Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Love His Perception of Things...

Bug Boy has an interesting idea. He'd like to go to first grade. NOW.

When we asked him last evening why he would like to go to first grade, NOW, he replied:

"Because you can buy lunch in first grade!"

DUH! We are supposed to KNOW that!

So this morning I asked him about it again. I said, "You know, they may not always have things for lunch that you will like to eat. Some days they might have red food. Some days it might be sandwiches. You probably will not buy lunch everyday in first grade."

He studied my face for a moment and calmly stated, "Well, they have chocolate popsicles everyday!"

Aha! Now we are getting to the bottom of it!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Just had to share

Bug Boy was just putting on his coat and hat. The bus was due in five minutes and he was being rather pokey. He said, "Mom! I'll get my own coat and mint-ins." So of course I said, "Can you say mittens again?" And he said, "Mi-ins." So I said, "Try again! Mit-tins" And he looked at me, his head to the side, a naughty smile on his face and said, "GLOVES!"

Cheeky little monkey.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Life has a funny way of working out sometimes. I've been thinking about getting back into tutoring at night, as a means to escape my mundane existence and to get back to doing something I cherish, and lo and behold the phone rings last was a previous client.

I worked with the woman's son for seven years, from third until tenth grade, when he became too cool for a tutor. He is a junior this year and is doing quite well, pulling off a B average. For a child who got stomach pains and never wanted to go to school (due to a terrible learning disability) he is doing amazingly well. And he has also become a vegetarian and a political soapbox-stander-onner, so I am particularly proud. From working with him I managed to get five other children in his neighborhood. I was the town tutor, so to speak. When the boys were born, I kept it up on and off for about three years. When Ian started to have issues I cut back as much as I could. I ended up only working with the original student and then eventually stopped working with him when his live-in grandmother became terminally ill and the family needed to simplify things. By that time he did not need me as a confidence booster anymore.

This time they've called me to work with the boy's cousin. His mother has taken care of her everyday since she was a baby, as her parents are divorced and her father is a single parent. He runs his own machine shop and works ten to twelve hours a day. Couple that with the fact that the girl is now hitting puberty (and talking on the phone and IM'ing everyone for hours) and you can see why her average to above average grades have slipped to D's and F's. She actually REQUESTED that I come to work with her. I am flattered.

The problem is this: I do not know if it is logistically possible for me to do it. They want me one or two nights a week. Darling does not make it home until seven o'clock most nights. When I tutored before my sisters lived close by and would stay with my kids until Darling came home (since I kinda watched their kids all day, they stayed with mine). It worked out well, and Darling came home between five and six. Now we are talking about an hour later. And the kids go to bed between seven and eight, it takes BOTH of us to get that done. When I tutored in the past I'd walk in the door to a COMPLETE MESS because Darling cannot multitask (can men multitask?) and keep the house relatively neat while he was "watching the kids." (read: I was too busy channel surfing or looking up cars on the Internet and did not notice Bugaboo swinging from the dining room chandelier and taking out your china. I had no IDEA that while I was dozing off on the couch that Bug Boy would get out finger paints and paint himself and his brother. And the dog. And the floor.)

So, dear readers, all five of you! What should I do? I want to do this. It means I have to be showered and have my hair done every afternoon when they kids get home. It means I have to do lesson plans again (just an hour, it isn't so bad). It means I get OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!! It means I get to do something I like doing. It is less than 15 minutes to get there. It pays well. It means I will miss out on bedtime and bath time one or two nights a week, but it also means that Darling has to give meds to the kids, something he isn't quite comfy doing. I guess he can learn...

Monday, January 29, 2007


la·bel (lā'bəl) Pronunciation Key
  1. An item used to identify something or someone, as a small piece of paper or cloth attached to an article to designate its origin, owner, contents, use, or destination.
  2. A descriptive term; an epithet.
How do I feel about labels?

Labels can be useful. Labels can help you find things and help you obtain other things. I like labels. They make life a little easier occasionally.

The problem with labels is that when people see a label they automatically assume things. That the label is the ONLY thing the object or person is about. That the label means something entirely different. That the label inhibits or limits expectations in someway. I have a problem with these labels.

People are afraid of labels. They do not want the label to limit them. Once in a while they just do not want to know the truth about the label. These people would be happy living in a vacuum and never stepping outside of the box. They go the same place for vacation every year. Their hair is cut exactly the same way every six weeks. They do not want to wake up tomorrow and have things different in their lives. Status Quo.

The problem with this mindset is that sometimes people NEED the labels. Certain labels can get you certain things. Sometimes you need that label to get something really awesome for your kid. And so what? IT'S JUST A WORD! IT'S JUST A LABEL!!!! That word has nothing to do with your kid. It does not mean your child won't achieve, won't succeed. It does not mean your child is bad or horrible. It is not a dirty word, just a label. Just a descriptive. Something that others use to describe what they do not know. When there is nothing to tell you they use this word. When you have this word stamped on a piece of paper it is like a golden ticket, like passing GO and collecting the coveted $200.

It really hurts me that people I love do not see that. They think that the child is just developing at his own rate. That he will grow out of it because so-and-so did. That it is just a quirky part of his personality and LOOK HOW CUTE AND SMART HE IS!!! That it will just go away. Because he isn't half as severe as your son, because everyone uses your son as the guide of development. Their son isn't THAT WORD because the talk, see? And they aren't toilet trained but he tells you when he is wet or has an accident, even if he is five and supposedly starting kindergarten in September. That he has some other more desirable disability, because even though these disorders are all related and have similar issues, the "one my kid might have is WAY better than what your kid has". I mean, because Asperger's is WAY better than Autism. ADD is WAY better than autism. Developmental Delays are WAY better than Autism. Because Autism means your kid is not worth as much. He needs pity. He needs people to feel sorry for him. To excuse his behavior. To allow him to get away with murder because it is just so sad that he doesn't understand. And why try to make him work for something or ask for it? He just doesn't understand. Poor, Poor little boy. He'll always be like this so we have to enable him. But "not my kid." "My kid" will be fine. "My kid talks, He's doing well, it will go away, he's growing out of it..". No need to see a developmental ped. No need to go to a Neuro. "I don't need answers because my head is up my arse."

Don't be afraid of the label. It is not about you. It is about your child. What does the child need? The heck with what you and your husband think! All that matters is that your child gets what he needs.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Things I Do For Family

My sisters and I are very close. We do many things for one another, from childcare to parties to shopping, you name it. My youngest sister, who is "Po'," as she puts it, has lived in Iowa the past few years but has recently moved back to the East Coast and currently resides in Virgina. They are now only three hours or so away, and we are happy to see them MUCH more often.

This weekend they plan on heading north for their Son's fifth birthday (who's day was yesterday and I forgot to call!). My mother, who overdoes and enables out the waaazoooo, has decided that since we've never gotten to celebrate BJ's bday (I kid you not, it is BJ!) that the whole family has to drop what they are doing, last minute, and appear at this party. Now, I'd do it anyway, as it is my sister and I love her and I would love to celebrate his birthday for the first time, but my mother drives everyone nuts.

She has this little annoying habit of favoring certain children over others, certain grandchildren over others, etc. She has not been to see my kids in months and they live two tiny towns over. They rarely call so I have to call them with updates. She says what she has to say (like she is reading it off of a list) and then says, "Ok! I've got to go! Bye!" and ends the conversation. A bit of background: My mother has been struggling (and mis-diagnosed) with depression and anxiety for YEARS as a result of a horrible and traumatic childhood experience. She is also bi-polar. She goes up and down more than a roller coaster. I love her but she often refuses to get help and quits therapy CONSTANTLY. She also has given up on herself, does not eat, has medical issues she refuses to acknowledge or take care of and smokes about three packs a day. I kid you not. I cannot be around her long because I get sad and because she wears about a bottle-and-a-half of Estee Lauder each morning. You can imagine how my overly-sensitive little boys enjoy this smell (coupled with urine smell from her horrible little animals and the smoke, it is nauseating!).

