Curve Ahead

Mama! Curve Ahead!

All summer long this was shouted to me from the back seat by Little Bee.  She found a game on her tablet that featured some road signs and every time we were in the car at least three or four times per car trip I would hear the most animated shout from the back seat as she noticed such signs out and about.

Curve ahead! We’re curving! she would shout.

image-2-11Now that it’s been over seven months since my last post (holy crap have I missed writing!), she couldn’t have been more right and I just missed the signs.

Things were just meant to fall into place this Summer. The kids were on Summer break.  Little Bee was set to start 4K in the Fall and Techno  was moving up to high school. Gulp! I was hot on the trail after a victorious finish in my first (and only!) Half-Ironman Triathlon in July. Things were pretty hunky dory.

Then good ole life shook me up a little bit, left some minor bruises and like usual changed me for the better.

Late May standing on the playground to pick up my pre-schooler news broke of my company closing its doors effective July 31st. In disbelief, standing with my daughter’s sweet and sympathetic teacher right there by the tire swings this news launched me into a bumpy ride.

My half Ironman journey ended without closure in July. Storms and torrential rain canceled the swim altogether, delayed the race for over three hours and downgraded the bike portion.  At the end of the day, my friends and I put in one helluva training day but nowhere near what we had trained for the previous six months.

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The month rounded out with the loss of my former job, the decision to start a new business and attendance at their annual convention. After being forced out of my comfort zone on a daily basis for the better part of a year anyway, it wasn’t so bad being the new kid again. Resiliency was building and the seeming discomfort was starting to feel more normal.  And another Triathlon was booked. Things had to get back on track.

Late August brought attempt # 2, this time in Minnesota. More rain, more turbulent waves, a course sorely lacking in safety support and in mere minutes it was over.  I was devastated.  While the race was still in progress, Ice and Little Bee and I drove home. It was a very long and emotionally uncomfortable ride.  I was so unsettled and I didn’t know what to do with it.

Still reeling from the curves on my journey I scrambled to sort out my thoughts, plan my next move and try to get a read on how much more of my crazy training, early bed times, 4 am wake-up calls and laundry pile-ups Ice could stomach.

I quietly signed up for my third attempt in Missouri in September. Marketed as one of the most scenic and picturesque triathlons in the country with a bike and run course containing “rolling hills” (Ha! sizable understatement) I put all my hopes on this being my race.  If it wasn’t three times a charm…well I just couldn’t go there.  It had to be.

Almost 12 months ago, I started this long and intense journey. As I sit and type I still marvel at what the power of one’s mind can do.  Twelve months ago I could not swim freestyle more than 75 yards in a pool. And yet my target was over 2100 yards.

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Twelve months ago I had ridden on a road bike exactly three times. And yet my goal was to cover 56 miles upright and intact.

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Yet, twelve months ago I had the support of my husband, the encouragement of friends and training partners and the mindset that with a lot of guidance and help I would try to figure it out as I went along. There was a reason the training lasted for six months, right?

Well…my training spanned nine months. I finally got “the baby”  on a gorgeous and hot Saturday in September with my sweet husband and my littlest camped out under a tent in Missouri waiting for me to emerge and get on with my life.  The goal that consumed me for so long had been reached. The box was finally, irrevocably checked.

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I am now happily missing work outs, consuming way too many Christmas cookies, sleeping in (6:30 is now sleeping in!) and yet looking forward to that first ride when the final snow thaws.

I am forever changed by the curves and challenges of 2016.   The perseverance I truly did not know I had emerged from some mysterious place and served me well. The motivation to do things then that now simply make me cringe (never again Lake Michigan, you can keep your 56 degrees!) But I know it happened. I know it lives somewhere inside of me and I will lean on it when I need to in years to come.

Keep curving!

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ride On

The Fall was busy. I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I’ve been able to get some thoughts down for my blog. After awhile I started to think, will anybody come back to read it anymore? Then a voice said, does it really matter?  This blog is as much a love letter to my kids and something to leave them with as it is a way to ensure my sanity.

And I’m due for some sanity-seeking.

The Fall brought some unique situations. Like finding myself army crawling on my back for a pre-school rescue of Little Bee from a public restroom stall. How lucky for me that my sweet mother was able to capture it real-time for posterity.

