Keep calm and carry on

One of my favorite things to do with the kids I support, is to take them swimming. No matter where we go swimming, it always is a bit of gong show. My swim stuff, their swim stuff, extra clothes, towels, snacks and ourselves. Everything except the bathroom toilet is packed neatly into two bags, that usually weigh the wheelchair down so much, they you have to take the bags off the back of the chair before anyone is lifted out.

One summer (well, I do it every summer), I wanted to go a an outdoor pool by the lake, I like to swim at outdoor pools. Of course, the hottest day of the summer, I decide to take the two kids in my camp swimming at a pool on Lakeshore. There is me, my other staff, a young girl using a light wheelchair, her brother and a young boy using a heavy wheelchair. Both chairs have two backpack’s on the back, packed to capacity. You will understand why I explain the wheelchair sizes later.

On our way walking to the pool we stop at the coffee shop for my friend so she can start her day right. I see they have Watermelon slushies and decide to get one in the way home. We got to the pool in good time, swam, ate, played and even had a visit from Marjorie the Great, who has an Italian accent!

To get back to the bus stop to go home, we have to cross Lakeshore. It is a huge street that is cut up by four little streets with traffic lights at each one, plus a ‘watch the gap’ to make it five streets.

We start to walk East along the boardwalk to the traffic light. The bus comes from the west, and makes a left turn where we cross the road. The bus stop is about forty feet from the ‘mind the gap’. As we are walking, I look behind me and see the bus coming at high speeds. I then yell “BUS” and take off running like the mad hater. My staff behind me, moves fast, following my lead. I check quickly, all lights are green, we are a go. The boy with the heavyier wheelchair is laughing as he flies over bumps with ease. He even squeals at times. The girl with the light chair had been tilted back, because her chair hits bumps so hard and will fly forwards. Oh did I mention she had her hands up like she was in a rollercoaster. Her brother amazingly kept up with us. As we get to the mind the gap, I look quickly and decide it is safe as stopping now would be more dangerous. The bus turns the corner and I begin to wave, we are still running though. He pulls over and begins to slow down, saw us, and two wheelchairs…and then pulls away and is gone. We were so surprised and annoyed. The little girl then declares “ooo, we can walk home now.” There was no way, we were completely exhausted. The next bus came really quickly and we found out the first guy was late. We get on, tie in and ride the nine stops we were too tired to walk.
We get off the bus and walk back to the shop so I can get my slushie, it was on ourway home. The whole way the kids tell us how hot it us, how tired they are and how they want to be home. Everyone did at this point.

We hit the coffee shop for my slushie. We get ourselves in awkwardly and park. Small shop, no automatic door, but we made it. I go to the counter all sweaty and tired and say politely, “may I please have a Watermelon slushie.”
The young man behind the counter says, “We don’t have any watermelon.”

I say in a slightly annoyed voice, “you should take it off your menu then. Can I have a cherry slushy then?”

He says, “we don’t have cherry either. We only have these two and he points.”

I flip my wallet closed and walk away mumbling to myself. I say sternly, “lets go home.” I could’ve lost it, I was so close. As we turn the kids around to leave, there is a lady sitting in the back on her computer. She sees us, and without hesitation grabs the door for us and smiles. As I smile back, I read her shirt quickly. It reads, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, well now I have to.

We walked home and just lay around, kids choice. Boy it was a good day 😀

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Loser Days

Loser days

I tend to loose things from time to time or forget things (not the time for people who know me to comment).  Traveling with children is not the most calming experience, especially when they use a wheelchair (adventure filled and fun, not calming).  Imagine this, your going out for the whole day, with two children, one using a wheelchair, one walking, two bags, myself, sometimes my bag, oh yeah, and the TTC.

I always bring my separate bag, with my stuff in it. It doesn’t make things easier. This time I thought I was ahead of the game by taking all I needed out of my bag and packing them in the bag hanging off the wheelchair.  You know keys, wallet and my passport, I use it as I.d.  I then began to make sure we had everything.  As I ran around like a mad woman, engaging the children in conversation while they laughed at me, I remembered, oh yes, my metropass. It is in the front pocket of my backpack and I always forget it and then remember just in time.  To be honest, I am never really asked to pay when traveling with someone who has a mobility device, but I like to teach the kids that they and I have to pay, just like anyone else.  Anyways, as I reached into my bag for my metropass, it was not there.  The first stage of panic sets in, I stop and think for five seconds.  Try poking around again, slowly this time making sure to reach into the corners, can’t find it.  Second stage of panic, I start to peer into the bag and gasp.  Third stage of panic, everything comes out of the bag in 10 seconds or less.  I still cannot find it.  I take a deep breath.  I am a little upset but…

Oh, well that sucks, I am a little shaky from the whole ordeal, but we’re going bowling and I am ready to have some fun.  I also decide on my walk to the subway station, I will just buy a weekly pass, they are $36.00.  That helped to calm down me a lot too; I needed to feel like I didn’t have to worry about it.  We get to the subway, I buy my pass and we go on about our day.

We had a great day; it included pot holes, stinky elevators, bowling, buying my lunch and washrooms without toilet paper.  As I was moving things in the backpack attached to the wheelchair to make room for other things, I took some of my things out.  I took my passport out and guess what fell out?  That’s right my bus pass.  Wasn’t I laughing at myself as I tried to offer people my new weekly pass that I just bought.  It was really and honestly, more funny than anything and definitely a Marjorie moment.

Getting home was a breeze, we caught the busses and subway right away.  The client I was supporting is somewhat cheeky and repeated, “that was so funny when you thought you lost your bus pass, and bought a weekly pass, then found your bus pass, about four times.  All I could say was, “ha, yeah that was funny.”

Marjorie dsw

Yes, you are correct!!!

So, I realize I don’t actually have a lot of time to blog.  In that case my blogs may be a few days away from when they happened in actuality.  Who knows, that may make them better.

I work with children who have many different challenges.  My heart is drawn to those who have a physical and developmental disability, but I really appreciate each child as they are.

When working with children who have behaviour, I have to maintain a structured environment, not be swayed by general child stuff, catch out bursts before they happen and redirect.  Redirection is key!!!  I especially have to ignore all the funny things that they say that are true.  They are sometimes funny at the time and sometimes not.

Marjorie: Sit down; eat your lunch (in a firm voice).

Child: You’re a poo poo head.

Marjorie’s thought: Ha-ha, no, my head is not made out of poo.

Child: You have a big bum!

Marjorie’s thought: Why, yes I do have a big bum, ha-ha.  You shouldn’t be looking there.

Child: You are not being very nice and I don’t like when you do that.

Marjorie’s thought: Your right, I am not being nice and I wouldn’t like me either if I was talked to the way I have to talk to  you sometimes.  But, you need to try and help me, because I am on your side.

The Marjorie thoughts are all the things I kinda want to say but can’t.  Also, these words are usually paired with fun behaviour antics that need to be resolved.  Am I the bad guy, I don’t think so.  I think I need to think something funny in my head to make me laugh at the situation so I can carry on being direct, firm and give guidance.  Just a thought.

Marj dsw