Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stay-at -Home-Mom For a Day

It's been a LONG time since I've been a stay-at-home mom. I much preferred it to the working world. Some people prefer it the other way around. Me, no. I was born to be a stay-at-home mom. Since I divorced Ex, though, the only way I have the opportunity to stay home during the week is if my office is closed on a holiday (though not 7/4) or if one of the kids is sick - not if I'm sick, you know the mom rule of sick hours, we use them all for our kids but when we're sick, we go to work and get everyone else sick cuz we've used up all of our hours for our kids.

Long story short, I left work in the early afternoon because SmallBoy was sick. PC didn't work til later in the afternoon, so he picked him up at school when the call came in,

"Mrs. MommyGuilt, we have your SmallBoy here in the office and he's wheezing, coughing, and has some major congestion."

I wanted to drop everything and come home from work right then and there, but I knew that PC could handle it until he had to leave for work - he's such a good daddy. So at 1:00 I came home and we traded. We hung out on the couch and watched Star Wars, then decided we both really wanted to sleep since we had been up a lot the night before with the cough. It was decided that my bed was the best place to partake of our snooze. We popped in a disc of West Wing, I slimed him up with menthol rub, snuggled in, and he was soon asleep for a a short nap.

SmallBoy felt a little better after his snooze, but it was a deceitful kind of better, as we all know the witching hour for fevers and yuckiness to return is between 4:30 and 6pm. He slowed down, but ate his dinner. I thought that perhaps we were going to work our way out of this - the wheezing had stopped, the coughing had slowed significantly, especially since we finally found the inhaler, and there was no temperature in sight. I let him hang out and play on the computer for a while, since he'd been very good with staying away from it during the day. He made his lunch and was in bed 10minutes before bedtime. Cool! Success! We're all going to work/school again! least that's what I thought until about 20minutes after I crawled into bed. I had gotten the call from PC that he was off of work and on his way home. I was so tired from the night before that I just couldn't wait up for him. I did my bedtime routine, put in another disc of West Wing and hunkered in for the night, sharing the bed only with the Obnoxiously Cute Furballs (OCFs). Within minutes my eyes were closed, and somewhere in the state of consciousness between deep sleep and awake, I could hear the voices of Jed Bartlett (Martin Sheen) & Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford - HUGE Cure Autism Now supporter, btw). My contentedness was harshly interrupted by a sound that I knew did not belong in my little sleepyland - the hacking and wheezing of one Not-So-SmallBoy. Inhaler, menthol, back rub, nose blowing, back to sleep and me back to bed. Twenty minutes later, as I approached the entrance way to my West Wing sleepyland, the sound echoed in my ears once again. This routine continued for 2hours at 20minute intervals...take care of cough, snuggle back to bed, start to doze, cough cough cough.

Thankfully there was another 2hr time period that he slept, but then about 2 or 2:30, it started again. We stayed home today. He needed the rest. PC is off today. I could have (read "should have") gone to work, but I'm really damn tired myself and about 2 days behind SmallBoy in the chain of the sickness - and my band plays on Saturday about timing, plus, my stomach's all messed up from all of the extra iron the doc is giving me. So, I stayed home.

I had the privilege of taking the kids to school today. I take LargeBoy everyday, but that's 45minutes before he has to be there so that I can get to work on time. Girl and SmallBoy ride with PC. I let PC sleep this morning...he's been working so hard, and I was up anyway, so what the hell, right? It was kind of fun. The hustle and bustle of everyone trying to be where the needed to be, the fight for the perfect parking place (it felt a little like the scene in Mr. Mom - "North to drop off, South to pick up.").

I pulled back up to the house, turned to lock the car and saw Girl's viola still in the back seat. She had called shotgun when I took her and her brother to school, and she put the viola in the back. Obviously, she had forgotten. I toyed, only momentarily, about teaching her a lesson in responsibility, and then the I-miss-being-a-stay-at-home-mom instinct kicked in. School officially started in 5 minutes. I could make it! Back into the car and then off I raced (no more than 25mph in a school zone, though) and got to the school just in time. As I walked into the office, they said to me,

"Oh, Girl was JUST in here calling you."

With that, she walked past and all was well. I was met with a bright and truly thankful,

"Thank you, Mommy!" (I love when my almost 14 y/o calls me 'mommy', makes me forget that she's almost 14).

She has auditions for her music festival coming up and every lesson now is a must.

Now I'm stuck with the dilemma: I'm already up, but I'm really freaking tired from no sleep last night. Everyone else is sleeping still. Should I do the mom thing and start cleaning and doing laundry or should I give in to my body to avoid getting sick and GO TO SLEEP? Sleep sounds good, but I'm not sure I can do that after 2 cups of coffee. Oh well, we'll see! Nope, decision made. My Not-So-SmallBoy is up. I'm up. We'll hang out together. I'll make bacon and eggs - oh, no eggs....oh well. Maybe we'll bake again today! GOD I wish I could stay at home again. Too bad stay at home mothers don't get paid, they would command THE single highest salaries! To SAHMs EVERYWHERE!! CHEERS!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pics to Go With Post Below

I promised pics, so here they are. Scroll down to the post below or click here.
Here are SmallBoy & GR kneading the bread dough.
Not-So-SmallBoy using his muscles to mix the muffin batter - LOTS of Peanut Butter Measuring out the dough to fill the muffin cups 3/4 full
Working together with GR to put together a cool dinosaur puzzle (from Meem) while waiting for the muffins to cook and the bread dough to rise. Holy yeast cakes, Batman! Look what happened to our dough! The Beautiful Golden Goodness The Sock Monster heading towards the stairs Front View on the porch! Hope you enjoyed our pics! Now scroll down more and read the other post!

