Woofers in the Wind

I have to go to the dentist today.  I don’t wanna.

Last time, he sang along with the radio, right in my ear, while he was working.  I actually didn’t mind that.  At least he has a decent voice.

I just don’t want to sit there for an hour, unable to speak, unable to move, while someone pokes my gums with sharp stuff.

It’s about control, really.  I hate handing it over to someone I don’t know well, even someone as professional and courteous as my dentist.

I cherish my freedom and I just don’t like having other people tell me what to do.

I dreamed about freedom a few nights ago.  I was jogging.

With a bad foot and crappy knees, I don’t jog when I’m awake, so this was a good dream for me.

I felt strong and athletic, but I was still my full-figured, curvy self.

It was great.  I could run!

Did I mention I was topless in this dream?

Yeah, I was jogging with great joy and no shirt.

Blissful, confident, total abandon.

Unfortunately, there was another person in the dream.

This person didn’t harm me physically in any way, but he made it perfectly clear with cat calls and criticism that I should cover up.

I felt defeated and held a piece of cloth across my chest.

The dream sort of faded out at that point, but the meaning was clear to me when I woke up.

I felt free, someone judged me, and then I didn’t feel free.

Isn’t that odd?

I think I dreamed it all in anticipation of the dentist today.

I have so much courage, until someone tells me to sit still.  Then I’m a big, angry, socially anxious mess.  😡

I hate being told to sit still or to be quiet or to wait.  And I’m a grown-up.

I realize as I’m typing this, that these are the things I constantly tell my son.

Sit still.  Be quiet.  Wait.

Stand here.  Wear this.

It’s never ending, this list of things I expect of him, this list of controls.

And these things are so much harder to do when you’re a kid.  Poor little boy.

I feel like I’m a fairly calm mom about most stuff.  My house is a playground, not a showcase.  He gets to do a lot more than other kids I know.  I have rules, but not as many as my friends do.

Kids need order and routine and an understanding of the authority in their lives.  I know all that, but I still feel bad for him.

I wish I never had to tell him to sit still, be quiet or wait.

Wouldn’t it be great if no one ever had to tell him that?

Wouldn’t it be great if he never felt the pressure of societal constraints?

Of course, there is irony in my dream and consequential feelings about freedom and my son’s happiness.

I am, after all, the girl who prefers no public nakery.

Go figure.

Shall I eat my cake or have it?

And which thing shall I teach my son?

Such a conundrum.

Jogging topless did seem kind of fun…

P.S.  After shedding tears of dread in the dentist’s office parking lot, I sat nervously in the lobby for two minutes and was horrified by the opening sequence of the movie on the waiting room dvd player.  When the dental tech opened the door and called my name, I was relieved to go inside.  Funny how dreading a new thing can make the old thing seem like no big deal.

Happy Thursday!

♥♥

Catch Up, Catch All, Ketchup

I bought a new t-shirt the other day.  I wore if for five hours this morning and now I don’t want it anymore.

Until my beautiful sister-in-law came over, I don’t think I realized just how much I hate this shirt.

It’s essentially identical to all the shirts I wore when I was pregnant nine years ago.

But I’m NOT pregnant and probably never will be again, so now this kind of shirt just makes me feel old.  And wide.  And matronly.

What the hell was I thinking with a scoop neck and horizontal stripes?  Right.  Sooo wrong.

Goodbye, blue-striped-shirt-that-I-just-bought!  It wasn’t nice knowing you.

My sister-in-law has beautiful taste in clothes.  She always looks great.  And so feminine.  I envy her that.

I wish I could dress from stores like Anthropologie, but they don’t carry my size.  Or my shape.  Grrrrrr.

I can’t buy light, airy, ethereal fabrics because I don’t have a light, airy, ethereal life.

Even if I did, it wouldn’t matter, because I’m lumpy.

Pretty stuff doesn’t go with lumpy.

In fact, it might even make it worse.

