Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yes, and We Call It Blogging

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T, who tells you to go and read Savage Chickens, but beware of the wolves

A Day In My Life, Plus Cookies

I was standing in line at the grocery store, waiting to pay for the basket full of groceries I had amassed on my once a month grocery stock-up. I hate grocery shopping, especially with kids, but I had procrastinated too long and the bread had molded and we were out of milk. My children were trying valiantly to hold it together; it was late in the afternoon and had been a long day. Grocery shopping is a break from the Routine that basically rules our lives, so often there is a difficulty in this endeavor. But today the children were on their best behavior. They were helping put groceries on the conveyor belt, while JBean kept up a steady stream of chatter. Today it wasn't them, it was me. My head was throbbing: I needed caffeine and I needed quiet.

My son decided to chat up the person behind us: "Do you like Mario Kart?" The person mumbled something politely, too quietly for me to hear. JBear took this as an invitation and continued, "I have Mario Kart for the DS. I also have a Wii. Do you have a Wii? I like playing boxing. I am good at boxing." I glanced back and the woman he was talking to seemed ok with her verbose companion, if a bit noncommittal. My son continued:

"Did you see the Indiana Jones movie? I did, it was good. They have the Lego game of Indiana Jones for the Wii coming out next month. I want that. Lego also makes a Star Wars game for the DS. They are making one for the Wii, but it's not out yet..."

Again, I glanced back and saw the woman shuffling her feet, looking around nervously. Time to reign him in. "JBear, shh! Come help me with the groceries." He didn't hear me. I had to call him three times. Then he started asking for gum at the checkout counter. And a yo yo. Pleeeeease? He has this trip-switch, when he has something on his mind, when he wants something, he just keeps asking. I don't even know if he realizes he does it. About that time, the lady got that look. Oh, you don't know the look? Simple.

When people notice something is a bit different with your kids, they react in one of two ways. The first group widens their eyes in amazement and says, "Boy, you sure have your hands full!" And yes, yes, I do. But it is what it is. I don't have an "S" embroidered underneath my t-shirt. I am just a mom, dealing with what I have been given. I don't want praise and I don't want pity. But often, they look at me as though I stepped from a space ship, a complete alien entity. If I throw the homeschool aspect in to the conversation, I see the door slam shut, the eyes cloud over, and I can almost hear the voice in their head as they thank the Lord that they don't have kids like mine, and thank goodness it isn't contagious!

The other group I encounter widens their eyes in surprise and says, "But they seem so normal." This is actually frustrating. This is the reaction I get when I try to explain Asperger's. I know that on the spectrum of special needs, Asperger's is considered pretty low. And my kids are actually mildly affected. Their behaviors are more annoying or frustrating than dangerous. My son has not eloped from a classroom since the First Grade. Of course, it helps that he has been homeschooled since the Second Grade, I suppose.

He does have an anger and frustration problem. In fact, when he is angry, he could give a salty dawg a run for his grog. He has recently decided that it is really cool to respond to any insult, real or imagined, "I know you are!" You can imagine how productive that is! He is in the habit of cornering people, because he is a social guy. He wants to interact, and find interesting things in common, but he doesn't pick up the cues when someone has had enough. I am constantly playing watch dog for him, translating so they will not miss out on what he has to offer, worried that people won't like him. Or worse maybe, they will judge me because of who he is.

I am not in the habit of explaining myself to random strangers, but I must be lacking. When I do try to explain to someone who inevitably asks, "What's Asperger's," I can sometimes hear, "Well, all kids do THAT." And yes, that's true. All kids do prattle on about minutiae. All kids have terrible table manners. All kids get mad and frustrated and yell. All kids don't know how to figure out when you have had enough of them. All kids interrupt. All kids wear the same clothes, every day, even if they are dirty, and get ticked off if told they can't wear that shirt again until it is washed. All kids harp over and over again about allowance, video games they want, going to the library...whatever it is that is on their mind at that very moment. All kids throw fits when they don't get their way. All kids need help getting dressed, even when they can actually accomplish this task themselves. All kids have unreasonable fears and cannot take out the garbage at night or get up to go to the bathroom in a darkened room. But the point here, is mine do it more. That's what Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism looks like. I didn't want bragging rights. I am not trying to one-up anyone else. I am simply trying to live with kids who have to live with "mild-mannered Autism." Anyone who uses this term clearly has never lived with nor experienced autism.

