Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Down, Many To Go

His appointment with OT went really well. She evaluated him and said he is ahead of where he should be for his adjusted age, and doing excellent. She said the only thing to work is to try and get him to look right more often because he's still looking left. She was also very impressed with how we talk to him constantly. She commented that we are very descriptive and never stop talking to him and telling him what's happening. She said that most parents don't talk to their babies like that and that most people feel weird or silly talking to them. I laughed, really my baby is just a small person. Why shouldn't I talk to him like he is a person? If I were in a strange place and unable to see very well or communicate my needs I would want someone reassuring there, talking to me in soothing tones. Not someone talking around me or above me or about me like I can't hear them.

She said he has amazing head control and a very straight back, she was extremely impressed with him, and was comfortable to send us off to our CNIB OT instead. So one less appointment a month yay!

After his appointment I went up to the NICU where he spent his first two months of life to bring them some pictures of him and show them how he's grown. What a flashback that was. As soon as I got onto the maternity ward the smell hit me and brought back all the memories. The nurses were excited to see him. He cried, probably wasn't too happy to be back there, I kept telling him we weren't trying to return him heh heh. We saw one of my favourite nurses who came and looked at him and commented on how big and cute he's gotten.

My poor boy has been so fussy lately. He's managed to catch the cold I had, and is pretty miserable about it. I mean he's not too bad because he's such a normally laid back happy baby so him whining a bit more than usual is totally out of the ordinary. I look at it this way sometimes I whine when I'm sick because it bothers me so much, and he can't even complain using words to tell us what's wrong so I expect him to whine and cry to express how he feels. I find that I think about his crying that way and I don't get frustrated with him. How can I? He's just trying to tell me something. I don't know if it's just me or if other parents see it the same way..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

So Smart!

This morning I woke up to my baby lifting up my shirt with his left hand, signing "eat" with his right hand and opening and closing his mouth like a baby bird. I did a double take. He's only five months old (5 mos 10 days if you want to be exact) uncorrected. I didn't expect him to be signing this soon, even though we've been working on it. Whether it was accidental or not I praised him said the word eat a few times and fed him right away to help him make the connection.

There's a storm brewing I can feel it in my metal elbow. Yesterday was gorgeous and sunny, I kept saying to my friends that a storm is coming because my elbow is so stiff. They laughed. Today it's gray and cloudy and windy. Teach them to laugh at Clancy.

I went to Babies R Us the other day with my girlfriend (I have to figure out an internet name for her cause her name starts with C and we already have one of those) and I picked out a new toy for Skyler. It's a baby keyboard with 5 keys that play the correct notes and light up on the screen as you hit them. It also plays the notes in xylophone and flute tones. And that's not all, it also has a composer mode where you hit a key and it plays part of a classical song and you have to keep hitting keys to make it play the whole thing. Skyler loves it. He's lying on the floor right now playing it with his feet. It's freaky but I've noticed since starting my ECE course that whenever he is playing I am assessing how and what he is learning. Like right now he is learning cause and effect. He kicks and it plays music. Then the music stops and he has to kick again to make it play some more. He seems to be enjoying it too. It's a Baby Einstein toy if you're interested, and so far I'm finding it great for my (visually impaired) baby. It has raised numbers on the keys (and there's a number mode in 3 diff languages so if he hits 2 it will say two, or dos, or deux depending on what language it's set to.) I should really take a picture of it since I'm sure I'm doing a horrible job explaining it.

What else is new? Anything? Let me see. I took Skyler and N to the park yesterday with C. It was fun, the two of us pushing our strollers together. N is so big now and enjoys the park so much more. Oh and get this she asked me a question and I had brought some healthy snacks, so I was eating a granola bar. I went to answer her question and she said something I didn't quite understand so I asked her to repeat herself and realized she was saying "Chew your food first Britt-Britt" Embarassed by a two year old about my bad manners. How sad. So of course my response was to finish eating and say "You're right baby girl, I should finish eating before I talk." Gah! She's so grown up she's reminding me to be polite.

