Friday, 7 October 2011


I feel a need to continue my 'tribute' to Noah today, on the occasion of his sixteenth birthday.

Most parents would probably agree that it's a bit of a shock to see how the years go by so fast and I concur.

My memories of my children are so fresh to me that it literally does seem like yesterday.

Noah, despite his guitar playing, has always been a very quiet person. In utero, I had to have regular ultrasounds because he hardly moved. On his 19 week ultrasound he looked like he was sitting in a lazy-boy. None of that fetal position business, he was leaned back with his legs stretched up and out. (and these HUGE feet!) Then he turned his head toward us & lifted his hand in a wave...the doctor waved back! LOL. " Hi there little baby" . He was courteous enough to be born on his due date, although he was in no hurry to actually enter the world! He was in no hurry to breathe either...4 minutes of sternum rubs & pinching and 8 specialists surrounding him.

Then they put him in my arms and he turned his head and looked directly into my eyes and straight through to my 'soul'. The pediatrician said the next day that in her entire career she'd never seen a baby less than a day old trying to lift his head. But there he was, on my shoulder and every time someone would speak, he'd lift his head to look for the source. Of course he didn't have the neck muscle strength so he just kept slamming his nose into my shoulder!

He wasn't a big baby at birth and he had waaay too much skin on his forehead, so I thought he looked like a Shar-Pei puppy. He certainly made up for his lower birth weight by almost tripling his weight by 3 months!

He was sleeping through the night as soon as we got home. And as I've said before, has pretty much kept up the same 'eat, sleep,eat' pattern since.

He was just NO trouble at all..and it's not because he was my first or whatever, he just was the easiest baby ever. Once he was crawling, I'd put him on the living room floor while I made his breakfast and he'd crawl over to the stereo and turn on the radio..once he started to 'cruise' he also started to by then, he'd pull himself up, turn on the radio and say CHOM. He woke every morning at exactly 7:10. By 14 months, he was speaking in short 4-5 word sentences and would answer in English to a question in French or English.

Everywhere I took him, he made people smile. We could be waiting in a line and he'd just look at someone and grin, he had these gorgeous, big, red cheeks. No one seemed able to see him smile without returning the smile and strangers constantly touched his cheeks. (much to my horror!)

By 2, he'd come in my room every morning and say "up mom, coffee". By 3 he had developed a friendship with the neighbour boy and he would speak French with him, he still talks about him, although he hasn't seen him since about 6 months later. It made me bonkers cause this poor little boy had an absolute sleeze-bag for a mother who stayed in bed all morning while her kids wandered around with 30 pound diapers on and often little else. But that was the beginning of Noah 'adopting' underdogs. He collected people like some people pick up strays. That is how we ended up with Madoll. One day he just started talking to her and brought her into the yard to meet me. It was a super neighbourhood, a cul de sac, so I could safely let him ride his bicycle or play even in the front yard. Everyone on our street watched out for everyone else and we all knew what car would come at what time. It was idyllic for children.

Another time, Noah was out playing in the driveway while his Dad was doing yard work, he was about 4 and a half. I was in the house and didn't realize that his father had gone into the basement through the outside door, when Noah came in and said "I found a man Mom and I put him in the back yard to sit, now I'm going to bring him some water cause he doesn't look right" !
Well, imagine? I said " what DO you mean you 'found' a man? and what do you mean by not looking 'right' ??" Needless to say, I was a little freaked out. He answered me that it was a hot day and the man was wearing too many clothes and when he said Hello to him the man asked him if he knew his son. So, long story short. I went out and sure enough there was an elderly man sitting on a chair in my backyard and he certainly was dressed too heavily. He also was rather confused and continued to ask if we'd seen his son who was supposed to be there to meet him. Called the police while making sure he stayed put and yes, he was an 'escaped' resident from the long-term facility about a mile away and yes, he did suffer from Alzheimer's. Still it strikes me that Noah had the intuition to realize the man wasn't a threat and needed help.