I don't play the Label Game. I don't have Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. I don't find my identity in being Supermom or having kids with "special needs." We sought a diagnosis for my son simply because he wasn't functioning in school very well, and we started seeing some signs at home. I knew something was wrong. I wrote a letter to the school, asking for an evaluation. The district did their tests, gave us their result, and then we obtained our own private evaluation. We ended up with a diagnosis and an IEP. With some interventions and by educating myself, we found accommodations that worked for him. I learned how to talk to him, how to calm him down, how to provide a sensory diet and just learn to live with the quirkiness that can be autism. At some point, I started rolling with the flow, and it became, if not easy, something familiar. And, it was okay. I thought that was the end. Autism had touched us, but it was a tentative touch.

Cut to 2006. Those who read will know this already, but we had a house fire, and lost everything. The house was standing, but they gutted it, and rebuilt everything but the bones. Every item except for the clothes on our backs was destroyed. Of course, we all took it hard, but my six year old was particularly devastated. It was and is, the only home she'd ever known. On a good day, she keeps most of her emotions to herself. This caused her to retreat inside herself. She would build little worlds with her My Little Ponies, and Littlest Pet Shop, barricade herself inside the toy houses. Walls of toys would sit between her and the rest of us; she was shutting us out. We sought counseling, and of course, the question we all had was, is it the trauma or is she also on the Spectrum as well? After what we thought was a failed bout of counseling, it proved to be the catalyst and we decided to have our little JBean evaluated for autism.

I went back and forth, second-guessing myself. Autism is a spectrum, and there is a saying, "If you've seen one kid with Asperger's, you've seen one kid with Asperger's. My son and daughter are as different as night and day. I would look at her and think, "No way she is on the Spectrum...she isn't like JBear." I waffled and tested her myself, and I wanted to be wrong. She was diagnosed with autistic disorder in October.

So when the woman behind me gave me that look, I just smiled at her and said, "Kids!" About that time, the cashier finished ringing up my groceries. There is a time for education, and there is a time for cutting your losses and just getting the heck out of Dodge. So I'm sorry to the autism advocates,just know some days I fight the good fight. But today I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. This wasn't the day to try and educate the public. This was a day to take my children home with me, cuddle them close and read books while munching cookies. This was a day to just be. I swallowed the lump in my throat that came from unshed tears. Yes, sometimes I grieve for what they don't have. And maybe that's not what Supermom would do. As I rolled out to the car, I realized the lump in my throat wasn't just grief. It was something else, as well. It was a fierce, protective love, and a knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. And I don't think that Supermom could have it any better.

T, who just does what she can do some days

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Guess I Won't Have to Hire Chiat-Day

Your Slogan Should Be
What Happens in Send Chocolate, Stays in Send Chocolate

Seems like a very good slogan to live by. Not that anything ever actually happens here... but one can always pretend, I suppose.

How about the song that describes me in 2005? WTH was I doing in 2005??
Your 2005 Song Is
Beverly Hills by Weezer

"My automobile is a piece of crap
My fashion sense is a little whack
And my friends are just as screwy as me"

You breezed through 2005 in your own funky style!
What color BLUE am I??
You are Ocean Blue
You're both warm and practical. You're very driven, but you're also very well rounded.
You tend to see both sides to every issue, and people consider you a natural diplomat.
SEE? I told you that you can tell me anything! I can be trusted.
Your Mouth is a Little Big
You're not a total tell all, but you don't hide who you are either.
You've struck a good balance between discretion and sharing.
People know you fairly well, at least on a superficial level.
But you save your most revealing secrets for your best friend... or no one!

T, who is too busy spelling words during the telecast of the Scripps Spelling Bee to write an actual post

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Where'd She Go?

If you don't see me post for a bit, this is why. This insane game is absolutely addictive and makes me want to dig my brains out with a spoon.

You can blame Karla over at Looking Towards Heaven. I read about it on her blog. And now, evil minion of the Blogoverse that I am, I am passing it on to you, O Internets.

Or, alternatively, I may be reading one of the funniest blogs that I have come across in a long time, The Mattress Police which is laugh-out-loud funny. Not snort until snot comes out of your nose funny, 'cause that's just gross. But, he really made me laugh, and that isn't easy to do. I especially loved this post. And this one. And this one.... you get the idea.

I am sure that I am the last person to discover him, and that everyone and their brother and their cousin and their cousin's dog knows about him already.. but just in case. There it is.

