Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hope, the knee-jerk response to self-pity

This post is being typed using only my right index and middle finger, oh, and my thumb is bashing the space bar. My left hand is otherwise occupied by the hairdryer... Um. Yeah.

It’s 9am on a Sunday morning and the Lionheart has taken up residence under my desk, where he unearthed my hairdryer. (What, you don’t dry your hair at your desk while checking emails too?) So now Travis is getting his mane ruffled and his fingertips toasted by a stream of warm air while I blog. Multitask, much? Every now and then he nudges my wrist to remind me to waggle the hairdryer around a bit so that I don’t roast one of his ears off!

Travis loves the electrical thrum of the hairdryer. Also the chainsaw-ish sound my new epilator makes. I soldiered through ripping my own leg hairs out by the roots yesterday morning, because it so delighted my autistic toddler. The sound of the epilator, not me yowling like a cat being skinned alive! Although...

I deserved ten Hail Marys and a few lashings after Friday’s depressing post.

(I’ve just glanced down at the floor and Travis is kneeling with his butt in the air, directly in line with the hairdryer’s blast of heat.)

The Big Guy Upstairs cut me some slack yesterday after I’d done my penance (read: epilator session). In the miraculous manner of the omnipresent, a fun fair materialised on the sports field in our road. Ta-dah!

Feeling very brave after an uneventful trip to the shops with Travis to buy extra ingredients for buttermilk rusks, I pulled my race car ya-ya over and the Lionheart and I ventured forth towards the painted stalls and spinning kiddies rides.

It. Was. Awesome. Let me tell you why...

Turns out the fun fair was actually a fundraising event for the Christian school in our street. Smiley families and excited kids swarmed between the stalls, armed with ticket slips and samoosas and faces painted like butterflies and Spider-man.

Ordinarily this kind of gaiety makes my heart sink, just a little – not like the Titanic or anything. I’d feel like an imposter: the special needs mom infiltrating ruggle territory. But somewhere between the water balloon stall and the paintball stall, I remembered... Bump.

I remember a fellow blogger writing about her friend, and the “lightening” she felt after the birth of her ‘regular kid’, after only having known the challenges of raising a special needs child. That’s what I felt yesterday for the first time.


(Okay, I had tears streaming down my face, but was wearing a celebrity-sized pair of sunglasses. Pregnancy hormones.)

I looked at all the squealing happy children, and hustle and bustle as moms and dads marshalled their families around the fun fair, using fluffy sticks of cotton candy like air traffic batons. And I didn’t feel like an imposter, because soon this kind of formerly off-grounds family fun will be part of our lives too!

Look, I realise what I’m writing is terribly unfair to Travis (but this entire blog is a testimony to the deep love I have for our eccentric cuddly bear - so there). And also, I know there are no guarantees yet that Bump will be a ruggle. But I’m hanging my hat on hope.

Hope is the knee-jerk response to a large, icky spoonful of self-pity. It’s the battle-cry of the Lionhearts, our faces painted blue with woad: “They may take our lives, but they will never take our FREEDOM!”

Okay, that particular battle cry has nothing to do with anything. But you get the picture, right? I have the hope that somehow Bump will bring balance to The Force, and that all four of us will somehow form a family unit that... works. Hold thumbs, readers! 

(Stacey Vee’s tales of Living Lionheart are up for South Africa’s Best Mommy Blogger award over at Give her a thumbs-up vote if this blog doesn’t, you know, completely suck.)

Friday, 29 July 2011

The silence of the lambs. If only.

There’s only so much one can take. I’m talking about the shrieking.

It’s the first sound you hear in the morning. When my first-born is tucked into bed, his tantrum is the lullaby that rocks our household to sleep. Within five minutes of coming home, the Lionheart is screaming. It carries on all afternoon, whether I’m on the phone with clients or furiously trying to meet a deadline or standing in the queue at Woolworths. Frequently, I can’t even read a magazine on the loo without the crescendo of Travis’s fury assaulting the walls of my tiled bunker.

On and on and on it drones. Punctuating almost every breathing moment with the reminder that my son is broken!

But I’m not allowed to snap. No, no, no... I must batten down the hatches to my ears, and smile Stepford mom-like, as we attend birthday parties and family functions and unsuspecting shopping malls.

If I let his shrieking piece my armour and I snap in mental anguish... I am a Bad Mother.

