A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Using Her Words

Having two autistic children has cast my ideas of parenting and what is OK and what isn't, into a different light, to be sure.
The oldest child was born sweet and gentle, with a kind heart and soft disposition that doesn't involve a lot of tantrums or disagreements. He's always been that way. I used to joke that he was the trick baby, the baby that fooled you into thinking they were ALL that easy.
I never had to much have the YOU WILL OBEY ME I AM THE PARENT battles with him. He generally just did the right thing. Or, sulked about and did the right thing.
The girl however...the girl has her own mind.
Sometimes it's a safety issue, she wants to bunny hop down the stairs and will scream and cry when I say no to this. She wants to run away from me when it's not safe to do so. These are in fact punishable offenses round these parts because, like Disney, we're very SAFETY FIRST parents. So she has to learn that she MUST do what I ask sometimes simply because those things WILL IN FACT keep her alive.

But last night, there was a battle of the wills that reminded me JUST how much I treasure her words. It was time for jammies and we were once again putting on her giant BATMAN jammies - it's really one of her brother's jammie shirts that fits her like a nightgown. It was going to get down to the 30s last night, so I pulled on some pajama bottoms because you know, COLD NIGHT.

That was when she started sobbing, and clutching at the pants. And sobbing some more and declaring that she didn't want pants she didn't want pants she didn't want pants and as I tried to explain that she needed them she shouted and sobbed "I KNOW WHAT I WANT!!"

She is two. And she knows what she wants. It kind of gave me and the husband pause, and I took off her pants. She wiped her face and smiled.

It's easy to forget, for me, that she isn't a little child without words or much in the way of opinions. The twins don't much care, they'd wear banana peels most days if I put those on them. They might not like it but, generally they don't have strong opinions on things. They just sort of amble on, and choose different things to tantrum about.

But the girl, she knows what she wants. It makes me proud, it relieves me in ways I can't explain. She's going to probably get away with too much in childhood just because I'm thrilled she speaks.

I hope she never catches on to that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sample Packets, I Hate Them

First of all, let me just start off by saying that FREE THINGS are festive. So I'm not actually at all bitching about someone giving me free things. But I have to say - PACKETS are always the lamest sort of free thing. Packets are like "We don't care enough to give you a proper free sample but here is a smidgen of something we dare you to complain about this free gift."

But TARGET, and everyone else (this is the Target beauty bag that just went out) - HERE is what is wrong with packets.

They suck.

They are hard to open. First of all, they end up in my bathroom. And if your packet is made of some super space age polymer it won't rip properly. I find that they are ALL made of super space age polymer. I don't keep scissors in my bathroom so then I'm stuck there making nicks in it with the toenail clippers. Like a crazy wanton desperate for better shampoo I cut away seeking to make a hole big enough FOR the product to come out.

This is if you remember to open it pre-shower.

But if you are sleepy for forgetful and roll into the shower with them WOE TO YOU.

First of all your hands will be pruny and wet and slippery, your nails will be soft. Your ability to rip open that space age polymer that holds the best shampoo ever will have been rendered to nil. You resort to your teeth.

And learn that space age polymer has some aluminum in it, or something that makes every bit of dental work in your head sing like a failed contestant on American Idol.

Wee bottles, Target and everyone else, enough to TRY your product, is where it's at. Because, I've found a lot of things I love and will buy from Birchbox - in pots and bottles of a size to use. The packets? Dry out, or I forget about them. Because I can't do the dance involved in getting them open.

I'm foolish enough to believe THIS is what they'll send.

Because THAT'S full size stuff. But for instance that sample of Pixi BB cream or whatever it is? What - am I supposed to try that on my forehead? Wear it around, see how it goes?

I got a small bottle of Aveeno scrub from you last time, fell in love with it - and will now buy it. When it ran out I HAD TO HAVE IT. You really didn't much inspire such excitement with any of the things you sent this time, which I'll use once and won't know how it really works because I'll forget. If they idea is to entice me to buy MORE, that's fail.

