Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Can We Learn ?


I just linked to a blog called ryestar. Very interesting man this Ryan. I thought I had deep thoughts and a fairly diverse and extensive vocabulary until I read this gentleman's blog. I suffer from periodic bouts of self doubt and self deprecation in case no one has noticed.

What I found interesting about this man's blog is that he wrote. Not about boobs and farts and whatever else men think about. I don't mean to be shortsighted but most male conversation does revolve around balls - either theirs being scratched or one that is being kicked around a field, carried under the arm or wacked with a little stick. This man was quite deep and he actually showed emotion. He showed admiration and respect for his fiancee. He showed the ability to observe the power of nature that most seem to ignore or be oblivious to. He showed tenderness and wonder about a small child and the new eyes with which they see the world. In short, he blew my perspective about straight men right out of the water.

God love my husband - he can carry a decent conversation about anything from golf, to politics, to home repairs. I can lose him for hours at a party and he's had five completely different conversations with 10 different people. But emotional things, not so much. He is not distant or unemotional he is just able to feel it, experience it and let it go. He doesn't brood or let things fester. Not nearly long enough as far as I'm concerned so that way I don't feel bad when I bring something up over and over and over. He does cry. He does vent. He does get blue. Most importantly, he supports me when I do. But I think overall he'd rather discuss balls.

So thank you ryestar. You've opened my eyes to what men are capable of. You've shown me that men can blog in a reasonable manner with thought and feeling. It's always nice to start the day by learning something.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Go Get Your Boy


Late last year, we had a bad day. A VERY BAD damn day. It was one of those days that you wish the world would open wide, swallow you up and put you in the pit of hell that you belong in for being such a bad parent. I lost it with my son. Lost it so far I almost forgot where I put it. I did not beat my son physically but I did with words. I yelled. I screamed. I did things that made it not a proud day in my parenting history. I took him to school and that is how I started his day. With angry words, recriminations, admonitions - angry, hurting words. I felt horrible. He felt horrible.

I came home and sobbed. I called Jess and sobbed more. I confessed what I had done and was beside myself. I wanted my son so badly. I wanted to hold him and console him and beg forgiveness. I wanted to take away that bad morning. In her quiet way she said, Go get your boy. So I did. I went out the door, drove to his school, knocked on the portable door and said to his teacher - I need my son. I told him to leave his things and come with me. He was confused but excited.

We didn't get ten feet from the portable and I broke down crying. I apologized over and over. My son, my sunshine, my heart - he came over to me, hugged me and said it's okay Momma. After I dried my tears, we went down to the lake and skipped stones and played and talked. We talked about what each of us needs to do so we don't have another bad day like that. I asked him what he would change about our family. He said the yelling and Vanessa's attitude. I confess I giggled at that one. I agreed about the yelling. I asked him how did he think we could change the yelling. I explained why I yelled and why his behavior made me angry. He seemed to understand and we agreed that he would try harder to listen and I would try harder to keep a lid on it.

After we played some more and talked some more, I took Thomas back to school. I never offered an explanation and the teacher never asked. I am hopeful that in the years to come, my son remembers the trip to the lake far more than the bad way I parented that morning. I hope he sees that adults need to apologize, need to work on themselves, need to try to respect their kids and need to try to make things right when we've made a mistake. I hope out of all the things I would have liked to have done for my son that this one step I did take makes an impact. That he remembers the good and the bad.

Go get your boy - damn good piece of advice. Thanks Jess.

He Remembers


So I've started to re-read the OASIS Guide to Aspergers. I figure it's been a while and I'm in a much better place to receive the information that they have to give. I did try to read it when we first got the diagnosis but was in no way ready to accept what anyone had to say. I was still too angry, too disappointed, too ashamed, too hurt. I had too much to deal with so I got by on other smaller books. This one is a bit of a tome but it will be worthwhile. I don't have to fight so much now and can step back and learn more about the what and not worry about the why.

As I'm sitting there, I'm reading the chapter on the stages we go through once we receive the diagnosis and am relieved to discover that I am not "monster" parent and what I have been feeling is normal. The chapter goes on to discuss how a parent of an AS child does in fact routinely question their parenting skills, their value as a parent, the decisions that they've made and if they are doing right by any other children. It also addresses the guilt we might feel about not being able to afford services for our child that they might benefit from.

