Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Firsts. lasts....everything...

~"How far away the stars seem, and how far is our first kiss, and ah, how old my heart."~William Butler Yeats

  The lovely and wonderful Looking For Blue Sky has tagged me in a meme about "firsts". I think it is nice when a blogger friend wants to know more about you.  After reading her "firsts" I have no doubt in my mind that I would certainly enjoy chatting with her over coffee..or wine.

   It's funny, but at this time in my life-I am more apt to remember my kids "firsts" more than my own.  I do remember some...you know, the basic "firsts" everyone has.  But there are others...frightening ones, that are branded on my brain.. Doesn't it seem the most memorable "firsts" appear to be the kind where you think to yourself "Well, I'm never going to do THAT again"...First times can be life changing..lovely to look back on...or in the case of some of mine...scary...

 Like the first time I saw my Grandmother naked...it was a total accident. I happened to see her as she was getting out of the shower.  I was seven and she was about eight hundred or so.  I'm still not quite sure what it was that I saw-but it looked like she was wearing FOUR wrinkly... pendulous ..masses of flesh.. slowly swaying with each ponderous step she took. She was a heavy set woman.  That experience marked me..Perhaps it is the reason why I have always been adamant about exercising my arms AND wearing a supportive bra....Or the first time I had to make the sacrament of "confession" at church.  I was in fourth grade..and really DID NOT want to do this...Yes, penance was an issue. As was the fact that I was not as innocent as people thought.    So in order to get out of this...I did what any sensible child afraid of hell (and priests and nuns) would do...I pretended I was sick and stayed home from school. I was pretty proud of my quick thinking- I thought that I was in the clear...until the next week when those of us who were absent-had to make it up. GASP!  I remember dragging my feet as I made my way  in to the confessional booth.  I knelt down and said "Forgive me Father for I have sinned...this is my first confession"....and then proceeded to lie my way through it. I made stuff up. There was no way that I was going to confess to a priest that I had" stolen a" Playboy" magazine and set my brother up by leaving it in plain view for my mother to find in his bathroom"...or that" I had carved the same brothers name into our dining table"..or" eaten all the chocolates he had to sell for a fundraiser." (My brother was a great source of torment for me-and although I may have only been nine..I was very good at subtle revenge)  I'd probably still be doing "Hail Mary's". 

 Thankfully, those firsts were also lasts...I don't have too many of them...I think. Not all of them were scary- I do have firsts that I can look fondly on...or at least not cringe too much at..

  I remember my first real kiss..his name was John..we were twelve..and the only reason my mother let me go out for pizza with him was because he said that he wanted to become a priest. I think he told many mothers this..because, he kissed a lot of girls.  I remember my first record album-Aerosmith, "Toys in the Attic" My brother Ned gave it to me for my thirteenth birthday..(Being the youngest of six kids, I inherited lots of albums from my siblings..but this was the first one that was mine). My first job was at Roy Rogers family restaurant. I had to wear a very short frilly skirt, an off the shoulder blouse and a cowboy hat.  Times have indeed changed.  The first time I got "tipsy" was with my best friend Ursula..we drank "Southern Comfort" simply because Janis Joplin had . To this day, I can not stand the smell of it.     The first time I met Omar..it was love..well really..lust at first site..I don't know what it was, but I KNEW that I had to have that man- and as we have been together almost twenty years..I would say that it worked out pretty well..The lust  love has grown even stronger .

  So there you have it...some firsts that were lasts..some firsts that I can recall fondly..and some firsts that have lasted.  Now it is my turn to tag some others...I choose-
I know that all three will make me laugh...and with four kids home with me and Summer rec not starting till next week...I NEED to laugh!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

I seem to have misplaced my halo...

~"L'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle."~ Dante

  It has been only three and a half  days since Tuesday- the official start of Summer vacation...which makes it seventy three days until the beginning of school next fall. Not that I'm counting or anything. I do look forward to having the herd to myself..to lazier days..to not having to rush around so much. But on the other hand...

