Monday, December 31, 2012

"Fun Size" post....

 ~"New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual."~
–Mark Twain

 Oscar asked me this morning if there was going to be a revolution tonight. It took me a minute to figure out what he meant.."Revolution?".." there going to be the Revolutionary War?" ..."I think you mean "Resolution" in "New Years Resolution.".." it isn't like when we fought the British?".."No...a resolution means that you are making a decision to do something in the coming lose weight, or read more....something like that.".."Oh."..."So, do you think you would like to make a New Years Resolution this year?"  "No."...

  Can't say that I blame him.  I am not one for making resolutions either. It is just setting myself up to fall.  It really never fails..the day I resolve to do something-like eat healthier, there will be a giant candy sale..and I will find myself (hiding from the kids) while I stuff myself with delightful bits of "Dove" chocolate. Why is there never a blow-out sale on carrots or broccoli?  No, instead there are HUGE displays of chocolate as far as the eye can see. Milky Way bars...and Snickers..all in little "fun size" packages. As if calling them "fun" alleviates the guilt you feel for sneaking handfuls of little bite sized pieces-all while cooking broccoli and carrots for your children..Honestly-I would do so much better if they made a "hilarious" size. It would be harder to sneak-and I would probably wind up eating healthier...So you can understand why I don't make any resolutions. It just isn't worth the stress for not keeping them.

  This past year has been filled with so many twists and turns.  There were some hard times, and mostly good times...and even some surprises.  I am looking forward to what this new year will bring. So, I am not going to resolve to do anything-except to enjoy the ride.

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that you all have a wonderful, joyful, hilarious (anything but fun sized) peaceful year...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Joyful E

~"The world is extremely interesting to a joyful soul"~Alexandra Stoddard 

Twas the night before Christmas and somewhere in the house...this mother was hiding with a very large egg nog and rum because her children were out of their minds with excitement. They were so very very loud and shrill that she just had to go and hide with a very large..beverage. 

Some presents were set round the tree with great flair...and shaken and prodded by children screaming "whats in there?!!"...Really-they are screaming it...have been for the past three days...each day getting a little bit louder

I don't really mind.  Christmas at our house is great fun. It's just the last few hours of Christmas eve that can be tiring ...wearing even..make me greet my egg nog like a long lost friend...

Ever since school let out on Friday..their excitement has been slowly building..the girls have been either the best of friends or the worst of enemies. So much so- that in these past few days  I don't think that even they know what they are to each other anymore. Sam, ever the fourteen year old has separated from the herd.  He's off listening to music, watching movies or drawing.  I believe he thinks himself too mature to get involved in the excitement. *sigh* I am looking forward to his twenties-when he is done being grown up.  Oscar has been eeeeeing. In the morning, in the evening, in the shower, in his bed...Non stop eeeeing.  He stims-that's who he is. It isn't like he he sits down and thinks "gosh I'm stressed out-I think I'll stim." It is his way of getting the anxiety out. We don't really even notice is just part of the background noise that is our home.. all kind of got to me the other day...after listening to the girls argue for the fifty millionth time...and the phone ringing non stop...and finding out Omar's gift would not be delivered on time for Christmas...and Omar's car not starting..and Oscars non stop eeeeing-I was a bit out of my mind stressed. I kind of lost it...over reacted if you will(Think George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life"-when the bank examiner is after him)."Could you all please Be QUIET!!! I am tired of this non stop fighting from you you want me to call Santa?  Really-I don't have a problem doing that!  And Oscar!!  Could you please say something other than "E?" about "A?" or "O?"...or maybe say a whole word like "eeeeeeeelectrician" or "eeeeeeventual"???"On and on I went...while my kids just looked at me like I was the one who was I had lost my mind!  Me!  *sigh*  Thankfully-having the kids that I do...they shrugged it off .They are pretty good at dealing with my sometimes silly moods-figuring out when I am being ridiculous.  Still, I felt bad.  No one needs a shrew for Christmas-especially their mother.

  So this morning, I made sure to get up a little earlier than the kids. I wanted a little time to myself..a few minutes of peace and quiet..  I still had a few million last minute things to do and  I wanted to get them out of the way so that we could just enjoy the day together.  I was sitting drinking coffee and just staring when Oscar came down stairs.  I said-"Hey buddy-Merry Christmas eve!"...He looked at me smiling and said.."Don't you mean..Merry Christmas eeeeeeve?"  "Ha!-I guess I do!".You know? I really am one lucky mother.

