Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holly Robinson Peete, you should know better

I'm home watching daytime television, which is something I don't normally get to do. I'm watching this new talk show called "The Talk" which from what I can tell is a knock off of the View. I'm interested because it has Holly Robinson Peete on it, who is the mom of a son with Autism, and she is doing this segment about a mom with three boys with Autism. It shows her three sons and they talk about her day to day life and how difficult it is for her sons. Then they show that she is there in the studio, with one of the boys on the spectrum, and this other teenage boy. Turns out this is the older brother, whom was not mentioned at all during the segment. That's not all, but they go on to say that there is another older brother who is also not on the spectrum. Instead of being a mom of three boys with Autism, she is actually a single mom of 5 boys. Okay, I'm with you Holly. Holly then asks the typical teenager how life is for him in this environment, which I thought was nice because the typical kids are generally invisible in a household with special needs siblings. That's when the whole thing comes off the rails. It starts out with the show giving this mom some stuff to help her out, which is what you are expecting to happen. It was all harmless enough, a hospital was going to pay for her kids to get reevaluated, which is an expensive undertaking, so that was cool. A company was going to help her with some financial planning and help her set up a special needs trust...that was cool too. Then Holly starts passing out the iPads. Yes, the iPads are proving to be great for non-verbal kids, and they have really cool specialized Apps for kids with Autism. They might actually help give her non-verbal kids a voice, which is priceless. My problem is that you are throwing those around and everyone is cheering and that poor typical brother gets squat. Then they threw in a shopping spree from Toys R Us differently-abled toy catalog so she can buy whatever she wants for her sons with Autism. Fantastic, I'm sure the other two don't mind getting passed over, AGAIN. Then to top it all off, she then hands the youngest son with Autism a gift basket of toys because 'he likes Nascar'. I just thought it was really thoughtless to shower that mom with gifts for only a few of her children. I'm done complaining now.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The story of why SSG Grumpypants ran to the store himself.

SSG G: Can you run to the store and buy some pancake mix?

Me: I'll just make some.

SSG G: I don't like them from scratch, I like the mix.

Me: you have got to be kidding me. Besides the insult to my cooking, what happened to 'the car repairs were more than we thought, no unnecessary purchases'?

SSG G: Okay, what I really want is a soda, but I didn't think you would go for 'hey I worked all day, could you go get me a pop'?

Me: over not wanting to eat my cooking? yeah, good choice.

SSG G: (turning to our kid's ABA therapist that just entered the room) Hey Kristen, would you go get me a pop?

Kristen: No. (have I mentioned that I love this girl?)

Me: I would have gone and gotten you a pop. Twerp.


Motormouth: look mom, those people are on TV and famous. I wish we were famous.

Me: I don't.

Motormouth: Really??? Why not?

Me: I wouldn't want everyone to know me and where I live, I guess.

Motormouth: But you could make.....One Thousand Dolllars! You don't want a thousand dollars??

Me: I'll pass, Dr. Evil.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What just happened? No really. Explain it to me.

I just watched my husband lay on the floor in the hall outside my son's bedroom door and pass his pajamas back and forth under the door while my son screamed "No pajamas!" followed by "Gimme back my jamas!!" for about 40 minutes. The fact that we really didn't care if he wore pajamas or slept in his jeans was lost on him. He continued to yell that he didn't want to wear pajamas nonstop until he abruptly announced mid-yell that he needed to go to the bathroom. I open his bedroom door to let him out and found him standing at the door, wearing the pajamas (that he is NOT wearing, Mommy!!) and holding all his dirty clothes. He marches to the bathroom, throws his clothes in the hamper, looks at me with red-rimmed puffy eyes and asks for help brushing his teeth.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Dark Side

I made the mistake of nodding off at my inlaws. I was brought back to reality by hearing Monkey shrieking hysterically in the next room, then G walking through the room with a crying, flailing Monkey in full attack mode. G was tagging out. Which means that I am up. Sort of, because I'm still not quite awake enough to really understand what is going on. Not that it matters. As always, it doesn't matter how we got here, at this point it only matters how we get back. I get Monkey into the spare room and manage to get all of his limbs under control. Sort of. For a second. Wait. A leg got free. How can he bend it like that to kick me? argh. Got it. Whoa there, almost took a head-butt to the chin. That was a rookie mistake. Can't hold his arm like that. Reposition, reposition, reposition. He's screaming that I am hurting him. Am I? Nope...not hanging on too tight anywhere, he can breathe, move a little-Whoops, gave him a little too much room to move and he got away. Start over. Stay calm. stay calm stay calm. Got him. Why are his elbows so pointy???? I can't let you go, even if it breaks my heart to hear you beg me to do just that. I can't. I love you too much. That doesn't even make sense. How can pinning you down as you scream be any kind of love? Even if I'm trying to keep you from getting hurt. Even if I'm doing it as gently as I can. Even if I know deep down that 20 minutes of this is better than 4 hours in the emergency room. This can't be right. I need to get out of here. I can't do this anymore. Mommy needs a time out. Wait Mommy don't go, don't leave me. Don't leave me alone. Clinging to my leg. Let's lay down and take a break. Take a breath. Let's just breathe. Okay. Here we are. Turning it around. Arms and legs a tangled mess. Head on my chest. Shaky, gasping breaths. Calm down, calm down calm down. You can do it. Just breathe, breathe breathe. His heartbeat on my stomach, mine in his ear, they become one and slow down. breathe, breathe breathe. The monster leaves, Monkey returns. He cries. Hopeless tears for things he can't change. Connection so intense, painfully sharp. He rests. He breathes. He calms. He slows. He is still. Then he laughs. Crazy, exhausted giggle. He sits up, looks at me with clear, glassy eyes. "Let's go Mommy, Let's get out of here"

Monday, September 27, 2010

One of the many downsides to the Autistic mind, at least to your brother.

