Raspy

Stress about the school thing pushed me over the cliff of holiday illness doom this week and now I sound like Ma at Strokers Dallas (not because of the content, mind you).

The little boy is here with me.  He’s kind of sick too.

I am enjoying his companionship today, but I sure feel guilty about keeping him home from his aide on her last two days at the school.

They’re making gingerbread houses in the classroom this morning.  He always seems to miss out on that stuff.

Our morning activities included making pancakes and finishing the Christmas forest we started on the staircase wall.

Thanks to Grandma and Mimi for providing a truckload of stickers for the decorations.  We even used some of those funny little doughnut shapes you get to reinforce the holes of your notebook paper.  Remember those?

I helped cut out a tree or two, but this was mostly the eight-year-old’s endeavor.  He has his ways, you know?  Everything has to be just so.

Having a child with that need means you have to abandon it in yourself.

I don’t get to care that I don’t prefer sloppy cut wrapping paper trees as home decor and I don’t get to care that we have effectively called attention to our stinky carpet and badly stained paint.  Nope.  I don’t even get to have any modesty about that stuff.  Please ignore it when you super size the pictures.

It’s really hard to be around all the colored paper and little scraps of this and that and not get the bug to make some ornaments yourself.  I’m not as creative as the little boy, so I just clipped some pictures from the latest copy of ZooNooz and pasted them onto card stock.  The child got to hang them on the tree.

These are probably throw away decorations, but they were fun to do and actually gave me some ideas for next year.  A little bit of glitter and a pretty ribbon instead of the fishing line and maybe they’d be keepers.

So…

the issue with the aide is weighing heavily on me.  I thought she had retired or given her notice to accept a better position outside the schools.  Turns out I was wrong.  They reassigned her to a different kid.

I spent twenty minutes on the phone with the principal this morning, but nothing I said will change the decision.  It’s out of my hands.  It’s out of her hands.  The other kid has toileting issues and my kid does not.  Our aide is classified to handle messy clean-ups and apparently she’s the only attendant currently assigned to someone who doesn’t need that job skill.  So she goes.  And my kid suffers.  Again.

I can’t dwell on this, even in a post, because it’s too upsetting.  My kid’s lack of a visible physical handicap is, in itself, a handicap for him.  No one looks and knows what’s wrong.  No one can tell like they can with a broken arm or cerebral palsy.  My child appears normal and because of that, more is expected of him by the district’s Special Education Department.  I mean, really, what’s messier?  A poopy diaper?  Or a twenty-minute meltdown that requires county approved physical intervention to keep him from harming himself or another student?  Both kids deserve a good aide.

Oh, I sooo promised myself I wasn’t going to think about this today!  I just want to get past this raspy throat and enjoy the holidays, you know?  There are so many scary things happening in the lives of the people I most care about this week.  Our issue with the district is really not important right now.  It’s Christmas!

With that, I bid you a Happy Thursday!

P.S. The little boy is now  busy making confetti.  He is using a hole punch and every piece of decent paper he can get his hands on.  Oh what joy I will have cleaning up after that!  😀

♥♥

The Annual Anxiety

Christmas makes me nuts.

I don’t mean that I get busy and forget to eat and have a short temper.

I mean that it makes me feel like my life is spinning out of control.

I love the season – all the lights, the colors, the food, the cheap Santa hats, the glitter on everything – all of it.

But letting people down, especially my son, absolutely sends me over the edge.  I get a stomach ache, my mind races, and I feel more distracted than usual.

This year, I am possessed by guilt because the little boy wants a kitchen.

He has wanted a kitchen since he was five.

We have never given him one.

They’re big (though not big enough for him), they’re expensive and we know a kitchen isn’t a toy he would play with as much as he plays with lego or trio or his cardboard blocks.  Should that matter?

He really wants one and I am loathe to deny him that joy on Christmas morning.  He is soooo excited, more than ever before.

Our house is a museum for his personal paper crafts, the only holiday music we ever have running is his own little voice and he even plays Christmas themed arcade games on the computer.  He points out every cheesy plastic snowman in the neighborhood and he gets up in the night and turns on his Christmas tree lights after the timer shuts them down.

He is full of glee for the big day and he thinks Santa is going to bring him a kitchen.