A couple of months later, he 'found' a lady : Mom, I found this lady and she looks like she had an accident and she's not talking well. Again to the back yard. Middle-aged woman, clearly drunk, face badly beaten. He husband had "dropped her off" at the ER and she decided she wasn't going to stay but on walking away, she'd begun to feel ill. Ambulance that time, well, after convincing a drunk that she needed to be checked out for that broken nose and for possible concussion. THAT was a tough one to explain to a 4 year old who said "It was nice of her husband to give her a ride to the hospital, but he should have waited with her" *oy*

When Isaac was born, Noah was 3 years, 2 months old. He came into the hospital room and pulled out a stool, stood up beside the bassinet and said "Hello Isaac, I'm your big brother Noah, and I will always be there for you." And he has.

When Hannah was so sick for those years, I think it wore greatly on Noah, having me gone so much and worry about Hannah. He once told me that he had a solution, "We don't use the basement that much, so why don't we build a clinic there and hire some doctors then you guys can stay here?" One night I told him to go brush his teeth and he burst into tears. ?? I was shocked. "Noah, what is the matter, are you hurt?"  He said, " Nobody is telling me what is going on and I want to know if my sister is going to die"...That was when I realized that Noah had a NEED to know and that I couldn't hide anything from him.  Frank said that he felt Noah got that trait from me. Frank was likely right. When she had her surgery, she turned 2 a week later. Noah said he knew exactly what he wanted to give her..A bracelet Mom, a bracelet with a ballerina on it cause now she won't have to wear all those ugly hospital bracelets ever again, I want her to have a pretty bracelet. I had to take him to the store and he picked out a silver charm bracelet and charms. A ballet slipper and a heart.

He has been just generally a nice, nice kid. Always polite, I never fail to have other adults comment on his politeness. He is fiercely protective of me, Isaac and Hannah. He is still cuddly and affectionate. He has high moral values, although he is an atheist. He knows that Madoll speaks English well, but he will never speak in English to her, he considers it disrespectful. He is a moral compass for me and will not hesitate to point out if I commit a social foible. He has a quick wit and sense of humour so he is never dull to talk with.

He has a memory like a bear trap, as my father used to say. He is a reader but don't let him get started on quoting things, cause he will make you crazy by reciting verbatim a television program or a book! He is very verbal and sees details. That is part of having Non-verbal learning disability. He sees all the details, but is slow to take in the 'big picture' The doctors said he'd make a great eye witness! Another part of NVLD is poor fine motor skills. Well leave it to Noah to turn that around. He took up guitar and it has greatly improved his motor skills and he is, if not an amazing guitarist (although I think he is) certainly a very dedicated one...His teacher tells me that yes, he is an amazing guitarist, they enjoy duelling during lessons. Noah himself says he doesn't understand why the rest of us don't hear his errors.

He is quite probably the most loyal friend a person could ask for...after being bullied by the same fellow for 4 years, he only reacted to him when the bully tried to pull something on his best friend. I have a nickname for him, I call him Gandhi or Mohandas when we are being less formal. He was APPALLED when I suggested he sock his bully a good one. He will NOT kill an insect but will scoop it up and talk to it and carry it outside.

He is fun and funny and it has been my GREAT pleasure to raise him thus far. Now, 16. Asked me if I would be starting tomorrow to teach him to drive? (my poor clutch) Milestones mark our lives, they are like beacons that shine in our memories, they are the stories we will tell our grandchildren, if we are so lucky.

Happy, happy Birthday Goose. I love you more than you love me, but you won't understand that until you are a parent yourself.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Sweet Sixteen...

It will soon be Noah's sixteenth birthday. It's cliche, but I will say it anyway...Where DID the time go?

