A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pediatric Dentist de Sade

So I went on a quest for a dentist for the twins with TWO hard and fast requirements.
  1. No sedation
  2. We must be present with them during dental work

I wasn't trying to be a hard ass - but frankly I read too much of "small child dies at dentist because they were over-anesthetized" AND - my little guys can't/don't follow instructions for anyone but us.

They can't communicate needs or wants or pain, they just FREAK OUT if you don't know what they need.

So imagine my delight when calling my oldest sons dentist to discover that they handle special needs and completely agree with me on all counts. I was thrilled because the big boy had such a POSITIVE experience with them last year and we NEEDED our school forms for the twins.

I take the big boy for his annual visit and it's all sunshine and lollipops. A wonderland of dental happiness and overwhelming care for my child. I couldn't be happier. I just knew it would be a GREAT experience for the twins too - these people were so nice.

And then we took the twins.

First off. "Oh No You can't go back with them. That's the doctor's policy sorry."

We tried to explain THEIR special needs and were told, with a SNORT of disgust "I KNOW what autism is, I HAVE an autistic Uncle." My blood started to boil but I kept my silence. (oh btw, this would have been the equivalent of me saying to her "I KNOW what racism is, I KNOW some black people!")

We tried to explain that their should be accommodations for special needs clients and were told SNORT! NO! This is the DOCTORS POLICY!

We asked to see the Doctor and this is when all sentences started to begin with "Look, SIR" - directed at my husband. (Hint to all business owners, this is a bad employee. She represents you poorly.) We were let know in NO uncertain terms that the dentist did NOT have any time to speak with US about our requests and that she would be taking time away from other patients and that just wasn't going to happen.

We asked if our oldest son could go back - at least he could translate for the twins needs and maybe they would listen to him......SNORT no.......

then apparently we had just disgusted her TOO much with our requests and SOOO MANY WORDS. She stomped off and returned to with the dentist, where we learned that at THIS dental office it was only sunshine and lollipops if you didn't look behind the curtain. Once you have seen the man behind the curtain it's OFF WITH YOUR HEAD.

The dentist came out, was a nasty bitch and really point blank let us know that no indeed she couldn't change the policy (ummm - the policy YOU made?) Her statement "If I change it for YOU I have to change it for EVERYONE!" to which we asked if ALL her patients were autistic? We tried to explain that exceptions had to be made, accommodations for special needs children which was apparently some sort of unheard of practice (hey how come you have handicapped parking spots outside then?)

We gave up and let them take our children back without us for the VERY brief school screening. Where we heard them scream and cry and shout the whole time. What a lovely positive experience. They didn't even know which twin was which.

That very afternoon my husband got into the car and drove to another dentist office, a pediatric dentist office, who we will now be patronizing. We're paying out of pocket for the big boy to get a NEW exam and the NEW office will do his filling work for us today.

I drove to the Dentist de Sade yesterday and picked up our medical records and xrays.

The new dentist has one dentist who specializes in only working on special needs children.

And that is who will be seeing my special little guys.

Apparently a family of three children with good dental insurance wasn't worth anything to Dentist de Sade. You'd think that if the milk of human kindness and compassion didn't mean anything to her, that the dollars would have.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's Cool When They Listen

My oldest boy is some strange combination of very little boy and very wise philosopher that often blows my mind. He's always been such a little sponge to all the information around him but suddenly, all these concepts and ideas are swelling into new ideas all his own.


For instance, we've been watching LIFE AFTER PEOPLE. If you are not familiar it's a show about how the cities will crumble after we're gone, and how all the flora and fauna will carry on without human influence. It's fairly interesting.






He announces to me last night that I shouldn't worry if there are not more people. "Because Mom, the great apes will just evolve then." I guess I smiled or looked incredulous because he looked at me seriously and said "Mom, they have THUMBS" wiggling his at me.


Ah yes, pulling ye old evolutionary card, we homo-sapiens ARE familiar with the value of the thumb. Why, I'm using my thumbs right now, come to think.


But before I go beating my chest (hearkening back to my ape ancestors) with pride over my brilliant son, I might point out one of his other recent ideas.

