Monthly Archives: June 2015

Friday Night

I managed to pick the kids up early from daycare. They got on the computer and did their video game thing and discussed it at length with each other. Our sweet neighbor made funnel cakes (I know, you are SO JEALOUS) and brought them over to share, right as we were finishing snack. Triple snack makes for a very easy dinner, and late. It was a great excuse to go outside. You cannot eat funnel cakes over a table, you know. They won’t taste right.

We played Kick the Can five times, one game of Kickball, and went for a bike ride around the block. There was some time on the swings, in the sandbox, that light dinner I had mentioned, you know how it goes.

I get them inside, covered with sweat, powdered sugar, and sand-all melted together. I wash them and get them ready for bed.

Middle child asks me, after I tell him to park himself in bed “What day is tomorrow?”

I tell him Saturday. He falls on the floor and begins whining about how daycare is five days a week and weekends are only two days a week and how weekends ought to be five days, as it is only fair. There was a lot more whining about numbers five and two, but I couldn’t catch it all. Whining makes my ears shut down.

So I ask him, “Why don’t you whine like this on Sunday night, when you have daycare the next day? Instead of tonight- when we have a day at home tomorrow?”

He stops whining and looks up at me. He asks me “Isn’t Saturday a daycare day?” I tell him no. He laughs a little, and tells me he thought he had to go to daycare tomorrow. I tell him when he starts whining on Sunday night I am going to tell him I heard it already on Friday, so he can’t even start. He laughs all the way to bed.


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What We Did On Father’s Day

For Father’s Day I let my children know, repeatedly, that they are free to ask me any questions they want to about their father and I will give an honest answer- any day of the year.

My oldest took me up on it, on Saturday. He asked why his father got sick, and I told him he had some illnesses that he would not see the doctor about. He asked, for the first time, what the names of the illnesses were and I told him. PTSD, addiction, and what looked to be symptoms of schizophrenia, paranoid delusions. I did not go into details on what his father was addicted to (I am sure I do not know all of it, myself), but I did tell him that because these illnesses can run in families he would have to take very good care of himself throughout his life.

I reminded him of the family history on his father’s side, how much good his father and his father’s family has done in this world. For the first time I told him all the hopes and goals his father had regarding his children, and how I knew his father had become completely insane when he threw away every single one of his previous values and dreams. I told him he was very much wanted by his father, that his father was so proud to have a son like him, before he got ill. I reminded him of the good deeds his father had done, both in my company and away. I told him about the important jobs his father had held, how much he helped people in his positions. I explained how important human rights and human equality had been to his father before illness. I did not say anything bad about his father, and I did not bring any relationship issues into the conversation.

I was being honest. This is how his father was perceived when I met him and in the early years of our relationship. I was surprised that middle child had no questions. Maybe he will ask another day, or maybe he is too young.

We tried to go and get danishes for Father’s Day, which is what we did the first Father’s Day on our own, but youngest child threw a fit in the store because she could not just rip into a muffin before checkout, and we had to leave. I do not allow my children to eat on the hoof before paying. The older kids were disappointed, but I would say very understanding about it. Props to the boys.

A request has been made for a layered creme cake tomorrow, and I am going to oblige.

I did wish a Happy Father’s Day to my mother and my father. I did wish Happy Father’s Day to the moms I know who are doing it by themselves. If I knew any dads doing it alone I would wish them a Happy Mother’s Day, too. So please don’t swoop down on me and tell me I am denying Father’s Day to fathers by wishing it to the mothers, instead. Equal opportunity single parenthood, here.


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I have poor boundaries.

I pick up other people’s children when they fall down. I push them on the swings if they ask me. I answer their questions and help them get their toys out of trees and fix their bicycles.

Children in my house are welcome to eat whenever they are hungry. I have house rules, of course, and guidelines about what food at what times, but I will feed them. I do remember to ask their mother, but it is an afterthought. Children who have mothers familiar with me no longer have to ask. Their mothers know I am not going to load their kids up with candy.

