Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer times four..

~"Doing nothing is very hard to never know when you're finished."~ Leslie Nielson

Wednesday morning I knew for sure that fall was on its way...the air was cooler..the leaves are just starting to change...and I was surrounded by the dulcimer tones (in quadruplicate) of the shifting time ..the lyrical lilting sounds of the end of a season...

"Uuuuuuggghh.." "Why do I have to get up now?!" and "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!" 

  Yes, school has officially started. Summer is coming to a close..and I have accomplished...nothing. Well..not "nothing" per say....It's more like I got side tracked by things..I HAD intended to do all kinds of wonderful things..We were going to read..explore experiments...cook..go to the beach..sing! I... was going to be the Maria von Trapp of Maine.


  But it was not to be...Oh-the summer started off great...In June, we went to the library..we read books..we were even about to build a volcano! (*sigh* I bragged about this in an earlier piece) And then...
  I misplaced Oscars paperwork for camp...
which led to an incredible purging of every nook and cranny in my house...I just KNEW that I had put them somewhere...
I did find them (on a table) but only after my frantic email to the camp requesting a new set of paperwork-and yet again-only after the second set of paperwork arrived.. I quickly filled out all the paperwork-faxed all the info-had other info faxed back..crossed my i's dotted my t's...realized what I did and fixed it...
 Only now I had to get him ready for camp-me ready for him going to clean up every paper I had furiously torn out of every cabinet, drawer, purse..closet...
Because (aside from the fact that I was buried in papers) my house-or at least 1/4 of it decided it was tired and started sinking...SINKING..
  So-I had to hire a contractor to come and jack it up and fix the foundation and the floors and  the walls and the ceilings.....only it turned out to be more of a project than anyone expected..part of which included me emptying two rooms just filled with all kinds of crap-including..of course..paperwork.
 In the meantime...
Oscar went to Camp Capella  (I can not rave enough about how wonderful their program is) for an entire week!  He had a lovely time. He swam, he fished..he boated..he did arts and crafts, nature walks..and bonfires. I on the other hand spent an entire week (needlessly) worrying about him..had to-because...well,.it's my job-one that I am amazingly efficient at.  Oh if only worrying paid!  I would be quite wealthy...because worry overtook the rest of the Summer.
  At the end of July, I had both of my girls re-evaluated.  I did not agree with the schools assessment of Zoe last year. So I sought another opinion.( One based on the newer DSM V guidelines). As for Lily..she's been having some difficulties. She does have a diagnosis of ADHD..but I wanted to be sure that we were doing all that we could to help her.
 We weren't.
  Anyone who has undergone evaluations knows that there is a ginormous amount of *sigh* paperwork involved. Questionnaires to be filled out-and to have other people fill out..old evaluations to be found...which of course involved me digging through years (I've been doing this for at least thirteen) of stuff.   It's time consuming...and unnerving...I hate doing these things because it feels as if you are dissecting your child..picking apart the pieces that make them different but also makes them-them...We filled out the forms and gathered the info and tested the girls...and came to find out..... that they were both on the spectrum.
That's four for four now.
I want to say that I was shocked-but really?  I wasn't. Definitely a bit surprised...and definitely angry at myself. I should have seen it..I should have known. It's not like I'm new to this. My girl-my curly headed wild very full of everything- that at times she almost bursts..she trusts me...and I let her down.  I simply did not recognize just how much she has been struggling.
Crap-that hurts...stings...cuts me into a million pieces.  but I'll get over it.  The important thing now is to help her through this rocky time. To continue to build her up as we always have-only now with better information. Most importantly-to get her the support she needs.  which you know is going to require a whole lot of paperwork.

  So-another Summer has past. Once again, it did not go entirely the way I had planned. Oh well. At least the kids are happy (with the exception of school starting-they will get over it.) and my house is no longer sinking...I'd say that (with the exception of all the paperwork) it was a pretty good one.


Saturday, August 16, 2014


~“I don't like my shoes,' said Rose.