Motormouth and Monkey are out jumping on the trampoline.
Motormouth: You can't see me.
Monkey: Yes I can.
Motormouth: You can't see me. I'm invisible.
Monkey: You're right there.
Motormouth: No, I'm invisible, you can't see me.
Monkey: Yes I can.
Motormouth: You can't get me because you can't see me. I'm invisible.
Motormouth: OW! HEY! You can't see me!
Monkey: I got you.
Motormouth: Hey! You. Can't. See. Me!!!
Monkey: I got you.
Motormouth: Stop. Stop. Ow. Stop.
Monkey: hee hee.

Ah, pretend play. Maybe someday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The moral of this story is that G shouldn't tell me stuff while I'm already blogging.

SSG G: (calling from the living room) Oh, hey, for that TNA wrestling event we're working I get a backstage pass.

Me: I don't think I'm happy about that.

SSG G: Why?

Me: Just stay away from those TNA girls

SSG G: What? It's not like they are trampy like in WWE

Me: (wheeling the computer chair to the edge of the kitchen and staring at him around the corner)

SSG G: (looking sheepish) heh heh heh.

Me: Seriously, I don't want to see some barely dressed woman rubbing up on you for the camera or have some little girl talking about how she (using my air quotes) "appreciates your service"

SSG G: No rubbing. No appreciation. Got it.

I guess I don't really like the idea of any of the TNA guys "appreciating" him either.

A lock isn't enough, I need soundproofing.

Motormouth knocking on the bathroom door, because, of course, I've been in there 30 seconds in the past 4 hours, so, you know, I was asking to be interrupted.

Me: I'm in here.

Motormouth: I haveta go to the bathroom.

Me: I'm in here.

Motormouth: (with his face against the door) but....I have to go.

Me: take a number

Motormouth: uh.......70?

SSG G: between 1-10. when you pick a number it's usually between 1-10.

Me: (yelling through the door) I said TAKE a number!!

Motormouth: okay.....7.

SSG G: (coming over to the door too) oh, take one, not pick one. You want to go low.

Motormouth: I still want seven.

SSG G: well, then you are 7th in line. I'll go, then Monkey can go, then I'll go get the neighbors and we'll all go before you.

yes, go get the neighbors too so you can all stand outside the door and have a chat while I'm trying to maintain the slightest shred of privacy in this house full of boys. I don't want to live here anymore.

Me: Just give me a minute!!

SSG G: (sounding like his face is also pressed against the door) Babe, he's starting to do the pee-pee dance out here.

Me: Oh for crying out loud. I'm done. I'm done. It's your turn.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And that's when I knew it was time to go home.

Met some friends of mine at Burger King so we could let the kiddos run wild in the play area while we studied (who were we kidding?). After playing for about an hour Monkey had a run in with a little boy, and I mean little, he was maybe 3 years old. Monkey comes down and is crying and really upset, and had some red scratch marks on his arm from where this kid had grabbed him. It seems from what I could piece together from Motormouth that Monkey wanted this kid to play with him and was grabbing him and trying to drag him off so they could play, and this kid didn't really want to go, so it's not like Monkey was attacked or anything, just the usual lack of social skills at work. Anyway, Monkey was worked up and crying and wouldn't go back into the play zone. The other little boy had gone to the bathroom and when he came back out Monkey points at him and announces-loudly- that it was "HIM, He grabbed my arm!! He did!! (starts to crawl off my lap) YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME???" (oh. dear. lord.)

OoooKaaaay. Time to go. I work at calming Monkey down and convince him that his arm isn't 'broken', just scratched. Meanwhile, Motormouth decides that he needs to go over to the table where this kid is sitting with his parents and explain what is going on. I call him back over and we get our shoes on. Monkey is still worked up and Motormouth then decides that the situation requires him to go back over, lean between these two parents, and tell the little kid that he 'can't hurt other kids at the playground, okay?'

It's time to take my socially inept circus and hit the road.

On the way out to the car, Monkey still can let it go. It's been 10 minutes. He announces to no one in particular "You scratched my arm. You are not my friend. I don't want to play with you."

Really?? Really???? It's good that it was in there, but it would have been nice if you had just led with that.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Or, maybe I’m just witnessing the first stages of dementia.

Grandma arrived two days ago and I have only seen her allowed out of the basement for meals. She is otherwise held hostage down there and made to sort through gigantic tubs of Legos to find the piece that Motormouth needs next. Seriously. His job is to show her a picture of the missing pieces, and assembly. All the heavy lifting, sitting on the floor and sifting through a gazillion Lego bricks belongs to Grandma. I'm pretty sure she is sorting them at night to find all the crazy tiny accessory pieces instead of sleeping, just so there are some ready to go when the Lego Nazi, er, precious angel wakes up in the morning. Meanwhile, Motormouth has attended a birthday party AND played for a few hours on the waterslide in the backyard. He even takes trampoline breaks. Where’s Grandma? Still sorting. You know what it sounds like when you rifle through a gigantic tub of molded plastic? A rock polisher. Guess who is trying to sleep through that noise? Yep. That would be Grandpa. Who apparently can sleep through the apocalypse judging by the racket emanating from the basement, which, coincidently, is where the spare room is located. Did I mention that the basement isn’t quite finished yet? Yeah. There’s no door to the guest room. Still, he manages to get some shut eye in, but only while Monkey is asleep. Since Motormouth has Grandma all locked up, Monkey seeks out his Papa, and he doesn’t let a silly thing like sleep get in his way. I’m pretty sure that if I had chose to wake my father by getting a running start and cannon-balling him that I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale. Monkey gets rewarded by Papa tickling him. Papa gets rewarded with knees, elbows and feet to the head. Nice.
So, what’s the deal? Does becoming a Grandparent make this stuff seem awesome? I keep hearing that being a grandparent is your reward for being a parent, that it is some kind of prize you win if you can manage to see your kids through adulthood. Or is it just that after being a parent for a couple decades, it makes you so crazy that this stuff SEEMS great? I’m just not seeing the appeal. If this is what is going to await me after parenthood, I don’t know if I’ll survive it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Dad is pretty awesome too.