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Or finally pulling the trigger on a bucket list item of mine – the Half-Ironman – only to find myself in Physical Therapy for what appears to be a torn rotator cuff and a bum tendon in my leg. Swimming, biking, running? I am able to accomplish one of those three activities right now and training starts next week. Should be a nail biter!

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Observing my middle daughter, Twinkle in a tough, minor medical situation ( See No Bubble Wrap Here ) since August has been a life lesson for both of us. She has had to visit the Doctor numerous times since August for a pesky skin condition. Treatments are way uncomfortable and cause her much anxiety and dread. I have watched her face it with new courage and strength. We’ve had scores of pep talks and pump-up sessions and many visits to the coffee shop or favorite fast-food restaurant du jour for post-treatment rewards.

When the tables turned last week and I needed to have something removed from my face and subsequent stitches, she was right there to be my cheerleader with the empathy and compassion of a much older girl. One proud Mama here.

Christmas brought Techno his first cell phone. We have leaped off the ledge into the cyber abyss.  Ice and I are not quite ready for the whole digital world to be at his fingertips. But it’s the first time he has had a bona fide and recurring financial goal to work towards. He’s got the phone plan from us, but he’s now the proud owner of his first “Bill”. Welcome to a taste of adulthood, my son!

The tides have turned a little with Techno and Twinkle. Twinkle is knee-deep in middle school and high school is nearly on the horizon for Techno. The importance of friends in their lives has become paramount. And the memories of that shift in my own life have come flooding back.

I see changes in their language, clothing and interests. Every week they plot which days are best to include activities with friends and plot their course towards maximum fun. What Ice and I have realized is how quickly the hourglass is emptying. The time for all 5 of us under this one roof is fleeting. The maximum fun in each week must include family time and we’re doing our best to make that happen whether they like it or not! It has sure helped that we have all been home together for a holiday break since Christmas Eve.

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2016 is sure to bring many surprises and ups and downs. Time waits for no one. How blessed are we that we have this moment?

Celebrate well.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Trip, Tattoos and Triumph from Cancer

Suck it Cancer.  These were the words that were hash-tagged and Facebook posted for the better part of a year while my friend, Lisa squared off with breast cancer. Social Media proved to be a silver lining for her I think. A place to get it out and get love back in return. I have never walked in these shoes but I can only imagine it would be helpful to have so many people pulling for you every day as you’re chronicling your struggles online. Most importantly, helping you feel some control over your diagnosis and sharing your story.

With such a stretch of rocky road behind her, Lisa beat cancer and is on the easier side of the mountain now.  So what does she do? Something only Lisa can get away with.  She wraps up this whole grueling, exhausting, heartbreaking journey in a pink bow with eight girlfriends, a plane ride, a limousine, champagne, hysterical laughter and two brand-new tattoos.

The most surprising part of this story? The tattoos are her brand new nipples. Who knew?

It had just never occurred to me when a woman undergoes a double mastectomy and then reconstructive surgery that she may still be missing her nipples – created or spared. In fact, most women have both breast and nipple removed and are left with a scar and an area where the nipple once was.  The better part of a year ago Lisa informed me of this – in Pilates class.

“And oh by the way, I am going to see this guy who is world-renowned for his work on 3-D nipple tattoos for breast cancer survivors. He sees patients in New Orleans or Baltimore. Anyone want to make the trip with me?”

Four of us on the spot – in Pilates class – we were all in. What an incredible adventure.

Maryland was the destination. (The world-renowned tattoo artist was booked in to next year in New Orleans.) All of us donned pink in some fashion or another to catch the flight to our vacation rental row house in Baltimore’s Little Italy. A 3 o’clock appointment was the mission. A limo had been scheduled to pick up the guest of honor and her support entourage complete with champagne for style points.  Lisa knows how to throw a party.

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Lisa in the center

We pulled up to this unassuming tattoo parlor in Finksburg, Maryland. Ever heard of it? Me either.  But who would know that inside this small, out-of-the-way strip mall such deeply personal, life-changing stuff takes place? This is not your average rose or black thorn tattoo.  Vinnie Meyers has been working on his tattoo artistry since 2001 and with this most rarest of skills has worked on over 8,000 breast cancer survivors to date he shared with us.

