Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to make finger sniffing a habit.

We have this routine going every Saturday night.  We all climb into our bed and watch a little TV before bedtime.  We're trying to press the issue that we can't watch How It's Made all day, every day, so we settled on the Food Network. 

I made it sound all pretty for you but really there was a lot of screaming (by me) crying (by them) and a whole lotta complaining, haggling and general malcontent.  About thirty minutes later Alex was mumbling under his breath, "this is most certainly NOT what I had in mind" and I was murmuring, "we're a family goddammit and this is what families do." So that's how it came to be that we settled on the Food Network.   

Anyway, we get all settled in and I catch Alex out of the corner of my eye. 

Hands in his shorts, hands out of shorts, hands to nose.  Sniff, sniff. 

WTF, did I just see that?  And as if there was a cosmic answer to my question it happens again. 

I had this sudden flashback to the Saturday Night Live armpit sniffer skit.  You know, the one where Mary Catherine Gallagher stuffs her hands under either armpit and then brings them up to her nose and gets a good long whiff because she's nervous. 

Before I even knew what I was doing, I snorted and gave an ever so tiny giggle.

Crap.  Crap.  CRAP.  I did not just snort, giggle.  Please don't let him hear it, please, please, please...

He heard it.  He looks over at me and giggles as he's takes a good draw.  Then he starts laughing hysterically.

Oh no.  This is not happening.

With that little ever so tiny snort, giggle I've solidified a habit.  A horrible nasty man habit. 

Oh noooooo.

I look across to Hubs, "Now what?"  I say horrified. 

He just starts laughing. 


He looks back to me and says, "What, don't look at me like that...you're the one who taught him..."

And that my friends is how I ended my Saturday night.
Laugh with me people.  Laugh with me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

This is Me Meme

I've been tagged by the lovely Fi over at Welcome to the mad house.  I absolutely love her positive attitude and every time I pop over to see her, she makes me smile big happy smiles.  

I've also been tagged by Jazzygal who has either changed her page up a bit or I was seriously way too slobbery drunk last night while I watched Lizzy dance all her Irish dances at the Ceili.  In my defence, there were a lot more people drunker than I was last night.  That's all I'm saying.  I could have sworn things looked different there yesterday....either way, I love her style.

So I love this meme because it lets me take a tiny peek at how my kids see me.  I had visions of me looking stick thin with a modest bosom and a killer smile.  No such luck.

I had to bribe Alex with 30 minutes of I-touch time to even get him to pick up a pencil.  After a ton of bickering and begging he simply huffed, "FINE.  But I don't understand why I need to draw you when I can see you just fine."  Fair enough but draw the damn picture.  I hate when my kids are smarter than me.  Apparently I have Angelina lips, a hair helmet, no clothes and no bosoms whatsoever.  Damn.

Alex's version.

Lizzy said sure and whipped something right up.  Look at this.  Jesus-H, did you just get the scare of your life?  My hair parts in the middle like the Dead Sea, I have black saucer eyes that are trying to bewitch you and its raining.  If Lizzy starts killing small neighborhood animals I'm screwed.

Lizzy's version.

And Gracie just randomly drew something at her highchair in between trying to eat the crayons.   Looks about right for a 16 month old. 

Gracie's version.

Anyhoo, this meme was created by Tara at Sticky Fingers and here are the rules:
  • Ask your child to draw a picture of you. It doesn't matter how old they are.
  • Post the picture on your blog. Go on.... be brave!
  • Call it the 'This Is Me Meme' .
  • Pop over to Tara's post to add it to her linky.
  • Then tag some others.

I'm all for playing by the rules, and God knows we have them in this house, so I'm tagging some of my bloggy buddies.  Here they are in no particular completely random order of two :

Connor's mom over at Living on the Spectrum: The Connor Chronicles.  Because cheese is good (someday you'll have to tell me if it means more than keeping up on your calcium and Vitamin D requirements or if its hidden code for something) and because I have visions of her with Indiana Jones and not Calista. 

Karen over at Solodialogue because she makes me think and sometimes it makes my brain hurt in a 'good but now I need to go ponder things' kind of way. 

Have fun!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

One simple little rule...

As we all sat around the dinner table I had a fleeting thought, this is a mess.  We were talking over each other, no one using a fork or napkin, Gracie throwing stuff off the side of her tray and screaming, all the while trying to writhe out of her chair.

I found myself wanting a soft mallet. 

So I've decided to reign them in a bit and set up a new rule for the dinner table.  One new thing.  That is it.  That's all I can handle.

So here it is.  I ask the kids to share a little bit about their day.  I'm doing this in the hopes of improving Alex's communication skills as he can't get through one question without completely loosing interest. 

So this is how it went last night...

Me: Hey guys, quiet. Guys, I'm talking....guys....QUIET.
Gracie: Screaming.
Lizzy: I want salt. 
Alex: No, I am most certainly not going to eat that.  

