Friday, May 22, 2009

Mozart and the wail...

Life has been hectic for the past few weeks...The kids are excited about summer vacation.."Only four more weeks Mama!" they shriek excitedly.."Right...ONLY four more weeks...sigh" I try to sound as excited as they are....but I'm not..Don't get me wrong, I do like summer break. I like not having to rush in the morning to get the herd on to the bus. I can lay in bed later in the summer..they usually let me sleep until 5:35 instead of the regular school time routine of 5:30. I like having them around....most of the time. It is the end of school year chaos that wears me out. I've got the end of school year where are all the overdue library books? recital...where did I put all the shorts?...your biography project is due when!!!???? panicked Mama blues. My life is a frantic blur of projects, assignments, concerts and all the rest of the things we need to do to finish up the year..

My end of school frenzy, kicked off with the annual spring concert. Sammy was singing in it so I had to go-wanted to. Sammy is part of the special "concert choir"-meaning that he had to audition to get in. He is ten, and has a beautiful soprano voice. I happened to mention to him that in a few years, he would probably be a tenor. Big mistake. "No! Mama! I will ALWAYS be a soprano!"..."But buddy-you are not going to want to be a soprano as a man." "YES I AM!" sigh...some changes you just have to let happen. Although I did hear my boy sing, I spent most of the concert keeping the girls quiet..."We saw Sammy, can we go now?!!...aren't they done yet?" I can't say that I blame them....after sitting through a saxophone duet of "Swing low sweet chariot"....and a choral medley of the greatest unknown hits of 1643...I was ready to go too. More than ready. I had things to do...library books to find...a biography fair to go to...

Biography fair! This is a huge project for the fourth graders. They are each given a person in history to research, and then they give a detailed oral report on their life. Sammy was to be Mozart. I was a little more than worried about this. Sammy does well in school-with a lot of support. This was the first time he was doing a project like this, on his own. He took copious notes...which I found stuffed in the couch, in the utensil drawers, under his bed...I asked him if maybe he could use a little help "No Mama, I know what I'm doing...You just need to help me with a costume"..." A costume?..(gulp)No problem buddy.

"No problem-indeed! I have to confess, I am the queen of procrastination..I will start a project with the best of intentions...but then I get distracted..something more interesting comes along. Which is why, fifteen hours before his presentation, I was racing to put together a decent costume..Omar, being the fabulous guy that he is, jumped in to help. Armed with needle and thread (Omar, not me-I am what you would call "sewing impaired") we created quite the outfit. All that was left was the presentation.

We arrived at school fifteen minutes before he was to go on. I wanted to be there to help him with his wig, maybe ease his anxiety a little bit. "Are you ready bud? know what you are going to say..?" "Yes Mama, I'm ready." So, we went into the classroom to watch. I have to say he looked confident. He had been practicing for days..I knew that he was prepared. He walked up to the podium...looked at the audience, quickly looked down and said "I am Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I was born 1/27/1756...My parents were Leopold and Anna Marie, my sister was Nannarel, I was a famous musician. I died 12/05/1791. The end. Any questions?" I just love my boy.

Since then, I have been turning the house upside down looking for library books. The herd is generally pretty good about keeping track of them-it's Oscar. He has a habit of stashing them away -but forgetting where. This behavior goes back a few years. There was a time when no book was safe in our house. Oscar, if left on his own with one, would shred it. I had no choice but to keep them tucked safely away-allowing them to be viewed only under strict supervision. He has now taken it upon himself to be the book supervisor...I don't have the heart to tell him that he had been the reason for hiding them in the first place.

It is just a crazy time. My stress level seems to be going up as the days count down. I still have I.E.P. meetings, Zoe's early intervention evaluation, and cupcakes to bake for fifteen or so kindergartner's. I still haven't found where I stored all the summer clothes...and library books? Well, it won't be the first time that I returned books in September..Speaking of September...only one hundred and fourteen days till school starts up again..I don't know if I'll make it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Will Jennys poop be a hit with her fans?