'I'm wearing my shoes and you don't see me complain.'
'You only hear a person complain,' said Rose. 'Not see.'
How has Rose lived for seventeen years and no one has killed her, not once?”
 ~Franny Billinglsy~Chime


  My daughter was standing in front of the mirror, pulling on her cheeks, when she asked "Mama? is my mouth too big?"  "What?"..."Is my mouth too big?"..."No.".."Well. I think it is.".

 It wasn't the first time that I'd heard this question. It wasn't the first time that I have caught her stretching her lips, pulling on her cheeks..and it wasn't the first time that I had asked her- "Why do you think your mouth is too big?"  "I just do."

 At first, I had thought that maybe it has something to do with growing up.  She does have an older sister who is starting to take some major steps away from little girlhood...worrying about growing up, worrying about fitting in...worrying about *sigh* everything.  So, I thought that maybe her sisters worrying was possibly rubbing off on her. Girls do seem to go through some weird stuff-especially when it comes to appearance.

So, this time, I indulged her.  "Really?..hmmm...o.k., lets take a I  scrutinize her lovely face..tilting it left and then right, up and down, asking her to step closer to the light, then away from the light..turn to the side..tilt your head all the way back....I even thought about getting a tape measure. "Honey, I are perfect and beautiful..I see nothing wrong with the size of your fits your face beautifully.".."No, it's big."..exasperated I said "Baby girl! What in the world is making you think that you have a big.." and then it hit a load of bricks to the girl is a literal thinker..HOW could I not have realized this?  Me!- the woman who still wakes up at night relieved that she didn't answer her second grade teacher with "Don't all watches have two hands?" when said teacher asked if anyone's watch had a second hand...ME!- who thought "Euthanasia" meant-YOUTH in Asia...and Guerrilla warfare? Honestly-I once pondered   "How do they train gorilla's to fight?   How could I have not recognized this?!   

"Zoe?..honey?..Did someone tell you that you had a big mouth?: . "Well, remember that time when I was fighting with Lily......?" 

 For the record-there hasn't been much time in the past six months where they haven't been fighting. Each of them are incredibly sensitive lately-only not at the same time...which has just been so much fun-a regular barrel of laughs, a hoot if you will...Oh 2014...What a year it has been! What a time we have had!..(I've been thinking of having that put on a tee shirt or mug) I have have reached out to the U.N. peacekeeping forces-but have yet to hear back. fingers crossed! 

"Well...I'm not sure which fight you're referring to...but go on.."
"She yelled at me!"
"How unusual!"
"Wait...How is that unusual?"
"I was being sarcastic."
"So...what happened?"
"Oh..well Lily yelled at me and said that I had a big mouth!"
"Honey...that is just a "saying" doesn't really mean that your mouth-your physical mouth is big."
"Then why did she say it."
"When someone accuses someone of having a "big mouth" it means that they talk too much."
"But I don't talk too much."
"I know."
"Then why did she say it?"
"Because she was mad at you and that is the first thing that flew out of her mouth."
"Wait....something flew out of her mouth?"
"Words don't fly."

At this shoulders are up by my ears..I'm almost afraid to say anything else..

"O.K.-Lily said something in the heat of the..ummm..she was angry and yelled without thinking. You do that too.  I really wish that you would both stop. Your mouth is not big. O.K.?"
"O.K.'...and off she go tell her sister......and then...

 "Yes Lily?"
"Zoe said.........

  There is only a week and a half until school starts up again. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Full plate.....

~ "My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy the ice cream while it's on your plate"~Thornton Wilder's 9:05 on Friday night..and I'm not sure of what to write about-or really "how" to write about all that has been happening these past few weeks.  I didn't write last week for the same reasons that I'm having trouble with this week. There has been a lot happening-nothing tragic or bad-just ..just...

Oscar went to camp!  He had a wonderful time-BUT, there is more going on with this young man of mine than I even imagined. We are trying to help him figure some things out at the moment-while giving him the respect and space that he needs to process it all. His own way and his own time. It's hard to watch him struggle-but lovely too. He is coming in to his own... 