Oh, I also went to my parents house yesterday and picked up my own keyboard (I have a full keyboard and I used to play quite a bit while I was growing up, but it had since been collecting dust in my brother's room) since Skyler's had inspired me. I figure at least this way he can move on to my keyboard as soon as he is ready, also the keys light up, so if he can see light then it will be helpful for him as well. I've also started playing again. I want him exposed to as much music as possible, but only so much as it's fun. I will definitely not be one of those parents who forces their kids to take lessons when they have no interest in the subject. If he wants to pound the keys and just make noise and have fun well that's awesome!

Today we have OT, and I'm hoping to "let go" of this one, and tell her she's being replaced by our CNIB OT. I already spoke to the CNIB OT, who is comfortable with this. Because I don't need 2 different OTs at least the CNIB one comes to our apartment to work with Skyler, and is specialized to work with visually impaired babies. I have enough appointments in a week to worry about without having one that's basically redundant.

Anyway I have to charge my camera battery and get a picture of Skyler playing his keyboard. Until then I'll leave you with the link to it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

From NICU to Now: Wow.

I've noticed that this is increasingly becoming a blog about raising my special needs baby so today I've decided to reach out my arms as far as I can across the internet and look for other special needs parents. If you know of any please send them my way, and if you'd like to be on the new blog roll for special needs parents please let me know in a comment. Of course I encourage everyone who reads my blog to continue reading and commenting. You guys keep me going with all your support and encouragement. And for any lurkers out there, don't be afraid to leave a comment! I love them, I thrive on them, and in all liklihood I'll drop by your blog and leave you a comment in return.

SO the news for the week. I'm coming down with a cold, and I hate it. The sore throat thing is the worst. I've been taking my vitamins though and trying to eat really healthy foods to combat it. On the weekend my girlfriend and I took Skyler for a nice long walk in the stroller. It was very nice to get out and enjoy the (finally!) nice weather. We just chatted and had a nice relaxing walk. Ah relaxation a word I'd all but forgotten as of late. Which leads me to my next paragraph.

Who knew one very small 12 pound baby could have so many appointments in a year. We're booked up until September! I kid you not, we have an appointment with his opthamologist in September. We have appointments every day of the week. Next month he turns 6 months old, so that is a very busy month for us. Everyone wants to see him. His endocrinologist, his NP, the cardiologist, child development (this is a new one we haven't seen yet) the OT of course, and his CNIB OT, and his home visitor as well. I'm sure there are some I am forgetting though.

However, we're managing. Though we seem to have developed a new problem. My little boy's appetite! He seems to want to eat constantly and I'm starting to wonder if I'm making enough milk because it seems like he just wants more, more, more. I know your breasts will produce as much as your baby needs, so I have nothing to worry about, but I'm always finding something to worry about. I'm doing my best to stay hydrated hoping that that will help. We did try mixing up the smallest amount of very watery (well technically I made it with expressed breastmilk) pablum, but he isn't quite ready for it yet. He's still pushing the food out with his tongue.

Just in case you are wondering, he's definietly not starving. He is a very healthy weight, and he is eating lots, it just seems like he wants more. And to help my insecurities enter C's lovely family. I know he is probably upset that I am complaining but I have to vent. We went to his parents yesterday so he can fix their computer. Well his aunt was there (and I hate this woman with a passion, she has no idea when to shut her mouth, or that certain things are just not funny.) So I finish feeding Skyler, and pass him over to his grandma, and C's aunt walks into the room and comments on why Skyler is crying (he wasn't actually crying he was talking.) "That's the cry of a baby whose parents don't feed him." Obviously she didn't see me feeding him two seconds prior, and obviously she's a b*tch. And that's not the end of my rant. C's dad has a trick lighter one where you press the button and get shocked. They did it to me last time I visited and it HURTS. So this time he tries to get our friend to use it. I warned her not to touch it, and of course he got all pissed off. So then he says "let's use it on the baby." I kid you not. Let me tell you we left in a hurry, and not in a good mood either.

Skyler is doing well, he had his appointment with his NP last week, she said he's gaining really well, (so obviously I do feed him) he hasn't grown much at all though lengthwise. She said not to worry about it because last time he didn't grow lengthwise he made up for a couple weeks later. I think he is just doomed to grow slowly until he gets on the growth hormones anyway.. Unfortunately that's the way it is when your baby doesn't have all of his pituitary gland. He is as happy as he ever was. I cannot get over his huge smiles! I tell you he is just the ray of sunshine in my life.

