A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

He Didn't Want To Get Married and Have Kids, You Know

My Mom always stressed to me that it matters so so much who you have children with.  She'd point out people we knew with crazy ex's or to use the vernacular, crazy babymamas, crazy babydaddys, and remind me that if you have a child with someone - you're stuck with them forever in some way shape or form. You better make sure it's someone you can handle having to share parenting with.

That might sound "not romantic" but my Mom was exceedingly pragmatic about life matters. There were things she never sugar coated because she wanted to make sure I GOT IT without question.

Therefore, on days like the one pictured above which was July 4, 2005 when I essentially had 3 babies on my hands, I knew I was lucky that I had them with the right person.
Our days are never easy, even leisurely days are harder work than I really share. But the ability to have those days and be happy together is the best thing about having him as the father of my children.
We spent yesterday doing what Dad wanted to do, to celebrate all he does. We started with breakfast/brunch (Dad's favorite meal) and headed over to the Chattahoochee river to the nature center to explore.
We were truly amazed by this nature center and the amount of things available to do there. We didn't see a quarter of it, because it was hot and we were there at the end of their day. I'd like to go back and rent a kayak and go down the Chattahoochee - I think I am going ot put that on my agenda for this summer.


And as for him, the guy I dated so long ago who didn't want to get married, didn't want to have kids, wanted to travel the world instead of settling down? He's my everything, he's their everything. He's the cog that keeps the machine of our family going. He's the Dad. He know's what's important. He admits when he's wrong or fails. He is a guy who chooses to do things his kids will love and will teach them something on his special day rather than not.

He's a guy who got a painted Terra Cotta Warrior for father's day, from a little boy who doens't talk but who we took to SEE the Terra Cotta Warriors a few years ago. Living proof even our Special little guys learn something from our adventures.

Then and now , he's in the Daddy Business and he's one of the best at it.
My Mom approved of my choice. Really, that's the best endorsement he could've ever gotten.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Three Things Makes me Tired

I'm getting too used to not doing anything. This morning I sat staring at kids tv for two solid hours. I could've changed the channel to Ancient Aliens or mysteries of the Bible or something but the remote was across the room. I had a comfy seat and a pillow and a coffee and honestly, this gummy drop game on my phone isn't going to play itself.
Yesterday though, I was a busy bee.
To start with I had to go to a goverment office to get a password reset. In 2016 every place in the world allows you to request a password reset via an automatic process. Click, get email, clink link, reset. It's magic. Except the goverment. If you need a password reset from the government you better drag your ass down to their office miles and miles away.

I'm a pro at this now because I've actually screwed up their online thing twice, TWICE. The first time wasn't my fault but the second definitely was. Now that I know the system I can be in and out in thirty minutes. Walk in, fill out the form at the front - don't go up to the desk to explain your problem.  Lots of people make that mistake. FYI NO ONE CARES. Fill out your form and circle the specifity of your visit (it doesn't say to do this, but I find it helps them get you sorted faster). You drop the form in a BIG RED BOX next to the people at the desk who don't want to talk to you. Smile at them. Say hi, or good morning or something. That's a trick I learned from my mom. It's really sort of basic, but honestly when you're in a position of needing service of some sort, smile and be super polite. People take note. They smile back. This time the man at the desk took my form out immediately - there were other forms below it - so let's hear it for being polite.

At this point you just take a seat, turn on mobile data (no wifi in the government offices for the masses, sorry) and chill. The previously mentioned Gummy Drop game is a good distraction while you wait.

Eventually your name is called (14 minutes this time. A government officee record.) I explain the problem, get reset and move on with my day. BOOM. Done.

Weird what you can achieve proficieny at, isn't it?

After that I signed up to do a taste test which turned out to NOT be a taste test but a survey about containers of cottage cheese. I was asked questions like "can you get a spoon in to this container?" and I questioned the sanity of their usual customers. I did get to suggest designs for containers. That was actually sort of weirdly fun. If you see cottage cheese containers with a flowery lid - YOU'RE WELCOME I made your cottage cheese prettier.

They had snacks, which was pretty tasty.

After that - it was gymnastics with the girl. She did the gymnastics, I played the part of the doting parent who wanted her to be braver than she was. In fairness I am scared to death of the balance beam too, so I was reassuring afterward. But I guess I want her to be braver and tougher than me, so my heart yearns for her to toughen up sometimes. Only sometimes though.

Today I feel like a ball of sloth. I've been grinding my teeth which I do when I'm stressed out. I've eaten right, fed the kids well and have moved to black coffee vs. cream and sugar and I'm heading to the gym after while. My head and teeth are screaming though and I just feel like...something.

I'm unsettled. I'm worried. I'm fine. I'm here, I'm there, I'm everywhere. So beware.

(I sang that last bit, remnants of childhood songs that I forget the greater meaning of.)

I think I'm going to take some ibuprofen and drag my kids outside. Maybe sunshine will unclench my jaw.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Autism Parenting Isn't On Your Schedule

The first problem with an day as an autism parent is thinking you've got it under control. I woke up with a BRILLIANT amount of undisturbed sleep today.
My Fitbit told me that I didn't even have restless time in the night, I slept like the dead all night. It was the first night I didn't have 8+ restless times, or even awake times in the mix. That little line showing "restless" is really me waking up as Charlie touched my arm gently a couple of times.

All signs at this point in the day pointed to GOOD.