"Mama? We're bored...Mama?.Mama? Can I have a  snack?..Mama can I have  turn on the computer? Mama? Mama?   Mama! we are out of toilet paper!..Ummm Mama? I clogged the toilet...Mama why do you have those lines on your forehead? Mama? MAAMAA? Why aren't you saying anything? Mama?" 

                 That was Wednesday. 

  I'm guessing that a lot of parents are going through a similar time right now. The change from a solid school routine to open ended days can be rough on the best of us.  It is one off those curve-balls that parenting throws you.  Sometimes I wish there were a manual..a kind of "Care and feeding of (insert your child's name)" book that was handed out at birth. It would make things so much easier..because, for the most part I feel like parenting is a lot like driving without brakes.  Most of the time it is great fun...but at other times?  Just when you think that you have it under control..you hit a curved section and then sometimes hang on for dear life.  Sometimes parenting feels like an extreme sport.

   Last week, I was part of an online discussion where someone posted-

 "I could not be a parent to a special needs child.  Kudos to everyone who is a better person than I am"  

   A better person?  I immediately had this bizarre image of myself wearing flowing white robes with a halo and beams of golden light shining down on my serene face..as heavenly music played...I responded with.... 

"parenting a child with special need does not make anyone a better person. I don't think that I have ever heard anyone say "I hope that I have a special needs child"..When you choose to become a parent-that is where your choice ends. I do understand someone saying "could never"...but you would be amazed at how things change once you hold your child in your arms..my kids are my greatest joy-and privilege. My life is better for knowing them..but I'm not a better person for raising them. I'm just doing my job."

  I really do understand her saying that -and I do try not to let statements like that piss me off..because...well,  I don't think that anyone really knows what parenting is until they become a parent themselves.  I'm sure if you had asked me thirteen years ago if I'd be willing to pull poopie socks out of a clogged toilet...remove paint from a dog..or even hold on to my son for hours while he screamed himself hoarse.  I'd have said "NO!...MY kids would NEVER do that!!!"  But, they have...and so I did.  Is it because they have "special needs"... Or.. Is it  because I'm just a better person? -Neither.  I just did it because I'm a parent-they are my kids...and I love them. It's as simple as that. Holy crap-I'd move the earth if that's what they needed.

  *sigh* I wish that I had just walked away from that conversation... Because this woman, in so many words told me that  she was "different" she had "goals"..that when she had a child it would be normal- someone who went away to college when they were eighteen..giving her her life back.....that she would NEVER raise nor love a "special needs" child..no, she would rather abort it or give it away at birth..  She ended her rant with "welcome to humanity".   Humanity?!  Is that what that was?   How does one respond to that ..besides saying  "please don't ever procreate."  I chose to keep quiet..and just walked away. It is amazing what people think is appropriate to say on a site that is for autistic people and their families...

 I am certainly no expert at parenting..there are some many days where I haven't the slightest idea of what I'm doing..really- I just wing it.  My kids keep me on my toes...even surprise me now and again-and most of the time they are nice surprises.  There are also days when I want to throw in the towel..run away from home...join a cloister..(although I really don't think the life of a nun is for me..I wouldn't look good in the outfit )  So even if I wanted to see myself as a "better person" for raising them..the white robes would never work...they'd be filthy in about three minutes and the herd would steal the halo and..* sigh* probably try and flush it.  Although I for one am not going to try and  fish it out.

  Only seventy three more days.... 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Summer-don't like it hot...