My Grandmother passed away.
She was 85.
The love of her life died 15 years prior.
Her health has been declining steadily.
If that all wasn't enough to prepare me, my dear, sweet, Grandma has been telling me for the past DECADE that she is READY. NOW. and that she can't wait to go and too bad for whoever isn't happy for her when her time comes.
She was awesome.

So, I was more or less prepared. G was prepared. Not only for her death, but for everything that comes after. My particular grieving process, my family's drama, the fact that we are going to laugh more than cry, the ridiculous things we will find to fight about...all of it. He was there 15 years ago when my Great Grandmother and my Grandfather passed two weeks apart. And for some reason he didn't run. (he's awesome too, maybe it will rub off) I'm grateful. Motormouth was a little prepared, we've been talking to him about Nana's failing health for some time now. The only person that wasn't prepared was Monkey. He doesn't grasp the concept. Which would be fine, except that whether he grasps it or not, he is still subjected to hordes of slightly familiar and completely unfamiliar people, new places and lots of hanging around. In other words, the worst case scenario possible. The showing was okay. He was very sweet and told Nana goodbye, then shushed me for talking while she was sleeping. He hung out with his cousins watching movies and playing games in the basement of the funeral home and was handling most all of it pretty well. The funeral itself was a slightly different story (we aren't even going to get into the nightmare of attempting to meet the extended family for lunch the day was so awful it drove me to tears). Monkey told Nana goodbye again, and he sat in the church pew quite well for a couple of minutes...and then started to unravel. I immediately came to the conclusion that we should have asked for a reserved "family" pew in the back of the church, but this moment of clarity came too late, and everyone that attended got to witness the following show:

Monkey standing, turning around and sitting about 20 times, asking to go home about 10 times. Spontaneously grabbing my cousin James while announcing "tickle, tickle, tickle!!....oh, you're not Papa!!" Apparently my father was the only one who was supposed to be wearing a dark suit jacket. Monkey standing up and turning around in the pew, putting his hands on his hips, looking very sad and saying "I'm sorry, I didn't know! but I gave it to the Peach, because he's got.....HAIR" (we got this particular reenactment of the Veggie Tales Silly Song "Where is my hairbrush" twice.... Twice) One trip to the bathroom, multiple requests to be "all done", oh, and my very favorite, the entire time he was climbing up my body so he could rub my head and put his hands over my face. This particular move is something that is calming to him. He likes hands on his face and feeling the top of his mohawk. It's comforting. Somehow, it has become MORE comforting to do it to me. I can't get him to stop. It makes me freak out and start screaming- inside my head. By the time the service is over I am one step shy of being stark raving mad.

I bump into my dad outside the church and tell him I wish we had sat in the back so we weren't such a spectacle. My dad replies that we were fine. I point out that he was in front of us and had no idea what was going on in my little circus show. Dad looks at me and says "I didn't need to see. I already know that Monkey was doing the best that he could, so therefore I know that it was fine"

The awesomeness doesn't fall far from the tree.
I hope it doesn't skip a generation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I think I need a nap.

The phone is ringing, and I don't get to it in time and whoever it is hangs up on the machine. I assume that it is G calling and I go find my cell phone because he'll probably call that next. (his m.o. is to call the cell, immediately call home, then the cell, until a frazzled me finally chases down one of the phones and then he only wanted to say hi. Tell me that is not frustrating. I'm not just sitting around doing nothing when I am at home. I'm working here. But I digress.) I check the cell phone and sure enough I missed a call from him on it too. I hit the call back button and wait for it to connect. Then the home phone starts ringing. "Sure enough" I think, "doesn't matter how many times I ask him to give me time to call back, he's just going to keep dialing like there is some massive emergency and make me frantic." The home phone is still ringing and I am getting more ticked off. "Now I never think it is an emergency when he calls both lines like this and someday it's going to be and by that time I'm not going to be answering the phone OR trying to call him back......" Now I've gotten myself good and worked up about this, until some little kid answers the phone. "um....Hello?" The little kid says hi again, followed by "Why are you calling here??" (okay, 1. Why is some kid answering my husband's phone at Ft. Jackson? and 2. How rude is this kid?) "MOM!! Why are you calling the basement?" The kid says, laughing. Then it hits me. I've called the house phone, and Motormouth answered it downstairs because I clearly wasn't answering it upstairs. The rude kid is mine. Except under the circumstances it wasn't actually rudeness, just curiosity. So, I was mad at poor G for calling when he wasn't. (maybe he was, just both lines were busy because I was calling myself, I don't know. But I guess NOW I have to give him the benefit of the doubt, don't I?) How my phone called the house instead of calling his cell, I also don't know. Incompetent, short-tempered and crazy are a bad combination.

Monday, June 28, 2010

We're not white trash- we're worldly.