I'm learning more and more about helping my blind baby's development, and how to be a good parent to him. I've learned that it's important to describe his world to him and point out things that we think nothing about because we have sight, like to tell him the expressions on people's faces, and what kind of clothes people are wearing and how others interact. He will have a hard time with social cues because he can't see people's faces. I need to help fill in the gaps as best as I can. I also have to stand up for him and explain to others about things he is comfortable and uncomfortable with.

I also learned from his CNIB OT that so many people even professionals like doctors and therapists and specialists have very little experience dealing with blind kids and don't know their development very well. She was saying how some things that blind kids do seem like autistic behaviours and she's had cases where doctors think the child is displaying signs of autism, but in reality it's just the child's way of figuring things out. An example would be one little girl likes to snap or clap her fingers when she enters a room. Her doctor thought she was exhibiting signs of autism, but what she's really doing is gauging how big the room is. She can tell by the sound of the echo. Because we don't always think to describe to a blind person how big the room is or what it looks like. We take our sight for granted. This is something I'm coming to realize.

I think it will do me well to take a day sometime soon to wander around this world with my eyes closed and see how well I fare, and see what helps and hinders me and this way I can be more prepared to help my son navigate and to understand somewhat what he is going through. I mean I plan on spending a day without my glasses as well and for me that is scary enough. I can only see about 12 inches in front of my face without them. So it should be highly beneficial for me to walk around "blind" for a while. I want to have the best understanding I can of his world.

The other day I got a message on facebook from a girl whose baby was in the NICU with Skyler. I think I wrote a post about her around christmas time. She was from Flin Flon (yes it's a real place) which is up north in our province, she went into labour at 32 weeks and because they didn't have a NICU or the resources needed they had to air lift her and her baby down here to the hospital Skyler was at. So here was this 20 year old stuck in an unfamiliar place with no family, and her baby in the hospital at christmas. We had her over for dinner and spent some time with her talking to her and keeping her company.

When she added me I was excited to catch up, and I looked at her albums. She had pictures of her son in the NICU. I was reminded of our time there. So I went and looked back at all the pictures and videos of Skyler right from his birth. I can't fathom that that itsy bitsy little thing is now my big baby boy.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Today we had our first appointment with our CNIB Early Intervention Occupational Therapist. I LOVE her so much. She is so outgoing, energetic, enthusiastic and talkative. She just has this super positive outlook and I think she feels the same way about us. She scheduled an appointment with us next week even though she normally doesn't come every week just because (her words) she's really looking forward to working with us. She says because we're just so enthusiastic and pro-active she can't wait to get started with Skyler, especially since he is such a happy baby.
She spent an hour and half asking us all the intake questions that they have to ask everyone. And she said that if we hadn't gone down there that day she likely wouldn't have even found our referral because everything is such a mess down there right now. She gave us numerous ideas of how to help Skyler with his development and said she's a huge fan of baby signs even with blind kids and is very impressed that I've already started doing them with him. She signed us up for the CNIB library services and told us about this amazing music therapy program we can take him to even while he's a baby. We chatted for quite a bit, I'm quite happy about this program. She encouraged me to continue reading to him and doing everything we've been doing so far. She's going to come back on Tuesday and evaluate him again, I can't wait.

Right now Skyler is sleeping in his swing, while I watch Handy Manny. I hate to admit that I love this show. Being bilingual and speaking spanish I guess it's inevitable. I also find it funny that Manny's voice is Wilmer Valdarama (Fez from That 70's Show). Hop up jump in, come on let's go, hop up jump in si vamanos. Skyler let out his first full belly laugh the other day, it was the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life. I seriously got so excited. He laughed for me! SO cute, can't get over it. Oh and he saw the pediatrician for the first time, my little porker is 12 pounds! Which means he is now officially 3 times his birth weight. The pediatrician said we should start him on solids next month, he needs the iron from the cereal. It's going to be so much fun.
So one appointment down for the day and 4 to go. Yes Friday is my "day off" which in my life entails about 5 appointments. So much fun! Okay I'm off to get ready for appoinmtment number 2. Much love to everyone in my blogosphere.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Armpit Ride

Two year olds are hilarious. I put N on my shoulders today and walked around for a while letting her enjoy being on top of the world. I set her down and she scrambles her brain for a moment trying to think of the word then says, "I wanna ride on your.... armpits again!" Once I corrected her she said shoulders, but ah, got me laughing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What's New This Week