So, It is just a few hours till bed time.  The kids are upstairs making lots of noise and chatter..I am sending Omar up there to see what is the matter.(because I'm smart) He came down and told me it wasn't a fight.  They were just so excited-Santa was coming tonight. So I'll end this here..I'm keeping this light..Merry Christmas to all and to all (especially Sam, Oscar, Lily and Zoe) a Good Night! 

Merry Christmas-Happy New Year-or Happy whatever it is that you celebrate.  I wish you all a year full of peace and love. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I am my childrens mother...

~"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our mind.."~
Bob Marley

Mothers are interesting creatures.  I say that from experience.  Both as an observer and as an active participant. From the first time that you venture out in the world with your (very first) new baby-you are subjected to the watchful eyes of mothers everywhere..Sometimes, I imagine them like a pack of animals..being filmed for a documentary on the Discovery channel (in my head I can hear a narrator(of course he has a British accent)) speaking in a hushed and reverent tone "The experienced mothers, not wanting to give up their place in the pack are posturing in front of the mother who has just given birth..look! The mother of the three month old is proclaiming her child's brilliance..oh comes another mother..she's carrying "Baby Einstein" DVD's!..look at the way she holds her head up!  How stunning!  Look at how the new mum, feeling inadequate...grazes from a distance.. head down low..never getting to close..We are watching nature in its rawest moments.."

  Oh, I remember those days-when it was just me and Sam. Although,  I caught on pretty early to this superior mother thing.  I found my own special way to deal with it.  I simply made things up-the more ridiculous the better. "Oh! he spoke his first word at only three months?!  Sam did that in utero...By the way, he's teaching a course in the humanities at our local community college now...I know,,,community college..but, we can't expect a Harvard tenure at only six months of age now could we?!" I have to say that it worked pretty well for a time...that is until GASP! *whispers* autism..

  Yes, having kids diagnosed with a developmental disability puts you in a whole other place in the pack. A place where some parents either pity or martyr you.   And you know?  It might not be as awful as it sounds if it came with...I don't know..candy or coffee or something. But it doesn't.  Instead it mostly comes with this thing that I like to call "The Look"..I think that any parent of any child who struggles with anything knows what I'm talking about. You might be sitting with a group of parents..just talking about kid anything..and you proudly say something like "My boy wants to be a teacher when he grows up." First-there is an uncomfortable silence..they've met your child...could have seen them stimming...maybe even tried to chat with them. You ignore it...choosing instead to go into detail about why your son would be a great teacher. While the listener gets this look ...head slightly tilted ...eyes that say "poor delusional you" and a sad half smile on their face. Firstly, ick..just ick. I really have come to LOATHE "The Look" But-as I can't do anything to get rid of it(legally)-I've learned to ignore it.  Sadly, some people can only see differences.  I choose to spend my time with people who see possibilities.

   The thing of it is-I see myself as a regular parent. I am not raising disabilities.  I am raising children who have them. I will never say that it has always been easy.  There have been rough times...there have been scary times. But, there have also been times full of joy and love.  We muddle through..we get by.  And, like any other parent-I raise my children to be the best possible people that they can be.  Like any other parent I have dreams and I have fears. Like any other parent I want my kids to have a safe and secure place in this world.  I want them to be accepted and loved-and at the same time, I want my kids to accept and to love themselves.  I had thought it was as simple as that.  Until recently. 

  I was not going to write about the recent horror in Connecticut.  But, something happened that set me on edge. I, like so many other people in the autism community was  devastated by the speculation (made by many news reporters)  that somehow this persons possible diagnosis of autism was the cause of his horrendous crime. Of course this has been refuted by bloggers, organizations...even "The New York Times" had something to say about it. Unfortunately, the seed had already been planted. Many were convinced.  So much so that I even found a hate group on Facebook-calling for the execution of anyone on the spectrum. Pretty chilling. ( Of course I reported it-and I believe that it was taken down.) But the thing that personally floored me was the reaction that I received from some of the people I know. People that know my children.   People that I have trusted AND  who have had the privilege of  spending time with my kids. When I discussed this with them, when I adamantly declared that there is absolutely no correlation between autism and violent crime...some of them gave me...*sigh* "The Look." As if they knew better-as if I were deluding myself.  That somehow it was o.k. to condemn an entire group of people-my kids included. Simply because it gave them an explanation. Makes them feel safe.  Case closed,

  I get that when something so horrific such as this crime takes place-it is human nature to try and figure out the cause, to find something to blame..To try and make sense out of the senseless.  The speculation has run rampant.  Maybe he was autistic? Maybe he was mentally ill? Maybe he played to many video games? Maybe he was on the wrong meds? Maybe it is meds in general? Maybe his mother wanted to have him committed and he was angry?  Maybe it is our mental health system?..I have heard just about everything being blamed with maybe the exception of his hair color. The truth of it is-we will probably never know.  But more importantly, I do know this- you can not blame whole groups of people based on speculation and maybes. You can not nor should not call for more death and destruction.  Twenty six people were murdered. That is already too much.

