Did My Brain Fall Out?

Haven't we all asked ourselves this question? There are days I am quite sure my brain did fall out - I can barely put one foot in front of the other and I forget everything. I know you can relate!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Oh, the pressure!

Now that I've started this blog, I feel PRESSURE to write something awesomely witty everyday. Most days this isn't hard for me *cough, ehem* but today I have hit a wall. So, I am taking suggestions...any suggestions...

Today I have my gynecologist appointment, so expect some good fodder, unless of course he says my uterus has fallen out - then expect a CELEBRATION. I've been trying to ditch that bitch for years.

Don't forget to leave a comment, join this site, share on FB and twitter, or do nothing. These are your choices; choose carefully, Grasshopper. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Favorite Song EVER "Wonder" by Natalie Merchant

I have always loved this song because it describes C1 so well. She is a challenge to many people's balance, but she WILL be able. She is a wonder of God's own creation. We have no explanation. She is just....her. And so incredibly loved. She has taught me love, and patience and faith. 

AND I CRY EVERY DAMN TIME I HEAR THIS! It's like this song was written just for my family. That's the beauty - that it is so relevant for millions of people. 

Here are some of the lyrics and the video....

People see me
I'm a challenge to your balance
I'm over your heads
How I confound you and astound you
To know I must be one of the wonders
Of god's own creation
And as far as you can see you can offer me
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She'll make her way

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Rainbow Told Me To Write This

As I was driving home yesterday from my sweet friends' vow renewal slash farewell party, I was reflecting on my faith, on how much I have changed since I moved here seven years ago, about how I am still a skeptic a lot of the time about God. How I am learning that my faith is how I grow and change as a person. I thought, "hmmm...that might be a good idea for a blog post," but then thought, "people probably won't read it."

Are you still reading? Well, I guess if you made it to paragraph two, then you must be interested. Or something.

So, I was driving home and all of this was rattling around in my brain, and lo and behold, as I turned down my street, there was a HUGE rainbow, and it stayed until I got to my house...it was right over my house! So, umm...GOD? I think God put that rainbow up there to tell me that I should write about my faith. I believe in signs. That is genetic, actually, because my mom believes in signs, too.

I was raised Catholic, and no offense to my Catholic friends out there, being raised Catholic is enough to ruin anyone's faith. Lots of rigidity. Lots of rules. Not a lot of God. The God I learned about could be mean and get you back for making mistakes, kind of like a bad boss. I learned the 10 Commandments, had to memorize The Apostles Creed, The Hail Mary (which is still one I say to calm my nerves) and The Our Father. I went to Catechism (Religious Education) classes weekly from kindergarten to the 8th grade. I made my communion, my reconciliation and my confirmation. There was no escape; my mom WORKED in the Religious Education office. Those years were just like "The History of Jesus 101." I grew up believing in God, going to vacation Bible school and singing "Jesus Loves Me." I didn't learn a lot about how faith shapes decisions, how our goal is to live in a Christlike way, how to trust God. I have trust issues and control issues, so these have been hard lessons to learn. 

(As a side note, I do like that the Catholics are totally into Mary, ya know, the mother of God. Most spokes of Christianity don't really dig Mary. She's just a bit player, an extra in the drama of Jesus Christ Superstar, which makes me mad, because anyone who has actually carried a baby for 9 months knows, it doesn't really matter HOW the baby got in your uterus when your feet are swollen, you cry all the time and you can't shave your legs. Everyone needs to give Mary props.)

So, I moved down here and my first job was at a middle school in a very rural where the kids took days off for hunting trips, got guns for Christmas, rode 4-wheelers and their parents drove trucks with HUGE tires. They thought snakes {vomit} were funny. Everyone thought it was hysterical that I was from New York - I couldn't understand them and they couldn't understand me. I had students who were rural-to-NY and NY-to-rural translators in each class, just so we could communicate. I cried everyday, "where did we move? what have we done?" And God was everywhere here; He was pervasive. The kids talked about Him, the parents talked about Him, faculty meetings and Board of Education meetings would start with prayers. Kids couldn't stay after on Wednesdays because they had church. God is full-time down here. The amount of God-time made me very uncomfortable. In my head I would think it was sweet, but on the outside I would feel itchy and scratchy, like I was wearing wet wool leggings. I thought everyone was crazy. I was arrogant about my own, inferior faith. 