So, last week, when I threw a surprise fortieth for my eldest sibling mother approached me and asked me (in a round -about way) if I'd host BJ's party. I agreed, because her house is smaller than my bathroom and I cannot figure out how seven children survived in that house. We dread going to her house for anything. It smells, it is beyond cluttered, it is cramped and loud. My kids HATE it, except for the train platform my father has in the living room. Yes, the living room. On a piece of plywood on top of a desk. When my mother kinda hinted that she wishes she could have it somewhere else, I gave in and told her it was fine to have it here, but I need to talk to Darling first. So what does she do? She makes an announcement to the WHOLE PARTY right then and there, before I could walk across the room and tell Darling! He was furious! I talked to him about it later and said it was better than going to THEIR house and he agreed and dropped it.

Fast forward a few hours and I talked to my sister in VA (who did not make it to the 40th) and she thanked me for the party. She asked if I'd watch her kids this Friday (tomorrow) so she could go to Jersey and get her husband so he could be at BJ's party. I agreed, and said, "Well, if you are leaving at four and it is a two hour drive, you won't get back until eight or later, and your kids will be tired, so why not just leave them here overnight and pick them up in the morning?" I cannot believe that came out of my mouth. She was so overjoyed at the prospect of sleeping the whole night without kids that I couldn't retract it. So I did the next best thing, I conned my older sister into helping me that night instead! So, I will have Bugaboo and Bug Boy, BJ (who is Bugaboo in behavior but talks more than Bug Boy - autistic without a diagnosis, poor kid) and BJ's little brother, eighteen-month-old E. Yup, I am crazy. Darling will be SOOOOOO happy about it.

My younger sister still cannot believe I am willing to do this. I know it has been very hard on her, she is in and out of work, her paycheck barely covers childcare, they are on and off of public assistance. They work so hard and get nowhere. She hasn't ever been away from her children. I know how it feels to need a break from them and my sisters help me out whenever I ask them. There is no one else I trust but them. So I am doing this for her because I know she needs me to and because that is what we do for each other. Even though her son drives me NUTS because she is denial about the necessity of intervention, he is a sweet little boy. He just needs constant monitoring! Or he might pee on the dog or paint her with grape robitussin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More Guilty Pleasures

Honestly, I barely watch television. It is not on all day, the kids are not permitted to watch it on weekdays (unless they are sick, Bugaboo watched his Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom video about thirty times!). Regardless, Bug Boy wakes up each morning, stumbles into our room and asks, with bleary eyes, if he can turn it on. I remind him of the rules, he pouts and then goes about his morning routine.

The past two weeks I have been exhausted. Instead of finishing housework or getting ready for the next day I have been procrastinating. I sit on the couch once they are asleep and I cannot move. It does not help that I have had the fireplace quite active the past few days. Ahhhh! Nothing more relaxing than snuggling on the couch with your honey with the fire roaring. And being in control of the clicker because there is no Survivor and no football. 24 has started again, boohoo!

So, my lastest guilty pleasure is a show I am ashamed to admit I have started watching. For some reason I have been watching marathons of "The Girls Next Door" which is the reality show about Hugh Hefner and the girlfriends at the Playboy Mansion. Don't ask me what the draw is. Perhaps it is the abundance of silly bleach blondes with perfectly perky (and oversized, darn plastic surgeons!) boobs and their artful manipulation skills. I am awed by the fact that they have fifty dogs running around that mansion, that there are about seventy people that work there, that Hef runs around in his Pajamas all day and that the girls all take college courses, have lives on the side and think they have the best life imaginable. Oh to be twenty-five, pre-child, blonde and big-busted!

Naahhhh. My home is my castle. I don't need no stinkin' mansion! I have the best here. So why am I drawn to this nonsense?

The only thing I can think of is escape. I have not had the brain-power to read a book lately. The fantasy that I used to escape to in between the pages of a good book have temporarily been replaced with bad reality tv. I love makeover shows, surgery shows, episodes about large families, those side-show type of shows and Dr. 90210. Do not ask me where it comes from. Everything in me says, "This is drivel! This is nonsense! Television at the worst, there IS a reason they call it the idiot box!" And while I can stand on my soapbox and rattle off exactly how I feel about television and the evils it projects, at the same time I currently regard it as my escape from real life. If I cannot concentrate enough to lift a pencil and complete a crossword puzzle I might as well watch something completely useless.

I just need my brain to soften once in a while. I spend the majority of the day thinking about important things and worrying about Bugaboo's future. I am constantly making appointments, reading about treatments, deciding on options. I am fried like an egg by the time they go to bed and have nothing left to give. I guess it is fair to say that I cannot fall asleep until the wheels in my head stop turning and I can just be blank up there. Now, my brain NEVER stops! It does, however, take a little break and kinda get sidetracked when I watch television. I enjoy that little break.

I have kept the television off today. Bugaboo will not watch videos (but he will tear the house up, one room at a time) and I will not sit at this computer, aimlessly surfing because I am beyond bored. Instead I have rebooted my laundry, cleaned the stack of dishes from two days ago, made beds, picked up a few rooms. I plan on returning three phone calls, picking up a few more rooms and doing some decluttering. I am well on my way. My brain is in a happy place today!

Monday, January 22, 2007


I had an entirely different post in my mind when I sat down to do this. Then the phone rang. Darling informed me of his latest routine blood work and his cholesterol was...


Yes, I know there is good and bad cholesterol. Yes, I know the difference. And no, this is not the same thing, because apparently his problem is the "bad" cholesterol. Perhaps the fact that he has not been at the gym more than once a week in six months and the fact that he has gained fifteen pounds in a year has something to do with it, too. My Darling, at a mere Sixty-Six inches tall (on a good day with shoes on) currently weighs in at One hundred eighty-five pounds. That's a BMI of about 31.

(Don't worry, I told him I blog everything.)

Couple that with the fact that EVERYONE in his family (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle and grandmother, all of his living, direct relatives) has cholesterol over 200. His maternal grandfather died of heart disease at the ripe old age of fifty. His grandmother has had several heart attacks and has had angioplasty. His father takes medications to keep his cholesterol down. Not stuff I really want to think about. He is THIRTY-FIVE, gals. He is setting himself up for an early death, and I have NO DESIRE to be a widow at forty.

Wanna know what mine was this past fall?


Yes, you read that correctly. Obnoxiously low. Wanna know why? Because I exercise, eat very little meat (but tons of eggs, go figure), plenty of whole grains and veggies and keep my weight and diet in control. The doc says she is impressed. So why is Darling's so out of whack? He eats what I do, at least when he is home. He is quite sedentary in his job, working at a desk all day and sitting in meetings. Then there are the lunch meetings where they provide a meal, which is usually pizza or some kind of disgusting, mayonnaise-heavy salad. He says he doesn't eat that much of it. I typically provide a healthy dinner with salad four to five nights a week (plus a vegetable), whole grains or potatoes (which he dumps butter on) and a lean protein, such as beans or chicken. Where is this coming from? Cheese? We ARE dairy addicts, after all. In moderation dairy is fine. I wonder how much he is consuming when I go to bed? I know for a fact that he is a late-night snacker.

Here's a little government fact sheet.

Okey-dokey, I am calming down now. I promise not to get on his case too much when he walks in the door. He has already told me he is not eating the beeferoni I prepared for dinner. BUT C'MON PEOPLE! 207!!!!

Ok, that felt better. Getting it out of my system. I am going to try not to worry. Tonight for dinner he is getting steamed chicken, brown rice and salad. His breakfast is going to be oatmeal.

Cholesterol, Schmolesterol!

Friday, January 19, 2007

I've been awake since FIVE AM!!!!

No worries about getting up on time this morning, Bug Boy was kind enough to wake up at five. He has had a wicked bout of ear infections the past week and was in tremendous pain. Last night when we tucked him in we found him sound asleep, on the floor, in his underwear, snoring away. He also had a blanket wrapped around the heater in his room (hmmmm, he was hot?).