Me: OK now that everyone's listening, we're going to do a new thing at dinner.  We're going to tell each other one thing about our day. 

Two hummphs, one bang.  This is going swimmingly. 

Me: I will start off to show you how it's done.  Well, I got up and had a cup of coffee, made breakfast...
Alex: Mom, mom.  Did you pee?  Did you brush your teeth?  You're out of order, mom.  We get up and first we pee, then we get dressed, then we brush our teeth and then we eat.  You went out of order.      


Me: OK, you're right, I did go out of order.  That's not the point, we're just talking about our day and what we did. 

Alex: But you did go out of order, mom.  That's not how we do it.  Next!  As he says 'Next' he has this little flourish with his wrist like he's totally done with this exercise and has utterly moved on. 

Oh Lord, what was I thinking.... 

Me: OK.  So I got up, peed, got dressed, brushed my teeth, and had breakfast.  I....
Alex breaking in: Mom, mom, did you forget the coffee part?  You forgot the coffee part. 

Me: OK, who's next?  I'm out.

For the first time there was utter silence at the table.

Me: Alex, tell me about your day. 
Alex: No.
Me: Alex, you know how this works.  Please tell us about your day.  What did you have for breakfast?
Alex: I had oatmeal.  That is all. 
Me: That's all you had for breakfast, just oatmeal?
Alex: No, that is all. I am done talking.  Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: No, it is not next.  Did you ride a bus for your field trip?
Alex: Yes.
Me: You did, that's great!  Who did you sit next to?
Alex: Mrs Brush. Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: That must have been fun.  Did you like the play?
Alex: No.  Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: You didn't?  Hum. It was supposed to be Goldilocks and the Three Bears, was it?
Alex: Yes.  But it was not the same as what you told me.  I'm done.  Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: Hummmm.
Alex: I told Mrs Brush it was not the same and I was not happy about that. Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: OK, how was it not the same?  Can you help me understand?
Alex: No.  It was just different.  Next!  Flicks his wrist.
Me: OK sweetie, thanks for sharing with us.  Lizzy, you're up!
Lizzy: No.
Me: Lizzie, come on....
Lizzy: NO. Next!  Flicks her wrist.

They all break out in peals of laughter. 

Swimmingly, just swimmingly...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

She's in there...

How can something this beautiful turn ugly?

Wedge her ass in a crock, that's how.

I have no idea how this happened but when I went into the laundry room I found Gracie firmly wedged in one of the crocks I use to store the kids socks.  

We have this routine after dinner.  I loosen up her bib and she rips it off, runs down to the laundry room and shoves it in the washer.  She laughs hysterically.  For whatever reason she thinks its the funniest thing ever.  I go with it since she's actually putting her clothes away.  Something I've yet to teach the older two.     

I guess she did this before throwing the bib in the washer.  Slacker.

She actually gave up and started sorting socks.  Amazing.  Could you even imagine the language if that was my ass stuck in there?!?  I don't think, hell I know, there's not enough soap in the world to wash my mouth out and get it clean again.  And I would most definitely NOT be sorting socks. 

And yes, we do have shirts...I took it off since she didn't like dinner and stuffed it all down the front of her.  She's as cheeky as the rest of them...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The green eyed monster

I've bored everyone enough talking about Bike Camp (you can read about it here, here and here) so I'll switch gears and take a minute to talk about my daughter, Lizzy.  She was really upset that Alex had all this face time with me while at Camp and she didn't.  And it's something that's a reoccurring theme in our house.  

From her point of view it goes a little like this: Alex spends time with mom.  Mom spends time with Alex.  Mom loves Alex more than me.  I hate Alex.  End of story.

She's five, what did you expect?

Lizzy's old enough to see that I do spend an inordinate amount of time schlepping Alex to all of his therapies.  She sees that as time away from her.  Even when I bring the her with me to an appointment it's the sheer fact that we're there for Alex, and not her, that gets her goat.  She's jealous. 

She's not old enough yet to know that what we're doing with Alex, all the appointments, therapies, social groups---it's all work for him.  Hard work.  She only sees that I'm spending time with him and that equates in a five year old mind to me loving him more.  

And I hate that she picks up on it and perceives it that way. 

I've had a talk with her, one about how her brother's different and some things like tying a shoe or throwing a ball are hard for him.  She hastily responded, "Well, mom, I already know that!" like I'm an idiot.  She's not quite grasped the understanding that Alex's differences require extra time and extra work.  She's not quite there in understanding that my love for her is not dependent on face time. 

We do manage to do things, just the two of us.  We go to the park and catch butterflies.  We go to Dairy Queen.  She paints my toes a bright I'm a hooker pink and I smile, say I love it and wear it for weeks.  We walk the neighborhood and count the fountains.  I secretly think she does that just so she can come back and tell Alex how many we saw and gloat.  Just to get under his skin, cheeky little girl. 