He has suggested that we should SINK the Queen Mary because it's haunted. Yes, solely because it's haunted. I asked him why this would help - and the informed me that the ghosts couldn't get people if they were under water.



Turns out he's six after all, eh?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Has Autism Changed Your Life?


A social worker asked me that last fall. She was a really sweet, short little round person who had a disability herself due to a car accident, so I was more inclined to be kind to her rather than bite her head off which might have been my first reaction to someone else. Thus I was nice when I responded.

Change my life? Try define my life.

Autism defines my family's life. And while we are lucky that we refuse to be total hostages to it as I see some are -still there are concessions and changes that are probably invisible to the naked eye which we live with as begrudging captives. There are channels we cannot watch because little boys fear them (who knows why). You must close the door a certain way or there will be screaming. One child claps constantly. There is screaming when there is frustration - the type you will find in an 18 month old or two year old. When one screams, the other tends to scream.

So double that screaming please.

And then there is the unexpected. The things you can't count on but that with a "normal" child you work through together.

Scenario: Child is sobbing. Child appears to be in pain. Child is writhing on the floor and is inconsolable and the sobbing is becoming screaming.

Non-Autistic Child Solution: Tell me what hurts? Did you hurt yourself? Show Mommy......

and then you respond accordingly.

Autistic Child Solution: Remember when your newborn would scream and scream and you did trial and error to figure out what was wrong.

There you go. That's what we've been doing now for almost 12 hours on and off.


The best we can figure using parent-math is that he is constipated and is trying not to poop.

Parent math works like this. Variables are 1 or 2 X hours = normal bodily function/abnormal function ........so in our case 2 (0 X 24) hours = constipation. See you do use math in life.


With my oldest I can put him in bed and he'll snuggle and there might be tears but he'll settle down and sleep, comforted in my arms. But with my little math problem,such as last night, those comforts are fleeting. Because while he takes comfort from being with me - the meaning of my words doesn't sink in. That calm a mother can wash over a small child simply by being their mother doesn't apply. He hurts therefore- when it suits him, he must scream. Or flail. Or roll.

And then intermittently curl up into me and say Mommy. Or I love.


And I sleep for 10 more minutes before another scream cracks my ears.
You might think I resent it. Emma and I recently had a conversation people who resent their children. I might have fleeting moments of frustration and not so fleeting moments of heartbreak but all in all, no I don't resent either of them. Not even on morning like this when I'm drinking coffee like it's my lifeblood because my sleep was so interrupted. Since even before we HAD a diagnoses we knew something was off. And I suppose that in a way that was a blessing - it might've been more devastating to really think everything was peachy and then WHAMMO - Official Diagnoses "Not So Much".
And I never forget that despite the wicked unfairness of having one but TWO autistic children, there are people who have it SO much worse. Heart defects, physical trauma that leaves them hooked up to tubes and in custom wheel chairs. There was the story of the baby who had massive brain damage that they unplugged and expected to die peacefully - and who did NOT die at all. Now what? I am lucky. I am not one of them. It could be worse. I must knock on wood.

How has autism changed my life?


I couldn't begin to say.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

And THIS Is Why We Didn't Go To The Family Reunion


What the hell?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Tallest Dad In Georgia


I don't get the opportunity to surprise my husband that much. He surprises me daily sometimes, with something special for dinner, a secret destination - something sweet in my email.

I on the other hand, not so much. I'd like to say that it's my hectic work schedule or how bizzy bizzy bizzy I am once I get home (lies) so then......I guess I'll have to admit it.

I'm lazy. I don't MEAN to be thoughtless or lack spontaneity and I often think of good ideas AFTER the fact......but to really PLAN out a surprise? I seldom have it in me.

This is a character flaw I fully acknowledge.

So for Father's Day this year, I wanted to surprise him. I wanted to take him somewhere that is in keeping with the things we like to do, but that is a place we had never been. Something spectacular.



The Chattahoochee National Forest is home to Brasstown Bald and that is where I planned our day, to make him the TALLEST DAD IN GEORGIA.