Now overall I think I have been a good advocate for my child. I spent the first 7 years of his life running around trying to fix his skin, trying to sort out his behaviors, trying to fight the school for what he needed all while working full time for at least 4 of those years. On my good days, I know I haven't done too badly. On my bad days - I am the worst parent in the world who has not done nearly enough, has let too much time slip by without intensive therapy (that really he doesn't need as he's quite mild), has not spent enough time drilling him for homework, etc. Those bad days are mighty long let me tell you.

So as I am sitting there realizing that maybe I am not doing such a bad job after all, I get the urge to hug my son. A good friend once said, if you need to - go get your boy. So I went and got my boy. He was putting away his laundry, or supposed to be anyway, and I asked him to give me a hug. As we swayed for a moment, he says to me, "Do you remember when you used to hold me and do that little song ?" We continued to sway and I hummed the song from so long ago. It was just a little tune that my dad used to "da de da" to as we took a spin around the living room. I started doing that with my kids as babies to soothe them. We would waltz around the living room quite often and continued until they were too big to pick up. And Thomas remembers. He remembers we used to dance together. He remembers the tune and the time we spent waltzing around.

I don't have too many good memories of my dad. He wasn't a bad parent, he just wasn't around much. But I do remember the waltz and thanks to my dad, my son does too. So maybe the title of this blog should include, he is remembered. My son happens to look a lot like my dad and as my dad was quite handsome, this is good. My son aspires to be a great father some day and hopefully by giving him memories of our dance, he will have what he needs to achieve that goal.

He remembers. I must not be doing a bad job after all. And in his own way, maybe my dad wasn't so bad after all either. I remember too.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Daddy


It's not often that fathers get discussed in blogs unless they are getting cussed out or we've just had enough. It's not often that dad's get the recognition that they deserve for being heroes in their own right. Mother's are usually the ones to take the accolades and sympathies. Men just don't usually garner that kind of attention. I would like to say that my son's father, my husband, my hunky man - deserves some praise.

My hunky man is just that - he is a big fella. He used to be bigger. Heck, I used to be smaller. He walked in to a room and people would stop and look. He was big. Sometimes that's all they would see. Depending on which end of the bouncer you were on, there wasn't really much of a chance to see much else. As we matured, he lost some of that bulk - that big guy wow factor. Which was great for me as clothes were so much easier to buy for. But he never lost that big guy feeling. People still know when they look at him, that he is not one to be messed with. Except me of course - I mess with him all the time. But then again I give perks.

This big man, this hunky fella - he is the father of my children and I doubt I could have chosen better if I tried. When our children were born, this big man would take these wee babies and cuddle them, coo to them, soothe them. He rocked them and changed them and marvelled over anything they did. He was wrapped. Babies just go to him and instantly calm down and feel safe. It must be where our son gets one of his many gifts which is how children are drawn to Thomas. No fear, no worry just play with me and I know you won't hurt me.

As our children grew, my hunky fella got a bit smaller. Still big enough for people to go - hey you need to move that ? Ask Mikey. Hey you need that knocked down ? Ask Mikey. But as a father he got better and better. He grew leaps and bounds in the dad department. He played and he read stories and he taught them to swim and he taught them how to ride a bike. He showed them stars and bugs and all kinds of things. I often thanked him then for being the father of my children. Most days I still do. He gave me the best piece of advice of anyone when people would offer suggestions and I thought I was doing it all wrong. "You are the mother of this child and you know your baby better than anyone." God love him for that. I know I do.

When Thomas was a baby and toddler, he got sicker and sicker. Races to the hospital for asthma attacks and colds. Running to specialists for appointments and evaluations for allergies and weeping skin. Being at home, I did alot of them alone but my hunky fella was right there when he could be. They said, You can't fix his skin Mrs. Plouffe - just accept it. Hell no. Now my hunky fella didn't always agree with my choices but he backed me up. Not always graciously but he tried. They said Thomas' skin might get better by the time he was 7 or 8. I had him cleared up by 3 1/2. Don't tell me no ! Well didn't my hunky fella tell all who would listen about his wife who wouldn't take no for an answer.

As he grew, it became apparent that Thomas wasn't functioning quite "normally". He started getting help thanks to Mary Heathcote his nursery school teacher. The centre said after some skills assessments, let the school handle it. He'll get evaluated eventually. It will sort itself out. Hell no. My child needs help and you will give it to him if I have to take it by force. I got his psycoeducational evaluation over two years before the school would have done it. My hunky fella took Thomas for most of the appointments. When we started seeing Dr. Weaver at ErinOak, my hunky fella was right there. When we got the diagnosis of Aspergers, my hunky fellas sat there holding my hand as I cried. Dr. Weaver said - it's ok. He will grow up. He will have relationships. He will be able to hold a job. My response ? If my son grows up to be half the man his father is, then I will be happy.