But Santa is feeling a little bit broke and a little bit wary of buying more enormous plastic junk, so Santa is plagued with indecision, gut-wrenching stress and whole lotta guilt.  Oh, the guilt.

Santa is also possessed by guilt over disappointing the grown-ups too.

The little boy is locked into a very rigid schedule and he freaks out in traffic, so limiting his car time and social commitments is imperative for us this year.

Surviving Christmas means letting people down by declining invitations, leaving early, showing up late, not helping with the food, forgetting gifts, and sometimes being downright rude, out of fatigue and desperation though, not intent.  All of that makes a cheery Santa kind of sad sometimes.  (And perhaps a bit insightful about Santas of the past.)

Back to the kitchen.  What should Santa do?  What would you do in Santa’s shoes?  Santa’s enormous, shiny, hard-to-fill shoes?  What would you do?  How would you keep from going nuts?

P.S.  Did I ever show you this teeny Maneki Neko I bought at Marukai last Spring?

I cleaned out my giant green purse and found it in a side pocket the other day.  I had completely forgotten it was there.  It seemed fitting to hang it on the tree, next to Kimono Bunny, of course.  😀

♥♥

Busy Week, Busy Boy

The boy is busy decorating yet another paper Christmas Tree.

This one is two feet tall and taped to the wall at the foot of the stairs.

He is adorning it with last years Easter Seals, some adhesive gift tags, and a sheet of stickers that came with Disney’s latest appeal for membership in the video club.

So resourceful.  How I love my little boy and his many trees.

He is humming Jingle Bells.

It’s the sweetest music ever.

He has moved on to Frosty The Snowman.  Cute.

He found a sheet of smiley faces in the sticker drawer.

Those are going on the new tree too.

Did I tell you I have a sticker drawer?  Yeah, I confess, I have a sticker problem.  LOVE them.  Gotta get a few wherever I go.

These are a few of my all-time favorites.  Can’t bear to part with them.  There are a few more of them in the drawer somewhere, but I don’t feel like digging through to find them for you.  Sorry.

The boy is back to Jingle Bells – singing this time – not humming.

He doesn’t know every word and, as you know, he doesn’t like my assistance with that.  He garbles the unknowns and sings anyway, like the grown-ups on Charlie Brown.  I’ve mentioned this before.

Now I’ve had some breakfast and the boy is on to his next project.  He’s cutting out the letters for his name from my expired dental i.d. card.  He likes the thickness of the laminated tag board.

He is stapling the letters to a piece of green construction paper.  Not sure where he will put this – probably on some obviously under-decorated wall in our home.  😀  Ha!

Anyhoo, that’s it for a sleepy morning.  Busy few days behind us, busier few up ahead.

Happy Saturday & A Very Merry Two Weeks Until Christmas!

P.S. The little boy’s therapist decorated her office this week.  It’s very cheery.  And I love, love, love this ornament from her collection:

Baaaaaaa.

P.P.S  Got this book at the thrift store last week:

For fifteen HUGE cents, I can’t even care about the very creased cover.  I just started reading and so far really like it.  Have you read it?  What did you think?  My dad was a huge Philip Roth fan, so Roth’s endorsement on the cover was another selling point for me.  You know, because I struggled so with the price.  😀

♥♥

Isn’t It Thursday?

My house is a wreck and it smells like smoke.

I ran the auto-clean cycle on the oven a few days ago and filled the place with noxious fumes.

The girls are coming over on Friday night and I think that smoke smell is in the drapes.

Did I say drapes?

I meant cheap, twin-size JC Penney bedsheets that we hung over the windows when we moved in ten years ago.

They’re still up.  They’re tattered, torn, and dingy, but still up.

Because window treatments are low on the list of priorities in our budget.

Our budget that is completely blown because I don’t have an income and we can’t cover all of our monthly costs.

Maybe that’s why the holidays drag me down a bit.  They’re expensive.

Back to the smoke in the drapes sheets.

I need to take them down and wash them.

But my dining table looks like this:

So I keep getting distracted.  Poor dining table.  It never gets to feel free of messy burden.

I didn’t write yesterday.

I shoulda.

I coulda.

I woulda.

But the table depressed me.  The table and the smokey drapes sheets.

Last night I added up all the receipts and entered them into our ledger.  I have concluded that we cannot afford to live anymore.  At all.  It costs too much to exist.  That’s my official finding.  That depresses me too.