My heart goes out to the all of the families. May they one day find peace.

"The deep pain that is felt 
at the death of every friendly soul 
arises from the feeling that there is 
in every individual something 
which is inexpressible, 
peculiar to him alone, 
and is, therefore, 
absolutely and irretrievably lost." 
- Arthur Schopenhauer

Monday, December 10, 2012

Catching up with thankful..

~“I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”~ Woody Allen

  Wow-I seem to have misplaced the month of November. One minute it is Halloween and now all of a sudden we are preparing for Christmas. I guess that I have some catching up to do..

Halloween went really well this year-costumes were easy-the kids had a great time...the boys gave me all their candy.  that works well for me.

Oscar as the Red Angry Bird
 My boys are more interested in dressing up than in actual trick or treating. To them-the costume is everything.   My girls are more like me-driven.They do like dressing up-but they also like getting as much candy as they can fit in their bags..I am probably one of the only adults who spurs her kids on to get to the "good" houses before they ran out of candy.  You know, the ones that give out real chocolate-or giant candy bars..After seven years of living here-I know the hot spots.  For instance,we always run on over to the local  funeral home-because, they give out big candy bars.(.they also have a "parking at your own risk" sign.. which kind of makes me wonder.)  As a kid-Halloween was one of my most favorite holidays. It wasn't so much the dressing up as it was the free candy.  You have to understand.  I grew up in a home where an apple was considered a snack, a treat...sometimes even...gasp!  a dessert!  So any day that consisted of filling a bag up of free candy-was a good day indeed.  I have wonderful memories of trick or treating for hours, going home and counting candy bars with my brother and sister(all of us still in costume) each other for favorites...finding the perfect hiding spot so that my brother wouldn't steal some. Although he always managed to find it....*sigh*  Always.  I did eventually get him back though (as only a younger sibling can). I won't go into details...lets just say it involved a strategically(and very publicly) placed "Playboy" magazine...and my mother.   I may have been younger-but I was oh so much smarter.  Maybe it's me..but my kids seem to get along better with each other than I did with my siblings.  Sure, the argue and fight...but somehow it just doesn't seem the same. I do know that if I ever found a strategically placed "Playboy" magazine-I would just laugh.. I wouldn't however, stand for candy thievery of any sort! Especially if it were mine That sort of behavior is just not tolerated in this house.  .


Thanksgiving rolled around like it always does-right when the kids have finally adjusted to the routine of school. *sigh*  Although each year gets a little bit better for us.  There was a time when sitting at the table and eating was just not an option..for any of us. Way back then..we were in a different place.  We didn't know what was going on with the boys..words like "sensory overload" or "stimming" had no meaning for us. But even in those dark times, I still found myself thankful. We had each other-all of us.  We were a family,we held tight to each other and we would and could get through anything. Sleep deprivation..endless screaming and frustration..things that at times pushed me to my limits and beyond..through all of that.. our boys never gave up on us..loved us unconditionally-no matter how many times I may have let them down( through my ignorance of the situation-and my impatience)..they were (and still are)two of  the most beautiful beings I could ever have the privilege to parent.So,  Thanksgiving has a lot of meaning to me.  This year as Omar set out the traditional turkey dinner, and I set out the traditional pizza, I once again thought about how thankful that I was. There I was, surrounded by most of those nearest and dearest to my heart....and we were ALL sitting at the table. 


December is a busy busy time for me.  I love Christmas. I love getting the kids presents..I ADORE using the threat of calling Santa(for those that still believe) to get good behavior...actually, I start bringing that up in September.It is one of my favorite times of year. Gift giving, cookie baking...all of it-well, except for maybe the annual Christmas concert..(Am I the only parent that loathes these things?  Or am I the only one that just openly admits it?) It's a wonderful time (except for the two hours at the concert...AND how could I forget- the two hours spent with the Girl Scouts singing to victims senior citizens)  I am looking forward to the holiday. To some down time spent with the people I love most..It should be wonderful.  If by chance it becomes to much-Or I find myself overwhelmed by what needs to be done (think concerts) I still have plenty of Halloween candy left to help carry me through.I keep it hidden in the garage...along with a copy of "Playboy" should my brother decide to come visit...