Saturday, November 29, 2008

Good Times

Thanksgiving this year was a treat. My brother hosted, so our drive was a whopping seven minutes (14 roundtrip)--and of course we were the last ones there, because DH needed to work (and was angry with me because his brother and mom are coming today and I found something else to do besides cleaning yesterday).

I bit my tongue. After all, he has to work whenever my family (as rare as that is) comes over and leaves all the cooking AND cleaning to me. Forgive me for wanting to share the love.

Back to Thursday. The boys did fine until dessert, and I had gotten a little too comfortable, or else I would have been guarding the dessert table. (Is there an apt war metaphor for this situation? Thinking not) So Nic, fortified with brownies and pie (really, sugar and this kid are not friends) began to make a complete nuisance of himself.

Which is a shame because those last impressions are the ones people remember--not the good behavior that preceded it.


Outside of the last 45 minutes it was a good time.

I always get strung up here because logic dictates you leave when the kids get like this. But Nic's goal was to get us to leave, so you don't want to reward that behavior, either. But people don't often get that.

So I took some me time and had my aquatics class--ahhhhh. And Andy let me have it when I got back.

So BIL and wife and dog PLUS MIL will be here this pm. MIL will stay here until Thursday. Thankfully, we'll be going to camp next weekend, so that will be a forced ending to her stay (else she might linger another week, or two, until she decides she needs to go back to her apartment).

I might be a little more patient if she weren't JUST HERE a few weeks ago....for almost two weeks...

I just gave the boys the speech that Nonna is coming and we will do things a little differently while she's here. They are both old enough to get that there's a lot of tension when she's here, and they love me enough to work with me. And they know that working with me allows Nonna to be here (they love her, too) so they do well.

No empathy, my eye.

I think what I resent the most about these incursions is that her presence forces us to do a lot of things differently. I find it's easier to re-route our lives than to try to explain to her why we do what we do.

But I resent having to. And I know regardless that she is going to run back to BIL, wife, niece with all these stories about what a horrible homemaker I am.

I hate the whole business. I really do.

And now for my moment of Zen:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful for when things go well

Nic had a great time with B on his bowling adventure yesterday, but told me 'he missed me so much and am so glad to be back in my little home."

Methinks Nic is conflicted. He had a good time without me and he feels guilty that he had a good time without me. I am working on getting him to think it's okay to have fun in my absence. But I was the same way with my mom and can indeed hear her voice echoed in mine as I say "Go! Have a great time!" And mean it.

While he was bowling, in another part of the forest, I took my little G off to Build-a-Bear. His matter-of-fact demeanor in choosing his bear, accoutrements, stuffing, and naming (He wanted "Build-A-Bear" on the bear's 'birth' certificate but we settled on Tecumseh) belied his real feelings, because once we were out of the store, he was talking to his bear, cuddling up with him, and carrying him everywhere.

He was annoyed when he made the Bear stop at home instead of going to school this am.

G cuddled up with Tecumseh at bed time last night and slept very well. And he stayed in his own bed, for the first time in months.

I'm liking the bear. Almost as much as G does.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time to Breathe

Well, I finally finished the article trifecta and already have a fresh plate of projects waiting for me. I'm going to do some preliminary groundwork, but the rest of this week will be spent getting my family back, as I have been glued to my laptop for the better part of two weeks.

Having said that, I will happily add that I am grateful for it. Grateful that I can do what I do on the fly, that it pays my bills, that I am happy doing it, that the people I work for are happy with what I do (happy enough to keep me employed and don't you know the blessing THAT is in this economy).

I'm grateful for my good friends (you know who you are).

I'm grateful for my patient and supportive boys, who leave me alone along enough for me to get done what I need to get done. (now all I have to do is clean the house in preparation for another MIL incursion)

The boys are great, G is happy that he's with his friends at preschool all week and Nic is happy that he is going on a bowling adventure with B this pm. I'll bring G to spend his Build-a-Bear certificate at the mall and get some one-on-one time with him.

Nic' s teacher conference is this am. He brought home a report card that made me proud--not wholly unexpected, but satisfying nonetheless. He's in with his peers, he is keeping up, and he is succeeding.

Now if I could make sure he didn't do his 'twirly walk' at school, we'd be in REALLY good shape....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meeting Brian Wilson and We're Go for Township B-Ball

So I got to see Brian Wilson at the Keswick last night--AND I got to meet him. This is my fourth BW concert and IMO the best one yet. He dedicated his second set to playing That Lucky Old Sun in its entirety, and all I can say is wow.

This is really not the venue for BW, but I did meet him, and partly got to tell him what SMiLE meant to me, but the woman I had asked to take the picture started freaking out that she didn't know how to use my camera. SO I spent my Brian meet and greet time talking her off her ledge and then lamely apologizing to Brian and thanking him for his patience.