Where have I been? Oh goodness me, I've been caught up in my writing. We have our best friend staying with us after a giant mess with her room mate/sister (you know how those things go.. siblings living together can turn quickly into a disaster unfortunately). We're looking into finding a townhouse so we can all move out together since a one bedroom apartment isn't exactly ideal for 3 adults and a baby. I'm feeling kind of weird about moving, I'm comfortable here. But on the other hand I know Skyler will need his own room soon enough and it would be nice to have more space, I'm excited about the prospect of having a nursery where I can put all his toys and diapers and other baby related stuff. And it is a bonus that our friend is the one person I trust (besides my mom) to watch Skyler. Ah well we shall see how this all plays out.

In other news I've been getting quite a bit of time off work which I have been spending playing with my son and writing stories with my friend. Two brains are better than one. However, the reason I've had so much time off work is not such a happy one. My boss is an office manager in a medical office that has 2 naturopathic doctors and a clinical psychologist. Last monday she went into work and ended up having to give a 40 year old man (from the office next door) CPR, while the man's mother was watching. Unfortunately he passed away before the ambulances arrived and I'm assuming he basically died in her arms.

She's understandably completely traumatized and has been unable to go back to her building without having major panic attacks (which as I can attest to are horrible things to have). So her boss (the clinical psychologist) has been working with her to get through the traumatic experience and the stress she's now dealing with. She's had me go in for a few hours here and there to watch N while she naps or does a session with her psychologist over the phone, but she's still unsure when she'll be going back in. Which is fine with me. I want her to take as long as she needs to recover and figure out how to process all the things that must be going through her brain right now. She told me last week that the nightmares have been unbearable. I know it's nothing like miscarrying so I have no way to compare I just know it must be awful for her to deal with. All I could do was give her a big hug and tell her to try and take it easy.

As for me, today Mr. Chatterbox woke me up at 4am because when you're a baby apparently 4am is the best time to strike up a rousing conversation. I fed him, changed him and tried to encourage him to go back to sleep, no such luck so I got up and took him out to the living room where he napped in his swing while I watched the lamest videos ever made in the 80s for my ECE course. I worked on my school work until he woke up then we spent another good half an hour laying on a blanket facing each other having a conversation, before I did his exercises and tummy time. My boy LOVES to talk. He is definitely his daddy's son. Oh and the smiles. You would not believe how much this child smiles. He coos, he laughs, he smiles, he waves his arms around and yells excitedly, he gets so animated when he is talking that you can't not look at him and giggle and respond.

Went over to my parents house last night. The place is crazy, my dad is packing up to move out, my mom is cleaning out the basement getting ready for renovations. My brother is the same as ever and wants basically nothing to do with me. I miss the days when him and I were close. I wish there was something I could do to make him want to talk to me again. Ah well what can you do right?

And that's what's new with me right now. (Oh and I'm staying far away from the kitchen!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Such A Tool

You have any friends who can't even manage to make macaroni? Aren't they just so pathetic? Yeah well I'm one of those people apparently. I somehow managed to pour a pot of boiling water over my hand today and gave myself a nice burn. It's hardly visible (it's red and shiny) but let me tell you I can definitely feel it. Of course I ended up spilling it everywhere cause I basically dropped it into the sink. So now I'm hungry and in pain. Lovely.

There's a reason why I'm not the domesticated one..

Hope you all are faring better than I am today.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Monkey Butt!!

Skyler's latest obsession is his stuffed monkey. He now refuses to sleep without me unless he is cuddling his monkey. It's the cutest thing. I snapped a pic for your viewing pleasure. It was funny too because he dropped it later, and I turned it upright for him and when I looked back he was holding both of it's ears, they were nose to nose and he was babbling on about who knows what. Telling that monkey something or other. ADORABLE!!
Now, since you've waited so patiently, I'd like to present my monkey, and his monkey:

btw: I swear I took off the tag after I took that picture :P

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Heart You

And then there was the cardiologist. We got the letter in the mail today. His appt is May 1st. Wish us luck.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Beginnings

There is just too much going on right now it's almost overwhelming. I feel great, new beginnings and all that. I'm actually back down to my pre-baby size just about. My tummy is gone, and I'm fitting into my old clothes again. Feels great honestly. Can't wait to start working out again.