Anyway, that's a small rant. Thanks for the conditioner. I was out. THANK GOD I REMEMBERED TO OPEN IT BEFORE I GOT INTO THE SHOWER. Of course, I did use the toenail clippers.





Monday, October 22, 2012

The Children You Didn't Choose

The other night I sat working at the computer when Julia wheeled her baby up into my leg. "Baby Monkey!" she declared.
I'm not sure King Kong would agree that he's anyone's Baby Monkey. But I am interested in the babies she chooses to play mommy to. She chooses teddy bears, and dolls, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a pair of shoes, and obviously - King Kong.
Her concepts of parenthood are wide. It's smaller than you, you take care of it and love it.
That's it. She whispers "Don't worry I'm here" and I hear my own tone and inflection being mimicked.

When you grow up, it never occurs to you that your baby won't be that perfect bundle of pink, somewhat Winston Churchill looking awesomeness. Even if what they hand you is perfect, you don't know what bombs are laid, errors in DNA, mistakes in that old recombinant DNA that are going to make life different than anyone else you ever knew.

But the truth is, parenthood is that wide, as my two year old's vision of it. It's just that our vision narrows.

We read this book called "I Love You Stinkyface" and the child asks their mom "What if..." they were this monster or that monster, extolling the horrors of that creature. The mother smiles and talks about how she would take care of them, how if they were a gross alien, she'd pack their lunch with bugs and a note that said "I love you my greenie!"

Thats what motherhood is to me. I have four children. They might be King Kong, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a pair of shoes. But they are mine.

And they need never to worry.

Because I'm here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October Birchbox is Goopy

So this month for my Birchbox I had a choice, a GOOP Birchbox or a regular Birchbox.

I chose a GOOP Birchbox because, hey. Goop.

I don't actually know that GOOP is. I looked at their website and from what I can tell, without subscribing, you sign up and they tell you what is cool. I think this is awesome because, I have to accept that I'm 44 and I no longer know what is cool.

I'm okay with some 20 somethings telling me what's cool. I reserve the right to tell them to get off my damn lawn.

But as a mom of four, I gotta admit, I buy stuff for my self less than ever so it's festive to me that things come in a magic box once a month.
This month it's got two full size things - a LUNA bar which I'm guessing is some sort of granola bar, meal bar thing, and bottle of Essie nail polish (WIN) in a fall color that I do like a lot.

So basically right there, I got my ten bucks worth.

This is the card that comes with to tell you about the products you've gotten.The two wee bottles are sample sizes of various face skin stuff, lip enhancer (for DSL) and under eye cream (for us old chix) so, yay. Things in flat rip open packets I will forever forget so, it's some sort of sun screen I will never use.

Also, I signed up for Goop. Nice marketing Goop.

Do You Mind If You Are Cloned?

This popped into my head this morning while pouring some mocha peppermint creamer and I'm not sure why.

But, I don't mind if I'm cloned.

Not for cartoonish reasons, to help with my work so I can play hooky and get my nails done. Not so that I can actually get any sort of house work or yard work or parenting accomplished successfully. Not for any reason like that.

What I mean is, if someone took my DNA and created another human that is biologically me, I don't think I care.

My DNA is on file at Columbia University, as is my husband's. This is because we have severely autistic fraternal twins. Apparently them being fraternal and BOTH autistic is the ace card genetically - they shouldn't BOTH be autistic. There are a lot of studies now leaning toward it being genetic but no one really knows. But my DNA is on file because when we had Julia and had to do genetic screening - the coordinator nearly salivated to learn this was in our family, and asked permission to put us in a genetic study.

We said yes. If for no other reason then maybe they CAN figure out why this happens.

It was pointed out to me that "THEY CAN DO ANYTHING" with your DNA. That's true. They can. I gave it to them.

