Monday, October 19, 2009

To EEEE or not to EEEE

"The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs"
The be good Tanya's

Two of my herd came downstairs today wearing shorts and tank tops. It is thirty degrees outside. We have already had our first freeze...sigh...I am still waiting for summer. It seems like we have had mostly rain and chilly weather since the middle of June. I was hoping for a warm fall. Needless to say, we have been mostly stuck inside the house. It isn't that bad..if you like hearing the theme song to "My little Pony" played over and over again on the computer..and the not so dulcimer tones of the trombone being practiced. Yes, this year instead of singing in the concert choir, Sammy has elected to play the trombone.

You very well may wonder as I do, what possessed my boy to choose the trombone. We listen to all kinds of music in our home. I try to expose them to all kinds of sounds and styles..from Rock to Jazz and classical..swing and Ska. There is nothing though that features the trombone. No "Greatest Trombone melodies" or "Romance of the trombone". It is just one of those instruments that you know is there, but you don't really pay attention to. I asked Sammy, "Why the trombone buddy?" he responded.."Because the tuba would look weird." O.K... What else could I do but support him.

The music teacher was not so encouraging. I received a call from her, where she expressed her concerns about Sammy learning an instrument. She didn't feel that he had the patience or the inclination for formal music lessons. Sigh...I had this same discussion with her last year when he wanted to sing in the concert choir. He auditioned and got in-but the music teacher felt he might not be able to handle group singing. Not only did he handle it-he excelled. I reminded her of this. She brought up his trouble with playing the recorder. I said that Sammy, because of his fine motor difficulties, had trouble with the fingering required..that he really had no interest in the recorder and that he only played it because it was required for the class. That furthermore, other children were being rewarded with " colored strings" for their mastery of the recorder, and this made Sam incredibly anxious..She countered with.."Playing an instrument is a commitment-he didn't stick with concert choir"..In which I replied " He didn't like the music you chose for them to perform...that songs like "Farmer Jon's nappy knickers" just didn't inspire Sammy (or anyone else) to sing. That he was more interested in working in contemporary (meaning from at least the last 50 years) music. I was met with silence..Ha HA! I won! My prize? A free loaner trombone that the school had.

We picked up his trombone last Tuesday. I drove over to the school with both of my boys. Oscar came along for the ride, because he loves school-and has expressed his desire to live there. I happened to glance over at Oscar as I was standing in line to buy the various trumpet accessories(book, music stand, cleaner, sedatives for me...) He was sitting off by himself just stimming away. Very tight arm movements and grimacing. I called over to him"Hey Bud, you o.k.?" He stims sometimes when he is overwhelmed. "I'm o.k. mama." "Your shaking a whole lot, I'm just checking" "I'm o.k. mama." This time, I noticed other people staring at him..I thought about what they were seeing. I'm sure that to them, Oscar looked really odd. I had never looked at him with an outsiders eyes before. We have always felt that his flapping and eeeing were something that he needed to do. We have talked to him about controlling it when he was in the classroom, we have explained that it could be very distracting to other people and that he had to respect that. At home however, his flapping and eeeeing are just part of the background noise. It is home. The place where he should feel safe, secure and confident. We are very open about stimming with Oscar. We have told him that people may or may not understand it, that they might think that he was somehow less because of it. But he is eight years old. How much of that is really relevant to him now? Yes, I want to change how the world perceives people like my kids. But I don't want to use my kids as props to do that. They are just kids-it is not their responsibility. It is giving me a lot to think about lately. I don't have any answers. I think we'll just take it one day at a time. Like the trumpet, or Zoe's obsession with online poker.

Although Sammy hasn't yet had a trombone lesson, he has already figured out how to put it together and how to blow into it. So far, it sounds like our dog Charlie does after he has eaten Italian food. Only the odor is missing. So our home has added one more noise to the already cacophonous symphony that is my family. At least for the most part they are happy noises..I can handle that....sigh... Only 150 days till spring.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A long days journey in run-on sentences

"I grabbed hold my old guitar, and Carter started up the car
We left with no goodbyes.
Didn't know where we was heading
just as long as we was getting
places afar
We were on our own and glad to have no home
We were flying free, that crazy man and me"

From "Carters Song" by De Leopold

It has been a hectic, crazy overwhelming week here. I planned on writing all about it yesterday. I thought "I'll just get the kids off to school, fix a big cup of coffee and write" Sounds simple enough, right?.. but nothing could be further from the truth...