Bug Boy has not had an ear infection in about four months. Before that it was eight months. So, two in one year was not too shabby, considering this poor child has had three sets of ear tubes and one operation to correct scarring on his ear drum. Bugaboo has also had three sets so far. I expected that Bug Boy was growing out of them, but now if he gets one more they will refer me back to the ENT.

The main culprits with the boys are allergies and anatomy. There really is nothing I can do about their anatomy and we have little control over their allergies. Neither boy can be on allergy medication because of the fear it will make them too drowsy or interact with the seizure medications. We just tough it out, use saline and hope for the best. Because of the unseasonably warm temperatures we have had their poor little noses have been suffering. I think Bug Boy's nasal passages have just decided they have had enough and are currently exiling the inflammation and fluid to the ear canals.

He woke up with so much pain this morning (still in his undies) and climbed in with us while I massaged his ears and sinuses. He has not cuddled with me in MONTHS, so despite the fact that I was bleary-eyed and wishing he would doze off, I cherished the moment we had. His little (BIG!) feet tucked in between my knees, his little hand holding mine and his head tucked into the space between my head and my shoulder. I have never felt so close to him! My boys just are not the huggy-kissy-snuggly-type. They like their space. It makes it that much sweeter when they want to be cuddled or held.

I imagine Bugaboo will be ill some time this weekend. I am amazed that he has only had a handful of colds so far this season but I am bracing myself for the onslaught of viruses. He generally gets one this time of year and it lasts for months, due to his immune system difficulties. I have been pumping him full of vitamins and protein in an attempt to perk him up and hopefully make him stronger. Let's just say the kids like Bugaboo do not have the most stellar hygiene skills!

Bug Boy must be feeling better. He has retreated to the basement and Darling and I have been able to hear him talking NON-STOP for the past hour. To himself. Or the cars, I do not know which...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Water Smells Like Bleach

I have a funky, sensitive sense of smell. I can smell things a mile away. I can smell the rain before it hits. I can tell what DH had for lunch when he walks in the door.

When I was pregnant, I found that my heightened sense of smell became more, well, heightened. Add to that a fabulous gag reflex (from which I have yet to recover) and it made for an interesting pregnancy both times. I would get sick cleaning up Shadow's piles in the yard or going by a fast-food restaurant. The smell of cooked food in my house (especially meat, blame that on my former vegetarianism!) makes me irritable. I do not like my hair picking up the scent of french fries or coffee from quicky places, I have to go home and wash my hair immediately. I cannot explain it.

I cannot stand to smell other people's perfumes, soaps or (yes, I can smell this) makeup. My sister-in-law is the queen of beauty products and I can smell when she has had her nails done recently. She (and my brother) wear TONS of cologne and perfume. They are constantly burning candles in their home and it is all I can do to not run screaming from their house. I usually leave there with a headache.

For some time I have been trying to imagine what it is like for my children. Their sensory issues sometimes get in the way of "normal" functioning. If the announcements in Tarzhay are too loud, they clap their hands over their ears. My favorite Goodwill store has an issue with their radio so it sounds staticky and distorted (not to mention the fact that they play it way too loud) and the boys scream when we go there. They need all tags removed from their clothing, do not like socks with any words stitched in the bottom (good luck finding 'em without the stitching!) and prefer 100% cotton. It makes life fun shopping for them! No wool, no polyester, nothing. Just cotton. The sound of a garbage truck sends them into a tizzy. When our neighbors had trees removed a few months ago I had to keep our windows closed and the air on for a week in seventy-degree weather. They just could not stand the noise.

I have no idea if they have inherited my sense of smell. Bug Boy seems to noticed things the way I do and Bugaboo will not go near my mother, who wears at least a bottle of old-lady-Estee-Lauder each time I see her. Mix that with the cigarette smoke and you have one interesting waft of aromas as she enters my humble abode. If I cannot stand it I cannot imagine how the boys feel. They seem to react the way I feel, except that I am an adult and have sort of figured out how to keep it in. I do recall that as a child I did not like smells or loud noises and still do not.

Darling is not much better. He is the 100%-cotton-no-tags-in-clothing-passer-onner-of-those-genes. He also does not like touching sand paper or emery boards and the sound of a ceramic cookie jar opening causes him pain. He likes back rubs and hot baths but does not like restrictive clothing or seat belts (although I insist he wears one). He likes the massaging reclining chair we have and I loathe it. One kid likes it (Bugaboo) the other prefers not to have it on when he is in the house (Bug Boy).

I suppose that my point (if there is one) is that the apples really do not fall too far from these trees. All of the issues that make our day-to-day life challenging are not far from their original source. While some of their issues are pervasive, many of them are somewhat typical. I guess their reactions to these stimuli are what set them apart from other children. I cannot blame their delays on what irks them since I would not consider Darling and I delayed and we have the same issues. However, depending on whom you converse with, Darling and I did have delays. Not cognitive, as we were both identified as "gifted" (whatever!) but I recognize now that Darling's late talking, my social awkwardness and lack of friends, his lack of socializing, and our sensory issues could indicate that we were just like our children. It does run in families.

You know something? I think we both turned out fine. It may have been more difficult for us to do things like our peers (like, fine and gross motor skills) but we turned out fine! Our boys will be short and probably will not be star athletes. They are obsessed with technology and computers (go figure!). They like cars and music to the point of perseveration. Is that such a bad thing? OK, my kids are different. But so are we! So who am I to say that they should be "more like their peers." Is it not OK to be individuals?

The next time Bug Boy needs a tag cut out or claps his hands over his ears, I am just going to remember that it isn't weird behavior, he is just being himself! And that is alright by me!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Thoughts from Marj

I am dreading potty training Bugaboo. He knows when he goes and he knows when he is about to go but has no desire to sit on a potty. The lack of communication does not help. They are working on it at school but I am prepared for a loooooonnnnggggg effort.

Bug Boy is sick. He has not spoken more than a few words in four days. That is usually how we know he is sick, this boy literally sounds like Rain Man. The nice thing about it is that today will be unusually quiet for me!

How is it that dogs have that uncanny knack for sniffing your privates and knowing (before you do) when Aunt Flo will come for a visit? Shadow is also adept at sniffing out ear infections from the boys before I know they even have them!

I only had to nuke my tea twice today. That is a sign that we will have a good day!

My sister's fortieth (not Dino Boy's mom) was this past weekend. She does not look forty. She looks darn good, even if she thinks she doesn't. I hope I look like her at forty!

My mother-in-law turns sixty next month on Valentine's Day. She has requested one of my favorite dinners that night. Pork, Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and fried apples! YUMMY!

When we bought our last vehicle (a used Honda) I imposed a moratorium on car buying. My husband is a car guy and wants one about once a year. I kid you not. He has owned seventeen cars in seventeen years, although to be fair I must tell you that we have had two cars since we got married. So I am responsible for four or five of them. But we currently have three vehicles. I managed to hold him off for nearly two years. The past few weeks we have car shopped every spare moment, including Christmas weekend. I just wish he'd make up his mind.

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I am not depressed. I have been treated for it for the past ten years, on and off. The meds and counseling have not helped. It finally dawned on me that they are treating me for the wrong condition, and other people (one of my sisters) have been right about what is bothering me for most of my life. My doctor agrees but I am not ready to start medication yet. See if you can guess what she thinks:
  • Poor attention; excessive distractibility
  • Physical restlessness or hyperactivity
  • Excessive impulsivity; saying or doing things without thinking
  • Excessive and chronic procrastination
  • Difficulty getting started on tasks
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Frequently losing things
  • Poor organization, planning, and time management skills
  • Excessive forgetfulness

Brrrr!!!! It is cold out there! You know it is cold when the dog does not want to go out there.

If Bugaboo did not have autism I feel like I would not know him as well as I do. In a way I feel like I have been given a gift with him. I have to work twice as hard with him as I do with Bug Boy so I learn so much more about every little detail. Sometimes he is so interactive and engaging. He even leans over to receive his kiss each evening before bed. I look forward to that every day!

I should get in the shower right now and just cannot bring myself to do it. I hate getting wet. Hate. It. With. A. Passion. Totally. With a capital T that rhymes with P and stands for "Poole." (If you don't know where that came from, watch the Music Man. Or don't, it isn't that good.)