Baking With the Not-So-SmallBoy

Forgive my lack of pics, I'll post those from home after my date with my husband. He started a new job that has him working an enormous amount of hours and I haven't seen much of him lately. Tonight we're going out for a nice romantic Italian dinner - WITHOUT THE KIDS!

This weekend, with PC working and Girl & LargeBoy with Ex (of course SmallBoy was with me), I had the pleasure of having my SmallBoy -oops Not-So-SmallBoy - all to myself, and he had me. It was something we haven't done in a LONG time and, I must say, it was wonderful. We did lots of things, I let him play his video game and explain every step to me, we were bad and ate Fat Sandwiches (Peanut Butter & bacon on toast) in front of the TV, and then had a Spongebob marathon....and that was just Friday night!

Saturday we called GR and asked her to come over and bake with us. Baking is so good for him. He learns to measure, learns to follow directions, works on his muscle tone by mixing, and, all the while, learns to cook! We baked two loaves of white bread and a batch of peanut butter muffins. Don't worry, I'll post the pics....we are entirely too proud of our Beautiful Golden Goodness to NOT share the photos with you, heck one of the pics became our desktop on the laptop at home!

Meem had ordered a body sock for SmallBoy for his birthday and it arrived in time for him to try it out this weekend. He LOVES it! He very much enjoys the sensory input that he gets from it, but what he really enjoys is walking around the house in it thinking he's a big Hug-Monster out to hug us all! Personally, I think he looks like a big blue Gumby. He used to sleep in his sensory tunnel at night - that made such an incredible difference in his sleeping..he slept longer and sounder. Now he sleeps inside his sock inside his tunnel.

My 10y/o Not-So-SmallBoy is doing beautifully. I'm so proud of him. He is one of my heroes! Oh, remind me to share with you a couple of pics from OT last night...see this is the prob with posting from work and forgetting to forward the pics to my office. Hmm!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Familial Inspiration (or WARNING: PMS)

After reading, and commenting on, Marti's post on the curative qualites of Tollhouse Cookies for PMS, I decided to share with you MY newest cure for's been quite successful at my house.

When I went in for my annual, my doctor looked at my now "late 30's" age and decided that it was time to {GULP} start to ease my body towards menopause by changing the birth control pill that I take. The advantage - 3 day periods after 6months, perhaps NO period after a year...OK!!!!!!! Works for ME! Who the hell's gonna argue with NO PERIOD! God, the money that will save on "supplies", PMS meds, wine - ok, we won't cut out the wine... The disadvantage - my body has to go through a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde transition as it readjusts itself to the chaning hormone levels. Ok, I thought, I've gone through pregnancy 3times, and I've had my period for ...UGH...I don't even want to think about how many years, but I figured this would be a cake walk.

HA! After the first month, which, by the way, was particularly stressful over all, my family was BEGGING for the previous occupant of my body to return. My poor husband had NO idea who I was. This entity that hijacked my body was having meltdowns equivalent to the ones had by SmallBoy - and there wasn't a DAMN thing I could do, except wait it out, until we hit a new cycle and all was well once more. I promised I would call the doc and see what we could do. Well, things got crazy once more, planning for back to school, things breaking around the house, water issues in the basement, crap with Ex, you know...the usual, only moreso. Never managed to call the doc.

Once again, my body was possessed by the PMS Demon. I should tell you that normally, the worst I get during PMS is stinking drunk once or twice because wine works SO much better (and faster) than waiting for advil, tylenol, or Midol, hell, or even Naprocyn, to kick in. So, I drink wine to numb the pain of the cramps until the alternate medication kicks in - but most times, in lieu of the alternate medication. The worst side effect being a nasty wine hangover in the morning. No biggy. This go 'round..Uh-uh, no way jose! The cramps last longer, are 10x as strong, and I'm still a raving bitch (which I wasn't before!) What makes it worse, is that I'm fully aware of my behavior and my meltdowns and, like I said before, I can't do a damn thing. ... although maybe this time I should try SmallBoy's sensory tunnel!

After last month, I got on the phone and made an immediate call to my doc.

ME: "Hi. Dr. D tried me on this new pill and told me to call her immediately if it was disagreeing with me and I wanted to switch back."

"Ma'am," (God, I hate being "ma'am"ed) "how long have you been taking this particular pill?"

ME: "I just finished my second month."

NURSE: "Well, you need to go 3 months in order for your body to adjust. We can't change you now. Give us a call back next month if there's still a need to change."

