Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Today is my birthday and I am a happy person. A while back I wrote A NEW COUNTRY, a sequel to Welcome to Holand. In my text, I was bragging about having the best of Italy and Holand, and by mixing both together, I was in this new country where Italy and Holand became one: my world.
So far today, my world is having sent both girls off to school. Then I phoned the Drug store; they each need prescriptions renewed.
Then I phoned CHEO, our children's hospital. Guess what? Emma has an ear infection (her very first and she's on her 4th set of tubes). I talked to a nurse who asked if I had a family doctor, then she passed me to the audiologist. We decided to put Emma on ear drops which we have at home since her last tubes were put in (They cost 50$). And if she still has problems by Monday, I am to phone Audiology and they will squeeze her in the clinic. PROBLEM SOLVING is so easy and fun!!! I avoided a long wait at our local walk-in clinic, I saved money on a new prescription and Emma gets treated right away.
In the early years of Emma's life, I heard a lot of parents complaining about always having to fight for our "challenged kids" and it used to scare me. I did not want to fight all the time, I wanted to be at peace and happy. And guess what, I am not FIGHTING, I am simply taking charge. There is a big difference. I am not afraid of knocking on doors, of expressing my needs, my ideas, or my solutions. This taking charge business makes life easier. There is a fullfilment in knowing that it's okay to take steps directly toward the top, not letting myself be swirled around the system and waste time, energy and peace...This afternoon, I am going to swim with Emma's class because they are one teacher short. I will get to swim with Emma and Paige, Betsy's girl whom I love to pieces!!!
This was my Holand part of today. In my Italy part, well I am very proud of Amy. She won the spelling bee at her school and is moving up to the Regional in Ottawa, then to the National... If she was to win, she would end up in Washington D.C. where my sister-in-law lives... What an incentive... Amy is a very good student; who knows how far she will go... We are studying words at home and she studies with her teacher at lunch recess. Yesterday, they met the ressource person from High School and all her teachers told her she had to pick academic courses... She wants to take Spanish and psychology. She thinks of herself as a nerd and says it's fun being a nerd! I told her she mixes being smart and being a nerd. They don't necessary go togheter. I told her that if she is a nerd, she is the coolest nerd I have ever met... Her social life is so full: horse riding competitions, boyfriend, movies, skiing, piano lessons, dances, let's not forget shopping, etc. etc. etc.....
As for my new country, tonight at suppertime, both my girls and my husband will treat me to a homemade birhtday supper that I will have helped put together. Emma will surely sing to me Happy Birthday to you in her Marilyn Munroe voice which I love. Amy will tease me about being old (45 to a 14 year old seems like almost over the hill...) and Carl, my guy, will have some surprises for me. LIFE AT ITS BEST!!!
Yes, today is my birthday, and I am happy...
P.S. mum2brady, I can't access your can I reach you?