Have a nice day.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jersey Girl vs. Jersey Girl

Since I have absolutely nothing better to do with my time, I have decided that I MUST review the Jersey Girls. Yes, they have the same name. They were released about twelve years apart (and it shows). Without further ado, here are the Jersey Girls:

Jersey Girl (1992) : This little stereotypical gem starred a young a sassy Jami Gertz (Still Standing, Teen movie and show star, also was in Twister and played Gilda Radner in a TV movie), and Dylan McDermott (pre-Practice days, long before Steel Magnolias) in a movie that seems like it was made for tv. Toby (Gertz) is a Jersey Girl who is fed up with her lifestyle and is trying to break out of it. She thinks that the only way she can better herself is to find the right guy and goes to great lengths to find someone from the other side of the river, Manhattan. She meets Sal (McDermott) by going to a Mercedes dealership and hanging around and then pursues him without pause. He finally relents, takes her out a few times and they fall in love. Except that Sal used to be from Jersey and worked very hard to get out of there. He has no intentions of going back to that life now that he is a yuppie, being groomed by this total jerk-of-a-boss that reminds him that girls like Toby are to be used and thrown away. Sal has to decide that he will let his feelings for Toby prevail and not be sucked into the lifestyle of his co-workers. Toby is under pressure from her father and her friends, who are jealous that she doesn't hang out with them at all hours of the day anymore. They accuse her of being a snob and wanting to dump them and do NOT like Sal. When Toby and Sal "break-up" Toby tells it like it is and tells him he likes his fancy car more than her. He proves to her (in perhaps the lamest romantic Hollywood ending) that he loves her more by totally trashing a brand-new Mercedes outside of her workplace, a daycare. And all the kids watch him run his car into a fire hydrant, kick out the headlights and scratch the car up with a key. Only in Jersey.
Rating: I give this three out of five stars. It is cute, kinda Cinderella-like. It is terribly predictable and funny in a gotta-laugh-at-the-Jersey-accents-and-big-hair kinda way. When it is on a free movie channel, I find myself unable to escape it and get sucked into watching.

Jersey Girl (2004): I know, I know, the critics hated it. They were basing their opinions on the fact that Kevin Smith (who wrote and directed it) usually produces gross-out, foul language, young adult comedies with really far-fetched plots. The guy that brought us Clerks, Mallrats and Dogma tucks Jay and Silent Bob away for a few hours to bring us a romantic comedy with a different twist. Ben Affleck is Ollie Trinke, a guy from (you guessed it!) Jersey who prefers to stay in Manhattan. He meets Gertrude (Jennifer Lopez) and falls in love. When Gertrude dies in childbirth he thinks he can raise their baby on his own, leaving the child with his father (George Carlin) most of the time and spending no time with the baby (Gertie, adorable Raquel Castro). Dad gives him a wake-up call and refuses to watch the baby on the day of an important press conference, and Ollie messes up, loses his job and subsequently gets black-listed in the music PR business. Fast forward a few years, Gertie (now seven) and Ollie live with Mr. Trinke in Jersey and Ollie works with Pop for the township sanitation department. He is stuck in a rut, never dates and rents adult films to satisfy his cravings. At the video store he meets Maya (Liv Tyler), a grad student doing a paper and asks to study Ollie and his video choices. He declines, she persists, he finally relents. Guess what? They kinda fall in love, but he is not over his dead wife. The past seven years he has tried very hard to get back into the PR business, but everyone remembers his little "Will Smith" situation and won't hire him. When an old friend finally gets him the interview(and possibly, a job) of his dreams, he has to decide if he wants to stay in his life in Jersey where he can be "the best father in the world" or move to New York and tear his daughter away from the only life she has ever known. He basically find out that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
Rating: I loved this movie. I give it four out of five stars. Some of it was a little hokey and over-acted, but everyone in this film (and it was loaded with star potential) was great. Little Gertie steals the show. I LOVE the Sweeney Todd portion of the film, it is a SCREAM.

Don't forget, I come from a family of movie buffs. We've seen just about everything and can quote all the good flicks, especially Monty Python. And Sci-Fi stuff. And the Princess Bride...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Just had to share

I was upstairs folding for baskets of laundry this morning (stripped all beds this weekend plus our daily laundry pile, two days that I did not put away!). Suddenly I heard this blood-curdling scream:

"MoooooooooooooooooommmmmmM!!!!! Moooooooooommmmmmmm!!!!!! MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!"

I dropped what I was doing, ran as fast as I could down the stairs, expecting Bug Boy to be pinned under something heavy or hurt, by the terrified sound of his voice. As I nearly wiped out on the kitchen linoleum, I glanced around the Family Room and called him, "Bug Boy!! Where are you?" I did not see him.

He was behind the sofa, in his "clubhouse" playing with his Leapster. He looked up at me and asked, rather innocently, "Mom? Is seventy-five and seventy-five equal to one hundred fifty?"

He looked at me and waited for my reply. Through clenched teeth I told him, "Yes, it is. And next time you need mommy, please do not scream like that. If you need me (unless you are in trouble or hurt, please use a quieter voice and come to find me. Do not sit down here screaming. Do you understand?"

He nodded and went back to his game.


Days off

I love that term. A day off. For whom, may I ask?

Every time a government holiday rolls around I cringe at the thought of it. On weekends I at least have some back-up, Darling takes the boys for rides to the store, plays golf, pulls them in the wagon and hangs out in the garage while they sit on the tractor and in the jeep.

Today I fly solo.

How horrible is it that I dread these days? One would think that I would look forward to these days and the chance to spend all of my time with my sons, whom I love with every ounce of my soul. The truth is, as much as the idea of a whole day with my children makes me happier than I can explain, the harsh truth is that on a day like today, no matter how much I plan and how scheduled I attempt to make it, they come crashing down by about lunch time.

They are pleasant and calm, lounging in their pajamas and playing with their favorite toys. But they have done this all weekend so the novelty quickly wears off. Then we read books, listen to music, get out the special "rainy day" activities that I keep hidden for special days like this. It lasts for a little while. We go into the basement and make forts. We rough-house. The do sensory therapy and roll on the exercise balls. We set up giant tracks of trains and Bugaboo does his Godzilla impersonation and walks all over it. We play air hockey. We take a ride to the store and pick up a few necessities and some prescriptions. I keep them very busy.

By early afternoon the crying will start. The tantrums, the biting, the screaming. The meltdowns. Oh, the meltdowns. It will be all I can do to maintain my composure. This is usually when I try a video. After five or six hours there isn't much left, and I hate to use the television like that, but since they watch it about an hour a week I guess it isn't the worst I could do.

I make sure they have plenty of sleep and eat tons of protein. It helps. I make sure they are drinking plenty. That helps tremendously. But the routine is still disrupted. Why do I have to work so flipping hard on days off? When does my vacation day occur?

Now, I am not trying to be spoiled. They go to school and I have the place to myself from 9-3. Well, not really, I do have Little Miss here mornings until noon. So I have from noon until three to shower, clean, shop, workout, make appointments, return calls and make dinner. It never gets done. But at least I can turn on some music to soothe my brain.

I will make it through. I am trying to enjoy this day but they are already bored. They've eaten breakfast and are relatively calm. I cannot help but brace for myself for what surely will come later. Sorry to be a pessimist (totally not my nature) but when you have two kids with needs like mine, well, you learn to be prepared for the likely event of a major meltdown. ADHD and Autism do that to you.

Now, where is that cup of tea? Time to nuke it and FINISH it this time.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Scary is as Scary does, (or, why I wish this weekend was over already)

It is Saturday afternoon and my weekend has already had more stress than I can handle. Want me to elaborate? You are in luck, I need to vent! This is very long, so if you don't have much time, come back later.

