Saturday, June 15, 2013

five minutes...four kids and a broken laptop..

“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice, safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” ~ Erma Bombeck I have about five minutes to write something for this weeks post.  You see, my laptop is out of commission-and I have to borrow the kids computer.  It was either that or use my husbands tablet-and the touchscreen keyboard covers the I can't see what I'm typing and my words come out all kinds of misspelled-and you might get the impression that I had been drinking-a lot....So-instead you get this one very long run on sentence...because-I have four kids standing over me asking "is it almost my turn on the computer?"  I hope to get another post up later this week...when they are in bed...which means that somewhere between the hours of  1:00 a.m.and 5:00 a.m. I may get the computer to myself.  Maybe. It is summer break..and we are all adjusting to the new lack of schedule...actually, I seem to be the only one "adjusting"...the kids so far seem quite happy..Which is a good thing...the happy kid part -not the me having trouble adjusting part...but I'll get it sorted out sometime before school starts up again..I think..anyway..I'm hoping to get my next real post up by Wednesday...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wrestling Demons..

~"Well I looked my demons in they eyes laid bare my chest, said "Do your best, destroy me. You see I been to hell and back so many times,I must admit you kind of bore me."~
Ray Lamontagne

   Last month-Oscar participated in his very first Special Olympics..The first because..well,  it wasn't something we had ever thought about. I mean, we are pretty much wrapped up in our day to day lives with each other..It just hadn't really occurred to us to look outside the comfort of the familiar. Or maybe it's that I just never bothered.   So when Oscar came home saying he wanted to go to the Special Olympics...we were kind of surprised- seeing as our boy...well... he is not not an athlete or even slightly athletic...or really ever inclined to move unless it involves a computer mouse or a Wii remote.  "Oscar, you do know that these Olympics are about running and jumping..doing sports-right?" "I want to do it.".."alright...but you know you are going to have to practice every day right." "Yup.".."If you sign up-you can't change your means that you are making a will have people counting on you." "Yes! I want to do it!" "Well o.k. then." Which would have been fine-except, Sam overheard this conversation and decided he wanted to do them as well...How do you tell one son that he isn't quite as "special" as the other? 

  We have always raised our kids equally-regardless of whether or not they were- or where they might be -on the spectrum.  They see each other as equals-they treat each other as equals. Yes-they notice their differences..but they take it in stride. It is just the way it is, and how it has always been.  Oscar stims (a lot) his conversational skills are different...but that doesn't stop Sam from imagining a future where he is an uncle to Oscars kids..or Lily from talking about how they will visit each other at college. It just doesn't occur to them to think any differently..  But lately, I find myself wrestling with why we have raised them this the future they imagine even realistic? Or am I doing a bit of magical thinking..if they believe it -it will happen? 

  Maybe it is both.   It's like the minute you have a child, your mortality(something I had never really thought about) becomes everything. I remember holding each of my babies and thinking "no one in this world will ever love them/take care of them/protect them the way that I I can't die-EVER." I think that having kids with disabilities- ups that anxiety. Like it or not-I am going to have to die one day..and I find myself caught in this never ending cycle of hellish worrying.."Will they be o.k.?" They have been brought up to be strong in who they are, to think that they matter and to believe that they are as equal of possibility as anyone else in the world ..And yet..I worry if that is enough..especially in a world that judges more on what you are not- as opposed to who you are..

  Oscar wants to be a teacher one day.  A fine and noble profession..and-a much better choice than wanting to be a duck-which was his intention for many years.  There are so many people who say "that's great-he would be wonderful"..and equally as many who say "That simply isn't a possibility." and still a few more who have just shaken their heads and said "Oh...dear." Crazy as it sounds-all of them could be right. (with the exception of the ones who said "oh..dear"-people like that don't get to be right.)  Last year, I sat in a meeting discussing long term goals for my boy. Someone said "I  want him to be able to go in to a store-and know how to use money and make change." And I just...stopped for a moment...because It felt like I had jumped into a pool of icy water... I knew that these words were truth..they are realistic... Only I had kept the honesty of them hidden from myself...from the world for so long.  Those words placed my heart publicly on the table-and now everyone could see how it beat.

  So, we went to those Special Olympics-not really knowing what to expect either from the events or from Oscar.  I found myself looking around and feeling so totally overwhelmed...and more than a little bit sad. There were many different kinds of "special" there-and to be totally honest..I wasn't sure if this was the kind of special I want Oscar to be. I know-I'm not supposed to say that out loud.  I know that it is considered a "sin" (by some) to think that way-believe me, I beat myself up enough-I don't need help...But he is my son-one of my greatest joys..and I want the world to be easy for him.  But since it isn't-I will do everything that I can to help him to become the adult that HE WANTS to be.  He may not wind up teaching..but then again-maybe he will. He may not be able to live a fully independent life..but then again he might.  Right now-we just don't know...and I honestly don't like it.

My boy is some ways is an enigma-we just don't know what to expect.  At the Olympics, he did really well. He happily participated in all his events. Although when it came to running...He stood at the starting line..."On your marks...get set....GO!"  Oscar took off...running as fast as he could..running the whole race...running across the finish line...and in true Oscar fashion..he just kept on going...long after the race was finished...Go Oscar! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The power of bosoms compels you....

