Where Else You Can Find Me

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Feeling blah

So you know those times when you probably (okay definitely) shouldn't be allowed to interact with other human beings because exactly nothing they do or say is going to be right?  No?!? You don't have those moments? Or days? Or weeks?  Be honest.  Sure you do.  That's the space I'm in right now.

Everyone and everything is up under my skin.  I feel like shouting.  Well, maybe I  am shouting. A lot. Then, the guilt sets in.  Dad gum.  I am the poster child for Imperfection this week.  

I need a vacation.  From my mood.  None of the normal tricks are working either.  Time to myself.  I miss my kids.  Time with my kids. In my head I'm saying make me a bird so I can fly far, far away."

I'm sure there are a lot of issues at play here.  Sadness, worry, desire for chocolate, guilt, need to get a lot of stuff done...to the point that I do none of it because that's way easier than starting any one of the number of projects that need doing.

Yesterday, I had a thought.  What if I started a nonprofit group.  And with the money we raise, we can send fellow imperfects on a retreat together.  That's doing good works, right?!?  It would totally have to be at a super 8 motel or something.  Maybe we could get it close to the airport and we could go to look at all the fancy locals we could pick from.  Then, we'd head back to the super 8, find someplace fancy like Chilis and have cocktails and horsdeveurs.  

But then I think.  Ugh.  That would just mean packing a bag an then the dreaded unpacking of said bag when the retreat was over.  Plus, I'd miss my kids that make me crazy.  

I guess I'll settle for coffee. And time. Time to let this mood pass.  We did "gain" and hour which you totally know my internal clock adjusted to right away. 

Have a good day, y'all.  Thanks for letting me get that randomness out!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Parent teacher conferences

So, the best way to have a good parent teacher conference is to have a good parent teacher relationship with communication that happens not only at the end of the six weeks but as issues arise and sometimes just to say, "hey, I wanted to tell you he's having a great week."  

This years parent teacher conference was so awesome.  I have to say, I may bribe, plead, beg, coerce these two to follow big brudder all the way through high school and beyond.  There were no surprisess. There was no principal waiting for me as I walked in.  It was un enventful.  Wow!  I didn't hear, " Joseph has told several people (when he was upset and feeling out of control), 'I'm going to tell on you to my mom and she's going to call the government.'  These kinds of threats make me uncomfortable."  Last years gold medal winner comment.  So much to say about that.  A. It's too late now to punish him because you waiting god knows how long to tell me. B. Remember how I told you at the very beginning the gap between emotional age and intellectual age.  That "threat" demonstrates that perfectly.  Stomping saying I'm going to tell ( 3 y.o. Emotionally ) my moms going to call the government (higher intellectual reasoning).  C.  That's just kind of awesome.  D. You're going to let an (at the time)  8 year old hurt your feelings?  Sheesh.  

Anyway, that didn't happen.  You know what did happen a little vindication.  One of the teachers said, "I'll be honest, when I saw his name in the roster, I was scared.  Last year every time I went down the hallway, he was having a major issue.  This year, the teachers stop and ask 'how's Big Brudder doing?'  I tell them great. Because he is."  

So, we had to live through a bad year to get to this awesome point.  Some I'm sure is maturity, being familiar with the school.  More than that though, I believe in my heart of hearts it is this years match.  It works. He has two strong, in control teachers.  He feels that an doesn't feel the need to control everything.  While they are strong and in control, they are not rigid in their thinking.  If they see something is not working, they try to find a solution that works for everyone. Not just Big Brudder, not just them, not just the other students everyone .  I am beyond greatfull for this year.  We needed this year to happen.  I needed this year to happen.  Is he perfect?  No!  Will every day be perfect? Nuh- uh.  But more often than not, it's working, so it's a win!

The NT wee one it turns out is super smart too.  His greatest challenge is that he hates handwriting.  It's hard for him and he doesn't like doing it. So, he does the bare minimum.  Gotta work on that. :-). He has lots of friends and talks in class but stops with reminders.  (Did I ever tell you I almost always had an 'N' in conduct because I "talked excessively."  I guess he comes by it honestly.  

