Midweek Madness or not

I’m mad at my couch.  And my floor.  And my shoes.

My left arm is always numb and my foot hurts.

Unforgiving couch with its too high arms.

Unforgiving hard ceramic tile floor.

Unforgiving shoes that I have to buy in the men’s department because I can’t find my size and width together in the women’s section.

I blame them.

And my flat pillow.  I’m mad at that too.

These items are all contributing to the disintegration of my body, you know?

Not sure what to do about any of it.

The pillow?  Well, maybe I can replace that.

But the couch?  Oy.  Husband and I feel like replacing that is a lot of money to spend on a giant scratching post and cat fur trap.  Because that’s the primary function of couches in our home.  Scratching post. Fur trap.  Seating is secondary.

And the tile floor?  It’s ugly.  It’s chipped.  It’s a boring color and an inferior product.  Don’t let anyone talk you into ceramic tile.  Ever.  No matter what.  NOT worth it.  Spend more.  Get wood or tumbled travertine or cork or something, but not this.  Not 800 square feet of unforgiving, off white, looks-dirty-when-it’s-clean, horrendously expensive-to-demo ceramic tile.  Blech!

The husband and I are not do-it-yourselfers.  Oh, how I wish we were.  Maybe we would be, under different circumstances, but I think not.  Mostly just not.  Nope.  Probably not.

The husband did take a stab at fixing my treadmill this weekend.  It was contributing to my disintegration as well.  I would walk along fine for a few minutes and then suddenly the tread would jerk and kill my back.  Not good.  I need to check it out now that the husband has worked his guy magic on it.  Wait, that didn’t sound right 😕 , but you know what I mean.  Thank you, husband.  ♥ 🙂  Maybe he is more do-it-yourselfer than I.

Speaking of people who suffer from agonizing back pain because of the furniture they own, my mom just called.  She’s traveling today and wanted to say hello and to tell me that she loves me.  Right back atcha, Mama!  Have fun!

It’s paragraph number whatever and I haven’t mentioned the little boy yet.  That’s because he’s good today – good mood, good eating, good school morning – just good.  No hysterics (from him or from me).  And I’m not going to tell you about the really awful day we had at the end of last week and how we both screamed in front of husband and how I sunk into a pit of despair that caused me to examine my whole existence and then husband and I had a really good conversation about our marriage and what it means and how it has changed and what we want from it and how we love each other and how that’s the most important thing and how we need to take care of ourselves and try to be happy for our kid and not worry about stuff to the point that it incapacitates us and not care what other people think and well, you know, I’m not going to tell you about that.

Yeah, today is a good day.  Well, except for my couch and floor and arm and feet.

But I’m changing out the pillow.  I am!

Happy Wednesday.

P.S. Fall is here.  I want pumpkins and decorative gourds now.  And maybe this for my bedroom wall.  😀

♥♥

Coughing in the Cloverfield

My kid is really coughing today.

My gut tells me it’s just a bad cold, but it sounds like a small troll has lodged itself in his throat.

And this morning, the sniffles started.

He hasn’t had them in a long time.  Not like this.

He’s older, slightly more verbal and a little calmer since I wrote this post, but the sniffles worry me.

They keep him awake and frustrated and that’s not good.

Today he woke up at 5:30.  He woke me up at 5:30.

Had I gone to bed at a decent hour, that might not have me yawning this afternoon, as usual.

But husband lured me into late night t.v.

He’s like a seasoned cinematic drug dealer.

There’s never any overt gesture to make me a user, just subtle temptation.

A few well timed gasps, an occasional “Oh My God,” and suddenly I’m totally hooked on the freaky movie too.

This time it was Cloverfield.

You know, it’s that Blair Witch style flick about a giant monster that attacks Manhattan.

It stressed me out.

It was like War of the Worlds meets Godzilla and Alien and then stops to chat with all of that depressing, mesmerizing 9/11 footage.

I need to stop watching movies like that.

I already have a very dim view of our future on the planet.

Those little cinematic blasts of pessimism don’t really help me.

