xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Work sucks and then you die

This is so awesome

You should hear my house right now

It's total crazyness going on right now. Here's what I'm hearing:

1. There's something in the dryer klonking around; it's small enough that I couldn't find it when I went in to look so probably a lighter;

2. There's a cat locked in the garage screaming his head off and another one in the kitchen, surprisingly also screaming his head off;


4. Behind me, in the same room, is a video of a BART train going WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO again and again and again, accompanied by a child mimicking the noise and going WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO again and again and again.

Calgon? You're powerless against this shit, so don't even bother.

So, we meet again, fire drills; my old nemesis

Child 1 doesn't like fire drills, for obvious reasons (loud, change in schedule, chaotic, etc.) but at the end of last year they became kind of an obsession for him. Every day was a constant barrage of "will there be a fire drill tomorrow?" "will there be a fire drill today?" "I don't want to go to school in case there's a fire drill" "I can't go to school because there might be a fire drill." etc. etc. etc. ETC!!! It was a nightmare after a while. Then summer happened and the obsession faded, although interestingly, at summer camp, there was an actual FIRE, which caused the alarm to go off, and they all had to evacuate like you practice in the drill. That caused a little bit of anxiety, but that faded. Then, when school started again, I was all prepared for the endless barrage of questions again, but he only asked once or twice and then it went away. I've been very happy about that.

Well, I have now received 2 emails, one from his teacher, one from the school's principal, that there will be a fire drill this Friday at 11:30. Here we go again! ?

Now, I know your mind is formulating all these very helpful suggestions right now on ways to make things better for him, but really, please don't bother. If you can think of it right now, we've tried it and it didn't work. No, I'm serious, I don't need any suggestions here, so stifle that urge. You see, he's not actually worried about the dill itself, during the actual drill he's completely fine and calm, it's just that the fire drill has come to embody his anxieties about whatever he's anxious about in general, and he's still not really able to tell me about his anxieties, so it comes out in the form of anxiety about the fire drill. Therefore, preparing him for the drill itself is meaningless, since that's not actually what he's worried about. Get it? No? Good. Seriously. Zip it.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Suspicions confirmed!!

Child 1 told me earlier that he'd rather do homework with Daddy because Daddy is better at it than I am.


So. Um. Just so we're clear, though... I now get a free pass, right?

Blog hop what, now?

I'm new to this blogging thing. I'm also new to this blog hopping thing, but that isn't stopping me from joining all these hoppy things I keep running across, especially ones from moms who have blogs that say "fuck" in them. I like those. Heh heh heh. Yeah.

So, I have no idea if I'm doing this right, or what, or if I'm not, what I'm supposed to be doing differently. I assume that since this is the internet somebody will tell me if I'm doing something wrong, so... here's my first blog hop thingy. Yay!?


Yep, I'm doin' it wrong. I'm also supposed to link back to where I started from, and there are also rules which I should post, and apparently some questions I should answer. I'll do the first 2 and then get to the questions after I run out and grab kids from various places around town.

Brought to you by...

we truly are AWESOME fukin ladies and if you are NOT following us... you're a moron, and you should be...
so with that said... pull out the naughtiness... follow the damn rules and link up ladies!!!
AND send in your naughty question suggestions (look i'm like Dr Seuss..) to 'life as i see it' and maybe we'll use them next week!!!

Link up below!!!

This weeks questions:

1. When did you first realize you had a naughty streak?
2. Have you ever stolen anything? What? why?
3. Have you ever cheated at anything?
4. Your most used position for sex?
5. One place or thing that's in your fantasies but rarely or never in your sex life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IEP Team Win

I had a mini IEP today. I say "mini" because it was just to talk about sensory issues and nothing else. But the best part of this meeting? I didn't call it! I got an email 2 weeks ago from the new Inclusion Support teacher saying she wanted to make sure we address the sensory goals in the IEP. I didn't even know who I was meeting with and I show up and there's the new IS teacher, as well as the new speech teacher AND the district's SPED rep. And they all know what they're talking about, they all know about Brain Gym and what "vestibular" means. They have ideas and they have tactics and they have plans and they're all totally organized and they've all met with The Boy and seem to understand what he needs... and, of course, they all love him and think he's awesome and adorable, which is perfectly natural because he is awesome and adorable. And SMART! We're all amazed at how smart he is and how well he learns. Even without the extra tutoring he used to get he's still plugging along with the rest of his class. His teacher is also awesome.