Right now, I'm basking in the glow of my smarty pants kids who are just awesome!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Seven and nine...

So another birthday for my boys has come and gone.  They are seven and nine.  How in the world has that happened at such warp speed?!?

The wee one was sick all week.  In a mother of the year moment, I fussed him up one side and down the other on Monday for being difficult getting ready for soccer.  Turns out he had strep with NO fever. He still had the best birthday eber.  

Big brudder had such a good day on Friday dispite the fact that it was a. Picture day b. Homecoming and c. Come And Take It.  I've never been so glad to not be a teacher as I was on Friday. You could feel the excitement vibrating in the walls of big brudders school.  

Both boys have such amazing teachers who just help them soar.  For the first time in a long time, it feels safe to drop big brudder off.  I'm not on edge about why the school might call.

We've had a guest in the house.  Mimi ( my mom) came for a visit.  The wee one has had five or so sick days to make up for and had been acting like a rabid Tasmanian devil with a caffeine addiction.  I think that's a pretty accurate description of both his body and the speed with which his mouth has been moving.  Big brudder agreed to something, some sort of deal the wee one struck with him, without hearing the finer points because oh my god he's spouting so much non essential information with bits of important thrown in the middle.  I hope there isn't a test later.  Wait, there's always a test later.

The boys officially have more money in their pockets than I do in the bank.  Talk about taking it in.  I was proud no one put up a big fight to put the cash in the bank.  They each had to budget and pick something at the happiest place on earth (target) and save the rest of their gift cards for when the book fair comes to town...oh and for the glorious day that Minecraft comes out for PS3.  I'm not buying that.  

Big brudder is making great strides in his social skills.  Maybe not great strides, but strides none the less.  He's trying to develop friendships and that's hard for him.  I would like to see him try to be friends with the kids who talk to him not the ones who ignore him.  He's like my old cat Sylvester that way.  The more you pushed him off and away, the more determined he became that you would love him.  

The wee one is still his brudders biggest champion and loves him more than anyone else in the planet.  He thinks he's awesome, and he's right.  I think the wee one is pretty awesome too even in rabid Tasmanian devil mode.

I can't wait for school pictures to come back. I wonder if the wee ones neck is stretched and eyebrows raised like last year?

On a personal note, I'm excited that my Perfect Parents Need Not Apply Facebook page is slowly growing.  It feels good to know that I might make a small difference to someone out there.  

I hope you all have a fantastic day.  I think we might head out to the last day of the Come And Take It.  Wish me luck, although our first cold front has come in and it's supposed to be a chilly 83 degrees today. 


Sunday, September 29, 2013


Now that I'm a few hours removed from the torture that was opening day of soccer, I can look back and say...

Yep, it was indeed terrible.  Big brudder started off with a meltdown.  And for those of you familiar with a true anxiety induced meltdown, you know once one hits, they come fast and furious.  For those if you unfamiliar with a true meltdown and confuse a tantrum and a meltdown, I'll explain the difference.  A tantrum comes about when a child is not getting his or her way.  I want that new toy, tears, stomping, etc ensue.  There can be some doozies as far as tantrums go, but their root is not in anxiety, over stimulation, etc.  A meltdown is the result of a child (or sometimes an overtired mother) having too much (stimulation, anxiety, etc) to the point his body and mind and spirit are at it's breaking point.  Sometimes a tantrum and a meltdown look the same.  A tantrum doesn't cause long term (sometimes hours long) clusters. A meltdown can and often does.  Once a kiddo reaches that point he or she may be able to bring himself back, but every time he becomes upset even slightly from that point forward a new meltdown begins.  This is why I say cluster.  Kind of like migraines can come in clusters so can meltdowns.  I digress...