Part of my house started sinking. Yes-sinking. This picture is of the rotted sill that was holding up this part of the house. So...we had to hire a contractor to "jack up" the house and fix all the problems.  I lived in fear that the house would fall on him and I would come home to see only his feet sticking out from underneath-kind of like the wicked witch of the east in "The Wizard Of Oz"..Thankfully that didn't happen. The work should be done in a few more weeks. The only huge problem is...spiders.  It seems like all this work has attracted every spider within a five mile radius into my bathroom shower to be exact. BUT..only when I am taking a shower.  It's really creepy.  As soon as I step into the shower..I am surrounded by a bunch of multi-eyed many legged hairy creatures...There I am standing naked-NAKED! in a self imposed two inch space-afraid that if I move one will jump down onto my head-or hit me in the face as it does a Tarzan swing across the shower stall. I am starting to wonder about these spiders...are they laughing at me as I try and contort my body in an attempt to get away from them? Are they filming me? Do spiders have reality t.v. shows? "Shower Hunters"...or maybe it's a game show-and I'm the obstacle course...or spiders have...fetishes? Am I the victim of some sordid spider porn ring?  I think that I'll have Omar clean the bathroom this week...

We decided to get both of our girls evaluated. Anyone who has read this blog knows that we have been having an awful time getting Zoe the things that she needs to make school successful.  Our Lily has been having her own issues as well. So, we decided to get an opinion OUTSIDE of school.  From someone who had more experience with evaluations and diagnosis-especially when it came to girls. Some of what we have found out was not surprising...Some has knocked us off of our feet. Both Omar and I both know that we are good parents-that we have happy kids-a stable home.  We know this. But sometimes, you find things out about your kids-that just stun you. Where you think "How could I have not seen this?!" So, you beat yourself up a bit..wonder about lost opportunities..about what you should/could have been doing.  Yes, I know that hind-site is 20/20..and I know that we have done the best that we could with the information that we had. But I think that ALL parents beat themselves up every now and then-it's just part of the job. I'll get over it-I just need to think things through for a bit before I can write clearly.

After a year that included job loss...and then getting another job (that was quite adventurous) We decided that we needed to work for ourselves. So, we bought a franchise of a popular take-out chain in our area. Omar is an amazing business man. It's time that he put all of his talent-and all of his hard work where it belongs. Working for himself. Right now, we are figuring out how to balance a business a family and an impending school year. 

 There is just so much that I need to think through right now.  I have so many half finished posts..that can't be finished until I know what it is that I want to say. The important thing is that we are all o.k.  We continue to move is happening for all of us-maybe in ways that we did not expect-but, it is happening nonetheless. Might as well embrace it.   I really have nothing to complain about...except maybe spiders...I really don't like spiders...

Saturday, July 19, 2014


~"The outward man is the swinging door; the inner man is still the hinge."~Meister Eckhart


 So, Summer is going the way Summer usually goes...mostly lazy days with a summer rec program sandwiched in the middle. Now that the kids are older, it is easier to spend more alone time with each of them. The boys and I have taken to walking most nights-exploring the different areas in town. Part designated route and part adventure. We walk down to the river and then over to the playground taking mostly different routes in between. The playground is always our final destination before returning home. Our last stop- with the wonderful swings.  We save that for last because by the time we get there, it is dusk and we don't want anyone else to be there. I mean really-swings! Who wants to have to wait for a turn?  Besides it would look kind of weird if we had to stand around ( a 50 year old woman and her 2 very tall sons) waiting for a five year old to hurry and finish. We also like the quiet-ending our evenings in the air. The three of us in our own heads swinging at our own paces. I think that it helps us all sort out the day or anything else that might be rolling around in our brains.

  There is a lot going on for all of us right now.  Sam is at an age where he is just filled with longing. He is such a good kid.  So genuine and open-no angsty teen boy attitude. He doesn't grunt!  He actually talks to me! Real conversation!   He is so ready to leave home and  He feels like this town is too small and that there is no longer a place for him here. He wants to DO things-and he wants friends.  He just doesn't feel any special connection with any of his school "friends".  It isn't that he feels left out-but more like he can't find interest in the things they are interested in. He's chomping at the bit-and I'm trying to keep him steady...Trying to convince him that you spend more time being an adult than a teenager...that he WILL find his tribe..I'm hoping that with all the changes going on in our lives (running a restaurant) we can get him into some classes and activities away from school. Fingers crossed that this year will be better...