That’s when all the helpful advice starts. Little nuggets of child-rearing tips from other, shinier, happier mommies who Know It All. “Have you tried this?” “I read an interesting article about that.” “I have a friend who also has a kid with special needs, and she’s doing this.”

As if all disabled children can be lumped into the same bucket.

But you smile and nod and take the advice. You’ve tried it all anyway, but there’s no need to be rude to these well-meaning folk. Tough love. Tried it. Love-bombing. Tried it. Reverse psychology. Doesn’t work. The Pavlovian route... ABA or Applied Behaviour Analysis. Oh yes. Spend more time with Travis? Or spend less time with Travis? I've even taken up psychology as a module for my varsity studies.

My head bobs up and down, up and down on puppet strings as the advice streams down my rainy windows. “Yes, we’ll certainly give it a go.” “Well, you certainly make a good point.” “I never thought of that before, thank you.”

Teachers and therapists and doctors. Friends and family and complete strangers. They all have the answers. They’re a Better Parent than you.

What they don’t realise is their parenting bubble is kept afloat by a steady current of celebratory moments. First words. First steps. First poop in a potty. First day at big school. First school disco. First kiss. First in class. First dance at a wedding. First grandchild...

So much joy. Their hearts grow fat on it.

The Lionhearts’ joy is on strict army rations. Just five bite-free, shriek-free minutes of playtime with Travis can bolster me for weeks of dark moments. I’ll cling onto the memory of those few minutes like a helium balloon on a bright ribbon. But party balloons soon drift to the floor.

And then it’s the screaming, the screaming, the endless screaming.

Sorry. Today is not a happy post day.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Mopping up the Milky Way

Yesterday was an exercise in ‘parenting’. Surprised? I’m raising a four-year-old, after all.

Thing is, he’s a cognitively impaired four-year-old. While we burn plenty of energy caring for Travis, we don’t ‘parent’ very much. For the love of petunias, I’m still elbow-deep in dirty nappies, boiling the kettle for endless bottles of formula and spoon-feeding goop! There’s zero room for lessons in Discipline and Values and Good Behaviour.

Until Travis hurled his bottle of Milo across the tiled floor at lunch-time...

The Lionheart always lobs his finished botties across the room; he could pitch for the effing New York Yankees. It’s standard behaviour. “I’m finished with this. Get it away from me!” (This is immediately followed by a furious squawk that translates: “I was enjoying that Milo, and now it’s all gone, and I don’t understand why there isn’t more. I want more. I want my Milo botties to never end.” Travis still struggles with basic concepts like: finished.)

A trail of brown sugary droplets is sprayed across the tiles, and up the side of his bedroom door. Sigh. The bottle rolled under the couch. Double sigh. Usually I’d call in the clean-up crew, also known as Soapy the Labrador and her super-absorbent pink tongue. Or mop it up myself. Or gaze at Saint Irene pleadingly for assistance.

But not yesterday; I was flying solo. Mentally cloaked in my orange Zen mommy robe... I kneeled next to the Lionheart, and with my best Julie Andrews smile said: “Oh no! Big mess! Time to clean up.”

Translate: “Screw this, little punk. YOU clean it up.”

Rolling Travis onto his hands and knees, I scooted him across the tiles towards the Milky Way on our floor. Our chubby bunny weighs a solid 20kgs now, so that in itself was a feat. With a flourish I yanked a wet-wipe out of its tub, pressed it into the Lionheart’s left hand (in other words, the hand that works) and together we mopped up the Milo splatter.

Later, Travis hurled his empty yoghurt containers across the carpet in the lounge. This is also standard behaviour for the Lionheart.

Zen mommy says: “Messy lion cub is like white denim jean pant. Unacceptable.”

Together we retrieve the yoghurt tubs and step-by-awkward-fumbling-step (translate: march, march, march!) make our way to the kitchen dustbin. Still with my Julie Andrews face on, I cheerfully suggest: “Let’s throw it away!” and we chuck the empty yoghurts in the bin.

Progress. We are having it.

(Yup, we’re finalists in the SA’s Best Mommy Blogger competition over at KidzWorld. You can vote for the Lionhearts here, if you’re up for it.)

Friday, 22 July 2011

The devil has flashing lights

So on Monday I’m sitting at my desk, right? Editing 180 000-bazillion words of academic text for a client. I’ve got my headphones on, listening to Smashing Pumpkins in an attempt to shut out the competing noise from that much-loved musical: the Sound of Travis Squeaking in Dolphin.

