A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Special Olympics

Miles at the Special Olympics
I had two athletes in the Special Olympics this year, and that was enough reason to take the time off of work, and to take the oldest boy out of school. When your children are Special Needs, there aren't Holiday Plays (nee Christmas Plays) and school functions that it really works well to be a part of, or are even included in. We try to go to things, or we used to, but as time passes I guess even we give up a little at going mainstream.
Silly fun while waiting !
It was hot, too hot for special little guys who have trouble waiting and understanding concepts like patience. I actually kinda think that next year we should volunteer to split up and help out the individual classes, the kids get so bored and frustrated waiting.
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Miles teacher was able to take the moderate kids over to the play area though, and that was a great distraction.

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Eventually our heats came up. If you don't know how it works, they divide the athletes into groups and you go in your little groups through the various activities.

My Charlie is in the severe autism class. It has a level number - level 1? I forget. But his group only did the race because it was a really long wait, and everyone was super cranky. Plus Charlie was scared when the race started by all the noise. That's my sweet Charlie covering his ears and screaming.
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But before you think his day was all bad, let me assure you it wasn't. After all - he got to see one of his old teachers and despite being upset during the race he left it behind him (rare for my little guy on the Spectrum, being upset doesn't always fade so fast).
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That's his teacher in the white shirt behind him. Laura - she's TOTALLY FRAU REISINGER. That's all I'm saying. Inside joke, sorry.

At the end there are awards and everyone gets to be celebrated. Even little boys who don't want to go down the track.
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Miles did much better, he got to play all the games and won more than one ribbon which his interest was mediocre at best.

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He even won a second place ribbon for something but I have no idea what. Long jump? Good grief I'm a terrible parent I don't know. I suppose it doesn't matter, I did see him win it after all. Obviously the pic below isn't second place.
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That's a lot of pictures for one day out. But, my oldest and youngest do a lot of things. I plaster my FB and my plurk and instagram with images of them, doing this doing that going here going there. Along for the ride always, are Miles and Charlie. Today was one of those rare days, that they brought us along with them. 

We were all glad to come.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cough, Cough Puke Gag Gurgle Splatter



I had something to write about today. Actually for like two days. I just haven't had time or energy. But then my train of thought was interrupted by life at about 5am this morning. The girl child had the terrible exploding butt last night and followed up in the early AM with exploding vomit all over the room.

There isn't a book for this that I know of. I mean, there is a "what to feed them if they have stomach flu" sort of instructions you can get from books and doctors but I mean, how to handle puke all over your bedroom floor and you're barefoot and the lights are out - where is the manual for that?

Round one wasn't so bad. A bit on the nightie a bit into a quickly placed babywipe that I was able to grab and we changed jammies, determined there was no fever and she snuggled into bed with me, tucked under my chin and sleeping on my heart.

Round two took place precisely two minutes before my "You Must Get Up Now" final alarm went off. Cough cough was the prelude and I jumped up with her but too late. 

I have to now say something about my husband. He's a Puke Warrior. Four kids into this life, he has always, 100% of the time, cleaned up the puke. Whether in the bedroom, bathroom, living room, a hot steamy tent in Florida, I take the kid and clean them up and he cleans up the horror show they left behind. 

I am getting the best part of this deal I assure you.

The girl child is now resting, a bit sweaty, in her third set of jammies since 5am. One boy has gone off to school and I've 25 minutes before the next bus arrives. I'm drinking my coffee, the husband went out side to smoke a cigarette and is now trying to get some more sleep. 

I'm sitting here realizing my stomach feels queasy.

Perfect.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Birthdays Southern Belle Style

My own Georgia Peach turned three this past week. I took the day off of work and we did what all good southern girls like to do - we went to the Margaret Mitchell House.
Hey Laura !!
Points of interest. This is just an apartment. She did live there when she wrote Gone With The Wind, but it's a wee one bedroom apartment. It was charming, and I have to admit, the entire tour was totally fascinating to me. I'm a pretty typical Gone With The Wind fan, I'm female, but learning about Margaret Mitchell the WOMAN was pretty interesting. I think my two biggest take aways were her amazing philanthropy to the black community when she started making money off GWTW (I think somehow I always painted her as racist...it's not fashionable nor feminist to love GWTW) but the other thing I was intrigued by was, she wrote the last chapter first.
We are working on our novel!

Ok I admit it. This part of the day was for ME. But, I've never been and the tour was included with our membership to The Atlanta History Center.
The girl got a souvenir though.
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She thinks it's a puppet. I like to hold it up and go "YOU AINT SHOWIN YOUR BOSOMS AFORE THREE O'CLOCK!" and other things. 

Hey, her birthday, that's what she wanted.

So that's obviously not a three year old birthday celebration.