  Oscar is all about going to camp this Summer. In his own words he "Wants to make friends and have my own adventures!" Next to Lily-Oscar is my most social kid. Language and processing difficulties and all. He so wants to participate in things-but, his disabilities exclude him.They shouldn't-but they do. He's a smart kid-he knows so much more-SEES so much more than many people give him credit for. He has these moments of verbal clarity-of precise thinking that just floor me.He also has a deep sadness. He knows that he is different-and while he is confident in who he is-he feels left out-alone. The other day, he was going down a hallway ahead of me...he passed two young men-(perhaps two years older than him) he was walking the way that he walks...flapping his hands at his sides..intent on going where he needed to be...Right after he passed the guys..they turned to each other and smirked..a kind of "get a load of that character" kind of look..until they noticed me. Yeah-they didn't expect me there.. I just looked at them-said nothing..just stared. Causing an instant look of almost shame.. (as it should)..and I walked on. What I wanted to do-and did in fact do later (in my mind) was smack them in the head..tell them that they were dumb-asses..tell them that my Oscar-my son- had more dignity-more character-more humanity-more confidence alone- than the two of them could ever hope to have combined. So, while I quietly agonize over these slights..agonize over his future and the world he will one day be an adult in...he remains persistent, confident and sure in himself.. He walks tall. I really hope that his week at camp is everything that he wishes it to be and then some.

 As for me-I swing with my worries-and I worry about boys,my girls..Omar..will our house ever be done?..My chickens and strapless bra. Have you ever tried to wear one of these things? Holy crap! I wear a lot of tank tops-some with "Y" backs-and I loathe the whole let your bra straps hang out look.. I figured I would try one of these strapless numbers. I don't know if I'm inept?  Somehow wearing it wrong...I put it on and it fits correctly-as long as I stay home.Really-I can do anything in it.  Kind of like the "Hair club for men" commercial (only with a bra instead of hair)..I can run..jump-swim even! name it-and it stays in place.  But the minute I have to go anywhere-especially if there are people-slippage ensues..I don't know why it happens!  I get out of the car-everything is where it belongs- and then I start walking (usually towards a group of people) and ever so slowly it starts sliding down my rib the same time turning around. Now, I am not complaining mind you-but, I am not what you would call "full figured" fact, I'm quite a bit less than, my upper undergarments are slightly endowed...o.k.-they are padded! So...when this strapless band of preformed breasts slips and turns...I either look like my head is on backwards OR that I have started growing breasts on my lower back. It's downright unsettling! The only thing I could think of to do (besides duct tape) is to walk with my upper arms pressed firmly to my sides-while my lower arms swing up and down. My upper arms slow down the sliding and the movement  of my lower arms push it up in place. It also helps if I sashay my hips-it helps with the upward pushing momentum. This would all be fine and good if I didn't look like a woman whose laxative had just kicked in. It's even worse if I am just standing and chatting with someone and only one side slides down!  Then I oh so casually(so the other person doesn't notice) have to do an almost side bend while trying to (again casually) thrust one shoulder repeatedly in an attempt to get "things" back in proper position.  It's like playing with one of those party favors.  You know the plastic disc with the silver balls that you have to maneuver into the tiny holes. It's a delicate operation!. Oh such worries.

  As you can probably tell-these nightly walks with my boys are necessary for all of our mental well beings. I am finding great solace in my swinging..This summer, it seems to be all that I long as I'm wearing the proper support.     


Saturday, July 5, 2014

No apology..