On the plus side...I have an excuse for why my house isn't clean. what? like I need a reason?

T, who knows there is a more tag on the bottom, ignore it for now

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

When I Run Away, I'm Taking My iPod With Me

13 Songs in Heavy Rotation on my iPod

1. Fallen by Sarah McLachlan
love her gutsy, vulnerable voice 2. Hold On by Good Charlotte
It's the song I wish I had as a teenager

3. Drops of Jupiter by Train
an oldie but a goodie < 4. I'm Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance
have to get my Emo on somehow 5. Swing by Trace Adkins
I just love his deep, sultry southern voice 6.It Stoned Me Van Morrison
It's Van, what's not to love? Bluesy, mellow

7. You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Outta the Girl Brooks & Dunn
you can take the girl out of the country, but can't, well, you know

8. Bent by Matchbox Twenty
Please help me, I'm bent..

9. Not Ready To Make Nice by Dixie Chicks
completely describes how I feel about this Administration

10. Love Song by Sara Bareilles
I am a sucker for smoky voice with attitude

11. Stomp by Kirk Franklin & God's Property
tried and true gospel hip hop...We havin' church we ain't goin' no where

12. A Lord of the Rings Suite by James Galway
we love instrumental here... also love George Winston and classical, too (use your imagination, techy glitches with You Tube and Flash)

13. You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC
my guilty secret, but in the interest of authenticity, here it is
(this is where YouTube video would go, but at midnight it suddenly stopped using Flash Player 7 and I cannot upgrade to Flash 9... issues. So, sorry, but you probably know the song anyway, right?)

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T, who can't live without music

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, please leave a comment.It's rude to link and leave. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Why I am Only MOSTLY Sane

per·sev·er·a·tion Pronunciation Key (pr-sv-rshn)n.

1. Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder. 2. The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.

2. The act or an instance of persevering; perseverance.


Let me back up...

My son is said to have autism. I won't debate it, he is definitely somewhere on the Spectrum. He has many behaviors, some to a lesser degree than might be expected in autism. Normally, we deal with it. But, when he gets something in his head, he never gives in. Once he wants to do something, he just keeps asking. He is like the Energizer Bunny. And he makes me want to dig out my brain with a can opener. Consider this exchange tonight:

"Mommy, may I play my Gameboy?" (answer was no)

[5 minutes later]

"Mommy, may I play my Gameboy?"

"No.." (followed by an explanation)

[5 minutes later]

"Mommy, may I play my Gameboy?"

(answer was no, with the addition of please don't ask again)

[5 minutes later]

"Mommy, may I play my Gameboy?"

(answer was no, with the addition of please don't ask again)

[5 minutes later]

"Mommy, may I play my Gameboy?"

(answer was no, with the addition of please don't ask again)

Finally after HOURS of this, I said to him in exasperation:

"If you ask me ONE more time about the Gameboy, you are going to bed!"

Complete silence. Then, and I KID YOU NOT:

"Can I play my Gameboy in bed?"

T, who often feels as though I have been hit by a hammer

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Wordless Wednesday

T, who says this is my favorite picture of my children

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hippie Chick, Maybe, Flower Child, Doubtful

I always have elaborate plans for holidays. We'll pack a picnic lunch! Drive out to the country because you know how easy that is to find in Metro Orange County. I know, right? J and I will relax on the blanket while our progeny, the fruits of our labors, cavort under the trees. They laugh joyously over the latest find in their Nature Quest. They catch tiny frogs along the creek. They find leaves for pressing. And they settle down in the thicket with Charlotte-Mason inspired nature notebooks, the better to observe and draw what they see. Meanwhile, J is hand-feeding me organic grapes. yes, I know, a beautiful dream, and not much else So, instead of being disappointed, or alternatively battling crowds at the Mouse House, others who weren't creative enough to figure out their own entertainment, we stayed home....

J pulled weeds in the never-ending struggle to save our scrawny lawn without resorting to poisons that will kill small animals, run into the groundwater and probably kill us too. He enlisted JBug and JBear in this endeavor, so it was fairly quiet indoors. I took advantage of this some might say great advantage I sat on my butt, catching up with my email until my stomach let me know it was time to eat. I actually just ignored the whining of the troops...

J asked me to stop and get a push broom at the local big box hardware store. This was a mistake. I took JBean with me, and everything was fine until she asked, "Mama, can we walk through the garden store?" So we did. And...$125 later we left. I bought flowers. Which is funny, since I have no green thumb. In fact, I think it might be a sick shade of grey. But, hope springs eternal. I schlepped JBean, the flowers and fast food home.