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Winter has been quite mild so far, until last Tuesday night. Minus 24 celcius, minus 30 with the wind shield factor at 5:30 Wednesday morning.
Of course, Emma and I had to sleep at CHEO, our local children's hospital, for a sleep study on that very same night. We eyed this trip as an adventure because the pamplet provided by the hospital explained that it takes about 20-30 minutes to hook all these wires to your child before he or she falls asleep...
Sticky things on their head, sticky things on the neck, some nasal contraption to measure carbone monoxide, 2 belts around the waist, the thinkerbell light taped on the toe to measure oxygen flow, the heart monitor, etc...
This is Emma here we are talking about. Emma the dynamo. Emma who they have to put to sleep to do a heart echo, Emma on whom there is no way they can do an ECG while she is awake.
Not to worry they say, we deal with children every day. Then they meet Emma...
We got there at 7:30 pm. Emma is usually asleep back home at that time. She wants to go back in the car. No, we are sleeping here tonight... First come the belts. They are fun. Emma loves the click (on and off, on and off) just like the riding helmets at home which we play with for hours at a time. Click.
Patrick, Emma's new buddy, decides not to hook Emma on the head with a million wires. So we won't know if she dreams... So what. Patrick also decides that we will hook Emma once she sleeps, he obviously reckognized Emma's energy level.
I am surprise that she acually falls asleep with the belts around her waist... While I wait for her to be sound asleep, I watch Patrick hook this other little girl. She's a pro. It's her second sleep study. She looks like a robot. Patrick (and mom) was right, there is no way we could have done this to Emma.
We go into Emma's bedroom. Patrick is good. Emma is snoring away. He says it's nice when they sleep so soundly. He tapes the red light on her toe, I cover it with a sock. He hooks the waist belts to his machine. He sticks one sticky thing on her neck...Emma wakes up. I have to lie down with her and help her sleep again. She resists for awhile...She sleeps again. I tell Patrick I will get ready for bed then he can continue his mission. That way, if Emma wakes up again I will just slide in with her. He sticks the 2nd sticky thing on her neck. Not a problem. He installs that thing in her nose and tapes it on each side. With one quick movement, Emma has that ripped away. But she is still sleeping. Patrick does it all over again, Emma is waking up. I quickly slide in bed with her and grab her hands. It is now 10 pm. So much for reading my bood in my own little bed... We fall asleep. Or I should say, Emma falls asleep. We are both in this small hospital bed. The chrome railing is freezing my back. The blanket is not big enough for the 2 of us. Emma tosses and turns and I feel her all tangled in the wires. At one point, I am aware that the nose thing is gone. Then, went the 2 sticky things on her neck. I feel for them and stick them back on. Who knows if they're at the right place, maybe they will monitor her swallowing instead of her snoring, but hey, I am only trying to salvage some of that mission... I get up to go to the bathroom thinking it's 6 o'clock. Nobody wakes up. I go back to bed. Later, Emma wakes up. We unhook whatever is left (not much, the belts and the toe thingy). Patrick walks in and says it is 5:00 am and it's -24 celcius outside. He thinks they will have enough data. So we get dress and find ourselves in the parking lot. It is very dark, and very, very cold out there. It is now 5:40 am. Will my car start? It does but we now have to let it warm up a bit. Leaving the city, we are the sole passengers on the outbound lanes. Tons of cars are already heading to the city. I guess these people are going to work. As for us, our mission is over.
We make our 1 hour drive without incident. Get home. Guess what? Carl has locked us out!!! He is so used to be the last one in, he always double lock the doors. I run outside from our utility room. Remember it is very, very cold out there and I guess I am a little tired. I have to scream underneath his window. He played pool the night before and probably had a few beers and I'm thinking he won't hear me. So I scream louder. If the farmers around are outside, they will think Carl is trying to kill me. Or is it me trying to kill him. It is now 6:45. Wow, Carl wakes up and comes to open the door in his Adam suit!!! Thank you very much!
I feed Emma breakfast get her ready for school and write a note to her teacher that if she is too tired, phone me and I'll get her... And I go to bed. Guess what? I can not sleep. I haven't slept in daytime for so long, I guess I forgot how...
Emma comes home from school. She is fast asleep on the bus. It is a 10 minute ride from school. In her bag, the teacher wrote: Not a problem, Emma was full of energy all day, just like usual...
I don't know when we will get results from this sleep study, but I still view it as an adventure. The half test, the small bed, the temperature. No, it was not the Hilton, but we did have a sleep over!!!


Gosh, it sometimes is so hard being a mother...
Amy is 13 and has been going out with Jesse for 6 months. They are so cute together. Really they are good kids. Carl, my husband, is a little nervous about the seriousness of this relationship. They call each other 3 or 4 times a night. They plan outings such as the movie theater, the monthly dance, skiing, shopping, riding. They even do homework together. Amy is tutoring Jesse; she is helping him to build his self confidence...

I try to keep the communication channels open with Amy... We can not stop the natural course of humanity, which has been moving from the start of time... So, letting her know I'm there should any situation arise, is the best I can do.