In the evenings I take watermelon slices outside and any child with permission from their mother can have some. I do the same with homemade juice pops, store bought freezies, and homemade cookies.

I let children come into my house to play, even if not with my own children. I have a lot of open space for play, a lot of furniture appropriate for child play, as I need to encourage my son with his OT at home.

If a child is in my house, his or her mother can walk right in. It seems ridiculous to require a mother to knock when retrieving her child. I have nothing to keep her waiting for, nothing to hide.

I turn children away at the door only when a member of my household is sick. Today is one of those days. It is very quiet in here. I can hardly think, with only three children present.


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Summer Flu

My oldest child has the summer flu. He also has so many mosquito bites that he looks poxed. Depending on the thermometer tomorrow, we may have to keep him home tomorrow and then cancel his equine therapy on Tuesday.

I saw cotton floating on the breeze and thought it was a tree allergy for the first few days of nose blowing, but tonight he had poor appetite and spiked a fever. Poor kid.

When he is stuffed up, too much mucus or too much saliva, he will drool it out of his mouth and let it fall on his torso. I want him to spit, to use a handkerchief, a tissue, something. I have tried to teach him diligence about it for years. It makes me feel so sad to see him do that. It is not well received in this culture, and maybe not in any. It marks his difference out very clearly.

I keep handkerchiefs on him at all times. His teacher kept a box of tissue on his desk. The only desk in class so adorned.


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Couple Jerkface, meet Autistic Child’s Mom

Couple Jerkface, meet Autistic Child’s Mom.

The more we take our kids out, the less this will happen. Shared from The Monster In Your Closet.

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Reply to The Monster In Your Closett

This is my reply to Deborah Bryan, of The Monster In Your Closet. Sorry, not good with the technical details of embedding links (hope it works)… She asked ¨Have you witnessed unkindness toward someone struggling? Have you witnessed empathy? How did you respond? How do you wish you had responded?¨:

I once was waiting in a very long line in the winter to get a new social security card. The line stretched outside and snaked around corners, and it was slow.

The cold was bothering me a bit, I have a high tolerance and I was glad it was not worse.
Far behind me in line, a woman was fussing over a baby in a stroller who had thrown up on herself. Not a spit up, rather a definitely sick baby. This made her innerwear and outerwear wet. It was too cold for her to wait an hour and a half in the winter outside.
I was standing with a friend of hers, chatting. She came up and asked what to do. I told her, through my friend, to go to the front of the line and explain she needed to get the baby inside and change her outfit. I watched her, standing there at the door, for a long time, patiently waiting for the people to move aside and let her in.
I couldn’t stand it. My new friend held my place and I went up and asked everyone there if they all spoke English. They did. I then asked, in my nicest Southern accent, if ¨y’all can let a sick baby in the door to get some clean clothes so she don’t get worse out here in this cold? I know y’all are nice people and can just move aside and let her get the baby in. Just one person, for the baby line. Please let’s help this baby.¨ and they moved.
So after an hour I get in the building. I go to sit with the mother and her baby and my new chatty friend.
An older ¨gentleman¨, well dressed, came up to me and explained to me that by letting the mother and baby into the building ahead of other people, we were robbing the rest of the line of their turn, and that the mother had this all planned out. That ¨her people¨ were always doing sneaky things like this, lying to us about things to get ahead. The man TOUCHED MY ARM in a bid to get me to empathize with him.
I just lost it.
I told him he cannot accuse a woman of lying about a sick baby when I am breathing in the smell of baby vomit. I said if he has a problem with helping babies, he needs to take it to the security guard. I told him I never forced him to do any good deed. If he has regrets, he can make a complaint about me and sick babies to whomever he wishes to.
He was taken aback. He assumed I had not understood him, that because I can speak in unaccented English and have a hue similar to his that I must be of his mind. He tried to explain to me, again, about the ¨sneaky¨ things ¨those people¨ do.
I got really loud.
I told him he can make a complaint over there, and pointed at the security guard. I thanked him for reminding us all that humanity is varied in it’s capacity for empathy and we all understand that he is a suspicious person. Thank you for letting us know. I waved him away, like a bug. He and his wife sat, huddled and trying to cover their jewelry for the rest of their wait (the social security office is in the ¨scary¨ city, and wealthy people here live in the safe suburbs). Incidentally the wait was, as they had no baby, shorter than the wait of the mother I helped get into the building ahead of them.
My poor new friends (many more nice ladies had joined us) were worried something was wrong after witnessing this exchange, and the young mother had the bag of soiled clothing out in case she had to prove the baby’s illness. They asked me what was wrong, and I told them in a neutral language that this older man had some sort of problem and it was an embarrassment to him, because he is probably from some hostile neighborhood and does not know better. Those nice ladies actually prayed for him and his family and wished him well. No lie. They knew, I am sure, and still they wished him the best. I did not.