First we readied the flower bed. Since nothing had been planted in over a year, this was a job. J turned the earth, down to about 6 inches. Halfway through, we realized there were huge pieces of glass in the soil, left over from when the plate glass window shattered from the heat of the fire last year. So we pulled out the beach toys and literally sifted the soil to pull out the glass. The last thing we want is to try and provide an enriching family experience and have a kid lose a limb!

Once that was done, we were ready to add the nice bag of whatever-it-was-the-nice-garden-lady-at-the-store-told-me-to-get. So far, so good. JBean helped. We planted two false heathers (though I am not sure they were planted deep enough). Time will tell, I guess. I bought some Gerberra daisies in yellow, orange and red. JBean loved planting these. Today, JBug will plant the white petunias in between the daisies. And our garden sculpture, in honor of our beloved cats that perished in the fire, watches over them all.

I also bought an Asian daylily plant in the most beautiful shade of maroon/red/burgandy. I have high hopes for it, but we will have to see. And, in an experiment, I bought poppy seeds, since I love the happy colors of their bright heads whenever I see them. I am hoping to plant it all tomorrow. I would imagine I will be posting here in a a month about how I managed to kill all of them , I am actually pretty excited about having flowers, and I have my fingers crossed that they will be happy happy and flourish.

T, who is missing the Gardening gene, but valiantly keeps trying

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Maybe An Eviction Notice Is in Order

I borrowed this picture, I know how the dog feels

I had expectations, doesn't everyone? I expected to hold my child in my arms, cradling the downy softness of her head, next to my cheek. I expected to put her to my breast for the first time, meeting her eyes in solemn agreement. I supposed that I would hold her small hand tightly as she lifted her foot for the first time, coming down surely without landing on her bottom. I would see her beam proudly at her accomplishment.

I knew that there would be tantrums, two year old balled up fists and screams of rage. But it would be a stage, not a landing pad, and would pass quickly, into squeals of joy and chubby cheeked eskimo kisses. I expected life would be rosy. What I hadn't expected was the monster.

Who is the monster, you ask? The monster we live with day to day, isn't always out in the open. In fact, sometimes, it isn't visible at all. Those are times when she climbs onto my lap, cuddly with a book in tow. But in the back of my mind, I know that monster is lurking, ready to thump us all with a surprise attack. The evidence is everywhere: the set of the jaw when an answer isn't forthcoming. The balled fiststhat come from a level of anxiety that most people don't live under. The scream, that once it erupts, is more characterized by a car alarm than by a voice. The sibling rivalry which, while on the outside seems innocuous, often stems from misunderstandings and inability to read others' cues. At these times, a simple disagreement can erupt into screams, tears and ultimately, if I don't step in and referee quickly, fisticuffs.

This is the monster called Autism. It isn't always an easy houseguest. It leaves the toilet seat up. It uses the last of the milk and then puts the empty carton back in the fridge. It wipes its mouth with its' sleeve and then refuses to wash its shirt. It interrupts. It has terrible language. It yammers constantly about inane topics. It throws fits. It is a beast. A large, lumbering, elephant under the coffee table beast.

My first fleeting glimpse of this monster was when my son was two. Autism came to visit, but didn't stay long. I think it was just getting the lay of the land: checking out its new digs. It wasn't until my son was in the First Grade that autism moved in. Kindergarten had been uneventful. My son did well; we expected he was a genius since at 5 he knew all the colors in the Crayola box and told his teacher the sky was a beautiful shade of cerulean one day. He dressed as Indiana Jones, and well, though that was a bit er, eccentric, it was still pretty cool, so we indulged it. So what if he had to change to Indy clothes before the van left the curb after school? He was creative!

By the First Grade, it was apparent something was different in relation to his peers. JBear couldn't attend to the classroom. He wouldn't do his work. He spent most of the class time either cutting out pieces for an Indiana Jones board game he was devising, or huddled under a desk. Despite the fact that he had a full-time aide to help him, he couldn't handle the class. We saw the school psychologist. We saw a diagnostician. We saw a psychiatrist. We saw the large, black monster and named it for what it was: High Functioning Autism. Yes, he was brilliant, and stubborn and creative. He had interesting topics of conversation, as long as you were enthralled with his latest obsession, (if you could call it a conversation...mostly he talked and you listened). He had a hard time filtering out distractions, and needed textbooks that were "less busy" than the colorful Mtv-ish books that passed for curricula in public schools. I straightened my shoulders. Ok, we can deal with this, knowledge is power, and I am powerful. And Autism slunk behind us and followed us home.

