Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
"I had rather have a fool to make me merry than experience to make me sad"
Sunday morning...chaos. There are clothes everywhere..dishes in the sink..cereal all over the table, my girls are fighting and screaming..nothing is going right. I go to walk the dogs...and it seems that they have already walked themselves-all over the floor...the last straw-my coffee is cold. The kids are clamoring for attention, demanding, yelling...too many needs all at once...
Me-"That's it!"..."I can't do this anymore,... I'm running away from home!"
Omar-"Where will you go?"
Me-"I don't know...maybe the circus..."
Omar-"But you don't like clowns."
Omar-"You said that they creep you out."
Me-"...maybe I misjudged them...lots of people don't like clowns...maybe I can help...maybe they need friends..perhaps someone from outside the clown community representing them-telling the world "Hey-they just want to make you laugh..."
Sammy-"Is Mama running away again?"
Me-"YES!!! I'm thinking about the circus.."
Sammy-"But you don't like clowns.."
Me-"Maybe I was wrong!"
Lily-"YAY!!! Papa can quit his job and stay home!!"
Sammy-"No he can't...he makes the money that pays for our house and the cars and our clothes and toys ...we would be forced to live on the street with boxes and become beach combers.."
Lily-"papa don't quit your job."
Me-"What do you know about beach combing?"
Sammy-"They live on the beach and collect wood and make fires and wear torn clothes.."
Oscar-"I don't want to live on the beach..."
Me-" You're not going to live on the beach...I'm joining the circus."
Oscar-"We're going to the circus?"
Me-"No! I am..I want to run free with the clowns!"
Lily-"But you have us!!"
Lily-"You don't like clowns....you don't like their make-up and big feet."
Oscar-"Clown feet...hahahaha...clown feeeeeeeeet..."
Lily-"They creep you out."
Me-"Maybe I'm wrong!!..Maybe they just need love..."
Me-"Oscar! stop with the feet!"
Oscar-"Say it Mama-say feeeeeeet..hahahaha!!"
Omar-"can you pick me up some shoes?"
Omar-"When you go to the store..."
Me-"what store?..I'm joining the circus.."
Omar-"Oh, I thought you were going to the store.."
Omar-" The usual-in black."
Me-"do you need anything else?"
The herd-"Can I have a snack?"
Me-"Ask Papa, I'm going to the store."
Sammy-"I thought you were going to the circus."
Me-"I have to go to the store first."
Lily-"are there clowns there?"
Omar-"Take your time-drive safe-love you"
The herd-"love you Mama!"
Me-"Love you too...see you later..." I RUN out the door..
Two minutes later, I'm zipping down the back country roads in my mini-van...Led Zeppelin blasting over the radio..I am a woman ALONE!!! Tempting fate, just waiting for a police officer to pull me over... "where are you going in such a hurry Ma'am?""I'm off to join the circus!!HAHA
HAHAHAHA!""Ma'am, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to step away from the family vehicle...nice and easy now..dispatch?...I've got an A.W.O.L. mother... she says she's looking for clowns...could you send some Shriner's..the ones on scooters..Over."