But she's just not there with the understanding.  I know one day she will be.  She'll love him as fiercely as I do.  But right now she wants to kick the daylights out of him and in some ways I don't blame her.  I'd be a little pissed too if my mom spent more time with my brother. 

And that's one of the many ways this thing called autism, SPD, whatever you call it or what ever you have, spreads like a nebulous cancer and affects us all.   

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The I touch has been confiscated...

So this is what my son's I-touch looks like.  Why are we looking at it as opposed to looking at a nice pretty pic of Alex actually using it?  Because he got it taken away, that's why.  It's now living in the cabinet above the fridge.  The worst criminal offence in our house occurred and in a moment of pure insanity I mouthed these words, "That is IT.  I have had ENOUGH.  Hand me your I-touch.  NOW."

I have no idea why he has a pic of my sister's cat for his background.

And what was really weird was that part of me was going, Oh shit.  Take it back!  Take it all back...quick!  You did not just say that.  You still have time.  Crap, crap, CRAP.  Now what are you going to do with them all day?

And another part of me was like, Oh yeah, who's got the upper hand now?  I do, that's who.  You wanna piece of me?  I'm in charge of this whole operation.  I'll teach you a thing or two.  Ha, Ha, HA! 

Totally sick, right?!?

So, I'll back up a bit.  We're on the tail end of Spring Break (I feel it's a worthy event so I'm going to continue putting it in All Caps) and today is the day Alex has had an uber bad day.  To be honest I'm quite impressed we avoided a major meltdown till now.  And I could see it coming a mile away.  He's gradually become more ticish, been going to bed later each night and last night he didn't eat any of his Dairy Queen blizzard--major red flag.  Not eating Dairy Queen is like the pin being pulled out of the grenade.  Just a matter of time folks.  The whole week has been off kilter so it was just a matter of time. 

This morning a series of small events triggered him and he's come undone.  I'm all for having a bad day and a good cry but when it starts to involve throwing TV remotes and three hundred dollar electronics, my sympathy meter goes down real quick.  Not only was he throwing them, he was aiming them at his sisters.  Thankfully OT hasn't gotten too far with his gross motor skills so he came nowhere near close to hitting either of them but that is not the point.  The intent was there. 

First he didn't get the waffle he wanted--it was too brown.  The next one was too soft.  This was like Goldilocks gone wrong.  Anyway, the third one, well I don't know what the hell was wrong with the third one but he wasn't having it.  He was pissed.  I made homemade waffles and he didn't like a single one.  Then he didn't get to watch How It's Made with breakfast.  Then Lizzy was sitting too close.  Lord in Heaven, then she was touching him.  Then they had a girl fight.  Then I don't know what the fuck went wrong but it did and things went flying and before 9:00AM I was uttering these words, "That is IT.  I have had ENOUGH.  Hand me your I-touch.  NOW."  

Which is why we're looking at this little specimen of technology and he's not.

I mean, on my phone I have a pic him and on his, he puts a pic of
my sister's cat.  Humph.  Clearly I rank second to the cat.

Now I've been expecting this little meltdown and frankly its late.  So that's why when it happened this morning it was worse that getting my period.  He was bound and determined to have a bad day.  And better yet, he was trying to take the rest of us down with him and that just won't do.  I'm sticking to my guns and he's not getting that little wonder of technology till tomorrow.

I have to get running as I just heard my husband say something about loosing the TV in a rather loud voice.  If Alex gets shut out from How It's Made, I'm royally and totally screwed. 

NOTE: Just so everyone knows, I'm doing everything possible to accommodate him today and have been over the past week.  I know being 'off schedule' is difficult for him on the best of days.  We've worked really hard at keeping things on schedule, given him advance warning and have penciled in everything including lunch and Lego's, but I did want Spring Break to be a vacation for him.  Make it fun.  Push him a little, just enough to help him understand life is not a script.  And when it gets to be too much I can pull back and be mom.  Just this time without the I-touch. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

I saw stars, beautiful shiny stars...

I've not been a good bloggie friend.  Sorry.  The kids have been on Spring Break and I thought I'd be on the computer trying to escape by Tuesday and the kids would be chewing the sides off the sofa by Wednesday but the week has gone by remarkably fast.   Hubs took some time off as well.  That right there throws a wrench in my plans.  I mean, I can't possibly have him see me on the computer like all day, reading posts, checking stats, and commenting all over the place.  I've actually had to get food for the kids, do laundry and play outside and act all house-wifey and stuff.  The gig's up on Monday but until then I have to keep up a good front.

Along with Bike Camp, all our routines have been chucked out the window--we stay up late and still get up at the same time.  We've been eating crap since Tuesday and we're trying to finish up the last bits of the remodel so consequently I've been dealing with exhausted, cranky kids. 

But look!  