We learned to cohabitate fairly well. Autism was mostly polite. It stayed out of the way. When it caused a ruckus I waved a stick called Intervention at it and it hid behind the sofa once again. And the years passed slowly on. I homeschooled. JBear learned to read. He learned to add, and subtract and measure. He learned to spell, somewhat. He learned to say, "Please" and "Thank You" and "I'm Sorry" and "I Love You." He learned to say he was hurting, he was angry, he needed help. Autism wasn't such a bad roommate after all.

And then, this last year, Autism stepped out of hiding again. My baby girl, my JBean, was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder, too. Here we go again. Autism erupted with a vengeance. It was twice as strong, wily and ready from its rest. It had learned a thing or two. It learned that loud voices add to already chaos. It learned that anxiety multiplied by two is quadrupled, because everyone suffers. It figured out that once the word is no, a fit is in order. And if not staved, the fit will become a tantrum, which will lead to tears, sometimes mine. It learned to steal my time, by interrupting every activity I try to engage in (yes, even writing) multiple times so that I want to cry in frustration, or just capitulate to its will and abandon my project. It learned to cause separation anxiety that is sometimes so terrible it isn't worth the leaving. It learned to change our lives.

But it isn't as bleak as it sounds. Having Autism as a houseguest makes me realize how thankful I am for the quiet moments. The cuddles in my bed as we are waking up. "Teeth check" after she has brushed her teeth at night before bed, and then the welcome laugh as she throws her arms around my neck spontaneously. Playing "What's This," and holding up my finger, answering the question with, "A Tickle!" and having her dissolve into giggles. Experiences that, by themselves are wonderful, but stolen from Autism make them all the sweeter.

I know my children aren't severely affected. Autism wreaks havoc in many lives, not just ours. But I only know what we experience day to day, living with this unwelcome guest. And now, you know, too. In time, I may be able to look at this monster and not think of it as the invader, the party crasher, the Kato Kaelin of my household. In time, if I don't push it, if I let it happen gradually, perhaps, I may eventually call the monster Life. Perhaps, it is almost too much to hope, I might call it Family.

T, who always feared monsters, but is learning to stand up to them

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

T, who would love to show JBear Calvin, but I don't want to give him any ideas

Thursday, May 22, 2008

If I see ONE Locust, I'll Be Under the Bed

One of the reasons I live in Southern CA is for the weather. What? You thought it was the excellent housing prices and lack of superficiality? I am not a huge fan of cold weather, hence, I live where it is temperate, some might say downright warm. I like that the snow is well-behaved here. It knows it's place. It perches up in the mountains where it belongs. If I want to ski or otherwise visit it, I travel about an hour and a half. Just about right. In return, it doesn't blow cold north winds inland.

But today, all bets were off. Something was seriously wacky with the weather in Orange County and the Inland Empire today. After a solid week of ninety to one-hundred-degree days (yes, I said 100 DEGREES) this week cooled off to around the early 70s with a cool wind. It was a cold slap in the face after last week's heat wave. I know, you feel so sorry for me, don't you? Bear with me.

Today it rained. But not just rained, it did weird things as well. It started out fine, just a bit of rain, late in the season, but doable. I had to take JBug to band practice, so we all piled in the car along with about umpteen billion other hapless mortals who decided to get stuck on the freeway doing twenty m.p.h. and little else. I rented a car today because mine was in the shop. I had never driven a PT Cruiser before, but it was a bit close to the ground for my taste. With the driving rain and the backed up drains, it was like being in a boat. The roads were awfully flooded; the drains just couldn't keep up with the deluge once the skies opened. JBug said, "Now we know how people in Venice feel!" (get it? The gondoliers pilot the canals).

