Thursday, February 28, 2013

February you need to go away, like, right now.

February and I have a love/hate relationship going on.  For me, it's mostly an all hate kind of thing.  It's cold, dreary and even with the hint of spring right around the corner it's hard road to get to the end of those twenty eight days.

In my head, I've been telling February to go fuck itself over twenty times a day.  It's like it's on repeat in my brain.

First we got sick.  Then we got better.  Then we had Valentine's Day and I made the off hand comment at my daughters party, "Holy Cow!  It looks like half the class is missing."  Turns out, half the class was missing and I know exactly what they gave me.  A horrible cold.

And the kids have been home for almost the whole month.  They had parent teacher conferences for two days followed up by Presidents' Day.  Not to be outdone, we had Winter Storm Q pound us and the kids were off another two days.  A State of Emergency was declared and it snowed.  And snowed and snowed and snowed.

Fuck you for that, February.

I thought it would be fun to go out and play in the, you know, snow.  Not so much.  It took over forty minutes to get into snow pants, socks, boots, coats, hats and gloves and even then Alex took a single step out the back door and retreated inside exclaiming he was done.  The girls went out for ten minutes only to retreat inside when they got snow in their mittens.  Ten minutes.

And to think we lived in North Dakota for ten years.

Because the kids have been off school so much, either because of planned events, sickness or snow days, they've been dysregulated.  They don't know what day it is, if they should be getting ready for school or what they should be doing.  It's been awesome.

I took a huge leap, put us on a schedule and did some homeschooling.

They hated it.  They hated me and they hated everything about being home and having to learn something.  I was cutting into their Minecraft time and by God they let me know about it.

I turned off the computers and they suddenly realized that, by God, I was being serious.

We studied, we learned and I think they had fun.

And when I asked, "Who wants to go outside and play?"  The forty minute bitch session was pared down to ten minutes and begging to be let out.  I guess they didn't have as much fun with me teaching as I thought...

They were out the door and in the snow in record time.

We made forts, threw snowballs and laughed.

You know where this would be pretty?
Some place other than my back yard, that's where.  

We dug out from our winter storm and things were getting back to normal.  Taking the kids to Tae Kwon Do, I fell in the parking lot.  I cursed February with my middle finger and a slew of beautifully strung together obscenities.

I'm sorry if you were in the minivan next to me when I went down but really?  That hurt like a mother.

We only had a few more days.

And then they said we were going to have another storm.  Bigger and badder than the last one.  Up to twenty inches of new snow on our already foot and a half.

Again, even prettier if this was your back yard.
Someone want to help me pick up branches?

That's exactly what we got.  Additional snow, snow days and more homeschooling.

I think my kids hate me.  I think I hate February more....but now I have one day left.

Just one day left in February and I can flip the calendar.  There's something about the promise of March.  Sure we live in Kansas and the threat of tornados looms large but we'd be out of February, into the promise of Spring.

I can do this.

I'll take my chances and risk tornados any day of the week just to get past the cold, snowy days of winter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Siri is my new BFF

We have homework issues, we have them bad.  By the time Alex gets home from school, he's exhausted, his mind is taxed and he desperately needs a break.  When he gets home I quickly put some food in front of him and let him decompress.  He immediately goes downstairs to his new love:  Minecraft.


It is our new thing but it's a whole other post.  Trust me, it's a whole other post.

So anyway, by the time I can get him settled down from school we have to work on homework.  But it's hard.  School takes a lot out of him and most days we do what he can and we leave it at that.

One part of his homework is doing research for each state, a weekly assignment called Spell Across America.  It's the bane of our existence.  He needs to gather information for a particular state and each week the state changes.  He needs things like: the current population, the state bird, state nickname, who the current Governor is and all sorts of other boring and inconsequential material.

He can't stand it.

I can't stand it.

Each week has been horrible.  For both of us.

For him, I've tried bribery, candy, extra Minecraft time, staying up a few minutes later and skipping showers.

