Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dogs don't read and bears don't use toilet paper..

 ~"Don't look at me in that tone of voice"~ Dorothy Parker

 This morning as I was filling the bin with dog food-I happened to notice something written on the side of the food bag. "Better Tasting than ever!" and I thought to myself.."How do they know that?"  I mean really, According to who??? Do they have dog taste tests? Do they have special dogs that come in and rate the food? Do they fill out questionnaire's? Check little boxes..?  I mean dogs eat, garbage...poop-they do not discriminate. So why was this written on the bag?  My dogs don't read...nor do they shop...They certainly don't have money-or even thumbs!  I know why I buy it..twenty dollars for fifty pounds of dog food is a good deal- especially when you have three dogs to feed.  But come on now!  Trying to sway me by saying  that it tastes even better? I'm certainly not going to taste it.  And again-my dogs eat poop-by choice.

  Advertising-commercials..slogans and jingles..they are all things I try and teach my kids about. I think it is one of the first steps towards giving them critical thinking skills.  I can't tell you how many times they have yelled for me to come and see something that is being advertised on the t.v....something they just know is great..
"What! What is it?!"
"You have to see this(insert name of piece of crap here)! I want it!"
"It does look fun....for about thirty'll get bored with it pretty quick."
"No! No I won't!  Look at the kids playing with it-THEY'RE HAVING FUN!"
"Oh but honey..they are paid a lot of money to look as if they are having fun..they are acting."
*sigh* and on it will go..until one day..say a birthday or Christmas..I will get them this (insert name of piece of crap) thing. and winds up either being broken in hours...or cast aside because it really doesn't do much and they find it boring. 

  They are learning..slowly but surely..I'm finding them arguing the same points to each other - when one of them is excited about something that they see advertised.  It also helps that I will bring them to the store to actually try out LOOK at the item that they are so desperate for. As I said, it is slow going. There is one item however, that we can't seem to get over wanting..or rather- Oscar can't seem to get over wanting.  "Charmin Ultra toilet paper"  Yes, my boy is fascinated by it-always has been.  I think it is the cartoon bears in the commercials What is it with those bears anyway? They can read a newspaper, use toilet paper..yet they still s**t in the woods? And then there is the mother bears obsession with "pieces" of toilet paper sticking to their furry behinds! Well what does she expect!! They're bears using toilet paper!  Am I supposed to be able to relate to this?  Am I supposed to nod my head in agreement thinking "Yes, I too worry about pieces being left .....behind."?. Maybe if my kids had fur...but I digress. As I mentioned, Oscar has had this fascination for years. Every now and then he'll request it.  Being a "Scott brand tissue" kind of family..I've always said "No." But I thought I would surprise him. I guess I was feeling kind of reckless (as only a stay at home mom of four kids can)  I was at the store and we needed toilet I figured-"Why not?". As I went to reach for the Charmin Ultra, I noticed it had a slogan on the package.."Use less so you can go more!"  Excuse me? What does that mean??!!  Are they somehow implying that people walk around "holding it in" because they are worried about the cost?  Maybe it's me..perhaps I just have a" devil may care" attitude...because I have never once worried about the cost of a square of toilet paper nor have I giggled with reckless abandon as I wantonly pulled square after square off the roll.  It's toilet paper for goodness sake!.. Holy crap! (and I mean that on so many levels)   Needless to say, I put it back on the shelf and bought our usual brand..because "A thousand sheets last longer." Now THAT'S a slogan that makes sense.

   So this evening, as I fed the dogs their "Better tasting then ever!!" food. I watched them-to see if their was a reaction...Would they notice a difference?  Perhaps look upon me with gratitude- as if saying "thank you for this even better tasting kibble made from animal byproducts." They sucked it down in about six seconds-as they usually do. None of them said anything about the taste. Perhaps after they digest know,after it has aged a bit.  I'll let you know after their walk.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Blogger why do you forsake me!!

I'm hoping that this all my bloggy all the people I regularly comment at...Blogger won't let me!!!!! I visited-I swear that I did..but, blogger will not work for chrome ofr internet explorer.  I will keep checking...but am not gonna post till I know that it is working...I'm afraid of losing my posts...perhaps it is time for wordpress? sigh...I hope you are all doing well...and I WILL be stopping by soon...


Well I must have scared blogger with my threat of leaving...cause it is back! Damn! I am powerful!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The sound of one boy eeeing...