Luck was on my side..I wasn't pulled over...even all the lights stayed green. Later, as I was walking through the shoe dept., I found myself thinking, "what are they doing right now? Did Omar give them lunch?...Maybe we can all go for a walk later..." I was missing them! What the hell is wrong with me???...sigh.. Actually, nothing. I've got a great family. They may be a bit overwhelming at times...but they are a good lot. Sometimes, I just need to step away from them in order to see that. I also realize that I don't need to leave home to join the circus....I live in one-and I like it. As for clowns?..well, they really do creep me out.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Mama?".."Yeah bud?"..."Can I talk to you?" "Sure, what's up?" "I want to tell you about something that really bothers me." Deep breathe.."Sure..o.k" I try and sound cool and collected..very nonchalant..don't want to scare him off. Don't want to appear too eager..One false step..and it could be over. This is a first for us..trying to get Sammy to talk about anything "feelings" wise takes colossal effort. Now, here he is, for the first time, telling me he wants to talk! You have to understand, saying he keeps things close to the vest is like saying a Rolls Royce is just a car. He could come home, go into his room, shut the door and cry for an hour...and if you ask him "What's going on?" he'll say "nothing." I'll say "Well then why were you in your room crying?" "I wasn't crying!" "But Sammy your face is all red and wet..your eyes are swollen...and I heard you." "No you didn't!!...my eyes are just leaky." Sigh...It isn't that he won't tell us. he does.. eventually..Like about two years down the line. He'll say "Hey Mama..remember that day when I was in third grade and I came home crying?" "Uhhhhh..maybe?" " Remember I kept losing stuff and you asked me if someone was playing tricks on me?" "kind of..." "Well I don't get bullied!! EVERYONE likes me!" "Whoa..hang on..I didn't say you were getting bullied..I just thought someone may have been pulling a prank..you were misplacing everything...hats..gloves..books..shoes..your lunchbox...""Well you said Someone was playing tricks on me!" "No...I said that maybe someone hid your things as a joke-that sometimes people do things like that...that they aren't thinking about how it could make someone feel." "Well no one was tricking me! They are all my friends.." "I didn't say they weren't your friends." Good, because they are!" "Well o.k. then!." It took him two years-years to tell me this. What really bothers me is that for two years, he stewed over the idea that I suggested he didn't have friends. . Sometimes I really wonder what thoughts are going through his head-what have I said that he might have misinterpreted simply because I wasn't clear enough. One of my deepest fears is that one day they will make copies of all my blog posts and hand them to their therapists and say "Now you'll understand."
So, when Sammy came to me the other day asking to talk..I was thrilled. I was going to do this right. I would give him my full and utmost attention..nothing would distract me. My boy is growing up..he must have so many questions. He is starting middle school in the fall..puberty is upon him..so many changes. He must have questions and fears. I was going to be as open and as clear as possible. In other words-bring it on! I was a mother on a mission! I would not mess this up. "Mama, I want to tell you something that really bothers me." " O.K. buddy...you want to go sit down somewhere quiet and talk?" "Uhh..o.k." So we went into the living room, sat down next to each other..I put my arm around him for reassurance..all was quiet. "So what's going on Sammy? What's bothering you?" (in my head I'm thinking..here it comes..don't react..respond...choose your words carefully..DON'T SCREW UP) He calmly looks at me and says "Humans with tails." "...what..???" "Yeah! Humans walking around with tails..I don't like how it looks." "Uhhh...Have you seen a lot of people walking around with tails lately?" "No! I meant in drawings!" "Oh! I thought you were saying there was a sudden influx of people with tails in town." "Sigh..No Mama! I'm being serious!..I meant in comics and stuff...It looks strange and unnatural. It freaks me out.." "Well..I can understand that..it is kind of creepy." "Yeah..it is..can I go draw now?" "Sure bud.."
O.K. so maybe it wasn't quite what I had in mind...but I figure it's a start. I think that I handled it o.k. I just hope that he doesn't come back to me in two years or so saying that I wasn't supportive enough...or that I found tails on humans to be funny or somehow appealing..or that I think everyone should have one... I can hope..but only time will tell....
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I wrote this a few months ago when I was first starting to broach the subject of sex with Sammy. My boy is so uncomfortable with the topic. The problem is that sex-ed is being taught this year and I didn't want him to be totally freaked out. So I've been gradually introducing the idea of puberty..and adolescence. I want to make him as comfortable as possible with all the changes he is going to be going through. Trying to foster an open and honest communication about all things sex. Even if it kills me. You have to understand...I grew up in a house where...well we weren't allowed to have genitals. Really! It was out of sight out of mind-they did not exist..and if you happened to discover them upon leaving home..consider it an unmentioned parting gift. No. I was going to be different! I would leave no stone unturned! No unmentionable unmentioned. A penis is a penis..not a winky, or dinky a johnson or a twiddle. My kids like it or not would be informed..and I, like it or not would inform them. sigh...in my zealous quest to educate my son..I forgot the most important lesson of all. Social boundaries. I also forgot about how hard Sammy struggles with them. Yes, although I might think sex is a wonderful and natural thing..this is not something I want my eleven year old son announcing to his class.