Well, you can imagine my family's reaction when I relayed this call to them. We decided, then, instead of dreading the next month of PMS, that we'd start making light of it IMMEDIATELY. THIS is how we did it:

This is posted in the kitchen for all to see, including me. We've been playing games rotating in others' names for who is the "bestest," but it's been doing well. According to the little pill pack, today should begin a week of head eating. Instead, I think I'll follow Marti's advice and make some Toll House Cookies and just keep reminding my family that they will be my midnight snack should the choose to cross me for the next week and a half.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pics from the Big 1-0 (and I'm Home Alone & SO Bad)

This is how I found my Not-So-SmallBoy yesterday morning - extremely excited about turning 10, you see....well, he WAS still asleep. He LOVES to sleep in his sensory tunnel with his covers pulled over his head. I have MANY more pictures to share with you from his big day, but I saw what a giant bite (or byte, if you will) the last monster picture post took out of my blog, so I'll only post a few. At the moment, I am HOME ALONE!!!!!! I don't think this has happened in, wow, well over a year. PC is working tonight and the kids are with Ex for a birthday dinner for SmallBoy - yeah, I know - shocked? I think he's trying to put up a front. He picked them up at 4:30 and it's almost 6, so they should be home soon. Anyway, while I have time alone, I'm being incredibly bad and eating terribly: Overly buttered noodles, lightly dusted with garlic & parmesan. Oh, who am I kidding, there's enough garlic in there to kill every vampire in Transylvania! gets better...I'm eating while using the computer AND I'm eating it out of the pan I cooked it in!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to have one hell of a stomach ache later, though. Ok, more pics!

Yesterday was my FIL's birthday also, so we went by Meem's & Poppy's to celebrate. We had pizza for dinner, since it is one of SmallBoy's absolute favorites and red velvet cake for dessert...Sal, I couldn't help but think of you! The red velvet cupcakes he took to school gave me quite a scare that night, though, when in the middle of dinner at Meem's, SmallBoy was screaming in the bathroom. He had gone in with a stomache ache, so I tore off like a bat out of hell to see what was wrong. He was complaining about the pain, said he made LOTS of #2, so I did the mom thing and took a peek to check the consistency (I know, TMI). My heart dropped to my stomach when I looked into the toilet to see blood red water staring right back at me. I returned to my senses (slightly) when I realized, DUH, that it was the dye from the cupcakes. Here's my Not-S0-SmallBoy showing off his rollerblades. He really was excited, though he moved them so fast through my attempt at capturing the moment, that when I asked him to do it again, he got a little pissed off. Oh well. He LOVES rollerblading! Thanks, GR!

OOOEEEWWWHHH - tummy's starting to hurt, perhaps I should stop eating these noodles. I think I will, but, I think I'll grab a beer to wash them down - I'm AWFUL, aren't I? And no, I haven't washed the pan yet! Hmm!

Here are SmallBoy & Poppy sharing the fun of blowing out their candles. My NSSB came home with some GREAT presents - a HUGE dinosaur puzzle, his roller blades, some really cool books, including one about wolves (he LOVES wolves), a fishing game (recommended by the fabulous OT, J), some clothes, a calendar that he can change & personalize each month with stickers and a dry erase marker (because things DO change), and a whole bunch of other great stuff - INCLUDING the still-to-be-delivered body sock that Meem & Poppy got for him. He was SO excited! What was really cool, though was his reaction to the gift from PC & me. After all of this cool stuff, I wasn't expecting much more than an "oh, gee, thanks," for our gift. We all know how HUGE it is for a child on the spectrum to make, and maintain, friendships. SmallBoy has some really key friends and a couple of them happened to be at the concert in the park that Code West put on last month. Girl and S got all the boys to line up on the stairs to the stage and took a pic. So, we had it framed and gave that to him (another ordeal, if I haven't already written about it, perhaps I'll tell you another time). His face LIT up. What I read in that face and the gigantic thank you and hug that followed, was that THIS was a gift that he would value and treasure forever. It wasn't something he would outgrow like clothes or outgrow and not want to play with like toys and games. It was a memory and a reminder that he has good friends. It will always be there for him when he's having a "nobody likes me" moment. It will make him happy. When I got home from work, the bag of gifts that we brought home was still sitting on the landing, waiting to be taken upstairs. LargeBoy said to me, "Mom, you should be very happy - yours is the only gift that made it out of the bag and into his room," and it's sitting on his desk, next to his bed, right next to the pic of him and our first dog. That made me feel so good.

I really wanted to show you a GREAT poster that Girl made for him, but it's got his name on it - something I'd rather didn't go on the blog (not like it matters, his pic is all over the place, but it would TOTALLY throw the whole pseudonym stuff for a loop. Before we left to go home, SmallBoy put together his fishing game. In OT, J used it to help with eye hand coordination and fine motor skills. I gotta tell's not an easy game. The object is to catch as many of your color fish (if your playing with more than one player). The game is motorized, going around in a circle. The fish, in turn, open their mouths for about 1 second. In that second, you have to try and "hook" the with this plastic fishing pole. It ain't easy. I found myself trying to time the opening of the mouths...LOL Here are SmallBoy and Meem's cat, Meatball...who do you think wants to catch the most fish?'s almost 6:30 and Ex hasn't brought the kids home yet. My tummy is very happy and full from my noodley badness, and my beer is still cold, and relatively full, since I've been typing away. I should probably go and wash my dishes so I feel like I accomplished SOMETHING in my time alone.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ladies & Gentlemen, Not-So-Smallboy (or NSSB)!