I look up as Motormouth is coming back inside the house from playing in the backyard, and realize that he is wearing a tee-shirt and boxer briefs. When questioned, Motormouth explains his choice to strip down was heat induced. I don't care how hot it is, you don't take your pants off and go out in public. You are a boy, take off your shirt for crying out loud.
So now I'm ticked because I didn't notice that he went outside looking like that. I started to panic a little that this isn't some little boy reasoning, and that there is some deep-seeded, genetic trait that caused this white trash behavior. I would like to pretend that it couldn't possibly be from my genes...I'm mean, doesn't everyone try to pin the blame on their spouse when they see undesirable traits in their kids? Or is it just me? It's probably just me. I'm petty and small. Unfortunately for me, my theory of being haplessly married into a clan of barbarians that would enthusiastically embrace underwear as outerwear was quickly and thoroughly shot down when SSG G came home and was absolutely appalled at the idea of his son outside in his skivvies. His lecture included not only the fact that the practice was not tolerated in THIS house, but not tolerated by law either. Ouch. So the blame comes back around to me.
If the cops are called, I'm blaming his exposure to European culture early in life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And then I told him the truth about the tooth fairy.

We have never told Motormouth that Monkey has Autism. We've never told him that he falls on the high end of the spectrum either, for that matter. We choose not to tell Motormouth about Monkey's diagnosis for several reasons, but mostly because we didn't want to label him and because it didn't make one bit of difference. It wasn't like you couldn't tell that Monkey was different, but we didn't want Motormouth to treat him like he was. In most situations, we didn't try to respond to Monkey as if he has Autism (Oh, let the poor little handicapped boy get away with that, after all, he is a poor little handicapped boy) and try really hard to hold both our kids to what we think is a 'typical kid' standard. I don't want you to think my kids behave well for kids with Autism, I want you to think my kids are well behaved, period. It never seemed to bother Motormouth before, but lately, there have been moments, and comments. The 'why does he have to act like that' and 'why can't he be like everyone else' kind. So, it was time to sit down and discuss the A word. It went a little something like this:

Monkey has Autism. That just means that his brain works a little differently than most people's brains. He thinks differently. It is why he has a hard time talking or making eye contact. It is why he walks around and talks to himself and doesn't play with his toys. It does not mean that he is sick, or that you need to be scared. It doesn't change anything you know about Monkey, he is still the same brother you had yesterday. The one that is really good at video games, and memorizes every movie he watches, and is always the first one to come running when you call for help. The one that will defend you if there is bully on the playground, or when you and daddy are wrestling. It does mean that things might be hard for you sometimes in the years to come. Monkey might embarrass you in front of your friends, people will stare if he throws a fit in public. We know that this will be hard on you, but you need to know that Monkey isn't trying to make you embarrassed, or that he likes people to stare.

When I was finished, Motormouth had two questions. The first one was 'will Monkey ever get better, or will he always have Autism?' unfortunately, my answer was I don't know. We talked about how far Monkey has come in the past few years, and that if he continues to talk to people more, then it will be really hard for anyone to tell that he has Autism. The next question: Can we go sword fight on the trampoline? You bet dude, good talk.

Crap. Is he right?

Me: Motormouth, eat your cucumbers.

Motormouth: I don't want to.

Me: Well, you need to, that's the only vegetable we are having tonight.

Motormouth: Cucumbers aren't vegetables!

Me: Of course they are.

Motormouth: They are not! They have seeds. Look, right there!

Me:......just eat them. They're green.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...I guess you could, but really, why on earth would you?

It's dinnertime, and the boys have sat down to eat. Motormouth starts yelling at Monkey to stop doing something and Monkey starts tattling in that universal, sing-song tattle voice that every parent loves.

Me, talking over the yelling: Both of you stop it and eat!!

Motormouth: But Monkey was going to put up the middle finger! He can't do that!!

Me: He was not. Monkey doesn't even know what the middle finger is.

Motormouth: You could show him.

Me: NOBODY'S showing him.

Motormouth: I can't show him, I don't know what the middle finger MEANS!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Can't argue with his logic.

The Friday before Mother's day both boys came home with their handmade Mother's Day treasures. I love this day, it's even better than the handmade Christmas gifts they make because these ones I don't even have to consider sharing with G. I get downright Scrooge-ish about these trinkets, to me they are amazing. I treasure all my little woven coasters, weird lumps of painted clay, plaster hand prints, and laminated poems. G thinks I'm a little weird, and I don't care. Other moms know exactly how priceless these things are. Anyway, Motormouth came home with his and wanted to wait until the official day for unveiling. I was a little miffed, but I sucked it up. Monkey was a different story. He came home all excited, pulled out his little pink gift bag and announced that he had a present!!! Look!! Look!! A present!!!.....for him. The next minute or two involved three grownups trying to convince Monkey that maybe the present was supposed to be for Mommy. Monkey was unconvinced, but let me help him open "his" present. It was a clay pinch pot that he hand painted. Monkey announces how beautiful his present is. The grown ups try again to remind him that maybe he had made this for Mommy. Monkey flips the clay pot over and shows me the bottom. "Look (you clueless Mommy trying to steal my present) My name!" sure enough, Monkey's name was scratched into the bottom of the clay. Can't argue with that.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Did it make me cry? You bet.

Motormouth's Mother's Day Poem

I Love You Mom
You are as sweet as Starburst candy.
You are as pretty as a rose flower.
You are as gentle as a feather.
You are as nice as new Legos.
You are as funny as a fuzzy bunny.
You are as cute as a cute puppy.
You are like a beautiful rainbow.
He had me at nice as new Legos. Those are pretty awesome.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Feeling thankful and especially blessed

I'm sitting here in the hospital waiting for Motormouth to get discharged. I'm bored, I'm tired, I'm stressed, and I am indeed grateful for a great many things.

I'm grateful for successful surgeries with no complications.

I'm grateful for the Sunday afternoon nap (pre ER visit) I got to have thanks to a husband who knows I need more sleep to function than him and that is willing to hold down the fort while I rest up from the sleepless night before.

I'm grateful for parental intuition that tells you that even though there is no logical reason to take your kid to the ER, and that the hospital staff will more likely than not roll their eyes and send you home, that you just KNOW that you need to go anyway.