For me, I've tried drinking a little, then a lot, meditation, deep breathing, cursing under my breath, counting to ten, then twenty, walking away and coming back.

Nothings worked.  For either of us.

Trying to sit down at the computer and researching each state has been an exercise in futility.  Every time I get an, "Uggghhh....this is soooo BORING.  Why do I have to do this?  If I really want to know this stuff, I'll just look it up when I need it.  Uggggghhhhh......"

And I have to tell him, "You have to do some homework, you have to at least try.  You don't have the plan.  Your teachers and I have the plan.  We expect you to learn about each state.  Don't you want to know about Ohio, where I grew up?"

"Uggggh, Mom, I highly doubt Ohio is that much different than Kansas."  

Damn it the kids right, Ohio and Kansas pretty much suck equally.  "OK, fair enough.  Lets just get this done."

Look, a  pile of pads!

And then one day I was watching him with the i-pad and he was laughing his ass off.  I mean, the kid was literally laughing his ass off.  Snorting, giggling, rolling around on the floor, the works.  I thought he was going to puke from all the laughing. 

And I watched, I just watched...

"Siri, what is the state population of Arkansas?"

"The state population of Arkansas is approximately 2,673,400."

"GAHAHAHA, snort, Oh My God this is awesome!"  More laughing, snorting, rolling around on the floor.  

"Siri, what is the state bird of Arkansas?"

"The state bird of Arkansas is the mockingbird."

"Aghahahgahaha!!!  Oh My God, this is so awesome....SO AWESOME."  Again, more laughing, snorting, rolling around on the floor.

"Siri, what is the state nickname of Arkansas?"

"The state nickname of Arkansas is The Natural State."

"OMG, OMG, OMG, this is awesome!  SO AWESOME!"  More laughing, snorting and rolling around.

Siri was doing his homework.  He was getting Siri to look up his homework and he was writing down the answers as fast as he could.  For the first time since September he was doing his homework and laughing.

He was laughing.

It was unmitigated joy.

No way in hell I was getting in the middle of that.

Note:  I've talked to his teacher and we've worked out an arrangement so that he can use Siri, in moderation.  The key for us is that he does what he can, within his capabilities.  His teachers this year really get him and for that I am grateful.   

Monday, February 11, 2013

And then I thought I died.

I got all excited and happy that I was back and then, like all things, fate slapped me around a bit and showed me who's boss.  I'll give you a clue, it's not me.  Gracie came down with the stomach bug.  Now for those of you who have stuck with me for a while, you know how much I absolutely detest puke.  How much it makes me nervous, spin out of control and generally go insane.  And you also know how that is inversely proportional to how much my kids do, in fact, puke.

They puke all the fucking time.

Gracie was so sick, I had to have my neighbor pick up some meds for her to stop hurling, I couldn't get her to the corner Walgreen's without hurling.

It was either that or we were trudging down to the Emergency Department to get an IV.  For seven hours, we'd been sitting next to each other with a bucket so she could spew.  Seven long, horrible, frigging hours.  In that time frame she nailed me in the face and at that point I knew it was over.  My only thought was, "Innoculation complete."

I Cloroxed my face, mouth, neck and even my tongue for good measure.

And she got better.  A day went by and no one got sick.  I didn't get sick.

I was happy, I thought I had beaten it.  And I got cocky.  I was all, "Suck on that norovirus!  You were on my face and I beat you.  I win!  I'm a God."

Only I wasn't.  

I got sick.

One minute I was fine and the next, well, I wasn't.

And for the love of all things good and holy, I wished I was dead.  I have no earthly clue what that child brought into this house but I was sick.  Like, I was sicker than sick.  I threw out my back puking.  I stopped counting the number of times I barfed at sixty one.  My jaw popped out of socket and at no point did I think, "You know what, one day this will be funny and we are going to sit back and laugh and laugh and laugh."

Bait and switch.  Look at the pretty ocean while I talk about puke. 