When we turn off the t.v., I just feel like my son’s room is too far from ours and I can’t wait until the morning when he’ll be up and talking to me again.

Surely, my parents’ generation had the same feeling that the world was going to hell.  Yes?

I think I have reached a point in my life when I can say honestly that I don’t give a hoot about any of my material possessions.

If something catastrophic happened, I would get my family and get moving.  I would take the cats with me, but my stuff?  No.  Big, FAT no.

I digress.

I don’t sleep enough.

Husband doesn’t sleep enough.

The little boy probably won’t sleep enough tonight.

Sniffy nut.

They’re really kinda pathetic when they’re little and sick at the same time.

Sort of a heart breaking combo.

Wow.  Again, I must cut short a post because I am too sleepy to write it.  😦

Hope there aren’t any really horrid errors anywhere.

Happy Wednesday.

P.S.  By the way, I ate the first of those big plum tomatoes growing in my yard.  Oh. My. Deliciousness. Best. Tomato. Ever.  EVER.

♥♥

Madness and an Easter Video

I am mad at the world today.  I just left my little boy at school.  He doesn’t want to be there and I don’t blame him.  There is no art.  There is no music.  There is no one who can understand him.  There is no one he can understand.

Today was the first morning he was actually crying wet tears as I walked away.  Wet tears.  He hates school.  That is generally apparent, but TODAY?  Today with the actual wet tears?  Crap.

I didn’t even make it to the car before I started sobbing.  Usually I get off campus before I lose it, but not today.  Nope.  Tons of other parents and a couple of staff members saw me this time.  Great.

And it’s raining and I don’t have a good jacket anymore.  My favorite has a busted zipper and a small tear on the inside pocket.  It’s still hanging in my closet because I can’t part with it. I have four other jackets and they all suck.

It’s San Diego, you know?  Even when it’s pouring rain, you don’t need a very heavy jacket and I just can’t find a good lightweight number that fits me and doesn’t look like I borrowed it from my super tall brother.  Once you hit plus sizes, the world thinks you don’t mind looking like a man.  That makes me mad too.

I’m also mad at the developer of our neighborhood. The freaking houses are too close together and this morning I had nowhere to go outside and lose my mind like I wanted to.  When you have a few acres you can do that.  Lose your mind.  Outside.  Because no one will hear you.  You can take one of your cheap plates out of the cupboard and go smash it and no one will do anything.  Can’t do that here.  Nope.  Neighbors right on top of you.  No plate smashing.  You have to leave the plate in the garage when you realize you’re out of luck with that.

I’m mad at mean people and people who don’t get it too.  Autism is hard.  For me.  For my husband.  For our families.  For our son.  Our poor son.  If you knew how often he is paralyzed, just standing in our house looking at us because we don’t understand each other…well, you would cry.  Probably a lot.  But you won’t see that, because we can’t let you come over.  The house is a wreck.  All the time.

I’m mad today.  And sad. And weepy.  My kid is in jeopardy.  (Which I learned to spell by saying “Jay-Oh-Par-Dee!”)

The teacher is on board with the dilemma.  She is a good teacher, committed to finding a solution.  But still, whatever she comes up with, it won’t be music or art.  It won’t be anything that compels my kid to love school always and forever.  Will it?

I’m mad at peanut allergies too.  Not because anyone in our family has them, but because our school is a peanut free zone.  I get it.  Kids could die if they come in contact with peanuts.  I don’t want to be responsible for making somebody die, but I want to send my kid to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I can’t.  So I’m mad.  That’s one of the four or five foods he eats, you know?

I’m mad at Filippi’s Pizza too because it’s really good and I’ve been craving it for months, but it’s too far away and too complicated for me to get there.  And they don’t serve anything my kid will eat (except croutons and ranch dressing), so it’s not someplace we ever get to go.  I hate you, Filippi’s.