We had one of those days.  Big brudder did really well during opening ceremonies, so when they said they were going to take the kids to take a big group photo, I stayed put and let him go with his coaches.  Here's my thinking on this. A. I was in the same park B.  He has been doing so well at school as of late.  C. Sometimes, I tend to micromanage him, causing us both great frustration.  D. Oh, his coaches have got this.  (Hindsight, points a, b, c and d are totally invalid on this day.  I should have reverted to rule 1.  Don't push your luck). Meltdown one occurred because of the photo.  Something about being scared of the photographer ( more likely the 165 kids trying to get lined up and their parents micromanaging. ;-) ). Meltdown two comes when someone tells him they have to do an equipment check on him.  To be fair, big brudder doesn't like strangers.  It's not that he doesn't like them, it's that he may not remember you till his met you a thousand times and even then if you are not in the context he knows you in, he won't know who the hell you are.  So, that's two strikes and the game hasn't even started. :-(. Mini meltdowns every five minutes until the last period of the game.  

So after the game, I told him that if he needed to not play anymore, if it wasn't good for him, he didn't have to come back. (Mother of the year moment here, I was hoping he would want to quit.  Don't judge me!). He says to me, "No, mama.  Every time is going to get easier and better."

Well damn it. Somehow, this kid that had MAJOR meltdowns for nearly two hours has more emotional maturity than his thirty-something year old mother.  At the time I didn't praise him.  I should have. Right Then. Right There.  After thinking on it, I told him how proud I was of him.  That so many kids would just quit because it's hard, but you just can't keep him down.  

I should also say how wonderful, patient and kind his coaches and teammates are.  I KNOW it's not easy or fun for them.  I appreciate them so very much.  And the wee one.  He is sch a sweet, protective and awesome brother.  During the meltdowns that I'm kind of thankful I didn't witness because honestly I couldn't control them anyway and they send me to the brink, the wee one helped his brother through.  I couldn't be more proud of him.

So the day that was doomed from the start is actually a success.  Isn't it weird how that works?!?  We all survived with minimal lasting emotional scars, my kid isn't a quitter even if I wish at times he were, my other kid is the type of kid who will help his brudder out. Distance equals a new perspective.  I like this one better.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Wanna know a secret?

Life is messy and imperfect.  Sometimes, at the same time.  I have begun to accept and embrace my imperfections as a parent, a wife, a friend, in all areas of my life.  

It feels good to laugh at myself.  It feels so good to be able to say "Wedensday sucks." When someone asks how soccer practice went.  At one point, I would
Have given the pretty answer.  The one where I say how much growth I've seen in my child (which is true).  But it feels so good to say, I hate Wednesday soccer practice.  My kid is miserable for 60 percent if it and I'm super miserable for 110 percent of it.  

It feels so good to laugh at the fact that I can't make pretty cake pops.  I try.  But man, they are UG-LY!  I feels good to admit that I often forget important things like picture day.  How else could I celebrate when I remember?  I embrace the fact that I will never make the beautiful snacks I see on Pinterest.  I still like to look.  I love my stack of well loved Better Homes and Gardens magazines and that NOT ONCE willy porch look like a fall wonderland.  I love that I have found support from friends in sharing my mother of the year moments which may or may not include the wee one going to school without underwear for a couple of days in a row and the eldest wearing his shorts backwards all day.

I love my imperfect, messy life.  It's not pretty.  Once I learned that my brave face has a time and place and that my true self deserves MORE TIME and a BIGGER PLACE, I'm happier.

What part of recognizing your imperfections has freed you?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Once Upon A Time...

There was this beautiful woman (hint. it's me).  She had to hand out all these forms to her kids' teachers to fill out for the developmental pediatrician.  Where these filled out forms supposed to be confidential?  Who knows.  Would you be able to hold that kind of goldmine and NOT look at it???  Anyway, THIS woman read the filled out forms and was so sad to find that one of her child's teachers felt he was vindictive and manipulative. 

Fast forward this lovely fairy tale six months or so.  The woman was running five or so minutes late for getting her children deliverd to school.  She THOUGHT she needed to rush.  That's when something beautiful happend.  A car (I'm not vindictive enough to give make, model and license plates here) got on the beautiful and kind woman's (again, it's me) bumper.  The beautiful, kind and witty (you get the drift.  it's me!) woman got behind a garbage truck on garbage day.  When she glanced in her rear view mirror, what did she see?  The wicked witch who felt her perfectly imperfect child was manipulative and vindictive.  This gave the beautiful, kind, witty and charming woman the calm she needed to realize she wasn't running THAT late.