Playing the battery game this morning, I don't have the pic posted yet, but I will this evening.

My baby, my youngest, my last little one has now hit double digits. Such milestones this year. LargeBoy is learning to drive, Girl is in 8th grade, and my SmallBoy has become a Not-So-SmallBoy. I'm teetering on the emotional fence somewhere between elation and sadness, not knowing whether to let out a big "WOO-HOO!" because I'm closer to my "freedom," or a big "BOO-HOO!" because my babies are all growing up.

Not-So-SmallBoy was elated when he woke up this morning, but letting go of 9 was not easy for him. He was afraid that there would be too many changes, that as soon as he woke up in the morning he would be different from when he went to bed. There were frets & worries, sadness, anxiety, and just general sniffles.

"Of course", I assured him, "you will be the same boy when you wake up, the ONLY thing that will be different is that you can now proudly hold up two whole hands when people ask how old you are."

I think he's excited again, and ready to take on the world. He's eating up this independence thing and I see that it's beginning to do a world of good for him. I know that he'll enjoy being 10 just as much as he enjoyed being 9. There will be a lot of changes this year, but nothing more than any other year. Things WILL change with the way he feels about himself. Things WILL change with the amount of responsibility & independence he receives. Things WILL change with the way he interacts with those around him. Things WILL change with his father - I will see to that. Things WILL change with the way he feels towards others. Yes, my Love, things will change, but the change isn't a bad thing or anything to be feared.

My SmallBoy is now a Not-So-SmallBoy. He took red velvet cake cupcakes to school today, and we're having pizza and red velvet birthday cake tonight at Meem's & Poppy's (it's Poppy's bday also). He will be surrounded by those who love him. Girl made him THE birthday sign for this morning (I'll post a pic when I do the battery juggle tonight). When we lived in our old house, we would always take a big sheet of paper or wrapping paper and make birthday signs for the kids, decorate them, sign them, and post them on the back door. When we moved into the new house, we stopped doing this...not for any particular reason. We decided that THIS was definitely the time to resurrect this tradition, especially for such a big birthday for such a wonderful kid.

I don't have a birthday present for him. In my moment of dorkness, I made a HUGE error. Here's what happened. When our band played at one of the local parks, Not-S0-SmallBoy's (NSSB's) friends were there, and we got a GREAT pic of them together. I uploaded it to kodak gallery, ordered it in a great boy-ish frame and had it 2day shipped so I'd definitely have it in time. I should have had it Thursday, but was so wrapped up the week's craziness that I didn't realize I was missing it. I checked the FedEx site on Friday and it said it had been delivered at 11:09am, left on the porch (because I had waived the signature requirement since I KNEW I wouldn't be home, and didn't have it sent to work for some reason). I scoured the house, asked the kids if they had brought it in. Nope. Nothing. Checked FedEx's site again. After looking a little more closely I discovered it had been delivered at 11:09 the day before! At this point I was getting upset. So I looked at my confirmation from the kodak site....THIS is when I noticed my error. I ordered it from work and was having it shipped home. Yep. You guessed it. I had it shipped to my house number on the street that my office is on. JUMPED in the car and went to that house. Of course no one had seen it. WHY would someone want it? For the frame, maybe? Anyway, I called FedEx and left them a mssg that if someone should return it to please deliver it to a different address. I ordered a new pic from Walgreen's, had LargeBoy & PC pick it up, and Mom found a frame at Target. It will be fine, but ...UGH... it's not what I had done. Oh well, all is not lost. Now I just have to find time (and some cash) to get a bday present for my FIL (yeah, we sort of slacked on that). PC has to work late and has the bank card, and I have to use the cash in my wallet to get gas! YIKES. It'll all work out, though...always does.

I'll get pics posted ASAP. In the meantime, wish my Not-So-SmallBoy a VERY VERY VERY Happy 10th Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Year (or Two) of SmallBoy

...while he's still a small boy. Tomorrow he will be 10, and no longer a "SmallBoy. Here are some pics of some of SmallBoys adventures over the last year or so...not in any order whatsoever. This picture is from Friday night - 6 boys between ages 9 & 10. Video games. Much hyperactivity. Thankfully, one of the boys got him a flag football set, so we went to the park down the block and played mud flag football - in the dark!

These pics are from Cub Scout outings. The one in the orange shirt is from an afternoon we spent helping the boys learn orienteering - or, how to not get lost. They were given a compass and coordinates and told to find things. The were also given an object in the distance and taught to find the degrees/measurements. The one in the uniform was from the Rain Gutter Regata. The boys got to build boats and send them down a rain gutter (in a race), with the only steam coming from the scout's lungs!

Dozin' with the Dinos was another event at the Field Museum. The Cub Scouts got to take over the entire museum and spend the night! We had a BLAST! H-O-S-E Limbo Time! Here we are at my mom's house on one very very hot day in June. SmallBoy thought it would be fun to play Hose Limbo. We did. Then, LargeBoy, my mother (GR), and SmallBoy turned the hose on us! SmallBoy hanging upside down on the machine at OT. Among all of his favorite things to do, this is at the top of his list. He LOVES this machine. J makes him use his upper body strength and lower body strength to bring himself back to a horizontal position, and then a vertical upright position.