And speaking of going places with my kid.  I love him, but I sure would love a break with my husband now and then.  Why doesn’t it ever work out?  When my mom has time, we always have a conflict and we have no other babysitters.  It sucks.  We qualify for respite care, but seriously, there is no way I would ever leave my wet tears son with someone I don’t know extremely well.  Other moms in my shoes feel the same way.  The problem is, everyone we know has their own giant schedule from hell.  No time for other people’s kids, let alone a child who doesn’t communicate well and will probably miss the toilet when he pees.  We’re screwed.  No respite.

I’m mad at the DMV too.  My license is up for renewal this year.  Thank goodness.  Really.  My current picture is tired, surprised, resigned, fat and hideous.  Ask me next time I see you.  I won’t let you see it.  I’m mad at the DMV because I know that getting a good picture requires a fight.  They’re not too keen on snapping seconds, but there is no way I’m going through another four or five years with a horrible picture again.  Won’t do it.  So I’m stressed out about the confrontation.  And it’s weeks away.

I’m mad at myself today too.  Really mad.  Mad for crying.  Mad for raising my voice.  Mad for wanting to break a plate.  Mad for buying sample paint a week ago and still not getting it up on the wall in our bedroom.  Mad for having tons of ideas and not finding the time or motivation to implement them.  Just mad.  And sad.

Whatever.

I miss my kid.  😐

Click here for the cuteness that is.

♥♥

Waiting

I’m really tired of waiting for my son this week.

Waiting for him to stop spinning and hopping through the front room.

Waiting for him to get out of his jammies and into his clothes.

Waiting for him to eat his breakfast.

Waiting for him to reject his breakfast.

Waiting for him to decide on a new breakfast.

Waiting for him to put on his shoes.

Waiting for him to put on his jacket.

Waiting for him to walk out the door and get in the car.

Waiting for him to get out of the car and walk up to the school.

Waiting for him to use the bathroom.

Waiting for him to stand in his classroom line.

Waiting for him at the end of the school day.

Waiting for him at the end of each supermarket aisle.

Waiting for him to tell me why the red bowl isn’t as good as the green one.

Waiting for him to focus on homework.

Waiting for him to read the words “Green Eggs And Ham.”

Waiting for him to want some dinner.

Waiting for him to get upstairs and into the bath.

Waiting for him to get out of the bath and back downstairs.

Waiting for him to get into his jammies again.

Waiting for him to get off the computer.

Waiting for him to pick out a snack.

Waiting for him to eat the snack.

Waiting for him to get up the stairs and into the bathroom.

Waiting for him to take out his toothbrush.

Waiting for him to stop chewing on the toothbrush and actually brush the teeth.

Waiting for him to put the toothbrush away, use the toilet and get into bed.

Waiting for him to answer the questions I ask him every night at bedtime.

Waiting for him to stop saying “Mama a hug,” so that I’m free to leave his room.

Waiting for the sense of calm I am sure is supposed to wash over me once he’s tucked into bed and behind his closed door.

Waiting for my eyes to feel less heavy.

Waiting for my stomach to stop hurting.

Waiting for a sign that I’m really cut out for this.

Just waiting.

I cried to husband this evening, but husband is weary and needs to think about other things.

I went on with my waiting.

Then I emptied the little boy’s backpack and found this:

“Mom
She is very loving.
She cares a lot about me.
She is the best mom.”

Now, I’m waiting for him to wake up again, because I miss him terribly and can’t wait to see him.

Waiting.

Just waiting.

Fine with it.

I know that my son had a lot of help with his “I love Mama” project, but I don’t care.  Part of what charms me about it is the fact that I knew all of this already and was unknowingly desperate for a reminder this week.  I love that my son’s teacher understood that.

♥♥

Autism Anxiety

I’m really worried about my son this week.

He doesn’t want to go to school and once he’s there, he just keeps asking to go to the bathroom.

I’ve already taken him to the doctor to rule out physical issues – none found.

The teachers and I believe it’s an avoidance tactic.  He doesn’t want to be in the classroom, so he has learned how to get out of it.

Yesterday he had a rough time.  Tantrums all day.  At one point he threw a chair.