My family is going through some rough stuff right now, and they too will be having some new beginnings soon. My parents are going through a messy break up right now. It's having more of an effect on me than I thought it would. It's not what you think. I honestly want them to break up I've been telling them for years that they need to break up, it's the truth everyone in that house is completely miserable. I just thought that since I moved out years ago I was beyond all this stuff. But everything is crazy and they're bringing back memories and it's all just a lot to deal with.

My parents are both trash talking each other to me, and then worrying that the other is trash talking. My brother is depressed and angry (what else is new) way worse than before though. I went over there for easter tonight and I held out my arms for a hug as I usually do (I was like 3 feet away from him, nowhere near his proverbial personal space bubble) and he walked over and slapped my arm down. His greeting to me was an angry grunt. Like what did I do? Apparently something bad.

I can't wait until this whole thing is over and done with, and hopefully it won't get as messy as it looks like it will.. There is talk of my dad trying to fight my mom for the house, and him calling a lawyer to get her charged with tax fraud or some crap. Really I feel like I'm being torn in two. I love them both. It's like I have to take sides. I don't know what to do. I guess the same thing I've been doing a lot lately, meditating.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Worst Mommy Ever

So last night he was crying like all night long, but I was exhausted so I just brought him to bed with me, and it seemed like nothing I did would make him calm down, I knew he was super tired and needed to sleep. I tried feeding him numerous times but it hurt so bad, and he didn't seem to be taking much at all. So finally I woke up enough when the sun started to rise and I sat up and went to feed him because he hadn't been eating all night long. I thought maybe I had thrush again. So I lift up my shirt and look down at my breast to find 3 very large, dark black & blue hickeys. Well that explains that. I was so tired I hadn't been making sure he was getting the nipple in his mouth, and so I was basically starving him for like 5 hours.. /sigh.. poor kid. No wonder he cried all night long. He must have thought his boob was broken.

Oh and after I finally fed him properly I put him back down next to me and he laid there smiling and talking and laughing away like all was finally right with his world.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New Routines

It's been a good weekend. I should be receiving my books for my ECE course soon, I'm extremely excited as my friends can attest. Every day I'm constantly asking C to check the mail in case the mailman came and dropped off my books. The course starts on the 9th. I thought my books would be here by now, but nothing as of yet. If I don't get them by tomorrow I'll be phoning the school.

I've finally started to drop some of the baby weight. I managed to squeeze into my pre-baby jeans today. A size 7. Woohoo. Still I have a bit of a tummy and a lot of fat left on my thighs and this "lovely spring weather" (and by that I mean not one, but two wonderful winter blizzards which dropped about 25cm of snow on us over the last couple weeks) we're having is preventing me from taking the stroller out to do my normal routine of walking until I drop. So I've made the decision to join the YMCA by my place. It's close enough that I can walk if the weather ever gets nice. They have childcare, and they have drop in programs for me to take my baby to. There are two brand new pools (I watched them building them every day as I drove by on my way to work) with slides. A full gym, a rock climbing wall and a bunch of other cool stuff. I used to work out back when I was in University. Mostly cardio and that kind of thing, but it felt good and I had more energy, so I'm pretty stoked about it.

I mean realistically we have appointments most days of the week so I know I can't work out whenever I want exactly, but I'm confident that I will be able to fit this into my schedule somewhere as "me time". Having Skyler has really taught me about making a schedule and sticking to it. I've also learned from my workshops and this funny thing called life that I must take time for myself, even if it's just a couple hours a week at the gym to make me feel good about myself. The workshop leader says it's even more important for parents of high maintenance kids to take breaks and take care of themselves. Which makes sense to me. I need to be on top of my game to make sure I'm making the very best of my time with my son, which coincidentally is all day and night haha.

Speaking of which, my little guy and I have begun to perfect our daily routine. He basically wakes up for his day around 9:30 or 10am and starts off with a feed and a diaper change, after eating we do his stretches and his sitting and standing and tummy time stuff. The OT gave us a bunch of stretches to work on with him because he tends to like to keep his head to the left and we don't want him to end up with a flat head or a stiff neck. He is doing amazing at sitting up, and his head and neck control are fantastic. After all of his stretches and tummy time he will start fussing to let me know he has had enough, then it's time for another feed and back down for a nap. We continue our routine throughout the day including toys and tv time. Yes I said tv time, I know they don't recommend tv for babies, but as we've found out when it comes to legally blind babies it's all good. If he will focus on the tv then by all means we are to let him watch it.