Charlie can help

So what we actually did for HER was have a cake (made by her big brother Louis and herself) and presents at the house and then jaunt off to that mecca of childhood joy for a proper little party. Where do I mean?

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Why, Chuck E Cheese of course!

Interesting side note. Miles went over to the hoops game, and wanted to play. I've never once seen him show an interest in basketball.
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Who drained shot after shot? Miles. I never saw him even pick up a ball before. Apparently they're doing this in school because this was amazing. The kid has Hoosier DNA after all!

Yay funz
It was a good day to turn three.

I'm pleased to report she has left the terrible twos behind her. And run straight into whatever the hell tantrum age is next.

What do you mean my birthday is over ?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wither Pollen

Wither pollen

I grew up in the midwest. And yeah we had pollen. I mean, in THEORY we had pollen. I heard about pollen, I learned about pollen. So I knew it was there.

I moved to Florida where my twins were born and apparently there is no pollen there as I never once heard it discussed. I'll just assume bees use pixie dust or something in lieu of pollenation down there.

When we moved to Atlanta in 2007 it was in the month of April. The first morning we woke up in our new place here, I went to get the kids up and Charlie's eyes were crusted shut and his face was covered in snot.
This was allergies like I'd never seen in my life.

Since then it's been a battle every April, to keep my poor Charlie going, because of this...
More pollen
Every morning you wake up to such thick pollen covering everything, cars, houses, EVERYTHING, that it literally looks like someone did a crappy spray paint on your car. When I pull out of work to head home every day, the piled up pollen drifts away like snow drifting on a plain.

Last year my Charlie was on 11 different things from medicine to relief/treatment items to help combat this. So far this year we're up to four.

Come on Summer. Charlie needs you to get here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Nadirs of Autism

A perfect storm started on Friday night. We hadn't been any where all week mostly really because of my foot. The kids were home for Spring Break and school is one of those routines that is sacred to the twins. They LOVE it. So a week without it already put us at a bad place. Add to that, we decided that my foot being weird (numbness) meant we really needed me to stay off of it and be good for the weekend.

Thus, two more days at home. By Sunday all four of them had gone stir crazy.

On Sunday it rained. It started out pretty mellow, Charlie got me up very early and we sat up and waited for the lawn care people to show up and do their thing. Eventually I drug the rest of the little humans out of bed and figured, mellow day is going well.

At breakfast the wheels came off slightly. Everyone was a bit discombobulated but it didn't seem TOO bad. However as the day progressed and our inactivity apparently became more apparent, the twins patience with this waned. As did Julias.

Charlie's method of coping was thrashing and screaming.  Eventually he just gave it up that he needed a nap and went to his room and slept off the crazy.

Miles however decided to engage in NOTHING WILL MAKE ME HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. I tried getting the four of them to play Candyland with me. The big boy politlely declined (ok he's ten) and the girl wouldn't sit still or pay attention, Charlie wouldn't pay attention or try. Miles understood how to play. This was his twenty minutes of good behavior for the day. He played, was Candyland grand champion.
The rest of the day was spent fighting with Charlie, fighting with Julia, fighting over toys, screaming and sobbing randomly, and making this noise that sounds like a cat in heat. The noise infuriates me and goes RIGHT THROUGH ME. He knows this. So he keeps it up.

In fairness to me, I lasted though one and a half kiddie movies before I started yelling and losing my cool. Seriously, what is it that I can't sit and have my foot up and let me kids watch movies in peace? I can't. Because watching any kind of TV is some sort of drama.

Autism is so unfair. It makes the smallest of things impossible sometimes. It infuriates me. I shouldn't have to sit and endure two children screaming for no reason. My other children shouldn't have to endure two children screaming for no reason.

And more importantly, my children screaming shouldn't be experiencing whatever the hell it is that is making them scream.

That's the thing though. You don't know what's wrong. IT COULD BE NOTHING. THEY MIGHT LIKE THE SOUND. It's like some sick joke, see that child sobbing hysterically? Nothing wrong with him. Just having a sensory moment.

As a mother, it's devastating. My child is hysterical. And I cannot fix it. There should be a fix. I should be able to hold them or sing to them or get them candy and there just IS NO FIX.

I ended up taking a shower and standing in the shower and sobbing. Afterward apologizing to Miles for yelling at him, and for his autism. I know I didn't "do" it, but still, I made him. Any mother with a child that has a congential problem will probably tell you, the guilt of that eats at you every minute of every day. "What did I do wrong?" Probably nothing. Or I passed on bad genes and I couldn't help it.

Sunday ended with early bed times and Monday school started back up. Life is normal again.

I'll have another day like that, some day sooner rather than later. And I'll cry a lot.