I’m scared for him.  He’s only getting bigger and more difficult to manage.

Obviously, his behavior in the last ten days is indicative of a problem.  I’m just not sure exactly what that is.

I feel like we’re losing him again.  I thought perhaps the spring break had done him a disservice and thrown him off his happy-happy-school game.  He has been craving sensory input (hand squeezing, head rubbing, etc.) more than usual since school resumed.

This morning I stopped by to talk about this with the principal.  She was in a hurry to get to a meeting, but she did tell me that there’s a new student in the class.

His teacher mentioned that a few days ago, but I dismissed it as the chief cause of my son’s escalated emotions.  He generally pays little attention to his peers.

The principal went on to say that the new kid has been crying and hard to manage, so maybe they’re right.  Maybe this other child is the root of my son’s recent flurry of frantic behaviors.

I gave the principal a note asking for a member of the behavior support staff from the district to work with my son this week.  I want them to figure out the problem and address it.  In Kindergarten, the behavior team had to work with my son for two months, several hours a day.  It helped immensely, but the moment they quit, he started having problems again.  That’s when we got him the full-time aide.

He still has an aide now and she’s wonderful – sweet, young, energetic.  He likes her and so do I, but she’s not really trained to work with behavior issues.

My son is tough to deal with on a good day, but now?  Now, he’s a total class disruption.  The teacher looked exhausted when she recapped yesterday for me.  My son frequently derails the order in her room.

His resistance to school is so strong this week that I had to physically scoot him out the door again this morning.  We knocked over an ice cooler in the garage on the way to the car.  The noise of that startled me to tears.  I am defeated by the futility of our morning routine.  I had to lift him into the car and then lift him out when we got there.

I hate the way that makes me feel.  It seems wrong to force him to go somewhere he is clearly in distress, but our options are limited.

My mom has asked me several times if there is another school we could enroll him in, someplace that would be better for him.  My answer is always the same.  Right now, I don’t believe there is.  I’ve mentioned before that we moved him briefly last year with disastrous results.  I won’t do that again unless I have to.

We need to make this school work, through hell or high water, sometimes both.  (Today he is well geared for the high water in a pair of pants that are two inches shorter than they should be.  I can’t keep him stylish when he grows like a weed.  It feels like yet another of my personal failings.)

I realize I’m rambling now, but I’m kind of upset.  I am frightened for my child.  Yesterday he threw a chair.  What if he throws another one today and it conks some other kid in the head?

I’ve asked the principal for help and I feel that it’s partly up to her now, but I can’t shut off the overactive worry and immense sense of responsibility I have, even for a moment.  Not even when he’s in the school’s capable hands for the rest of the morning.  I have stress knots in my stomach again.

Thank God he sees his private psychologist this afternoon.  I get to pick him up early.  At least my gut will be tortured that much less today.  At least my kid will get some serious one-to-one play time with a trained professional.

♥♥

More Awkward Self Portraits

I’ve been trying to write all day, but I can’t concentrate.

The school called about fifteen minutes after I left the little boy this morning.

The nurse said he was “retching” and had a fever.  Oy.

I canceled my plans for the day and picked him up.

We stopped at the store to get Motrin just in case there was none in the cupboard.

We went to my friend’s house to let her dog out for a moment.  (Normally I would take him for a full walk, but not today.)

We stopped at Target to get the little boy a snack and then we went home.

I took his temperature when we got in.  It was NORMAL.

And he hasn’t retched or acted sick all day.  Hmm.  😐

I suspect the noise the nurse heard was standard issue autism vocals, but who knows?

I’m relieved that he’s okay, but somehow I feel kind of duped.

I had to cancel lunch with a friend and I needed the exercise from the dog walking.  😦  Sigh.  Oh well.

I was hoping to write something spectacular today, but I have this busy little four-foot distraction following me around now.

I took more awkward photos instead.  😀

I’d say that I’m shocked by how bloodshot my eyes are in these pix, but I would be lying…

♥♥

Late Night Three Pointer

little boy + miniature basketball + lamp =

(and toxic, cough inducing stink!)