In addition to the heavy rain, there was lightning and thunder and I said a prayer for Shaker you don't know Shaker? Oh, he is my baby, my Macbook Pro. He is gorgeous, with a red Speck case. I love him. I was busy all afternoon, and all I could think is that lighting would hit and my computer was only sleeping and it would be fried. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

After band, we were driving down the road when JBear said, "Hey there's snow!" Of course, that's ridiculous, because, well, we live in Orange County, and it is May after all, and yes, it is raining, but really, how silly can it get? So I answered him and said, "No, honey, it must just look like snow, there is no snow here." He was insistent, and I had some time to kill, so I turned the car around. Sure enough, there were piles of what looked like snow along the sides of buildings. So I stopped. And it was ice, and did look like snow. It had hailed. But the bizarre thing is it seems to have only hailed in the THREE BLOCK vicinity of the area. This might not seem out of the ordinary for you, but I assure you, here in Southern CA, it is blog fodder. My children are 14, 9 and 6, respectively. And they cannot remember ever having seen hail. It doesn't happen here.

Found out later that in addition to torrential rains, flash flooding, lightning, thunder and hail, there were also three tornadoes in Riverside County! I am thinking the end of the world here?

T, who is waiting for the frogs to fall

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I Need a Break and the Day Isn't Half Over

Thirteen Things I Have To Do Today (crossed off things done)

1. Take van into mechanic. This is a new mechanic, a friend of mine has known since high school. He seems nice, and his office is a mess, always a good sign to me that he is good at what he does.

2. arrange rental car that doesn't cost an arm and a leg (Bad planning on my part, everyone wants to rent a car for the upcoming weekend. Leave it to me to try to rent a car on the busiest weekend of the year, Memorial Day Weekend! I ended up with a PT Cruiser, too expensive, but beggars can't be choosers.

3. Figure out what to do when I realize I left the car seat in the van and the van is already up on the lift at the mechanic's shop.

4. Call a friend and borrow her ancient booster seat, the one with no back.

5. Call my in laws to borrow their newer seat.

6. Drive to my friend's house to pick up the older seat. She lives close to me, and my in laws live 20 minutes away. I need the car seat from my friend to get to my in laws, where I can borrow the other seat.

7. Take oldest daughter to band lesson. All kids come with. We can hang out in the lobby area, the kids play and I chat with a friend.

8. Take the kids to in law's house again, drop the younger two off for babysitting.

9. Take oldest daughter to her doctor's appointment. She really likes him and has been seeing him since she was in the 4th grade. I like him, too.

10. Stop at AM/PM for our traditional snack afterwards. I usually get a Kit Kat and a Pepsi, or guacamole chips. RIght now, though, with my mouth being sore, I might just forgo the snack.

11. pick up kids from in laws after appointment

12. drive to grocery store to get milk and a few other odds and ends. Pray the kids can handle the trip and that it will be done quickly.

13.finish this T-13. and figure out something for dinner. J is going to take JBear to the Indiana Jones movie, so the girls and I will have a nice "girl's night" while they are gone. Maybe we will get pizza!

*I also need to get my house cleaned since a friend of mine is coming to visit...hoping that will happen this evening.

T, who is tired already, just looking at the list

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Filed Under: WHY God?

Today Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, age 5, was struck and killed by a vehicle in her driveway, driven by her older brother. It was a tragic accident. Please pray for this family, for peace, for healing. And pray for her brother, who now has to live with this awful mistake. Pray that he would not be bogged down by guilt. This is a family who will desperately need God's grace and his healing. Again, please keep them in your prayers.

This is his newest song...written for his daughters, back in February, because he realized he needed to slow down and spend time with his girls while they were young, because it goes by so fast. Cinderella:

Story here Also videos discussing how he wrote the song. Have tissues handy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some daughters to hold.

T, who has no words

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Wordless Wednesday

T, who took this picture from the 4th floor of the Metreon in S.F.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At Least It Wasn't RPGs, There Is Still Hope

There are times I think my kids would be better off with "normal" parents. Some of my influence really rubs off on them. I have always been a bit "left of center" in the arena of Pop Culture, I guess. But more and more I am discovering that I am corrupting my progeny. Just look at the evidence:

1) This morning I was sitting on my bed, and my daughter brought me a stuffed white rabbit to cuddle. This was very sweet, and empathetic, since I wasn't having a good day. JBear, though, saw the rabbit, and well, THIS is what you do with a white rabbit:

See what I mean? What kind of responsible mother not only lets her kids watch Monty Python clips on YouTube, but actually introduces the kids to them? In my defense, JBear has never seen the entire movie. JBug has, but I forgot about the part with the giant naked lady. Whoops! She was a cartoon, though, so I figure she isn't completely scarred for life.