I'd prefer if they didn't grow humans to harvest organs from. Unless those organs were for me, maybe. I don't know. That seems ethically wrong too, so scratch that. So OK no growing clones of me for terrible medical experiments.

But, using my DNA to create another biological creature that's me? To seed planets? To repopulate the Earth after a holocaust? Just to see if you could?

I don't know. It's not me. I am more than my twisting double helix. Am I responsible for this clone if someone makes one? Do I have to raise it? That'd be weird. I mean I probably WOULD consider it like my baby if you handed it to me but it'd be odd just the same. I also think though, I might not feel any great need to have that clone in my life if it were raised elsewhere.

Cloning me so other people can have children? Like,  manufacturing babies? That could happen.

I don't know what I think about that. I guess I'm OK with it. I was a pretty good kid, I think they'd like me. I get sick a lot as a kid, someone should let them know I have a sinus cavity deformity. They will want to get that fixed.

I am not sure why this train of thought got stuck in my head this morning, perhaps it was the little autistic boy stealing my coffee that reminded me of the genetic counselor. That is probably how my mind wandered here.

There are a lot of bio-ethical issues with cloning humans and I guess that's why we don't do it.

But as for me?

Clone away.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Winging It

Any parent of an autistic child will tell you that there are 1000 experts out there on Autism and not one of them knows anything about OUR children. They are all as different as they are the same, and nothing ever reminds me of that as when I'm trying to figure out how to deal with an Autism fit.

You see, there isn't a formla, or a discipline strategy you can use for a real Austism trantrum. For your typical children, you can spank or do time outs, or send them a strongly worded email if that's how you roll. With autistic children, there is no conversation that is going to alter what is going on. Words are meaningless.

Think about that. Words are empty and powerless to change these situations. You have a kid, going crazy, or reasons known or unknown, and nothing you can say can calm this child or make them see reason.

Good times, right?

This morning, we faced the battle of the sippy cup. The girl child likes chocolate milk in the morning. Five days a week it's no issue as we're all gone by the time she and Daddy have chocolate milk. But, on the weekends it's a never ending battle over WHICH CUP WHO GETS.

This morning it was epic. We have a plain white cup with a blue lid, and a cup with faded Toy Story print and an orange lid. Truth, be told, BOTH cups had Toy Story prints I believe, one just faded all the way off. Both Julia and Miles want the orange cup. Julia is two. Miles is 8 but basically also 2.

And so, while Julia will cry and sulk, Miles will flip out. So - Miles gets the orange cup.

Except this morning while my back was turned, Julia ran over, took his cup and handed him hers and RAN.

And it was ON. Sobbing, hysterical screaming even though his cup was restored and all was well.

This is when you have to get creative. Because, you can try extinction - ignoring the tantrum. But I find that doesn't work so well. So as he's hitting his leg and screaming and raving, Britney Spears comes on the radio. And inspiration strikes.

I pick him up and start singing loudly spinning him around "My loneliness, is killing me BAAAAABAAAAAY," and I notice him smiling. " I must confess, I still BELIEEEEEVE STILL BELIEVE!"

I spin him around and dip him "When I'm not with you, I LOOOOOSE MY MIIIIND GIVE ME A SIIIIIIIGN...."

Why do I know this song?

No idea.
But it's working.

Every day we make it up as we go. I'd like to say it's easy but GOD it's not.

And now, I hear a tantrum going....so....I'm off.

Friday, October 12, 2012

And Right On Time it's Fall

We returned to the north Georgia mountains to Burt's Farm for our annual quest for pumpkins a couple of weekends ago.
It's a family tradition that everyone gets their own pumpkin to either paint or carve and we let the little ones choose their own, they simply have to be big enough to pick it up.
I got another blue pumpkin, despite the fact that they are an epic pain in the ass to carve, they're pretty and Martha Stewart makes me covet them.
Being able to lift the pumpkin didn't deter Julia from deciding many LARGE pumpkins should be hers. In fact, she more than once declared they were all "MINE! THEY'RE MY KUNKINS!" She yelled. She was more than a little dismayed to be told otherwise.
This is her saying "HEY DATS MY KUNKIN!" lol. HEYYYYYYYY. Yes, she's a pistol.
We always take the hayride and it's a nice LONG hayride with beautiful woods and fields to look at along the way.

