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, August 28, 2012

I have a homework assignment from C2's English teacher

I wish I thought of cool stuff like this. C2's teacher sent home homework for me. The assignment reads: Please describe your child's personality using descriptive word choices and examples about them as well.

There's only one little box with 10 lines...I think I might go over.


Here's my first attempt. Not sure if I will get a 100. I have a little anxiety about this...I haven't had homework on this side of forever!

From the minute C2 was born, she was an old soul. As serious as a hurricane, she was a quiet observer of her world and was quickly loyal to only a few.  She was sensitive to so much, who held her, what she ate, what she wore; these traits have evolved into the incredibly devoted daughter and friend who sits before you in class today.

C2 is a mix of extrovert and introvert, sometimes silly and dramatic, seeking opportunities to show her creative side. She is sometimes quiet and shy, wanting only to quietly invent a world of stories and be still. She is sensitive and quick to help, like her mom, and outspoken and headstrong like her dad. When she was 3, she cried because Little Bill’s boat was run over. When she was in first grade, she got in trouble for helping her little classmates who were struggling with their work. She is a protective little sister, and although our old home videos are mostly of me off camera saying “watch out for the baby,” she has the role of watching out for her sister. She doesn’t always like it, but she is good at it. She may be the first to fight with her, but she is the first to defend her too.

Her laugh is like magic and is contagious. Her smile will knock you out, and her determination is breathtaking. She is like a little steam engine once she makes up mind to do something, and it is nearly impossible to get her to change course.

We love her and are proud of her! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Don't Take Late Work

As I gear up for school I feel the need to remind myself WHY I don't like to take late work. I wrote this a long time ago, but pull it out each year. I'm thinking of putting this on the back of my syllabus. What do you think? Would it make the parentals mad?

I Don't Take Late Work

*As a teacher, the bane of my existence is late work; students request it, parents expect it......

I don't take late work
I take nothing late
Because in life the only instance
Lateness is acceptable
Is a baby who arrives past her due date

I don't take late work
I take nothing late
Because then I must chase you, my student,
With a leash in my hand
Chase you around like a new puppy who brushed past my legs when I opened the door
I abhor begging, for when I beg I take on the responsibility
Of your laziness or apathy or even teenage dementia
Lateness is not acceptable

I don't take late work and I
Wonder how it makes my students feel
The never ending excuses are left at the door
Where they die a slow painful death of malignant neglect
My students know I sound like Dr. Seuss:
            That I will not take it !
                        I do not like it!

Accepting lateness is a training tool
Which educates so many to
Be late in many things they must do
Not just projects or essays work and deadlines but also,
As Alice's rabbit says, very important dates

It trains them to spend more time
Concocting a justification
Than the assignment would have taken
To begin with

I don't take late work
I take nothing late
Because in life the only instance
Lateness is acceptable
Is a baby who arrives past her due date

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dear Body

Dear Body,

Dear Body, Why must you hate me so?   I find it hard to respect you when you are falling apart around my...everything   This relationship should be one of give and take Yes, you give, I take   So when did this contract come to an end? Is this your idea of a passive-agressive break-up? A long, drawn out divorce?   Is it the years of neglect? All those years I treated you like the geeky boy next door? the one who I thought would always love me? The Plan B-fall-back-guy?   Is it the years of junk-food? How I craved Doritos and Devil Dogs Instead of strawberries and water? Instead of fiber and whole grains? Come ON You know that stuff tastes like shit   Is it the years of abuse? Staying up too late? Sleeping too late? Getting up too early? Closing the bar at 4am?
Not sleeping at all?
Well, I guess now's your time for revenge!
It's not funny
I lotion and exercise (kind of, I know)
And this is what I get:
            Creaky joints
                        A back that sticks when I get up first thing
                                            so i look like a caricature of an old man    
                        hovering closer to the floor than the ceiling.
            Skin that hangs in places better left unsaid
Wrinkles on my hands and face
    eyes that don't see too well anymore
        in general, nothing works like it used to
God says to forgive - so please forgive me for the
junk food
I have at least 60 more years,
so be

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Paper Plate and Dryer Lint .. is that what you named your dog?