So, as if that isn't bad enough, this evening J and JBear are playing Wii, and I am checking email. My two girls "knock" on the wall, and proceed to do this:

*knock knock* Who's there? Flowers. Flowers for whom? Mrs. Cmmmphmph Who? Candygram!

Finally, at bedtime, my son is supposed to be getting ready for bed, when I hear him making laser noises, pretending to shoot something. Keep in mind, I don't allow him to play with guns or pretend to do so. I find him, with a loaded cat, playing Laser Cats. (ignore the first 35 seconds, you aren't being Rickrolled, only clip I could find on YouTube)

And how does he know of this, you ask? That's right, I showed him the clip from Saturday Night Live. Is it wrong to get supreme joy out of corrupting my children? They will never get married, right? That's what you are saying? But oh, Internet, I have an argument for that (and no I wouldn't like to buy an argument, I will give it to you for free). I am married. And my husband is as big a (or bigger) geek than I am. So there might be hope for them, yet.

Besides, maybe I can give credit for SNL for school. We'll call it... Comedy Appreciation. Yes, that just might work.

And Monty Python? Well, that's obvious. That will go under Life Skills. After all, it is important to know where to find a decent shubbery. (and I didn't introduce them to RPGs. I have some limits!

T, who takes Full Responsibility for their future lack of social life

Vote for my post At Least It Wasn't RPGs, There Is Still Hope on Mom Blog Network

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Well, At Least I Know That I Am A-peeling

No, I didn't want to open her banana. It was a banana. She's six. She can handle it.

There are days when I ask myself, "Self, how are you going to continue? How are you going to handle this chaos for even one more minute?" Today was one of those days. I love my children, I mean, don't we all love our children, for the most part? But having three children means they all play Tag Team Mama, which means they all need or want something... right now. I think there is an unwritten law that states:

"The need for mama's attention is directly proportional to how many demands she is dealing with, right that minute.

The amount of free time mama has is inversely proportional to how bored one is.

(I think this is the Prodigal Principle. All kids seem to know it. I am not sure if they are born knowing it, or if they pass it along in the secret societies formed on playgrounds, swim parties and play dates).

AND one must make sure that mama knows of this state, loudly and with inflection, many times a day. This also must be peppered with inane requests that will probably be rejected.


One of these days, I will have to chronicle every request so that I can fully express my consternation. I can sit and do nothing, and no one wants me. Why is it they all must have my help/attention/involvement all at the same time? I feel like a banana, being peeled! I will try to recreate just a smidgen.

I have made no secret of the fact that my son has High-Functioning Autism/Asperger's. This makes him just a leetle more persistent and demanding than other boys his age. He makes requests, over and over again, until I think I will either run into traffic in a crazy fit or die because my brain explodes, forcing blood from my ears and all over my freshly vacuumed pride-and-joy wood floors. Today, he was hung up on:

  • Nintendo
  • watching TV
  • selling "pet rocks"
  • (don't ask, but he made these rocks a few months ago, I told him no one would buy them, but he was welcome to try. He made $20! I don't want him to continue to badger the neighbors, so I won't allow him to do it anymore. He still asks a few times a week, months later)

  • Play Clue (with me)
  • Play Nintendo? Pleeeeease? I won't get upset, I promise. Please? (repeat 30 times, after each time I add :"Question asked and answered." Finally say, "I have had enough, go somewhere else before I hogtie and find a lake in which to throw you!" er that last part wasn't actually voiced aloud, it was just in my head
  • watch tv please? Bear Grylls is on. Mythbusters is on. I just want to watch tv...WHY can't I watch tv? can I have soy pudding? Ugh! Why nooooot? I'm hungry, dammit. Why do I have to go to my room? I'm SORRY. (apology accepted) Can I play Nintendo? Do you want my Nintendogs to STARVE?

    Finally, I insist he go outside (though it was very warm today, so I waited until late in the evening to suggest it) It lasted about 5 minutes. And after that he left me alone for about 20 minutes. Then, he started all over. Stellar day.

    The girls aren't as difficult, but they both compete for my attention. If I am talking to my eldest, JBug, JBean will most assuredly interrupt. Remember Parenting by Sondheim? I am constantly reminding them they are stepping on one another's words. It is as though there is a game that I know nothing about. Sibling Survivor: the thought processes behind Survival of the Fittest.

    Contestant 1: ((Whoever spends the most time with momma wins! Make sure to distract her when she is talking to a competitor.)) Yes, I neeeeed you to open my banana. I don't care if you are helping the other contestant with her Algebra. Ha! I get points! She stopped what she was doing and turned to talk to me!