Because it's all I can do.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

In Love With Food

So subscription boxes are all the thing right now. I get Birchbox which for about 10 bucks a month delivers a box chocked full of beauty stuff to me, samples - sometimes oversized samples and then at least one full sized item. Usually the full sized item is about worth then 10 bucks on it's own, or close to it.

My April Birchbox
I like it. It's a treat and I've actually discovered some things I would never have tried on my own plus heck I think I solely live on the various old lady creams they always include.

But the one box that's sweeping the world is GRAZE BOX. Which is awesome, it's full of gourmet nibbles for you to sample and try out. That's super, except, you can't get one. They are invitation only and each subscription includes ONLY one subscription to pass out. So it's not like your friends can invite you willy nilly.

My husband discovered LOVEWITHFOOD.COM . Which is the same principle, for a small monthly subscription you get a box of goodies to sample and nibble. But what's great is that they also donate a meal which they give you all the details about on their website.
Our new subscription box lovewithfood.com this is so yummy
Last night we tried out the Smoky Chili & lime garbanzo beans. They were like LIME LIME LIME LIME FIRE.
Which was really pretty good.

So If you like to try adventurous new things, check out Inlovewithfood.com cuz god knows you can't get a Graze Box.

The Broken Toe Is The Stupidest Injury Ever

So it's been two weeks. The toe is finally getting better. But not without having to go to the doctor one more damn time because suddenly it went numb.

Which was kind of scary - suddenly - toe is numb and doesn't feel like it's part of my foot.

Turns my toe was just swollen and the pressure of said edema was pressing on the nerves causing the numbness. Put your foot up and drink water and stay off of it.

Great.

I couldn't do anything fun with my family even though it's the end of spring break so it was a bummer of a week. I had hoped to be able to go down to this fun event at the Atlanta History Center with sheep shearing and old time farm fun (candle dipping and biscuit making I'm sure) and well, my oldest child informed me that my foot was hurt and that I needed to rest.

He told me that no, I didn't need to go out walking.

And that was that.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

She's Not Two

Ready for a fun class with Daddy at Gymboree!

I've been trying to teach Julia about how old she is. People ask how old she is and she doesn't seem to know the answer. So I've been telling her about birthdays (birthday parties she TOTALLY is down with) but the AGE and BIRTHDAY MEANING doesn't seem to sink in.

I say "You are two. You are going to be three."

She say "I'm not two, I'm JULIA."

She puts her hands on her hips and says it defiantly. She is ageless. She is not DEFINED by age.

She is Julia.

Maybe I should be more like this.
 

Friday, April 05, 2013

6 am is Charlie's hour

When you are one of four children, born third, you have very few hours in the day that are yours alone. Your space has always been occupied by at least the two children that came before you, if not also by the one that came rolling along when you were six.

But my Charlie has the time, Monday thru Friday, from 6:20 am until 7:00 am that is his alone. His with his Mommy, and he doesn't have to share her with anyone.

We spend that time watching Sesame Street, and giggling at Cookie Monster, and giggling harder at Grover. We put on shoes and jackets. Sometimes we share coffee. He sits on my lap, sometimes he hugs and kisses me, sometimes he just sits as close as he can.

But Charlie's favorite mornings are the ones when it's not TOO cold, and he and I go out to the porch to swing and wait for that little bus to come. We swing, and listen to the birds. Sometimes the wind blows too hard and we shiver. Sometimes there are squirrels and once I was certain I saw a coyote dart away.

I watch the trees sway and listen to the wind sing in the fir trees and Charlie laughs and giggles at our morning fun. I note which trees are finally going to bloom and try to sip my coffee as an excited 8 year old keeps hopping on and off the porch swing.

Until 7am, it's just us on the planet. It's a quiet but giggle filled world most days. I am glad we have this, despite how early an annoying it feels sometimes. It's nice once in a while, to just do nothing but observe the world and my Charlie in it.

Spring Roses

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Bad Parenting Karma

Everyone has those bad parent moments. That moment where you are inattentive, or you're too short of patience. You get annoyed or quick tempered when you shouldn't and then you feel like a jerk.

It happened to me on Monday. Very specifically I got very angry with a two year old girl who turned off the computer I was working on. In truth, I was playing WoW so I wasn't working at all. WOOOOP computer was logged out. "JULIA!" I said angrily. And then I blathered on like a cartoon parent "YOU NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER TOUCH THAT BUTTON ON MOMMY'S COMPUTER! NEVER NEVER NEVER!!"

About 20 minutes later, full of regret because I'd just yelled at my beloved girl for killing my VIDEO GAME, I launched into I WILL BE A BETTER MOTHER mode. She was being silly and turning on the radio so we could dance, and how could I refuse? I swooped her up and we laughed and danced around, singing her version of Old McDonald which actually seems to involve McDonald's not OLD McDonald when suddenly...