2 weeks ago, I was about to put Emma to bed when a neighbour showed up; she was a little bit peeved about her 18 year old son's behavior. She waited for me while I put Emma to bed... When Emma was finally asleep, I walked by Amy's bedroom door. She was in total despair, tears running, flowing down her face. What's wrong? She said: Mom, I didn't see it coming... Oh, no! Jesse broke up with her over the phone. But he is so nice, he even phone back to say he was sorry... He says he rather be just friends since in the fall they won't be going to the same highschool and that makes him sad too much of the time... I hugged her but she said go see Judy who is waiting downstairs... I had forgotten about my friend!

I was very concerned for Amy, yet I was also very proud of her. She went on MSN and some friends were saying not too nice things about Jesse. I warned her that she should confide to only one or two good friends and not say things she could regret later. No, Amy was not putting Jesse down, she was just very, very hurt.

She asked not to go to school the next day. She was afraid we would cry in front of her peers. Being one of the best in her class. We abided. Carl and I treated her with extra special care. Amy always beg for an Ice Cap at the local coffee shop and Dad usually say no. That day he bought her one even without her asking...
Comes suppertime and, once again I passed in front of Amy's bedroom. She has the brightest grin on her face!!! Guess what; Jesse is on the phone; they are making up!!! Dad's sense of relief is gone. It lasted 24 hours... They are going to take it easy. They will wait and see how things go being at different high schools in the fall. Maybe they can see each other on Wednesdays and over the weekends.
Like I said, it is very hard to be a mother. To watch your daughter grow up with the freedom and sorrow that come with it... I love her to pieces!!! They now have celebrated their 7 month anniverary...

Friday, January 05, 2007


The Holiday season came and went... Emma really enjoyed Christmas this year. She can actually sing We wish you a Merry Christmas, say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

She loved meeting Santa Claus at her school. She really, really can open her presents and others' presents too!!!

In the second week of her holiday, Emma started to say: La bus, Paige, School, more often. It's hard to explain to her that she is on holiday and that school will start again just in a couple of weeks.

Now, after this weekend, she will be heading back to school with, in her 2nd week, a sleep study at CHEO. We are also waiting for a call for a day surgery to fix Emma's first cavity... Routine stuff, really. Sometimes I think about how things were so scary during her first year, how we had to cope and adjust to new stuff, almost on a monthly basis. Now, all this medical stuff is routine, really... I don't even worry about the outcome, we just go through stuff one item at a time.

The members of my family have become masters of living life as it comes, enjoying every single moment, in our own way. We don't follow any given path, we follow our own, we follow our heart and this is why we are looking forward to this new year with excitement. We do not know what it holds for us but we know that, whatever comes our way, we shall deal with in a serene manner, respectful of others and of ourselves. So may this New Year bring to all of our friends a sense of belonging, a sense of accomplishment, and, a sense of simple bliss!!!


Thursday, January 04, 2007


Emma will be 6 in March. Her speech took a very, very long time to get going...
At first, all she could master was a few signs.

Then, slowly, very slowly, Emma started to add new words to her repertoire: we counted them by keeping this record of 20 words, then 24... and so on. After we got to about 100 words we stopped keeping track.

Then her vocabulary really started to expand. She can sing O Canada, Happy birthday, the Barney song.

Her singing really makes me proud. You see, she sings completely off track, just like her sister, like me, and like her grandmother, my mom!!!

The more words Emma says, the more we sometimes have to guess what she is trying to tell us. Like "kiki": we searched and searched to find its meaning. One day my husband said I KNOW WHAT KIKI MEANS!!! It means mittens. Then the next day her EA said I KNOW WHAT KIKI MEANS!!! It means kitchen. To this day we are not completely sure of what kiki means.

Now, we have a problem. We are thinking Thand God Emma can not always pronounce properly. You see, big sister who is almost 14, sometimes swears to affirm herself. We had a discussion about swearing and she said she only does it sometimes depending on her mood.

At suppertime tonight, we're all sitting at the table and Emma keeps saying: Amy, J-C.
We all realized what she was saying and Amy could not believe her little sister picked that up so easily... The common person could not guess what Emma means by J-C, but if someone really paid attention, Emma's secret could be out!!!

I guess Emma's little swearing episode hit home with Amy and we will all be more careful with our language from now on...