The funny thing is this, in the Bible Belt, it never even crosses anyone's mind that their brand of faith - the in-your-face love of God - would make anyone uncomfortable. And even if you are visibly uncomfortable - chewing your cuticles, not making eye contact, trying to back out of the room, screaming "no, no no!" - they don't care. Now I think that's cool, but 7 years ago I thought I had landed in another dimension. My kind of faith was quiet, secret and personal, like hands in white gloves tucked in my lap, genteel and polite. This kind of faith was loud, extroverted and public, like a celebrity scandal, the details running on the ticker on the bottom of the t.v. screen all day long. My first real "run-in" was when I fell ill at work - dizzy, nauseated - and I went to the office to get someone to watch my class. As soon as the word was out that I was sick and trying to pull myself together in the teachers' lounge, our data manager and custodian sat me down and laid their hands on me, praying for my health. I was too polite to say no or to get up and run away. I let them lay their hands on me and finish their prayer, and smirked my little "are you kidding me?" smirk. 

Fast forward five years and three churches, two denominations, and many false starts, my family and I found a church that we loved. The pastor was a cross between the Mandrell Sisters and "Nunsense."  Here I found my extroverted faith - still a little uncomfortable, but more like a girdle than wet wool leggings. Around the time we found this church, my aunt was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The entire church prayed for her, each day, during Friday's intense prayer group, aloud on Sundays. When my aunt and uncle came down for a visit, I thought, I want my pastor to come and lay hands on her. To pray the prayer of healing for her, with us. There is power in prayer. I knew this to be true now. My understanding of God wasn't just superficial - it was tangible. It was real. I had seen results. My pastor had never met my aunt, but she had heard me talk about her and she had prayed for her for months. I remember asking my cousin if she thought it would be o.k. if we invited my pastor and her family over to pray for my aunt. She thought it was sweet. God Bless my aunt and uncle - I never really knew if they were cool with it - we stood in a circle, and all held hands, and we prayed. It was sweet, just like my cousin said. It made me want to shout like James Brown, "I feel GOOD. I knew that I would now!" I felt....real. Alive. 

God took me from that moment where my school custodian prayed over me that made me feel so incredibly uncomfortable and arrogant to the moment where I sought out prayer for my aunt and my uncle. I look back now and think, look at what He did...he took me to a place of change and trust. And signs. 

My favorite author Anne Lamott said, "“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”  This circle is God's grace, his gift to me. His way of teaching me that my growth as a person is bound by my faith. I love that I am not where I started. I love that I have a long way to travel, but that He will be there every step of the way, making me feel like James Brown. "I feel GOOD!" 

This is my rainbow! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cool Mom and OCD Do Not Go Together

I try to be a cool mom. I do. Sometimes I'm cooler than other times. Most of the time, I fall short. My husband tells me that I don't have a cool bone in my body. I like to think I have at least one or two - a femur or a tibia, most certainly a funny bone.

Every summer C2 has a pool party. You need to understand that the anxiety and panic that I feel when entertaining is great. I must CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN, and PLAN PLAN PLAN, and CRY, yes CRY CRY CRY, and get myself worked up to such a froth that I should be institutionalized by the day of the party. I work myself into such a state that I don't actually enjoy the party.  I have gotten better in the last year. Maybe it's working two jobs, but I have resigned myself to the fact that my house will never be clean. I also know that 13 year old kids don't care how clean my house is. My friends probably don't care either. (If you come over and think, ick, then you have two choices 1. clean 2. leave) We clean the bathrooms and vacuum (we have 2 cats and 3 dogs, so vacuuming is mandatory). Maybe dust. Then we are done. Love it or lump it.

Last year's pool party was a success for about 45 minutes until the crazy thunderstorm that brought BUCKETS of rain and ruined all the chips. Nothing makes me madder than soggy chips. Anyway, if it wasn't for the quick movements of my friend Shannon, who took pity on me and agreed to stayed to help supervise the chaos, I might still be scraping pretzel mush out the of the cracks of the deck. She can stack bowls and clear a table like nobody's business.

This year, we thought we would try something new. Uhoh, right?

I mean, she's 13 now, why not have a cooler, hipper, "older" party. Refer to paragraph #1. Cool is not always easy to pull off when one has OCD. This was my idea. What the HELL is wrong with me? 

We decided that the party would start at 7pm, end at 11pm, and that there would be 12 people (this took a week of negotiations - C2 wanted 20, I said 10...) with 3 girls staying to sleep over. The party would start with swimming, progress to s'mores and snacks and end with a movie on the deck. Sounds fun doesn't it?

Well, about an hour in, the pool ladder broke, which resulted in my husband yelling at the kids to hoist themselves from the water up onto the deck and "DON'T USE THE LADDER! IT IS BROKEN!" Really, sir? They just told you that. Thank God I wasn't in the pool. I would still be in there. No hoisting for this lady! 