The stench was bad, but the worst part was the little boy’s reaction to the sight of the melted ball.

It kind of scared him.  😦
He ran out of the room and down the stairs.

He knew we were upset and that he had done something wrong, but I think the total destruction of the ball by a force he didn’t quite understand was overwhelming to him.

It didn’t help that my discovery of the ball happened in the midst of his totally unrelated tantrum.

He was shaking and a little freaked out when we found him in the kitchen.

We told him it was okay and that we weren’t mad.  That seemed to calm him down a bit.

He wouldn’t come near the ball or the lamp and light bulb, but he was interested in looking at them from across the room.

He latched onto the words “hot” and “melted” as husband and I explained what happened.

This morning I held up the ball and light bulb again and asked him to repeat the sequence of events.

I put the basketball on top of the lamp.
The light bulb was very hot.
The basketball melted.
The melted basketball was very stinky.
The stinky smell can make me feel sick.

He repeated all of the words very purposefully and even got ahead of me when I added:

No more toys on the light bulb.

Best lesson all week.

This was a close second:

♥♥

Just Children

Today was such a normal day.  We’re back in the routine.

That’s really nice, because last night I dreamed that the school was planning to do surgery on my son.  The school, surgery, on my son.

I said “you are not.”

The secretary said, all syrupy sweet, “oh dear, we’ve already scheduled it and he really does need it.”

More emphatically, I replied “you will not do any surgery on my son!”

But for some reason, I still had to take him there.  😦

In real life?  Um, no.  Wouldn’t take him.

In the dream, all I could do was write on him with sharpie markers.

I lifted his shirt and scribbled “DO NOT perform surgery on my son!” across his stomach, and again on his back and arms.

But the ink was smearing.  I wasn’t sure it would be legible by the time he got there.

Then, you guessed it, the alarm rang and I woke up without resolution to this frightful nightmare.  Hate that.  HATE that.

Before I go all psychoanalytical on myself, I feel it fair to tell you that my husband and I watched 24 and ate nachos right before bed last night.

We were supposed to get to sleep early.  I’ve been sick, the boy has been sick, husband wants to stay well.  Early turn-in, that was our plan.

Instead we opted for torture and melted cheese.  Obviously, not our best decision.

Back to the dream.

I think  closing my eyes on a crappy meal leaves me a lot less creative, energetic and clear-headed.  Nachos make me less of a problem solver.  My defenses are down, so my subconscious dishes out everything it has.  Everything.

On some level, I obviously believe that school is the ultimate subversion of my free will (or my son’s).  Dreaming about it in conjunction with mandated surgery?  Can’t get more invasive than that.  I guess I sometimes (always??) feel like the school controls our lives (or our bodies) without our consent or cooperation.

That’s not good.

This week I have been engaged (albeit not very well) in a Facebook conversation about a six-year-old girl who was handcuffed and taken to an adult mental health facility after her tantrum became difficult to handle by school officials.  I don’t know all of the details.  I doubt anyone does, but my heart goes out to her family because I’ve been through those tantrums with my son.

Last year, we moved him to a new school.  (Have I mentioned this before??)  The staff didn’t know how to communicate with him.  He spent several weeks agitated and confused about what was expected.

The teacher and aides were unfamiliar and the other children didn’t understand why he didn’t talk and do as they did.  His tantrums were extreme.  He scared them.

He threw whatever he could reach.  He shoved the furniture and he screamed.  He hit an older boy and once pushed a little girl so hard she toppled over a desk and began crying and screaming herself.  It was bad.  And sadly, I think it all could have been prevented.  No one at the school had enough training to teach my son and most of them talked right over my recommendations.

My son hated the place.  I did too.  And the minute they mentioned the words “potential lawsuit,” we moved him back to the old location and discovered the grass there wasn’t quite as brown as we had thought.  We got lucky.  Again.

I guess what I’m getting at here is that I have spent the last few days examining my feelings about my son’s education and how best to accelerate and enhance it.