“I look forward to this type of tattooing as it gives me great satisfaction helping these women get the most professional/effective finishing touch in their battle against breast cancer.” ~from his website http://www.vinniemeyers.com

Being in that tattoo parlor, exactly one year from the date of her last surgery was a bit of a surreal experience for Lisa.  The ultimate triumph. Staring cancer in the face and refusing to let it beat, or change, her spirit.

Half of the entourage filed in to provide emotional support for the first half of the procedure. And the other half when it was almost complete.  What we witnessed was truly incredible.

Vinnie’s artistry helped give our friend some much-needed closure. The final step in a journey that started over 18 months ago. It was symbolic of putting the scattered pieces back together of a life so harshly interrupted. And what Lisa gave to us was another look at the incredible spirit that she exudes and the courage and grace with which she handled every hideous and unpleasant circumstance that was thrown at her.

Anyone thrust into a cancer diagnosis is in a sea of confusion and there is no right way to handle it.  Everyone’s situation is uniquely their own to navigate.  A nipple tattoo certainly is not a consideration for every breast cancer warrior. A unique approach for sure.  But it was perfectly suited to Lisa.  And when all was said and done, she made a grand and sassy exit with a smile.  Buh-Bye, Cancer!

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Don’t you just love happy endings?

 

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

No Bubble Wrap Here

Watching your kids in pain sucks. Whether it’s emotional or physical, it is hard to watch. This past Monday was a day I was mildly dreading for weeks. Twinkle was scheduled to have a minor issue taken care of at the Doctor. A small in-office procedure. Some BIG anxiety. Some hand holding.

It would hurt. There would be some aftercare. The afternoon would take a turn.  Comfort food and awful Disney shows would rule the rest of the day.

Weeks before when the appointment was booked I struggled with how much to reveal. Do I warn her of the certain pain? When do I bring it up? How honest did I want to be?

After talking with a couple of friends in the same boat years ago and getting all the skinny, I was a little more concerned about how Twinkle would handle it.

A homemade card Twinkle received from a friend

A homemade card Twinkle received from a friend

I found myself trying to temper my honesty with some good old-fashioned Pollyanna attitude. Could she see right through it? Was I just making it worse? After all, my daughter gets worked up about stuff. The apple does not fall far from this tree.  The stewing, the worst-case scenarios, the anticipation. Yep, PhD here.

However, it dawned on me…the last few years have produced a few things on my anxiety and worry hit list. I have also had the good fortune to be an observer of some amazing people in my life handle some of their own setbacks, adversity and heartbreak.

It’s a classic “if I had known then what I know now” life would be so much easier. This was the day some of that tried and true Mom wisdom just tumbled out of me.  It really felt like I turned a corner as a Mom too.

Sheltering my not-so-little girl from pain has been my “MO” for her entire life. That is my job, right? Well, as it finally had to hit me someday, it’s not anymore.

Ice likes to make fun of me and say “Bubble wrap…” That’s all he says. And I know he means I have two choices. I can wrap my kids in it. Or let them live – warts and all. Usually I just ignore him and move on with my coddling and helicoptering.

But today the shield came down. It suddenly became this experience that I wanted to impart how much stronger she would be on the other side. How so much of what happens in life comes down to a healthy dose of perspective.  The reality is there are a lot worse predicaments you could be in than this. Blah blah blah. Am I an after-school special now?

It may have fallen on deaf ears for the most part. But wouldn’t it be great it if didn’t?

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Letter to C – Our Final Chapter in his Foster Story

May was National Foster Care Month. Try as I might to get these thoughts on paper, it didn’t happen. But they need to be shared all the same.  It has been such a roller coaster ride to date.  My family and I are so very grateful for all the support and encouragement we have received from our family, friends and community.

This is a letter to a boy I will never know past the age of “almost four”. This is the final chapter that includes him in our story – never to be forgotten.

Dear C,

You came into our lives tentative and quiet. In your camouflaged winter coat with your broken glasses and your vacant stare. Yet you left us loud, giggling and smiling.  