And I'll just fast forward through all the gruesome details because they were flat out disgusting.  Now I'm up and amongst the living wondering where in the hell two good days went and what in the hell happened to my house.  It was like our toy closet blew up and all the kids were sitting in the middle of it having the times of their lives.  My husband and I clearly have two different views on how to keep the house.

And then I after another day I though I was in the clear.  No one was sick.  I got all cocky.  I thought, "I'm bad ass, I cleaned that norovirus out of this house.  I'm a cleaning God."

But I was wrong, I was so very wrong.

My husband got sick.

Then Alex got sick.

And now I must go and admit my defeat.

As an update, we now have the flu, or a cold that is suspiciously like the flu, in our house.  Alex is home from school telling me all about Minecraft.  Awesome.  

I'm trying to get back to everyone's blog but I'm having a really hard time.  Some of the word verification combinations are killing me!  I know spam is an issue but I can't seem to get past some of them and for that I'm sorry.   

Friday, February 1, 2013

What's missing...

So I'm back.  I took some time away and before I knew it we had holidays, birthdays, construction, IEP's and all kinds of fun with the flu and other assorted illnesses.  Awesome.

But I miss writing.  I miss my blog and I miss all of you.  

And what I'm going to start off with is no fun and part of the delay in coming back.  I was hoping it would go away, the dust would settle and we could all go about our business.  It hasn't, it won't and I'm over hearing about the horse that's been beaten to death.    

In the Autism community, there has been a long held belief that you are either a parent of a child with Autism or you are an adult self advocate.  Well, truth be told, I am both.  When pushed into a corner I will admit that I am on the Spectrum.  I don't feel I need to wear a badge or proclaim it on the highest mountain, that's just me.  I feel it's pretty obvious when you meet or get to know me.  It's mine, I own it and I don't feel it's anyone's business but my own.

I wrote this a while back.  Still holds true. 

You see, it's taken a long time for me to get comfortable with, me.  I want people to get to know me and not to draw conclusions based on a label.  I want the same for my son, for him to be accepted based on his own merits, achievements and successes.  You see, the world does not make excuses or gives free passes for those that are different.

Which brings me back to what I've seen recently in this community.  I've seen a complete and utter lack of respect.  A lack of respect for the person behind the screen name, the individual.  A lack of respect for what another person has said and a complete disregard for everything except their own agenda.  I have witnessed name calling, calling people assholes, baiting people to attack and agenda pushing at its finest.  I've seen both sides pile-on and add their two cents and the sad part is?  No one is listening.  No one.  How can they, when attack mode has been relegated as the new norm?

And that makes me want to walk away, not to come back.  But, but...I don't walk away from things that are important to me.  Things that I hold dear.  Things that I find unsettling for me and my child's future.   

Without respect, we will continue to beat our head against a wall, beat that dead horse to a pulp.

And here's my take, and granted, you may not like it.

When you are an adult, act like an adult.  It's just that simple.  Quit blaming someone else.  Is not up to me, or anyone for that matter, to tell you how to behave.  And if you don't know?  Then simply ask.

If you're angry, then step away.  Coming into a discussion angry and baiting will only foster those feelings.  And if  you're angry and itching for a fight, please go some place else.  You're simply not going to get a fight from me.  That's not who I am and not who I want to be.

The thing with the Internet is, other people can't read your mind, they don't know the day you've had or what life's thrown at you, and really?  Everyone has their own struggles and issues they're dealing with.  Believe it or not, they may be in a worse place than you.

While the fight goes on, this is as far as I will go into it.  I will not engage.  I won't converse with those unwilling to listen and I certainly won't be baited by those looking for a fight.  And the thing is?  There are plenty of other people like me.  Parents and self advocates who want to get along and understand each other without out a divide.  Those people do exist and when  you find them, you will know.

So I will continue to teach my child how to be respectful and kind.  I will work where I know I'm effective, here, my home, with my children and in my community.  And hopefully what I'm doing will be good enough.  Hopefully my son and others will learn a thing or two.

That is my hope.