The whole bike camp thing has taken up a lot of our time and I'll be glad when it's over.  There is a girl there, about thirteen, named Sheyanne.  She's a beautiful young girl and her only downfall is her mother.  She is a Soccer Mom.  You can hear this woman yell from outside the gym.  And she doesn't stop.  All fucking class she yells at her kid.  And every time, Sheyanne flinches.  Every time.
All I've been hearing since Monday is, "COME ON SHY-ANN, MOVE THOSE LEGS!  DON'T LET ME DOWN!  SHY-ANN.  Move, Move MOVE!"  Use your arms.  You're Arms Shy-Ann!  YOUR ARMS!" 

Then when she's done yelling she gives an exasperated "humph" and paces the side wall of the gym like she's an exhibit at the zoo.  And then she starts up again. 

It's been horrible to watch this unfold.  The program itself has been incredible, watching the kids fly and she's been shitting all over it.  They've asked her to leave and stand outside but she still works her way in.  Sheyanne does beautifully when her mom's gone and she was coasting around the tennis court yesterday.  Out of nowhere the yelling starts and Sheyanne promptly biked herself into the fence.  Went ass over handlebar and face-planted it.  She was sobbing.  The director was furious.  She actually took her inside and when they both came out, soccer mom was muzzled.  Amen.  But not before she spewed this land mine.  Keep reading...

We've been working up Alex for a tic disorder.  When he comes around the corner he has a facial tic---like a grimace.  He does it every corner.  It freaks the hell out of me to see him do this but he can't help it.  The whole bike thing is stressful so I look past it, and see the little boy I love underneath.  I understand he's stressed and me freaking out will not help him in the least.  So I suck it up, bury how I feel and stand proud.  Soccer mom had the stones to yell at him as he came around the corner, " HEY ALEX, WHY DON'T YOU SMILE?"

OK.  That's It.  She's crossed it.  She didn't tip toe over it, she fucking plowed through it like an army tanker.  That goddammed gorilla has the balls to yell at my kid?!?  For a brief second I saw how the cosmos was formed.  Saw stars.  Blinding white gloriously shiny, little white fluttery things.  Beautiful, just beautiful.  And then I came back down.  

And right then I wanted to thank my child psychologist for giving us anger management coping techniques because I found myself counting to ten, deep breathing and repeating incessantly, "I will not kill the bitch, I will not kill the bitch" while gripping the seat of the stadium bleachers.

When  I was sort of composed I walked over and said this: "For the remainder of this class I would appreciate if you would not talk to me or my child.  Ever.  He has a tic disorder and while that would normally be none of your business, you yelling at him has gutted him like a fish."  And I turned around and walked away.

I could say more about soccer mom but other than being stupid bitch I have nothing.  I feel sick about her, how she treats others, and most of all how Sheyanne has to go home with her and what her life is like.  I don't want her to tarnish an otherwise busy and fun week so I'm going to leave it at that.

I'm off to bake cookies for all the volunteers and helpers at Bike Camp and I have to keep up the house-wifey front for a few more days.  See, the whole baking cookies bit falls right in place.   Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bike Camp, part two...

We're at Bike Camp again today.  It's a Monday thru Friday deal.  I think they're going to take the roller thingie off tomorrow and let him fly.  This is where is can go to hell in a hand basket in under two seconds.  We had him fall last year and he was over it.  Done.  Finished for the season.  So I'm a total nervous freak and the hardest part is I have to sit back and watch. 

Take a look at the back "wheel."  You can see the emergency handle too.

Now I'll get into the finer details of this class.  The kids ride a modified bike with a roller in place of the back wheel.  The 'rear wheel' is a graduated cylinder that goes from flat, no outer curve, to convex on the ends.  The kids start out at level one, which is basically a flat log with no curvature.  As the kids get more stable and comfortable they switch out the roller and progress to a number seven roller.  The number seven has very convex ends so it simulates a real bike wheel and all the instability of riding a real bike. 

On the back of each bike there is a handle that a spotter can grab if the biker is wobbling or lilting too much.  The goal is to keep their hands off the handle unless the biker absolutely needs it. 

Back wheel and emergency handle.

Classes run all day from 8:00am to 5:30pm. There are only eight bikers per session and each biker has two spotters.  There is the program director and advisor present as well.  The program host, aka douche-bag, has been there every day.  I really should stop being so hard on this guy because without him this program would have totally passed Kansas City up but I swear he's a nimrod.  But his heart's in the right place so I guess he's a kind nimrod none the less.   

The kids spend 75 minutes on the bike riding in a big circle around the gym.  Every 20 minutes or so they have to reverse directions.  Heidi, the program director, takes the kids on a tandem bike and the camper sits in front.  She goes pretty fast to get the kids used to higher speeds--for vestibular processing--and she said with a laugh, its fun!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bike Camp, we're at bike camp!!

I've been remiss to mention that we have Bike Camp this week during Spring Break.  That's because the guy in charge is a total douche-bag and I didn't believe it till we actually went and made it through a class. 