But the number one attraction is the talking pumpkins who tell us that humans are just like jackolanterns because God guts us and puts a candle inside. I'm serious they really say that. Sounds more like a Mayan God than Yahweh but, ok.
Seriously, it takes everything in me not to howl when I hear this every year. I get it, it's a metaphor but it's sort of a grisly metaphor and I'm not sure that Burts farm needs it to be "more" wholesome and family friendly. It doesn't GET more wholesome and family friendly than Burts Farm. I don't need deities gutting me and mine. Not even metaphorically.
It is fascinating to roll through the pumpkin fields though, especially when you see how many pumpkins they HAVE ALREADY CUT for sale. Wow, we buy a lot of pumpkins.
After we do our hayride and after we do our pumpkin choosing we start looking for more pumpkin and gourd things for fall decorating. We usually end up with enough for Halloween AND Thanksgiving decorations.
It's how we spend out "day out" for my birthday most years, and I really like it. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and my kids just run and smile all day. Even the twins love it and are excited when we pull up in the parking lot every year.
I think it's the perfect way to usher in fall. And now it's time to start thinking about Halloween!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Birthday With An Asian Theme

I wasn't sure what to think about turning 44 because that sounds awfully serious and old. But, when I walked into my office Tuesday morning, all hopes of me being expected to be serious or straight laced evaporated.
It's a Hello Kitty meets Halloween theme. Really, how can I be expected to be serious when Hello Kitty meets Halloween? And at the age of 44, to have a Hello Kitty birthday party was about as much fun as I could've expected.
But the husband and the girl met me for lunch and we ventured over to the Megamart which has traditional Asian fare of various sorts. We feasted on steam buns, I had red bean and the husband tried the vegetarian and something else, both he said were spicy and good. I love the Megamart, it's like a crazy Asian grocery store/food court/department store. They have everything, including an escalator especially for your cart.

After work we had been wanting to try out a local Chinese place that feature Chinese and Thai on one side and Japanese on the other. It's got a super kitschy traditional Chinese decor going, tons of gilding and dragons which was epic. We asked if they had any fun drinks, they suggested a Shirley Temple.
Turns out they don't have a liquor license.
Which was fine I had a Tsing Tao and we ordered a feast because we'd never been there and wanted to try a bit of this and that. I think they might've thought we were crazy because it was huge family style portions, but hey leftovers are good.
My kids were impressed AND liked the Thai coconut chicken soup. I thought it was just alright but my palette is not that adventurous. However I AM a big fan of food served on fire or with fire.

The takeaway from the day, I don't mind being 44. In a lot of ways, I kind of wish I could just stick here. It's pretty nice.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

The Boy Turns Ten

The Room We Rented HAD A DRAGON
Well he wanted a laser tag party and we don't always DO a big party with friends, but 10 is a big one, a milestone birthday. You move into double digits and nothing is ever the same again is it? Not quite a child not quite a teen, not even a tween.
So, a room with a dragon bursting through the wall for your party is probably right on schedule.
He invited lotsa kids and waddya know, laser tag party? Lotsa kids showed up! Quelle surprise, right?
It kind of nice to me, watching my kid interact with other kids. I always wonder how he is, in his own little world, outside of ours - if kids like him, what they think etc. So, I rather enjoy watching them laugh and giggle with him and just act like nerdy kids.
He picked out his own cake, a dinosaur themed cake, to go with the Star Wars paper goods, to go with the DRAGON/Excalibur sort of themed room (now that I think about it, we coulda had a Game of Thrones party in there) and then, laser tag and video games on top of all of it.
Man, that was probably a pretty good party if you were ten.
Top it off with a Sonic Screwdriver kit from Doctor Who? Seriously, good day.