You were such an exciting adventure. Figuring out what you liked didn’t take long.  Life Cereal, yogurt drinks, bedtime in your comfy bed with your Kangaroo -“Baby”, dancing in the kitchen to Taylor Swift and the Jackson 5, cuddling up in the rocking chair with Ice, your first experience with pre-school and making artwork and how could I overlook – BASKETBALL! You left us with your hoop and basketball ready to make more memories and develop your amazing skills.

You were such a challenge. Figuring out what routines we could not stray from, trying to manage your confusion and anger when you returned from a visit with your biological Mom, wishing some meal times weren’t so disrupted by behaviors you could not help, figuring out what you were trying to communicate – sometimes in ways we had not heard or seen before, wondering if there would be a day when our home would be your forever home? 

We don’t have to wonder anymore. We know to be true that our paths were not to cross forever. Just the space in our hearts where you landed. You have moved on to another home. One with a woman at the head who possesses more training than we and more room in the season of her life to help you blossom. 

For all the effort we put forth to get you the help you deserved, for the care and love and learning that went on in our home every day, for the many places we traveled together outside of the world you lived in before – we are grateful.

For the lessons you taught us, the humility you brought us, the soul-searching and the conversations with God – we are grateful.

Your dazzling smile lit up the room. Your eyes sparkled the brightest when you were laughing. You are SUCH a beautiful kiddo we were blessed to know.

Grow, grow, grow, little man. Do as much good as you can. Learn everything you can and never stop dazzling the world with your amazing smile and your bright eyes. Holding on to the belief that your forever home is coming to you very soon.

Hugs and love,

Your sometime family 

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What next? I just don’t know.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Lightning Round Update

Wow, I have been off the cyber scene. A Nerf basketball lobbed into the coffee mug, into the laptop. Seven weeks and a Geek Squad later and I am ready to give you, my fair reader, (are you still out there?) the lightning round update. (No plunking out posts on a cell phone for this blogger!)

  • Flu (Me) Moms can’t be sick, especially Moms with spirited toddlers who know how to undo all of the safety locks, take off diapers anywhere, anytime, anyplace and practice their mad potty training skills “all by myself”.
  • An appearance in children’s court for our Foster Kiddo, C. Now that is a world I do not want to cruise through again anytime soon. Me standing in the “TSA Security”
    line to get in. No one told me of the pat down that could be in my future. My weapon of choice – fingernail clippers – of which I am sure I have never even used.

Mmmm, sub-zero temperatures to save a cuticle emergency someday? Or toss it now? Decisions…Decisions…

Ma’am, you have some clippers in your purse.

I do?

Yes. You can take them to your car or I can throw them away.

Me literally fumbling in my purse for 5 minutes holding up traffic scouring my purse for said clippers and wondering what other surprises lay ahead of me that day? Plenty. Even after the pat down.

  • Same day of weapon confiscation was a formal affair for Ice’s work. Tux, evening gown, tall people time, tall beverages and caviar no less. I can just float in and out of different realities on a dime!
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I highly recommend Rent the Runway!

Corner of a board book into Little Bee’s eye. The 7th visit to the Pediatrician in about 6 weeks. Good times. (Did I mention this was in between court in the morning and Academy Awards night in the evening? Same day, yes it was.)

Each peach

All my kids have loved this tattered book.

  • The calendar flipped another year for me. Thankfully, the older I get the more I realize age is just a number and I still feel about 28. My crow’s-feet and foggy brain beg to differ, but if it’s all the same, I’ll choose to live in my fantasy world.
  • Timeout after timeout after appointment after assessment, Ice and I are still trying to wade through the new reality that is our decision to foster parent. About all I can say for privacy’s sake is it’s been a wild, confusing, frustrating and at times looking-to-the-heavens kind of ride. There is so much potential with this little guy. Yet there is an incredibly broken system, an overload of work to be done and not enough people to do it and what feels like an immense lack of a sense of urgency. If nothing else it has been an education and a test of our faith.

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  •  Thankfully in between all the busy and crazy there has been snuggles, belly laughs, cheering from the stands, a Valentine’s party at Pre-school, dinners together, play time outside in temperatures barely resembling Spring and contortionist-like efforts to rescue Little Bee from the heights of a McDonald’s play land.  I am so grateful for the gym membership in these times!   

