A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reminding Us Of Our Age

It's not that it's been a tough couple of weeks around here but it's been a tough couple of weeks around here. Some days I feel like my life occurs in intervals between when I'm pulling strings out of other people's butts. Those days get blurry and long, and I guess I usually think of things to write and then just never do. That's been the case lately but I had some time and thought hey, I could say some things.

That string thing is not a metaphor, FYI. Jump into my nightmare, the water is warm.

The husband has been having some health problems, which sent him to the hospital about a month (maybe two) ago. We were afraid he was having the dreaded fat guy in his 40s heart attack but in fact they said no, not a heart attack. Unfortunately, they didn't have any idea what it was. Just what it wasn't.

So this past week, on Friday, he went in for a heart cath to take a look at what was going on inside. I got the boys off to school then he and Julia and I went over to Gwinnett Medical for the big test.

Luckily, they had coloring books in the cardiac waiting area.
Because they were on hospital time and not human time, and because emergencies came in and they had to go before us, Julia and I had to leave and go get lunch. 
And this is where your heart starts to worry, if you're me. I hated leaving. I wanted to stay there because I felt in control there, even though I wasn't - of course. I took the girl to Taco Bell and there was food and it occurred to me that she and I have never once been out to lunch together.

It also occurred to me that this is what it felt like, to be solitary.

I'm not a solitary creature. As I picked up the boys, one by one, from the bus, and we waited, and had snacks, all I could think was "this is what it would be like" and I didn't like it not even a little.

It was finally over early evening. He said it was like a painful horror show. 

The result? Nothing. Nothing wrong with his heart, that's the good news. Something is wrong though still. 

Here he is in the aftermath. 

It still aches and hurts. I think I will freak out if they ever do that to me.




Saturday, August 17, 2013

And Then This Happened

My children are notorious coffee thieves of the worst sort. It's true. They just come up and take your coffee and drink the lot of it without a word. Well, sometimes they'll bring you the empty up to let you know that they need more coffee. The oldest boy has outgrown his thievery, he simply wants his own cup now. You can tell he grew up in a Starbucks world because he wants chocolate syrup and cream and sugar and all kinds of geegaws in his coffee.

So then this morning, I had left my cup on the table, as is my habit, while cleaning up breakfast. I hear from the dining room a small female voice announce "MOMMY YOUR COFFEE IS HOT!"

I see the girl wiping her face. Coffee thieves are often bad at hiding the evidence of their crime. They're a lot like those folks on COPS who have CRACK in their pockets and declare that "These aren't even my pants. I got them from some dude."

I say "Yes, it's too hot for you right now, I just poured it, sweetie."

She says "It's hot like a donkey, Mommy."

I turn off the tap and walk over to the dining room, "Hot like a donkey?"

She laughs and jumps up, shouting "WEE HOT WEEEEEE HOT WEEE HOT!" 

Apparently they aren't saying heehaw after all.


Friday, August 16, 2013

The One That Goes Like this

It was potty training time in hell I mean at home, and the girl child was dithering over blue or pink pull ups. Actually, it's a game, because she only wants pink but she likes to DISCUSS because you know, it's important to consider all of your fashion options. I was on the down side of a headache, a big one, when Charlie starts flailing and kicking and crying.

I look over, and Miles is relaxing at the other end of my bed, several copies of Martha Stewart's EVERYDAY FOOD strewn around, as he thumbed through a copy, he eyes Charlie and starts to laugh. Loudly. 

Julia is jumping up and down and starts yelling BLUE OR PINK BLUE OR PINK BLUE OR PINK.

Charlie kicks more, nearly clocking me, at which point I declare to them all that THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DRIVE ME INSANE THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE ME ANOTHER SCREAMING HEADACHE SO EVERYBODY BETTER FLIPPIN COOL IT RIGHT NOW OR ELSE.

It was at this point, that my female child came over and said "Mommy, chickens have eggs."

I said "Yes..."

She says "And eggs have baby chicks and they are SO cute. But sometimes we eat them. Are you happy now Mommy?"

I am unsure at this point if I am having my ethics of eating eggs questioned by a three year old. It seems like I am. But then she follows with "Eggs make you happy Mommy! Right?"

So I said "Ummm, right?"

At which point she says, "You're weird Mommy. You're just weird."

Okay then.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's Not What I Planned

Someone asked the other day, "Do you ever wonder how you got here?" or something like that. The idea that, do you ever look up and just wonder how your life GOT to this place. It could be a good thing or a bad thing, or just a question of wonder, how did I get here when I meant to be THERE?

I wonder it because I can promise you this isn't who I wanted to be when I grew up. That vision is fuzzy now, reality and years dimmed it's star but I know that changing diapers of my nine year olds wasn't on the list. 