I have to say that I wasn't as relaxed as I should have been - and maybe an adult beverage would have been a good idea, probably starting at noon and continuing through the party...yup. Just one, bottomless adult beverage. I also forgot that my new motto is to live in the moment. 

Do you have any idea how much noise 12 thirteen year old kids can make? No? Well, let's see - everything makes them scream. Bugs. Food. Water. Air. And they scream in unison, like someone is chasing all of them with a knife, but louder. Jet engine loud. Honestly, if someone was chasing them with a knife and they screamed, knife wielding person would have no choice but to drop his knife to cover his ears. Yeah.

Anyway. There was fire for the s'mores. I don't like this. Then there were sparklers, which are just fancy sticks of fire. I don't like that either. Kids and fire are bad, as evidenced by the fact that one child made the tip of his wooden skewer red-hot and then "pretended" to poke another kid in the face. Oh. My. God. 

Then we had the left-his-phone-in-his-pocket-and-jumped-in-the-pool-kid (certainly something Jill at Yeah. Good times would never do! She knows phones and water do.not.mix). 

Once the projector came out, the pool was closed. The kids were quiet for 8.5 minutes of the movie. They couldn't hear the movie because of all the frogs. Frogs that sound like sheep and chickens. No joke. Of course, at about 15.2 minutes, C2 was crying that her friends were complaining they were bored and wanted to go back in the pool. Pool, computer and (borrowed) projector are not really great menage a trois, so sorry kids. Pool is still closed.

By 10pm, I took pity on the neighbors and made the kids come inside because their noise level was increasing in direct proportion to how quiet I asked them to be...

Anyway, I won't bore you with the rest of the deets, but my husband did bail at around 10:15, which left me to listen to the herd of elephants running around upstairs, playing hide and seek in the dark (did you HAVE to hide in the shower? I had closed the shower curtain for a reason - mainly because I didn't CLEAN the shower), and in general, making as much noise as possible. 

It was around this time that my friends Callie and (aforementioned friend Shannon, her husband) John (who asked me around 9pm if I had OCD "or something") hit the road. Can't blame them, and honestly, I wanted to hide in one of their car trunks and be whisked away into the night.

In spite of my neuroses, the kids seemed to have fun. A few left-overs are still here and currently ate all the cinnamon buns I made and are now headed to the pool. The backyard and deck resemble the remnants of a frat party. 

Farewell, until I'm stupid enough to agree to this again next year..............

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"She. Called. Me. A. (whisper) Bitch!"

As all parents know, kids have meltdowns. As parents of autistic kids know, there are no words to describe what our kids' meltdowns look like. Ahhh...It makes me break out in a cold, clammy sweat just thinking about it.

C1 is the queen of meltdowns. How long do her meltdowns last, you ask? OOohhh. That's part of the fun and mystery of them. 30 minutes? 60 minutes? 2 Hours? All day? 

Yes. Just yes. 

A few weeks ago she had been in a complete funk. She had graduated high school, and being the great mom that I am, I didn't have a clear plan laid our for her for the summer, or even for her future. All of this anxiety had to lead to a few really bad meltdowns - like the day she SPIT at me! She is certainly lucky that we were in the parking lot at school during dismissal. With all of my teacher and administrator friends walking to their cars. And other parents there, too. Yeah. She really was lucky that day. 

C1's meltdowns can consist of many things, but usually the "I WILL PUNISH MYSELF HARSHLY" meltdown wins out. Have you witnessed this one? It's a doozy and really really hard to respond to. It looks like this: 

 Something sets her off. Maybe C2 is sitting in her "spot" on the couch. Or I asked her to put her shoes away. Or dad told her to brush her teeth. {sigh}. These things (together or separately) will send her into a tailspin. She screams. Yells. Slams her door. Before we know it, all of her favorite items come flying down the stairs. Sonic the Hedgehog. All of her chipmunks. (Hang on, these are stuffed animals, not living things!). Then she comes down the stairs and gives us her cellphone (that she never uses anyway) and her iPod. Her purse. 

Basically, she punishes herself. So. What do we do? Is her consequence us forcing her to take all of her stuff back? This is a conundrum we have never quite figured out. 

Anyway. This background leads me to the anecdote for the day. C1 has a community support worker, KSmooth, who comes twice a week to take her out, work with her socially and be nice to her. Sometimes, C1 makes it hard to be nice to her. C1 knows this. In fact KSmooth and C1 go to therapy together. Honestly. This is a true story. 