  ~"Worry...worry worry worry worry... worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone"~ Ray Lamontagne

 My kids are all pretty close in age(roughly 2 years between each of them)-so when one of them has a friend over, they all consider them their friend as well.  With the exception of Sam-who, is starting to separate from the pack.  He will be thirteen this year..and considers himself quite above it all mature.  A couple of weeks ago, one of the neighborhood kids was over at our house talking to Sam. This boy is one of  a pair of brothers who come over to play from time to time.  (This particular boy is Sam's age his brother is closer to Lily's age-7)  All of the kids usually ride their bikes up and down the driveway..or play tag and sometimes just run around in circles screaming...regular kid stuff.  I hardly ever have to intervene..It is only when someone is being purposely left out..or teased to the point of frustration that I'll step in and kick some butt set them straight.

  Now having known my children all of their lives, I'm pretty used to them. So Oscar's stimming and eeeeing are a regular part of our lives. The same goes for Sam's very sensitive nature, Lily's tenacity and Zoe's tendency to go mute in stressful situations. I don't really think about these things (unless they are being discussed-i.e. IEP meetings, school , therapy etc.) because they are just a part of what makes my kids...well, my kids.  So, I was pretty surprised when one of those boys said to Sam.."Hey...does Oscar have autism?" "Yes, yes he does"..."Oh."  "So do I."  "You do?.."Yes, yes I do."  "But you don't look like it."  "Well...I draw a lot." "Oh..(and after a moment), when I get home I'm gonna call my you have a girlfriend?"  "Yes.." (12 years old and already posturing!) and that was the end of it.   If only it were that simple for the rest of the world.

  We had Oscar's annual IEP meeting last week.  Next year is his last year of elementary school so we have spent some time talking about preparing for middle school. One thing was said (that keeps reverberating in my brain) that in a way bothers me - "We have to let the teachers know that Oscar is not like Sam."..*sigh* Logically, I know what was meant by that. My boy struggles with pragmatic language . He has extreme stress and anxiety-which comes out in the form of stimming and laughing. Logically, I get it-I do....sort of.  But on the other hand...on the other hand It feels like a if they were really saying "You had better warn them not to expect too much."  It left me feeling kind of empty...and a little sad. . Yes, Oscar does face more challenges than his brother or sisters.  He does not always have an easy time of it.  The boy frets and is anxious..he WORRIES.....And yet, at the same time he has such humor..and a certain confidence in himself that none of my other kids have. "Mama?" "Yeah bud?"  "Do you want to know my favorite body part?" "Your favorite body part?" "'s my nipples! hahahahaha...I'm gonna make mine shine!" and as he grabs his chest and growls.."shiny shiny nipples..hahahahahaha! Do I make you laugh Mama?"  "You do"  "Because I'm funny!"  "You are." "hahahahaha and I have shiny nipples!" "well o.k.!."   Of course he's not like Sam. He's like himself  and that's alright.

About a week after Sam had that talk with his friend, both he and his brother came over-and everyone went out to play. Everyone.  There was no treating anyone excluding..or weirdness.  It was as it always had been..a bunch of kids playing and yelling..and occasionally one eeeing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Haunted by hummus and other tales of woe....


 I wasn't going to blog today. I wasn't. I had one of those weeks-and, I would much rather forget it than immortalize it here. It wasn't that it was was just..confusing.  Up was down, down was seemed that no matter what I tried to do-it couldn't get done..
  On Monday, I stumbled downstairs, only to be assaulted by the overwhelming scent, to call it a scent is too weak..mild. My nostrils were assaulted by what I can only describe as one of the most disgusting, horrid, stomach turning...retch inducing smells.  One of my dogs had gotten into the bin of dog food. Thus eating twice his body weight in kibble. The after effects were ASTOUNDING! Mind boggling even. THE sheer amount of poop(that he so lovingly left on the floor) was awe inspiring.  We are talking record books. If people in climbing gear had shown up at my door "because it was there" I would not have been surprised. It was THAT tremendous. I actually considered renting a back hoe. But I thought it wouldn't be wise to operate heavy machinery before coffee.  So I settled for a hefty bag. 10 gallon to be precise. The rest of the day was spent airing the house and clearing my head from the poop induced haze. I also put a lock on the food bin.