I also didn't plan the good things, though. I didn't think I really wanted kids or maybe just one. Having a family full of chaos and noise and madness is my favorite thing in the world. On those nights when a twin is keeping me up past 1 am singing the ABCs - and I feel cranky and out of sorts, I also know that if that voice wasn't there, my life would be less in some way.

I know I appreciate things more, because they are not easy. That doesn't mean I think I should SUFFER and live some PURITY THROUGH SUFFERING, because that's BS. It just means, good days mean more. Great days mean everything. 


The thing that twinges at me, my lack of planning + the universes interference in my life is the impact it will have on my other two children. It's a burden that I carry, knowing that when my husband and I are dead some long off day in the future, our twins that we love so deeply but are in fact quite a burden, will fall to them to care for. They aren't THEIR children. And I worry they will resent it. I worry that THEIR lives will be altered more than is fair. 

I was having a casual conversation with Louis, about having a family, and the course of the conversation wandered to being a single child, which I was for 11 years, to having a big family. I was telling him how, I'd always wanted to have brothers and sisters, and how when Matt was born it was the single happiest day of my life up to that point. I then shared with him how excited I was when I got pregnant with the twins, because then I knew he wouldn't be alone like I was. He'd have siblings and someone to play with - and I had such hopes for what that would mean.

It obviously didn't work out like that.

I only ever wanted my children to be happy. Those other dreams were just the usual selfish parental hopes and ideas of what will be. The world seldom actually works out like that.

I know they'll figure it out, and ride that out together when it comes to that. 

I just wish they didn't have to.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Like Glitter In The Sidewalk

Our last week has been a week of have to do moments. School is back, and that means only one thing, conformity. No more slap and dash and make it work because we all have places to BE by goodness. 

That's hard for us. You'll hear a lot of dreck about how much better Autistic kids do on schedules. Ok no that's not dreck, what IS however, is how casually people say those words. Like it's easy. Remember how easy it was to make your baby go to sleep without crying? It's that easy.

There are whole books written about how to lay your baby down to sleep and how to cope with the crying. NOVELS, methodologies, you can take classes about it. Now imagine that every single behavior you want your child to exhibit - let's say SITTING DOWN IN THEIR SEAT AT DINNER - requires that kind of work on your part. That kind of patience, and practice. 

What's good is yes, they DO love the routine of school. ONCE THEY GET IT. 
We spent our last hours of freedom before we had to start invoking the process of SCHOOL ROUTINE in the woods around us, and at the playground, being silly and taking in the fresh green air. The twins will say HAVE FUN when we head off to these places and they're right, we are going to have fun.
Summer ended with fireworks. The last days were stressful and hard on Mom and Dad and probably on them too as we found our groove again. We're not there yet, not by any means.  But we'll keep finding things that are good, and that make us happy. Usually they are little things, stuff that surprises me that changes my whole outlook for the day. 

Like glitter in the sidewalk. A small touch of sparkle, in an ordinary place. 

The little things, they keep me going.



Saturday, August 03, 2013

Autism Au Lait

If you're an Autism mom and you're honest with yourself, you know very well that there is only so much you can do to combat the stress that the condition brings to you, and to your children. I try to get breakfast together FAST because I know Charlie is hungry, and keeping Charlie fed cuts down on tantrums dramatically.
But this morning, it was after breakfast, in the lull when the oldest boy and I were having a coffee and talking about a video game that the screaming started, out of the blue.
The two of us leaped up and ran into the living room.
Scene, one little girl sitting on the floor playing with a Barbie. One little boy playing with an airport, dinosaurs, toy soldiers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TV is singing"I FEEL BETTER SO MUCH BETTER" from Doc McStuffins. And one little boy, writhing on the sofa shrieking at the top of his lungs.
Sheep being devoured alive by wolves scream less.
It was my Charlie. I rushed over to him and took his hands and said "Charlie what's WRONG?" At this point, he starts twisting my fingers as hard as he can and tries to jam his chin HARD into my face. I'm trained in the autism martial arts, so I flip my giant nine year old into a basket hold and hug him tight and whisper "Shhhh shhhhh it's OK, what is WRONG baby? Do you hurt?" He doesn't answer, he says random words I can't divine meaning from. 

Was it the TV? Did Miles pull his hair? Did Julia take something from him? I don't know. He can't tell me.

"All done," he says. I confirm "All done?" And he says "Yeah." 

As I am letting go, Miles runs back into the room (when did he leave?) and shouts "I NEED A WIPE!"

Louis darts into the dining room "OH NO MOM HE SPILLED ALL OF YOUR COFFEE ALL OVER THE FLOOR!"

I let Charlie go, and he's now laughing and watching TV, and Louis and I frantically start cleaning the new stain on our dining room floor. I ponder how much a steam cleaner would cost me. It's in desperate need, the Berber is flat. 

We scrub and spray cleaner and scrub, and as we're soaking up coffee and scrubbing our eyes meet and we both start laughing. "It's a crazy life," Louis says.

Isn't it?