In another stroke of good fortune this fine morning, the beautiful, kind, witty, charming and goddess like woman got stuck behind not one but TWO gravel trucks traveling significantly below the speed limit.  When glancing in her rearview mirror she noticed what looked like beams of fire imminating from the evil witches broom.  Nope.  She was just flashing her headlights.

With a sigh of content, the beautiful, kind, witty, charming, goddess like and now serene woman drops her eldest off with a smile seeing the wicked witch see her and know that it was her she was stuck behind.

Now, I leave you with this smile.  It's the small things that make this girl feel good.

In all seriousness, I totally think this event helped me move on.  Weird, right?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Letter to the teacher---is it THAT time already or yet?!?

I  know y'all will understand this in a way others cannot.  How is it already time to write that back to school letter that gives up your kiddos most challenging behaviors?  I'm ready for school to start. J is ready for school to start.  We NEED school to start, but man, my ANXIETY is RaMpAnT!  Here's the letter revised for this year to send out to J's teachers. 


I am struggling to know exactly what to share with you all and what to keep private and see how the year starts off for J. To be honest, I don’t want to color your vision of Joseph before you get a chance to know him. In all fairness, however, I want for you, his teachers, principals, nurse, librarians, aides and the rest of the devoted staff at GE to know his possible challenges. J is an extremely bright, kind, loving, wonderful little boy who happens to have Asperger’s Syndrome.

He comes with a unique set of challenges-as do all children- not just those on the spectrum. One of J’s greatest challenges is knowing how others are feeling-especially in relation to himself. If you are frustrated with his behavior and choices (which you will surely be- he is an eight year old boy, after all) you have to verbalize this. He cannot pick up on the social cues that one gives. It’s not that he doesn’t care; he cares greatly and wants to please. It’s that, often, he does not know how to unless he is given specific instructions. He has to be told what you want and need him to do.

Another area of challenge for J is eye contact. It’s almost painful for him. He taught himself to look at people in the general area, but cannot maintain even that for more than a moment or two. He often seems as though he is not listening as he’s looking around the room and fidgeting; however, more often than not, he is. Often for kids on the spectrum, looking at faces can give them too much input to sort and file in their brains. This leads me to another challenge for Joe.

Children on the spectrum often experience the world in a much more intense way in regards to their sensory processing than you and I. They receive a barrage of information that can be SO intense that it is painful. Imagine trying to block out the hum of lights and electricity, birds chirping on the playground, talking in a room four doors down, the smells that come along with school and so on and so on all while trying to maintain calm and order within so that you can do the one thing you love most in life – learn. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. Add to that a sense of anxiety that never quite goes away. This can lead to stimms (for J this can be squawking, flapping, rocking, pinching himself) ticks and the dreaded meltdown. I am hopeful you won’t experience this issue.

Part in parcil with the ASD, and Sensory Issues is Auditory Processing Disorder.  Here is a prime example of this in J:
One Morning.  J to me, “Mama, why are you dressed so early?”  Me to J, “Because we are out of groceries and we’re going to go get some breakfast.”  J, “ok.”  Five minutes later, J to me, “When are you going to fix breakfast?”  Me to J, “What did I tell you a few minutes ago, Buddy?”  J, “Oh…”
This shows that he didn’t process the information given until I asked him to recall. This is not always the case, but sometimes.

We expect J to behave. We expect for him to be challenged. We, at home, treat meltdowns in a much different way than a tantrum. Tantrums are short and easily diffused. Meltdowns are entirely different. They occur, for J, when all coping mechanisms have failed him. Please do NOT try to talk him out of a meltdown. This makes things worse for him because he wants to please you and he is in a moment of not being able to. Also, it’s more sensory input at a time when he cannot take it and use it. Usually, a “cool down” spot and some time to get himself together are all that is needed. Later, when the meltdown has passed and he is under control and is able to communicate, talking can help. Although, it can bring his anxiety back to a boil…

J’s previous teachers(insert names) are an excellent source of knowledge on how to help J succeed as is (insert LSSP's name).  I hope that this note hasn’t scared you to death. Joseph is a wonderful child and truly wants to learn. He seeks knowledge constantly. He is enthusiastic, warm, sensitive, funny, silly and just plain AWESOME. My goal for this year, as a helicopter mama, is to hover just out of sight...keep my radar up but give the boy some room to stretch his own, wonderful, beautiful, fabulous puzzle piece wings.