"Mama?" "Yeah buddy?" "We had our first class today...about..sex." "Hey..how did it go?".."Um not too well.." "Why? What happened?" "Well I said the word "sex" out loud and the other kids kind of freaked out..I mean I tried to tell them that it was a good thing and that we shouldn't be afraid to be open about it.." "Oh..umm..then what happened?" "Well they were laughing and freaking out and I was really embarrassed..until Mrs. G said something..and they calmed down.." "Oh bud...I am sorry you were embarrassed...are you o.k.? Did the rest of the class go well?" "Ummm..yeah..uhhh..Mama? How long is this gonna take?" "You mean puberty?" "Uhh yeah.." "It takes a few years buddy..we just want you to be prepared for all the changes going on...that's why we teach you now..so you don't get scared."..."Oh..so I don't have to do anything with it?" "Do any....wait a second...Sammy! Buddy! We don't expect you to start having sex now!!!" "..Oh(big exhalation)..So I can still be a kid?" "Oh Sammy..this is just information for you..yes you get to be a kid for a good long time..oh bud..me and Papa don't expect you to start having sex now!! ..Not until you are much much older..like thirty..." "OHhhhhh!..o.k. then..Can I go ride my bike?" "Go ahead..buddy" And ahead he goes..in his own way and at his own pace. Regardless of my mistakes..
That night Lily came up to me..I guess she must have overheard some of mine and Sammy's conversation..she said "Mama?...what's that thing you were talking to Sammy about..you know
"puberty"?" ...sigh..I just looked at her and said "I have no idea...why don't you go ask Papa?"
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Sunday was Mother's day. I don't make too much of a big deal out of it-I'm a mother every day. But hey, if you want to give me flowers or candy, I'm certainly not going to complain. As a family we don't really do anything too special. I acknowledge the day because my kids do. They work diligently at school to make me unique presents-which I adore more than any store bought gift. This year, Sammy gave me a drawing of his super heroes...there was monkey man, slug man, gecko man..and a few others. Lily brought me a lovely photo of herself holding a "happy mother's day sign" and a happy mother's day magnet she had made, Zoe found an old photo frame for me to put Lily's picture..and Oscar..he gave me a packet of bath salts they had made at school. The great thing about his gift wasn't the gift itself but the wrapping. Oscar didn't care about the bath salts, what he cared about was his homemade wrapping paper. "Mama! Did you see it! They asked me what your favorite color was and I said every color..so I used lots of colors and drew flowers." He also included a little poem. Of course this was the poem that all the kids were given to write-but Oscar, he made sure his writing was perfect. This from a boy who struggles with writing and fine motor skills. A boy who does not like to write-and will avoid it whenever possible. He did this for me. They all did. Sigh... Sometimes I get overwhelmed by their love and trust. They give of themselves so readily, so completely...and I think to myself "I am so blessed...so lucky...so loved" and then I second guess myself and think "what did I ever do to deserve this?" When I write that I am a woman perplexed...I really mean it.
I became a mother somewhat reluctantly. I really loved the life that Omar and I had and I wasn't too sure that I wanted to give it up. I knew that once I committed to having kids, our lives would change..would no longer be our own..and I was scared. I think that singularly we are all selfish to an extent. Motherhood is selfless. I didn't know if I could or even would be up to the task. Needless to say-four kids later,(reluctance seems to have given over to exuberance.) I think I'm doing o.k. That's not to say that I don't have my moments..times where I look back oh so fondly on my early years of irresponsibility ..of sleeping late and shooting pool-of coming and going as I pleased. They were lovely times...really...lovely. Most of the time though, I am just too busy living my life to lament the past-besides I have much joy in the here and now. There is no point in mourning what I am no longer. I'd rather celebrate what I have become. Or at least enjoy it.