I want to thank him, somehow. How do you thank a child for being such an amazing introduction into parenthood? I was just so lucky with all my kids, but because Noah was my first ,ever more fortunate in that he was just so EASY. The hospital staff said, once you get him home, if he still wants to keep doing this 'sleeping through the night' business, that's up to you, here we are obliged to wake him. So I brought him home & we did 'feed on demand' 3 months, he's almost tripled his birth You'd not know it today, but I had to swear to friends that I truly had not put elastics around his wrists, nor had I rouged his cheeks, or shoved objects into his mouth to create that grin~ And yes, eyes DO come occasionally in Crayola Blueberry Blue, even if the mother's eyes are black. Yes, that is an actual chin cleft. He got that from his Dad along with the 5 cowlicks.

Noah, I won't say Happy Birthday here yet to you, and we already discussed how I'd let the leash out a bit for your celebration. I'd like to apologize for not allowing you to pierce/tatoo/otherwise maim your body, but I can not. Took so much out of me to keep you guys alive & healthy that I can't let go of that bit of caregiving.

Bowling party with your friends it is. I will drive you all & drive everyone home. Otherwise, I will stick my nose out of it. If you decide that you want cake, I will be more than happy to make it.

I will pretend that I'm no more than a chauffeur..Ignore me..I'm a driver (it is appropriate to tip your driver btw :D )

Thank you Noah. You enrich my life every single day. You are my pointer (our teachers, growing up had yard-long pointers) & you are my pointer. I am fallible,as are all humans. And sometimes, one needs the pointer turned back at them. You have been not just one of the 3 greatest loves of my life, but SUCH a lesson!  You have been an amazing learner but remain an incredible teacher. 16 is the brink of adulthood & I have every confidence of your success...& hey dude if you can't make up the dough for post-sec...I'll indebt myself to give that to you with no qualms.
Now pull up yer pants. Nuff said.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Isaac's 16 Rules for Seventh Graders.

1. A Certain Impression
Ever notice, you first come to High School, everyone's acting a bit...odd? This is, whether or not they may know it, their first impression. There are 6 impressions:
- The Doesn't Care
- The "Baddie" (I know it sounds stupid)
- The HAHAHA, that's funny.
- The Joker
- The Super Intelligent Guy.
- The AAAARGH!! I'm a little scared.
Try to be yourself. Seriously, no matter who you are, it's gonna look better than covering it up-THEY CAN TELL IF YOU'RE COVERING IT UP!

2. Don't walk around with a swagger. You can't pull it off.

3. LEARN YOUR WAY AROUND. You'll be branded as a fool if you get lost.

4. Remember your time table or you'll end up in the wrong class.

5. Pick any club you want. Bullied? At least you can move the brain cells to manage.

6. Don't say rule 5. Just follow it.

7. Try to get extra credit. Trust me, it'll help a lot.

8. Try to avoid getting beaten up.

9. You are NOT cool. Don't attempt to be.

10. Do not announce that you like Justin Beiber. There are some people who do like him, just those who don't tend to strongly hate him and may hurt you.
*Note: These rules are about keeping your head, not about deciding your likes*

11. You are not Un-cool (if you have followed rules 1-4) Do not try to be.

12. Some rules are made to be broken. Just not these.

13.Do not be afraid to use computers a lot.

14. Do not get smart with angry people. But don't get stupid with them either.

15. Do not remind annoying people that they're annoying. Like scratching a rash, it relieves the itch, but makes the rash worse.

16. And lastly, try not to be an ass. You'll end up with no friends and a detention.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Crustaceans,Porcine & Fowl.

Last week I went to the post office to buy stamps while the kids waited in the car.
"I'd like a package of permanent stamps please"..The clerk began to list the choices, birds, flowers, Canadian flag or cancer.

I like wildbirds, actually I liked all the options, but thinking she meant by 'cancer' that a portion of the proceeds went to the cancer society, I chose cancer.

I was wrong. Not wrong in making an inappropriate choice, but wrong in my assumption of what was meant by it. Seemingly, Canada Post is now issuing zodiac sign stamps. Well, it's all still good because as it turns out, my zodiac sign is Cancer.