So I got him a Little Einsteins dvd today. Honestly if anyone watches enough baby cartoons in a day to know what's good and what isn't it's me. Now I'm talking Little Einsteins not Baby Einstein which I don't care for. Little Einsteins is a cartoon that usually revolves around classical music and art. They go on adventures in their rocket and teach kids about music and other cool things. I think it works well for him because even if he isn't focusing on the screen the whole time he is at least getting the musical aspect out of it. I put it on for him today and sat him in his bouncy chair. I wish I had taken a video. He was delighted, I saw him focusing on the screen, he was laughing and cooing and throwing up his arms with glee. It was so adorable. He just got so excited. We're working a lot on his vision as well, and I'll be excited to see how he does as he gets older.

As for my post yesterday about abuse, please keep leaving comments I will check them and let me know if you have any questions or if you'd like me to write more about it or about a different aspect of it. I unfortunately have a good deal of experience with the subject matter and there were many other types of abuse I didn't get into in that post that I could write about. And Karen please do let your children read it if you think it will help them. It would make me very very happy to know I have helped someone in some small way to learn how to recognize the signs that they are being abused. Thank you for your comments about it. It's not the easiest thing for me to share with the world, but I want to help others and that's worth sharing my experiences for.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


For today's post I've decided to tackle a very serious subject that has affected many many people I love including myself. (so we'll take a break from my son's blindness for a little bit.)

I want to address a very important subject. There are a lot of people out there with some common misconceptions about abuse. Most people would assume that it happens only to women, that these women are in long term physically abusive relationships and that they are obviously stupid because most of them stay with their abuser. While these may be common situations when it comes to abusive relationships there are many different forms of abuse. And the people who are being abused are not necessarily stupid, they have reasons for staying with their abuser, even though people outside of the relationship know that the best thing is for the victim to leave as soon as possible.

Firstly women are not the only victims of abuse. There is a higher percentage of abused men than one would believe. The reason we don't hear about it more often is we are culturally and societally programmed to believe that women are the weaker sex. Men are supposed to be bigger, stronger, smarter etc (even though we know it isn't true, we're taught to believe it). Most male victims of abuse are unwilling to admit that they have been abused for fear of how their friends and families and society at large will see them. Especially when the abuser is female, or if the abuser was male and the victim is a closeted gay person.

Next, there are many people who don't even realize they are being abused because they believe it must fit certain stereotypical conditions. They think abuse only happens between couples. Or that it's only abuse if there is physical violence. Or they believe that if they fight back then it is not considered abuse because they contributed to the violent situation. There are many different categories of abuse. If you are in a relationship where someone is controlling you, whether it be them telling you when and how you may run your life or them preventing you from leaving the house, earning money, holding a job, speaking to your friends.

I spent 5 years in a relationship like that, because I refused to believe that it was abuse. He had not hit me (maybe only a handful of times throughout the whole relationship) so I figured it couldn't be abusive. He did however control my every move. I was not allowed to see or speak to friends or family without his permission and not unless he was present and had approved the interaction. For instance if I was on the phone with someone he wanted to know immediately who it was and what they wanted, and if he disapproved of the conversation he would find a way to get me off the phone. This included my own parents, I was hardly ever allowed to visit with them, it was up to him when we went there and how long we stayed.

He used a lot of guilt and manipulation to force me to bend to his will. If I wanted to do something without him he would first tell me he didn't want to go, and that he wanted me to stay, and if I persisted he would move into the whole "ohh but I'll be here all alone and I'll be depressed without you" bit. And if that didn't work for him he would move onto "Fine. Do whatever the F you want." Usually I would cave at some point and we would spend yet another night sitting in the tiny living room while he played video games and I did nothing, because that was exactly what I was allowed to do. I was supposed to watch him play video games for hours on end.

