while I’m not looking. I can take care of grocery shopping, laundry, all kinds of things that just seem absolutely crushing to sort out the logistics of when it’s the Me and J 24/7 show.

That brings guilt, of course. Am I a terrible parent for being eager for the time apart? I’d like to think I’m just being human and, I know after a short while of it I am going to miss him. I’m already missing the freedom to plan outings for any old day and time, that much I know. September and March are the best months to try to get in to see the museums and such in Boston and now that option is off the table, but we’ll be fine. We’ll figure times to go out and we’ll be alright.

I should wrap this up before I become anymore mopey! Maybe I should put up a feedback form so people can drop subjects/writing prompts into it and kick myself into writing more. Maybe I should just go eat a cookie. Like my surgeon, who I see tomorrow, would be thrilled with that. Hopefully tomorrow she gets to tell me all my axe wounds are fine and I can be left alone til someone has to axe wound me again someday.

Yeah: The Revenge And Other Stuff

I wrote about J answering with a direct “yeah” reply to a question not too long ago. It has since become his go to answer when he wants you to react positively.

It’s actually kind of hilarious. It’s an effort to not encourage it, though on occasion he has been very definite about saying no. It’s usually to food. Like, healthy stuff. Because of course we would never eat that.

Today while he was at occupational therapy his therapist asked him if he’d like to go home with her. Of course he said “yeah”. You’d think this was a joke and him just parroting because he feels that’s what expected by I have to wonder. After the session, which was his last water/swim session for the summer, he kept cozying up to her and offering his cheek like he does to loved ones for hugs and kisses.

The wicked little flirt!

This kid cracks me up a lot but lately, we’re  making each other crazy. This was what it was like before he had summer session at school. We were with each other 24/7 and it made us both a little nuts sometimes. When he’s feeling frustrated with it he gets more clingy. When I am feeling frustrated with it I want to be on another continent away from all people. It’s not a good mix.

We’re getting by though. We did an indoor water park yesterday. For those curious, CoCo Key in Danvers, MA, is not worth the cost of admission. While it has a great little kid area and the lifeguard staff is top-notch there’s much to be desired elsewhere. The little concession grill area looked like an afterthought, some of the pool areas seemed old/neglected, the bathrooms made me feel like I was going to walk out with several kinds of rare and interesting fungal infections and it wasn’t a very user-friendly place for families with small children to use for changing, etc. I think for what I spent, we kind of got our money’s worth. J had a blast but he’s thrilled with water to begin with… He’s an easy audience. I think if I am going to spend the money on a water park again it’ll be for Canobie Lake, Six Flags or Water Country. Maybe next summer?

J’s cast comes off on Monday. Meanwhile, Murphy dog has his own purple cast! Yes, the unstoppable Murphy is fighting back against infections. His drains are removed and he’s moving about! His worse of the two injured legs is in the cast for now but the fact that he is healing and showing more of his old self is so, so, so heartening after being scared for him those first days. Still praying for his full and complete recovery but at least right now he’s trekking dutifully forward, as is his beloved person.

So this is our life. School starts 9/4, yard sale 9/14 and I am noodling getting a raffle together. If my friends at the Red Sox ever see this… Please consider helping us out! I’m sending you a press release and letter begging! Show us some love, guys!

Yeah I’m both pathetic and shameless sometimes. I’m semi okay with that.

Random Bits and Pieces

I wonder if everywhere has a supermarket chain that has great prices and selection but shopping there feels like you’re entering a deep circle of hell. Here, it’s Market Basket. Today I took J out to go grab groceries as food was running low. We got on the highway just in time to learn that going to our usual Market Basket, a larger store about 20 minutes away, was not going to happen due to major traffic overcomplicating the journey. We went to the inferior store in Woburn and wow.

Just, wow.

Imagine every inconvenience about grocery stores: People standing in the middle of aisles, stock clerks cluttering up even more aisles, people not caring where they are going, people acting like the world revolves around them, too narrow aisles, an absolutely not intuitive placement of products…. All of this converges and amplifies within this one store. Add to it a ridiculous parking lot and I thought me and J were going to pull out our every last hair.

I should have known better when J was crying upon entering the parking lot. I should have trusted his judgement.

We managed to reasonably grocery shop but man, what an ordeal. The poor kid, he sits in the cart itself and not the seat because he feels more comfortable and secure that way. The filthy looks you get for this are bizarre. I am not letting him run rampant through the store, let’s leave things that work alone. He was happy, I was getting shopping done, life was alright. If they want to have inflamed hemorrhoids over it that’s their deal.

But yes. Food acquired. We’re home. I hate you, Woburn Market Basket. Considering me your forsworn enemy.


There are legal matters surrounding this so I do not want to go into too much detail but if you can spare prayers for J’s godfather and his dog, they both could use them. Mr. Dog is home and resting after lengthy surgery repairing his back legs. It’s a mess right now. Lesson: Don’t be a jerk of a dog owner and leave your animals to run loose without care or training or else they could cause this to someone else.