I'm grateful for not ever needing to worry about how we will pay for medical expenses.

I'm grateful for a husband who knows that I will be a stressed out mess if I am not the one dealing with the medical decisions.

I'm grateful for the same husband who will then come to the hospital because his son wants him to hold his hand, even though it means he has to ask the neighbor to come over and stay because the other child is sleeping AND that he would call and ask his dad to drive out so the neighbor can get back home to her own kids.

I'm grateful for good neighbors who will come over late at night and not judge the messy state of my house.

I'm grateful for the same neighbor who will lend her vehicle so the husband/Dad can drive to the hospital because the wife/Mom took his truck AND her van keys to the ER.

I'm grateful for a husband who chooses not to get ticked off about a wife that goes to the ER in his truck and leaves him no keys.

I'm grateful for inlaws who will drive out late at night to sleep on my couch and deal with annoying dogs just because their kids ask them to.

I'm grateful for the husband who will then drive back home because I am worried that the sleeping son will wake up and not be able to verbalize that he is scared about the change in routine and that grandpa, while great to have around and can totally handle any situation that might arise, is not usually there at 0300.

I'm grateful for a son who handled emergency surgery with a strength and courage I didn't know he was old enough to possess.

I'm grateful for a husband who also notices that the surgical resident was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt and can laugh about it.

I'm grateful for nurses who work the night shift in the pediatric wing.

I am grateful for the past experiences of having to handle these types of things without my husband or family nearby. It made this time around feel like a piece of cake.

I am grateful for friends and family who are willing to do whatever, whenever. I am especially grateful for the ones who understand that sometimes there isn't anything that needs done and don't make me have to come up with something for them to do just so that THEY feel better.

I am especially grateful for discharge paperwork...I wish I had some.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Can't take him anywhere

SSG G and I went out shopping and errand running today while the kids were in school. Moments where we find ourselves alone are few and far between these days (*snort* yeah, right. Make that years) and I was trying to to get some alone, grown up time while the getting was good. We went to Target, which as some of you know, is where I work (for the next week that is). We split up, we wandered around together, we found too much stuff to buy, and headed to the check out. Which, is where it all sort of came unraveled. G was chatting up the cashier and they had a pretty good back and forth going on. I realized that we had too much stuff and went to get another cart to put the bagged items in. As I am walking away I hear the cashier comment on the tank top I was getting. Something along the line of how nice G will look in it. I turn back around with the new cart just in time to see G pulling up his sleeve to show her his tattoos. Apparently he also thought he could rock my new tank top and that it would highlight his tats nicely.

She showed him hers...he showed her his....

G then spent a few seconds harassing me, to which the cashier commented that I should beat him up. G responds loudly that I cheat (as in I don't fight fair, but his exact words were "she's a cheater")......

She then rings up my soda, and G tells her not to bag it because I drink....

To sum up, in the two minutes we are in the checkout line, my husband can't keep his clothes completely on, and he announces to at least 2 employees that I cheat and drink.

Sooooo glad that I had already given my notice.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I would suggest it even if your oven isn't filled with burnt cheese.

SSG G's parents came over for Easter dinner today. We cleaned the house (most of it anyway) and the oven and planned out the menu. G decided to attempt his dad's scalloped potatoes and called him for the recipe, bought his supplies and got it all ready this morning before church. I was also prepping food to be cooked later and was in charge of finding dishes to bake everything in. Because of the amount of food needing to be in the oven at the same time, we decided to make the ham on the grill (it was delicious, in case you were wondering) I would like to take this moment to point out that I offered G no less than three pans to make his potatoes in and he picked out the smallest of the three. I watch him layer the ingredients and try not to say anything. When he's cooking I leave him to it. But even he commented on how he had to stack everything really high in the casserole dish....needless to say his parents had only been in the house about 20 minutes before the kitchen filled with smoke due to milk, flour and cheese that boiled over and into the bottom of the oven. Hee hee heee. In case anyone was wondering, you can make green bean casserole and scalloped potatoes on the grill and they turn out pretty good. I would suggest it even if your oven isn't filled with burnt cheese. I'm so not cleaning that oven again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2, 2010

Just a quick reminder that April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Autism Speaks is suggesting that everyone where blue tomorrow to help make aware and to spark conversations about autism in your what you feel comfortable with. I am celebrating in my own sick little way....G and I are having a financial planner come over to the house tonight to sit down and try to figure out our kids' future without us in it. Ah yes, facing your own mortality- always a good time. So, if you have never had to think about special needs trusts and money managers for your adult children, consider yourself lucky and kiss your little ones on their typically developing brains. If you have had to deal with this particularly unpleasant parenting aspect, or if you know you should, get to it! and know that you aren't alone.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I have to get out of here...

I was born and raised in Michigan. I married a Michigander, and even gave birth to one. That does not mean that this is where I belong. If given the choice, I would be someplace a little farther south. I have no problem with gun racks in pickups. I can have long, roundabout conversations with perfect strangers, I call it soda, not pop, tea is only tea if it is sweet, and I can drop this Yankee accent and drawl, y'all. I even encouraged my husband to join the Army, where most of the bases are located: yep, in the south. Yet, here I am...back HERE. And finally, it is Spring. How do I know that it is Spring? I don't need a calendar. I know it is the first day of Spring because after about a week and a half of t-shirt weather we woke up this morning to this:

This is how we do Spring up north, (y'all). My kids, showing their innocence to true Michigan weather, were actually surprised. Maybe they will get lucky and get to hunt their Easter eggs in the snow too, since anyone who was actually "raised" here can claim that tradition.
As for me, until Spring comes, you know, at the end of May, I will channel my inner garden gnome and sing the following song:

Monday, March 15, 2010

He ran into the bathroom to fart. I guess that's progress.

