Spring Break Phone Pix Dump

We actually did a lot over the two-week break.

The child had a bad case of the hives, got really sick, and also lost another tooth, but he rallied for the best parts of his vacation.
He had no trouble inhaling a basketful of candy on Easter morning.

🙂

The rest of our days went something like this…

lunch with Grandma
Inflatable World
Pump It Up
several different parks
a night at the downtown Marriott
egg hunts
and
I guess I’m too tired to remember anything else.
Enjoy the photos!

Oh, I almost forgot!
Husband got a new job.
(Insert great relief here.)
He started yesterday.
So far, so good!

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Insert bad family photo here (complete with chinless child and bug-eyed mommy):

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I love this next one of my husband.  He’s more than a little freaked out by heights, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying our 11th floor view of the bay and the bridge.

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The pools were beautiful.  The smaller one was walk-in warm in the morning.

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Next on the agenda?
Back to school this morning and then to the kid’s salon for a long overdue haircut!

What did you do?

♥♥

Holiday Brain Dump

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Bad Mommy

I waited too long to get my son an advent calendar from Trader Joe’s, so now they’re sold out and I feel like a bad mom.

Well okay, I felt like a bad mom before I went to Trader Joe’s.

Today, I made my son cry.  And I made my mother cry.

Just for good measure, I asked my husband if there was anything shitty I could say to him too.  Wisely, he offered no suggestions.  😐

The little boy’s upset was related to homework.  Or rather, my upset was related to the homework (and to the accompanying note of parental reprimand from the teacher.)  The little boy’s upset was related to homework and to my reaction.  Big surprise.  Might I just say, AGAIN, that I am baffled by the papers that come home with my son?

Getting him interested in looking at them is a daily nightmare for the two of us.  He is tired when he steps off the school bus.  He wants a snack and then something mindless to amuse himself for the rest of the afternoon.  Homework is painful for my child and painful for me.  We both hate it.

But enough about that.  It’s an old, worn-out problem with no solution.  I work daily not to care what the teacher or anyone else thinks of how we handle it.  Or don’t handle it.

Moving on.

Bad Daughter

I made my mother cry because I reminded her that we weren’t the best of housemates when I returned from college feeling all independent and snappy two decades ago.

I had moved back into the house with her and my dad and she and I argued sometimes.  Who wouldn’t have?  Headstrong twenty-something suddenly sleeping in her old twin bed?  I was unpleasant.

Ultimately, mom and I came to a mutual understanding that I needed to find myself a real job and somewhere else to live.  It was an excellent idea, and I am the better for having done just that, but now mom is worried.  She hadn’t remembered the low points of that summer until I burst her rosy impression over a cheap plate of pancakes at Denny’s this morning.  Sorry, Mom!  😦

So, two for two.  My son cried.  My mom cried.

I cried too, but that came after I had filled my cart at Trader Joe’s and then discovered the item I had come for, the advent calendar, couldn’t be had.  I bought every seasonal chocolate product the store carries.

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And yes, I waited until I was in the car to open the teary flood gates.

Okay, so changing the subject completely…

Husband Update

Husband is mending more each day.  He might even go back to work tomorrow – driving in his own car!  Yippee!  He is still uncomfortable at night and if you watch him for a few minutes you will notice how much he favors his right side, but he’s getting there.  The ribs, the collar bone…they are repairing themselves.

The Mission Inn Festival of Lights

We drove up to Riverside on Thursday to spend one quick night at The Mission Inn.  We sort of owed it to the boy (and ourselves) to do something spontaneous and fun to make up for the Palm Desert accident weekend.  The Mission Inn was the perfect answer.

The Festival of Lights is amazing.  There are animated characters, lighted horse carriage rides, giant nutcrackers, icicle lights, garlands, candles and falling snow too.  There are real reindeer and vendors with gingerbread, roasted nuts and miniature doughnuts available every night during the holidays.  There are Christmas carolers and a roving Santa in the restaurants.

The sleeping rooms are luxurious and full of charm.  The spa products in the bath are rich and fragrant and the windows actually open.  The beds are very comfortable and loaded with extra pillows.  The linens are crispy white and super fresh.  There are big fluffy bathrobes in the closet and the package we got came with a divinely citrus-scented aromatherapy candle.

The hotel itself is a work of art.  There is a rotunda with a spiral staircase.  There are gorgeous plazas and flowered balconies.  There are stained glass windows, catacombs and an amazing clock.  The hotel pool is walk-in warm and landscaped to feel private, even though it is surrounded by sleeping rooms.  Everything is beautiful.  Everything is humbling.  And we didn’t even see it all.  We saw a lot, but we missed far more.  Next time, I think we’ll take a guided tour just for the heck of it.