Well a few weeks ago, KSmooth was here and C1 was in RARE form - Tasmanian devil level - and God Bless KSmooth, she tried everything, but C1 just increased her level of torture. I sent C1 to her room, sat KSmooth on the couch with a book and a cool drink, with strict instructions for KSmooth to sit tight and leave C1 alone, and left to pick up C2 from camp, 

When I got back, I called C1 downstairs. She refused to apologize, had no remorse, so back to her room she went. KSmooth wanted to talk to C1. I told her that she was entering at her own risk. I would spot the bottom of the stairs in case she met the same fate as Sonic. 

I am sitting and listening. I can hear C1; she's loudly yelling for KSmooth to "get out," "go away," "get the hell out of my room," (I don't know where this kid gets her mouth ;). I can't make out what KSmooth is saying, but all of a sudden it gets quiet. KSmooth comes back down the stairs on her own power, thank God, gives me the run-down of what she told C1 and leaves. 

About an hour later C1 comes down the stairs, sniffling, and, in a whisper, announces to us that KSmooth called her a bitch and told her to knock off the bullshit. Do not gasp, or call for the firing of our precious KSMooth. 

WE WERE DYING LAUGHING! This is what got through to her. I LOVE KSMOOTH. We want her to live with us. 

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How we roll (my eyes)

Once again, the pool it too hot to swim in. Once again, my husband took an idea way over the top. This is when I roll my eyes, and try not to have a panic attack! 

Did YOUR Brain Fall Out, Joe Scarborough?

If you haven't already done so, please read this article, watch the video and then just sit back. Let it soak in.

(Insert Jeopardy music here...doo do doo do doo do doo.....)

Ok. Did you read it? Did you watch the video? Alrighty - let's get started!

There are so many things wrong with what he said that I don't think I can actually form words to express how this makes me feel. I don't know how to react either. A heavy sigh, a vicious shake of the head, a desire to punch him square in the face....yeah. All of those things. And to use words to fight his words. To stand up for our kids, which as evidenced by a parent of a child on the spectrum, isn't always the number one priority. Did Joe think that by adding that his child has Asperger's it would make his statement more valid? I think it had the opposite effect, don't you. It makes you, Joe, look like an idiot.

Let me ask you this, if this had happened in a rural area, would you automatically think, "Oh, those kids who hunt, they must be NRA nuts with a screw loose." Tom Selleck and Ted Nugent would place their laser sights on your ass.

What about an affluent area? Would you automatically think, "This is what happens when kids play violent video games," or "This is what happens when rich parents spoil their kids." What would the backlash be? Tipper Gore would be happy, but the software designers and their loyal gamers would run you down like Sonic runs down those rings at warp speed (ok, this was a horrible analogy, but I don't play video games, so I'm reaching here!).

If this had happened in an urban area, would you think "Those African-American males - their mama's didn't love them enough?" Oh, boy - for that last generalization we would be treated to Al Sharpton on every news program. 

So, why would this asshat, Joe Scarborough, A MAN WHO HAS A CHILD ON THE SPECTRUM,   make a generalization like this (this is where I am putting my head in my hands and crying). Maybe he truly believes this. Maybe we should go back in time to the 50s and 60s and put all of our special needs children in institutions. Or, if Joe had his way, maybe just those autistic kids whose parents don't love them enough. He obviously loves his son so much that he uses his diagnosis to justify what he said. What else do you use your child's diagnosis to justify, Joe? 


And this is what is wrong with the world. Everyone has to have a label. Everyone else is an expert on everyone else. We walk through life judging and making assumptions and generalizations.  We know what is best for everyone, everywhere. This is bullshit. This has to stop. 

My kid is not like your kid. Your kid is not like mine. I would never assume anything about your child, your marriage, your choices, your job. Don't do that to me or my child.

Say you're sorry, Joe. 

Autistic Journalist Demands Joe Scarborough Retract Comments Linking Autism To Aurora Shooting

On his MSNBC program this morning, Morning Joehost Joe Scarborough made the stunning declaration that people like Aurora mass shooter James Holmes are “somewhere, I believe, on the autism scale,” and that while he didn’t know if this was true of Holmes specifically, “it happens more often than not.”