ARE.DISPOSABLE. Maybe this is wrong of me. Maybe the pure rage I feel at people who do this is completely irrational. Maybe I need to mind my own business. Maybe I need psychological help (well, this is true, but for various other reasons than this). Maybe you will judge me because I cry at that damn Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercial.

Thank you Jordan Townsend!

Today I am going to vent.

If you treat your animals like paper plates, as something to be used for what suits you and then throw them away, this means that you have no value for life, human or otherwise. Yes, I value both human and animal life (well, not snakes), and I take both pretty seriously. If you give up your dog, let it run away, call the pound to come get it or in some other cruel and selfish way abandon your animal, don’t get a new one. DO NOT GET A NEW ONE DAMMIT!

If this first paragraph offends you, please read no further. It is not going to get any better. And if you totally disagree with me, then maybe you SHOULD keep reading. You may learn something.

Walk into any pound, any rescue, any shelter, any pet store and you will see the sad remnants of people who are irresponsible pet owners. What you see inside those crates and cages are animals who were tossed away.  They aren’t cute little puppies anymore. They pee in the house. They chew on your shoes. They eat a lot. They want attention. They get fleas. They need shots. They lick your face after they lick their butts. They eat kitty litter. Ah. DUH! You know, these aren’t secret facts about dogs. If you researched before you GOT your dog (or cat, or skunk, or ferret) you would know this. If you liken yourself an “animal person,” but don’t like the in-your-face presence of said animal, then don’t get one. DON’T GET ONE UNLESS YOU ARE ABLE TO COMMIT TO THAT ANIMAL FOR ITS ENTIRE LIFE. 

Now, you don’t have to go out and buy a dog pocketbook and try to take your German shepherd to Target. That would be unreasonable and you would probably injure yourself. I mean that’s a pretty big dog.  You don’t have to be like my mom and come home every day for lunch because you think the dog is lonely. You don’t have to become an animal extremist and send them to the spa for a mani-pedi. You do, however, have to take responsibility for the fact that that animal you ADOPTED is your responsibility – it relies on you to meet its basic needs. And then…{gasp!}  give it some love.

Are there legitimate reasons to give up your animal? Probably, but I can’t really think of any right now because I am so FIRED UP. But honestly, if you own something, such as a furry friend, and you find yourself unable to take care of it, then YOU find it a new home. Don’t drop it off at the pound, set it free in the woods or your neighborhood, tie it to a tree in a park or pole in the middle of parking lot and leave it there. If you do this, then you are scum. You cannot change my mind about this. You cannot convince me otherwise. You, scumball of vomit, deserve the same treatment. As a parent of teenagers, I can understand the frustration of having to take care of someone that doesn’t listen to you, who makes a mess, costs you a lot of money, and wants your attention, but you don’t see me tying up C1 or C2 in the Walmart parking lot or tying them to the door at the hospital where they were born.

Now I understand, that there are many people who don’t see their dogs as part of their family. You don’t want them in the house, the mess, the hair, the smell. That’s ok – why don’t you build them some shelter? Leave them water? Give them food? Visit with them? How about you DON’T do this: ignore them, forget to feed them, have them rely on rain for drinking water and have to crawl under your old abandoned car for shelter? Years ago, we had a neighbor who bred her female blonde lab and when it wasn’t being whored out to make her money she put it in the backyard. She never let it in the house, regardless of the weather. This dog used to have icicles hanging from her fur. Who does this shit and thinks it’s ok?