I'll upload the pic later.

But the meet up with the other fans beforehand was nice. I made and met a couple new friends, and my only regret was that Andy couldn't join me--he would have liked it.

Nic's b'ball coach just called and practices start next week. He has three friends on his team, which is good. I think this might be a good experience-I'm hopeful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

That had to hurt

So I get G's eval back from Kennedy-Kreiger. Footnotes version: he is in their autism sibling study, and this is his five year eval. The paperwork came back and: What a kick in the teeth. His IQ scores are low average (84) His fluid reasoning skills show borderline delay. His adaptive behavior composite was worse--communication domain puts him in the 8th percentile; daily living skills 5%, socialization, 8%; motor skills 1% (1%??? holy sh*t); adaptive behavior 3%

I know what I know about G, but ugh, this hurts. sad.gif

Minor consolation, I missed his vocabulary and reading mastery sections. Full disclosure--he is not reading yet, but he's trying very hard to get the hang of it--I suspect dyslexia, actually--anyway, his picture vocabulary is at the 7 year 6 month level--oral vocabulary, grammatic understanding and sentence imitation are at 4 year 9 month levels. Relational vocabulary is under 3. Grammatic completion is at 3.

He's actually at K readiness for letter ID, word ID and word attack skills.

So it's not all horrible, but the IQ and daily living scores are depressing.

I have to finish up--have to get a draft out of here of my article because I have to leave here no later than 4:30 am for Pittsburgh...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Myriad of Goings On

Well, things roll on. Was officially kicked to the curb yesterday. Finished two BI assignments, now I need to do a draft of my Life Sciences article, then off to Pittsburgh for another training.

Feeling a bit dicombobulated. G had a rough night last night. I was in meetings most of today. Tomorrow, I'll be a cleaning, writing and organizing maniac, then out the door 4 am Friday for my flight....back at 10 pm. Or later.

Want to write a little about G's first day. I spent alot of that day with him in my lap, propped up against my knees. He looked at me with the sweetest little face (not much changed really from that first day, except now he is so much lighter). With his thick black hair, ruddy skin and cobalt eyes, he was my little (not so little, really, 22 11/2 inches and 10.1 lbs at birth) Tecumseh.

I remember thinking I didn't know him like I knew Nic. Nic was my 24 hour occupation for 9 months plus 3 years and eight months. So preoccuppied was I with son 1 that I felt like I needed to get up to speed with son 2.

I loved that little guy. I remember reading the nurse's logs (he spent most of his time with me, but because of some complications at birth, more doing with his size than anything) they wanted to observe him. Uniformly, every one agreed he was beautiful. And quiet. And alert.

And five years later, he is still these things. And much more.

Monday, November 17, 2008


It started in the wee hours of the morning today. I woke up around 2:30 am when G decided to wander in like a little ghost and clamber into bed with me. For some reason I was knocked sideways in time and found myself in Robert Wood Johnson Hospital early one morning while the night nurse bought Nic in.

I couldn't bear to be apart from Nic when he was first born--when I spoke as I reached from him for the first time, the expression on his face as he opened his eyes and LOOKED at me with that unmistakable expression of recognition--that "Oh, it's YOU!" And knowing pretty much from that moment on that there was something exceptional about him, that would require all the stewardship capability in my arsenal to protect him...

But I'm getting away from that night in the hospital room. I reluctantly let Nic go because I was so sleep deprived and exhausted, and I passed out into a dreamless sleep. I stirred, thinking I should call the nurse to get Nic, but here was the nurse, wheeling Nic in, handing him to me while he rooted and called for me, his mouth a smudge in the near darkness.

I keep coming to that moment, like a tape loop, Nic in the air, perfectly swaddled, mouth open, coming into my arms, knowing that my life is forever changed, and moved to tears, without really knowing why.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two Chores the Kids Like

We bought a new washer and dryer in August--our dryer died and the washer limped behind it. So, we (not wanting to make this purchase again any time soon) picked the front open model washer and the dryer to go with. The boys are like a pair of cats (my lion and kitten) sitting in front of the washer and watching it go.

I try to run it when they aren't around.

But Nic likes to load and empty both the washer and dryer, and he's gotten good at both. I'm learning to let him help when he insists on it. And it's good he's starting to insist.

The other thing is raking leaves--he actually came out and grabbed a broom out of my hands and started pushing them to the curb on Sunday. As soon as he got off the bus yesterday, he grabbed a rake and went to work.

Kind of cool.

Gabe and he got into a leaf fight, and they tried to engage the neighbor kids. Who were promptly ushered inside by mom, but who cares, their loss. It was really pretty cool to watch them running around together, laughing, having a good time.

The next two weeks are going to be crazy busy. Need to get to work.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random Thoughts While I Bird-dog My Third Grader into Finishing Homework

Yay, he's almost done, and it's only taken an hour and change today. Ordinarily it can take anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes (most of those 120 minutes are spent whining that he can't do it and it's too hard--then he finishes in 10. But anyway.)