Something’s not right, though. I tentatively lift one of the ear-cushions and realise that my Lionheart is not just being his noisy self, he’s screaming like a wounded animal. It’s that frequency that triggers any moms’ action hero reflex – your kid is wetting his pants in fear. Or worse, he’s badly injured.

I rush from my study, cross the lounge, and burst into Trav’s bedroom, yelling: “What the hell is going on here?!”

In one corner, Saint Irene is wrestling with my four-year-old: Travis has buried his face into her apron, and is trying to claw a hole through her chest. He is freaking out! And at my feet in the doorway is a lopsided mountain of blankets and pillows, that’s... vibrating.

Crap. I forgot to tell Saint Irene about The Toy.

You’ve probably seen them in flea markets and those free-standing stalls in the mall. The Toy is made in China. It’s a largish, bright coloured, slightly transparent plastic ball, with letters of the alphabet heat-pressed and cut into it. It’s got protruding knobby bits that are sheathed in a silicone cap. Inside this innocent-looking Chinese torture device is a fiendish, spinning electric dynamo.

You press a tiny silver lever, and it leaps into life! Buzzing and spinning and flinging itself about the room, lights flashing like fireworks on acid! (Or like the spaceships in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.) Insane, manic-sounding Chinese arcade music explodes forth.

It’s loud and violent and scares the dungarees off my Lionheart. His complex sensory issues mean Travis simply can’t process this amount of stimuli at once.

Thing is: I’d forgotten to warn Saint Irene that there was a killer toy lurking on top of the chest of drawers in her young charge’s room... Dum dum du-u-um!

She pushed in the silver button. The Toy was unleashed. And it lusted for the blood of frightened toddlers! She couldn’t shut it off! In desperation Irene began piling blankets and pillows on the gnashing, demon-possessed, thing-a-ma-bobble to muffle its sound. This while Travis screamed from the depths of his bowels in terror and tried to burrow a hole for himself within the safety of her bosom.

It would have been funny, if it wasn’t that Travis genuinely thought he was about to get eaten by a plastic gremlin made in China...

(Oh yes... you can vote for the Lionhearts in the SA's best mommy blogger competition at KidzWorld.)

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Jabberwocks and Wolves

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! She chortled in her joy.

The Lionheart is back at school and loving it. School holidays, my old nemesis, I have conquered your dreary days yet again.

Now that some measure of sanity is restored to the household, we can all get on with the pleasantries that make up The Routine. Like suddenly remembering we should have left 15 minutes ago to collect Travis from school! Smack forehead.

There’s been much ado about the Jozi Blogger Meetup held at Wolves last week. I was decidedly the most un-hip blog lady person at this trendy Illovo venue. Still, I got to meet all kinds of bright young shiny things who write about fashion and art and funky goings-on in the City of Gold.

And, to my astonishment, a few of them knew about the Lionheart that splashes in our tub. It was very flattering – in fact, the only thing redder than my cheeks were the red velvet cupcakes. (Of which I smuggled home samples for my husband.)

Later, I was escorted back to my car that I’d parked miles away down a side street, by a gallant man, who drove away in a silver sportscar. Chivalry, it definitely has its moments!

Even better, my rare (school-night) out was captured on video by the talented Gareth Pon, and set to an awesome track. PS: spot me if you can – I worked it hard to make sure that all 37 cameras and camcorders at Wolves caught my good side... which is the back of my head.

Wolves Bloggers July 2011 from Gareth Pon on Vimeo.

Monday, 18 July 2011

SA's best mommy blogger? Uh, me?

I’m a finalist in the ‘SA’s best mommy blogger competition’ held by the folks over at KidzWorld. Weetbix-smoosh hugs and belly tickles to the Lionheart fans who nominated me. I will now proceed to do my happy dance, which is traditionally done to the Hotdog song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. (R5 a click if you want me to upload a clip on YouTube.)

So basically, you click this here wee little linky and you fill in your name, email and phone number... and check the box next to There’s a Lionheart in our Bathtub.

Pretty simple.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Sylvia Plath tendencies

I remember a time when I had green stripes in my hair. I had a metal spike in the top of one ear – I fancied it made me half-pixie, in a steampunk kind of way. Ridiculous tattoos: I be having them (still, unfortunately).