Blabbing on that Facebook thread made me realize that I feel burdened by public education as much as I feel grateful for it.

The friend who posted the link just wanted to know why a six-year-old is even in school.  Despite all of my comments on his page, I realize I can’t answer his question.  I’m not always sure that I know why my own kid goes everyday.

Right now he gets more from it than I can give him at home, but I won’t sell myself short.  That may not always be the case.

Someday, if you ask me how my son is doing in school, I might tell you that he doesn’t go to one, but in the same breath I will explain why his education is even better without it.  Until I can do that, he will go.

And I’ll try not to imagine scalpels in the pencil cups.

A few weeks ago I posted a link about Zakh Price, an autistic eleven year old who has been charged with felony battery.  His circumstances are not so different from those I’ve described in my son’s life.  Time is running out for Zakh.  He needs help as soon as anyone can give it.  I implore you to read about him and do whatever you can.  Here is a link to an essay by blogger Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a far more learned and eloquent writer than I.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Done With This

I’m sick of being sick.

I want to get back to my routine.

Illness has overlapped with holiday and together they spell lazy, couch hugging, inactive lump.  L-u-m-p.  Lump.  LUMP.

You know what I mean – too much computer time, tv and cheese products.

Oh, and did I mention gut splitting sneezes?

Ibuprofen.

Yes, my side muscles have exercised even though the rest of me hasn’t.

Fun.

Will have to get the most I can from tomorrow’s walk.

This view is part of my reward:

This is my trusty companion:

He’s on loan each day from a good friend.

Sometimes, I contemplate kidnapping him permanently.  🙂

Not sure the felines at home would appreciate him as much as I do.

Ha!

I let them outside for a little fresh air this morning.

Can there be anything happier than a very fat house cat lying outside on warm concrete?

Maybe only his big brother…lying on cool concrete:

The Fairy Princess took advantage of the Beastie Boys’ outing to relax inside:

They’re not always pleasant housemates.  She has to be crafty and quick.

There were a few other things in the yard today too.

Like this guy:

And his very large friend, who hid himself a bit before I could snap this picture:

The “predators” were oblivious:

Thank goodness for that, right?

The yard seems a little more interesting with live lizards in it than it does with dead lizards in it.

Our geraniums have decided to live too.  They popped back up this week to pull me out of my sicky misery.

I have veered off course.

Sick of being sick.  That’s right.

Ah, whatever.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Husband has the day off from work too.  He is watching The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.  Do you remember that movie?  Totally preposterous.  I remember very little about it actually.  Little, except for one scene where all of the characters are running through a laboratory and Jeff Goldblum, who is dressed like a cowboy, stops to say “Why Is There A Watermelon There?”  I don’t think  that question is ever answered in the film, but it was my inspiration for the title of this post.  Enjoy.  🙂

♥♥

Gesundheit

Still sick this morning.

Annoyed at the perfect perky weather.

There are birds in the yard.

Why couldn’t I have gotten sick when it was raining last week?

No guilt then for curling up on the couch with the remote and a box of tissue.

But this?  I can’t be appropriately pathetic with a big blue sky outside.  Geez.  Blechh.

I think our plum tree feels the same way.  It’s naked out there in the too bright sun.

Today is a holiday for school, so the little boy is home again too.  Day four in the house.

He’s getting bored.

A brief stop at Carl’s Jr., a chaotic Walmart run and a visit to Grandma’s yesterday didn’t really help that.

He was sick for three days.  Now that he’s better, his chief entertainer (aka mama) is down for the count.  Poor child.

More guilt.

Moms really aren’t allowed to get sick, you now?  Stuff stops when they do – important stuff – like daily routines for kids on the spectrum who need to have daily routines.

And sometimes those kids eat Pepperidge Farm Double Chocolate Milano cookies for breakfast.  And maybe for lunch.

Clearly, I’ve got my whine on.  Ignore me.  Go here.  (Track back a bit to read more about their recent adventures adopting a son from Haiti.)

Happy Friday!  🙂

♥♥