You’re up to date.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

MLK Day Already Hit a Little Bit Closer to Home

“Black and white people don’t match”

These were the words that spilled out of a third grader directed at my 10-year old daughter.

Twinkle had observed this boy picking on our foster kiddo, C. Taking away a toy repeatedly and in general just being mean. When the person in charge of the children didn’t come to C’s aid, Twinkle stepped in and asked the older boy to stop. After repeated “No’s”, she said,

“Stop it. That’s my brother.”

This boy could not make sense of the different shades of skin in front of him nor how they were related. And thus the comment.

When she came home from the gym with Ice, I asked her if she had fun. In a million years I did not expect to hear this story.  Twinkle Toes said she knew of this child. She had seen his face in her grade school yearbook. He is roughly eight or nine years old.

I tried to make sense of the situation. It was more about bullying I thought. Something Twinkle Toes has had a little experience with before. (See 7 Steps to a Resolution with our Daughter’s Bully).

But I took a step back and tried to imagine my two older children making such a comment to another person. They would never say such a thing I thought. However, we do not live in a very racially or ethnically diverse area. That’s a fact. Could they have had some confusion in the third grade about a white person having a person of color for a child? I don’t know. Maybe.

But what lends me to feel especially like this child needed some assistance with his thought process and behavior is how hurtful it was, coupled with his comment. Had I been there and witnessed this, I would have loved to have attempted a conversation with him or his guardian. But I wasn’t.  And Ice was not told of the incident until after they were in the car.  I can only wonder if there will be a next time. Then I remember there already was and I didn’t get to have that conversation.

Another stranger also had some confusion about our family caring for C recently. As a black man passed me in the mall pushing Bee and C in the double stroller, he called out:

“Give my baby back.”

My first thought was did I just REALLY hear that??

My second thought was I should start a conversation with this man.

My third thought was I am alone in the Mall with two toddlers, I need to keep walking.

And I did. Occasionally looking over my shoulder. Pondering what just transpired. And naively feeling astonished that in my insulated, protected world people are not just people. A woman caring for another person’s child who needs help is not viewed as that. Somehow race and color need to enter into the mix.

In a forest of confusion about both incidences, I do know one thing: I could not have been more proud of Twinkle for sticking up for “her brother” and doing the right thing to protect him. I know she was just as uneasy about her situation as I was about mine.

Will there be a next time? Sadly, yes. I know it to be true. However, I can only take them one at a time and try to gain wisdom and courage from them.

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Roller Coaster Ride has Begun: Updates from Foster Parent Land

wpid-img_20140730_114031265_hdr.jpg“Once you make a decision the universe conspires to make it happen.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seven days have passed since I climbed the steps of another Foster mother’s home, accepted the entire belongings of a 3 and-a-half-year-old boy in a laundry bag and walked out the door with another woman’s son.  To care for like our own, 24/7, as long as is needed.

Surreal. Exciting. Nerve-wracking. Confusing. Wonderful.

This ride started in September 2013.  It is what Ice and I determined was next on our path as a family.

Our foster child, “C” , has adjusted fairly well to the fast-paced life of our household. He loves to eat (he fits right in!). He is very organized, carefully arranging his meal in front of him, letting me know when he accidentally drops food on the floor or determinedly putting on his shoes. He is thoughtful.  Offering to help Little Bee with her coat. Or give her some of his breakfast. He is quieter, observant.

Naps no longer present an issue, he just lays downs and rests. Nighttime sleeping is met with the same ease.

Getting a handle on a new routine has been a process for all of us. I could fake it and get away with a lot with my little spitfire before.  She traveled where I traveled and napped when we got home. She rolled with the ever-morphing routine and did so pretty seamlessly.

I now live and die by a very specific schedule. It is isolating. It is challenging. It is uncomfortable.  At the same time it is liberating, dependable and my saving grace.

We spend a lot of time in the gym, my “home away from home” now. Not that I didn’t go pretty regularly before. But now it sets the tone for the entire day.  I blow off some steam. They get to play with an exorbitant amount of toys we don’t have at home. I get a peaceful shower at the end of my workout. And without even knowing it, I’m working on the ever-elusive abs of steel. Pretty good gig, huh?