I wore the same pair of jeans for days. Bright red push-up bras. Watched Jozi sunrises from parking lots behind nightclubs. Sent drunken texts. Had torrid, ill-advised romances – I just wanted so badly to be loved. I fell HARD on my bum (both literally and figuratively).

Back then I wrote crazed, colourful, sarcastic memoirs and had dreams of being a shit-hot author who’d one day pen a novel that would become – what’s the term – a contemporary classic. Like Fight Club or American Psycho.

I was vibrantly young, wildly happy and often deeply miserable.

Then Travis the Lionheart was born. The end. Of that version of me, at least.

Don’t get me wrong. I happily traded in my low-cut tops for more practical outfits from Woolworths and a soccer mom car where all the seats fold down. Such was my craving for a more vanilla lifestyle that a few nights before my wedding I burned all those memoirs I wrote before I tied the knot with my wonderful (brave, intelligent, tremendously strong) husband.

A fresh start: loving mother and devoted wife.

So why is it all these years later that I cringe when I read someone’s Twitter profile, and they use those precious 140 characters to describe themselves as “Mrs Joe Soap: mother of three, wife of so-and-so and by the way, I’m the only female financial director at Skyscraper Corp. And I have a Pulitzer.”? (That was 131 characters, I counted.)

To define yourself as a mother first and all your personal achievements last? I used to find these women pathetic, but it’s dawned on me: to them, being a great mom is their No. 1 accomplishment.

I know a lot of talented, razor-sharp women, some of whom are still rocking their green hair and tattoos – and they’re all madly in love with their kids, and will tell anyone who listens.

So clearly it can be done.

Here comes the part in this rambling monologue that’s actually relevant to raising a child with special needs...

I’ve noticed in the three years since Travis was diagnosed, that as the severity of his disabilities has become more apparent, and my dreams for him have become more conservative by the day – so have the dreams for myself.

For that first year, I believed that if we did all the therapies and treatments and special diets while he was still small, by the time Grade 1 rolled in – Travis could go to a regular school, and still go on to be a rocket scientist. But as he’s lagged further and further behind developmentally, I’ll just be satisfied if he learns to walk by the time he’s a teenager. I often get asked if I think he’ll ever talk. The answer is: realistically, no.

And as for my own dreams... I traded in an exciting career in publishing, for a drab (well-paid, and most importantly, secure) position in corporate communications. Then I traded in that high-flying job to run my own freelance copywriting studio from a home office. Small. Safe.

I no longer dream of being the editor of one of South Africa’s top ten magazines. Or being the Internal Communications manager at a multi-national corporate. I no longer even pretend that I’m going to write That Book. (And I’m excruciatingly aware that I have the talent to do any of these things.) I’m safe in my tiny office, running my small business.

These days, just the thought of leaving the house with Travis in tow gives me heart palpitations. Between his screaming and unpredictable outbursts, wrestling out his pram, and lugging about six months’ worth of Bump – even a trip to buy groceries is fraught with anxiety.

Yesterday by some miracle Travis agreed to sit in a trolley as I picked up some things at Checkers, and he clapped his hands in excitement and explored the packets of macaroni. This is my Holy Grail. An uneventful trip out the house! My goal each day is to make it to 8pm without letting the shrieking and biting and tantrums of my frustrated, brain-damaged child push me over into the abyss.

It’s Bump that’s made me realise that something needs to give here.

I don’t just owe it to myself to be a great mom (comfortable in my role)...
AND dye my hair whatever-the-hell colour I feel like...
AND write that book or be a magazine editor.

I owe it to my children to still have dreams, because they’ll take their cue from me. Yes, even Travis the Lionheart – when he’s finally able to comprehend these kinds of things.

So I’ll start small. You know, maybe actually write more than one chapter for my next idea for a novel. Get a(nother) small, inspirational tattoo. Start running around the garden naked with sparklers at the dark of the moon – because that’s what we creative types are wont to do.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Show us the front side of your bum...

Oh Bump, the mysterious, how secretive you are!

Yesterday was my 24-week appointment with the VJ doc. Three things...

First, I still get a kick out of marching past everyone in the waiting room, my urine sample held proudly out in front of me, and plonking it unceremoniously into the plastic kidney dish that sits, its contents displayed for all to see, on top of the reception desk. If they’re going to make us submit to this undignified process, I shall do it with aplomb!

Hilariously, as I sat back down, a newbie patient scurried over and placed her urine sample next to mine in the dish, nudging mine to the left with her fingertip so that it was clear which was which.