    Contestant 2: Wait, I had the attention first, with my Algebra, we need to continue, you can open your own banana! Score! She walked away.

    Contestant 1: I need these Barbie clothes to be put on right now. I can't do it! It's too haaaaaard!

    Contestant 2: Hey! You're interrupting! I don't bug when you are needing help, you can have a turn in a minute!

    Contestant 1: oh oh time to up the ante! Drop to the floor now... ok, whine. Good, you have the Momma's attention now. Remember, negative attention counts in this game, doesn't matter.

    Contestant 3: Oh, now is the time to strike! Take in the sight, sisters arguing, mother feeling harangued, littlest sister on floor gearing up for a tantrum...

    Contestant 3: Can I sell pet rocks?

    WHAT? Mother turns to the #3 and says, " Now is not a good time, we can talk in a minute."

    Contestant 3: (pretending? not to hear) Can I sell pet rocks? Repeat. again.and. again. and again. and...

    Mother turns, wild-eyed, I don't care, please just stop talking and leave me alone for five minutes and let me finish this I have to get you sister calmed down No, I cannot help you with your Algebra, I have to calm your sister first. !

    Score : Sibiling Team: 1 Momma: 0

    Time for a drink. A nice Venti Starbucks Mint Mocha Chip Frap. I am a simple woman. I just don't like bananas.

    T, who does like oranges,peaches,plums,apples,and nectarines

    Vote for my post Well, At Least I Know That I Am A-peeling on Mom Blog Network

    Friday, May 16, 2008

    I Guess I Can't Tie Him Up and Lock Him In the Closet Anymore

    My son loves Indiana Jones, and has for years. In fact you could say it is an obsession. In autism-speak, it is called "perserveration"..meaning he hyper-focuses on a subject and doesn't let go. He has had a fedora like Indy's for years. He has a costume that he wears,and I smile indulgently. He is very excited that the new movie is being released. It has breathed new life into his Indy preoccupation. This sight is what I happened upon this morning. Apparently, he conned his big sister into tying his hands so that he could escape, via The Indiana Jones Handbook.

    As you can see, he managed to escape. I don't think I could do this. Next time, I guess we'll hog tie him. Maybe a career in escape-magic will pay for college!

    T, who swears I live in a sit-com sometimes

    Vote for my post I Guess I Can't Tie Him Up and Lock Him In the Closet Anymore on Mom Blog Network

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    A Hot Mess of T13

  • 1. Husband had oral surgery on Wed. the day I write, and I was dealing with his needs.

  • 2. I had to pick up my daughter from church.

  • 3. Before that, I had to put the kids to bed.

  • 4. My son didn't want to go bed.

  • 5. I had to 'splain it to him

  • 6..While I was doing that,the pissy cat peed on the area rug!

  • 7. I caught her in the act and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck

  • 8. Bad News: she was still in mid-stream and peed from the rug to the box!

  • 9. I had to refrain from killing her

  • 10.So I locked her in the bathroom

  • 11.Then I had to wash JBean's Littlest Pet Shop toys that had been dribbled on, just in case.

  • 12.I was very glad that they are plastic.

  • 13. That's why my T13 sucks today.

  • BONUS: 14. Anybody want a cat??

    T, who is about to make a cat-skin rug

    *no animals were harmed in the making of this post, but just barely

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  • Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Not the 6 Words I Would Have Originally Chosen

    I have done this before with some friends, but I borrowed the idea here from Los. I have always loved this concept. If you had to describe yourself, in six words, what would they be?

    I'll go first.

    Plan B now, but it's ok.

    Your turn.

    T, who really wants to hear your responses


    I Never Claimed To Be a Supermodel

    Message left on my voice mail:

    "Hi, this is your friend (who shall remain nameless, because, well it's just the right thing to do) I was wondering if you want to get together tonight, either at your home or at the library so I can shoot your family..."

    There are times...

    *disclaimer, my friend was offering to shoot a family photo for our homeschool yearbook, because, you see, I don't have one. Trying to coordinate everyone and make sure they are all in correct states of mind is like trying to nail jell-o to a tree. There isn't much point.

    I tried to have a family member shoot the picture, but we took seven pictures, and not one is usable. Maybe we just won't exist in the program.

    We don't really want to be remembered like this:

    T, who didn't take her Senior high school portrait, either, and my mother is still bitter about it

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