CRASH SNAP.

A wave of numb blasted through my foot. I looked down, and saw that my right pink toe was laying horizontally inward. Nearly perfectly horizontally. It didn't hurt. Julia cried "MOMMY YOUR TOE!" and I sat down hard on the hope chest at the end of my bed, and took in the damage. I gently pushed it back over a bit, more into the place where such a toe might go.

This was when it looked like THIS:
The initial break
I called my GP but he referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who declared it broken and dislocated.
My bones for your viewing pleasure
I wasn't all that worried about what they were going to do, which was a small mistake, as the shots to numb it up hurt as much as breaking it. But after they let it all get good and numb, I didn't feel anything when they straightened it all out. Yank pop crack and voila - it was all straight. I went home and took painkillers and tried to be a bit restful.

I felt pretty good yesterday, honestly. Felt fine being on it, especially without my shoe on, and so gave the kids a bath, emptied the dishwasher nothing big (but hey for that it's like massive housework).

Today? Not so much. It's swollen and bruised and just yuck.
Today's special feature is SWOLLEN
Today it's swollen and horrible. And it hurts. I'm writing with ice on it, on the laptop watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with the little ones.

I feel like this is karma overdose, Universe.

Just saying.

Btw to those who asked - yes INDEED SAME TOE

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I Didn't Light It Up Blue

Autism Awareness Day came and went. I was somewhat medicated on this day, as I broke a toe (more about that later). But, I struggled with the day, with the month, for the weeks leading up to it.

My best friend summed it up on Facebook last night. She said "That's because every day is Autism awareness day for you."

That kind of nails it.

I used to know this blogger - well in a cursory way from her blog, we didn't hang out or anything), but she had cancer. And she would RAGE at all the pink. Screw you and your pink, she'd say on her blog. It puzzled me a little. After all, if I pinned on a pink ribbon, I felt like I was being supportive of her. I felt like, I was saying CANCER IS IMPORTANT AND WE SHOULD FIX IT. But, where she sat, it was just this never ending reminder of CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER CANCER and as her hair fell out, and her body betrayed her by getting sicker and sicker, it was the last thing she wanted to see.

I get it, kind of, now. It's a weird sensation, having a "day" to recognize something completely WRONG in your life. And no, not one of you gets it. Unless you have a severely autistic child, or two, you don't get it. You don't get what it's like to spend most of your baby's first birthday kneeling in bathroom stalls to change your twins diapers. Your twins who are six. You don't get what it's like to have 8 year olds still in those diapers. You don't know what it's like to have to put on your makeup and work clothes and smile and pretend like everything is awesome and that you're hitting on all cylinders when one child insisted on singing until 3am in his room, for no reason. Perhaps a child has screamed until your nerves are fraught. That child is screaming about nothing. Or something you cannot divine.

Like all the wear pink events, having this awareness event is probably not doing anything about autism except make you think about it more than you are comfortable with. I'm here today to tell you why this is ok.

Because of the MACHINE that is Susan G Komen, we are AWARE of breast cancer. Yeah it's kind of mind numbing. But, I promise you - you weren't this aware 20 years ago. They made it a mission. I don't know anything about their finances but I'd be stunned if they were non-profit - but maybe they are. But what does this awareness do? It makes us SCARED if our mammograms come back bad. It makes us more aggressive about seeking screenings. It reminds us AD NAUSEUM that breast cancer is NO JOKE. Look, if it can kill Linda McCartney who had all the money in the world, it can and kill the rest of us if we aren't diligent.
And so we are diligent.

What will lighting it up blue do for any of us?

It's my hope that this become a machine - a FORCE. I don't care if it scares the shit out of people. Why? Because maybe you WILL get early intervention then. Maybe you won't deny it and deny it and deny it, only to have a doctor tell you one day what you already knew. Maybe it will cause parents to INSIST on better therapies at schools. Maybe if we simply THINK about it more - it will seem like something we must not only find a way to help our children with, but something we must learn to accept and create lives for them despite it.

Every year, I have two or three people come to me and tell me about symptoms their children have, wanting me to tell them it's not autism. Well I'm not a doctor, but guess what - it's ALWAYS autism. If everyone knew, like that lump in your breast, what they were looking for, how much BETTER of a life could their children have? If your child had access to services, and was simply treated for their needs and helped along their journey - wouldn't it be better?

We didn't know what we were looking for. We had an aching, heart stopping feeling something was wrong. It breaks my heart every single day to this day. But my Miles and Charlie are simply who they are. They are little boys with severe autism, and I am their mom.

And Autism Awareness is important. Not just for them. But for you, and for everyone you know.