I was over at autism nostrum earlier..I was intrigued by her post "Jenny McCarthy is full of poop" That's right...Jenny McCarthy has blogged about poop. I just had to go over to "" to check this out. I thought I would share a little of it here.(the bold is her)

"I don't know why, I've always loved talking about poop" Perhaps because you are full of it? " me it is a great tool in detecting whats wrong with our bodies." But what about your mind Jenny? "I continuously monitor Evans poop by sending it to labs to get tested to make sure things are all running smoothly"I've heard it said that boys often look for traits of their mothers when choosing a are seriously thinning out the dating pool for him. Please step away from the potty Jenny-I changed diapers for ten years two months and eight can get to you. Have you thought about seeking professional help? "I decided to take the test myself and see how my body was doing. Considering I come from a history of lifelong constipation(I'm talking every 14 days before a movement)...(she's just handing it to me here!) So you do admit that you are full of it? I'm so happy you are finally acknowledging it! Let go Jenny! Let poop! "Low and behold, my tests came back and I'm a mess! I could have told you that and saved you the lab fee. "I have two gnarly gut bugs, and I have extremely high amounts of yeast in my gut." You mean like you are supposed to ?"So, I started myself on an anti-fungal, and my poops have been phenomenal!" Yes, and you have certainly been spreading it everywhere!

For the first time since I heard Ms. McCarthy speak about autism-I am glad that she is part of the anti-vax movement. This is their spokesperson. .Oh wait, sorry, she's not anti-vax..just anti no...anti...anti freeze? can you be against something that's against something? No, it is not that..she is for greening our vaccines! that's right..wait, wasn't she indigo? I guess it just doesn't matter-the important thing is that she is "regular".

Crap-I didn't follow the link at nostrum...although I had great fun with this "white coat underground" did it so much better...He gets 5 gold poops!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Oh Mother...

I was driving home from the market yesterday, blessedly alone...When the song "Y.M.C.A." by the Village People came on the radio. It made me think of my mother. I had always found it funny that she, a devout catholic had liked that song. I think that she actually believed it was a catchy tune about the benefits of staying at the "Y"-which it was-though not quite in the way she thought....I find it odd, my mom has been dead for almost half of my life-and yet I am still so aware of her influence on me.. Mothers are powerful people. As I look at my herd, I wonder, how much of what I say and do will affect them. I wonder, what it is about me, that they will carry forward with them into adulthood? I hope it's my sense of humor.

Lately, two of my herd have been overly interested in death. Oscar in particular. He is having trouble understanding the concept-and as it was mothers day, he wanted to know what had happened to mine.

Oscar-"Where's your mom?"

Me-"She died a long time ago"

Oscar-"Where did she die?"

Me-"Where? do you mean how?"

Oscar-"Did she leave?"

Me-"her body didn't work anymore-it was very it stopped"

Oscar-"SICK??? will she get better"

Me-"No honey, she's done with her body"

Oscar-"DONE!!! Where did she go?"

Me-"...I don't know...are you worried about me leaving?"

Oscar-"No, your mom is dead... can I have a snack?"

Me-"Are you sure you're not worried?"


I'm not going to stress myself out too much about it. Death IS a hard concept to explain. I am though, quite amused by all of the "death scenes" that both Oscar and Zoe have been staging. I'll just happen to be walking through the living room, and there will be Oscar, lying on his back-hands folded over his chest and his eyes closed. "What are you doing bud?... "just being dead""O.K. have fun-dinner is in fifteen minutes"...O.K. mama." With Zoe, it's a little bit different. "Zoe, I need for you to go find your juice cup" She will then throw herself on the floor and say "Zoe isn't here-she's dead"..."O.K., when you are done being dead, go and find your juice cup please."

It would be so much easier if kids came with there own instruction books. There are days when I think that I am doing a decent job raising my herd-and then there are days where I doubt everything. If there were such thing as a "mother report card", I think that I would do o.k.- a couple of "A's",mostly "B's". Although, I know that in the comment section it would state "doesn't play well with the other mothers" I don't know what it is-my methods, my humor-it just seems to put some mothers off. Especially, when I talk about autism.

Autism is a big part of our lives, but it is not our whole life. Yes, there are certain things that we have to do in order for our boys to feel safe and comfortable . There are routines that we follow-steps that we take to create the best possible atmosphere for them to learn and grow. The rest of the time...I just let them be. I don't worry that they only eat about five different things-because for the most part, those five things are healthy. I don't structure their play time-I don't fill every moment of their day with activities. They may be on the spectrum-but they are kids first and foremost. They need to play, ride their bikes, dig holes in the dirt, invent their own games-and if they need to flap and stim at the same time-so be it! They are learning what is and what is not appropriate through that freedom.. The world is always changing, and they have to figure out how to bend with it-or at least wiggle a little. I am not always going to be around to guide them. Part of my job is teaching them how to guide themselves. My methods might be different, but it doesn't make them wrong. ( my goodness! the reactions I got when I told some parents that I had (with permission) flapped and eeeed alongside my son-I wanted to know what it felt like-to better understand.)