~"“Re-examine all you have been told. Dismiss what insults your soul.” ~ Walt Whitman

 I like to think of myself as a regular parent. Doubtless there will be some who say "Kathleen? What does that mean?! What is this regular that you speak of?"   Well, I am more than happy to explain!  "Regular"- simply means that I, like so many millions before and after me-have taken on the responsibility of growing small people into big people-with people being the operative word. It is what I do.  Sometimes I am very good at it-sometimes I fail miserably. My kids aren't complaining (too much)-So, I'll take the former as an affirmative. The thing of it is-parenting is a tough job. I don't think anyone really knows just how tough until they become a parent themselves. I mean, you can talk about parenting, comment on other peoples parenting-even imagine what kind of parent you will be...but really?  You don't know till you get there.  That's o.k.-because, there is plenty of "on the job" training.

  What really annoys me is when people refer to me as a "special needs" parent. I really don't like that title-and I really don't care for the word "special" in this sense. ( I wrote about this here (way back in 2009))  I'm really not sure what to make of it.  There are posts upon posts about what it is supposedly like to be a "special needs" know the kind that tell people how "we" (those of us doing all this special kind of parenting) need all kinds of understanding and crap like that because of this, that and the other thing.  But most importantly, how we will do anything for our kids because WE LOVE THEM-*sigh* and THAT is the part that really bothers me. Hey, I get that maybe some friends or family might not know how your time is spent-that they might even need some help in understanding that you have a lot on your plate. What I don't get is having to justify what you do because you love your kid. To me, it reads like an apology. Both for your actions and your kids disability. "Sorry I can't go out with you tonight, my kid has O.T.-but I don't mind!.. because I love them."   I don't need to explain that I love my kids or that I would do anything to help them.  Shouldn't that be a given?  *sigh*  Why isn't  there ever anything good in these posts like-"give these parents candy"..or"-pay for a nanny so they can take a vacation"?  I mean thanks for the understanding, but what I would really prefer is fat and sugar laden chocolate rich carbohydrates and maybe 24 hours alone with my husband without anyone knocking on the door asking us "what are you doing in there?"  Any day.

After almost sixteen years of parenting, thirteen of those years spent navigating spec. ed in two  different states..four kids with very different needs and neurologies..reading numerous different blogs and talking with many different parents..I have come to this conclusion...Parents with kids that have disabilities apologize an awful lot. Not because they have anything to be sorry for-but because (and this becomes ingrained) asking for anything for our kids sometimes becomes such a production number..that you wind up feeling thankful for any crumbs that you do get..No, we don't apologize for our kids-(never!) But it is as if sometimes we have to apologize for their needs...

"Thanks so much for the 7 1/2 minutes of o.t. that your "assistant is giving my son every other week-I do know that your schedule is full(and that the school is stretching the law very thin by hiring you to oversee your "assistant"-but that you are hardly ever present) and I really appreciate your squeezing him in!"

We also spend an awful lot of time justifying what we need for our kids..

"Yes I know that my girl is very quiet and well behaved and not a problem..and I understand that unless someone is really watching her, they aren't going to see that she is a hair away from a panic attack, and that the teachers have soooooo much on their plates that they don't have the time to look out for a child that "appears" to be o.k-especially as there are kids whose needs are very evident......but all the same-she does have an actual diagnosis and really needs someone looking out for her!"

 I'm tired of it. Tired of wasting time fighting for things that should be givens- services that are required by lieu of writing a yet another "special parent" post..I'm just going to make a statement. It is my belief-my statement. I speak for no one but me-from my own experience.

Here goes-
 As parent-like any other parent-my kids needs come first. I will do whatever needs doing to ensure that they grow into responsible, critical thinking, decent and kind independent (to the best of their ability) adults.This has nothing to do with disability and everything to do with it being my job as a parent. My methods may be different-but, it is all (like any other parent) for the same result. 

My kids do not need to justify their needs or existence to anyone.  EVER. They are human beings-and, like any other human being- deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.  Nor do I need to justify, apologize or make any excuses for the time that I spend working with them. I am their parent-again, that is my job.