This all started when we were given info about the Bike Camp from one of Alex's teachers at school.  I thought it would be a great idea.  He's been dying to get rid of his training wheels and to make matters worse Lizzy's trainers are coming off this spring.  The devastation on his face is so clear when he knows he can't do something and his younger sister can so I jumped on this chance. 

Here's Alex in action.
When we received confirmation he was in, I blabbed it to him and he was over the moon.  Not twenty minutes later my phone pings me and it's the director of the program e-mailing me that our spot had been given up.  Alex was too young for the program.  Blind rage.

Now here's the rub--that little ping was a day after I had talked to the director  and he assured me his age wasn't a problem.  See, total douche-bag.  They have a minimum age of eight and Alex is seven.  I called and after discussing things with him he assured me he would be fine.  They have the age cut off to make sure it's the kids that want to go and it's not the parents forcing them.  Once I explained to him that Alex was uncomfortable with having the training wheels on as his younger sister has hers off he assured me it was no problem.   

Well, then I get the ping.  So I sent him this nasty ass e-mail telling him I just spoke him yesterday...
He pings back: Who did you talk to?
Me:  YOU.
He:  You talked to me? 
Me: Your name is John Krugh, yes?
He:  Yes.
Me: Then yes, I talked to you.   You douche.
He:  How old is your son again....what's his name???
Me:  Seven and three quarters.  Alex.  Remember our phone conversation?
He:  Oh, that was you?  Can he do the 11:40 time slot?
Me:  Perfect.  Yup, he's a total douche.

So that's why I've not said anything.  I mean I just spoke to the guy the day before and he totally fritzed.  I almost wanted to cancel the whole thing but I picked up the phone and called him--again.  Turns out the people who do the actual teaching are flown in from other areas and they do this as a living.  Locally, he's their go to guy who gets the space and volunteers.  Whew.

Anyway, check this out, look at his smile!

I'll post more as we go through this week but I wanted to show you all how happy and proud he is.  And I just noticed this---his helper has a Ramones tee, how cool is that?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break, day one.

On Friday we went to this place called Leapin Lizards.  It looks like this:

I wanted to get the kids out of the house since Alex ran into my room at 6:43am, fully clothed and ready to start the day.  I sent him back to his room as our rule is we don't bother other people until 7:00am. At precisely 6:59 he came back in (he wanted me to see the clock flip) and proclaimed the day had started.  I told him he could play with his I-touch till breakfast thinking I could gain a few extra minutes.  No luck.  "Mom, we are not allowed to play electronics or watch TV till after breakfast and our teeth are brushed."  Damn it.

He huffed and puffed and by 7:03 and proclaimed in his loudest inside voice "I'M BORED."

By 9:00 I was ready to jump out an upper window.  I've actually given this considerable thought in the past and I've come to the conclusion that even thought it's three stories high I would most likely only suffer minor injuries and have to pick my ass up and go back inside.  And then I'd be stuck doing everything I'm already doing with the added bonus of having plucked myself out of the shrubs.

That's how I got the hairbrained idea to go to Leapin Lizards.  I took the oldest two and off we went.   We lasted twenty minutes. 

There were kids everywhere and there was a constant background hum, not unlike what I imagine it must be like on the Enterprise with my husband Jean Luke.  It was all the fan motors running the inflatables.  He heard it right away.

He started getting his tics-the cough, blinks, grimaces.  All the kids bouncing and running into him.  Way too much stimulation.  The place is a spinal cord injury waiting to happen. 

There was one bouncy hut that he went into and when nobody was in there he had the time of his life.  He bounced around without fear of knocking into any other kids.  I actually found myself blocking the door and not letting kids in.  Horribly wrong, I know, but he was so happy.

He spent the majority of his time reading the rules and regulations on each inflatable.  I took pictures of the rules on every single inflatable, there are thirteen of them by the way.  And he was happy.


After twenty minutes we left.  We went to Burger King and this particular one had an indoor fountain which made his day.  He saw the manager cleaning and he started talking. "Hey, your badge says manager.  Well, I want you to know I'm a big fan of fountains!  Did you know the water is circulated via motor pump and uses hydrostatic pressure?  Did you know if a fountain is large enough it may need a small compressor?  Did you know..."

The guy looked at me like we were total nuts.  I looked at Alex and he was beaming.  I figure there are worse things in life than being crazy nuts about fountains.  I sushed the manager away, looked at Alex and asked, "Hey hon, could you tell me more about that fountain?"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

A harlot and a toilet. Yup, that's what I said...

This little ditty has nothing to do with my son.  Shocking, I know.  Every once in a while I have to break with all the OT, PT, Child Psych, Speech and everything else that goes with it and tell you a little something about us.  This happened yesterday and I swear, other than playing Domino's, it's all true.  If you don't want to hear about harlots, toilets and tampons, now's your chance to hit the 'back' or 'next blog' button.