Have a plan. Think it through. Where will your dog live? What if it doesn’t like your cat, skunk, ferret? What if your kid is afraid of it? Then what? Most shelters will take the dog or animal back. The pound will take the animal back (but of course only give you a “store credit” to use toward another animal). But here’s the deal…have a plan, and if you can’t figure one out, then DON’T GET THE ANIMAL! USE YOUR BRAIN. They’re like kids, cute and wonderful when they’re babies, but they grow UP…they GROW UP and they deserve more than being tossed away like dryer lint.

Friday, August 10, 2012

18 Years Later.....Happy Birthday Baby!

When I think about how YOUNG I was when I had C1, I cringe. I was 22 and so incredibly unprepared. I grew up as an only child and lived a pretty sheltered life. The only adversities I had to overcome were the deaths of my grandparents and my parents' divorce. In this day and age, that's nothing!

So, I was 22 and unprepared. I mean I had all the STUFF that babies need, but I was unprepared for the emotions and trial and errors that came along with a new baby. C1 must have known how unready I was because she, obligingly, was 10 days late. Most women who are overdue complain that they are ready for "this baby to come out," while I was very content waiting.

C1 didn't burst into the world. She took the same approach to being born that she did to being on time. She was in no hurry at all. I labored for 16 hours. I pushed for 2. The labor and delivery nurse didn't notice that she wasn't presenting with the top of her head, but with her face. Poor little baby, I rammed her face for two hours. The doctor came in and yelled "STOP!"  Oh and my husband was almost thrown out of the hospital for smoking in the bathroom - who DOES that?

After my epidural and c-section, I was awesomely mellow, I'm sure from the special juice the anesthesiologist slipped into my IV. The world was great, my baby was born, I was chill . Even when my husband (who I was still slightly mad at; did I mention he left me home alone in the shower when I was in labor to go to 7-11 to get coffee? He was a complete fail in labor and delivery skills. This didn't improve when I had C2 either) came in and said there was something wrong with C1, I just patted his head and said, "It will be fine." I know drugs are bad, but some days I could really use that special juice so I can return to my mellow.

There were genetic specialists and threats of transporting C1 by helicopter to another hospital. The doctors couldn't tell my husband what exactly was wrong with her, just that she didn't look right. In her chart my OB/GYN put, "bizarre looking." Yeah, well I pushed on her face for two hours. You might look a little fucked up too. Anyway, one of the best moments was when the geneticist came in to tell us his "findings." On his sheet he had "down turned mouth" as an observation. When he walked in, he looked at my dad and me, then crossed it off the list. Now, every once in a while I look at my mouth in the rear view mirror, and think "what's so genetically abnormal about my mouth?" Anyway, this guy was the last hurdle and he just said that she was a big baby (8lbs 13oz) in a small space (my uterus) - her features would pop out eventually. She did kind of look like a boxer after a particularly rough fight at first, but by the time we got home, she was perfect! I mean she was perfect to begin with, but she looked less like a smooshed barbie doll 5 days out.

She didn't like to eat. I had to abandon breastfeeding, even after the nurse at my OB/GYN's office came to my HOUSE to help me. I think back and wonder what that entire office must have thought of me!
Anyway, she was a sleepy baby and we had to fight to get her to eat. But she was HAPPY. She was MELLOW. She barely cried, and although these were signs of what we would learn after millions of doctors appointments and evaluations, she made being a mom pretty darn easy. And she was so incredibly pretty.

I could go on and on...she missed milestones, we started therapy, she went to special preschool. I became a pro at meetings, and acronyms and IEPs. blah, blah, blah.

Nothing can overshadow the fact that I love my baby so incredibly much. She has changed my life. She's beautiful and funny and awesome. She is my heart. She is my family.

This is what I put in her yearbook senior ad and I think it sums her up pretty well:

From the minute we dreamt of you
We envisioned everything we would teach you

To walk 
To talk
To dream and to love
To make good choices
To be a strong young woman

You turned the tables on us and taught us more about life and ourselves than mere words can express.
You taught us the real meaning of

Being silly
Play time
Keeping promises 
Strength and
Standing up for something you believe in

You showed us what it means to be a family. 