Hot summer day with his watermelon. I think this was in July - before the days of the melted candle!

Scooter boy and Cookie Boy - I think the cookie one was from 2yrs ago at our family cookie baking day. Scooter Boy was just this summer through the park near our house.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Back to School Night

Student Driver has survived another day (as have the rest of us!). He did very well turning corners yesterday - damn hand-over-hand turning's ridiculous...too much to think about.

Anyway, among the other things we had to do, last night was Back to School Night for Girl and SmallBoy. We were late, of course, because it started at 6:30 (ok, 7 for veteran parents like us), and OT went til 7:15. We made it for the second session. It was nice because there were many less parents, and therefore, easier to get to spend more "quality time" with the teacher. We only got to Mrs. M., SmallBoy's teacher. We were running too late to get to see the Jr. High teachers also, but that's what conferences are for! Of course, the discussion was about the curriculum for the year, the expectations for the students, their increasing responsibilities as they prepare for the big change to the junior high, homework, tests, etc.....I'd forgotten what a HUGE leap 3rd to 4th grade is. I'm certain that with the wonderful experiences we've had with this school and an incredible staff who have taken the time to educate themselves in the ways of Asperger's, that we'll have another successful year, just with a LOT more homework.

That said, I have to share the comments that I heard from the parents last night - some in the classroom, some in the hall, others in passing in the lobby:

Mom #1: "Are you SmallBoy's mom? I'm K's mom. I have to tell you, that was such a wonderful book. It was great of you to bring some in for the kids and to talk to the class. What a lot of courage that must have taken for SmallBoy."

Me: "It truly is a wonderful book. I am so glad to hear that K enjoyed the talk. Thanks for your understanding. I'm glad that she shared it with you. I think it's so important for people to be educated about things they don't quite understand. And yes, SmallBoy is incredibly courageous. He's one of the bravest people I know. He knows how important it is to educate others about Asperger's and has no problem teaching about it."

Dad #1: "Hey, MG! What an AWESOME book that was! C brought it home from school and told her mom and sister all about it. J and C read it through twice, and then she read it to me again, when I got home. That's such a great thing you two are doing!"

Me: "Thanks, S. I'm so excited to hear the response from the classmates and families! SmallBoy enjoyed being able to talk to his class about Asperger's. It made him feel very important and it helped his self-esteem greatly! I'm glad to hear that C & J enjoyed the book too! The more people we educate, the better. He's a great boy!"

Mom #2: "Oh, MG! J brought home the book that you guys read in class! He said that SmallBoy told everyone all about it. We have a relative who is on the spectrum (I'm fairly certain she said Asperger's, but I'm not positive). Can I share this with them?"

Me: "Oh my Gosh! Of COURSE! That's what it's for. It's for helping those who are on the spectrum to explain to others, and for feeling better about themselves. It's about as simple as it can be for this age. Tell your relative to call me if there are any questions. I'm so glad that J enjoyed it! (This was the boy who had made the comment about how "shouldn't we not make fun of people anyway?" when we read the book to the class).

Mom #3: "MG. I have to tell you how much T enjoyed the book. He brought it home and told me what you guys did and how SmallBoy read it to the class and shared himself with them (at this point we're both crying) (BREATHE) and it was such a wonderful thing to do. I think it was so incredible and with a child with special needs of my own, this really struck a chord. He is such a strong and brave boy. You must be SO proud of him."

Me (after much crying and hugging and sniffling): "J, I am SOOOOOOOO glad that this could be of help to you guys ( I know her well and had NO clue that one of her children had ANY kind of needs). I AM very proud of my SmallBoy. He is making such HUGE strides because we've had such wonderful reception to what we talk about, and such love and support from the community. By talking to the class, it SO helped his self-esteem. It made him feel proud to be who he is, instead of ashamed. Let me know if I can be of help to YOU!"

Ok, I'm getting all teary eyed now, but I had to share those with you. There were so many more, too. I am so happy to know that just by sharing this with one classroom, that we have made SUCH an impact on so many lives. Marti & Child, again, I cannot thank you enough for sharing YOURSELVES and YOUR story with us. We are SO lucky to have you in our family!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Behind The Wheel

Totally shifting gears from my last post (no pun intended)....LargeBoy now holds a Driver's Instructional Permit. That means I now have my first student driver! CRAP! Don't get me wrong, I'm terribly excited at this new milestone in his life. It means he's getting older (I'm getting older), he's getting more responsibilites placed on him (which I hope he uses well), it means, potentially, less running around for me, it means I now have the utmost of leverage ("I'll take away your driving privileges..."). Unfortunately, it also means I have added another worry to my list.

As a new driver, I could never quite grasp why my mother was so petrified everytime I left the house. I thought the demands of, "Call me when you get there," and "call me before you leave to come home," were just WAY too overprotective. I thought she was absolutely insane for not sleeping until I walked in the door and said goodnight to her. My take on that changed the day LargeBoy was didn't quite grab ahold of me until a few years ago as the teen years approached, and it didn't start gripping me and shaking me, causing Shaken Mommy Syndrome, until I saw the permit in his hand last night.