I woke up at my usual 5:30..hit the snooze button..5:40...hit the snooze button...5:50..You get the idea..So when 6:20 rolled around..I was a frantic half crazed woman in dire need of coffee..rousing my kids from bed with a "C'mon!! We're late!!" Rushing down the stairs in a flurry of confusion and caffeine withdrawal..only to be met by an ENORMOUS pile of dog poop.
The kind that you can't ignore and wait for your husband (the man who had to have the three dogs) to come clean it up. This was so gigantic and odoriferous, it took half a roll of paper towels and a lot of bleach to clean up.(I hadn't had coffee yet) In the mean time, Lily being in fine form, took my distraction and lack of caffeine, as her cue to antagonize everyone else-especially Sam. Now Sammy is not a morning person. He prefers to be left alone, to take his time waking up. There I am cleaning up the dog mess while at the same time "encouraging" the kids to get moving, while Lily is simultaneously singing at the top of her lungs and grabbing Sammy's feet (she was lying under the table -why? I don't know). Sammy, stomps off to the living room, furiously wiping tears from his eye saying "I'm fine! I'm not crying!!! Sigh...I try to sooth him without referring to the fact that he is indeed crying, when I hear an "oops!" from Lily...she had knocked over her cereal the table and onto the carpet-that I can't clean because my vacuum cleaner is broken. (I can't figure out why I haven't found the time to fix it) I somehow manage to get the cereal cleaned up, kids in sweaters, backpacks packed and everyone on the bus.(without coffee) As I am waving goodbye, I happen to look down at Zoe who is standing in the doorway also waving, only she is stark naked. Crap. 7:30- I now have one hour in which to clean up the dishes, make the beds, get myself (and Zoe) dressed before the electrician shows up at 8:30. I have a doctors appointment at I should have plenty of time. Right. 8:30 rolls electrician...9:00...nope..I call Omar..he calls the electrician. The electrician calls me at 9:30, he is going to be late. REALLY????, I reply..he doesn't get my subtle humor. 10:30 rolls around-still no electrician..I call Omar.."I have to leave!!!" He says he will cancel the electrician for the day...and for me to just go. Just go? On any other day that would be easy. Today however, there is sewer work being done in my there are detours..lots of them. Thus the fifteen mile trip to the doctor turned into a 45 mile excursion....I am late but thankfully, that is o.k....the doctor can still see me. I am starting to think that maybe the day is turning around..I have had coffee, got to my appointment..It is going to be smooth sailing..Until Zoe decided that she liked the doctors waiting room...liked it so much that she threw a hissy fit when it was time to leave. I had no choice but to carry a screaming squirming child ..past the annoyed looks of other patients...out through the building and across the vast parking lot and into the van. (at least she was dressed!) Another 45 miles later-we finally got home. Where lo and behold, I found the electrician waiting for me! HA! HA! or so I thought...I told him to please wait while I opened the side door for him- To please not open the front door, as this would let the dogs out. Can you guess what he did? That's right. He opened the front door-releasing the hounds (so to speak) Who of course headed towards the sewer work and the very busy road. Back into the van I went (Zoe was still in the van-as she threw yet another fit refusing to get out when she saw that the electrician was a man, and she "DOESN'T LIKE BOYS") -Back along the detour I drove..flashers on, yelling at the dogs to get in. I felt like a deranged kidnapper, all I needed was some candy and a raincoat. Eventually, after what felt like hours, I caught up with them. I got (dragged) them into the van and back to the house. I was home free!..yeah. As I opened the door to let them in, I was greeted by an ominous presence..a whiff of foreboding..I was consumed by a sense of dread..right there, on the center of the floor...mocking me with its very presence, was a huge pile of dog poop. sigh... I just didn't have it in me to blog anymore.

I had intended to write all about Sammy. How he had just turned eleven last week, and of my sister (eleven years my senior) who died a few days later. I wanted to talk about how Sammy lives on the autism spectrum and how my sister died from cancer....about those parents of autistic children who claim that they would prefer that their kids had cancer. How very wrong and misguided I thought that they were. But instead, I wound up writing the above.

I had wanted to honor them. Sammy, for the young man he is becoming-loving, joyful-a gentle soul...and my sister-one of the most difficult, yet brilliantly talented, wickedly funny people that I have known. I wish them both peace and light. and absolutely no dog poop.