We celebrate you and all you have accomplished. Congratulations! We are so incredibly proud of you and cannot wait to see what you will teach us next. 

Love Always,

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.  ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bring Your Own Lunch or New Dog?

I'm not sure which I should write about, the fact that my husband told my daughter's friend to bring something for lunch when she comes to visit or that we rescued another dog from the pound yesterday?

I think the lunch debacle is pretty self explanatory and there seems to be two camps; {gasp} O. M. G. and, "that's hysterical." I am incredibly embarrassed and I hope to GOD this child didn't tell her parents.  In further investigation, I think it was a break down in communication that can be attributed to two things: a 13 year old and a 54 year old who struggles with delusions and dementia. 'Nuff said.

Now, we obviously have a disease in my house and I fear that if we don't control it we will appear on that show "Hoarders." We don't hoard things like newspapers, or soup ladles or garbage, and although I do have a hard time letting go of books, I think that is just an occupational hazard. You can walk through my house without having to navigate a path of rusty cans and yellowed Readers Digests. You DO however have to navigate your way around the dogs. We have two well-behaved, old, pound rescues and one badly behaved 90lb behemoth who bullies the other two.On occasion we have an extra. Today we have an extra.

I forgot to mention the two cats. Basically, the animals outnumber the humans. We are just waiting for the revolt.

C2's little friend D has a neighbor who owned a dog named Chocolate. Every time we would pick up or drop off D, Chocolate would run over and lick and jump and get fleas on us. We would joke and say that we were coming back to steal him (which we would never do). He was an outside dog and tormented the neighbors with his puppy energy and endless wandering.

Well I don't want to put anyone's business out there, but it seems Chocolate had an unfortunate incident with a chicken (Chocolate won) and somehow, shortly after said incident, he ended up in the pound. When we picked up D the other day, C2 asked where Chocolate was and D said, "In the pound." "Did they go get him out?" we all asked in unison.  Nope. No they didn't.

Wait! WHAT? Your dog is in the pound and you don't go GET him? Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

So guess who the sucker is? Yeah, that's right. Me. I went to the pound and got him. Damn dog had been in there since July 9th and was so scared they had to carry him out of his little cage {sad face}. He is currently flealess and sleeping on my living room rug. We keep saying inane things to him like, "It's just tile/wood, you can walk on it," or, "you've never seen a vacuum before have you?" and "this is how real dogs live." We ARE crazy.

Not the best picture, I know. He's 40lbs and loves dogs. He whimpers when the cats come by, so we don't know if he is having a bad cat experience flashback or if he wants to play with them.

We plan on getting him fixed and finding him a home. Anyone want some Chocolate?

Yeah, it's a disease.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In My Other Life and Symbiosis

In my other life I am a teacher. I have been blessed for seven years to work at a school that believes in accepting everyone for who they are. I know I got my job because God meant for me to be there, not for me, but because C1 needed an awesome program for high functioning autistic children, and this school has a top notch program. The bonus is, even though C1 graduated, I still get to work there. 

We have the best secretary, R. She also has a special needs daughter who is a few years older than C1. She has shown me the ropes and is a wealth of information for me. I know I can go to her with any questions and she will have an answer, and if she doesn't she knows where to send me! As a bonus she got to see my daughter grow from a little freshman to a high school graduate. She is kind, compassionate, funny and gracious. I feel blessed to have her in my life. 

Tonight R invited C1 to a pool party at her house for her daughter.  Let me tell you, it is so nice to be among "our people." There were 4 girls and one guy, ranging in age from 17  to 49. They all had special needs of some kind and everyone had such a great time. 

It is so nice to not have any pretenses:  whose child is smarter, better, more athletic or prettier. There's no one-up-man-ship about who made the lead in the school play, or made All Stars, or has a scholarship to Yale (yeah, I don't know anyone who falls into the last category, but I do love hyperbole). It is so nice to have parent-friends who think your kid is as cool as you do, and you feel the same about theirs. Sometimes those parents of NTs are so boring, predictable and snobbish. Who needs that?