I read a lot of blogs. Most of them tend to be by parents. Of course seeing as I have autistic kids-I seek that commonality in most of what I read. I belong to a few bloglists and lately I'm having trouble with one of them. The idea of this particular list is for people in the autism community to come together to try and "solve the puzzle of autism". I admit, I was flattered to be asked to join. It is always a nice ego boost when someone that you don't know comes along to say "we want you".
The problem I am having with this particular bloglist is that they seem to focus on the woe and the woo. Look, I get that raising a child with disabilities is hard. Getting a diagnosis of autism can be earth shattering. What parent doesn't want the world to be easy for their kids? So I can accept the "woe" posts..because there are others there to counter them. Definitely not as many..but hey at least they are there....sort of.
It's the cure woo that really bothers me. There is a person on this bloglist who they publish frequently. He'll write a vague scientific post in the attempt to draw you to his site(also advertised on this bloglist). Where he writes all about how autism has stolen your life, your family, your special moments..and by the way, HE HAS A CURE! Although it involves a lot of money and..well worms. (among other things) Yes, he will make you want to jump out of bed happy every morning..cause he can take away that horrible autism that has ruined YOUR life! Well holy crap..pass the fishing hook..he's got worms to share! And we all know that worms are good at solving puzzles..maybe even "The puzzle of autism".
This has already gone way longer than usual..and if you stuck with me-thanks. I would love to hear your opinions on this..you can be anonymous..don't have to be a blogger or have an account to join in..I'd like to know what you think. Mother's day is every day..and even though my kids might not remember that..they count on me not to forget.
(btw-I don't have a link on this page to the bloglist I mentioned..)
Saturday, May 8, 2010
"Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going" -Phyllis Diller
I admit it..during the school week at around 3:30..about a half hour after the kids are home from school, I start counting the hours until the girls go to bed. On the weekend, the countdown starts even earlier...like around 6:00 a.m. sometimes earlier..it depends upon when they wake up. I love my daughters, I do. Separately, they are wonderful, sweet, loving little girls. But together? Lets put it this way-when George W. Bush spoke of the "Axis of evil", I thought he meant my girls.
"Mama!!!!!!" "Yes Lil?" "Mama!!!!!! Zoe took the toy I was playing with and I want it back!" "Zoe! give Lily her toy back!" "Mama!! make her give it back! I want it back!! I want it back now!! I was playing with it first and Zoe just grabbed it out of my hands and she won't give it back and I want it!!" By now the tears are falling down her cheeks...right behind her, where she can't see, Zoe is doing a sort of Irish jig, holding the toy, grinning and dancing...two steps to the right then two steps to the left....and Lily is totally unaware of it. Even I admit, it is very very funny. But I can't let her know it. "Zoe! Give her that back right now or you will NEVER have dessert again!" sigh...Sometimes it works...most of the time it doesn't. I usually have to physically remove the toy from Zoe and hand it back to Lily. Which in turn causes Zoe to cry, and Lily to play exuberantly with said toy in front of Zoe. As if it is the greatest toy in the world. This cycle can repeat itself for hours. So you can understand my countdown till bedtime-can't you?
They DO love each other. Lily takes her role of big sister very seriously. She has taught Zoe her letters and numbers..she even potty trained her! I take no credit for that..in fact, Zoe was the youngest to potty train out of all my kids. She adores Lily and wants to do everything she does. When they get along it is magical. (and occasionally quiet) sometimes it is...well...interesting. They love to sing...at the top of their lungs..slightly off key..did I mention at the top of their lungs? Yes, I have been serenaded at 5:00 in the morning by what sounds like Kate Smith and Ethel Merman singing "My Little Ponies" greatest hits. Interesting way to wake up-that's for sure. Although my favorite "wake-up call" was they time they stumbled into my bedroom weeping and wailing, clinging to each other. It was quite the production. Oscar worthy in fact. "MAAAAMAAA! uhuhuhuh..MAAAMAAAA..ahhhhwaaaa" "What! Who's hurt!! Where??" I am frantically looking for cuts..bruises..gushing wounds.."WE'RE SORRY MAMA" "What.!!.What happened??!" I'm thinking the worst..they let the dogs out..or set the kitchen on fire..broke something..they were THAT upset.."We..We..hiccup..We...ATE CAKE BY ACCIDENT!! WAAAAAAAaaaaa!" "You What?!' "We're sorry Mama..it was on the table and we ate it by accident..sniffle.." "You come up here at 5:00 in the morning to tell me you ate cake by accident...what does that mean?...Did the cake jump into your mouth?" "No!! it was on the table and we couldn't help it..and then we were afraid you would be angry..." SIGH...."It is really really early in the morning...the birds haven't even woken up...why don't you go back to bed and we'll talk about it later...like at 11:00..after I have had a gallon of coffee...o.k.?" "So your not mad?" "...not if you go back to bed..." "o.k....Mama?...we love you.." Sigh..how could I be mad? I too have had many such "accidents" with cake...and candy...and ice-cream....like mother like daughters..