My favorite thing was the twenty-foot, ornately carved church pew sitting in the hall outside our room.  I told my husband that I would gladly tear up the inside of our house and completely rebuild our decor to accommodate that pew, if only they would let me have it.  Sigh.

One of the best things about the trip for me was the little gray striped cat who appeared at the pool when we went for a swim.  My own gray baby passed less than a week before.  It was comforting to see a similar little face so clearly interested in my activities.  When my son splashed near, this cat was just as reserved and removed as my Poupon, but when my son wandered away, the cat came a little closer and talked a little more insistently to me.  I wish I’d gone back down to visit with the cat once we were dry and dressed.  Maybe next time.

Before I change the subject yet again, I have to mention Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, the store across the way from our room.  I went in once with my husband and son and immediately I knew that I’d have to return again without them.  When I did, I bought a painted metal bird and a weird little nativity set.

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Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s is jam-packed with the most interesting little trinkets, wrapping paper, bath soaps, whimsical tins, garden treasures, dishes, tiny paintings, knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments ever!  The hours aren’t set in stone, but it seemed to me there was someone behind the register most of the day.  It will take you some time to see everything, so be prepared to browse for a while!

Happening Now

The little boy has liberated some empty magazine files from my bedroom and is constructing makeshift body armor with scotch tape.

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The husband is playing computer games and I am dreaming of pajamas, ice cream and a better camera. 😦

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The last remaining cat has finished eating dinner alone in the kitchen.

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And tomorrow our routine starts all over again.

What are you up to?

P.S.  That Santa plaque at the top of the post is something I picked up on clearance in Bazaar Del Mundo a few years ago.  It reminds me to tell you how emotional it was for me when Santa stopped by our dinner table at the Mission Inn Restaurant the other night.  It was the first time our ten-year-old had ever met him.  Because of the many challenges our son faces just getting through a “normal” day, we have never bothered with shopping mall Santas and their incredible lines.  We’ve never been to any event where Santa was a main attraction and even the occasional Santa in front of a store or at an amusement park has always been too removed or surrounded by other children for us to have a meaningful experience.  This time, Santa came to us and asked our son what he wanted for Christmas.  Our sweet little boy told Santa what we already knew…he just wants pencils.  🙂

♥♥

Goodbye Holidays

I can’t believe that Christmas is over.  Honestly, I feel like I missed it.

My mom broke her ankle on the 25th and now my brain can’t wrap itself around anything but that.  Mom missed Christmas too.

When I returned home late on Christmas night, my son had already pulled down his handmade decorations.  It broke my heart and made me instantly teary to realize that our little family unit had once again been split apart on the biggest holiday of the year.  I left on Christmas afternoon and my son just thought it was over.  Makes me weepy, even now.

My mother’s house isn’t right for someone with a handicap.  We learned that when my dad was still alive, but for some reason, we never did anything very permanent about it.

Even worse, when dad passed away, we actively discarded home health equipment and eliminated entry access ramps.  Maybe that was for mostly right reasons.  We needed to move forward and put the house back together, but it kills me now to see how much we need those things.

My mom is struggling to deal with this challenge.  She is used to being very independent.  Now, she is trapped in her house and at the mercy of family and friends.

I can’t be there much and I am both possessed by guilt and protective of the energy I need for dealing with my son.  In a perfect world, I would probably have clones.  I would have a lot of clones.

But the world is far from perfect.  My mom is having a really hard time and so am I.  I was tired before this happened.  Exhausted, really.

When I got the phone call about mom’s accident, I was actually lying down.  I had just drifted off to the first afternoon nap I’d dared to take in almost a year.  My mom was scheduled to join the three of us for dinner a few hours later, but of course, she never arrived.  Instead, I got that phone call and then I left to spend Christmas at the Kaiser E.R.  At least I got to see my brothers.  Hmm.

Tomorrow starts week three.  Mom has a cast on her leg.  There’s a hospital bed in her dining room, neighbors doing the laundry, and a steady stream of friends to say hello and bring some food.  Mom’s sweet and nervous dog is discombobulated by the hubbub.  And I am still tired.

I don’t know how to shut off the constant rattle of responsibility in my brain.  Mom keeps telling me “don’t worry” and “take care of yourself” and “go, if you need to.”  But I can’t do any of that.  No matter how rough my day is, it always seems so much better than what my mom is facing right now.

She will get the cast off.  Her broken bone will likely heal. She has already had a successful surgery.  This situation is only temporary.  It really is, but none of that helps with the present.  The present sucks for everyone.  Mostly, it sucks for my mom.

It’s hard for her to do the simplest things.  This injury is exhausting, stressful and depressing.  I’ve had surgery.  I know how it is.  You get defeated pretty fast.  She has highs and lows, hope and despair.

I don’t know the solution to my own dilemma, much less to mom’s.  My little family needs something good to happen.  We three need a break, a respite from responsibility.  I don’t know how to get that.