Most people would think, what's the big deal ? This is what dad's should do. My husband, my hunky fella, the father of my children did all of this while working two and sometimes three jobs so I could stay home. He did this while working on our house, repairing foundations, fixing problems inside and single handedly re-roofing our house. He did this while helping friends move, helping friends with their houses, helping my mom and his mom. He would put in a full work week plus overtime and come home and take the kids to the park so I could have a break. He would take care of his own laundry (which he prefers thank God), help around the house, mow the lawn and trim the hedges. He would take them swimming because I don't like public pools. He took them skating because I have a hard time with crowds and I don't skate well. That is why he is a big deal.

I got inspired to write this by my friend Jessica's title of her blog - Sometimes Heroes Come in Small Packages. Sometimes they come in big, quiet, fun loving, hunky, helpful and fabulous packages too. My hunky fella - am I lucky or what ?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Keeping up with the Jones'


So my friend says to me she says - well you must see my new blog. I says to myself I says - ok I must. Well it's so darn pretty I immediately think - I must keep up. So off I trot to keep up and of course I can't pick the damn available templates, I have to go in search of "the" template. It's now been over an hour and after wiping out my previous blog but not quite, I found my new template and set it up. And quite frankly I like it - it's kind of weird like me and my boy. Colorful, quirky, fun, different - there are worse things to be called.

It's funny how I'm funny about change. I like it and loathe it. I want to keep up and I don't. What I fail to realise is that I have a choice and my son doesn't. It strikes me sometimes as I write the challenges he will face and he doesn't even know it. I don't think it enters his conciousness - thank God. If he knew what he faced he'd start drinking. God knows I've often thought of that particular coping method. But I think my son has the right idea. He deals in the here and now with a little foray into the past every now and again. He doesn't worry about the next day, never mind next year. He just is. He just goes along his merry way and doesn't worry about the small stuff.

One then has to examine the small stuff. What is small stuff really ? Does it matter that he wanted to wear his long johns under his pants in 26 degree heat today? Yes and no as he was going on a field trip to the RBG. Can you say hot and itchy ? Does it matter that he relates all things according to how old he was at the time ? Not really. That's just how he puts things in place for him. Does it matter that his ears are for decoration only ? Yes and no depending on which side of the desk you are sitting on. God Bless you Mr. Highley - you had no idea did you ? Does it matter that he talks about babies ? Hell, at least it isn't fire he perseverates on. Does it matter that my heart breaks when I think of what lies in store for him ? Yes and no - it's my problem not his. It only matters when I let it out in front of him - the worry and the fear. It can manifest itself as frustration and bad temper. Then I make the small stuff into big stuff which is kind of dumb of me.

My son has the right idea. Why sweat the small stuff ? Why indeed.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To His Success


So as per my last blog, my son was at camp and I was sitting here quivering with the need to go and get him. I controlled my quiver and remained home with my daughter. Focusing on her for a day was nice and I think she enjoyed it as well. Suprisingly, I really missed my son. When you have a special needs child and don't get a break, a couple of days apart are a dream. My husband and I have had one weekend together, child free in 9 years. Not a ton of time to focus on being Michael and Elizabeth and not just Mom and Dad. Thank God for Cubs and camping trips.

The Cubs and camping trips have given my son many things. He comes home proud of his new skills. He gets the chance to work on group skills and social skills. He is able to demonstrate his growing maturity. He is able to find some independence in a safe environment that doesn't freak me out. He is able to make friends who get to see him as more like them than they may have thought. Because I work full time, I am not able to give Thomas everything I think he needs. Sounds odd, but I can't run him around to groups which he would probably benefit by and I feel bad about that. I'm sure I'm short changing him somewhere. Cubs gives him some of what I can't and I hope to keep him in it for life.

As the story continues, I am still sitting at home all a quiver with anxiety. Slowly that fades and after no phone calls, I know he is ok. Turns out he was better than ok. Despite one small impulse accident, we are advised that he was one of the best behaved kids all weekend. He helped out, he went fishing, he paid attention. All without Ritalin I might add, which I had sent for him. Both Michael and I lavished him with praise and told him how proud we were. You could see he was too ! Something that is hard for Thomas is to be proud of himself. He doesn't seem to think about it all that much and might not really understand what it means, but when it happens it shows. I don't think it's a need for him like typical children. If it happens, great. If not, life goes on. What a great philosophy. The downside is, it doesn't really give him any ambition. We'll work on that.