There is a nice lookout at the top of the mountain, and a small nature center inside with activities for the little guys. And a funny sign. But mostly it was just a day in the fresh mountain air surrounded by the 4 people who love him so.






We had a picnic afterwards on the side of the mountain. I had wanted it to be romantic and wonderful even with the kids, but with the mad winds from up and down the mountainside, we couldn't even use plates. And after seeing the switchbacks up the mountain, I was glad we didn't have any wine with our meal.

HOLD ONTO THAT CRACKER BOY!





But the view was beautiful nonetheless. It was a great spot for a picnic.

And the WIN is that I did surprise him. I succeeded! He thought I was taking him to a kangaroo park! (Apparently there is one nearby). So for his Father's Day......I took him to the top of the highest mountain in GA to show him that I think he's the best. I can never adequately express what a superior parent he is, and the commitment he exhibits toward making intelligent men out of our boys. His workload never stops, the train of things for him to do is never ending. His wife never pulls her weight - she's exactly like a husband who works I swear.


But she appreciates him and loves him and wants everyone to know that the smart, well mannered children they see out in public are 100% because of the time, energy and love that their Father put into them while she was away at work.


And there is no gift to adequately thank him for that.


NOW. I present to you.


The tallest Dad in Georgia!


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Beep Beep Comin' Thru - The Ball Horn

We still have to check the twins diapers/pull ups regularly (they're autistic if you are not keeping up) and well......five years later we are kind of silly about it, I gotta admit. The other day I was giving a boy the requisite crotch crab to check the diaper status and my husband asked me if I was honking his ball horn.
BEEP BEEP.
Which got us to giggling. And referring to the diaper check as honking the ball horn. Cuz let's face it - unless you're looking for a muddy diaper, you check the front to verify it's soft vs. full status.

BEEP BEEP.

Then we got to speculating on how much fun it'd be if there WAS a ball horn. The phrase "Beep Beep Coming Thru would have a whole new meaning! You know, during those private times there would be a little song........beep..........beep...........beep...beep...beepbeepbeepbeep......BEEEEEEEEEEEP.

You get it.

So the other night when I got a handful of the waiters junk, I immediately let the husband know I had TOTALLY Honked the Ball Horn.

Of course, I was so tickled telling the story of the restaurant and the crotch sightings that I forgot to explain the title of the post. But, now you are up to speed.

BEEP BEEP!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I Don't Feel Good

Seriously, I felt so bad for so long before and after surgery that I was a little high on feeling good. I admit it. I was taking it for granted. Not feeling sick, not being in pain......it was going to my head.
Mother Nature had decided to tap on my door - just a little reminder of the fragility of the human condition.
I'm better, but she reminds me I'm not perfect. So she decided to swell up the lymph glad on the left side of my neck. Just enough that I can feel it.
No other symptom than what someone I know refers to as "general malaise".
I simply don't feel good.

I'm probably most put out about it, because I was FEELING SO AMAZINGLY GOOD.

So I take some vitamins and I take some Tylenol and I wrap it up early tonight even though there's computerville stuff I would like to get done.

Let's hope that a good night's sleep is exactly what my body is looking for.

I'm really not up for a round of being sick. Not now. It's not fair!

Now here is your moment of Zen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jon and Kate Derail and I Don't Care

My friend Leslie confesses to me that she's recently just stepping away from the Jon and Kate fever that seems to have consumed everyone lately. I personally have never seen the show and had only heard of them in a cursory way before they started cheated on one another and being abusive or whatever the heck they are up to.
She confessed it like it was a guilty pleasure but of all the people I know, Leslie is the LEAST surprising to have been a watcher of that particular program.
Leslie likes interesting people - she's a junior sociologist at heart. And while not a Mom I know that the same person who watches art films and documentaries would've found the spectacle on that show to be interesting - an experiment on video. I'm not surprised that she was fascinated, Meerkat manner is kind of fixating also - and I seem to recall her having more than a passing interest in it at one time.
But Leslie also has the sense to step away. When she's absorbed all that she's going to from something, she moves on to the next thing. And she knows a train wreck when she sees it. So she tells me she's probably going to step away and move on to whatever that next thing is that can fixate her and pique her interest.