This adventure has been met with so much support and encouragement from family, friends and even strangers. I hear a lot of these comments.

“I couldn’t do what you’re doing.”

“It takes a special person…”

“How amazing.”

Truth be told, I do not feel very worthy of the comments or kudos. There are moments wrapped in every day where I ponder where will this lead? Do I have the stomach for this roller coaster? If he is placed elsewhere, are my kids capable to ride this ride? I guess that’s where the abs of steel will come in handy.

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My multi-tasking hat just became a ten-gallon. And it’s getting bigger.  Bee and “C” are thirteen months apart.  I have a new and more complete understanding of what it takes to parent multiples (i.e., twins, triplets)! All I can say is it’s mind-bending.

Every day has a new hurdle. That’s true for everyone, I know.  Mine currently includes getting peed on, endless time-outs, double the diaper changes and double the potty training efforts, a lack of social interaction by virtue of “the schedule”, the incessant reasoning attempts that occur to do the simplest of tasks, the decision to forgo an outing because it just won’t work out, chasing down toddlers (mostly my own) in public places or trying to navigate the behemoth of a double stroller in places where clearly such an awful thing was never meant to tread.

I find myself in a situation that is forcing me to be patient beyond what I feel I am capable. Pushing me to my limits of understanding and frustration daily. (My teeth actually hurt yesterday from gritting them so much.)

However, stepping back, knowing the little we do about C’s background, it feels good to provide the stability, consistency and discipline his life is lacking. He is such a sweet boy and has so much to teach us.  When he says “Thank you!” and smiles his big pearly white smile, it melts my heart.

Without getting into the sensitive details, you can imagine my disappointment and surprise when I found out today that due to an issue, what we thought would be at least a six-month commitment to him (or more) may very well be cut short.

At the same time, I have had faith that Ice and I were brought to this experience for a reason I don’t fully comprehend. And I want to see it through.  We asked for it, we got it.

Things worked out so well the last time an unexpected blessing entered our lives. (Ready to Let go of the Steering Wheel) I have to believe they will again.  What other choice do I have?

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© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

7 Steps to a Resolution with our Daughter’s Bully

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Sippakorn

A visit to the gym to workout today proved to be full of some pretty big lessons for my nine-year-old daughter (and me). While on the treadmill next to my husband (Ice) I looked over to see my daughter in tears and very distraught.  She approached him very upset and looking for his help. He left with her.  I assumed she was fighting with her brother on the basketball court and continued running. After a couple of minutes I decided to shut off my machine and go see what was up.

Turns out my son was not the culprit today, it was another boy she was guarding (or trying to) in what was supposed to be a friendly game of basketball among children.

According to her account, the boy was aggressive and rude the entire game towards her, he slapped her at one point, pushed her down and told her “You’re a girl, you can’t guard me!”

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Prawny

Step One: Find the Boy.

We set off to find this young man. Calmly and purposefully. When he saw Ice he started to bolt in the other direction with his little sister. Ice asked him to stop and follow him to the front of the gym.

Step Two: Ask for assistance from the staff.

Ice asked for the help of the man behind the front desk in resolving the issue.

Step Three: Give our daughter a chance to tell her side of the story and look this child in the eye.

We let her speak and then asked the other child if what she re-told was what he thought happened. Was it easy for her? Not at all.  But it was so important for her to stand up for herself with our support and encouragement. She had been really shaken up until this point and rather than be the victim I felt it was so important for her to gain back her composure and some of her control of the situation.

Step Four: Arrive at the truth.

When the boy denied the events happening or his involvement in them my husband told him the best thing to do was to tell the truth otherwise we would be waiting for the staff to find his parents and get them involved.  He re-considered his position and agreed that he had been physical with her and abusive with his words. We asked if there was anything else he wanted to say and he apologized.

Step Five:  Accept the apology.

Our daughter looked him in the eye and hard as it was I could tell she really meant what she said when she accepted his apology.

Step Six: Try and re-cap the lesson.