In an email to Mediaite, labor journalist Mike Elk, who recently “came out” as autistic himself, denounced Scarborough’s comments, and demanded a retraction from the network.
In case you missed it, here’s what Scarborough said this morning:
“You have these people that are somewhere, I believe, probably on the autism scale, I don’t know if that’s the case here, but it happens more often than not, people that can walk around in society, that can function on college campuses, can even excel in college campuses, but are socially disconnected. I have a son who has Asperger’s who is loved by everyone in his family and who is wonderful, but it is for those that may not have a loving family and a support group and may be a bit further along on the autism spectrum, an extraordinarily frustrating, terrible challenge day in and day out. and so, I do think, again, I don’t know the specifics about this young man, but we see too many shooters in these type of tragedies bearing the same characteristics mentally.”
In response to an email inquiry, Mike Elk, a staff writer for In These Times who recently wrote a beautiful essay in which he “came out” publicly as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, denounced Scarborough’s remarks, and demanded a retraction:
As both a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, as well a journalist, MSNBC must issue an immediate retraction of Joe Scarborough’s unfounded statements accusing the shooter of having autism and linking autism to violence. There is absolutely no evidence that the Colorado shooter has autism, nor is there a single scientific study that links autism to violent outbursts such as the despicable acts of terrorism that occurred last Friday in Aurora, Colorado. As someone who was bullied, beaten, and often a loner as child, I never once though about taking out violent rage against those who bullied me. Instead, I poured my sense of hurt into reporting on workers who were similarly being bullied by big corporations.
Scarborough, whose own son has Asperger’s, should know better than to spread false stereotypes about people on the Autism spectrum as being prone to violence. Instead, Scarborough has contributed to the further isolation of people on the autism scale. Hopefully, Mr. Scarborough will retract his remarks, as well as host a broader discussion on Autism to spell away the many stereotypes of Autism often spoken by non-Autistic people such as himself.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has also issued a statement calling for a retraction:
“Mr. Scarborough’s remarks suggesting that James Holmes, the shooter behind the Aurora movie theater killings, was an Autistic American are as perplexing as they are without evidence. No information on Mr. Holmes has suggested that he displays the diagnostic characteristics of autism and no evidence exists tying autism with violent behavior or threats to public safety. As a parent, Mr. Scarborough should know better than to perpetrate these types of unfortunate stereotypes. Autistic Americans are an integral part of our society and live, work and attend school alongside our non-Autistic peers. There exists no evidence linking autism with violent behavior. By spreading ill-founded and unsupported claims linking autism with violence, Mr. Scarborough does our community real harm. We urge him to reconsider and for him and MSNBC to retract his remarks.”
In case you were wondering what Scarborough based his assertions on, I believe it was a study that was recently published in The Journal Of Joe Scarborough’s Ass. There is absolutely no scientific data which links autism to mass murder, and what little research there is on autism and crime is flawed and inconsistent. The inherent absurdity and irresponsibility of Scarborough’s statements are aggravated by the fact that he is the father of an adult child with an autism disorder, which might lead viewers to believe that he knows what the hell he’s talking about. This is the main reason I hesitate to disclose that I am the father of two children with autism spectrum disorders, because I don’t want to derive unearned authority, moral or otherwise, from that fact.
I reveal it now because it’s relevant to my initial reaction to Scarborough’s comments, which was one of hurt and revulsion. Autistic kids have enough to deal with in life without Joe Scarborough running around telling people they’re potential mass murderers, unless they’ve got an awesome dad like Joe Scarborough, or conflating autism, which is a neurodevelopmental disorder, with mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
But that emotional impulse to lash out at Joe Scarborough makes Mike Elk’s response all the more admirable. Yes, he is unamused, but his main concern is that people be given the correct information. Rather than simply vent outrage at Joe Scarborough, Elk makes a reasonable request, that instead of issuing some sort of apology, and going through the shame paces, Joe Scarborough ought to set the record straight at the same volume at which he distorted it.


Monday, July 23, 2012

What Happened in Translation?

I asked for this
And ended up with this. (Please excuse my super large forehead that is sometimes mistaken for the Life Flight Landing pad). I realize pic #1 is straightened, but trust me, even if I straightened mine, it would look nothing like pic #1. 

EVERY TIME I get my haircut, it comes out like this. EVERY DAMN TIME! Is this a God thing? Is it even possible? 

I mean, other than the color, which my neighbor does for me, do you see any similarities between the two pictures? Yeah. Me neither. 

I guess this is why I should let them blow my hair out when I get it cut, but honestly I don't want to spend the extra $4. An $8.99 haircut is nothing to sneeze at, especially when the outcome is always a surprise! Even then, though, I am still a little too introverted (don't snicker here friends, it's true) to tell the hair dresser that I don't like it. I have walked through most of my life with awful haircuts because I didn't want to say anything. Sigh. So now I wait a few weeks and get it cut again. Care to guess? Oh yes, it will look EXACTLY the same. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hangry...Like Torture

Last night C1 read her sister’s list…so she asked me to write one for her. I guess because my answer to “when are you going to write it?” wasn’t “right now,” she wrote her own. I decided to use her version, but use strike throughs and different color text to add to or change what she wrote.

