Monday, June 28, 2010

Nothing but the...tooth.

"I'm desperately trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore helmets." --Dave Edison 

2010 has not been a good tooth year for me. I don't know, I guess having children and getting caught up in all things "kid" had caused me to neglect my dental care. Way back in March I wrote all about my dentalphobia  and the fact that I could think of nothing worse than a trip to the dentist.  Now in July (and with much thanks to Valium) and just one appointment short from finishing up all my dental treatment-which had included five trips to the periodontist and three trips to the regular dentist. I had a new lease on teeth! I was going to be the queen of all things dental!  I was flossing and brushing..AND even though it burned the hell out of my mouth-I rinsed with Listerine!  What's a little bone loss?  I had bought a Braun! I was none too cocky.  I had endured and I was feeling perhaps a bit too proud of myself. I had survived my trips to hell and back.  I had saved my worries-right?

 I certainly didn't see it coming.  I was an innocent mother romping in the pool with her kids. It had been a hot day..and I was looking forward to floating on my tube. My tube-not my kids...mine. I had bought them a variety of their own floaty devices..but it seemed that mine was the one they wanted. So there I was playing (if you are a parent you know this game) "please don't jump on me or my tube-that is why I bought you forty million tubes of your own" (the simplified version is called "STOP HANGING ON ME!")  with the Sam and Zoe...Omar was playing the same game on the other side of the pool with Lily and Oscar. I turned to  him to say that we would come back later after the herd was in bed..when BAM!  Sammy's elbow going at about 900 mph hit me straight in the mouth knocking my left front tooth snuggly behind the right one. Holy crap! In my life I have broken bones...burned myself,  fallen down staircases..I have given birth!  But this-this was a level of pain I had never before experienced. The Godzilla of pain..pain to the zillionth degree!  I can't tell you exactly how I wound up on the kitchen floor with a towel of ice covering my face...but there I was..hyperventilating..and writhing ( writhing galore)  while Omar kept the kids away from me.

  Two Vicodin and many bags of ice later, Sammy came upstairs to find me. He was beside himself and in tears because he had accidentally hurt me. "Thammy buddy..(a combination of Vicodin and loose tooth has left me with an interesting lisp) it wath an accthident! We were didn't mean to knock me!!!"  "I hate my elbow!!!"  "Oh Thammy...ith alright..I'm o.k.!!! Thee?? "(I attempted to smile)  "Why do you sound like that?"  "Oh my tooth ith a little thore thath all.."  "Can I kiss it?"  "NO!"  "But if I kiss it, it will make it feel always say that...Oh I'm sooooo mad at my elbow!"  Sigh...or should I say "thigh"....How do you explain to a boy that kisses don't always fix everything?  More importantly, do I want to just yet?     Sammy holds things like this so close to his heart-dwells on them..really obsesses. It is only now, eight years after accidentally breaking Oscar's nose by swinging a snow shovel around,  that Sammy can look at his brother's nose with out feeling guilt. And since I have enough tooth anxiety for forty people... I did the only thing I could think of-I lied.  "Thammy-the dentiht thaid that it wath o.k. to could blow kitheth to my tooth."  So he did.  I thought things were o.k. after that,-until three days later when I caught him sobbing uncontrollably.  "Buddy!  whath wrong?"  "I don't know!!"  "Are you thtill upthet over my tooth?"  "No! hiccup..I said I was over that!"
"Then whath going on?" "I don't know!! I just feel really sad..."  I know this is about my tooth(even if he doesn't)-because I know my boy. He will not be o.k. until this tooth is fixed..until I don't sound like Sylvester the cat..until I let anyone within two feet of my mouth again.

  I have another dental appointment on Thursday. Hopefully the swelling will have gone down enough by then  for them to fix it. Scary- for the first time ever in my forty six years of life, I am looking forward to it  Although not enough to skip the Valium.  I may have embraced a whole new philosophy of dental care..I may floss and brush and rinse with the finesse of a hygienist..I could even be the poster girl for "Dental Living"...but I am not crazy.      


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pomp and circumstances beyond our control...

"Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit; he runs wishing he could fly only to trip at the sound of goodbye"
~Stephen Stills~

 I have a profile page on Facebook.  I use the site primarily as a way to keep informed of all the things happening in the world 'o autism.  It has connected me to people, groups and organizations I might never have known about.  Through it I have made some wonderful friends and connections.  Well, Facebook has this little section on the right hand side where it suggests people you might like to "friend"  Usually, they are friends of friends.  In other words, people who share the same interests that you do.  If I know of this person, or they are connected to many of my friends, I will take Facebook up on their suggestion. Today however, Facebook crossed the line..made a suggestion that had me shaking my head in disbelief..made me pose the question  "Just who does Facebook think I am?" ...and more importantly "Why?"  Yes, today Facebook recommended that I friend none other than "Regis Philbin"  What the hell???  What Could I possibly have in common with him??  He's a creepy old guy that shouts too much!  What in the world have I done or posted that would make Facebook think I should connect with Regis??? Do they think I'm incontinent?  I'm 46!  Not old and complacent!  I have full use of my limbs! (being immobile is only way you would ever catch me watching his show-seeing that I would be unable to move and couldn't reach the remote to change the channel)  Until today,(and the Regis suggestion) I hadn't ever really thought about my age. I am who I am...sigh...if only it were that easy for Sammy.

  It was a big week for Sammy. My gentle boy, my shining light, the kid who we were once told not to have too many expectations for, that same boy we were told "wouldn't" or "couldn't"-THAT BOY, graduated from elementary school this week...and I am breathless. Also a little worn out..

  It was a long ceremony that could have been a whole lot shorter.  First they had to give awards to the kids with the best immune systems. Yes, there is an award for the kids who did not miss one day of school.  Maybe it is just me-but you want me sending my kid in when he has the flu?  Is it his fault if he happens to get sick? Is not getting sick really worthy of an award?  Then there were awards for participating in chorus (most kids did).  So we had to sit while fifty or so kids went up to receive that award..then there were the "participating in band" awards. Remember the trombone?  There seemed to be awards for everything...and it felt like five hundred million kids each got them..and we had to patiently clap for every single one of them. But the most ridiculous (in my opinion) award was for meeting the equivalent in standardized tests.  We all know those tests-every state has them.  So in the first place, giving awards for something they are supposed to have done  is.well...kind of redundant. In the second place MOST of these kids did NOT meet the standards in BOTH reading and math.(4 met neither)  Only handful exceeded in both subjects. Yet all but those four kids got an award. What does that say?  Mediocrity is o.k.? Excelling is no big deal-because everyone is going to be recognized?  Why have standards if you don't hold them up?

 It was a long ceremony.  I started to feel like we were at that part of the Academy awards that doesn't get televised-because no one but the recipient cares about the award.  Don't get me wrong!  There were nice parts as well. The kids got to hand out flowers to the people who meant the most to them at school.  Sammy gave his to his first grade teacher-who absolutely rocks!  She was the first teacher who saw his potential and accepted him for who he is.  She helped lay down the foundation that led to his love of learning.  We adore her-and Sammy-he loves her dearly. But to me, the greatest part of the ceremony (besides the end)..was when their  were four special awards given-Writing, Math, History, and Science.  These were given to the kids who showed the most interest-the most passion-and because of that-the most promise for these things.  My Sammy-(remember the boy we were told not to expect much from?)  My Sammy won the science award. Again I was breathless..and amazed and in awe..and utterly overwhelmed with love for my boy.  Because he can-because he does-and because he will.  The ceremony ended with the fourth graders playing the same four notes over and over on their recorders (music teacher is retiring)  as each of the fifth graders names were called and they received their certificate of graduation. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement  as I watched Sammy receive his. My lovely boy, my gentle taking flight.. 