I served breakfast and Miles didn't eat. That's USUALLY a sign that something is up, he didn't even come DOWN to eat. He didn't get upset about being CALLED to eat (usually if it's gonna be a bad day he'll meltdown over being told to come eat. Why? Autism.) However, no resonse, no protest, no anything seemed...off. But I thought "Maybe just MAYBE he's just chill." We recently moved the todder bed from Julia's room and are using it as a kids daybed/sofa in the computer room and he LOVES that, he's behind me in it at this very moment reading.

After breakfast I decided it was time to get back to the business of getting healthy. I set my fitbit to track my walk/run/stumble/struggle and told Louis if Miles came down to pour him some Cheerios at least.



I set out for my walk. After a mile and a half of huffing and puffing fat girl hell I returned home and collapsed in my chair.  I slammed one water then two and then realized my blood sugar felt a bit off, so I should eat something. My hubby was good enough to pick me up some egg bagels (one of my faves of the grocery store variety) so I popped those in the toaster and marveled at the amazing red horror my face was. "That can't be healthy..." I think as Miles comes into the kitchen. He wants food, so I pause and pour him a bowl of cereal, make some toast, sausage and applesauce for him and he sits happily in the dining room feasting on his bachelor breakfast, no one around to bother him seems to make him happy sometimes.

I resume making myself something, should I have an apple? Am I that hungry? When he says "I need help" and turns around. The entire back of his pants is soaking wets and...slightly brown.

Holy....fill in the blank.

We dash upstairs and to my delight it was just a ridiculous amoutn of pee - there wasn't any poop in his diaper at all. TMI? Don't care. This is my LIFE. I changed Charlie too for good measure, get Miles new shorts, go downstairs and disenfect that chair just in case and then wash my hands forever.

THEN, resume my food. Cream cheese, oh good it's not light because I WANT ALL THE FAT RIGHT NOW I AM SO HUNGRY. Apple? Maybe apple. Apple could be really good. I'm conscious of HOW MUCH cream cheese I put on, pour more water, grab my Margaret Atwood book from the library and collapse in my chair. The oldst boy is killing things in Mordor, the girl is going upstairs to "make her bed" or something and I am at peace.

At that moment, Miles comes flying DOWN the stairs...and said "HELP PANTS!"

And shows me the poop running down his leg.

I KNEW THOSE PANTS WERE BROWN FOR A REASON OMG I JUST KNEW IT.

Imagine if you will a truck driver who has eaten nothing but truck stop food (which actually can be pretty good if you've ever been to one) for days and was also constipated for days but suddenly is now not constipated. Imagine that trucker depositing natures call into my 12 year old's diaper, if you will.

And now imagine you're me.

There is cleaning there is so much cleaning and then I realize there is nothing for it but to simply bathe him. To the shower we go, scrubbing with a soap called Happy that doesn't smell as good as it sounds - but smells WAY BETTER than poop. Scrubbing the hair, scrubbing all of him while he giggles because showers are funny.

He thinks he's had a hilarious adventure, eating alone, getting a shower, really he's having this grand day. Plus I'm pretty sure HE FEELS BETTER than whatever he felt like 20 minutes ago.

I get him dressed and sorted, change Charlie AGAIN and walk slowly and stiffly down the stairs. My food, water and book are still waiting. Both the food and water are cold, which is bad and good.
I eat and read and consider my own shower, which by now I've had dear reader. You'd smell me from your seat had I not.

That's autism parenting. Plan, plan, plan REACT REACT REACT REACT. Sometimes not in that order.

He's behind me reading, clean and shiny and happy. It's a pretty good day after all.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Sometimes It's About Art

I know I've established that we like to go look at art. That's totally true. But why is that? Is it because we think it will make our children smart? Yeah, we actually do. It's good for them. Do they like it? Nope, not always. Sometimes they are annoyed or aggravated or 13 and it's just not what they want to do. But sometimes, like the other day, we were looking for something on the inexpensive side to do and it just so happens that the art museum at UGA is my favorite price, FREE.

Free for a family of six is like the best word ever.

There was a lot to see before we even got inside. Julia plunged her hands into the fountain, and slapped them against the wall shouting "ART! BEHOLD!" which was fairly entertaining.

What's it like to take two severely autistic 12 year olds to an art museum? Well, first I'd say you need to back up and know what you need to do first to be prepared FOR said Art Museum.

We pack a backpack everywhere we go with extra clothes, wipes (for face and butts in separate places) and diapers and some sundries. Museums don't always allow those, so you'll need to be prepared to check it. Before we do that and go in, we hit the bathrooms.

This place had huge clean restrooms that were lovely. We changed diapers and got everyone freshened up for our journey into culture and entertainment.


At that point, things are as good as they are going to get. The husband and I learned long ago that with kids it's nearly impossible to read all the little signs of info. At best we trade off one of us wrangling kids and one of us quickly reading the information placards on the pieces we are most interested in. Sometimes it's quiet enough that we can sit them on a bench and BOTH of us quickly read and try to absorb what we're seeing.
Sometimes you look over and see a moment, though, between siblings, that you might not have gotten at an amusment park or some loud "kid oriented" place.  Every once in a while, you see that they're bonding and making their own memories and that's priceless to me.
Relatively good behavior was rewarded this day with a stroll in downtown Athens and a bit of Ben and Jerry's - which was amazing.
The best things in life aren't always free but on this day they were very close to it.