She has titled it “What it is like to live with an autistic child.” I would title it “I love C1. She’s awesome. That’s the only label we need.” Or "Hangry." 

Yup, hangry it is! 

Last night, C1 asked me to do a post about her. Here you go:

1.  You had always put a smile to my face no matter what you did. Yes yes yes! This is true. You have an uncanny way of making me smile with your cute little face and excellent one-liners.
2.  You were also the biggest of the bunch but were not so fair skinned when you came in the world. Did I mention you came out deformed squished? You were not deformed. As the doctor said, you were a BIG baby in a small space AND you were 10 days late. All your features popped back into their proper places in a day or two. You were a beautiful baby.
3.  Watching Barney was torture for us. Eh, Barney was fine. Lamb Chop was cool. Elmo was your first love. It was the TeleTubbies that almost did us in. Oh, and Sponge Bob, 24/7.
4.  You always knew how to operate technology, even at a young age. And you always remembered to turn off any toys that had batteries too. This is an awesome skill that you picked up on your own.
5.  You and Dad both can’t sing. I ignore it when we both sing along to the radio! Daddy’s singing drives me crazy. Your off-off-key singing, on the other hand, is a great source of enjoyment, for both me and your sister. Sing it, girl!
6.  I can’t believe you’re getting scoliosis surgery next year! Yes, this is something that I haven’t written about on the blog yet. No need to worry about it now. We have a year before we need to panic.
7.  When did you begin to like Sonic the Hedgehog? Who told you about him? Yes, it is kind of sad you were born when “Sonic and Knuckles” came out for the SEGA Mega Drive. Really? I would never have written this. I don’t know why this is “sad” either. I would have put in here that it was NOT funny when you dropped the cat into the bathtub with your sister. J
8.  You’re going to be 18! Please stop asking for toys! You seem too old for that kind of stuff! Ahhh, the grown-up with toys. Many grown-ups have toys, but they don’t usually try to sneak them into their purses and smuggle them out of the house.
9.  I can’t believe you’re going to college! I’m must be too old to have a college student living with me! WAIT! I am not “Too old!” I would NEVER have written this. I was a very young mom, so it is totally feasible that I could be 24 with a college age child.
10.      You aren’t a button pusher, unlike your sister who is a BIG button pusher! Ehem…*cough*
11.      You take being picked on because of your disability as a big deal. DON’T FLIP ANYONE OFF! TELL AN ADULT! It breaks my heart that people pick on you, but I have to say that you were lucky to attend the high school that you did, because I know it would have been WAY worse other places. Honestly, I want to beat up those awful, mean, shit-heads who pick on you. And you should NEVER flip someone off...I would NEVER do that, now that we moved out of NY. So, the question is this….if you are going to be 18, and that’s an adult, are you going to tell yourself? L♥☻
12.      You can be creative when you want to be. It’s a bit juvenile sometimes, though. I have tried your entire life to get you into arps and craps (translate: Arts and Crafts). Grandma Mary has too. I remember when you were around 3, you were at Grandma Mary’s house and you guys were making bead necklaces. The bowl with the beads in it kept spilling. You shouted “Son of a BITCH.” Grandma wasn’t very pleased with me.
13.      I still can’t get over the fact that you graduated. My baby is now an adult! Well, yes, this is true. I am going to miss having you at school with me. I always loved when I would get a quick peek at you in the hallway or when my students would come in and tell me that they saw you.
14.      I wish you could take the hint that you aren’t getting a tattoo so quit asking! NO TATTOO!
15.      Your anger can get the best of you, especially when you’re “hangry” which turns into a HUGE problem for all of us! Oh yes. Your entire life we have struggled against the power of hangry. You say mean things. You punish yourself. You hide in the corner. You TORTURE US! By God, child, eat a chip and BE HAPPY.

Thank you for making the list 15 – otherwise I would have had to go to 20. God loves those of us with OCD! 

Poor Fish

My husband says the fish is not dead. I cannot explain how this describes so many things in our lives...he never believes that anything is totally "dead." Hence, we have some "undead" dead bushes and trees and now an "undead" fish on our kitchen counter. No sign of life. Code blue...an extended metaphor for my life. 
Sorry little fish. You had a good two weeks and we mostly remembered to feed you. At least we saved you from the cat's continued quest to upend the jar. You died on your own terms.  "I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine. He will be my squishy."