  It was a big week for him, and the beginning of a lot of changes.  He's having such a tough time with all of it.  There is a part of him that longs to grow up-and a part that clings desperately to childhood. He is standing in that hard place between being a boy and becoming a young man-and he doesn't care for it.  Not one bit.  Today we were talking about our towns summer recreation program-and he got very upset with me..
"Hey buddy...maybe in a few years instead of GOING to summer rec, you can be one of the counselors." .."I don't WANT to be a counselor!  I just want to go!"  "But Sammy-there will come a time when you are too old to be one of the kids..." He didn't like that idea at all...he got all teary..I tried to explain.."Remember when you watched "The Wiggles" all the time..(24/7) and I told you that there would come a time when you didn't like them anymore(I was desperate)?"  "yeah..."  "Well you said that you would NEVER stop watching "The Wiggles"!!"...well, do you watch them now? " "No.."  "See..?.you stopped when you were ready to..growing up just kind of happens..without you even thinking about it..o.k.?  "O.K....but I still don't want to be a counselor!"  "Yeah..well I don't want to be friends with Regis Philbin!"  "Who?"..."Never mind.."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Of mice and fifth graders..

"We've had bad luck with children; they've all grown up" ~Christopher Morley~

  I was going to write about Sammy's school play and all the things going on this past week...then my computer fainted. I say fainted because I was able to resuscitate it..with no lingering side effects or damage. The downside is that I lost my concentration and forgot just what it is I wanted to say.

  This is a bittersweet time for Sammy. There are just a few more days of fifth grade yet...and then it is on to middle school. He is so excited about moving forward and at the same time so very anxious.  Change is a big deal for him.   Anything new and different just freaks him out..this is the boy who has eaten peanut butter and jelly for lunch every day for the last five years.  Just the suggestion of trying to eat something new can bring tears to his eyes.  So this moving forward is a big deal to me too.

 I look at this boy of all he has accomplished..who he is becoming..and I think "holy crap  how did this happen?" I so clearly remember bringing him home from the hospital.  I was shell shocked..going between thinking "what the hell did I do?" to "what the hell do I do with him?"  I was such a mess. For one, I couldn't believe that they actually let me leave the hospital with him.  I mean really, what were they thinking?They let ME leave the hospital with an infant-ME!  Were they crazy? .  I kept waiting for hospital representatives to come to our door saying "we've made a terrible must give back the child." I those first few days-there was a part of me that would have eagerly returned him.  Accepting motherhood-well, it took me a while. Eventually, I lost that "new mother smell" (of fear) and we moved on..And here we are almost twelve years later- intact..healthy..progressing. We must be doing something right. Or I'm just really lucky.

  So anyway, it has been an action packed week for Sammy.  They have really tried to make it special for the fifth graders..there was rocket day, field day, the fifth grade play..I was going to tell you all about it complete with dialog...but then my computer fainted.  So tonight after they all went to bed, and the house was quiet..I got out my lovely laptop and thought.."At last!!Now I can finally write!"  I logged on to my  page and started typing...when I heard a banging noise..sigh.. We have had a mouse...issue.  Seems that when we had the electrical work done on the house, something got knocked loose opening a gateway for mice.  And they aren't just any kind of mice..they are rodents with attitude! About a month or so ago..I was sitting quietly in my kitchen typing away when I felt an ominous if I were being watched..standing out on the top of my stove was a gigantic house mouse chewing on a bit of pizza crust, acting as if he belonged there...staring at me as if to say( with a N.Y. accent) "what are you lookin at lady? I'm got a problem with that?"   Well yeah..I did have a problem...a big one. So I did what any other freaked out person would do..I screamed for my husband while simultaneously grabbing the cat and tossing him on the stove.  The cat did nothing but look at me with scorn..Omar set traps.  We caught the mouse and I thought that was the end of it..until last week.  I found mouse droppings behind the stove. Being a kind hearted type of person-I set out humane traps. The kind that catches the mouse and allows you(well...Omar) to set it free (far away from your house) so that it may once again romp free with its mousy friends. You see, I forgot that we were dealing with a different kind of mouse..a smart mouse..a bold mouse..a take no prisoner grab what you want mouse with attitude!  This was Mickey on steroids!   So there I was typing away last night...when I heard the trap close. Omar was asleep..and I certainly wasn't going near it..I figured I would just ignore it..until it started throwing its little mouse body against the sides of it..BANG! BANG! BANG!...What could I do?  I quietly shut down my computer and ran upstairs to bed.  This morning, Omar came down and found the trap empty...the top had been broken off.  So now I have an angry mouse running somewhere in my house..and I find myself worrying about retribution....and oddly, Sammy's graduation.