My kids are my greatest joy. I am not sad, bereft or disheartened because of autism. Do I wish things were easier for them? Yes. What parent wouldn't?  Parenting kids with disabilities can be rough. I would never say it wasn't. The world is not particularly kind to those with disabilities-otherwise they wouldn't be called disabilities.  However-I don't want sympathy-nor a super hero cape. These are the kids I have always known-this is the parenting I have always done.  I don't know how to do it any differently. 

I could probably go on and on...but this post is already getting too long. What can I say? I'm home with four kids and I am finding it very difficult to concentrate, I guess-in a nutshell-I'm trying to say that we are all in this together. Parenting is hard. Everyone has their own definition of what hard is-and to some, the grass is always greener...or browner from their perspective. I'm not in a contest-I just want the world to be a good place for my kids. ..and candy. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

One year...and today..

~ "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.”`Betty Smith~A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

 Summer vacation is not like it used to be..or at least not like I remember it.  When it seemed like there was an endless stretch of days- possibility ahead of me...First thing in the morning I would be out the door riding my bike..running in the eternity spent outside outside playing "red light green light" or "ring and run"  until the street lights came on- which everyone knows is  the universal signal that it was time to go home. It was a rare day that was spent inside-as most of us had mothers admonishing us to  "GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!!" The days were warm, but I don't remember being bothered by it-except maybe at night..when all we had were window fans blowing in hot air. So much has changed since then. At least for me. Summer still means endless days..only they aren't as carefree as they used to be

  I suppose that some of it has to do with being an adult-and some with how the times have changed.  Now days, kids have play dates and organized activities..Wii, Nintendo, and more television stations than I can count. When I was growing up we had four television stations (Omar had one) ..and they rarely-if ever, played kids shows. So-we had no choice but to learn how entertain ourselves. My problem now- has been in teaching my kids how to entertain themselves. Especially with all the fun technology and gadgets...which- in the early years- I embraced with wide open arms. It saved my life-and that is in all seriousness.

  Yes, there were many days that I had shamelessly allowed my children to sit in front of the television-or the computer screen...sometimes for hours. I admit it.  For years the background soundtrack of my life/ house were the theme songs from every obnoxious childrens program my kids were obsessed with. The thing is-the kids-especially the boys  gained a lot of knowledge from these shows..I remember when Sam was the only one in third grade to know what "haggis" was-thanks Scooby Doo! They learned about the world in a way that wasn't overwhelming. It calmed them down-made sense of things. So, I don't regret it. Even if their theme songs have become etched in my brain... So much so-that, to this day, I can still remember every single word to every single Thomas the Tank Engine song-and most of the dialogue from every single episode...Oh how I wish that there were a quiz show based on that.."I'll take Thomas's cheeky friends for 1000 Alex." I would be financially set for life! 

  Every summer, since the kids have started school...I make these plans...schemes if you will.."This summer we are going to do science projects, and visit the library..and spend our time out doors!" *sigh*...and then August rolls around and I'm buying school supplies and I realize we have done none of it...and that the reality is that I spent the majority of my time delegating whose turn it was to use the computer..or pick the t.v. show. But-this summer...this summer it's going to be different. I swear.

  A year ago yesterday-Omar, along with many of the other well paid employees of his company, lost his job. It set us in a tail spin.  But, sometimes spinning is good. This was definitely a year of spins. We reevaluated, refocused..and basically figured out that life wasn't about work..that we wanted to do things..have adventures..LIVE our lives-be the examples that we wanted our kids to see. At the same time, our kids each spun through their own things as one however, as much as Oscar. 

  I don't know what happened..or even why things happened..But last summer, you would have had to PRY Oscar away from the computer..insist he do something that wasn't electronic..He wasn't interested in anything other than what he knew. But then- a few months ago-things started was gradual at first.  He started asking to walk to town.."I'm thirteen" was his reason....and then he brought home a brochure for summer sleep away camp..AND looked up the web site-AND had me fill out an application..."I'm thirteen" he told me.."I'm old enough to do this"..and then he started walking away from the computer.."I need to get out of my head" he's told me...and then he went to the school dance-alone.."I want to" he said...Today-he(and Sam) started working at our restaurant (bought as a result of this year)..They swept and stocked,,cleaned and folded pizza boxes..measured pasta and made lasagna- on their own. Today-we started them on the road to real independence-and they loved it.