This kid deserves it. He really does.
I am not sure how we'll top this next year, though.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Pressure

That phone call you dread, that something is wrong - no really wrong happened two days ago. My husband's left arm went numb. He didn't feel right.

The 18 miles between home and work were never longer.

The ambulance came and stuck things on his chest and asked him questions and we decided on which hospital, they felt like Northside had a nicer ER, and they were gone. It wasn't as quick like that but - it felt quick. Like WOOOSH and he was gone.

I stood on othe porch watching his face through the window of the ambulance, because I just needed to see him.

Then he was gone.

I spent the evening playing with the little ones while the big boy did his homework. We ordered pizza and got ready for bed. I didn't really know what else to do, I have four little people and so I just trudged on waiting.

It turns out his blood pressure was crazy high as was his pulse. They've given him BP medicine and scheduled all the tests for next week.

I need him to be ok. Universe, please sort that.


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Batman...Day Three And Counting

It started simply enough. After bath time, the girl child has decided she wants to get into the drawers and figure out clothes. She thinks that she should do this without any input from any sort of adult person.

Three days ago, Louis had tossed a Batman pajama top on the dresser. She spied it and shouted BATMAN!

Then, she had to wear it. The first day it was cute.
And she wore it around and then insisted that she sleep in it.

Then the next day.
And sleep in it. Declaring loudly, whenever questioned "I'm BATMAN!" and sometimes "I'm SUPERWHY BATMAN" because apparently they are the same person.

I'd like to claim to be awesome at "picking my battles" but I'm not. However, she benefits from being the fourth child and having two special needs brothers. Sometimes, I just don't have the strength of MIND to battle a two year old willing to go toe to toe with me.
So after we went out for parent teacher conference (IN A DIFFERENT SHIRT) we came home and took our bath. Then, she ran right over to the dirty clothes and grabbed it and brought it to me with big blue eyes.

I said NO. It's dirty. We'll wash it, you can wear it for jammies (mind you it's like a size 10 or something).

And her chin trembled. And her eyes began to leak. And she says "But Mommy I'm Batman."
To hell with it.

She's Batman.

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Festival Of Deep Fried Foods on Sticks

Deep fried Milky Way on a stick and deep fried Pecan Pie, both drizzed in caramel
There isn't anything better than fair time, because the ridiculous new foods and the old favorites are there for mass consumption and enjoyment of all. We like the animals, we like the rides, but really when it all comes down to it, we're there for the festival of EAT.

We ended our day this year with deep fried Milky Way - which is now a staple rather than nouveau, and something different - deep fried Pecan Pie. I give the pecan pie a B, it wasn't completely done, and although it was still good because the pie inside was cooked, it was cold in one small spot.

But still, pecan pie. WIN.
Roasted corn, accompanied by fresh squeezed lemonade - that I suspect to be Country Time - is also a required staple food. I'm a fan of shaking Parmesan cheese on mine.
The twisted fries are good, especially with baco-bits (NOT bacon, bacon's lesser cousin) and cheese food product from a can.  They're like - this hot potato chips. With fake cheese and fake bacon.

The girl was ecstatic at all the "nummy treats" as she calls them and the fun rides she got to do. She had just finished riding a dinosaur in the above picture, so how can that be bad?
The twins loved it too, if they look a little pensive above - it's because we are sitting next to the speak for the Haunted house. SPOOOOOKY noises are blaring right near us, and they are trying to sort out what it is.

Now that we've been to the fair, fall is landing on us hard. Cold drizzly rain, very chilly mornings, all of these things have started with regularity. I'm glad really. Summer was long and hot. I am ready for some cold.