Second, a couple of weeks ago at the VJ doc, a rude, porky couple tried to push their appointment in front of ours – without so much as asking, I might add – because “we have to be in Sandton at 10.30am, darlings!” My VJ doc is always running at least 60 minutes late, even for the early morning slots, and I was already late for a client meeting myself. My husband and I yelled across the waiting room, “Excuse us! Our appointment is first and we also have places we need to be. So if you don’t mind...”

Guess who was scowling at me from across the waiting room at my check-up the following month? And at the fruit and veggie shop two weeks ago. Mrs Porky and I keep bumping in to each other, wah ha! Or rather, our bumps do – as that’s the common denominator here. I was most disappointed that I didn’t see her yesterday in the VJ waiting room again. We’ll probably be in beds next to each other in the maternity ward when our babies are born.

Third – is our Bump a boy? Do I have a Sebastian Daniel in my belly? Because during my scan the doctor referred to the littlest addition to the Lionheart clan as “he” repeatedly. I didn’t even notice he was doing it, until the doc corrected himself and said: “He or she that is of course.” A couple of weeks ago when we went for the Hectic Scan with Professor Nicholau, he made us look away from the screen while he examined Bump’s reproductive organs and kidneys.

Morne and I thought this must mean for sure that it’s a boy – because we would have probably been able to see a giant, obvious, well, PENIS on the screen. But a friend of mine reminded me that chances are equally good that we could have also spotted fallopian tubes, or some other female anatomical bit. And that yesterday’s slip-up could be that doctors most commonly refer to babies as “he” by default. Because I have got to tell you – and no doubt putting this so publicly on my blog will come back to haunt me – I’m feeling a distinctly female presence inside my tummy. I could fart rainbows and glitter!

In the meantime, Travis has taken to wearing his hoodies up All. The. Time. It’s very gangster. Much like an angst-filled teenage boy, I think he enjoys peering out at the world from inside the safety of its murky depths. I can’t decide if it makes him look like a hip hop mogul or Rocky Balboa, but it’s helluva cute, don’t you think?


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Next week at Wolves

Okay, I'm on the bandwagon for the Jozi Bloggers Night next week at Wolves. It's not just the lure of red velvet cake that's tempting me to leave my hobbit hole. Oh no, I am far more shallow than that.

It's the prizes! There are two Kodak cameras, three ghd Iconic Eras of Style handbags, a year's supply of Pringles and a pamper hamper from Living & Loving up for grabs. Plus five gift bags from the Snack Factory, and a month's free coffee at Wolves.

That's it. I'm in. Now to find a babysitter...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Letters to Bump: what’s ‘normal’, anyway?

Three weeks ago we had an appointment with Professor Nicholau, the foetal scan magician. You might remember getting a full body massage, maybe?

That lubed-up sonar, uh, thingie, scrolled across my belly for 60 minutes. There was so much sonar jelly on my abdomen, the top of my pants and bottom of my bra were soggy! (If you are a girl, know that pregnancy is an endless parade of indignities...)

You were prodded and pushed into positions where the technician could better see you. We counted your fingers and toes. We checked your spine, the valves of your booming little heart, the halves of your brain and the delicate bridge between them. You shyly turned away each time we tried to get a glimpse of your facial features. (Oh how I adored you for keeping some mystery for us, despite that we now even know what your kidneys look like!)

Professor Nicholau pronounced: “I can see nothing wrong with this baby.” But I heard: “It’s a ruggle!”

Before you got the ruggle stamp of approval, your dad and I joked that all we want is for you to be the Most Normal Baby Ever. A mousey-haired, C student who did ‘just okay’ at sports. A model of mediocrity. No surprises. Of average build and size. Just like all the other kids in your class.

Selfish, eh?

Then I surprised myself this morning by writing on another blog: “Nobody can be 100% sure what we are going to leave that delivery room with – each of us get a very unique bundle of joy, and have to find a very unique way of parenting each child.”

Clearly I have a wise orange-robed monk meditating in my medulla oblongata.

What a revelation! Bump, don’t ever feel you have to be ‘normal’! What was I thinking? I’m pulling out the stopper on that mental bottle where I stuffed all my hopes and dreams for you. Be an astronaut! Be a trapeze artist! Be a librarian if that’s your thing. Just don’t be a stripper or a tattoo artist – I don’t think your dad could handle something quite that exotic...