Two months ago I had the following conversation with my 10 year old son:
Me: Wash your hands.
Motormouth: okay...(out in 5 seconds)
Me: That was not long enough, did you use soap?
Motormouth: um, no. you didn't say soap.
Me: Go back and do it again. And dude, every time I say "wash your hands" it means "wash your hands with soap" Every time. The use of soap is implied. Every time.
Motormouth: (eyes wide with shock) OOOOH. okay.

Last month I had the following conversation with my 10 year old son:
Me: Wash your hands.
Motormouth: okay...(out in 5 seconds)
Me: That was not long enough, did you use soap?
Motormouth: um, no. you didn't say soap.
Me: Go back and do it again. And dude, every time I say "wash your hands" it means "wash your hands with soap" Every time. The use of soap is implied. Every time.
Motormouth: (eyes wide with shock) OOOOH. okay.

Yesterday I had the following conversation with my 10 year old son:
Me: Wash your hands.
Motormouth: okay...(out in 5 seconds)
Me: That was not long enough, did you use soap?
Motormouth: um, no. you didn't say soap.
Me: Go back and do it again. And dude, every time I say "wash your hands" it means "wash your hands with soap" Every time. The use of soap is implied. Every time.
Motormouth: (eyes wide with shock) OOOOH. okay.

Yesterday I also had to make this boy rebrush his teeth and his father made him rewash his hair in the shower. Motormouth is upset because he can't convince us that 10 seconds of half hearted brushing gets your teeth clean, or that your hair can be dry in spots and still have been cleaned. Go figure. I can't figure out how these germy, dirty, happy-to-wallow-in-their-own-filth creatures ever end up getting a woman to agree to spend the rest of their lives under the same roof. At some point they must learn to cut their own toenails and bathe themselves and have fresh breath and keep their dirty socks off the kitchen table, right? Because dear God, if they can't manage to do those things, I hope they don't think that they can live with me forever.

Why I like Facebook.

I gave up Facebook for Lent. I thought maybe I would find a better use for my time if I wasn't mindlessly playing bejeweled blitz, or yakking with my "friends". Turns out, I haven't. But I have discovered a couple things which I find interesting. Facebook wasn't taking me away from my kids. I'm still glued to a textbook, or reading the "news" online, watching TV or on the phone. I'm just as distracted as I was before, just with different stuff. I've decided that I help the kids with their homework, dance with them in the living room, talk to them about their day, play games with them and read them stories at night. (Side note: This is way more interaction and quality time than we have ever had before, because my kids are spending more time outside of their own heads than ever before, but we all still need that time inside our own heads). It is okay for them to wait their turn when I am doing something else, and that something else doesn't always have to be 'important', it can also be something as trivial as "me time" (FYI, "me time" is certainly not trivial, if done right it helps you remember who you are as an actual person, and that makes you a better mommy). Like everything else in life, it just comes down to balance. My short time without Facebook is making me realize that there are worse ways to spend my time. As you know, you can read a vast assortment of articles online about every topic imaginable and then comment on them. I never really paid attention to the comments before, but started reading some of them in the past week or so. It's possible that there are some intellectual cyberspace conversations going on out there somewhere- I just haven't stumbled across them. What an incredibly vapid, toxic, petty drama you can involve yourself in with complete strangers. No thanks. I would rather read comments and respond to people I actually know, in a relatively drama free environment. I miss you Facebook, and my little sense of cybercommunity. I have had some interesting introspection going on during Lent, which I appreciate. I'm realizing the things I want to let go, the things I want to be better at, and what kind of person I want to try to be. This is no small thing and I am grateful for the insight. However, I'll be coming home after Lent, and can't wait to catch up with everyone. Until then, know that I am thinking about all of you, and have spent time praying for everyone on my friends list and for the things I know are going on in your lives, and the things I don't know are going on. Oh, to finish on a weird, random thought: I find myself writing status updates in my head, even though I have no outlet for them. That's only a little strange, right?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Random things that happened on our trip to Chicago

1. We pack enough electronics to entertain 10 people. We also pack enough food to survive in our car for a week.

2. My husband bought cubed ham for the kids to eat in case we couldn't find food for them. The brand? Olde Kentucky Ham. Why? because he doesn't read my blog...or maybe he does and he is trying to torture me.

3. Our Tom Tom hates us. Why else would it takes us on a scenic tour of downtown Gary, Indiana and straight into downtown Chicago just to make us go back out to our destination in a NW suburb?

4. There is a McDonalds in the middle of the highway, the drivethru lane is right next to the lane for the turnpike. We almost got in the wrong lane.

5. We got to about the Loop in Chi-town when Monkey decided he wanted to go home. NOW.

6. The mall across the street where I had to go to buy the "discounted" tickets for the Lego Discovery Zone has 3 levels.

7. No one asked to see our tickets upon entering the Discovery Zone. I could have saved over $40 bucks and a trip into the 3 story mall on the first nice Saturday afternoon of the year.

8. Monkey threw a fit for no less than 1/2 hour before he would enter the Zone. Why does no one call the police when they see a woman pinning a child into a corner in a parking garage while he begs her to let him go?

9. We missed one of the toll booths on the turnpike. I wonder if they just mail us a ticket and how much it costs to skip paying the $.80 toll.

10. G informed me that he "didn't want to hear it anymore" when I complained that he was going to fast.

11. 20 minutes later he informed me that "I was right" just before the state trooper flipped on his lights and pulled us over.

12. Cops must be able to smell each other, G never gets a ticket.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The best laid plans.