These kids all got along so well tonight. They were relaxed and instant friends. This is what is so cool about the special needs set, no warm-ups, no shyness, just "Hey, I'm C" and off they go...into the pool, playing the same game, laughing at the same things...just....being. Being who they are, who they were born to be, no worries about hair, bathing suits, or bodies. Just humans being themselves. No walls. No stereotypes. Just love. 

The amazing dynamic is how they help and nurture each other. S, the 49 year old and only guy there (and to quote R's hubby "he's a stud in a pool with four girls and he doesn't even know it"), doesn't talk much, but these girls were attentive, asking him if he wanted more pizza, soda or if he needed to use the bathroom. C1 offered to help N, who has CP, with her shirt when she had trouble getting it right-side-out. M, who was the deep-end goalie with a smile that would blow you away. L, my friend's daughter, who was the hostess with the mostest, blowing Martha Stewart away with her skills. 

I wish you all could have been there. There was a perfectness tonight that doesn't happen very often, when raw beauty and acceptance get together and throw a party (see what I did there?) We were relaxed and happy. It was symbiotic. It blew me away. 

I am blessed that I get to see such a glimpse of grace every once in a while. Honestly, if I didn't have C1, I would miss out on these moments that mean more to me than you can imagine. I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

This was a good day. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

"The Sleepover" Yawn

So I may have overreacted, although I don't truly believe that. When it's 2am and you're woken up (I'm pretty sure I was asleep), there is no such thing as overreaction. 

 C2 likes to have her friends sleep over. A lot. This is not my favorite thing because I have a hard time falling asleep until the guests are sleeping. But, back to trying to be a cool mom, I usually say yes. Thirteen year old girls live for sleep overs so they can stay awake and, in C2s case, torture me. Every time C2 has a sleep over, I very politely "ask" (*ehem, demand nicely) that they shut it down by 1am. I know that this means they will at least be in their pajamas by 1:15, possibly in a reclining position by 1:30, and on their way to sleep by 2:00 or 2:30. 

Isn't that sweet? And totally unrealistic, I know. 

I must have nodded out the other night because I remember looking at the clock at 12:45am and thinking that they should be going to sleep soon. Yawn. So when I was woken up by the herd of elephants running and yelling at 1:45am, I WAS PISSED. It scared the shit out of me. Can you say mini-heart attack? So, with my heart pounding and my hair sticking out at all ends, I marched upstairs, threw the door open and announced to C2, "Don't ever ask me for another sleep over!" There were no pajamas to be seen on any body, the lights were blaring, the laptop was powered up, phones were going, and there was no evidence that anyone had any intention of going to bed...soon...or at all. You know, if they hadn't made all that noise, I would have had no idea that they were still awake. After my awesome display of parental-rage, they finally quieted down. Overreaction? I think not. Then..THEN THEY WERE AWAKE (Loudly) AT 7am! WHAT?????!!!!!!!

I don't do well on no sleep. I resent anyone who keeps me from getting to sleep, staying asleep or wakes me up. Ask my husband, he's been waking me up for 20 years and I am always angry at him. 

 What C2 doesn't get is that, the children of the *certain decades,* we INVENTED the sleep over. We were the queens of sleep over parties with as many kids as 12...13....14..15 spending the night. OMG! I look back now and I think, "were these parents out of their minds?" C2 is allowed 5 girls, max. Then I remember that we all had basements. Yes, we were all locked in the basements with Doritos and Dr. Pepper. And our rotary telephones. 

In elementary and junior high school (it was jr high back then) all of my friends, the three Jennifers, and the three Kims (most popular baby names of 1971 anyone?) always had sleep over birthday parties. I don't remember getting much sleep. Or being quiet. When I was the host, I know that my mom did not stay awake. She would send us to the basement with snacks, close the door and head to bed. I don't know how she did it!

I need a nap....