I say bravo.

I think what is ACTUALLY odd, vs. Leslie watching the show - is people expecting me to have an opinion or vested interest in the show. Leslie knew better but other people don't seem to -which surprises me. I even remember the first people saying "So what do you think about all the Jon and Kate gossip" and WHOOOSH the genie was out of th bottle and those two freaks were everywhere.

Prior to that I had only ever seen a couple of twins club notices that one or the other of them would be in town speaking. (come to think of it, they billed it as THEM but only she showed up and there was grumbling I recall). I didn't know what their multiple status was and truthfully I'm still not entirely sure. Two sets of 4, 4 sets of 2, one set of six and a set of twins, two sets of three and one set of two........I don't know.

You see, we're not friends. I have a set of twins. They have some order of multiples I'm not even certain of. They MIGHT be members of NOMOTC but I don't really know. And I don't have an opinion of them. I watched two minutes of their show the other night - flipping channels I happened to recognize HER and her I LOVE THE 80s haircut so I stopped.

She was yelling at him like a Harpy.

I was done.

Having multiples is really hard. Being married is really hard. Neither thing is all rainbows and butterflies and I cannot imagine letting you in here to see the days that I'm a big baby and don't help out around the house because I want to sit here and blog (LIKE NOW). Or the days where we're mad at each other because our stress levels are too high and there are no other adults to take it out on.

But truth is, anything worth doing challenges you. And I know that when I roll over and smell my husbands pillow that I feel safe and secure. And when he holds me close in the mornings and whispers that he loves me, I know that there is nothing better in the whole world than being a family.

And no cameras in the house could actually ever capture the feeling of contentment and joy I get from my family.

As a matter of fact......it sort of looks like they have the exact opposite effect - doesn't it?

Beep Beep! Comin' Through!

So while out and about this past weekend we decided to check out a diner that we hadn't been to before. On the outside it was a 50s diner dream - neon tubing and shiny metal with lots of kitsch. But on the inside it was rich and gorgeous with dark wood paneling and carpets - completely OUT of keeping with the theme you'd expect.

Even the bathrooms were luxurious - instead of a tile print there was - well I dunno like a FRIEZE on the wall the likes of which you might expect to find in a roman ruin.

The menu was fairly normal but had a lot of variety.

But while we were waiting for our food.......the husband and I noticed a couple of things. First off, the manager dude with his bald head, tight silk pants and shirt...........well........

He was clearly the alpha male in the room.

I know this by the enormous "This Is a Joke From Spinal Tap" sort of thing he had lodged in his pants. It was SO pronounced and distracting - that well, frankly - I got so flustered and cracked up by it that as I sat down after taking the big boy to the restroom I casually moved my arm backward.......and got a handful.


But not of Mr Manager.


Of OUR WAITER. So there, now I'm waiting on our food and I've just had the waiter's goods in my right hand. What's the etiquette here? He nodded, said EXCUSE ME and moved on quickly about his business. And I said excuse me and went back to my business of being a customer.


It was about this moment in time that we realized that aside from all the civilians in the place, the restaurant was entirely peopled by Paulie, Big Paulie, Little Paulie, Big Pussy, Tony, Big Tony, Little Tony and EVERY OTHER MEMBER OF THE CAST OF THE SOPRANOS.

Or - their real life counterparts.


No lie. We were dining in an established run by and largely patronized by Friends of Ours. Or perhaps they had all just been to a Soprano's look like contest and all the winners had come back to this one place for dinner.


And I had just felt up the waiter.


Yeah that's right.


So where's my Gumah Badge?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Local Tourist




People will often ask me what is going on this weekend - where are we going to be, because we go go go go. But really, due to my husbands diligent tracking of what is free to do we don't SPEND a fortune going and doing - we just keep a reservoir of that which is good and free and make sure we get out and enjoy where we live.
I think a lot of people don't. It's like you always hear about New Yorkers who never go to the Statue of Liberty. Why is that? I don't get it.
I embrace my inner tourist nearly ever weekend, and I think my children are smarter because of it.