So after all my quivering and worry my son scores another notch on the belt of life. He shows that he is maturing. He showed that he is changing and growing. When it happens right in front of you, sometimes it's hard to see. These times away from him give us that chance to see him in a new light. They give him the chance to grow and learn which is what he really needs. It benefits not only him but our family which is fabulous.

So let's raise a glass and give a cheer. To Thomas and all his successes. May you grow strong and proud and know that we love you just the way you are.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Necessity is the mother of Invention


As I am walking the dog this morning pondering our financial state, it was one of the few times I was able to see the benefits of being "financially challenged". We are not poor by any stretch but things have been tight for a few years. My husband is an apprentice and I've never been in a position to make loads of coin. I'm not high powered executive material.

I started thinking about what we've had to do in order to make ends meet. Over the years, I've dragged my kids in to fields to gather field stone for the garden. I've called my husband very excited about piles of patio stones on the side of the road. Heck, my daughter's chest of drawers came off the side of the road. I buy things on sale. I comb Value Village. I cruise Goodwill. These things never would have happened a few years ago.

I was raised upper middle class. Everything for my father was about how it looked, how much it cost and what name was attached to this. It gave me a superiority complex which was not a nice thing. I thought I was better than everyone else because my family could afford these "things". What we never had was time together. We never had movie night. We never went to the park. We never went on hikes or walks by the lake. Things that have been borne by our financial situation. We've had to improvise in order to spend quality time together. Some of the things we have experienced might never have happened if we were more financially affluent. We might be running around to all kinds of activities. We might be trying to keep up with the Jones rather than each other.

By being honest with our kids about our financial situation, they are learning some valuable lessons. They are learning that important things in life are not measured by how much they cost. They are learning not to judge people by what they wear or drive. Believe me, my husband has driven some doozies. They are learning to think outside the box in order to achieve things that they want. They've watched us scavenge. They've helped us scavenge. They've watched their father repair the foundation to the house, redo the entire house roof himself, dig out a driveway extension, build garden beds and renovate the basement all by himself. That is the short list. They've watched their mother shop frugally, bake endlessly, recyle tirelessly and donate constantly.

I'm hoping that they are learning the lessons far faster than I did. Learning to be independant. Learning not to judge. Learning not to value things over people. Learning to cherish time with each other. Learning that we are here to help one another.

My Uncle Alan, ironically my dad's older brother, has done a lot for me in this life lesson thing. The life I live now is far more like him than my dad. I sent him and my aunt a thank you letter a couple of years ago. I wanted them to know what kind of impact they've had on my life and in turn my children. My aunt called me and sounded quite choked up so I know they were suprised and appreciative. That wasn't the goal but it was nice none the less.

So maybe the point of all of this is that money is not everything. Would I like to do more for my kids ? Yes. When Thomas was little I spent thousands trying to fix his skin. Since then, I've spent thousands again trying to help with his Aspergers and other issues. I'd love to be able to afford tutoring and other things like that. Can I afford a new car ? No. Can I buy expensive clothes ? No. Do I care ? No. My kids have lived a life far richer than what money can buy. They've learned that they are valued. That they are important. That they are worth spending time with. The value on that - priceless.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lessons Learned


For the longest time I gathered life experience not knowing why. Sounds odd but here's what I mean.

We go through life and we experience things. Some people continue to live the life they are leading and some choose to embrace the experience and change. Some people don't think anything of the experience and some analyze it and put it to use. Some people don't realize that they are experiencing anything and others put meaning to everything that happens. I happen to fall in to the latter category.

I tend to keep experiences very close. I tend to analyze them, look for the meaning and see what I can do with it. Mostly I use them to become a better human being. I've managed to learn to control my mouth - some would disagree. I've managed to become a better wife - I hope he would agree. I've managed to become a better mom - the therapy bills will tell the truth on that one. I've managed to become a better daughter - a long time coming I can tell you.

My friend Stefanie once commented that there are several qualities about me she really likes. This is good as we've been friends over 25 years. I'd hate to think she'd waste all that time on someone whose qualities she abhorred ! Anyway - what suprised me was that the qualities she liked were my penchant for introspection and my ability to change my mind. These things have been developed over time in response to ticking people off. Not that I would change myself for others but I don't want to walk around having people plot my demise either.