Back in the car, I passed Noah my stamps & my mail saying "could you hold these please?"

He took them, then looking down at the stamps he said.

"Mom, your stamps have crabs"

Was a great laugh aloud moment. I love his quick wit.

Although I feel i'm a fairly patriotic person, I kind of avoid buying stamps with the Canadian flag since several years ago when Hannah came to me saying: Look at the pretty picture I made with those red leaf stickers you had in your desk!

We all had a great time last evening for Madoll's 90th birthday supper, on which occasion we also celebrated M. Letarte's upcoming 79th birthday. I made baby back ribs & lemon/pepper chicken breasts on the BBQ, spanish rice and cold vegetables, followed by an ice cream cake. Had nine dinner guests including my kids, and 6 others who came for dessert and best wishes. Was great to see everyone and am happy to say that everything turned out wonderfully!

Many, many more to you Madoll, with love!

Monday, 11 July 2011

All told a pretty busy and productive week.

 Got some of my Hostas & planted them yesterday, they are already perking up and making themselves at home..bring on the slugs , am armed with egg shells!

Today it was off to Drummondville for 9:00 am appointment. My gynocologist gave me her email address saying "don't be sharing that with anyone" so if anyone wants to spam an ob-gyn, just let me know & I'll pass the addy along. ( due payback for the speculum and the slamming of breasts between icy cold plexiglas I figure)

Then it was off to get Isaac's new glasses, they are SOME handsome and more importantly according to Isaac, he can SEE.

That was followed by a run to the other end of town for Rona, Walmart...Isaac not feeling well the entire morning, surly, moany..then lunch with my Kettlepunk at Tim's and BOOM. Perked him right up that did ! He was ready to set the world on fire after a bowl of turkey/wild rice soup and a chocolate glazed donut. Off to Canadian Tire and the disappointment of the phone being out of stock (it's all well & good to have a raincheck, but that means I have to make another trip ) Bewildered at the choices of vacuums & really not wanting to spend $200 on special for a Hoover..but not wanting to buy junk, I took a bathroom break, leaving Isaac with the vacuums. When I got back, he'd found the perfect one at a reasonable price and quoted to me all the advantages plus comparisons to the other's specifications. (okay Willie, you can keep your advice of "don't feed into his obsession for reading labels" )

From there we headed over to drop off our purchase for Madoll (the one we were going to NOT talk about to each other). But because of the Festival Mondiale, we had to park waaaay back the other side of the tracks (Isaac was incensed that the parking meter not only doesn't take 2 dimes and a nickel, but doesn't return it ) So we walked to Madoll's. And of course Isaac couldn't help himself along the way saying aloud " Mom, here, YOU carry your adult diapers" "uh Mom, do you think those adult diapers are going to be big enough for you?" Brat. A train was coming and I seriously considered letting him cross while I waited on the other side, but was afraid he'd turn back find me.

Then off to get a few groceries then a stop for BBQ gas. I got a marriage proposal from the dealer, HA. He said he'd speak to his wife and see if she agreed. All in fun I know, but like I said to him "furthest thing from my mind is a romantic relationship, even so, I've never felt I NEEDED a man to complete me as a person. Mind you, I don't hate men one bit, many are some of the best friends I've ever had. It's all good :)

Driving home Isaac was telling me about a dream he had where he'd come across a bomb and was going to run but decided to unplug it. Call me neurotic, but I thought it best to reiterate that if he ever saw anything that he thought might be a bomb he should go far and call 911, "even if it just looks like a watch or a bunch of batteries with something that looks like Playdoh" 

Isaac: Playdoh? haha Mom, it's called C4. It's a pretty common plastic explosive.

Thwarted again.

Quote of the Day : ( I dunno who said this) Explain it to me like I'm a six year old.
Obviously today's children are far more evolved.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Eight is enough.

My favorite number is 13. But 8 seems to be a recurring theme just the same.