Please, feel free to contact me anytime. My cell phone number is ###-###-####; I keep it with me at ALL times. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I feel like writing it has helped me understand Joe in a way that only putting things down in words can do.



Some books I’ve found helpful to understanding Joe are:
(On being 2E-Gifted and having learning differences) Different Minds: Gifted Children with AD/HD, Asperger Syndrome and Other Learning Disabilities by Deirdre Lovecky 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger’s by Ellen Nothbohm and Veronica Zysk Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Mainstream Classroom: How to Reach and Teach Students with ASDs by Barbara Boroson

I have these books in my personal collection and would be happy to loan them out.

Thanks Again, Kristi

Helpful links about ASD, Aspergers and Twice Exceptional kids:

Friday, May 31, 2013

How did this happen so fast yet so slow

So, my 80-something grandmother is a genius I tells ya.  She's always said "the days are long, but the years are short."  She's right.  I heard another one yesterday I found appropriate.  "Life's like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end the faster it seems to disappear."  

So I cried when I walked the wee one in to his last day of kindergarten this am.  His teacher took this kid who felt like he didn't need to learn to read or want to go to school and turned him into an avid reader (3rd grade, ahem) and a lover of school.  I adore her.  

I cried for a totally different reason dropping of big brudder.  I cry because of the people so willing to work so damn hard to make school a great place for him.  I cried because it feels like he's just gotten into the groove and its over.  I cried because I can't handle another start of school like we had this year.  Can big brudder handle it?  You betcha!  That boys got this.  

I'm proud of the growth I've seen in both boys this year.  But as I told the assistant principal a week or so ago (I was lying as I said it, but now I'm believing it) I really think part of brudders growth this year has been because of the struggles.  How can you grow if there isn't a challenge, right.  At times, a little stagnant plateau would be nice.

I'm excited for the summer (talk to me next Friday and see how I'm feeling then.). Brudder gets braces, the wee one may enroll in Jedi training and I've got TONS to do around the house...painting, flooring...and laundry.  Oh do I have laundry. 

I hope you and yours have a restful, rejuvenating summer filled with cocktails (or mocktails if you so desire...not that i know why you would want that...) and cuddles. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I've got mommy guilt. Yes I do!

I've got mommy guilt. Yes I do! I've got mommy guilt! How bout you?!?

I am leaving my children alone and defenseless for two days. What?!? Don't call CPS just yet. They'll be with my sweet husband who is a fantastic father! So why the mommy guilt?!?

It's ingrained in us I tells ya! We have to be ALL things to our children. Cook, chauffeur, maid, spiritual advisor, nurse, psychiatrist, laundress. Who tells us we have to be all things? We do! Well, it's time to trust that the man of the house can care for his boys. It may not be the way I'd do it, but I can guarantee you it will be fun. It will be memorable. And we will all be better for it. Who cares if they have hot dogs for breakfast, toaster waffles for dinner and don't get a bath? That's what daddy time is about.

Me? I'm going to see my Teda. And to visit my Stocky for the first time since his move to the rest home. (Doesn't that sound more pleasant than nursing home?). I need to go. I need to visit the only place I've ever known my grandparents one time without my kids. It's not that they wouldn't or couldn't be good. It's that I need this visit to wrap my brain around this new abnormal normal. Then, next trip ill have the tools I need to address any questions the boys will have...there will be plenty I assure you.

So have a great weekend and pray that my house doesn't smell too funky when I return.


Friday, April 5, 2013

For my other perfectly imperfect friends!

Whoop. I've got a more appropriate place to blog about myself and my perfectly imperfect attempt at parenting!