I've chosen to do this for a lot of reasons and have found it quite successful. One other conclusion that I've come to is I am meant to experience all these things so that I can share it with others. I came to that conclusion a long time ago and for several reasons as well. One - things kept happening to me. Big, life altering things. And two - people kept talking to me. Friends, strangers, acquaintances. They all kept coming and still come to talk to me about their problems. Sometimes to vent and sometimes to help solve said problem. My mom even made me business cards to hand out which said, "If you need a wedding planned, lawyer disbarred or something taken care of - call Elizabeth" complete with my picture and number. Odd, but true.

So while I search for the meaning in my life, I remember that helping others is part of it. I think I go through these things to learn from them, build on them and share what I've learned. I assumed for a long time that everyone did this. I assumed that if little old me did this, then all people must want to learn and grow and change. I've since been disabused of this assumption and have learned that 90% of the population have a hard time figuring out how to tie their shoes.

So here I am with my A child, my life experiences and my thoughts and feelings. I decided that somebody needed to hear what I had to say. They keep coming and asking me anyway.

Can I protect him ?


My son has gone camping with Cubs. Not your girly in a lodge camping, but on the ground in a tent with wild things around camping. He has done this before and had great success. Right now, with every fibre of my being I want to run up there, snatch him up and bring him home. I worry that he is cold, I worry that I didn't send enough clothes, I worry, I worry, I worry.

I realize that parents of children without challenges worry but as a parent of one of each, I can honestly say it is different. I'll tell you a story - once upon a time, I had a dad. One day when I was 20, he died and I no longer had a dad in the physical sense. Shortly before this time, I had "lost" my dad to divorce. There were hard feelings, bad circumstances, etc. But he remained on this earth and was there to be reached out to when I was ready. Apparently it wasn't going to be for long, so several life lessons were learned during this time. I had experienced losing him in two ways which were distinctly different. I had a friend whose parents had divorced tell me that losing your dad to divorce and death was the same thing. As her dad was still walking the earth, I vehemently disagreed having experienced both and greatly preferring the loss to divorce. So when I say that I see things from both sides, I honestly mean it. I tend to look at things from as many angles as possible so I can have a real picture of the situation. Then I store that information for future references as hopefully most people do.

I look at both my kids as distinct individuals. While I have compared my son to other boys, I don't tend to compare him to my daughter. They are as unique to one another as siblings as they would be as strangers. I do worry about my daughter but I don't tend to get as shirty about her. Right now she is sleeping safely upstairs and I have no doubt in about half an hour she'll come tripping down the stairs with a Hello Momma. I still worry that my son will wake up. I still worry that he will be able to see a new day. I still wonder if his allergies will get him in the night or if his asthma will kill him quietly while we sleep. Up until a month or two ago, I still checked on both of them while they were sleeping. I still went in and put my hand on their backs to make sure they were breathing. I've even gone so far as to put my hand in front of Thomas' mouth to make sure the air was making it's way out.

Now I've sent him out in to the woods, in a tent, in a bag to keep him warm with men who will teach him how to survive in said woods for two nights and two and a half days. I've piled him up with sweaters, socks, hat and mitts, long johns, medications and warm blankets. I've sent snacks and a fishing pole and rubber boots. And all I want to do right now is get in the car, drive the 40 minutes just to put my hand on his back and make sure he is breathing. That he has awoken to see this new day. That I still have my son, my heart, my all.

Having said all of that, I know he is fine. We have camped as a family in this kind of weather and he was just fine. He is gathering skills, he is having accomplishments, he is making friends and building up his confidence. He routinely gets very positive feed back on camp outs. He loves it. He loves the fishing and the fire making and the hiking. He comes home dirty and smelly and proud. I will go in to hock to give him that feeling. I will keep him in Scouting as long as he will stay to give him that feeling. His Aspergers makes it hard for him to get that feeling. He routinely feels bad about himself for whatever reason. I am usually not to blame but have on occasion contributed to these bad feelings via frustration and irritation. Mild Aspergers kids are notoriously hard on themselves and he is no exception. Experiences away from us helps to give him the memories he needs to get over the bad feelings. It gives us field of reference to say - Look what you did buddy ! You did that so yes, you can do this ! He remembers, he smiles and he tries whatever it is we need to do.

So I will control my fibers. I will stay out of my car. I will sit at home and continue to send him positive loving thoughts as I've been doing for the past hour or so. This is one occasion where being psychic comes in handy. I can tune in to my son and know that he is fine. I can visualize my son and know that he is fine. I can send my love and hugs to him and know that he feels it. And I will wait to see him Sunday and see how much he has grown. And he's not going to be the only one who is proud.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What Could I Do ?