Still working through something that happened quite a while ago. Suffice it to say that what goes around, comes around. But I have to make my peace with the fact that I may never see it.

And that the damage done me that last go-round gives evil people the last laugh.

Is it coincidence my little one just climbed into my lap?

There are things he can't fix, but he tries his best to heal.

And she who resembles a witch has created a different sort of hell for herself. Ugliness goes to the bone.

Just desserts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Mom Stands In

So we got back from the Franklin Institute about an hour and half ago. For the record, it’s 11:15 Sunday morning.

Nic just started cub scouts in September, with a pack that is accepting of special needs kids. I’d say about half the kids in the pack have something going on, and the other half don’t. This weekend, our pack, and maybe a dozen others from the looks of it, camped out at the Franklin Institute.

I told dad that Scouts was his activity—he wanted Nic in the scouts, so I told him he needed to take Nic to the meetings and do whatever needed to get done to make Nic’s scouting experience successful.

So dad had pneumonia this week. Mom ended up chaperoning. When I saw that I was the only mom in testosterone central, I was not happy.

Neither were the guys, but that’s another post.

So after I got over my initial disgruntlement, and the fact that Nic had NO interest in running with his pack, I decided to sit back and let him lead. And guess what—we had fun.

Without the constraints of crowds, he was free to explore all the exhibits in his own time without waiting, without fighting for a turn. He particularly liked the amazing machines, which we missed when we went with his class last May—he spent a good hour running a crane, working a hydraulic maze, and building his own gears.

We also had a number of firsts—he liked the Liquid Air Show, which demonstrated the differences in solids, liquids and gases in a very real, immediate and fun way. Not too long ago, he would have elected to skip such an activity. And the IMAX? He did it—and loved it. Again, dad had to leave an IMAX after the first couple of minutes with Nic about 3 years ago. Nic sat through the whole thing and enjoyed it—despite the lateness of the hour.

(My big quibble with this Camp is the hours it keeps—lights out didn’t happen til 12:30 am. I am usually out by 9:30. PM.)

This morning, after years of sitting out of his school’s planetarium assemblies at our middle school, he elected to come into the planetarium because I wanted to do it. And he loved it.

From a social standpoint (if you are using that yardstick), it was less successful. Nic wanted to do what Nic wanted to do and was less interested in sharing this with his peers than experiencing things for himself. It wasn’t a disaster, but he simply didn’t care.

And I think this is where I need the wisdom to get that this is okay. That this is a conscious choice that Nic is making—to be alone, or at least be alone with me or dad. That’s always been okay for him. On one hand, I want to push him to socialize—but on the other, he does just FINE at school, thanks very much.

Interestingly, he does not want to hang out with the other identified kids in the pack—I guess he feels like he gets enough time with them during the week. There’s one (unidentified) kid who dad said has been a jerk to Nic and that we should have tried to avoid. I answered that no one else seemed to want to hang with that kid and that he probably has issues himself.

But labels or not, don’t we all have issues?

I’m sitting here writing after an outing that could have gone either way. And I’m not saying it was an unmitigated success—after all, we had a number of times this am when he screamed “I WANT TO PUSH MY OWN BUTTONS!” and forced us to wait for the next elevator. And people averted their eyes, went around us, and left me feeling embarrassed to be with this kid, then ashamed of my own embarrassment. Yeah, we had about a dozen of those moments. But those moments become insignificant when measured against these very simple things he did—going to the demonstration, sitting and experiencing IMAX, and—wonder of wonders—doing the show in the planetarium.

I have made my peace with the things my son is not. But everything he is? It’s simply amazing.

I had a lot of misgivings about this outing—not the least of which was the price tag. But I drove out of that dark parking garage in the bright sunlight of a Sunday morning thinking that this experience—for so many reasons—is priceless.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Stephen Colbert is Hot and Other Thoughts

I love Stephen Colbert. He's tall, dark, handsome, and funny as hell.

I started the new gig today. It's good. I'm in a good space.

Just realizing some things. One of the hardest things about living with Asperger's is that I hold everyone to my standard of honesty--and am always amazed when I am not treated in kind. It's even a bigger shock when I'm played for the bad guy when I'm the person who was wronged.

Amazingly, I am not bitter. I could be, but I'm not. These things are learning experiences, and I find that the stuff that costs me the most is the stuff that teaches me best.

So, in writing this, I turn the page to the next chapter of my career. I am amazed at where I'm going now, and how quickly things have moved along. Part of it was luck, part of it was positioning, and part of it was letting go and letting God.

I'm feeling good. And even better, the other piece, my writing, is flying along as my blog gets more readership, and as the paying gigs are stacking up.

It's all good. I'm a lucky woman.