He also abused me sexually. Not something I like to talk about, but I think it's important to get it out, and to let other women out there know that they are not alone and that they are being abused and it is not okay. I thought that because we had been together for years and were in a relationship that it could not be considered rape. He controlled all the finances and prevented me from getting a job so if I wanted anything for myself I was reduced to begging for it from him, and he would usually buy me things if I would do as he wanted.. It was degrading and made me feel like a pros.titute. But that wasn't the only time he would make me have sex. He also would force it on me when I told him I didn't want it. He would often tell me to stop crying because I was ruining the mood. I want to tell you that I know now that that is rape. Whether we were together forever or had just met, if one partner is unwilling it is rape. And that I should not have felt obligated to do anything just because he paid the bills. If I had felt that I could leave the relationship at all I would have done it.. I felt trapped, and I felt like I had absolutely no other choice.

I think the worst part was that from the outside he seemed like the perfect guy, he had a stable job, was responsible and seemed caring. He made it very easy for people to like him, and it actually took about a year before he revealed his true nature to me. He had everyone fooled, all of my friends and family thought that it was a bit odd that I didn't go anywhere without him and if I did I had to answer to him and have my phone on at all times because I couldn't miss a call from him, but thought that all was well regardless because he just seemed like a good guy. It wasn't all him though, I deceived everyone as well. I did not want to believe that he was abusive, and as things got worse I did not want to believe that I was stupid enough to stay with someone who was controlling and abusing me so I thought it would just be easier to keep up the cherade and pretend he was the best partner in the world.

I thought that if I told people how he really was with me that they wouldn't believe me or if they did believe me they would know just how much of an idiot I was for staying with him, and I just couldn't do it. C eventually helped me get out of that relationship, by sharing with me all the things that had happened to him.

Needless to say, I had to realize it for myself that he was abusing me, and there are probably a lot of women out there who feel guilty and bad and who don't realize they are being abused. I want you to take a good look at your relationship if you think something like this may be happening to you.

On to the next point, it is not always your significant other who abuses you. It could be a mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, sister, brother, anyone. it's possible to be in an abusive relationship with anyone. If you are being controlled by someone that is abuse. It doesn't have to be physical. If your brother is forcing you to do every errand or chore for him by threatening suicide that is abuse and he badly needs help. If you feel guilty about leaving the house because he is depressed and needs you to stay and entertain him or buy things for him to make him happy that is abuse. He is holding control over you. And while it may make you feel like crap because you believe you have to be the one to hold him together, it is not your job to take care of him 24/7 and you should be allowed to have your own life. (I'm not saying don't help the kid if he's suicidal, but don't think that you are the only one who can take responsibility for his life, he needs to do that for himself not force others to take care of his every need).

I used that example because of the situation with my own brother, but it applies to pretty much any relationship. If someone is holding something over you and using it to get what they want from you, no matter what that may be. It's abuse.

On to the last point, it is not always easy to leave. There are numerous reasons people stay in abusive relationships. In some cases it's all the person has ever known. It's hard to leave and go out into the scary unknown when you are used to being abused, you feel terrified to leave. You may question what will happen if there is nowhere to go, no one to help you? It's easier to stay where you have a roof over your head and a predictable pattern to your life than it is to go out and change everything and be on your own and possibly living on the streets. Then there is always the fear that your abuser will come after you and the result of him finding you will be the most violence you have ever faced. In some cases the victim ends up beaten to death after trying to leave an abusive relationship. I want you to know that if you are in an abusive relationship there are places to go, people who can help you. You should seek out a shelter. Most places have shelters for abuse victims to go where they can hide from their abusers while they sort things out.

A lot of people who are being abused will act out, displaying destructive beahviours as a way to deal with the loss of control in their lives. Usually it's against themselves. An example would be cutting, or taking drugs. Depression is also a sign that you or someone might be being abused. Follow the link below to learn more about abuse and how to recognize the signs and what to do if you or someone you love is being abused.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Can't Take That Away

Things have been good lately. Aside from the stupid fight C and I had the other night, which I think we're mainly over it now.. Just some stuff that needs to be talked about. Communication is key and whatever. Anyways, for the past few days C's baby sister has been staying with us, she's 16 (17 next month) so it's spring break and I guess she wanted to visit with her nephew. Can I just honestly say "aaaaaaaawkward". It was awkward for more than one reason. She's like 17 and a teenager, and I'm a rather private person when it comes to C's family. Yeah I know I post all my thoughts on the internet where everyone can see them, but when it comes to his family eh...