So my sister and her husband came over for dinner two nights ago.  The kids haven't seen them in ages so they were perfect angels.  And by that I mean they were the kind of angels that kicked their uncle in the gut, his privates, and anything else within striking distance.  To which my sister mumbles something like "jeesh, Lizzy's a little harlot tonight."  Now I have no idea why she said it and I really didn't think it was all that loud.  I guess I've been listening to my I-pod on too high of a setting for too long because I hear, "mom's what's a harlot?" from within striking range to which I nonchalantly said, "I don't know, go ask your Aunt" and then I left the kitchen to go up to the bathroom and play Domino's.

When I come back downstairs, I think everything is OK and everyones all moved on to something else which they have, namely riding their uncle like a small Shetland pony.  They were not riding me like a pony so I went with it. 

Fast forward.  We go to school the next day and about midway through the morning I get a call.  Never good.  Apparently Lizzy decided to make a face and stick her tongue out at a classmate's parents.  Her teacher asked her to apologize to which she said a little too quickly, "No."  They waited for forty minutes and after that they called me asking what to do.  I told them I'd come and get her as she's my child and I can tell you right now forty minutes is not near long enough for her to even begin considering apologizing.   Unless they had six hours and were dangling her favorite desert, all of her Barbie DVD's and, at minimum, 50 of her lambs and ponies over a garbage can full of puke, she was no where near close to saying I'm sorry. 

One of the many lambs in our house.

So I went and got her.  As we're going to the parking lot she mumbles, "Mom, Stacy's a harlot."   And a few things happened. 
  • I broke out into a cold sweat. 
  • In slow motion I turned around to see that her teacher had indeed registered what was said.  Apparently she does not listen to her I-pod on the high setting.  Fucking-fan-tabulous.  
  • And the last thing that happened was I had an out of body vision of me slowly disemboweling my sister with the skill of a finely honed surgeon.  I am going to kill her.  I don't care if they use this blog as evidence to incriminate me.  I will kill her. 

I call her, left a message. 

Now I know these parents, they're lovely.  I know them well enough to know what happened was pretty harmless.  I gave her a call and left a message that Lizzy and I would be over in a bit to apologize.

I had the brief thought, what, is no one home right now??

Anyway, fast forward to later in the day.  I'm on the toilet and the phone rings.  Like an idiot I answer it, thinking it's my sister.  I still want to gut her like a great big fish so I pick up.  It's not her.  Fuck.  It's the parent.  Fuuuck.  Well isn't that just great, I've put myself in the middle of a bad situation.  Now I'm sitting on the toilet, wondering what to do with the tampon and blah, blah, blah, she won't shut up.  I really want to hang up but she just won't shut up long enough for me to tell her, now's really not a good time for me.  So I did what anyone else would do, I finished up.   When I was done I closed the lid and very quietly extricated myself to the bedroom.  I didn't want to turn on the water and blow my cover so I Windexed my hands.  That counts as hand washing, right?  Right?!?

I think nothing of the tampon in the toilet.  I'll flush it later. 

Fast forward to a little later in the day.  I'm messing with the kids, trying to make dinner and I hear the audio guy asking to use the loo.  The house is still under construction so I don't normally have an audio guy standing around waiting to flip channels for me or anything like that.  I wish, but no.  I scream back something to the effect of, "Yeah, sure, whatever....quit kicking your sister. You are in her bubble and when you are in her bubble she very well may kick you."  And then a few things clicked at once. 
  • No, he was not downstairs. 
  • He was, in fact, upstairs. 
  • In my bedroom.
  • And no, I did not get a chance to flush that tampon down the loo. 

And that my friends is a little something about me, about us and how we started our Spring Break.  I don't think the audio guy will ever be the same, he was pretty young yet.

Oh yeah, I've still not figured out what exactly my sister told Lizzy a harlot was.  For that I will have to wait till after Spring Break when she goes in to school explaining it to her teacher, not me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Books by my bed.

I've been tagged.  My beautiful friend over at Solodialogue got tagged in this meme and like a virus she passed it along to me.  And then like a true virus it replicated and I got tagged again.  My wonderfully funny friend Kathleen at autsimheard who does not, I repeat, DOES NOT read My Little Pony Books tagged me since I was too slow getting my post up.  I'm pathetic really as I only have one book by my bed.  I love both these ladies and it is really the only one time I'd like to get a virus. 

And I've been dragging my heels ever since and feeling like a looser for not having done this sooner.  But the fact remains that I only have one book by my bedside and it's not a very good one at that.  I'm afraid if you were looking at a window into my soul by peering at what books I have on my bedside you'd be sorely disappointed.  Now if you asked what was by my toilet I have a stack like this high.

But you didn't ask that.  You asked what was by my bedside and for that I only have one book, here it is.