Sammy's last day of school is on Tuesday..this is a big step for him.  There is a lot of change on the horizon..a lot of worry and anxiety.  But I will be o.k.  I'll just keep pushing him along with one hand while holding on to him (loosely) with the other.It's an adjustment-this growing up.  In the mean time, I will be setting out some mousetraps-the kind that kill. Because, either the mouse goes-or we move.As there is just so much change any one of us can take... moving is just not an option right now....I hope.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Apples and trees.....

"I am yours, you are mine.   You are what you are.  And you make it hard." ~Stephen Stills~

 I am bone weary.  It has been that kind of week.  Two kid neurological I.E.P. meeting, a scramble to find an electrician..tearing down an old shed..making the yard ready for a new all the things to get ready for summer vacation which starts in one week...tons of phone calls and setting up of appointments and cancelling of others..I am so looking forward to the weekend-even if that means the kids are home all day. I just want to hang out..maybe read a little..drink tons of coffee..look at the new pool that we won't be able to use because it will be rainy and cold and the hard to find incredibly expensive electrician won't be here to install the pump till Monday...and besides there is just so much other stuff to do.  Sigh...Who am I kidding anyway?  I'm really not the "laze about in a bathrobe" type.  I'm more of a "start fifteen projects and finish none of them" kind of girl. I mean, I still have boxes from college that I never unpacked..even worse...I have boxes from boarding school I never unpacked either-and I graduated high school in 1983!!!  It seems that I stumble through my life with the best of intentions..only to be constantly distracted.  There are days when I have looked at my kids and thought "How did you get here?" or "Holy crap! did I remember to feed you?" (as if they would let me forget.)

  It isn't like I planned this life.  I didn't spend my girlhood dreaming of the perfect wedding or raising a family.No, I was definitely more interested in having adventures. Traveling the world..riding elephants..I even thought about joining the circus once-but that was short lived on account of there being clowns..(they freak me out) The point is-well, I guess I just never pictured myself doing this.  Don't get me wrong-I'm not lamenting the life that I am having..I just didn't imagine it would be this one. It was really rather unexpected.

 You could say that I grew up in the usual way..until adolescence (but that is a whole other story) when I wound up being sent  experiencing a born again christian  naughty girls school in North Carolina (which I promptly ran away from) from there I wound up at Quaker boarding school in N.Y.(from which I tried very hard to be thrown out of-didn't work) went to college..graduated moved to the city and took  a series of  bizarre strange unusual  jobs..I have been an actress, a restaurant manager, a giant rose, a giant turkey, a product demonstrator, a glue chipper, a dishwasher, an artist's model, a purveyor of paper goods, a cocktail waitress, a car wash attendent, a restaurant owner, a receptionist, a christmas tree saleswoman, an associate producer,a light board operator, and the hostess for a drag show to name a few. None of those things exactly scream maternal.  And yet here I am-the mom of four magnificent kids..go figure.

  It always seems  that what I plan on and what actually happens are two very different things...and I find myself wondering why this  always surprises me? . You would think that I'd have learned by now.  Funny, at the neurologists office yesterday we were discussing ADHD..when he was able to get a word in (I tend to chatter a little..well actually, quite a bit-alright! incessantly!)  he looked pointedly at ME and said "well the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.." Now THAT, I don't find surprising..neither does Omar.  What could we do but laugh.

  So here I am trying to plan out the weekend after a long week.  There is so much to be done around here.  Maybe I'll actually get around to unpacking a few boxes...then again...maybe I won't.  Oh who am I kidding?
I have absolutely no idea of what I'll do. I can tell you one thing though...I will have fun not doing it. In the words of my friend Louise "That's for damn true!"