Ice told him not to pick on others. “Girls can do anything boys can do”, he said. “And if you were my son, I would want to tell you it’s never a good idea to run from your problems because they only double in size.”

Step Seven: Close the loop with the staff.

Ice approached the front desk to let them know the entire turn of events and provide our name and number for the child’s parents to get in touch with us if they wanted to discuss anything.

So far we have not heard anything. But I do hope that this child really stopped, whether then or later in the day, to let it sink in that what he did was wrong.

There are so many other ways that this turn of events could have been handled.  But I feel so much more at peace with how it was handled. Calm, firm, up-front, transparent.

Not every situation can be so cut and dry. Circumstances can be so much more serious, less controlled, lacking any adult supervision in the vicinity and on and on…  But when I asked my daughter to recount for me what happened today, she had a better handle on it than I did.  I actually consulted her before sitting down to put this to words.  She truly was impacted by what happened and walked away stronger for it.

I am so proud of her and my husband.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How’s that Forty and Fearless Thing Working Out?

Today marks not only the celebration of St. Patrick and a culturally accepted excuse to take off work and slam beers at 9 a.m. but also one remarkable year since I committed to taking baby steps towards conquering the scary: blogging. (For those that started following my blog later in the year, Forty and Fearless was the first entry.)

I met my fourth decade with excitement of new adventures, new discoveries and a desire to shed a slowly less adventurous Jen. Writing through this past year has been an eye-opening experience and one that I wish I had started sooner, like exercising regularly and drinking strong black coffee.

It occurred to me recently while watching Twinkle Toes bend her body back like a pretzel while flinging her legs over her head, what happened to swinging backwards off the monkey bars with no hands? Where did the mogul jumps and back handspring attempts go?  I used to have the nickname “Conan” in my circle of junior high friends for my beach volleyball serve. Yet if you had seen me this summer, you would have wondered if I even knew how to identify a volleyball.

My kids have watched a video of their Mom willingly jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 14,000 feet. Would that happen now?  Too much at stake. I wasn’t a mother then.

The last eleven years have been supporting my children’s efforts to be the best they can be. Yet too few times taking a step back and wondering, would they be proud of me and my efforts?

For example, watching Techno play basketball this season.  Getting thrown to the ground, diving for the ball with the thud to prove it, being wacked in the face and injured in other ways countless times, all the while in front of crowds of people and all the while being scrutinized for his every move. Did he hustle enough? Did he defend the basket as he should? Did he pour every ounce he had in to the game?

I do not know if I would have the stuff he has to take those risks. Good for him.

I have a friend who is preparing to give cancer a one, two punch for the second time. Not a fair burden to dole out to anyone, yet she gets chosen to stand at the front of that line twice. I am so humbled. I met the surprise blessing of pregnancy at age 39 with nary a stitch of humor. And her attitude right out of the gates is one that inspires me beyond measure.

Ice just came through to the other side of a big life transition by starting a new job today. The first time in 10 years. He did it with faith, peace and an optimism of which I am in awe. His actions never made me feel anxiety about what the future would hold for our family. Only confidence that he believed something better was awaiting him and all of us.

After all, we have come to the end of our certification process for placement of our first foster (maybe forever!) child and THEN he loses his job??  This.Does.Not.Compute. There has to be a bigger plan.

So I was sitting in an office a little over a week ago reading an article while waiting for my mammogram.  A Life Less Cautious: Getting up the nerve with help from an unlikely mentor And a quote from this essay just blew me away.

“My bravery ebbs and flows, but ultimately I always get back out there…the world opens its arms just as wide for the fearful as it does for the fearless.” ~Ellen Welty

I feel like the simple act of putting fingers to the keyboard has given me a place to sort out, organize, catalog and lay bare for the world the things that amaze and inspire me, make me feel inept and inadequate or call me to action. And in some strange way it has held me accountable for what I write and what I do.

Let me write it now, I am surrounded by courageous, amazing people every day who inspire me. Getting a whiff of strength and fearlessness from others can translate into action, ebb and flow as it might. And in doing so I am hopeful that I will find more ways to make life easier and more comfortable for those around me, strangers and loved ones alike.  Because when I am fearful and edgy, I really am a pain in the ass. It’s okay, I know it.