~"It's my rule never to lose me temper till it would be detrimental to keep it."~ Sean O'Casey

These past few weeks have been chock full of end of the year events.  There have been concerts and conferences, recitals and well.. just too many things to mention. Sometimes I catch myself just wishing that next week were over....that Summer would officially start. I have a bad case of "The grass is always greener"...sometimes I need to just appreciate the" here and now" instead of wishing for the" up and coming".  It never fails,  every Fall I find myself longing for Spring...every Summer wishing for Winter and vice versa. Why can't I just be satisfied? I mean, here I am WISHING for Summer...and then I remember last Summer's heat wave.  I took the picture on the left.  As you can see, my local weather station made a little error...at the time, I was not amused. I was way too miserable.

  It was so very hot outside. The kind of heat that makes things that on most days are only mildly annoying-seem exceptionally annoying.  Everything just sticks to you-your clothes, dog hair... , children-your dogs.. My kids were hot as well..I know this because they told me every thirty seconds or so.."Mama..I'm hot" 
 "Yeah, it's pretty hot outside"..
"but I'm hot.."
 "Yes, I know you are hot.."
 "I'm hot too".."Me too".."Mama we're hot.." 
 "..SIGH.."I know you are all hot..I am hot..why don't you go sit quietly in the playroom and let the fan cool you off."
"but it is blowing in hot air.."
 SIGH.."If you sit really still and don't make a sound you will cool off"
 "It's not working.."
 "Thats because you keep running in to tell me how hot you are!!!"
 "But it's not working!" 
 "Well maybe if you put on a pair of shorts and took off your pants socks and shoes you would feel better?"
  "But I don't want my feet to get cold." 
 "Oscar it is 95 degrees in the house..your feet won't get cold!"
 "But they might!"
AARRGGHH...last Summer (and all the Summer's before it),  My Oscar had problems accepting summer wear.  He would tug on the top of his short sleeved shirt-trying to pull them down to his wrist.  But hey, at least I got him to wear them-even if it was grudgingly..This is nothing like it was with Sammy-who used to mourn his snow pants in April.  So I really couldn't complain.   none of them have a problem with bathing suits..for that I can be happy.

  I am so thankful for our pool.  It has been a life saver of sorts-it both tires and cools them off-especially my sock clad boys..and it keeps them happy... for about three and a half minutes..until....
"Mama!  Lily says my zhu zhu pet is a boy but I say it's a girl!"
  "Lil..Zoe can call her zhu zhu pet a girl if she wants to."
  "But it's name is Mr. Squiggles!"
 "I don't care! she's a girl!"
 "No" Mister" means boy!"
 "But it's a girl!! I don't want a boy!"
 "Zoe! it's a boy!" (Zoe sobbing now) "Mama! Lily won't let my zhu zhu pet be a girl!"...and so it went..for the entire  two hour swim.. through getting dressed...having a snack.. and dinner....Oh I tried to be diplomatic ("girls please try to get along)"..tried to redirect the conversation ("hey-who wants to discuss folding laundry?")...tried to distract them ("I have candy!")..but when the shouting became  more than this innocent..and very hot mother could bear-I lost it...went off the deep end... I yelled... "DOES.  IT.  HAVE.  A.  PENIS????" shocking my children into stunned silence.(which was kind of nice)   Until an indignant Oscar looked at me in horror and said "That is not polite Mama!"
(I was hyperventilating) " No..It is a FINE word to use in a discussion..DO ZHU ZHU PETS HAVE GENITALS??? NO THEY DO NOT!  THEREFORE ZOE'S ZHU ZHU PET CAN BE A GIRL!"  (pant- pant)
 "Actually Mama, they don't have either..they are only toys...uhhh Mama?...Why is your face so red?" 
 "Because I am HOT!!!"
"Well why don't you go sit in the playroom and let the fan cool you off?"

  So, maybe wishing for Summer to come is just a passing phase?  I certainly am not wishing for another heat wave like last seasons.  Although I am thrilled to say that Oscar is very happy wearing his short sleeved shirts-and my girls no longer care about Zhu Zhu pets. No, this year   "Littlest Pet Shop" toys are the object of their affecions...but not to worry-they don't have genitals either.