I have four very unique and amazing children. I am so proud of all of them. I look at my boys and see such growth-especially in the wake of the grim prognosis we had been given for them. I have such joy...and much hope. My wish is for them to look back one day and recognize that they have always been cherished and loved-thoroughly and unconditionally. Having a sense of humor wouldn't be bad either.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Driving 45

I woke up Sunday morning, stretched, looked at the clock.. it was 8:45-I quickly sat up-where were the kids?! And then I husband had gotten up with them...he let me sleep in... today was my birthday...HOLY CRAP, I'm forty five! How did that happen?

It is not the age that bothers me. I don't mind getting older. I don't buy into the whole "youth culture", the "45 is the new 25"-I'm too busy for that. I had my youth, and I am more than happy to let the appropriate people have theirs. In other words.... you couldn't pay me to go back. Been there done that-not doing it again. Ever. No, I think that Birthdays make me itchy and I guess a little introspective. I look back on the girl that I was, and compare her to... the girl I am now. I wonder-is there really such a big difference?

When I was nineteen, I thought that I would conquer the world. I was going to have fast, take chances..I would laugh in the face of fear as the wind blew through my hair. HA HA HA! ....At forty five, I drive a mini-van..laugh at the seemingly never ending overflowing toilet emergencies... and forget the wind-I'm lucky if I even have time to brush my hair. The funny thing is- I wouldn't trade it for anything. I would though, go back, and talk to that nineteen year old girl...I would tell her that she was o.k.-that living near crazy didn't make her crazy..that who she was-would ultimately serve her well in years to come. I would also let her know that "euthanasia" didn't mean kids in China..and "guerrillas" were not primates with guns...I would save her at least a little embarrassment..

As I made my way downstairs Sunday morning, I was surrounded by the herd all clamoring for my attention, all talking at once...

Sammy-"Happy birthday Mama!"

Lily-"Mama is awake! It's your birthday!"

Oscar-"Hello my birthday girl."

Zoe-"Mama! Mama's awake! It's your birthday!"

Sammy-"I'm hungry."

Lily "me too."

Oscar-"Can I have a snack?"

Zoe-"I need juice."

How quickly the novelty wears off. They could be surrounded by a legion of servants, and it wouldn't matter. I know that their papa has fed them probably multiple times since they have woken up.... It may be my birthday-but I am their mother and they have needs! Needs that seemingly, only I can fulfill. Omar, being the fabulous husband that he is, decided to take them out so that I could have some time to myself. And, after one minor incident(Lily didn't like where she was sitting(next to Zoe)so she stole Sammy's spot, making both Sammy and Zoe cry-which in turn made Oscar cry-causing Omar to yell at Lily, who cried.) they left. I was secretly thrilled as I watched them drive away.

I was free! I had a whole day ahead of me. A day to do whatever I wanted! I could read, go for a walk...just sit and stare. The world was at my feet... and so... was the laundry....and under the laundry was a dirty floor...which I might as well sweep and while I'm at it, I could mop....I should do the bathroom floor as well, but in order to mop, I need to fill the bucket in the sink. The sink filled with dishes. I cleaned and I scrubbed-vacuumed and swept. All uninterrupted! It was heaven. Just as I was finishing up, the herd returned home. Omar said "why did you clean? I wanted you to relax" To which I replied "I don't know how to!" I can't sit still-and have never been able to. I am happiest when I am moving-doing. Spending the day(alone) cleaning the house had been a gift. Now... I was ready for presents.

Oscar,was so excited to give me a pound of coffee-he KNEW that is what I love, the girls gave me make-up (how I got such girly- girls is beyond me, but that's a story for another day) Sammy made me a drawing of one of his super heroes-a work of his heart, and Omar-my partner in herding, gave me the lovely laptop I am writing this story on.

Yes, I am a forty five year old girl with the heart of a nineteen year old. And although I have yet to conquer the world, I have had lots of adventures. I just didn't expect so many of them to be about autism. My kids have changed me in ways I could never have imagined. They inspire and humble me....sometimes they drive me crazy. I don't try and second guess what the future holds for me or my family. All that I have is this one moment, this one second...and right now it is perfect. Fifteen minutes from now? Your guess is as good as mine.