So I've come to the conclusion that I am not a good parent. It has come on slowly but gradually and I've come to accept it. I don't mean I beat my kids. I don't mean I neglect them but I see now what I could be doing and am disappointed to discover that I have not. I do not have it in me to play games, to listen endlessly to odd stories, etc. Lucky me: that is one of the characteristics my father has passed on to me. I love spending time with my kids but I need to be interested to enjoy it. I hate sitting around. I hate building lego's. I love taking my kids to the movies. I love taking them to museums. I love taking them to the theatre. I love taking them to the library. I love watching movies with them. But it's all on my terms which is sad. I do alot with my kids but if I don't want to do it, I don't which is also sad. I am not one of those self-sacrificing moms who will give up all of her time and energy to endlessly amuse her kids. I just can't. And this is biting me in the ass huge.

My kids have very good imaginations. They play well together. They are relatively computer savvy. They are learning to read, etc. but I'm not sure how much of that is to do with me. I look back now and realize the amount of time that I have wasted not drilling them about school work. How much time I have wasted not practicing math facts and reading out loud and everything else a good parent should do. I did read to them at night but listening to them read is like needles in my eyes. Homework is like torture because I don't understand why they can't get it and I don't know how to help them do that. This is my big failing as a parent - no patience. Yeesh.

My son cannot play board games. He gets frustrated, bored, jumpy, etc. It drives me nuts. But again, part of that is my fault. I have relied too much on TV for a distraction. I tell myself it's a treat for them. I carefully screen what they watch and expose them to Discovery channel, Learning Channel, etc. but still it's not for them, it's for me. It's for the lazy parent in me that needs a break after working all day, that needs a break from cleaning, etc. It's an easy out which again is biting me in the ass. As a result, he has developed no patience. He has not developed good skills at sticking with something which doesn't interest him. Part might be who he is given his mother's disposition but I wonder if I could have done more to build up those skills. I like to blame his Aspergers to exonerate myself but that is a cop out as well.

I need to start looking for other ways to have a break. I don't want to look back in 10 years and realize that while I recognized the problem, I didn't do anything about it. I have made changes but certainly none which have stuck as well as I would have liked. I have cut back TV for my kids but on rainy days we are stuck. It struck me this weekend. We are tight on money and couldn't really go anywhere. I could not bring myself to amuse my kids. I had to cook and clean and whatever else mom's do to get ready for Thanksgiving. I thought, heck, I'm doing all this and you want me to amuse you too ? Sheesh. What an idiot I am.

My kids still want to spend time with me. They still want to share their dreams and show me their accomplishments. They still want to go out with me and be seen in public. So in light of that, maybe I haven't done too bad a job. I've obviously somehow established a fairly decent relationship with them. They come to me with questions and ask me to help them. But do I help them emough ? I bark and I bite and I growl. I shush and I shoo. Help is on my schedule and kids don't work that way.

What could I do ? Well I could start by opening my mind and keeping it open. I could start by remembering that there will be a when they won't want me to help them but I will want to help. I could start by remembering that I will be running after them to spend time with them soon and they won't want to anymore. I could start by remembering that one day they won't have any more questions for me but I will have answers that I want to share. I could start by accepting the fact that my son does things differently and to stop placing unrealistic expectations upon him.

What could I do ? I could accept the fact that he won't be what I expected him to be and to stop blaming him for that. I could accept the fact that I need to find a way to relate to my son and my daughter before they won't care if I do or don't. I could accept the fact that I need to keep trying to be a better parent and not be so hard on myself when I mess up.

What could I do ? Love myself as much as I love my kids. Remember that saying I love you doesn't mean as much as showing that love every day. Find ways to have fun with my kids that don't involve a screen. Have realistic expectations on all of us and follow through on ways to improve my parenting.

What could I do ? See the chance to change and take it. I don't want to let life go by and keep missing it. I have two valuable, loving kids who think I am great. Maybe I should start deserving that opinion it a little more.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Just one more thing...


So we go to the developmental pediatrician for a check up. Just to see whas' up and check meds and all that good stuff. After a brief discussion, we get on to some concerns. Concerns lead to a small test. The small test leads to just one more thing. That one more thing is now called a fine motor visual integration disorder. But to the doctor it really isn't one more thing because it was probably always there but is just surfacing now so really it isn't anything new per se but ... it's just one more damn thing.