Last evening my MIL decided to take Bug Boy to see Charlotte's Web and Bugaboo's therapy was canceled. I went to the mechanic to pay for the jeep inspection and while there, decided to walk around with Bugaboo at the small shopping center across the street. There is a neat little gourmet grocery, a dollar store and a Goodwill there. I found a NEW coat for Bugaboo for next year ($5) and a few other small items. Since Bug Boy was eating dinner with MIL and Bugaboo doesn't really eat, I called Darling and told him I was stopping in town (S'more) to get Chinese at our favorite place.

It was dusk and getting darker by the minute. As I rounded to corner into the center of town I noticed that EVERYONE had the same idea. The only two parking spaces were on the far side of the bank. I slowed down to let someone pass and noticed and elderly gentleman on his knees in front of the Chinese place. Then he was on the ground. I quickly pulled over, parking illegally, and left Bugaboo locked in while I jumped out with my cell phone.

The poor wife of the elderly man was white as a ghost and could barely speak. She could not tell me what happened but I noticed blood on the concrete and guessed he hit his head. Then another woman walking by stopped to help (her two young children were hysterical when they saw the blood ) and said she was a doctor. She grabbed what she could to apply pressure to his gaping wound while I dialed 911. Then I talked to him and asked him a few questions, found out his name and tried to calm the doctor's children. She finally had to leave with the kids because they were so upset and it was up to me to control the situation. So I kept talking to him, holding his hand, assured him the ambulance was coming. I asked him what he had for dinner (he hadn't even gotten into the restaurant yet) and if he lost his footing (he said he was tipsy from too much to drink. He was kidding. And he was 90). I kept holding the napkins (the only thing we could grab) onto his head until the police and ambulance arrived. I talked to him and telling him it would be fine. Fifteen minutes had passed at this point and I told the policeman I was sorry I parked illegally and should i move the car? He chuckled and said it was fine. (He's my neighbor from a block away. Our boys are best buddies in the same class. Funny how things work out, eh?). Once they took my information I excused myself and went to get Bugaboo out of the car, realizing he was in there for a very long time and probably had no idea what I was doing! Poor kid! But since he was strapped into his five-point harness and locked in the car five feet away, I think he was safe.

Bugaboo and I went in to order our dinner and stepped outside in time for the paramedics to take the man into the ambulance and to the hospital. The entire time he insisted he was fine ! He had a two inch head laceration, a cut into his eye fold, a blown pupil and a possibly broken hand. Not fine. But he wanted his soup, so a friend that was supposed to meet the man and his wife for dinner was in the restaurant when I picked up my order. She tried to pay for my order, but I politely refused. "But you were so kind and helpful! I really appreciate it!" I just told her that I hoped someone would do the same for me and to please pass along my best wishes.

Darling and I decided that we would drive to a pre-owned car facility (Carsense, great place!) and look at a few cars this morning. After spending five hours there we were all STARVING and stopped at a nearby gourmet supermarket (the one where the rich people shop) because their market cafe is as good as a restaurant and we could all order what we wanted. Bugaboo passed out in the car so we had to carry him in sound asleep and put him on a couch in the lounge area so Darling stayed with him while I took Bug Boy to get his lunch. We made our way through the throngs of people (once again, everyone had the same idea!) and waited in line for several minutes longer than we should have. When we finally received our lunches we headed towards the register to wait in line yet again. I asked Bug Boy to pick out a drink (next to us in the refrigerated case) while I stood in line. Another cashier opened up and I said, "Bug Boy, follow me over here." He answered that he would, and I turned to get in line. I instantly turned back around to grab his hand and he was GONE!!!!!!

I called his name. No response. I yelled for him. No response. I SCREAMED his name and threw down my tray. He wasn't by the registers. He wasn't by the drink fridge. He was nowhere to be seen. Darling was only a few feet away and grabbed the sleeping Bugaboo and darted out to look for him. We ran up and down the food court as other people asked us what he was wearing, what did he look like, how tall was he, etc. I kept screaming his name the entire time. After nearly five minutes (and eternity) and after alerting the security guards, who were just about to put out a code ADAM (where they alert the police and lock the store down), Bug Boy came sauntering over. "Where did you go, guys?" He had wandered away to look at something in the split second that I walked to the register and disappeared behind a crowd of people and could not see us, so kept walking. As a child with PDD he had NO IDEA how dangerous it was (despite our constant warnings and the warning we gave him when we entered the store that it was very busy and he needed to stay with us!) and did not think that he was missing! And I am sure that everyone in that store thought I was nuts the way I was running around and screaming for him, crying the whole time. I tried not to panic, but once I saw him I just starting sobbing and pulled him close to me. His response was, "Owww! Mom! You are HURTING ME!!!"

The scary thing is that he would not be scared or apprehensive if someone attempted to take him. I really do not think he would scream. Bug Boy (and Bugaboo, to a much worse degree!) are so socially unaware that they are not afraid of strangers in the least. Bugaboo even goes up to people at the zoo and puts his arms up to be lifted up! For that reason we are even more cautious than we feel we need to be. We never, ever let them out of our sight. They NEVER go out of the room without us. We do not leave them outside by themselves EVER. We do not let Bug Boy go into a rest room alone. We cannot because our boys are the type of kids that could be victimized very easily. All it takes is one pedophile who recognizes that Bug Boy is wandering about the store solo. He'd only need to tell Bug Boy that we were looking for him, he'd show him where, and that would seal the deal. I shudder to think about it.

So you see, once we arrived back home this afternoon (sans new car) I completely crashed emotionally. I fell onto the couch and stayed there with a blanket pulled over my head for a long time. I only just got up to type this to try to put it all out of my head. I think a warm bath and a glass of wine are in order, about two hours from now when the boys go to bed!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Working from home

Today Darling finally started working from home. You may recall that last week I was a tad apprehensive about how it would go. I thought he would drive me nuts and question what I was doing, watch me work, make comments etc. Except for the fact that he has to phone into meetings and tie up the phone line, it really wasn't so bad.

I couldn't vacuum, watch television or listen to music (I typically have music on for most of the day) but I did stick to my list and got plenty done around the house. The suitcases and tree made it back into storage, the laundry was rebooted and the rooms were rescued. Beds were made, hotspots were put out and dinner was planned. All in all a good day.

I have to say, the best part of his working from home was the fact that we were able to eat lunch together, in peace and quiet. We were also able to take a nap (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) during his lunch break. If every Thursday is like this one, I think I will like him working from home!

All that worrying for nothing. Sheesh.

I'm not blogging today

I just thought I'd let y'all know...

You know, all five of you that read this blog (not true, I get about 20 hits a day, but only three or four people respond). I do not feel like coming up with anything witty or boring(per usual).

I have a head cold, a headache and a stuffed up nose. My throat is scratchy and I cannot get enough sleep the past two days. Today is my gym day and I ain't goin'. So there.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My Favorite Products

I know you are all hanging on the edge of your seats, waiting to find out what beauty products (or lack there of) that I am using. I will let you in my my best-kept secrets and divulge that information, but first you must pinky-swear that you won't tell ANYONE. OK? Good. Here it goes:

Deodorant: I use two different products. Since I am one of those whacky chicks that does not believe in using aluminum-based antiperspirants and deodorants, I chose to use all-natural deodorant products instead. My two favs are herbal clear Naturally! Clear Aloe Fresh Deodorant and Spray Mist Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal. They rock. And I am a smelly chick, not that you needed to know that. They keep me fresh all day! I find them at CVS, Target, Martindale's and Trader Joe's. I do not pay as much as they show online. I used to use Tom's of Maine, they are nice, too.

Shampoo/Conditioner: My favorite shampoo, believe it or not, is the Suave knock-off version of their salon line. They work just as well as the salon shampoos and cost about a tenth of the salon version. I used to pledge allegiance to the united states of nexxus until I tried the knock-off, shortly after marrying Darling and being put on a tight budget in order to go back to college. I haven't been back since. It has been ten years! You can find them at Target, Walmart, you name it. They retail for under $2 each. My favorite is the Suave Sleek line, due to my naturally frizzy hair (didn't know I straightened it, did ya? See? It works!). When my hair is really frizzy or dry I use two deep conditioners. One is Queen Helene Cholesteral. That stuff is AMAZING but you MUST follow directions and you MUST rinse it very cleanly. Do not put too much in, you will look like you put mayo in your hair. Trust me on this one. I haven't done that but my sister has! My other favorite is this. Now, it is environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, so don't look at me like that! All can be found at Target, CVS, etc, $5 or under.