G comes home tonight and I am excited. Finally going to get back to our version of "normal". When I am begging someone else to get up with the kids in the morning so I can "sleep in" until 0700...I won't be talking to myself!! Yeah! In fact, I am so excited that I wanted to do something to celebrate. I settled on taking the kids to the Lego Discovery Center in Chicago. We took to the LegoLand a couple times when we lived in Germany and the only one in the states is in California, so this is the next best thing as far as lego excitment goes. I talked to G and he was up for it, even though it meant more time in the car after driving home from Missouri tonight. I worked out how to feed the kids in a place that doesn't allow outside food brought in (they will if you ask nicely), crunched numbers on ticket prices (day pass vs. yearly pass) and even looked at hotels in case we wanted Lego fun two days in a row (Lego Weekend Extravaganza!!! What on earth did we do before we had kids....I'm trying to remember). The only crimp in the plan was that I needed to feed the neighbors rabbits this weekend, which would be fine, I would just have to do it Saturday morning and when we got home Sunday night.

Then I remembered.

We. have. dogs.

And the people who watch them when we go out of town are:

You guessed it. The neighbors.

How do you forget that you own dogs?

It's not like we got them last week.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What are you lookin' at?

Yes, lady at the grocery store, I know that I stood in the card section and laughed out loud at the card I was reading. Okay, so I probably cackled, it was THAT funny. I know that I am in public and should use my inside voice, but a little courtesy would be nice. You don't have to look at me like I'm nuts. After all, when I walked past you 5 minutes ago in the pet food aisle and you were singing "you....are the sunshine of my liiiife" along with the overhead system and you pointed at me and gave a little wink, I just smiled back. It's polite not to pass judgement. Just smile and ignore the crazy.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I just want you all to know that I do appreciate the comments even though I gave up facebook for Lent. I do get an email when you comment, and I know I could reply to the email and it would post on my FB page, but that just seems a little like anyway. Thanks for reading, thanks for the support. I'm feeling extra cut off from all the other mommies right now, so it is much appreciated. If you click on the view original post link (I think it is there on the FB page somewhere....without looking I can't say for sure) it will take you to my blog and if you leave a comment there I can reply to you. If you don't, I'll get back to you after Easter. It's nice to know that you guys are all still out there somewhere....I miss you but am enjoying my non facebook time for the most part. Kids are good, G will be home in a week, and I get to go back to work on the 11th!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Just in case I needed more reassurance

This week of being home with not much to do has at least done one thing for me, it has made me realize that this is a good time for me to be going back to school. Between deployments, field exercises, moving, multiple diagnoses, PTSD, the loss of a baby, school IEP's, doctor's appointments and you know, all the "normal" stuff- I have been at a physical and emotional dead run for the past 8 years. I don't really know how to do "down-time". I feel at odds with myself and start to get a little depressed if I don't have something pressing to do...right now!! This frantic pace is the pace of my life and I don't know how to do it any other way.

Frankly, taking the time to slow down and just breathe seems to make me hyperventilate.

Which is just fine for now, I have a lot I want to get done in the next decade, so I'll use this drive to my advantage. With the kids in school a full day and both of them being successful and more independent and G being home more without looming deployments, I'm not stretched as thin on the home front as I was in the past and need something to consume my time and energy. Tonight I was reassured once again that it is good for me to be in school. Motormouth needs to study for a science quiz and asks if I can help him. I look over his study guide and burst out laughing. Sure kid, I can help you. Your entire study guide was on my Chemistry mid-term last week. And when you get to synthetic division, I can help you with that too. That's probably not until 5th grade though, right?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a new day in Monkeyland.

Living in a house with a child with Autism is like living with a terrorist. You try your hardest not to let this little non-verbal dictator run your entire life, but it comes down to endurance. How many battles can you navigate before you eventually just fall over? You have to pick and choose your battles so you can make it through the entire day. You let some things go. You may let him walk to the car in bare feet because he refused to put on his shoes in the middle of winter. You may sit down and watch the same movie or cartoon at least once a day for months. You might let him turn the light on and off for an hour. It's all a balance of what you are willing to live with and what you have to stand your ground on. It's like parenting a toddler on steroids every day for years. Am I making the right choices? I have no idea. Will he grow up and become a person that HE can be proud of? I hope so. This morning was a huge turning point for us. Monkey didn't go to bed well last night, he gave me a hard time and ended up getting a consequence for his actions. The consequence was not getting to play computer this morning before school. As expected he didn't wake up well and was determined to let me know how angry he was. But I have to say he managed to pull it together after a very tense 20 minutes. He willingly got dressed and ate and even rushed to put his boots on when the bus came 7 minutes early. I still pray for the day that he can talk my ear off and tell me what is going on instead of these days of tantrums and tears. But I am cherishing mornings like this where he was able to pull himself out of that void and choose to play by his mother's rules.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Gray Area

Today Motormouth was telling me that his new best friend is no longer his friend because the friend lied to him. As I was encouraging Motormouth to give his friend another chance, that friends forgive and it would be sad to lose such a good friend, I realized how ridiculous what I was saying was. After all, I have been teaching Motormouth that lying is a terrible, hurtful thing to do. It makes people not like you or trust you. Lying is my pet peeve and Motormouth knows that I can forgive a whole lot of things as long as he is truthful. So, why defend his friend? I have no idea. By shrugging off his friend's lie am I teaching him that lying shouldn't be considered a big deal? His friend's little lie falls into that huge gray area that is so hard to explain to young children. I have to tell you, I hate that gray area. I don't like exceptions to rules. Sure the exception is what makes the rule, and what makes life so wonderfully complex. It also makes life exhausting. Ask any parent who's child is in the "why?" phase. The gray area stinks like moldy cheese.

Rule: Never, ever talk to a stranger, or take candy from a stranger
Exception: Except at Christmas, when not only will we let you talk to a stranger, we want you to sit on his lap, ask for toys and take candy from him while we take your picture.