Sigh.

Changing shirts now.

Ack!

Enough about that!

Moving on…

I got my fun little drawer in the mail from Studio 162.

Thank you, Erin!

I can’t wait to find a spot for it.

It might have to go on a wall near my chicken house.  (Scroll to the end of that post to see a poorly lit photo.)

And speaking of chicken…

did you know that getting ready for nuggets is all about the sauce?

The little boy actually ate some of those grape pieces this time.

The carrots?  😐  Not so much.

I’ve been putting four or five teeny slices on his plate every night for a week now.  I’m not sure he’s even looked at them, much less touched or eaten them.

Soon enough.  🙂

Kind of a slow day…

for my brain anyway.

Need.  Caffeine.  Chocolate.

Happy Wednesday!!

P.S.  Green lollipop boy:

♥♥

Good To Be Back

I just realized it has been eleven days since my last post.

I’ve written a lot, but all of it is unfinished and dark.  😐

I’ve been mad in the last few weeks.  Mad at myself mostly, but mad at other people too.  And sad.  And sort of desperate.

That last adjective motivated a very pathetic e-mail to my family and friends about my overwhelming need for their help.

It was extremely difficult for me to ask, but I did.

Today, my older brother kept the little boy for four hours so that the husband and I could have a date.

We saw Thor (very enjoyable and NOT in 3D, thank you very much), we ate a tasty, cheese-laden lunch at Chevy’s, and then we went to Extraordinary Desserts for some beverages and really huge chocolate stuff.  Really. Huge.

My iced tea arrived with a little pitcher of sugar syrup and a bamboo skewer of berries topped with one fragrant, lovely pink rose petal.  Damn, I love that place.

We had a good day.  A long overdue, woulda-lost-my-mind-without-it, good day.  Thank you, brother.  You saved us.

Now, the husband is out front spreading some very pungent manure on our dying lawn.  The little boy is “helping” daddy and I am here, trying not to lose the writer in myself to anger, fatigue, absence or anything else.

Yesterday, we went to the school to see our son receive an award for requesting help appropriately.  The other kids were recognized for academic achievements, outstanding citizenship or perfect attendance, but we think our kid’s award is the best one of all.  It confirms what we already knew, he has come a long, long way.  😀

That’s all I have to say today.  Just enough to get back here.

See you tomorrow?

Happy Saturday!

P.S.  My crafty friend, Erin from Kansas, started an etsy shop.

Go see it here.

Clever girl, she sent me that link and I promptly bought a little drawer she upcycled with light blue paint and polka dot paper.

Kinda had to – I ♥ cheery little things.

Go, Erin!  😀  Go, Erin!

♥♥

Dear Thomas,

You got a bloody nose yesterday morning.  Coupled with fatigue from a day or two of erratic eating and sleeping, it pushed you over the edge.

You couldn’t stop moving and flailing your arms and crying.  You had a king-sized tantrum.

The blood dropped big red polka dots all over our beige tile.  The sight of it disturbed you even more.

At the height of your misery, you screamed “no school” at the top of your lungs.  You were shaking when you tried to scream it again.  It came out softer and more defeated the second time.

So I let you stay home.

My decision put visible peace on your face.

As I used some windex and a mop to clean up the floor, you took a pen to your dry erase calendar and circled the rest of the week.  You said “today, no school.  Tomorrow, yes school.”  You understood the trade off.  I let you stay home and you go without complaint the next four days.

We go through odd cycles with you.  There are weeks, sometimes even a month, during which all is well and somewhat uneventful.

Then there are the bloody nose days.  Or the “no sunny!” days.  Or the “no-all-gone-the-too-much-cheese-goldfish” days.

We can’t plan for those.  They are what they are.  They happen when they happen.

Your daddy and I have to roll with the emotional punches.  We wait out your tantrums, try to feed you something, try to calm you down, and then move on.  And we have to do it without defeat and without concern for what anyone else thinks of us, or you, or how we handle things in our family.  That’s not always easy, but we do it.