There were 8 specialists in the room when Noah was born...NICU nurses, pediatricians etc. Cause "somebody" wasn't so keen on all this 'breathing & pinking up' business that is just a basic requirement of becoming a low-level functionning member of the human race. I imagine now that it was just a little too much effort for him to be disturbed from his repose. Having finally decided to intake air, he went directly to food & pretty much has kept up the same eat-sleep-eat pattern since. Oh no, I forgot..first he urinated on the one who gave him the sternal rub (if you've never had one of those, trust me, it's worthy of pee.)

There were also 8 members of the OR staff (that we met) when Hannah had her first surgery, the pediatric urologist, his chief fellow, his resident, 2 anestetists, urology nurses...There were also students in the background cause it was a rare learning experience.

Today though, I was surprised at Isaac's Transitition to High School meeting. They really got it all together. 8. Each a 'specialist' in their own field of education, social services, special care councilling, resource...they really pulled out all the stops. And I must say, by meeting's end, I felt very confident that Isaac's high school experience was going to be a positive one with all the support & care available. Yes, if what I understand to be correct, Isaac will be the first autistic child to attend this high school...or at least the first "high functionning". I got the feeling from educators that he is very well understood & greatly appreciated, both for his abilities and his difficulties. The high school staff seem to want no less than to accomodate him while integrating him without singling him out.

So greatly do I appreciate everyone that took the time to attend to this meeting, be prepared and informed and at quite probably THE most difficult time of the year for all of them (as well as for us). Thank you all so much.

"We" also are eight. I know to this day that my siblings feel as I do. Ramona being gone, does not make us, nor ever has, seven. We are eight. 8 is a good number, it's nice and round & cuddly and it has no sharp edges to poke out an eye.

Quote of the day: (After 8 kids in 11 years) "Well we originally planned on 12, but then eight seemed to be enough" - My Mom.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Moving, Job Search, Shaking, Bears.

Today I got the nicest compliment in an email from a friend on his opinion of how i've done raising my kids, but I really can't accept total credit. They just sort of came to me already great and I was just left to allow them to learn. Having said that, it's still good to hear and something to keep in my files for evenings when I want Calgon to take me away !

Noah went for a job application at the guitar factory today and thought I was going with him. ( I gather he believed it a milestone to be shared) "well it's my first application, aren't you coming with me?" I said "No, I really don't think that potential employers would have a confident feeling about someone with 'Mommy' in tow." Unfortunately, as it turns out they aren't hiring students this year... Next year he'll go try again.

Instead, he's going to put his name in for that 911 camp at least. If he doesn't come up with a job, this camp is a great chance to explore a career in emergency services. Even if he never decides to go that route, having training in things like CPR is a good idea. I wish they took adults, I could use some refreshing !

Many people claim to have dust bunnies under their beds. I can honestly say that I didn't find any under Isaac's bed, probably because they had been frightened away by the dust BEARS! Grizzly situation. Pun intended. I will be very happy for the children's new beds once they are installed because I can't lift the ones they have here & I can't get the vacuum under them, so the choices are (in the past, ask for help) or push, pull,  shove & risk scratching the floor. The new beds will be great! But the little stick figure guy in the IKEA directions is standing alone with a sad and dismayed expression and  a big slash over frame one. In the next strip, there are 2 little stick figures with huge grins and a check mark. I take that to mean one of two things. Either the dude in the first drawing has no friends and no allen keys OR that they are suggesting this not be undertaken by one person (or stick figure, which in either case describes me) 

I really don't feel like i've gotten anywhere near packing enough yet, but I chalk that up to things always being worse before they get better. Still 2 full weeks but so many appointments this week and Isaac's grade 6 graduation that I expect it will only feel real and organized next week. It's a little bit intimidating sorting and packing through 24 years of accumulation, mostly because I am purging a lot of 'stuff' I'll leave much of the 'things' in favour of the people who mean the most to me in this world.

As for the shaking, well I just should not have had that 21/2 cups of coffee this morning.