Rule: Your body is precious and is not any one's property. It belongs to no one but you.
Exception: Selling your teeth to someone who comes into your bedroom at night while your parents aren't looking. (I blame the tooth fairy for prostitution)

Rule: Lying is a terrible thing to do.
Exception: Unless someone is doing it to you and not the other way around.

Rule: Sharing is mandatory when playing with others
Exception: unless it is your little brother and it is just easier (and I do mean quieter) to let him have it.

Rule: We have plenty and do not beg for things.
Exception: Halloween.

Yep. I do not care for the gray area. It gives me a headache.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I don't know what to do with free time.

It's true. I don't. Which is a little scary, since for the past 5 years or so I have been clinging to the idea of free time as a life preserver. You know, those little mantras that you tell yourself so you can get through the season, the week, the day, or in my case...the next five minutes. Oh, all the glorious things that I will do once I get some free time. If I can just hold out until G is off work, or Monkey is in school a full day, or when I have a (hehehe) day off...then all the fantastic possibilities that I can possibly dream of will await me. So here I am, staring down an entire week of of free time and finding it to be a little terrifying. I had made a little list of things that I would do during my week off from included not picking up or cleaning anything for at least 3 days, taking naps whenever I felt the slightest bit sleepy, reading books for fun, not changing out of my sweat pants all day, letting the laundry pile up, and making the kids' toaster waffles for dinner so I don't have to cook. I have to tell you, it's been three days and I have already accomplished everything on that list. So, what to do now? I desperately want to clean my house, since I think the mess is making me teeter on the brink of mental instability, but I know how fast I will get it done, then I will be back to having nothing to do. EEEEK. I was planning on NOT making a mental to-do list this week because, after all, I'm freeeeee!!!! But really, I need a plan. Or a hobby. Or a job. Something I can accomplish in a week. Like....I have no idea. I even googled it and came up dry. That is indeed how desperate I am. Oh, look, while writing this I have wasted, I mean, constructively used 20 minutes. Only 11,051 minutes to go.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Me: Oh come on. Honestly, I think it is sexy when you do it. I've had to do it by myself all month while you've been gone.

G: Really? This? This turns you on? I'm not doing it. It's your job anyway.

Me: Oh G, don't make me beg. Just do it for me while you're home. Please.....Please?

G: *grumbling* Oh fine. I'll load the dishwasher.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Easy. Open. Tab.

Dear Marketing Executives for Olde Kentucky Ham,

Please change the wording on your cubed ham packaging for the following reasons:

It was not. It did not. There was no such thing.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

You should pick your study buddies wisely.

"Mom, I can help you with your math when we get home if you want" Motormouth announces from the backseat as we drive home from the video store. Maybe he sincerely wants to spend time with me, maybe he is feeling bad that the movie he just rented was $5 and he is finally starting realize how long it takes to save up $5 and he feels he owes me something in exchange for me shelling out the money for his rental. I don't have the heart to tell him that I was happy to spend the money, it is a cheap babysitter so I can have an hour and a half to myself to do my homework without "help". "That's okay bud, I can do the math part of my Chemistry homework all by myself, but maybe I'll let you help me study for my Anatomy class. I am going to have to know all the bones in the body and there are hundreds". Motormouth as been working on making a three dimensional skeleton constructed completely of white paper and tape. Why? Who knows, this is what the kid does for fun. "Hundreds of bones?" Motormouth worries, "mine doesn't have that many....and we are out of tape" Trying to avoid a trip to the store, I assure him that his skeleton looks great just as it is. "Mom, you don't need to worry about all the bones, it will be easy. Just remember: the foot bone is connected to the leg bone, the leg bone is connected to the......other leg bone, the other leg bone is connected to the body bone...."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He looked so insulted, but it felt good.

G called to inform me that he got orders today. Scared me half to death, thought he was getting stationed someplace else. No, he finally got his orders for his promotion to from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant (hooah for pay raises). G comes home and says the following:

G: Man, my chest hurts.

Me: What?! You had your promotion ceremony today? (*if the thread of this conversation makes no sense to you I have provided an "Army for Dummies" footnote*) Without me? That's nice.

G: I've been wearing the rank for a while now, just didn't have the orders. It wasn't really a ceremony, we sort of skipped all of that.

Me: and went straight to punching you in the chest? Fantastic. I would like to actually go to one of your promotion ceremonies someday.

G: I'm sorry babe, would you like to punch me in the chest?

Me: *sulking* no..............yes.

*Here's a brief explanation of a little piece of Army lore for those of you who don't readily know what a promotion ceremony consists of. There is a stuffy little ceremony, some higher up says a few words and reads whatever is written on the certificate they give you. Your spouse is invited and they take some pictures. THEN everyone takes a turn pounding your rank onto your chest. This was a little more barbaric when the Army had pin-on rank. G came home after making Specialist with multiple puncture wounds spaced a half inch apart set inside the ugliest bruise I've ever seen. Now the rank Velcro's to your shirt and it isn't as fun for all those who are the 'pounders'. So to compensate they just hit the 'poundee' harder.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

You didn't earn THAT many bonus points.

Motormouth: Mom, the TV is on the same channel as it was this morning. Either you watched cartoons on Boomerang or you didn't watch TV at ALL today.

Me: Which do you think is more likely?

Motormouth: Awww, man. you didn't watch anything. That sucks.

(We will skip the conversation we had about how that word isn't going to fly in this house, my heart wasn't really in it, since halfway through I realized my love for the word. Motormouth showed some real restraint by not pointing out that fact, and he gets some major points for that)

Me: yeah, poor me. How did I ever survive?

Motormouth: (sincerely) I'm really sorry mom, that must have been really boring. If I have a snow day tomorrow you can watch TV in your bedroom all day.

Me: yeah, that's the way it will go.