Facial products: I LOVE Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask. It shrinks those nasty pores I have developed in my old age and is like a cocktail for your face, really. Sana alcohol. I've used it for years, tried others in the interim and came back to this because there is no substitute! For facial cleansing I use good ole cetaphil in the shower and at night use the Aveeno soy-based line, including the facial scrub, daily clarifying moisturizer and facial toner. They don't dry out too much and don't aggravate my rosacea too much. The miracle of all miracle is made by Aveeno's sister company, Neutrogena (Darling works for Johnson and Johnson, they make Aveeno and Neutrogena!). I use their Radiance Boost Eye Cream and their Healthy Defense stuff isn't too shabby either. Wonderful stuff, that eye cream. Helps with the puffiness and wrinkles. CVS, Target, etc, all $5 or under.

Makeup: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I thought you just said makeup! Oh, that was funny! Oh stop, you are making my sides hurt! HAHAHAHA!!

Other Skin Care: For all-over body cleansing, I love Johnson's Softwash. It is a brand-new line of adult products that are made as gentle as the baby lines. I used to use baby body wash because I have sensitive skin but didn't appreciate smelling like a baby. Now I can smell like an adult! WOOHOO! Just kidding. But they do work well, my skin isn't itchy and flaky when I get out of the shower. Their lotions work well, too. Currently we all use Aveeno Oatmeal lotion because of the eczema running rampant in my home. Try Target, usually $5-6.

Dental: I love Arm & Hammer toothpaste. I tried Tom's of Maine but it tastes so lousy! I am a tea-drinking addict, and I use demerara sugar, so good toothpaste is a must. I hate dental floss but found these great Dentek floss picks that totally rock! We also use good ole Listerine. My latest awesome find is Crest White Strips. They really work!

Shaving: Last but not least, the shaving methods. Remember this post? Well, lately I've changed my methods. I still use the Nair/Neet for underarm and bikini area because it produces less bumps. I have recently gone back to shaving my legs with the best razor on the planet. FOr a few years I used the Gillette Mach III, not unlike my friend Anjali. I used it for maybe ten years before children were born and I became super lazy and experimented with hair removal products (hence the hair removal post of 2006). Gillette recently launched a brand-new razor that is the cousin of the Mach III, the Fusion. I like it even better than the Mach III, although it is much more expensive. Trust me, I've tried it all, including the supposed "lady razors" and nothing comes close to this. As for Shaving Cream, I prefer Aveeno. Ahhhh...

Feminine supplies: I've ranted plenty of times about how much I hate tampons and pads. I'd rather wear a diaper. I may get that chance in about thirty years (my mother has had to for a while now, that's what happens when you have fifteen pregnancies and a botched hysterectomy that nicks your bladder and then you have to have it reconstructed), but in the meantime I will use Instead. I love them, took some getting used to, but now I cringe at the thought of using something else. I carrying them everywhere just in case. I don't ever want to have to use a vending machine (horrors!) or have to borrow one! 'Nuff said.

There you have it. Now, y'all better not go running out to Tarzhay and stealing it all off the shelves. That would really tick me off. And since I know where most of you live, and I am premenstrual, that would be a very bad idea indeed. mmmmkay?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lost in TV Land

I've mentioned before that I am addicted to weight loss and plastic surgery shows on the Discovery Channels and TLC. I have recently added a new obsession to that list.

Last evening I watched a show about a family with thirteen children. Now, six were from her first marriage and her second marriage had three sets of twins and a singleton. All thirteen lived under that roof at the same time (well, when the preemies came home from the hospital). I also make a point to watch the shows about the Duggers, the uber-religious family who just welcomed their sixteenth child to the clan in about eighteen years.

Most people I talk to are disgusted, shocked or confused as to why anyone in their right mind would have so many children. To me, it is the norm. I grew up in Irish-Catholic world, where having ten to twelve children was NOTHING compared to the K family that we knew very well. The K's had fifteen children by the end of her child birthing career and everyone in my teeny family of seven children had a K that was the same age. Sometimes two K's the same age. We went on vacations together (including camping at Fort Wilderness in Disney World! We took up two spots, they took up four!), went on Catholic Family retreats and even walked part of the way to school with some of them.

They have mostly all married at this point. Two have died (one at birth, the other was murdered) and a few more have had multiple medical issues. The youngest two are finishing college. The ones that are married (and one who isn't married) have all had children. One daughter has eight herself. The one that was my closest friend (and still is) has five. She lives in Saint Louis but when we talk it is like High School all over again.

I love watching shows about families because it warms my heart. I know it is reality tv, yadda, yadda, yadda. There is something about seeing other families go through what we've been through that brings back memories. I mean, our family was SMALL in comparison but we still had similar issues (whopping food bills, trips to Salvation Army and Goodwill for clothing, one thing for Christmas). It made me who I am today and I am proud of that. My parents struggled and wish they could have done better but I am here to tell you that I would not change a thing. Except that time when they made me share a car with J, he totalled it, let his friend drive my sister's car and he got in a fender bender, and then when my parents bought us a junker I refused to share it with him and took public trans for two years because I did not want him on my insurance policy. Nah, wouldn't change that either.

And, in case you are wondering, I WOULD have a very large family, if not for the whole placenta-abruptia-bleeding-to-death-thingy.

Monday, January 08, 2007

My kids are too smart sometimes

This morning Bug Boy asked for juice with his breakfast, and being the nice mommy I am, I obliged. I reached into the cabinet and pulled out...a pink cup. Here's how it went down:

BB: Moooooooom, that is a pink cup!

Me: I know, Bug Boy, it will taste the same as in every other cup.

BB: But Mooooooom!

Me: Bug Boy, we've talked about this before. There is no such thing as a "boy color" and a "girl color" in our house. I do not believe in that and neither does Daddy. Daddy has pink shirts for work. And mommy wears blue. Did you know...

BB: I know, I know, in Europe they were pink on boys.

Me: Yes, that is correct. My European friends tell me that pink is acceptable for boys there! That is how they dress their babies.

BB: Yeah, well, in PENNSYLVANIA we only put pink on girls.

This opens up a whole discussion. I have always tried to be gender neutral with the boys. Daddy cooks, mommy puts gas in the car (only when Daddy isn't with me or forgets to fill my tank, but still!) and we don't wear, "Boy and girl colors." I've never put baby blue on the boys (wretch, vomit) and if they were girls I'd try darn hard to avoid the pink, my sister was successful with the Princess until this year when she herself declared pink to be better than, gasp! Yellow! My boys have a doll house and dolls. They have pretend food and dishes. I am working a kitchen set, I've been begging my sister for it for months (she has a cool one that makes noises that she got from her SIL and Bugaboo loves it!). Bug Boy's favorite toy is a vacuum!

So where does this pink stuff come from? It is difficult to avoid. As little television as they watch I am SURE they have seen Dora or JoJo wearing pink or at least talking about it. On "boy shows" they have trucks and action. "Girl Shows" are all pink and frilly and GAG! YUCK!

Let's just say I am NOT a girly girl. I have never worn makeup (except to weddings or a very special event, and I scrub it off in about an hour). I do not wear jewelry, except for my wedding band. You have to bribe me to wear a skirt and even then it is only for church or a holiday. I think part of the problem is (besides the fact that the rest of the world is not in agreance with gender neutrality) is that in our house things appear very, well, Donna-Reed-esque. Very traditional, even though we set out to make it much different.

Now, while I agree with raising children to be neutral in some respects, I also believe strongly that there are some things that are best left to men and some things that are best left to women. I will not go into hairy detail, since it may offend some of my vast viewing audience. But I believe that BIOLOGICALLY there are some things that women are better at and some things men are better at. Take sports, for example. There are certain TYPES of sports that men excel at and there are some that women just do better. Period. And there are jobs that some women do better than men, and others that men just do better than women. No offense, it just is what it is. There are exceptions and I am not saying we should go around telling everyone, "Mj said that girls are better at ____ and boys are better at _____, so there!" My point is that each gender has qualities that make it stand out from the others. Get your mind out of the gutter, I didn't mean those!