It's called the Great Hunt by Robert Jordan and part of the Wheel of Time series.  There are like 40 books in the compilation and honestly I've read them so many times I get them all mixed up.  Except the last one.  The author died prior to the completion and another author recently finished the series.  I've not read it.  Really, by the time I've gotten to the eighth book I have to start all over because I'm so confused.  So the ending never really mattered to me as I'm stuck on about an eight book feedback loop anyway. 

If you do know the ending, DON'T TELL ME.  That honor goes to my husband as he has earned himself the nick name of the 'party crasher'.  See, early on I'd be sitting there, all comfortable on a winter night watching a PBS Masterpiece, like Emma or Jane Eyre, and he would walk in and blow the whole damn storyline in five words or less.  He would argue it's like watching the Titanic---we all know how it's going to end.  To which I refute, it's not the ending that matters, it's the storyline.  It's the storyline, babe... Argh.  So that is why, my friends, my husband gets to spoil it for me.  He's earned that right.

Anyway, I'd like to tag Lisa at alienhippy as she has a way with words that I can not duplicate.  She is like opening a window in spring with words flowing at me on the breeze.  Truly amazing.   That's the best way I can describe it and I'd love to see what she reads. 

Just so you know if this meme were about books by my toilet I'd wipe out at least twenty people.  See?  Look at all this stuff.

No, I don't play with domino's while on the loo. They just showed up
one day and they still remain.  I repeat, I do not play Domino's while
on the loo or read My Pretty Pony.

I've listed what's in that hot mess since I didn't think it was fair that everyone was listing a bunch of books and I scaped by with only one.  So here they are in no particular order.  I have no idea what this says about me other than I spend way too much time in there. 
  • Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan
  • Country Living, the Makeover issue Sept 2010
  • Martha Stewart Living Sept 2010
  • KC Parent Aug 2010
  • Country Sampler Jan 2010
  • Dream Kitchens Fall 2009
  • Ortho's How to Build a Birdhouse
  • B & H Photo Summer 2010
  • KC Bulletin Fall 2009
  • Discovery Store circular
  • Wolf's Heat, Wolf's Heart but Jane Lindskold
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
  • Feeder Birds Eastern North America by R.T. Petersen
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan
  • Passing Time in the Loo, volume 1, various authors
  • Official Map and Guide to Haleakala

After I posted this, the 15 month old found a  pen and one of the books.  Here's her handiwork...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Great, now they're all head banging.

We were at Irish dance on Friday night and Lizzy had a meltdown.  Now, she's a pretty dramatic kid of girl, a little over the top.  Ok, she's waaaaay over the top.  A kind of drama queen who can make a hang nail look like it needs an amputation and digit replacement.  So when her teacher asked me to come and see what she was doing in class I thought nothing of it.  Eye rolled a bit even.  Thought she was just being stubborn and not doing a jig or whatever they do in there.

I go to take a peek and I saw Lizzy sitting Indian style (or as we now say it crossed-legged or criss-cross-apple-sauce, whatever) smack in the middle of the floor, with her head between her legs, bashing it like a melon on the ground.

Thump.  Thump.  Thump. 

If that wasn't enough, she takes both her hands, balls them up into fists and proceeds to beat the shit out of her skull. 

What in the...??? 

I didn't know what to do.  Stood there watching her for a minute.  Her teacher mentioned something about self harming behaviors and I'm like, "Yeah, no shit.  Ya think?" 

But I didn't say that.  I really wanted to but I didn't.  I pulled her teacher aside and told her a little bit about Alex and how he started head banging when he gets angry.  How he doesn't have all the words he needs nor the ability to use them so when any feeling that comes close to resembling fear, pain or anger, when that kicks in, he starts to bang his head.  Not hard, mind you, just enough for me to go, "Ackk!" and help him work things out.  It's been a little more stressful as of late so he's been doing it more than usual.  And now I guess Lizzy's doing it too.  

Her teacher gave my arm a tight squeezes and says, "I don't know if you know this, but this is my side job.  At my day job I'm an OT..."  She mumbled something about the Joshua Center and gave me a quick, knowing smile and we both started lugging Lizzy off to the side.  The Joshua Center is a non profit that deals with neurological disorders such as Asperger's, Tourette's, etc.  I was stunned at how, when I needed it the most, there was an angel in my midst.  

Anyway, we drag her off to the side of the class and I had a little chat with Lizzy.  Apparently she was pissed because her teacher asked her to do a hop-two-three and she didn't want to.   Headbanging ensues.  I asked her why she banged and hit her head and she just simply said, "Well Alex does it.  Is that wrong?"

So for the rest of the class I sat there a little abashed and humiliated that my daughter was self harming in public.  I feel like if it happens at home it seems a little more OK because no one sees it.  I don't know what I'm saying...I feel like its some dark, dirty secret and its been let of of the bag.  At home I have the ability to intervene, in the privacy of my home, and provide the necessary support and calm my son.  When it happens out in the open, in public, I feel like our secrets been let out.  I feel like a bad mom, or at the very least, one that is doing something so horrible or abusive that my kids want to beat themselves.  The other moms sat there, saw the whole thing, and I had to finish out the rest of the class under their scrutiny.