There is just so much to do EVERYWHERE that in a place like Atlanta it'd be a sin NOT to get out and see what there is to do. Such as - the worlds LARGEST Aquarium (largest tank in the world - pictured!). Are you kidding me? HOW COULD WE NOT GO THERE REGULARLY. The site of the whale sharks alone is enough to put you into a state of mellow peace. It's good for the soul, the worlds largest aquarium is - I swear even with the crowds.


Look UP! WHALE SHARK! There is one right behind this happy boy of mine, as well.
They make Little Birth of Cool dance!


Little Birdman wonders what this guy is doing in the tank.






And when you live in a place, you are obliged to embrace local cuisine. I think this is a law. When we lived in Tampa .......it was Cuban Food!
Now that we're south of the Mason Dixon Line it's all about THE BARBECUE.


And who are we to disrespect that?


This was our adventure to Dreamland BBQ which is marvelously famous and deliciously tasty. You know a place is good if they serve you white bread for soppin' and have paper towels right on the table. At that point, the meal is no joke - it's gonna be messy and good!


So there. That's just one day's worth of fun. There is a lot to do, if you know where to look.





Monday, June 08, 2009

Urban Oasis




I am minutes from getting in my car and driving to work, but I wanted to take a few (while I drink my coffee) and share how we celebrated our weekend. We took the kids to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens WHICH are amazing!


If I five year old is captivated - they have to be cool - don't they?


There were lots of fancy photographers there, especially in the orchid conservatory.






So you know, I had to be cool and take orchid pics too.



It was a beautiful day to get outside and breathe fresh air and get my mind ready to return to work. Now that I'm up and about getting ready, I'm feeling pretty good and am quite glad to go back!




I have no point, other than to say it was a beautiful day and I feel better.

And I am so glad.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Why I'm Still On Leave

My body jumped in to remind me today why I'm still on leave. I feel exactly good enough to be tricked into thinking I'm ok. I would say that for the past three days my abdomen has felt "tender".....which is a far cry from the fiery hell of the first 48 hours after surgery I promise you. My scars are healing nicely (according to the surgeon) and he even alleges that I am likely to be able to consume regular food without it exploding out the other end in a few months.


So you know,I've got THAT going for me.


I guess the trick of it is - you think you have strength where you do not, you think you can do things that in fact you should not. I think it's ok to scoop up a five year old to kiss him and it's a bad plan after all when I feel that warm burning spread across my abdomen.


Just a little biological warning sign - "Hey, stop that now."


The nurses at the short stay unit, whom I called several days ago after getting kicked by a five year old (accidentally) in the stomach, advised that I might experience some discomfort due to "adhesion".


This is another medical gem imparted by the nurses. Apparently when they have your belly all extended and bloated, they knock about a bit with their probes and instruments, separating tissues that have been connected inside you oh, since shortly after your cells differentiated inside your mother's womb to make you a human and not a menstrual cycle.


These tissues do not care for this separation, and can scab up a bit and then as you heal, they are uncomfortable, and can come apart somewhat as you heal AGAIN causing you more discomfort.


How feckin revolting is that. I've got scabs. Tissue scabs. Or some crap like that.

I told my surgeon I had kicked the pain meds, proudly, and he scoffed at me. "Why, take what you need! This is important for healing! You must take them when you feel discomfort it helps your body heal faster when you are not tense and in pain."

So today I took two. Not together, rather in sequence as required. The second seems to be making me feel a bit better. I didn't get dressed today, which is a slip as well - I'd been dressed the past three days.

But I'm cleared to return to the land of the living on June 8 and I'm fairly excited even if I'm worried about this slip.

I might even put clothes on when I go back to work! Unless I can find a way to define these jammies as corporate casual.

Totally unrelated - check out the cool egg I found at an antique shop a while back!






Monday, June 01, 2009

Follow Up Appt!

So today is the big FOLLOW up appt with my surgeon. It truly seems like weeks ago that I had the surgery.
Weeks ago and I still feel like hell, let me add. I don't feel nearly as bad - mind you. I am fully aware I could feel MUCH MUCH MUCH worse.
But you know, I'm still OFF, still not right. Still too tired, still sore and hurt.

So we'll see what he says!