Ding! Waffles are ready.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I was going to post something else and changed my mind

I was going to respond to a commenter's comment in the last post (hi, Lucym I'd do my nose) and elaborate on it, but instead I will use this post to discuss something that I found disturbing.

There are groups out there, groups that I have supported in the past, that are working towards research in the field of autism.

These groups are doing genetic research. Since both my boys, and several other family members, have autism, related disorders or autistic tendencies, I felt that I would need to do my part, have my boys participate and hopefully help other families.

This week I found out what they intend to do with that research.

You see, there is a movement toward research of genetic disorders and disabilities. In other words, people want to be able to get testing (possibly while pregnant) to see what their chances are of having a child with these certain disorders and disabilities. In other words, so they could possible decide to have or not to have that child if there is a positive results. In other words, terminate. (Now, don't e-mail me all mad and stuff. This is my opinion. I am not talking about extenuating circumstances here, just my own circumstances.)

Now, I have been Catholic my whole life. I am pro-choice, would never terminate a pregnancy (I mean NEVER) but I have never been one to tell others what they must do. I have always felt that it is between them and their God, and if they chose that, while I do not agree with their decision and can come up with a million reasons why they shouldn't, I have always felt that our government has no right to dictate what people should decide. While I should think most people have the intelligence to research this, the truth is that people often make a decision like that based out of fear or desperation. They listen to their boyfriends, spouses, parents, etc. Some women make that decision on their own.

My viewpoint comes from an ethical standpoint, not a Catholic one. I do not believe that anyone has the right to play God. I do not believe in capital punishment, Euthanasia or many types of medical intervention. There is only so far I believe that I (and my family) will go. I believe that there is a plan and a reason for what happens. Now, I am not saying that I won't try cancer treatment or I won't allow my child to have a life-saving operation. What I am saying is that I will not stay alive on life support if I am brain dead and do not want "heroic measures" taken after a certain amount of time. For more information, see my living will.

What I mean by that little soapbox ranting is that when you have a baby, you get what you get. You don't get to look at the blood tests and ultrasound and say, "Gee. I don't like that baby's nose. I don't like that club foot. I don't like that Autism." You deal with what you get in life. I do not believe that people should design their babies. I do not believe that people should approach it from the standpoint that they are buying an animal that must be genetically selected, like a dairy cow. By the way, as a former vegetarian, I do not believe that scientists should be genetically improving our food supply or designing animals, either. That is a different story for a different day.

OK, at the risk of alienating my entire reading audience, what I am trying to tell you is that we are totally screwing up the planet. So all five of you can run screaming from this blog NOW. But I have to tell you that the more we fark with everything the worse it gets. Don't forget that Nazi Germany was doing genetic testing as a means to select the "best" population. They killed anyone that was different from the Aryan ideal. That included disabled people, homosexuals, persons with mental disabilities and an entire race of people in the attempt to commit genocide. You know, history has a funny way of repeating itself. I feel very strongly that the more they mess with it the more we will one day regret it.

I have decided that we will not participate in the genetic research. While I am hopeful that some horrible diseases and conditions will someday receive cures, or at least, ways to treat them, I do NOT want a "cure" for what my children have. There is nothing wrong with them. They are fine. There is only something wrong with the way society perceives them. The danger now is that there are members of society who do not believe my children will ever become productive and so therefore it is acceptable to euthanize them. There are parents who kill their disabled children to, "put them out of their misery" or because, "their child was in so much pain and suffering." HOGWASH!!!!! We aren't talking about putting down a horse, here (why, by the way, I do not advocate, don't get me started). We are talking about human life. It is NOT ACCEPTABLE to kill your disabled child, nor is it acceptable to feel that they have the right to take their own lives because they are "better off."

I will get off my soapbox now. Sorry for the tangent. I promise to get back to my giddy, silly, happy and optimistic former self any minute now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My Dog Eats Greenbeans (And Other Fascinating Things You Wanted To Know About Us)

My dog begs for food (well, she sits and stares at me and camps out in front of the stove in case I drop something) so I typically banish her to the backyard after I feed her to keep her out of the way. Ian also likes to feed her from his plate, he likes it when she licks his fingers. Tonight (while packing lunches, another of her favorite activities) she stared at me so intensely I thought she would eat sand if I offered it to her. So I chucked a green bean. And another. And another. And she ate them all. Weird dog.

Bug Boy used to say black was his favorite color. And red was NOT his favorite. He will not eat red food, unless it is catsup. He once kicked a kid at school for wearing a red shirt because, "He was wearing a RED shirt mom. And red is NOT my favorite color. It makes me freak out." Guess what? Two months later he begged me to buy him red high-top Chuck T knock-offs from the-store-that-must-not-be-named-because-Darling-doesn't-like
-me-to-shop-there-because-they-steal-American-jobs. But how could I resist shopping there when they are FIVE DOLLARS?

Bugaboo likes toothbrushes. Hold on, let me rephrase that. Bugaboo cannot walk by a tooth brush without taking it and running away to hide while he chews and sucks on it. He ruins so many toothbrushes I once bought a case of them to put in the closet. We went through the whole case in six months. There are over one hundred in a case. That is four to six toothbrushes a week on average, for those of you that suck at math.

At risk of TMI, I need to tell you I will never use tampons of pads again. Instead I use these (pun intended). I cannot begin to tell you how much better they are to me, although they took getting used to. I am thinking of trying these, because, yup, I'm a diva. I have friends that use them. They sware by them. Swear, even.

I always thought I would have three kids, even as a kid. Had to have three. And I was going to adopt. Do you think that watching Diff'rent Strokes as a kid had anything to do with it? Except hopefully I will not give birth to or adopt Dana Plato.

My husband's parents have been married and divorced three times each. Darling and his sister are both married more than twice as long as any of his parents' marriages lasted, and we've only been married ten years. Hmmm....

I am one of seven children. My mother had a total of fifteen pregnancies. Seven of those ended in miscarriage, one was a stillbirth. The still birth happened just before me and my middle name is the name they chose for that baby. My mother could not talk about it for YEARS but she chose to tell me as an adult. No wonder things have been so difficult for her! But they kept trying, they were DETERMINED to have children. She had her last miscarriage three years after my youngest brother was born, when she thought she was going through menopause at forty-three. She had a hysterectomy shortly thereafter.

We always had tons of pets growing up (birds, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, gerbils, amphibians, etc). My favorite are dogs and birds. I had a bird and a dog, then the bird died from fright (fireworks). I still have the dog and I will ALWAYS have a dog, which I am sure will be news to my husband. I hate cats. Except dead ones. Just kidding (kinda).

I love music. I cannot live without it. I have to listen to it constantly and if I am not listening I am humming or singing. My life is set to music and I have songs in my head that represent certain times in my life. I listen to many different types of music, though currently this is my favorite station. I also own a piano, two guitars, two flutes, a piccolo, a recorder and a box full of percussion instruments that I let the kids play with.

Darling loves cars. He collects them like I collect instruments I can barely play. We only have three. He has owned SEVENTEEN cars since he started driving eighteen years ago. He actually owned seventeen cars in seventeen years but last year I put a moratorium on car buying for a year. He has made it eighteen months but currently has been drooling over what he calls a "pocket rocket" and it scares me. I had a bad dream a few years ago that he died in a car accident in a speedster. Silly? Maybe, but I do not want to be a widow at thirty-four so I have been trying to talk him out of it.

My sisters are my best friends. I am not just saying that because they read my blog (although it gets me points, right?). I can call them and discuss ANYTHING and tell them how I really feel and tell them exactly what is on my mind, even if they do not agree. They love me even though I am a big, dramatic, quirky spaz-case. That silence you heard was them tell me I was not a spaz.