Of course I worry that he'll get into trouble, he'll get in a flat and not know what to do, he'll cause an accident. I worry that he and his friends will be driving around with the music cranked, doing God knows what....but I also have great confidence in my son that he'll use his privileges so as not to lose them. I've raised him to be a responsible young man. Of course, I know that as the independence gains, so does the lack of responsibility - that's why I have never finished college.

But those aren't my biggest worries. Those can be dealt with accordingly. My biggest worries are the worries that he is out on the road with other people who may or may not be driving like morons. What if he is the safest driver in the world, abides by every traffic law, never gets so much as a parking ticket (although in my village that's next to impossible)? I've heard too many stories, too many horror stories. I certainly don't need to repeat them; even if you've never had the opportunity to hear one first, second, or third hand, I'm sure you can imagine.

I suppose I could worry myself to death and be the ultimate in crowding, overprotective, and totally insane parents. I could tell him that he's not allowed to get his driver's license until X age. I could tell him that even after he gets his license he's not allowed to drive. I could do all of those things, yes, but what good would that do? It would just put off the inevitable.

This is a milestone in his life, my life, and a rite of passage. I have to let him go, just like when he went of to kindergarten for the first time, just like letting SmallBoy do more things on his own....I'll help him to learn to drive responsibly. I'll teach him what every responsible parent teaches their child. I'll stress to him even moreso the importance of just saying no to drugs & alcohol. I'll have faith in him to make the right decisions, knowing that I can revoke his privileges at any time.

Most importantly, I'll let PC do the driving with him. I'll take a valium and stay home patiently awaiting their return. I know he'll be fine. Hell, my sis, KR, has her license now, and THAT didn't worry me...I suppose it's different as a parent than as the big sis, but, I'll relax for now, until he's behind the wheel again. PC is going to pick him up from school and let him drive a few blocks, once they're clear of the school zones.

Ok, I'm going to breathe now, finish my coffee, and actually get some work done. Anyone care to lift my spirits and tell me how wonderful their experiences were as the first time parent of a brand spanking new, only 15minutes behind the wheel driver? Surely there is one among you....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Casualty of the Idiot

"You know how much I love you and how much PC loves you, right?"

"Yes, Mom. More than the moon, the stars, and all of heaven."


"Now get some sleep. You've got picture day at school tomorrow and PC & I have to work."

"But I don't want you to go to work. What if you don't come back?"

"Baby, we'll ALWAYS come back. We LOVE YOU. What makes you think we won't come back?"

"I don't know. Sometimes people don't. Then they don't love you."

Now, I'm not drawing any direct conclusions here, and I'm not relating this to the calendar date on which it was said, but my mother gut here says, "Hmmmm, maybe he's really deep down feeling the rejection so strongly that he's afraid that if he turns his back, PC & I will abandon him also."

How absolutely wrong is that? My son, who knows that I would give my life to protect him, that I would rip out the heart of anyone who tries to hurt my son, and eat it for breakfast, is beginning to wonder who else in his life is going to turn on him. Who else will decide that he is different enough to abandon, to ditch, to ignore, to keep just outside of "the family."

PC and I will be going to see an attorney to get the ball rolling on this ridiculous mess that Ex has created. We have several things we'd like to see accomplished, and I've begun a list. I know that several of you out there have some MAJOR input and ideas and wisdom and experience at this. I KNOW that you'll be more than happy to share your knowledge with me (PM). Care to leave me your suggestions - besides ripping out Ex's heart and eating it for breakfast - although, I don't think I'd want to do that, it might cause contamination!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Looking Back

There are days when it feels like a million years ago, and days when it seems like it was just yesterday. I wish this picture was a little larger, but this will more than suffice. Just take a moment to remember, take a moment to hurt, take a moment to heal, lest we forget.

Friday, September 08, 2006

10 Days til Not-So-SmallBoy

...or NSSB, as we've decided. My sweet SmallBoy will turn 10 a week from Monday. Oh, I've planned my posting already, gotta dig up some TeenyBoy pics, don't know how many I have that are uploadable (is that word?). I am trying to instill this sense of "big kid" in him to help boost his confidence and independence. I've been asking him for a few months what I was going to do with him not being a small boy anymore, what I would call him. I told him that we can't call him LargeBoy, cuz, well, that's his brother and MediumBoy just sounds too weird. So we settled on Not-So-SmallBoy. After everyone's caught on, we'll just abbreviate to NSSB. I think he's excited about the change. He's gaining his independence well. I've started letting him walk home from school by himself (with Girl shadowing far enough back that she can see him, but without him knowing he's being followed), and I can see his sense of responsibility for himself beginning to increase. Wow! Amazing what a few years can do.

Ex still isn't taking him. I talked to him yesterday about his weekend with the kids and the Friday pick up, and said, "Since you're still not taking your son, you have to wait to pick up LargeBoy and Girl until I get home from work." He said, "Yeah, whatever. I'll talk to you about that tomorrow." Gee, I can't wait. I've been mulling over all of the possible things he could say to me "about that." Unless it's, "I'm going to start seeing my son again," my response is going to be, "Ok. You'll be hearing from my attorney." (Expecting huge screaming and yelling and him calling me nasty names in front of the children unfortunately, but PC will be there to keep me calm, but crap, I'm out of wine to calm me down afterwards).