I suppose that I can't complain too much. I try to keep things in perspective. I figure that one day they these sometimes difficult little girls will grow into strong women.. At least that's what I keep telling myself. It has become a sort of mantra..especially since I found out that "Goodwiill" and the "Salvation Army" don't accept donations of children. I'll just take it one day at a time..or one hour at a time...whatever works best. As long as there is cake, we should be o.k.
Happy Mother's Day everyone. Only 35 minutes until bedtime....
Saturday, May 1, 2010
worn by adults. Few can carry it off successfully."
I am having a hard time writing a post this week. It isn't that I lack material-I have four kids...there is always something to write about. Plenty of things have happened...from the roofers being ..well on my roof ..to the girls reenacting that "strange thing the dogs are doing to each other" I have actually uttered the words "Lily please don't hump your sister-it is not polite!" So you see, I have plenty to say..but I guess the business of life is keeping me from stringing it together into one coherent piece. Maybe it's Spring fever..who knows..
For the past two weeks, I have been on a quest. Searching for appropriate clothing for little girls. It shouldn't be hard to find. All I want are a couple of pairs of shorts to get them through the summer-is that too much to ask? I mean come one-they are four and six years old. Do they really need low riders and short shorts? Shirts with cut outs and spangles? They're kids not Vegas entertainers! But so far, finding decent summer wear has been as elusive as the holy grail has been to biblical scholars. It has been THAT hard. So much so that I have no problem imagining Dan Brown writing a riveting story about it.
I could see Tom Hanks(as Robert Langdon)..in tweed jacket picking frantically through the animal coded garments at some lovely European version of Walmart, tape measure in hand (instead of the usual codex) with a lovely brunette at his side..(She of course will have some sort of advanced degree in clothing) "Wait! if you match the hippo with the hippo..you should have a complete outfit" "hippo with hippo?" Langdon pauses..staring off into space.. "What?! what is it?" "I just remembered..give me a minute..it's an ancient song..the union ladies sang it.." "But how does it help us?? How does it explain why appropriate little girls clothing only goes up to a size 5?" " It goes like this..look for the union label when you are buying a coat dress or blouse..." "What does that have to do with girls clothing!!" "We have to find the union label!!"
And the hunt would be on! Through various clothing stores, being chased by irate designers, Robert Langdon being buried under piles of clothes-thus demonstrating his "clothes- traphobia"..until in a heart pounding climatic scene on the top of the Sears tower- he figures it all out. The sun rises, he hugs the woman...and little girls everywhere are dancing in the streets..appropriately dressed of course.
Now I would definitely pay go to see that movie. And this is coming from someone who hasn't actually sat in a movie theatre since seeing "The Lord of the rings-Return of the King". So if anyone here wants to drop a line to either Dan Brown or Tom Hanks, I would appreciate it. Especially if it leads to them figuring out just why I can't seem to find appropriate Summer clothes for my girls. Until then, my hunt continues. Hopefully by this time next week, I will have some news for you..or at least a more relevant post.
Click on the video below to hear the song Robert Langdon mentions. I remember this from when I was a kid. It certainly brings back memories...and makes me laugh as well..
the song starts at the 0.29 mark...