So that was weird, feeling like I had to bite my tongue at every comment because I know that if she casually mentions anything to her parents about anything that C's grandmother will be on the phone with him within a few days to discuss whatever I said or did. One time his aunt saw pictures he has posted on facebook, and called his grandma and she called him to tell him to remove his pictures and yeah, it's just a total annoyance. The point here is that they all gossip and it's a pain in the ass, so I was walking around pretending to be like completely normal never ever fights or raises her voice to her husband lady. It was like stepford wives over here. Now I have never seen that movie but I'm pretty sure it's about robots or something, and not the cool kind that shoot lasers out their eyes.

On to the other reason why it was awkward. Skyler was diagnosed on Monday as having hypoplasia and sent a referral to the institute for the blind. While I went and told my parents, C apparently decided to keep this info to himself, so for the whole time she was here she kept making comments about the baby looking at people and things.. I took C aside and I was like "Uhh did you not tell her he can't see?" and he pretty much just shrugged. I wasn't going to tel her because that's his family, I wasn't about to break the news to them. So on Thursday morning (his sister had been with us two days and was going home that night) we had his families first visitor over. So I had to explain to her what the doctor had said because she helps us with his development and I want her to know what's going on. So as I'm explaining it to her C's sister interjects with "So he's like colour blind then?" I turn and I'm like "No, more like legally blind.." and then "Oh." and that was that, but I found it kind of amusing.

Then at his parents house for dinner that night his dad was playing with Skyler and talking to him and all that stuff grandparents do, and he says "You don't look at the person holding you." then he's playing some more and turning him around and then he says "What are you blind?" and C and I both say "Yes." in unison without any hesitation, in a completely matter-of-fact voice. He seemed to accept that, and was actually pretty good with it. I was surprised there weren't any follow up questions. He just kept playing with the baby and made some jokes about him not seeing his "ugly auntie's face" or you know whatever insulting thing he said about his daughter. I kid you not.

OK on to the good stuff! Today I had to take care of N at her grandma's house because they're selling their house and there are showings there. So as C drove me to work I noticed that the CNIB was basically a block away from N's grandma's place. So after work C and I drove over there and managed to catch the Early Intervention Occupational Therapist. She said that there used to be two of them doing the program but the other lady left and now it's just her, and her caseload is huge and there is a giant waiting list. But she was very receptive and took us to the "kids korner". (a room down the hall with a whole bunch of baby/developmental toys) She spent an entire hour talking to us, and she even evaluated Skyler. He put on the baby charm and she decided to take him on immediately.

She answered so many questions and was just awesome. She told us we were doing all the right things so far with him. She is going to help us stimulate whatever vision he does have, and she will be able to evaluate his development in conjunction with his vision problems. It was a good thing we went in too because she said that just this week they implemented a new system where every new person who is referred to them gets their file sent off to Edmonton and then gets a call from Edmonton to answer a few questions and then the file gets sent back to Manitoba and then they get in touch with you. So she was saying that with as many people as there are coming in that it's likely they're getting lost in the pile and not even getting called back.

Our letter just arrived at the CNIB and at our place today. (The opthomologist sent a letter to us and the CNIB and the endocrinologist and his NP) So we got lucky, she managed to dig it out and made us an appointment for the end of the month. I'm so excited. She told us that most of the other kids in the Early Intervention program have hypoplasia as well and that only one of them is totally blind. The others all have varying degrees of vision, some of them even manage to ride their bikes to school, and play video games and do all sorts of stuff. She was very supportive and enthusiatic. She (like every other doctor/specialist/therapist we've seen) said that Skyler is very lucky to have parents who are so involved and want to help him in every way we can.

Anyway I came out there feeling pretty good, and very happy that I had decided to make an impromptu visit to the CNIB. It was lucky that we caught her, and managed to get an appointment, she seems very excited about working with Skyler. She couldn't get over how cute he was either. Eh but who can?

Okay, so yeah it may seem kind of insane, for someone who just found out for sure that her baby is legally blind, I'm pretty happy. I have a good clear concise idea of how to help his development, I know he has certain limitations, and I am ready and able to work with them. It's all going to be great.

I love my baby, and I am so happy he is here and alive and such a happy baby. No matter how many people are "so sorry he's blind." They can't take that happiness away from me.