But my SmallBoy knows how much we love and adore him. I'm so proud of him.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Home, Part V

I told you I'd write some more about this! This is a short, yet powerful installment in the continuing saga of SmallBoy's, PC's, and my mini-weekend in Michigan. I left a lot out because it was simply too difficult - you'll see where, so if something seems unexplained or just "hanging," that's why. If you haven't had a chance yet, you can read parts I, II, III, & IV of the Home Series by clicking on the links. When we left off, the three of us had just finished having pizza at our absolute favorite pizza place, outside of Chicago of course, and the weather was threatening our plans for a beach fire. We pick up here:

The leaves began to chatter. As the wind picked up, the chattering turned into a dull roar, and ultimately, the cacophony of the conversation was accompanied by the melody of the wind as it blew through the park. The raindrops developed into the percussion, keeping the rhythm of the storm constantly moving.

SmallBoy was bored. He desperately wanted to go back down to the beach to enjoy a fire and marshmallow roasting with G, E, and their family. He was beginning to fray at the edges and PC and I were able to see what would be forthcoming from our little man if the weather did not break, and soon. We tried to occupy him with drawing. That lasted about 5 minutes. We took out the cards, but he really didn’t want to do much with them except attempt to shuffle them bridge style. Unfortunately, his lack of experience at that led to several rounds of 52-card Pickup and a great deal of frustration. We were running out of ideas and SmallBoy was getting more and more upset by the rain as each second ticked off the clock, lost to the Land of What If.

This is when it hit, like a blast of thunder with no warning lightning, like the tidal wave crashing the shore, like the earthquake or the mudslide, or the volcano. This is when the months of exclusion from his father, the sadness, the frustration, the “what’s wrong with me”, the hurt, the rejection, the pain hit my sweet sweet little man all at one time. I felt helpless. I felt that nothing I could do would make him feel better.

“Noboy loves me.”

“Of course we love you, my Sweet. We all love you. I love you more than I can ever tell you. What did we use to say when you were little? I love more than the moon and the sky and all the stars in the heavens.”

“I’m bad.”

“What is it that makes you think you’re bad?”

“I just am. No one likes me. I can’t go with LargeBoy & Girl. I can’t go to the beach fire. I’m bored.”

Just like that. It continued on with our words of comfort and his words of distress, and PC and I worked to quell his emotions and assure him over and over that we love him. I found it interesting that he put together that he couldn’t go with his brother and sister, that he couldn’t go to the beach, and that he was bored. It was easy to tell that the rejection by his father seemed to just compound everything else. After he finally calmed down again, he understood perfectly well that there was nothing any of us could do about the weather and that it did not rain because the weather didn’t like him. We found a puzzle to do and PC, the world’s most incredible stepfather, went out in the dark, in the storm, to go find someone selling firewood so that we could have our own fire and make s’mores in the cottage.

My father-in-law has a great love of karaoke. He has two machines, one for home, and one for the cottage. While we waited for PC to return with the firewood, SmallBoy and I turned on the machine and found a disc of Disney songs. It wasn’t a karaoke disc, but we still sang along with the microphones. This REALLY brought SmallBoy’s engine back down, and it was good for the two of us to have some alone time at the most wonderful place on Earth. This disc became his favorite while we were there. PC and I would find him snuggled in the chair, reading the lyrics and the liner notes. He was happy there, so we would continue on doing whatever we were doing, confident that he was content.

Friday drew to a close and we laid out our plans for Saturday – rain or shine. Friday had been rough and we were all glad it was finally see it end. We got SmallBoy all snuggled into his bed, inside his sensory tunnel, of course. He was so exhausted from all that we had done that day, not to mention the emotional exhaustion that accompanied his catharsis, that he crashed within about 5 minutes. For the rest of the night, PC and I got to do something we had NEVER done – spend time together doing absolutely nothing together. PC and his guitar added their harmonies to the rain and the wind, while I sat and got addicted to Sudoku.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

To 4th Grade (I Went)

Old pic, from Spring Break. I was hoping to have a few pictures for you from my adventure in 4th grade, but SmallBoy was doing such a great job, that I didn't want to distract him with pictures. Yesterday, I went to his class, at the request of his teacher, to talk to them about SmallBoy and Asperger's. Prior to the beginning of school I had sent her some info and a copy of our book (I include Marti & Child in the "our"). She read the book that explains SmallBoy, in terms his peers can understand, and loved it. She felt it would help for the class to hear it and to be able to ask questions and be curious.

The teacher wanna-be in me came out and I made copies of the book for everyone in the class so that they could follow along. SmallBoy and I were going to alternate pages, but he ended up reading the whole book to his class, taking time to explain things. He did such a wonderful job and I was SO SO very proud of him. Afterwards, we took questions:

"So when we're talking to SmallBoy and he gets upset and mad, is that the Asperger's?"

"My neighbor who is five years old has Asperger's and he tells everyone that he's special."

"Can you 'get' Asperger's when you're this old?"

"How do you find out if you have it?"

"Do you have to get a shot to find out if you have Asperger's?"

There were many many many, including many comments of others about those who exhibit similar behavior or behavior that appears on the lower ends of the spectrum. I actually explained the spectrum to the class, as simply as I could, and SmallBoy helped by drawing "people" and writing on the board the different ways the people on different parts of the spectrum "look" and "act". The kicker questions were these, though:

"So, like, when SmallBoy acts like that, we shouldn't make fun of him anymore, right?"