There is nothing quite as stimulating as getting a call from your kids school asking you where you are.. Yup-Tuesday morning, as I was sitting down with a coffee, cooling off from my workout, I received just such a call.  Where was I? Why, at home. Our IEP meeting was set for eleven the next morning-right?  WRONG. It had already started and I was ten minutes late....which turned into twenty minutes by the time I had arrived.  All flustered and out of breath. Only to be met by nine people sitting in a half circle waiting for me to arrive. Either they didn't notice-or they were too polite to mention My un brushed windswept  hair-and the fact that I was wearing Omar's thick wool  hunting socks with my clogs. (that I had spent a panicked few minutes looking for-as the girls had stuffed them into the couch)   But I was dressed.  The meeting went well-we got everything we needed.  But, my week went down hill from there...

  On Wednesday morning, Sammy reminded me of the "International fair" at his school that evening.  All the kids had a country that they had to learn about.  Sammy's was ancient Egypt.
"Mama..don't forget the international fair is tonight."
"I won't forget buddy"
"It starts at six"
"We'll be there"
"I forgot! I have to have food."
"Yes, I promised that I would bring something."
" brownies?"
"No...Food from ancient Egyptian times."
"So your telling me NOW that in a few hours you need to bring in a dish that was eaten in ancient Egypt?"
  Oh all was not lost.  He had recipes! Recipes for things like "Leaven" where you use barley and warm water and let it sit for a few days...and "Ful Medames" which required the soaking of beans for twelve hours. So, as soon as they left on the bus, I rushed to the supermarket secretly hoping that there was an "ancient Egyptian" food aisle I had somehow overlooked. There wasn't-so I settled for *hummus(ick) and pita.  I figured there wouldn't be any ancient Egyptians there to complain. I was right. There weren't.

 Thursday morning I had yet another IEP meeting.  This one I was on time for-and I wore the appropriate socks. Things were looking up.  Until I remembered that Lily's school concert was that day. An afternoon spent listening to the not so dulcimer tones of first through third graders. Let the headache begin! I know, I many parents are thrilled to see their children perform. They look forward to concerts  and other school sponsored events. Sadly, I must have been absent on the day that this quality was handed out-or I just got an extra dose of sarcasm.  Either way, I loathe these things. There are just so many songs about "back packs" and "flags"that I can handle before I am ready to either run screaming screaming. I don't know what it is.  There is a new music teacher this year-and although she has brought them forward musically (meaning songs from the 40's as opposed to the last music teachers penchant for songs from the year 10) The concerts remain relatively lifeless. Maybe because there isn't a real sound system and the microphones are positioned in such a way to catch every sound BUT the singers?   All I can say is that I was happy when the third graders got up to perform-because it meant I had done my duty and could sneak out the back.
  When we got home, Omar said "When the kids get in, I'll take them to the park for a little bit so you can have some alone time." I have a wonderful husband. The day was looking up. I actually had some time to myself,,I was feeling peaceful, calm...almost recovered...until they came back. Lily was in a MOOD. Nothing pleased her-especially me. It all came to a head when she insisted (after having just finished an ice cream cone) on having....hummus. That freaking hummus again! I said "Lil, you just had an ice cream, we are going to have dinner in a little is not the time for hummus.".."I WANT hummus!" she insisted. *sigh* "No Lil, now is not the time for it.  I will give you some with dinner if you like."  "I want it NOW!" She then proceeded to throw a fit like the likes of which I have never seen before-and I have seen some pretty amazing freak outs. She went from innocent seven to snarky fifteen and back again. There was foot stamping and crying..attitude and back talk. This went on long into the night...even after she went to bed. Even after I went to bed. It was a very long night
  Friday morning came way to quickly for me. For Lily as well. She just couldn't wake up..telling me "I'm sick-can I stay home?" I knew that she was exhausted - I let her.  Of course the minute the bus pulled away-she was wide awake and ready for entertainment. I was not feeling very "entertaining". So I settled her with some coloring books and decided to visit with my blogger friends. GASP! Blogger was down! I could not comment! I could not blog! I was pissed.  Working myself up into my own little fit. I thought "Fine-be down! Don't let me comment! If that's the way you want it-then I won't blog-see how that makes you feel!!" (yes *sigh* I yelled at blogger)  I think it must have heard me-because in the middle of my little tantrum, it returned to its normal self. (sometimes I need to think that I have such power)  Blogger is back-so I'm hoping that things are finally looking up.   Tomorrow, I plan on sleeping in and then leisurely catching up on my blog reading-commenting.   I think I'll throw the hummus out as well. 

*There was a summer in college when me and my house-mates were flat broke. The only thing we had to eat was chick peas. (I can not for the life of me recall why we had so many chick peas) so, we made a huge vat of hummus. For eight very long weeks we lived on that Hummus.  Morning noon and night.We had so much hummus that I swore I would never eat it again.  In fact, I struggled just buying it for Sam's school fair. I loathe hummus. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

They may say Motha-but I say Mother...