She reveals the concrete evidence to me in the middle of the lobby. I start laughing hysterically and she looks at me like I'm about to go postal, which unbeknowst to her I probably am. To her it's nothing, it's minor, it's no big deal. To me, it's one more thing. I look at her and I say, "I really was hoping not to hear the phrase - Would you like fries with that ? in relation to my son's career choices." She laughs. Haha - very damn funny. I point out to her that while it may have been there it is one more damn thing. This boy is anaphylactic, allergic, atoptic dermatitis, asthmatic, aspergers, add and now his brain doesn't want to talk to his hands. Well hell. Who does his brain want to talk to ? It doesn't want to tell him how to behave. It doesn't want to not kill him if he eats peanuts or nuts. It doesn't want to tell him how to make friends. It doesn't want to help him read properly. It doesn't want to help him breathe properly. So what may I ask is his brain supposed to actually do ? It appears to be going on strike on a regular basis and quite frankly I wasn't aware of a union. We also discover that he has been holding his pencil wrong for five years and at this late stage may not be correctable. Well hot damn - let's add just one more thing to the other thing that we've added today. Why not ? There seems to be a special on disorders and dysfunction today and apparently we are in the two 'fer line. Hot diggity.

So the day continues.

At one point I am on the phone crying hysterically and wondering what the heck is going on ? Much stronger language was used but who knows who might read this. God forbid I offend. The hysterical laughter soon follows and I commence high pitched what the f#!%'s in order to relieve my mounting hysteria. Thank God for my friend with an A child. She gets it which is what I really need to hear at that time.

So the day continues.

I get home and the husband does not get it at all. He does not see the port hole to my son's future shrinking. He does not see the added stress and added anxiety. He does not see the need for any of this. He does not see the need for me to have a moment. He believes he has it in perspective. I believe he is delusional but that is another story. My husband comes at this from a unique perspective because he himself is learning disabled. While not Wile E. Coyote, I am fairly bright and find reading and writing as easy as breathing. He does not, never has, never will found either of those skills easy.

It has taken me a long time to separate the ability to read and write from intelligence. My husband helped me with that. It has taken me a long time not to judge a person based on what they read or how they write. What I need right now is someone to throw me a freaking bone and tell me that my son's future is not mandated to include McDonald's as his only career choice. What I need is someone to show me that he can learn but needs to learn differently. What I need is all those people who told me he was bright all those years ago to go soak their head because they set me up for this fall. The "professionals" who over and over again said he was bright - he had problems, but he was bright. Well if his future career includes being a light bulb then we are on the right track.

Like it or not, this is just one more thing for Thomas and I to deal with. I guess I had hoped all his other issues would exempt him from any more things. A get out of hell free card if you will. This may turn in to a gift. There will be a positive from this I'm sure. But for right now, it's just one more damn thing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Power of Friendship


It seems to me that I have been undervaluing blogging. My computer died a sad and horribly slow death. It would heave to life and then quit. Sort of like my new favorite show Pushing Daisies. It just didn't matter how many times we pushed the darn on button, the computer stubbornly refused to cooperate.

I went through blog withdrawal. Granted unknowingly but I did.

I've just read Jess' blog and I have to say I was revived. I missed that glimpse in to her funny mind. I missed that private feeling of camaraderie. I am not one to share certain feelings and I missed the release of the blog. When I start to discuss certain things, my husbands eyes glaze over and he looks at me a bit funny. Sort of like when I do Tarot or give a reading to someone. He believes it but doesn't want to believe it. If I try to read my blog to him, I start to cry. Not helpful in the least but at least he isn't one of those guys who wigs out over it. While my husband is my best friend he doesn't have a vagina and that puts him in a different class of best friend. He doesn't get certain things, which I don't expect him to but sometimes need someone too.

This is where the power of my female friends come in. I can discuss shaving. I can discuss ghosts. I can discuss the emotional toll of my son on my life. I can discuss me and not feel like I should grow a penis and get over it. Sometimes I need to hash, beat that dead horse, rehash and then shoot the horse - whatever it takes to get it out so I don't feel it crawling under my skin. Toby Keith has written a great song called I Wanna Talk About Me. LOVE IT. Quite frankly, I wouldn't kick Toby Keith out of the bed for eating crackers which makes it even better but the song says it all. Some days I want to talk about me and not feel like I shouldn't. I'll give my husband his dues - he does listen and has learned I don't want him to fix it. But some days vagina to penis just doesn't work. Maybe it's the two friends that dangle along for the ride but talking to someone with the right genitalia can make all the difference in the world.