Thank goodness the little boy is joyous and excited for the season.  Today he decided that my sheep needed Christmas trees.

Poor sheep.  I have neglected him.

The little boy wants to put up Christmas decorations every day.  Every day.  He made me buy a pack of these at Walgreens this week:

They are kind of pretty.  🙂

He wanted to hang them immediately on our arrival home.  I managed to get two pages of homework out of him first.  When ornaments are waiting, my kid can finish ten math problems really fast.

A few years ago, this ornament came home from school with him:

It’s one of my favorites.  My little baby…so cute…so not that little anymore.  Sigh.

I took a picture of these too.  Did I ever show them to you?  They’re from Pier One.  I know, I know, not my usual thing, but I love them.  LOVE them.

I love them even more because half of them are from my friend Sarah.  I always wanted our initials, but could never find them.  I bought myself the flowers instead.  Sarah pounced when the store refreshed its supply, so now I have the flowers and our initials – yippee!!  Thank you, Sarah!  😀

And speaking of lovely gifts from lovely people, look what beautiful Leighann sent this week:

It’s a batik stamp.  I love the design.  It now hangs on the wall with two others I have.

And since they say that three of something makes a collection, I guess this fourth one seals the deal.  I am officially a batik stamp collector.

I really love the texture of the chunky wood and the patterns that are cut into them.  It’s funny to think that these are designed as tools for making another kind of art.  I find the stamps amazing and beautiful on their own.

I love to believe that they have each been in the hands of a hard-working artist at some point.  They have an organic and rich cultural feeling about them.  But please don’t like them, because I need them all for myself.  😀

Anyhoo, there is clearly no real direction to this post.  Its poorly written, I don’t feel like editing and I’m getting kind of hungry, so…

Happy Wednesday!  I mean Thursday.  No, it’s Wednesday, right?  Wait, Wednesday?  Thursday?  Thursday.  No.  Noooo.  Right.  Happy Wednesday!

P.S.  I really like our next door neighbors.  I really do.  But I really do NOT like their motorcycles.  Will someone please tell me why people with motorcycles are always working on them and revving their engines and speeding them down the street all the time (like right now)?  Don’t motorcycle owners ever take those beasts to the shop?  Why is all tinkering done in the driveway?  It’s annoying.  Annoying and loud.  LOUD!

P.P.S.  I want cheese.

♥♥

A Little Relief, Please

I left the school in tears again today.

The little boy started out happy and was looking forward to his morning run with his classmates.  But there was an assembly scheduled first thing, so they didn’t do the laps.  My son had a complete meltdown.

After ten minutes of trying to calm him and offering to run with him myself, I realized I had to leave and let the aides deal with whatever he dished out.  It killed me to walk away while he was so distraught, but I had to.

I drove to a thrift store.  Browsing there would cheer me up.

There was a man in the store who reminded me of Willie Nelson, partly because of his looks, partly because he had a lovely southern accent and gentlemanly way about his speech, but mostly because he was singing.

He wandered through the store much like I did, only extroverted and conversational with everyone he passed.  The last word or two of each sentence he heard reminded him of a song which he would then happily sing as he browsed some more.  Hymns, carols, interesting old country hits, he knew all the words and he carried the tunes.

He walked and looked and found more clerks and customers with whom to exchange pleasantries.  With each of them, he found a new song.  And he had a lovely voice.  A lovely, homey, comfortable, Willie Nelson voice.  And I love Willie Nelson.

But I was in my autism fog, blue and teary, with a lump in my throat and no courage in my demeanor.   I didn’t want to be one of the people this man spoke to.  I didn’t want to be one of his songs.  So I had to navigate through the store carefully, being small and quiet.  And I’m not very good at that, so it stressed me out.  Lovely song man stressed me out.  And made me stay in the store longer than I wanted, just so I could avoid him.

Once I finally made my escape, I headed to the grocery store.  That was rife with even more awkward social moments.  I still can’t believe I asked a twenty-year-old produce boy if he had fresh zucchini.  😳

My mind raced this morning – everywhere I try not to let it go.

When I got back into my car, I flipped on the radio and was annoyed to find Gloria Penner at the Editor’s Roundtable, discussing unemployment.  I usually love Gloria Penner and the editors too, but people without work at Christmastime?  Too depressing for me today.  I pushed another button.  I thought music might boost my mood.