I would have said far more to that man, but just before I made to do so, I looked at my new friends and saw their faces creased with worry. That is when I waved him away.
My state has horrible segregation in terms of race and economics.
A half hour later the man at the social security desk was complaining to me about how long the baby line takes, because foreign born people give their babies so many long names. I just nodded politely at the man giving me my social security card, with my new Scandinavian name on it, changed from my previous German name. All common names among the local English speaking population.
When he was done I stood up and waved at my new friends and yelled out a few farewell sentences in their language and then kissed them on both cheeks to show respect before I walked out. Because he probably needed a reminder that professionalism is appreciated and assumptions trip you up every time. I won’t hope he learned something about empathy. You need the capacity for it, see, or it never takes.
My own government invited my new friends here, as they were registered UNHCR refugees- in bonafide need. I think they have had it hard enough. I am sick to death of the bad attitude towards each new wave of immigrants, and racist rich old men can kiss my ass.


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Last Day Of School

My son has been quoting Fred (Fred 3: Camp Fred) all week regarding the last day of school. ¨The last day of school is the best day of school.¨

But tonight when I went to turn off his light for bed I found him bawling under the covers, waiting for me to comfort him. He never cries like that unless he has lost computer privileges for a week or more.

He has had the same Special Education teacher for two years. He would have had one more year with her, had I not switched him to a new school that has the best reputation in our area for autistic children. Now, instead of looking forward to seeing her in the fall, he is going to be with people he does not know, in a room he is not familiar with, and he will not be called on to fix all the electronics anymore. They will not have all the same electronics, even.

We have an agreement, that if he does not like his new school after six weeks that I will switch him back. I am going to stick to that.

Why didn’t I give him one more year with her? Because his new school will allow him to attend into middle school, and perhaps by the time he gets to middle school age they will have expanded to all those grades, too. He can go to the same school, with the same people, for years. Smaller classes, focused on the arts and sciences, and insisting on mastery. I don’t think they will be content to pass him along, as so many special education students are.

I really hope he likes it. As much as we both love his special education teacher, and as good as she is for him, I have to try what has worked for so many others. I want to start planning for those years that are often so painful for autistic children. I don’t want all he has learned to be lost in the teen years, due to bullying or being passed. I want his spirit to continue to grow. I don’t want him to cry in the mornings before school, begging me to let him stay home. I want him to be happy.

Nothing makes you second guess your decisions for your children like their tears.

He is learning healthy emotional expression, and having an appropriate and ¨normal¨ reaction. It is a relief to see this sort of emotional intelligence in him. I just wish he did not hurt so much.


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Equine Therapy

My autistic child took to equine therapy literally like he had grown up in a barn. He was walking the horse through the obstacle course alone within an hour.

My middle child was terrified. He had to lay on the horse backward, while a trainer held his arms. The trainers asked me twice if I was sure he was not autistic.

Totally worth it. I think this will be good. This is the second time my oldest has found something he is naturally better at than his little brother.

The other is making Lego creations from blueprints.


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