So I thank my female friends. Thank you for talking about breast hair. Thank you for talking about period poops. Thank you for talking about clothes. Thank you for talking about kids. Thank you for being the history keepers. Thank you for being the story tellers. Thank you for believing in ghosts and psychics. Thank you for listening. Thank you for that release that can only come from talking to someone without a penis who doesn't expect you to understand what a drive shaft is and why it's important. Thank you for the laughter. Thank you for helping me get over crises. Thank you for helping me to see that maybe there is a purpose in my life after all and remembering that I am important. Thank you for being my friend and giving me the power to be yours.

Life is good. My name is Elizabeth and I have a vagina - Thank God !

Laugh until I cried


As the parent of an A child you have many moments where the floor does not conveniently swallow you up and you are left to deal with whatever has just popped out of your ever lovin' childs mouth. Most times the other party laughs it off - some times they don't. I just read Jess' blog about sexy Spencer and have to share my story. Thanks for the laugh Jess - I needed that.

So we're in the doctors office - again. Thomas is about 3 and has learnt the power of frustration. We are helping him deal with that as best we can. Apparently there are those in our house who are not dealing as well as they should as I am about to discover. My son is happily playing with those dirty, nasty, make you cringe doctor's office toys. He is getting frustrated and I mention that calming down might be a good choice. In a stellar moment of childhood my son stands up, puts his hands on his hips and says none too quietly - Oh for F#!ks sake ! Hmmmm, say I. I guess someone has been cussing in the house and I guess Thomas' hearing is not as bad as we thought. We didn't know at this point that he actually has hyperacuity. So I say to myself, Self - whose fault is this really ? And myself says - yours you potty mouth. So I call my son over and congratulate him on the proper use of the term, remind him that we need to speak to Daddy when we get home and calmly advise him not to use that phrase again.

Damn that Daddy ! Can't he learn to control his f#!$ing mouth ?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

But serioulsy...


Suprising thing about blooging. You can start out bummed and then vent to no one and feel much better.

I still think life is about whatever gets you through the day. And I still think that it sucks that you collect all these experiences, friends and memories and then you are worm food. But I also think that God has a purpose for me and if it means sticking around to find out then so be it.

I do have to say that with all God's wisdom - why the heck would he invent fruit flies ? My damn house is full of them and the lizard doesn't seem to be interested. Just like a man - cute but useless. Always up to the woman to kill the bugs. Sheesh.

To all my friends - I love you. I'm glad you are part of my memory making experience on this earth. If I have to spend time here, at least I get to meet nice people on the way !

Not so sure


Finally I am back. My computer died a slow and agonizing death and we have moved on. Damnit.

We've had lots of hoopla in the last week or so. I herniated a disk and have been in various levels of discomfort for the past two weeks. My mom ended up in hospital for three days with we still don't know what. Thank God on my knees she is ok. Tears, yelling, the usual. I love that woman far too much. I got an excellent job review which has made my not so sure in to another Thank God my guardian angel steered me to this job. Last but not least my husband has changed jobs again for what we hope is the last time. My A friend's husband gave Michael a chance which we will always appreciate. Michael has said that this man has spoiled him for any other boss but that career path was not to be. He was not so sure as we can all be when we take a different path. He is still not so sure but feels good about the change. His only reserve was hurting this gentleman which I don't think has happened. Thank God for friends who understand.

I'm not so sure about many things lately. My son is starting to shake what I thought I knew about him. He is surprising me alot lately which I find exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. He is grasping things I didn't think he could. He is trying to act cool which never seemed to matter before. He is getting taller and taller and taller which I never thought would happen. I'm not so sure that I'm ready for him to change so much yet I can't wait for it to happen. We shall see.

I'm not so sure about life lately. I have questioned for some years the purpose of life. We come in to this world of mayhem and strife, fight to live and then die. Sounds like a rip off to me. We spend our time making memories, having experiences, getting through the day and for what ? When the time comes those memories go with us and none are the wiser. Our kids may chuckle now and again. Our spouses may reminisce about the time when such and such happened but really, what does it all matter ? I get very frustrated by the idea that I am fighting this fight for my son and in the end he will die. In the end I will die. And what will it have mattered ? We've had to fight this fight to get through a life that will end. I've often heard that believing in God will make this life worth living. I do believe in God. I believe in a higher power. But for some reason this question of the reason for life plagues me. I'm not so sure that it's always worth the fight. I get fed up with fighting.

I'm not so sure about many things. Today, I'm not so sure I want to write anymore. I've had so many good ideas over the past week and not been able to get them out. As therapeutic as it is - I'm not so sure it matters.

How's that for a happy thought ?