Nope.  It didn’t.  Four more stations – all playing sad ballads or songs of despair.  I wanted a lift, you know?  I wanted something to pull me from my melancholia.  I’m not the type to indulge the sad music.  I was looking for a way out of that.

Suddenly it occurred to me that I could turn to a Spanish station.  I understand a lot, but I probably wouldn’t be able to translate lyrics fast enough to be bothered by them.  I could tune out the words and just hear something musical and cheery.  Fighting back a fresh wave of mom tears, I pushed another button on the radio.

I sold myself short.  I understood every word.  And do you know what they were talking about on the Spanish language station when I tuned in?  Oh, you will never guess.

Sangre.  That’s what.  Sangre en el papel y en la taza.  Sangre de hemorroides.

Seriously?

I’m depressed.  I’m looking for something to cheer me up and these people are talking about hemorrhoids on the radio.

Hemorrhoids.

Pain, itch, general discomfort and sangre.

In Spanish.

On the radio.

Well, what do you know?

That cracked me up!  No pun intended.

I laughed in Spanish too.

Ha!

Happy Friday!

I’ve lost track of my photos, so if these are duplicates, I apologize!  😀

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♥♥

Green and Red

We put up a few more Christmas decorations today.  Just one more little box and we’re done!

I love how our house looks when it’s all decked out for the season.  I wish we could carry the sparkly glow of that through the whole year without diminishing the special feeling of it in December.

We dim the lights and burn some candles whenever we have guests, but there’s nothing quite as romantic, cheery and welcoming as holiday lights.  The trees, the garlands, the string of fat old bulbs on the backyard fence, they all just add so much to the fun of day-to-day living.

I often think I’d like to keep the backyard lights throughout the year and simply change their color for each season.  They’re very festive and seeing them out there makes me feel like I’m in Bazaar Del Mundo or something.

But enough about that.

The little boy went to school as happy as can be this morning and seemed the same when I retrieved him in the afternoon.  Unfortunately, I just found a red card in his backpack.  Apparently he was “not following directions, pushing others and slapping the classroom aide.”  Blech.  Will it ever end?

I had lunch with a dear friend today.  He asked me what I thought would happen to my son after I was gone or just too old to care for him.  My friend wanted to know if I thought my son would ever be independent and capable of living alone or being in a relationship.

I confess, those questions circle my brain on a regular basis.  They put a lump in my throat at least once a week and occasionally motivate a full blown sobbing panic attack.  All of that is laced with heartache, but I try very hard not to let it get the best of me.

For the most part, I am full of hope for my son and I consciously choose not to worry too much about his future.    There’s just no way to know it or to control it, so I can’t borrow the trouble of it while I’m busy getting him through elementary school.  I simply can’t afford the energy that would require.

I do know that he has come a long way since he got his first diagnosis around 18 months.  For a while, we weren’t sure if he would ever talk.  Now he talks all the time and he has an infinite capacity to learn new words and to correct himself with each sentence he tries.

He constantly labels things aloud, narrates whatever action he sees and is eager for clarification or fine tuning of his vocabulary.   I just see all that growing and, I think as it does, it will naturally improve his ability to navigate successfully through the social nightmares that surround him.

I guess I gave some shortened version of this response to my friend.  I know he worries about my son too, so I hope he was okay with this answer.

I feel like I’m rambling now and, really, I’m more than ready to sit on the couch with the remote in one hand and a fudge bar in the other.  (No cracks about that please.  Or the fact that I linked to Walmart.  What can I say?  The fudge bars are good and Walmart sells ’em cheap.)

Oh, just one more thing – RageAgainstTheMinivan cracked me up again this week.  I swear, she’ll probably think I’m a nutso blog stalker or something, but she’s really funny and you all deserve a laugh, so here’s a link to one of her recent posts.

Enjoy!

Day Twenty-Nine 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Flat as pancakes out there.

Pumpkin pancakes, mind you.  Just like IHOP.  :mrgreen:  Not.  Heh heh.

As usual, there are a few other pix in there too, including a couple of the little boy with half closed eyes and really dirty teeth.

He’s the sweetest, smartest, cutest, kindest, most beautiful baby boy that ever lived.  And, no matter what, I tell him that every night.

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Happy Monday!

♥♥