We start over everyday.

This morning you were upset that I wouldn’t give you 60 minutes on the timer to play on the computer, but you got up too late for that.  And you dawdled.  Ultimately, you conceded to eliminating most of our time at the grocery store on the way to school.  You are a crafty time manager.

Miraculously, we made it just as the final bell rang.  I didn’t even get a satisfactory goodbye from you before I had to walk away.  I hate that – leaving before I’m certain you consciously see me and know that I’m going.  It makes me worry.

I know that you recover from your upsets quickly.  I’ve witnessed the return of your cheery demeanor quite often.  It usually just take a few bites of peanut butter and jelly to bring it back.

By the time I get back in my car each morning, I feel like I’ve run an emotional marathon.  I usually have to sit there a minute and collect my scattered thoughts before I can start the car and drive to my next destination.

Whatever the mood between us when I drop you with your teacher, I can’t wait to see you at the end of each day.

I am sorry that we’ve had a difficult few mornings.

I will try harder to be the right mommy for you, because you are absolutely the right little boy for me.

You are the sweetest, smartest, cutest, kindest, most beautiful baby boy that ever lived.

I love you.

-Mommy

P.S. We took that top picture of you at Legoland a few weeks ago.  The bottom picture was taken at the Zoo in March.  You love to hug the characters.  🙂

♥♥

Death and Punctuation

My mom called last night to tell me that Osama Bin Laden had met his end.

I told my husband, we turned on CNN, and we watched the President confirm the facts.

Fire fight.  No American casualties.  Good news.

Afterward, I logged in to Facebook and quickly updated my status to say “Ding Dong the dick is dead.  Bye bye Binny.”

In my haste, I forgot two commas.

This morning, as I stood on the school playground with my son, I started thinking about what I wrote and how I feel and what I believe.

All of my friends have organized religion in their lives.

All of them went to church and read the bible.

They know about God and Jesus.

I don’t remember it.  Not the way that they do.

I went to a Methodist Sunday School until I was four or five and then I stopped.

Honestly, it’s not for me.  I don’t regret a life outside of those stained glass windows and pretty pews.

I envy my friends the education, the greater cultural context and basis for every conversation.

Really, religion is the basis of every conversation.

But I can learn on my own by picking up a book, listening to my friends, surfing the web, and opening my mind.

I am a reluctant believer in God.

By “God,” I don’t mean some old guy with a long beard, a white robe and a cloud for a chair.

I mean “God,” as in it seems illogical to conclude that this is it.

I cannot believe that there is nothing else, you know?

No one, not even the staunchest athiest, can prove that wrong, prove that there is no God.

Whatever God is.

I am reluctant about God only because I am more comfortable with science and things I can see and understand.

And truly, I abhor the exclusionary nature of most religions.  Too many exceptions, too many rules, too many hearts broken, souls abandoned, lives ruined by exclusion.

Where is this all going?

I guess I’m trying to say that, for a brief moment on the playground this morning, I had regret over rejoicing in a man’s death.  Even this particular man.

I felt disrespectful of God and I questioned my heart to see if I meant what I said.

As I searched my feelings, the school principal asked us all to put our hands over our heart for the Pledge of Allegiance.

As an advocate for the separation of church and state, I have always taken issue with the recitation of the Pledge in public schools.

I don’t think the words “under God” are appropriate.

Despite that, I am patriotic and I do believe, however reluctantly I may confess.  I raise my right hand, I put it over my heart and I recite the Pledge with 800 children, several times a week.

It’s automatic.  I’m proud to do it.  Today, as preoccupied as I was, I didn’t think twice about it.

I was thinking about Osama Bin Laden and my missing commas.  I wasn’t sure which bothered me more, my sloppy punctuation or my satisfaction with a man’s demise.

And then I realized my autistic son was saying the Pledge too.