 Every single moment of chaos and uncertainty- that started a year ago yesterday, was totally worth it for today..Today really was priceless. 

  Our Summer break started this past Wednesday.  We have already gone to the library..Zoe has read two books and has planned our first science project.(she really wants to be home schooled)  we are building a volcano on Sunday.All of them have spent at least an hour each day reading. I have only heard "I'm bored" 540 times (roughly-and 536 of them were from Lily) and the only back ground noise has been from the kids playing in the pool.  Not bad so far...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Seven days, one girl..and a whole lot of dancing...

~"Her blood pressure is so high there is snow on it"~Dorothy Parker


 We are so very close to the end of the school year, and I am so looking forward to it. Kind of .  Although, I do look forward to NOT having to pack lunch boxes, back packs, help with homework or dragging my littlest (many times kicking and crying) out of bed every morning.*sigh* As of today, she has taken twenty personal days off from school this year-those were the mornings that I just didn't have enough fight in me..didn't have the energy I mustered the other one hundred and sixty days to push get her out the door. My youngest does NOT want to go back to school next year...hell, she has already informed me that she isn't going to go to school on Monday...or Tuesday either. I haven't heard any pronouncements on the remaining days...but I am trying to keep my hopes up.Fingers (and everything else that I have two of) crossed!

 "Lets just finish out the school year!" I say to Zoe with a big enthusiastic smile on my face..

She just stares at me.

"It's only seven more days! seven! Pfft- that's nothing!! Right?!" I say with an even bigger grin..

She blinks..just staring at expression, no emotion..nothing.

"Just THINK of all the FUN that you will have! Yay!...hahaha!!..?"  I could not be any more damn peppy and positive that I'm beginning to look a tad bit crazed..perhaps even slightly deranged..

She continues to stare..maybe I'm imagining it...but do I see...pity?! Disdain?!

Oh, no...that is so not going to fly..not with me. No way-no how. Time to bring out the big guns-The game is on!  I start to chant.. "Zoe-Zoe-Zoe!" ..I even add a dance step..or thirty. "Whose gonna go to school?!!...(No response) "I can't hear you!" (still nothing)..So..I decide to answer for her.."Who is gonna go to school?" "ZOE!".."Who can do it?" "Zoe can!".. "If she can't do it no one can!" "Zoe!"  I'm marching around..shimmying-shaking...waving my arms in the air..I'm having a grand old time! (it does not take much to amuse me) I'm so caught up in the happy doing  my "going to school" musical routine with accompanying dance numbers...that I did not notice until I turned to take her hand, that I was the only one in the room...with the exception of the dog, who is just staring at me.

 For a moment, I just stood there..."Is this what early dementia looks like?" I thought. If I am like this now-what is going to happen to my mind after the kids leave home? Will I be staging massive one woman musical productions..singing and dancing my way around the house with only the company of my dog...and perhaps a chicken or two? But then I remember-this is something that I have always done.  From the time my kids were born-I have always used some kind of silly song and dance routine to persuade them to do things..such classic songs as "Thomas the train doesn't want to be flushed", "Wearing clothes to the store is important" and my personal favorite "Bosoms in a box for Christmas"..For the most part, they accomplished what words alone couldn't.  For instance, we haven't had to replace a toilet in years (knock on porcelain), all the kids come grocery shopping fully dressed..and puberty (as weird and hard as it is) is nothing to worry about. These little made up songs have always done the trick-until now.

There are only seven days left in the school year. I don't know that I will be able to come up with any song or dance catchy enough to convince Zoe that she really ought to go. I'm wondering if maybe that's my answer.  Maybe home schooling will be the right thing for her.  I guess I will just have to come up with a song that persuades me to do it. Or-maybe we just need different songs to persuade her?  Either way, I have the whole summer to work on it.  Perhaps I'll stage a whole musical! I'll even include the chickens.

Helen and Dorothy