A Full June

Well now. Look at what the cat dragged in. I have no excuse. Honestly. I could give you some song and dance about life and all its complexity, but honestly?

  1. It’s been a busy few weeks, and
  2. I’ve had nothing useful to say.

It’s just been that kind of month. We’ve all had them. Plus, with all the… sadness and violence and crap going on in the world… I’ve been feeling sadness and anger and the need to blanketfort quite a bit. And we’ve all hear enough about that stuff, for the time being. For a lifetime, really.

So instead, my focus had been turned inward — and by that I mean I have been taking time to focus on my little life here with my house and family. And there’s been a lot to do.

That Girl takes up the bulk of my time, because it’s almost the end of the school year and I’ve got to prepare all that we’ll need to keep her doing homework and learning throughout the summer. We’ve made some real gains this year — she’s exceeding her IEP expectations for reading by a long way, plus she got A PERFECT SPELLING TEST LAST WEEK, BITCHEZ!! — and we want to keep riding that wave for as long as we can.

Any gains we can make before September and the start of Grade 3 will be helpful. So this summer will be full of numeracy and building up neglected addition and subtraction and time-telling skills, as well as grammar. She’s got lots of therapy exercises to do as well, so we’re really going to buckle down and get some more of that done.

So, I have been pulling activities and exercises out of workbooks, making daily worksheets, looking for apps, and trying to muster all the resources I can. And we’ll have fun, too, of course, with swimming and a couple of day camps and some trips to the schoolyard to practice her scooter or her bike or whatever.

This past month has also been the start of some orthodontia for Stinkerbelle. She’s got some real crowding and bite issues and so we took her to a pediatric orthodontist, who suggested a palate spreader and some braces on her front teeth. We got molds done and then came the first appointment to put elastics in between two sets of teeth to make some space in preparation for the palate spreader.

And she kind of freaked out in the chair.

Stinkerbelle has oral motor issues, as you know, and does not like things in her mouth. Unfamiliar food, dental tools, whatever — she freaks out. She’s good with a cleaning, though, so I thought that putting these elastics in would be easy. Apparently not.

I way overestimated That Girl’s readiness for the procedure. One of the problems we have is that, because she is so social and agreeable, what we take for understanding and acquiescence can actually be anything but. Her capacity for understanding what’s going on around her is slower and more limited than other kids and her means of coping is just to be agreeable and everyone thinks she understands what is going to happen, when in actuality she has no idea until it is happening.

And she is terrified because she just doesn’t know what is happening.

So, although we talked about it, she didn’t really grasp what was going on with the elastics and she wailed and cried. For you or I, putting in elastics feels like flossing. But for her, all she knew was that somebody was trying to do something IN HER MOUTH. So she cried about how much it hurt.

It didn’t, of course. “It hurts” is one of her default positions to indicate to me that she wants something to stop or be fixed. What she really means is “I am scared and don’t understand.”

I didn’t get that.

Now, by the next day, which was her next appointment, she was totally fine. She was okay with the elastics being taken out and bigger ones being put in. But by then, the damage had been done, and the orthodontist decided to put the brakes on and postpone. Which was bloody inconvenient because orthodontia is expensive and we had to rearrange some money to make it happen. But in the orthodontist’s eyes, as a pediatric dentist, he was concerned that this would be a traumatic experience for her, and he did not want that.

I get that. I do. And I appreciate it. But I sat down with him and explained her diagnosis and what that means and how we operate. He didn’t have that information, as he was not the doctor we saw in our initial appointment, and did not get that information passed on to him by his staff. It was an oversight. But he knows now. So, we’ll try again in August, and we’ll maybe try a strategy of “baby steps”, of appointments of smaller increments or “test runs” or something.

But that was three weeks of my time. And of stress and money worries for BDH and myself, and the effort of preparation for me and for That Girl. So.

On other fronts, life has been busy as well. BDH’s work schedule has been punishing, but we’re trying to make our weekends dedicated family time, which has been nice. Sometimes that means going to a movie or the library or something. And sometimes that means working in the yard.

We’re reclaiming our backyard. It’s been hard.

We had to let our vegetable garden to to weeds last summer, because I had some injuries and could not do the heavy labour. And BDH wasn’t going to tend it himself, on top of the other yardwork he has to do. But this year, because I am relatively healthy and we need to save money by growing stuff, we’ve started to reclaim the garden from the grass and weeds.

About a square metre at a time, we turn the soil, then I get down and pull out every weed, every clump of grass, every bit of root structure I can find. Then we plant something — tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers and basil are going in or waiting to go in this year so far. Then we cover the whole square with a whackload of mulch.

We’re hoping the mulch fights off the majority of the grass and weeds. Nothing will keep out the horrible bindweed that strangles everything and will, I am certain, survive the apocalypse. But perhaps at the very least it will keep down the thistles.

But a metre at a time is not very much, and not very quick. So there’s still a lot to be done. And what doesn’t end up with vegetables in it will just be covered with mulch and we’ll call it done.

We’ve also been fighting a losing battle with weeds in our flagstone patio. We were almost ready to surrender and just put a bunch of gravel and a deck over top of it but then BDH discovered how to whipper-snip that bastard to within an inch of its life. And voila! Weeds be gone! At least, temporarily. But that was way easier than pulling them as we used to do, which took hours of backbreaking effort and by the time you got across it, the weeds were coming up again back where you started.

We were so chuffed, we decided to enjoy our patio some more this year. So BDH got us a little gazebo-awning-tent-type thing on sale at Canadian Tire and a few little patio lights and TA DA, outdoor living. Or, at the very least and more importantly, shade in our south-facing extremely hot backyard.

Which also means we put the pool up again, so That Girl could keep cool in her way — LARGELY SPLASHING AND MOST OFTEN UNDERWATER if I am honest — while we keep cool in ours. Hey, we all enjoy nature in our own way, man. YOU DO YOU, STINKERBELLE. YOU DO YOU.

Beyond that… we’re still on the fitbit slave train, marching our ten thousand steps per day to better, fitter us. And it’s getting better, although on days like today with a 38 humidex when there are rivers of sweat rolling down my back, it’s hard to believe it’s getting better. But we’re both feeling fitter, losing weight, gaining heart health, all that stuff. It’s good.

And for me, it’s good to have a little healthy competition in BDH and a constant reminder on my wrist to tell me to get moving. So we’ll keep at it.

But I am tired, and I hurt my back about four weeks ago and it’s still nagging at me, and I am as hungry as hell most days. That’s the toughest part of the battle, for me — the aches and pains and hunger and urge to just sit and rest and read or knit or hang out on teh interwebs. That’s the hard part.

I wonder if there’s a little watch thingie that can help motivate me through those things. If not, I should invent it, and make my fortune.