He has never said it in front of me before and I have always had to hold his hand in place over his heart.  Not today.

He said every word, clear as day, and though I know he doesn’t understand yet what it all means, eventually he will.  Because I will tell him.

I will teach him that he can love his country, embrace all of its people regardless of their race, their religion, their sexual orientation, their gender or their disability.

I will teach him that he can make room in his heart for any God, as he chooses.

I will teach him that he should work hard to promote peace and tolerance, and that if he ever encounters a force working purposefully, maniacally, ruthlessly, mercilessly contrary to that end, that he should feel no remorse in seeing that force struck down.

Someday, I will tell him that this feeling is occasionally acceptable.

Someday, I will tell him there are times when it’s right to be bothered more by a missing comma than by a certain missing man.

♣♣

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

♥♥

Good Job and Some Music

My husband stopped at Home Depot on his way home last night.  He picked up a carton of fireplace logs and a deep pink potted miniature rose.

When he walked into the house, the little boy looked at him and said “A log!  A rose!  Good job!”  Considering where the day began, that made us chuckle.  Smart little boy.

He went to school this morning.  His initial protest was predictable and annoying, but he seemed to snap out of it when I told him I would take him to school in his pajamas if he didn’t put on his clothes.  I guess he figured I was serious.

Clearly, he has developed some sort of social anxiety about being in his jammies outside the house.  That part actually makes me a little sad.  He’s only eight.  Kids should feel comfortable being in their jammies, whatever the scenario.  But he doesn’t, and it’s no surprise.  It’s worth repeating, he’s not like other kids.

Tomorrow starts a four-day weekend.  My swollen eye and I can’t wait.  I need to stay in the house as much as possible.  We have a few things planned, but I can’t really handle the brightness of the sunny skies until my eye gets better.  It’s hard to drive, hard to walk, hard to do anything but just sit still.  My eye is more sensitive to light than usual and today’s chilly air is downright painful.

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch up with some friends for a long lunch in a dark restaurant.  Sitting there, with my back to the windows, was the best break my eye has had since the stupid balloon popped on Monday afternoon.  Thank you, friends!

The little boy is home from school and planted at the table with a book of mazes.

He is obsessed with mazes lately.  I spent $25 on three books full of them yesterday and he has already finished the little one.  I don’t quite know what I will do when he finishes the last of them.

He also makes me draw mazes for him.  It exhausts me.  You try it.  It’s not as simple as it sounds.  The maze has to be tricky, but not defeating.  My son is very crafty and sharp-eyed, but he’s still autistic and he frequently displays escalating and sometimes explosive frustration when he can’t figure out a solution to something.  Mazes are a challenge for us both.

There are plenty of mazes on the internet, but my printer doesn’t work right now and I’m not too keen on dropping all my toner on that anyway.  Mazes are sort of ink-laden.

What to do?  More books, I guess.

I remember liking mazes and other brain teasers myself when I was his age.  I wonder how my parents kept my supplies well stocked.  I don’t remember ever doing without them.  Hmmm.

The husband and I are constantly working on crossword puzzles at the dining table.  I guess that’s our grown-up equivalent of what the boy likes.  Maybe there is hope for his interest in reading.  Language is a maze too, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, not sure how much writing I’ll get done over the long weekend, so I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Happy Thursday!

P.S.  Evil husband tried to plant bad 80’s pop music in my head as we were drifting off to sleep last night.  I countered with Hank Williams and some Donny and Marie.  He sang some Rush and Scorpions and I responded with a Partridge Family tune.  We both got stumped trying to remember the Billy Joel song from Bosom Buddies and then were equally tortured as it seemed the theme to The Greatest American Hero would never escape our addled brains.  Luckily, I remembered this Elvin Bishop song, one of my all time teenage favorites.  I happily drifted off with it spinning in my mind.  (Enjoy that video – there wasn’t anything official, so I figured I’d choose something a little off the wall for you.  😀 )

♥♥