~"Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain"
~Alan Bleasdale

I'm pretty sure we have all heard the Forrest Gump quote.."Life was like a box of chocolates.You never know what you're gonna get"  I can kind of relate to that..kind of.  But only if you imagine the box of chocolates in the shape of a school bus...because lately, at the end of each school day-I really don't know what I'm going to get. Will it be four happy kids?-which to me is the equivalent of a chocolate covered caramel...Or will one or more of my kids be having a massive freak-out rough time which is like one of those chocolate covered pink ones (you know the ones everyone takes a nibble of and puts back in the box once they realize what kind they are) Problem is-as much as I would like to on some days-I can not in good conscience put my kids back on the bus. Besides, I don't think the bus driver would let me.

  To be fair, I have to say that the boys are pretty good at the end of the day.  If something has troubled them, or caused them anxiety-they are easy to draw help. No big surprises.. Not so much for my girls... Lily is very vocal in her feelings. She lets me know EXACTLY how her day was and treats us all accordingly.  Meaning that if it was a good day..she is joyful and fun to be around..if it wasn't? Well, it can go many ways.  It takes incredible skill (think professional poker player) and diplomacy (think Libya) to ward off what can be a hissy fit of epic proportions...I am not exaggerating..but the girl can go from lovably affectionate to evil spawn of...evil in three seconds flat. It all depends on how I handle it..
                      "Hey was your day?"
                      "Not very good at all" (time to put on my poker face)
                      "Oh..I'm sorry to hear that...what happened?"
It can go two ways now...either she will tell me what is wrong-and we have a nice chat...figure out how to make things better...OR-
                      "I don't want to talk about it."
                      "O.k....but I'm here..(swallow) if you need me."
                      "I said...I.DON'T. WANT. TO. TALK. ABOUT. IT!!!!!"
Now is when I pull out my mad diplomatic skills-BECAUSE, even though she says that she doesn't want to talk about it...what she really means is "I am going to stalk you until you say what I think is the wrong thing.." 
                        "O.k..o.k....would you like a snack....honey?"
                         "What do you have?" 
  We have now entered the danger zone... She will either calm herself down..OR NOTHING..NOTHING WHATSOEVER will please her. "You don't have what I like! You always get what everyone else likes! It's not fair! (and my personal favorite) You don't love me as much as you love everyone else!!!!!!" followed by much foot stomping and door slamming..and an all around not good time had by everyone.  Unless...unless I stop it before she can even start.   Somehow shock her out of it before she can even begin.
                            "Would you like a pair of bosoms?! (all three of us women find a bodacious amount of humor in that word-I couldn't begin to tell you why-but there you go)
                              "It's not funny Mama!".
                             "Oh come about a nice pair of bosoms "
                             "Not even one bosom...hhhmmmm???"
                             "a half a bosom? Bosoms on the half shell?..a cornucopia of bosoms?  I know!
                              how about some...Bosoms in a Box?
 (I am like the priest in The Exorcist"-"The power of bosoms compels you..the power of bosoms compels you...until she simply can't take it anymore..
                                "I DO NOT WANT BOSOMS IN A BOX!!"
                                                 And we have success.
  The absurdity of what she has just yelled-stops her in her tracks...and then we both start laughing..and the crisis has been averted. Of course the next hour or so is spent making bosom and bosom accessory related jokes till my cups overfloweth...but at least she is laughing. Yeah, I admit-to the casual observer-or you who is reading this..this may seem bizarre.  but it works.  And yes, sometimes I catch myself "mid-bosom" and think "What the hell am I saying!?" but again-it works. I take nothing for granted.   My girl has a short burns bright-but it burns fast. I know that hormones are making their evil appearance..and that it is hard to be almost ten. So we are trying to give her some space..make a few allowances....because at the end of the day we are always o.k. with each other.. she sits on my lap...she cuddles..I stroke her hair..(casually looking for sixes) we talk it out. Life returns to steady....

   The unpredictable moodiness of Zoe has got me on my toes this year. First grade in many ways has not been easy.  There is more expected of her..both socially and academically.  There have been just too many days that she has gotten off the bus an emotional wreck. A non stop tsunami of feelings(-that she doesn't understand)..a hurricane of hell..that can go long into the night.( I don't use these storm metaphors lightly.)    The really hard part is- she saves this behavior for home. All of it.    At school she is quiet and unassuming...soft spoken and gentle..meek!  The total opposite of how she is at home. AND to make matters more difficult...If Zoe does tell me what is bothering her-and I contact the school to let them know...when they question Zoe-SHE DENIES what she has told me!  (Am I being gas lighted by my seven year old? OR could it be that she does not want to talk and will say what she thinks you want to hear-simply to get you to leave her alone?)  Which I swear has led some people to question my very sanity..or at the very least-my concern.(and they don't even know about the bosoms!)     "Oh Kathleen..(softening of the eyes, a gentle voice-head tilted to the side) It's normal for kids her age go through this."  Yup-and fifty is the new thirty and orange is the new black. *sigh*you say potato and I say potato you say tomato and I say chocolate covered pink candy.. I try and stay open-I do. I recognize that my girl is going through many of the things girls her age are going through.  I just have no clue as to how to help her with this. The way that my girl internalizes things, the way in which she fails to recognize some very basic social cues...the way in which she reacts.... is different.  That needs to be recognized too. I have to admit that there is a part of me that wishes she would just once let loose at school. Just once...really, it would be enough..

  There are 6 1/2 days of school left this year...7 bus rides home. 7 days where I do not know what is going to walk through the door. I am weary..and maybe a bit over wrought.   I mean holy crap-I'm singing about bosoms...but then again..over wrought or not...I'd be singing about them anyway...bosoms are funny...and that's just the way that I roll..