To be clear, Mr. Dog was not loose. He is always responsibly looked after because his person loves him more than words can say.

This dog is the first dog J ever met. They were wary of each other on first meeting, unsure what the other was even going to do, but quickly turned into fast friends. Mr. Dog is so good-natured that when J would grab his tail or go after him in some way he just accepted that this is what J did. I think it’s because of all the food J would drop for him.


I saw Wicked last night. It was so much more amazing than I even imagined. So amazing I even bought a t-shirt and I haven’t done that since I saw Riverdance with my Nana and family in 1999. So, so, so incredible.


J’s cast comes off Monday. Never you fear though, he’s already searching out creative new ways to break more bones. Oi vey.

Bloating Away

I’m too uncomfortable to sleep so here I am, chatting at the internets.

Life is a lot easier right now, despite post surgical insanity. This morning the horrible heatwave of 2013 ended and it was as though the world heaved a sigh of relief. I said elsewhere that my body has felt like a clenched fist holding broken glass since Monday of last week. Now, finally, it’s as though everything can start to relax even if I feel so full of air everywhere that I might pop or blow away.

Moving about is improving. It’s not great and I am getting back pain like I did post c-section as my back overcompensates for my weakened abdomen but it’s not nearly as bad. It’ll continue to improve. I only take the narcotics I was given at night because while they work alright, I hate them.

Am I the only person in the world who hates narcotics? I refused them for weeks and weeks and only gave in last week after so long of discomfort, pain and just plain not resting. Then, of course, post surgery I really needed the strong stuff. Dilaudid was no freakin’ joke. That stuff knocked me right down but allowed me the ability to get precious sleep. Thank God too, cause I had the worst of roommates.

Another tale for another time, maybe.

J is still struggling with all that is going on. I know he gets more than he might initially let on. I see it in his decision making but he is, after all, a 3 year old boy. He wants to rough and tumble! He wants to crash into me! He wants me to pick him up for cuddles and hugs whenever he wishes it! So this is still an area of sorrow to me. It’s silly, I know. Soon enough I’ll be smothering him with hugs and throwing him around as I used to but so much of his communication in terms of affection, care and just play is physical that when that absense is forced, it leaves a dreadful hole in our interactions. I improvise when I can but overall, patience is going to have to prevail on this count.

I need to regain my momentum with fundraising. I have great ideas for things to do from great people and cannot wait to sit down and explore the options and start putting things into play. Having my strength and health back is absolutely key to this effort and it too is going to demand patience I don’t know if I have. I am a nervous person terrified of failure. I cannot fail at this, not for J, not in a million years. 

So. Soon, I hope, big things will start to come together. Disappointed in some people I’ve reached out to who initially seemed on board but who have since faded out. Life must have gotten in the way but I cannot help but feel a little sad for it. 

I just have to have faith, right?


It might be the vicodin but I cannot find the spellcheck on WordPress right now so forgive me if this entry reads in gibberish. I’ll fix it in the morning.

Mabel’s Labels Are Go!

J-bear starts school on Monday. That means Get All The Things Ready.

Backpack? Check. Lunchbox? Check. Extra set of clothes? Check. Diapers? Check. 

You get the picture.

As I was approaching this situation I realized I was going to be writing on a LOT of stuff with sharpies. Little kids lose stuff. It’s part of being a little kid, or any sized kid. J has to bring cups and/or a thermos with him every day as he only drinks milk so those need to be labeled, his sandwich container needs a label… Heck, even HE is labeled via a tag on his shoe!

Now, I could have gone the sharpie route but the writing is not always easy to read. I could have gone the embroidery route in terms of his backpack and lunchbox, but even though I sprang for LL Bean products I didn’t truly want to put his name that loudly on every single thing. Then I remembered it…

Mabel’s Labels

This is a company made by four moms who know the frustration of their child’s things leaving the house never to return again. They created fun, durable, washable and reasonably priced labelling products to help busy parents like me and busy households get their stuff to come back home again. I heard about these labels when J was a new baby but forgot about them til a couple weeks ago.Image

Now, when the labels arrived today I was not sure what to think. Once I opened the envelope though I knew I had made the right choice in bringing my business to this great company. The labels are beautiful, bright, cheerful and clear. I have more than enough of them, plus in a great variety, to get through the school year and even beyond. I am excited to truly test them out in terms of their dishwasher safeness but so far, I am very sold on these products.

Now, in the spirit of true honesty I must state this outright: I bought these labels. I am a paying customer who is very, very, very happy with my purchase. This may seem a goofy way to seek to simplify my life but if I have to write out one less thing in the course of a day my hands, they are so much happier for it. If Mabel’s Labels can do a fundraiser with us to help fundraise for J’s service dog, would folks be interested?