Bugaboo has not had seizures in two weeks.

Bug Boy has not had a staring episode or headache in two weeks.

The meds are working right now. I hope they keep working.

I have not taken a shower today and have not decided if I feel like doing it yet. It is nearly nine at night. I hate taking showers, though I do it everyday (mostly). I do not like to be wet, It makes my skin crawl. I was on the swim team at our local swim club when I was in high school.

My favorite foods are potatoes, cheese, potatoes with cheese and cheese with potatoes. I am Irish (partly) and Pennsylvania German (about half). Go figure.

I am addicted to Discovery Health shows about plastic surgery and weight loss. I will never have plastic surgery so I do not know why I watch it. I also read obituaries. The best ones I have ever read are in Salt Lake City. I know, I know, morbid curiosity.

Aren't you glad you read this? I bet you feel enlightened.

Disturbing Proclamation

proc·la·ma·tion [prok-luh-mey-shuhn] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
1. something that is proclaimed; a public and official announcement.
2. the act of proclaiming.

Darling walked in the door rather early last evening. He often does not arrive at our door until well after 6, sometimes as late as seven. Before he was a manager (and now the associate director) he was in the door at five each day. He threw me off and I almost thought it was an intruder. Of course, he picked the WORST time to walk in, as I had five kids running in five directions, calling each other names and throwing things. It was complete bedlam.

I looked at him somewhat astonished at the early hour of his arrival. He noticed I was perplexed and said, "Remember when I said a few weeks ago that they were thinking of allowing us to work from home one day a week? Well, it starts tomorrow."

That crashing sound you heard was my jaw hitting the floor. Yes, complete shock. I thought I'd keel over right then and there.

I know it was obvious that I did not want to hear this revelation. He took it graciously and commented on the bags under my eyes and pitched in with the kids until they all went home and our were in bed. Darling then finished running the clothes through, helped me pack lunches and clean the kitchen. Then he shooed me off to bed (where I vegged for an hour watching tv).

You see, I am not sure how I feel about him working from home one day a week. I know I should be happy I'll get to see him just a bit more and that the kids will LOVE that he is home when they are. I also know that when he works from home he gets three times as much done as he does in the office (putting out fires). He also likes to stay in his jammies until lunch time and listen to music. He is so much more relaxed!

The problem is that I feel like he is intruding. We both do our own thing but I feel like he is breathing down my neck, watching what I do, commenting on how much TIME I have around here (while entertaining a five-year-old before kindergarten with diarrhea of the mouth). I mean, if I went to work with him and watching him walk around and commented on things and gave him suggestions on how to get his work done more efficiently, I wonder how he'd feel? In one respect I like him being home so he knows that the second I get the kids on buses, watch the little girl next door, put her on her bus, run errands, maybe hit the gym, return phone calls for doctor's appointments and finish filling out the endless pile of paperwork for special services and then start getting kids off of buses, making snacks, organizing play, working with the TSS with Bugaboo and then trying to start dinner before five that I am TOTALLY exhausted. He gets a clue about my day. But he comments on how nice it is that the time is all my own, that I am fortunate because the women he works with walk in to a filthy house that they do not have time to clean and they still have to entertain their kids, make dinner, etc.

The truth is that we chose this lifestyle for many reasons. We knew that I needed to stay home because I was not going to make much money the first few years out of college as a special educator. We knew that paying someone else to take care of our children did not make sense because we would not have much left over. We also both agreed that my staying home was important because we felt it was the best way to raise our children, that being home when the kids get off the bus was critical, especially since Darling was a latch-key kid from third grade on and his parents were NEVER home before dinner time. We also felt that my role was the mother and keeper of the home, the domestic goddess, if you will. I still do not think Darling feels comfortable with it, he is constantly trying to encourage me to work part time, make money, etc. The deal was that until both kids were in school full time I would be home. I want to be homeroom mom. I want to volunteer at school. I want to be there every morning and every afternoon. I want to be the mom that has a healthy snack waiting for them when they get home. I want to be the first to hear all about their day. Darling says he understands it and is very supportive of it. He even makes sure he compliments me on a job well done and is very reassuring. So then why do I feel that I have to be Suzy Homemaker in order to justify that I should stay home? Is there something too old fashioned about the idea that i do not NEED to work, that our family gets by fine and that we have adjusted our lifestyle and budgeted so that I can stay home? Or is it societal pressure that makes me feel guilty for not working and providing the kids with sports, lessons, therapies and such that we just cannot afford at this point?

Hmmmm...Much to think about. But in the meantime, I stay home and enjoy my role. And I nuke me cup of tea three times before the kids are on the bus. And I jump in the shower before the little girl arrives in the morning. And I look around my home and feel that I am doing the right thing.

Update: After Darling dragged himself out of bed at seven thirty for breakfast, talked to the kids and then attempted to log on to his work computer, it was discovered that he had a major system failure on his laptop and had to go to work. Shucks. Until next Thursday...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Year in Review

I am not much for Meme's, but I couldn't resist taking a look back and seeing what I've been talking about the past year! So here it is, without further ado:

No posts in January, February, since I kinda just started in March (although I attempted it three times in 2005!)

Where the Heck Have I been?
Ok. This is probably teh worst blog. EVAR.

Deep Thoughts With Jack Handy
I used to love the SNL segment featuring "Deep thoughts with Jack Handey." I thought it was a scream.

Typical Monday
I have a few minutes to collect myself before the onslaught of activity begins.

My Thirteen Favorite Things that Grow!
  1. that smell in the spring
Long Time, No Blog!
We decided to take a short holiday at the family's cabin in the middle-of-nowhere-Pennsylvania. It was divine.

Bug Boy is At it Again!
Bug Boy has always been a bit precocious.

Beautiful Morning at the Playground
We managed to get in a great playdate this morning, and I met two more moms of kids with spectrum disorders.

Little Man
The other night I caught a tear-jerker-of-a-documentary about filmmaker Nicole Conn and her partner, Political Activist Gwen Baba.

Wordless Wednesday
My bowlegged cowboy (homemade for Halloween!).

Pure Exhaustion:
What I should be doing right now:

That was fun, wasn't it?

It seems like I've been doing this blog thing forever, yet it has only been about nine months. I think that this "Year in Review" forced me to look back at what has transpired in the past few months and I now realized that it is NO WONDER that I am exhausted and ready for 2007! So much has happened to us. 2006 was crazy busy, my friends.

I'd like to thank you for reading this and for coming on this journey with me. I enjoy putting my thoughts out because writing this blog helps to keep my head EMPTY. The days that I do not reflect on my life I find I have difficulty drifting off to sleep due to having thoughts roaming aimlessly about my head. Believe it or not, writing this blog has been therapeutic for me, in a strange and distorted way. It has enabled me to continue on my journey for self-discovery.

I am not one for New Year Resolutions, per se, but I do like to look at where I've been and see where I need to go. I prefer goals. My goals remain much the same: To be a better wife and mother, to take care of myself, physically and spiritually (and mentally, let's not forget I need tons of work in that area!) and to learn everything I can. I have this unquenchable thirst for knowledge. I like to read everything I can get my hands on. It is one of the few times I can be perfectly still, lost in a book. As far as new goals, I'd like to continue to get my body in the best physical shape to to continue to eat better, but I would like to try some new foods and new methods of exercise. I am thinking of taking a class at the Y to broaden my horizons (and to force me to be accountable!). I will also sign the boys up for Swim Lessons. As for Darling, my goal for him is to be a better listener for him and to let go of the small stuff. Every year I get better at the nitpicking and (as my older sister counseled me the day of my wedding) picking battles. It isn't important that he doesn't rinse the sink after shaving. It is important that he comes home each evening to a decent dinner, a warm hug, time with the kids and a supportive wife.

That's it in a nutshell. Still the same ole me, but with added ingredients. Kinda Like New Coke, but it tastes much better and I don't have to go back to the old formula when no one buys it because I really am Coke Classic with some extra cola syrup thrown in. How's that for an analogy? And I don't drink Cola!

Happy New Year! Haouli Maka Hiki Hou!