It seems that whenever we start to relax a little, like we did on our Palm Desert weekend, something happens to remind us that we can’t let our guards down, we don’t get breaks and life isn’t fair.

I’m not at my mom’s as often or as long as I feel I should be, but I am emotionally entangled in all of this.  Daughters don’t turn off worry.  Mind-blowing concern is part of the daughter directive.  So I don’t know what to do.  Part of the mommy directive is being awake, alert and pleasant enough to make math problems out of play-doh every night, without much argument.  The two directives don’t work together.

Fail.

I just don’t feel like I’m doing any of it very well.

And now I’m too tired to write.

Happy Saturday.  😐

P.S.  A big, fat thank you to our wonderful friends, Michael and Jewyl, for cooking us a delicious meal and letting us sit in their beautiful new house to forget about the world outside for a while.  You guys always make me laugh.  I love you for that.  🙂

♥♥

Blog or Not?

Okay lurkers, de-cloak and tell me if I should call it quits with this.

In the past few months I have been really struggling with whether or not it makes sense for me and my family to continue the blog.

I need to write, there’s no mistake about that.

And I need to be truthful when I do it.

But I am starting to worry about how this all looks to outsiders.

I see the comments people leave on popular blogs.  (Not that mine is, or ever will be, popular.)

I know how critical the world is and how easily things are taken out of context, mercilessly scrutinized, and then judged unfairly.

I am hard on myself and I don’t always write about my recoveries, you know?

I don’t elaborate on the hugs and the triumphs of my motherhood as much I do on the tantrums and my parenting failures.

I can only imagine what the world thinks of me.

My mom is concerned that those who don’t know me will think the worst, and maybe even use my own writing to somehow harm me or my family.

And maybe I worry about that too.  I’m candid, and it’s usually when I am disappointed in myself.

When I’m at the school, I wonder every minute if the other parents or the teacher or the aides are reading the blog and thinking I’m the worst mom ever.

This morning, a little girl in the line next to ours was playing with a small glass stone.  She brought it to school to show her classmates, but when the bell rang she was tossing it up into the air over and over again and only catching it about half the time.

I told her to put it away.  She asked why and I explained that it could hurt someone if it hit them on the head when it fell.  She was not in the mood to have me tell her what to do.  She continued to throw it behind my back, assuming I had no peripheral vision.

I probably should have said something more to her, but I was suddenly possessed by paranoia because of the blog.  What if all of the adults on the playground read my posts and long ago decided I suck at parenthood?  Maybe none of them would appreciate my attempt at maintaining order in the chaos of the morning playground line-up.  Maybe they would even ask me to leave or keep my mouth shut.  That’s what the blog does to me sometimes.

On other occasions it makes me brave.  I meet moms who seem completely overwhelmed by parenting a special needs child and I feel lucky to have a voice and the courage and skill to use it.  I get what my son needs, wherever we go.  I get what I need.

But I don’t know from moment to moment which of those feelings outweighs the other.  Am I too paranoid?  Or am I confident in how I manage my family and my life?

My mom and I had lunch today and discussed a few related topics.  I have considered ending the blog.  My mom suggested I leave it up and think carefully about whether or not I want to keep doing it.  I asked her if she thought I shouldn’t instead take it down and consider whether or not I want to keep doing it.  I don’t recall that either of us could answer that question.

So I guess that’s what I’m asking all of you.

Should I keep writing the blog?

Should I keep telling you about the dark moments in my parenting?

Should I worry that some jerk with an agenda will one day try to make trouble for me and my family by twisting something I’ve said or judging me out of this greater context?

What do you think?

I really, really want to know.

P.S.  Happy Wednesday.

P.P.S.  I finally finished my book and passed it on to a friend.  Now I’m reading a children’s book by the same author.  It’s probably just as well that it’s meant for kids, because my brain is usually pudding by the time I have a few minutes for leisure reading.

I got both of these titles for under a dollar at the thrift store.  Happy happy smile smile.

P.P.P.S  Did I tell you that I sent my kid to school with a giant safety pin holding his pants together yesterday?  😳  He really wanted to wear them, but they were too big and all of his other pants were in the washer.  If only I had remembered to tell the aide that I’d done it, but I forgot.  I don’t know why I think the blog is such a damning source of my parenting failures.  Seriously?  Can you imagine sending an autistic eight-year-old to school with a giant pin in his waistband?  I didn’t even have to write anything to look bad for that one.  Sigh

♥♥

Hearts and Farts

The husband and I met at Coco’s for a little Valentine’s lunch together yesterday.  It was very pleasant until someone in the booth behind us ripped a stinker during our dessert.  Chocolate cake just isn’t the same when you’ve been frosted by a stranger’s gut bomb.  Sorry, but it’s true.  Happy heart day to us.