4th of July

Best part of the Boston 4th of July Fireworks besides me getting weepy over the tributes to those touched by the Boston Marathon Bombings was hearing music from “How to Train Your Dragon”!


I’ll write more when I am not melting like CRAZY.

Medicating a Bear

When a family has their first child, they should be given the option to take specialized training in how to safely and effectively give young children medication via humane darting.

I’m only mostly kidding.

J needs to take pain medication/anti-inflammatory every 4-6 hours as needed. “As needed” has been “get that gross crap down his gullet every 4 hours on the dot or all hell will break loose” since last Monday, as expected. Medicating a toddler is as easy as medicating a feral animal who hasn’t been tranquilized. I truly do feel like I am taking my health and safety in my hands sometimes.

J is 39 inches tall and 34lbs (maybe a little more now). He is all arms and legs and despite looking like a little scarecrow this kid is all muscle. You can tell this immediately at medication time as he seems to sprout four more limbs and just attack, full on. Every limb is flailing and until last night, they were all sharp and pokey (thanks nail cutters for saving my face). Every square inch of his body seems involved in the single minded mission of “avoid the medicine that helps me be able to function”. 

He is given his medication via oral syringe. I generally can get it into his mouth then massage his cheeks til he swallows but there was a short time there where I would end up with most of it drooled back onto every handy surface. We have now added liquid Lortab to the array of scars upon the furniture*. Emergency measures were enacted. Suppositories were given instead.

This kid was livid at the oral medication, can you imagine how that change of pace went over? I bet you’re correlating strange sounds heard in your home over the last week with howling that just must have been him over this indignity. 

So, in all honesty, I’d be absolutely down for those lessons in darting. If I could just dart him while he’s mid-play he’d probably only be livid for five, maybe ten seconds before returning to play and I wouldn’t have to worry about pain taking over his world and turning him into a total terror rather than the mild, goofy terror he generally is.


* Everything gets cleaned but hey, all the furniture in this living room has been through hell and back since J’s birth. Also, Lortab is only busted out at night. No one likes to see a little kid hopped up on goofballs all day.


Feeling down the past couple of days but nothing gets little monster down. Watch out for mister train man himself.

The War for Ice Cream and The Friendly Dog

Two unrelated stories coming up – they just happened on the same day. Those of you who read this may soon find themselves sick of my random stories from our days but when J has a success, it’s nearly always parade worthy to me. 😉

So the ice cream…

Those of you local to the northeastern MA area know about Jordan’s Furniture. This location I speak of is in Reading. It has an IMAX, a trapeze school, a Fuddruckers and an ice cream shop. You know, all the things a furniture store needs, right? Their ice cream stand is Richardson’s, which is so… so… SO good. Seriously. Check out their site. Apologies to my lactose intolerant friends but I have a deep addiction to the ice cream, as my overly ample hindquarters can attest. 

Here’s the trouble though: Jordan’s is very echoing. It is a little oddly lit when you enter, filled with garish colors and the loud sound of the water that makes the Liquid Fireworks show. Whenever the Liquid Fireworks show is going on, there is loud music booming through the area. It’s pretty intense even for me and I am not dealing with even a fraction of what J is. Previously, he is nearly universally done everything in his power to get the heck out of there.

Today, it went a little differently.

We arrived just after his occupational therapy session so he had had about an hour of work on his sensory needs to allow him to be more calm than he usually is. The place was blissfully empty, so we took our time entering and explored very, very slowly and carefully. It took a long walk around the display floor before returning to the open foyer/location of the ice cream stand before he would even consider making an attempt at getting our ice cream. 

When he grew scared of the Liquid Fireworks, we sat down out of the way on the floor and he tucked up onto my lap so I could hold him snugly while he watched. He gradually began to relax and when the show ended, we got up and slowly made our way to the thankfully empty counter. As I held him, we ordered and he watched the young lady make our milkshake.

I might be biased, but that little man earned his ice cream with his good, hard work.

He pulled at me, he said “all done” and “bye-bye” a few times, but with every encouragement to keep trying he kept trusting and tried. This was what felt like the equivalent of asking a grown adult to bungee jump. He eased his way to the edge, glanced over, edged back and repeated the process until he was ready to jump. 

And he did it.

We celebrated with our milkshake and I looked a fool cheering for him when we made it back outside.


We got home and were walking to our front door when a kindly older lady and her small dog were walking along behind us. Her little dog, a shih-tzu I think, scampered right up to J most curiously. No aggression, mere gentle happy friendliness. J turned around with a big smile and said “dog!”. We asked permission, as we’ve been practicing approaching animals respectfully (sorry C, the cats got the worst of him yesterday) and he got to pet the sweet little dog. The way the two just acted like long lost best buddies made me and the dog’s lady laugh. Even as they walked away, the sweet dog was looking back longingly at J and he at her. 

It was too sweet. I hope his service dog has the same gentle, loving disposition and looks at him with similar adoration.

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