What is normal, anyway? And how dare I impose the concept on you?

Your brother Travis the Lionheart goes to an amazing school where no two children are alike. In fact, the only thing that’s ‘normal’ at his school is that everyone is different. I’d like to think that this is something you’ll embrace early on, even though most kids want so badly to Just Fit In.

Bump honey bear, see how much you’re teaching me already?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Hell freezes over in July

There are exactly 14 days to go before Travis the Lionheart goes back to school. I know, because I’m counting them. He’s counting them. His nanny Saint Irene is counting them. And so are our neighbours in our living-on-top-of-each-other townhouse complex.

Woolies should stock an advent calendar for school holidays – not just the ones for Christmas, where there’s a chocolate behind each pull-off date. The July school holiday advent calendar could have 21 cardboard rip-out dates, with a Valium lovingly nestled inside each window. Mother’s little helper, and all that. Or a shot of caramel vodka... Or just for me, as I’m a whole 23 weeks preggers now, a banana and peanut butter sandwich: my emergency snack!

It’s not that we hate having Travis at home for the holidays – it’s that he LOVES school so much. It’s his favourite place in the world. Singing the Schoolie Schools nonsense song is the only way to get him out of bed on weekday mornings. (As opposed to holiday mornings, when Travis bum-scoots out of his room at 4am and sits expectantly in front of the TV until I put Disney Junior on for him. Children. Are. Diabolical.)

(Also I loathe Jake And The Neverland Pirates, for the record. Does Captain Hook have to steal those mini-buccaneers’ playthings every episode? Why don’t they just share their toys with him and get those lazy scriptwriters to come up with some other educational scenarios? Aarg!)

Figuring out ways to keep the Lionheart entertained in the middle of winter for three weeks is hard.

Those science activity sets for toddlers are wicked cool. But way beyond our special needs child. Colouring and painting have also been a disaster. Travis just eats the Koki pens while I'm left colouring in outlines of Winnie the Pooh.

I’ve tried baking, but his sensory issues means that he flips out every time I add a new ingredient to the bowl. The tinkling of sugar crystals. The cracking of eggs. Even tumbling chocolate chips... Travis presses his face into the side of the feeding chair when I bring the mixing bowl near. This is disheartening for me because baking is my Thing, and I want so badly to share every messy, delicious moment with my cuddly bear.

On the plus side, I get to lick the beaters all by myself!

Last week I took Travis to Lifestyle Nursery on Beyers Naude Drive where they have that freakin’ awesome kiddie section. It’s painful for me to watch the gaggle of sugar-frenzied toddlers screech in delight, and wrestle the minders, while the moms enjoy a cigarette break and a phone call on the benches to the sides...

Travis was screeching too: but only because his senses were being assaulted. He can’t clamber on the jungle gyms. He can’t go on the charming choo-choo train. He can’t drive the mini go-karts (but he really enjoyed watching the other little boys bash into each other on the track.) He can’t take part in the make-your-own-pizza playtime. Can’t. Can’t. Can’t.

But I was determined I’d find something at Lifestyle that Travis would enjoy. Like grabbing handfuls of bright flowers as we meandered through the nursery with the pram. And joy, oh, joy – they’ve just opened a Readers Warehouse there! Travis pulled a board book off the kids’ shelf that was to his taste: he gnawed on it, basically. My son is a book-licker. This one is called Aliens In Underpants and so far it’s been worth every cent of the R30 I paid for it.

I also ordered him a chocolate milkshake (yum, his favourite) at the Silver Birch coffee shop, which made him mini-vomit and then have a meltdown. I am the Zen mommy, however. So I quietly ate my bacon and egg sandwich, drawing loop-de-loops in the sand of my mental Zen garden, while Travis the Lionheart shrieked and bit my wrists and pinched my hands and threw my iPhone at the waitress.

It got so bad the woman at the table next to us moved to the other end of the restaurant. Sanctimommy. This made me wonder (for the thousandth time) if I should get Travis some T-shirts printed that say: “Don’t roll your eyes. I’m disabled. So WEH!”

Still, we had an... okay... time.

If it warms up this week, I’ll venture to the botanical gardens with a picnic basket. Travis loves to soak up the sunshine and (dum-dum-du-u-u-m) no one can hear him scream! What? It’s a wide open space! Lol.

(PS: This post marks a whole year of blogging about the Lionheart. Three cheers!)