...followed by another child who surprised me by asking,

"But shouldn't we not do that to anybody anyway?" (transl: Shouldn't we NOT make fun of people anyway?)

It surprised me coming out of that particular child, as he, though not the one who would be the bully in the group, would be one to go along with the group. Great questions. I have to admit, I got choked up and pulled one of my better Oscar performances out to answer the "making fun of" question, and the teacher also chimed in. By the same token, however, it proved that yes, it helps to educate even this young, and especially those with whom your child will be spending a great deal of time. It helps to educate everyone if it helps make a difference to one other child or person. Hopefully now, these children will have the knowledge, or at least the means to think about and discern how to act around those who are "different" from themselves.

Marti, I can't even begin to thank you & Child for writing your book, for sharing it with us, and helping us to educate others.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Meeting YOU!!!!

I'm so excited! I'm finally getting to meet my blog friends, slowly but surely. I met Marti and her family, who are my family by marriage (YEA!!!!) over the summer. That was wonderful. This weekend, Laura was in Waukesha Wisconsin, 2hrs or so north of Chicago, at the Highland Scottish Festival. She was "peddling her wares," so PC and I drove up to meet her. She and her partner, S, make many many beautiful traditional Scottish pieces, using the tartan plaids specific to each clan. I learned a lot about how, just by looking at the colors and the plaids, one can determine which family a person belongs to.

We saw some really great people, events, and clothing too. We were fortunate enough to catch the end of the caber toss. If you're unfamiliar, people, typically men, but I'd be willing to bet there are some women that participate in this event, hoist a tall pole, shorter than a telephone pole, but still incredibly large and heavy. They hoist this pole and then toss it as far as they can. The winner, obviously, is the participant with the farthest distance. Sadly, I was too late to get pictures of this. They also had a children's area where the kids could try their hand at this sport. Not to worry...they weren't using telephone poles, theirs were considerably shorter, probably a plastic material and, I'd be willing to be they were hollow also. We also missed the hurling of the Hagis...I'll let you do the research on what exactly makes up a's pretty gross. If people aren't hurling it - that would be the tossing variety of hurling -, they're eating it; which, if it were me, would lead to the puking variety of hurling.

We saw people dressed in costume, as you see in the pic at the top, men in kilts, a pipe parade, guys who looked like they just stepped out of Braveheart, women and men who were dressed in Renaissance wear, dogs, great people, and beer! OH, and again, sadly I don't have a pic, but we saw guys in kilts in Harley jackets and leather - a combination I thought was absolutely fantastic! The pipe parade - in this picture, was amazing. The music was incredible. Even if don't have bagpipe music loaded in your iPod, you would have enjoyed this. It's amazing that such an instrument, one that people typically cringe at the sound of, can create such a beautiful sound, and then to have many of them playing at the same really was cool.

The best part, by far, though, was meeting Laura. We walked around the fair, talked about her girls, my kids, Marti (yes, dear, we talked about you - especially when we saw the guys in the kilts and the Harley wear!). She explained to us the Scottish plaids, some of the traditions, about the fairs that she does...She is currently working with a bride to create a wedding dress - I'm assuming it's pretty close to its fruition since the wedding is next Saturday. Here's a pic of the prototype for the dress, as well as some other pics - check out the one of PC and the sailor suit...can you say Little Lord Fauntleroy? Meem - I might have this one enlarged for you and, of course, we'll get a matching one for ET!

Tomorrow I'm off to work, and then off to 4th grade. I'm going to be in SmallBoy's classroom in the afternoon reading his "All About Me" book with him, and sharing what it's like to be an Aspie with his class. They've all been wonderful and understanding and compassionate all these years, but I think they're finally getting to that age where they're going to star asking questions and wondering why SmallBoy is the way he is. I can only hope for half of the success that Marti and Child have had with this concept. I'll try and get some pictures and tell you all about the experience. I promise I'll get the next part of the Home Series posted soon. I haven't quite finished it yet, but it's coming. Also, stop on over by the band's myspace and give us a listen. Thanks to those of you who have stopped by! Feel free to leave a comment or a message on the space and let us know what you think. We're hoping to get this band rolling like a runaway train! I hope you all had wonderful weekends! Tell me about them!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

To Tide You Over

Yep. Been busy. Haven't had time to write anymore on my Home Series, but it's coming soon, I promise. Feel free to go back and read parts I, II, III, & IV or to check out my band's myspace - and if you do THAT, feel free to leave us a comment or two on THAT site, too to let us know what you think of the music. In the meantime, I though I'd share some pics of what we've been up to lately:

SmallBoy participating in a karate demonstration at our block party
Girl "assisting" in a magic show at our block party Cleaning up from the water damage in our basement. This was just a bad water heater and it's killing me, I can't IMAGINE what the hurricane victims must have gone through. 1st DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!! OT!!! That's J The Greatest OT on the Planet hiding off to the left!

Today, PC and I are heading up to Waukesha, WI to meet Laura. She's there from MN, and has a tent/booth at the Highland Scottish Fair selling her wares! We'll be posting pics soon! Have a GREAT and SAFE Labor Day Weekend!