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There's A Snake in My Boot

So, since I started this blog (a dreamy 4 days ago?) I have written primarily about C, who shall now be referred to as C1. I asked C2, my 13 year old NT daughter, what she wants me to say about her on my blog. I assume this probably breaks the blogging-I-will-write-about-what-I-want law, but with 13 year olds, one must tread lightly – we are still trust-building, and at any moment, even my breathing can embarrass her. Her answer to me was, “something nice.” So, here ya go baby:

  1. When you were born, the nurse yelled out “You gave birth to a toddler,” because you were so big, so perfect and so long. You had the best coloring out of all of those pasty babies in the nursery. You looked older than your minutes. You still continue to be an “old soul” and more mature than your years.
  2. When you were 3, we were watching “Little Bill.” In the episode Little Bill had made a paper boat and took it down to the river (lake?) to watch it float, and a guy in a row boat ran it over. When I looked at you, your little shoulders were shaking with sobs. I knew you were cursed/blessed with my sensitivity and compassion.
  3. You made a new “friend” Woody at school when your teacher decided to buddy up some of the older kids with the younger, special ed kids. You took this job very seriously. You did NOT like when Daddy and I repeated over and over again our favorite Woody line (from Toy Story), “there's a snake in my boot.” You got really, really mad at us. You were the perfect Woody protector. Damn, I love you, RaRa.
  4. At 13, you remind me so much of myself. I hated all the clothes Grandma ever picked out for me, everything that came out of Grandma's mouth was reason to roll my eyes and retreat to my room, and I really never wanted her help. I guess that hasn't changed, but I have hope that we can build a better teen-mom relationship than I had with my mom.
  5. You like to spend my money, but are stingy with yours! I'm the same, although I never have anyone else's money to spend anymore.
  6. You can spend the same $5 at least 112 times. Hey, you owe me $5,525 dollars at this point.
  7. I love to watch you perform. You are so much more outgoing and talented than I ever was. You are who I wanted to be. Don't let your inner introvert hold you back. Oh and someday you will understand why, at 13, I didn't let you try out for X-Factor, American Idol or drive you to Nashville. Someday.
  8. I don't really hate your dad. I just say that. Don't forget, though, that I am cooler than he is.
  9. Don't be so stubborn. Four stubborn people in one house just makes life harder than it has to be.
  10. When I apologize for a mommy-mistake, I really mean it. Moms make mistakes. Let me apologize. See #9.
  11. You know how to push my buttons. I know how to push yours. I am having my button removed.
  12. You are so freaking smart – way smarter than I ever was. Academics will always be important, so just be prepared for us to push you as hard as we can without breaking you. Hard work pays off. This is how you will be able to own that Land Rover you want.
  13. You are way better than a brother, regardless of what your sister says.
  14. I love that you still let me hug you. I love that you love to go to church and to be involved. I love everything about you.
  15. My OCD will not allow me to end on #14. SCORE!   ♥

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Friday, July 20, 2012

College - Oy Vay!

Ok, so in the last 2 days I have applied for FAFSA for C and we have filled out her college application to the local community college. She is interested in Medical Transcription (although I worry that I kind of pushed her in that direction) which requires some anatomy and biology. She loves science and I know she can do the work. It's 43 credits and she gets a diploma. 43 credits is enough to get a bachelors degree, but the bachelors degree doesn't get her ready or trained for a job. Like a job job. A career.

Lord, help me, I can barely decide what to eat for breakfast or what shoes to wear - now I have to decide on a career path for my baby?

God? Hello?

Do you guys hear those crickets?

The problem is this: who goes to class with her? I can't just drop her off or stick her on the city bus and tell her to have a great day. She needs help finding her classes, finding the bathroom, feeling comfortable enough to get up and leave said classroom to use said bathroom. To make it home in one piece. To make sure no one steals her iPod, laptop or takes advantage of her. Or makes fun of her.

I have spoken to the special populations coordinator at the college. She seems nice, but didn't really seem too keen on attending class WITH C. Sigh.

I want to go back to high school, to public school. I will never complain again about the services we received: at least I knew where she was and that someone else was watching out for her.

Where is that time machine?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An Olympic Event: Putting on my bathing suit

So....it's no secret I need to lose weight. I should exercise more (or just exercise at all). If I did these two things then maybe getting into my swimsuit wouldn't be an Olympic event.
I hate my swimsuit for various reasons: 1. It's about 84 sizes larger than I would like it to be 2. It's "slimming" which is just a fancy word for "straight jacket." 3. It tries to kill me EVERY SINGLE TIME I PUT IT ON.