 ~"Mothers are all slightly insane.”~ J.D. Salinger

 It's Friday! As usual on Friday the herd comes home hyper and ready for the weekend.  All of them screaming talking at once trying to get my attention...All of them hastily trying to hide the mother's day presents they had made me at school. It was also progress report day for Sammy. Sixth grade has been huge for him. Up until this year, school had always been a struggle.   I don't know what happened-where this leap has come from..but my boy is excelling. He has made the honor role twice this year..and, because of his "academic achievements", he has been invited by one of our senators to serve as an honorary page (in the state senate) for a day. I am in awe of him.

  I can't help but think back on the early years with my boy. It took us what seemed like an eternity to get a diagnosis for him.  I had suspected that he was "different" when he was just sixth months old. His focus on certain things, his lack of response(sometimes) when I called his name..or even banged pots behind his back. His ability to stay awake for decades seemingly days at a time..his night terrors and(what seemed like unprovoked) screaming fits. At first I was told  it was just "colic" and then.."Your're just a new mom-you're imagining things"...and then gradually, he stopped talking. THAT is when the doctor started paying attention.  He was tested and prodded -evaluated and observed. When we finally got a diagnosis-I was...relieved. Finally we had some sort of answer-we could take action-figure things out. You would think that finally we would all be on the same page.  Nope.

  My relief it seems was cause for concern. It would appear that it was seen as some form of denial. I know-right? I mean, I had been the one who( all along ) had been saying "Somethings not right here!" And now, I was being told things like "He doesn't always respond when his name is called" "He hyper focuses on objects to the exclusion of everything else around him." Ummmm...Hadn't I already said that-like fifty gazillion times? But no-now it was "SERIOUS" and I had to face "REALITY"..there were some things my son "may NEVER do" and then they would give me THAT look.  You know the one...The kind that is just full of superior knowledge pity.

  I have to admit-at the time, I was so worn out(-frazzled..a dried husk) that I didn't know enough to fight back(yet).I took them at their word. We had a new baby (Oscar) who didn't sleep, a three year old that didn't sleep..we didn't sleep..I didn't know which end was up. It wasn't until his first speech evaluation that I rapidly fell  back down to earth. As an ironic aside-When the speech therapist came to our house to evaluate Sammy ..she looked at Oscar in his little swing and declared "Now THAT is what a normal child acts like!"  Funny huh?...maybe not so much. She then proceeded to tell us(after spending five minutes with him-by the way, it was her last day working for this particular agency) that he was basically incapable...didn't know anything..that her coming had been a waste of time.That I needed to FACE REALITY.  As she was leaving,
she said "just look at his ears-they are too low on his head..that tells me a lot!" sigh..  To this day-I still don't know what she meant by that. I did ask his doctor if his ears were low...he just looked at me oddly..and said.."What?" I said.."nothing!".. and left it at that.

  I did face reality that day. I knew all along that my son had issues-knew that we all had our work cut out for us.  I also knew that unless I stood up for him(and myself)-insisted on getting the services he needed in place, no one else would. I learned to look at my son.  Really look.  He was telling us so much. Only it just wasn't in words. I learned how to listen.   I also learned how to file a complaint.

  All of this seems like a life time ago-when in reality it was only nine and a half years. There has been so much growth, so much change. Funny how you don't always seem to notice these things until something big happens.. like the honor roll or student council...and even a first date.We are just too busy living/enjoying the day to day to always see it.  Although we do try our best to encourage them all-every day. They are great kids-and I like to tell them that.  The really nice thing is that they are starting to encourage each other..although sibling rivalry and competing for my attention does happen....

  Today, Oscar must have overheard me talking to Sammy about his report card..telling him that he had a real talent for science and math..because a few minutes later he came to me and said "Mama?  Do you want to know what I'm really good at?"  silly me...he had brought some great math work home and I thought he was going to mention I said "Absolutely..tell me" and he said "You really want to know I am talented in?" (Oh why didn't I notice the grin on his face)  "Yes Oscar tell me!"(sometimes I am just too innocent) "I'm really good at POOPING!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA" *sigh*

  Whether you are a "Motha" or a "Mother"...or like me-a bit of both..I wish you all a lovely Mothers day weekend.  I shall be enjoying it with the herd-who, by the way, ALL have lovely ears.