And the thing is this--I know I'm doing a good job with my kids, that I'm doing the best I can and right now we've got a lot of stress going on with Alex.  And when he's stressed it affects all of us.  It's just not Alex's problem.  It's our problem as a family and Lizzy, at five, is absorbing some of that stress. 

No one else knows that.  I'm not saying that they should, but from the glances I was getting I wanted to justify what was going on, to explain that everything is really OK, that this is just one aspect of our life.  That this is our version of Asperger's and sometimes it's not at all pretty and as a matter of fact it can be downright ugly and messy.  But I didn't justify anything.  I don't know why but I didn't. 

So now I'm sitting here contemplating what happened and how this thing called Asperger's is affecting all of us.  How this is truly not just about Alex anymore but all of us.  And that realization hit me like a ton of bricks between the eyes.  I always wanted Lizzy to be insulated from it, to protect her from the stigma, to give her the chance at being a little girl, out from the shadow of her brother.  Now I'm seeing that she will always be tied to this, to Alex.  That this is just the first of many things that are going to carry over into her life because of her brother. 

There is no easy way to explain to a five year old that her brother is who he is and because of that she's going to have an extra load to carry.  Not that I believe its all bad.  I don't, not for a second.  I guess I just didn't realize that my version of reality was a little different from the actuality.  That once the veil has been lifted it takes a little time to see the clarity through the haze and right now I'm still a little hazy. 

Lizzy's Irish dancing shoes.  They didn't see much action...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I'm hot...

I'm going to deviate from my regular posts, which I'm not quite sure what that is, but anyway here's my little pearl of wisdom.  I went and got my my hair cut the other day.  This little fact is important because I've not had it cut in over a year.  I'm not a tree hugger or saving it for Locks of Love or anything like that, I've just been lazy.  And the worse kind of lazy--the turning into your mother kind of lazy.  I swore I'd never become my mother and I'm not.  My underwear does not have holes in it.  But I got to thinking and it is like my mother just with haircuts and not underwear.  I told myself I was letting it grow out because Hubs kept telling me he liked it longer.  What is it with men and long hair, anyway?

So off I went to get it cut. 

Hubs comes home and notices and says, "Hey, that looks great!  It makes you look, like, twenty years younger."

Mistake. Big. Mistake. 

Ummmm, excuse me, did I just hear that?   Did I actually hear a pause while he thought of the number?  And he chose twenty?? 

Twenty?!? Twenty???  Couldn't go with ten, hell, fifteen? But twenty years younger?  That would put me at twenty one.  He didn't even know me at twenty one.  How would he know what I looked like at twenty one?  Hell, at twenty one I was either stone cold drunk or passed out.  I most definitely do not look like I did at twenty one...  

And just like that you could see him register the inhumanity of what he just said.  He froze, gripped the counter top and the little hamster on the wheel went into over-drive formulating the least painful way to extricate himself from his own words.  "Well, ummm.  No.  No, that's not what I meant.  I, uhhh....oh shit."

 I just started laughing.  I mean what else can be said?  If a guy thinks I look like a twenty one year old, then that means I'm hot.  And if he thinks I'm hot at forty one then I'm OK with that.  Totally OK with that. 
How hot is that???

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Showering, it's not as easy as it seems...

As I was taking a shower I realized I have more kid product in here than I do adult product.  What does that say about me?  I like My Pretty Pony??  I'm a fan of Transformers??

Which brings me to the issue of showering in our house.  First off, everything we do has a routine.  It's comforting.  It's safe.  It calms after a hard day.  But you already knew that, right?

So we go upstairs at 7:30, they get jammies, brush teeth and we're off to the shower.  Sometimes they 'forget' jammies and streak around the house wild and free.  I wish I still had that unbridled will to run naked witout the fear of scaring myself.  Sorry for that bad visual.

Anyway, back to the business of showering.  I still shower Alex.  He's seven.  He has a very real anxiety about getting his face wet.  I don't know if other NT kids need help in the tub/shower but I suspect not.  Lizzy, who is five, seems to do just fine on her own.  Matter of fact, she'd bleed us dry of all the water in the house if she could.

The whole concept of getting wet (and clean) is a foreign one to Alex.  After years of trial and error, this is what we've come up with--every shower we get a dry washcloth and put it on his forehead.  We swap it out as it gets wet.  Just make sure you have extra dry washcloths nearby.  Trust me on this one.

We've also had to teach all the basics of showering--how to put soap on the washcolth, how to scrub and how to rinse.

We used to do baths but the risk of getting water in the face was much higher so Alex decided he prefered showering. 

Anyway, curiosity gets the best of me and I wonder, am I alone with the showering thing?  Is this a sensory thing or is this just specific to Alex?

Lie to me if you have to...

See???  Look at all the kid stuff in there...