(This picture, courtesy of Google Images, is what the manufacturer wants us fat girls to THINK we will look like when we wear a bathing suit with slimming panels (wtf?). However, this girl doesn't need a panel anywhere. Why would you use her as a model? We want to see what spanx can DO! Like that old commercial for crazy glue where the guy hung from a girder by his hard hat! Yeah. Like THAT!) 

If you're skinny, putting on a bathing suit is probably as easy as putting on underwear. Let me explain something, putting on a bathing suit it is not that easy when it has "slimming panels" in many places (read: the entire suit is made up of slimming panels). I am usually stuck with one arm pinned to my body. The back of the bathing suit is rolled up like elastic accordion blinds. I have worked up a sweat. I am stuck. I need assistance. Life Alert, please come help me. I've strangled myself in my bathing suit and I can't get out. Often, there are tears. And whatever happens, I can't make the mistake of  looking in the mirror while I wrestle the suit on. Things. Stick. Out. At. Weird. Angles. Oh. Lord. My. Eyes.

Yes, sir. One does not simply "slip on" anything that promises to be "slimming" and "smoothing." There is no "slipping" into anything; this is an Olympic event. I think millions would tune in to watch the bathing suit version of, "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat."

And don't even get me started on the challenges of putting on a WET bathing suit. I see you nodding your head! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Me. Today. Oh Lord. Then I get to do it all over again NEXT week. I hate the dentist (ok, all of them) which is why I need 2 two-hour appointments. Anyone want to come hold my hand?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


As a parent of an autistic child, you hear the strangest things...."God doesn't give you more than you can handle." Ummm, ok, but if YOU, speaker of those words, actually HAD an autistic child would you dare say that? "She doesn't look autistic to me." Really? REALLY? What exactly does autism look like? "You planned for Italy but ended up in Holland...Holland isn't too bad." Nope, you're right, Holland is pretty cool for someone who never travels anywhere, but  Holland can still bring storms, flash floods, blisters from those little wooden shoes and food poisoning. And seriously? If you paid for a trip to Disney World but ended up at Dollywood, wouldn't you be a little pissed off? Instead of Mickey and Minnie, you get Dolly's boobs. Well, I guess for some people that would be ok. 

So my post today is about being pissed off about being in mourning over one MORE thing that no parent should ever have to do - in a perfect world. You would think I would be used to this by now. I'm not and I'm mad. 

It's funny (not a funny haha) how somethings I can take like a champ - she needs speech? cool. I'm down with that? OT? PT? A brace for her scoliosis for 14 hours a day? Alll righty. We can do that, too. Inserts for her pronated feet? Easy peasey. She's legally blind in her left eye? Okeedokee, let's patch it and get some glasses. Next?

Oh. Yeah. It's the next that gets me sometimes. 

Sometimes things blindside me. Like an 18 wheeler running me over. Then honking his damn horn as he drives away. It's not because the events are unexpected, but that the emotions I felt were not the emotions I expected to have.

This week we had to go to court and have C declared incompetent. She will be 18 in August. This is to protect her. And it made me really, really sad.  I expected it to be an emotional flatline...not a high or a low, just...there. We always knew she would live at home, that we would be her caretakers. She made it through high school, got a regular diploma, graduated (can you say huge party) and now we are faced with a huge abyss. Part of that abyss was this legal step. Which we WANTED to do, don't get me wrong.  But it's not quite the same as going to Bed Bath and Beyond and buying a comforter for her dorm, is it? So maybe that is where the mourning comes in. What should have been. What could have been. Not declaring her incompetent. Another path that diverges from the norm. And now I'm mad that I was so sad. At the injustice of it all. I raise my meaty fist to the sky and rail at the unfairness. 

So, yeah God gave me more than I could handle for a few days, but I got through it with enough tears to float a Carnival Cruise Line ship. Maybe next time God could give me some warning when I can expect the next emotional tsunami. Maybe someone will come up with a catchy phrase to make me "feel better." 


I miss my nana. This isn't her, it's a random birthday card I saw (and am probably breaking many copyright laws) but the picture is spot on, although I don't think she would have worn that dress. Nana always looked like she was off to the racetrack, so the dress in this picture is a little understated for her taste.  The only thing missing is a cigarette and a glass of champagne in a Waterford flute. 

I miss my aunt. I miss all of those who I have lost...Obviously I am feeling melancholy. Hang on, let me turn on "Whinestone Cowboy" ;) 

Amazing how one picture can remind you of so many things....family parties fueled by champagne for the ladies, dads in awful paisley shirts, nana's fab shoes and the warm feeling that, no matter what, you were loved, by all 423 people (hyperbole alert) in my loud, chaotic family.

Yeah. Hi nana!