A few hours later, I blew up some balloons for the little boy.  There was one big one in the bag that looked like a mouse.  The last one like that had popped while I was blowing.  That happened with this one too, except that this time it exploded into my eye.  I felt it hit – blammo!

Seriously, I thought for just a few seconds that I had lost my eye.  I screamed.  LOUD.  And cussed.  A LOT.

The pain was unbelievable and the shock of it was overwhelming.  I started sobbing immediately, which didn’t help, but it scared me.  It really did.  I think it scared the little boy too.

I went to the opthalmologist this morning and learned that the lid is swollen and the eye is scuffed, but neither are irreparably damaged.  I now have drops to put in the eye three times a day for the rest of the week, but apparently I’ll live, still with two eyes.

The unfortunate part of this incident, if you get past the pain, fear, shock and incapacitation part I mean, is the fact that it has ruined my sinuses.  I am swollen-eyed, sniffling and sneezing too.  Great.

In other news, the little boy wouldn’t go to school today.  His meltdown defeated me.

I really needed him to go this morning.  I wanted to come back from the doctor and rest my eyes for a few hours, but that wasn’t meant to be.

In my misery, I broke every rule for stay-home days.  They’re supposed to be boring, you know?

But I took the child to get pancakes with grandma and grandpa.

Then, I took him to the doctor with me.  (That’s code for adventure, because it involved a parking garage, an elevator and big weird opthalmology machines with little lights and giant shiny parts.)

And as we drove out of Hillcrest, I impulsively asked the child if he wanted to go to the Zoo.  The Zoo!?

What was I thinking?  With my eye like this?  On a stay-home-from-school day?!

He said “yes” and so we went.  We saw snakes and bears and birds.

After the Zoo, I got him Burger King food.  Strike three.

No, four!  Pancakes, eye doctor, Zoo, Burger King…

Yep, four.

Holy Guacamole!  I forgot Walmart.  I took the boy to Walmart too.  He picked out Pocky.

All of my mom rules are lying on the floor, shattered to pieces.  Small wonder he doesn’t want to go to school, right?

Oh well.

When I’m 105, will I look back and wish I’d stayed on the couch all day?

Or will I remember this:

Happy Tuesday!!

P.S.  I got the boy one of those expensive mylar helium balloons for Valentine’s Day.  It wriggled away from its ribbon (with the little boy’s help, I suspect 🙂 ) and immediately floated up to the top of our very tall front room.  Fart!  We can’t get it with the ladder or the broom.

P.P.S  Did you see the beginning of American Idol this week?  😀

Happy hearts and farts to you too!

Heh heh.

♥♥

 

Happy New Year!

It’s 2011 and I am ready for it!

Got up early and now I’m dressed and headed out into the world.

Just talked to my mom and made plans to meet for lunch in a couple of hours.

Husband feels scratchy-throated and headed for illness.  Poor husband.  I had that feeling the week before Christmas.  I guess it’s his turn.  No lunch for him!  It’s 9:00 a.m. and he just had a bowl of soup anyway.  He’s sick for sure!  Although, it is really cold.  Good soup weather.  Brrrrr.

The little boy was really mellow and clingy yesterday.  He wanted to be held and carried just like when he was little enough for us to actually do that without back pain.  We both thought he was going down for the count like daddy, but this morning he is chipper and full of energy.

Yea!

Or is it yay?  I never remember.  I know it isn’t yeah.  I’m going with yea!

Yea!

Husband has succumbed to the call of the new couch.

I feel a tad guilty making him get up with the little boy this morning.  I didn’t take advantage of my scheduled day to sleep-in, but I did take a shower first thing, so husband had to go downstairs with the child.  Yeah, I feel a little guilty.  Especially now that I see husband sprawled out curled into the fetal position like that.

How much longer do you think I can get away with calling it the “new” couch?  I said “new car” until my kid ate his first few happy meals in the back seat of the van.  Then it became McDonald’s Mobile.  Poor new couch.  It’s one nugget away from a bad reputation.

It’s almost time to leave for lunch, so I’ll cut this short.  It’s the weekend anyway.  Shouldn’t you be outside, enjoying your city?  😀  Why the heck are you reading a blog?

Happy Saturday!

Happy New Year!

P.S.  I finally saw Nanny McPhee the other night.  Sweet.  Amusing.  Can’t decide if I want to be Emma Thompson (without the moles) or Kelly MacDonald this week.  Emma Thompson even wrote the screenplay.  Two ethereal beauties with talent too.  So hard to choose.  Darn it!

P.P.S.  Husband and I watched the last fifteen minutes of Single White Female last night.  We’ve both seen the whole thing before, so none of it was surprising.  None of it except for Bridget Fonda’s hands!  This girl has gorgeous, long, lovely hands.  I know – it’s a weird thing to notice, but I did.  🙂

♥♥