Therefore, I officially declare: I am no longer concerned about 3rd grade.

I love everything this man has ever said

I was tweeting from an airplane today. Tweeting. From. A. Fucking. Airplane. So, I thought I'd repost this....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes 13

Child 2 and I just had a 1/2 hour long argument about teeth brushing. During that time he was alternating between laughing hysterically, jumping around the bathroom, spraying water on the mirror, crying hysterically and gagging himself with the toothbrush. In the end, he lost the privilege of doing any of the fun things he was going to be able to do after he was done. I don't know what the deal was, he just felt like arguing with me tonight.

At one point, though, he's having a little hissy fit and throwing himself across the hamper, then he gets up, looks at me and says "Okay, where were we?"

How about a riddle?

What do you call a cat with a broken leg who is stuck in a garage with no windows on a 100 degree day?

Um. I don't actually know, but... I'm kinda scared.....

Theory of Mind

Awesome, irrelevant drawing by Allie Brosh, as usual

 This is my favorite topic to rant about, because it comes up for me so often.
Theory of Mind - The ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one's own.... In 1985 (a bunch of dudes) published research which suggested that children with autism do not employ a theory of mind, and suggested that children with autism have particular difficulties with tasks requiring the child to understand another person's beliefs.
My child with autism has more empathy than your average adult. He may be stuck in his own head most of the time, but it's not because he's incapable of understanding that other people have beliefs and intentions that are different from his own, it's because he's stuck in his own head. But, when tested, which he was last year by our beloved Speech Therapist, who specifically assessed him on just this subject, he passed with flying colors. So, I call bullshit on the "kids with autism don't have theory of mind" conclusion. In fact, my child with autism who isn't supposed to possess any Theory of Mind is a lot more aware and concerned about other people's feelings than a lot of non autistic adults that I know.

And what about your average adult? How much Theory of Mind do they possess? It seems like everywhere I go, people drive and park and act as though other people just don't exist around them; that they're the only ones in the world and they don't even share space with other people. They walk right in front of you as if you're not there, they don't say excuse me when they bump into you, they don't hear or see you when they're blocking your path and you're trying to get by. They steal parking spaces you've been waiting for, they cut in front of you in line without even looking back.

I am always very aware of things like that, where other people are in relation to where I'm standing, how my behavior might affect them, how my kids' behavior might affect them. I often feel like I'm the only person left who even notices stuff like this, and I think "why do I bother?" Why should I take care not to ram somebody with my cart if I'm the only one in the store who does? Why do I do nice things for people for not even a "thank you" in return? It's exhausting and sometimes I'm so tired that I just think fuck it, I can't care about other people right now, I need to change lanes so I can get off the damn freeway! But then I wonder, is that what all these other people are thinking? I don't want to be like them, and I don't want my kids to be like them.

So, these things I will make sure to teach my kids, regardless of whatever neurological conditions they may have. Be aware that you share space in the world with other people. When somebody does something nice for you, you say thank you. I know way too many "grown ups" who apparently never learned these rules, and it's my intention to make sure my kids don't turn out like them.


5:00 pm UPDATE:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spam Quote of the Day

Be the largest pole in the locker room
Sometimes I'm just so sad that I'm not a man, because I want more than anything to be the largest pole in the locker room.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Song of the day: If It Kills Me

I am so happy to have an iPod again...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's validation day!

I'm having a good week, internet-wise. First, hubs made me that fucking awesome cake and I posted about it on reddit and it's REALLY POPULAR over there. It's nice when you have something so incredibly awesome like that, and you share it, and other people agree with you that it's incredibly awesome. Validation good!

Then this morning I was "snipped" by Hippest Snippets, a blog which scours the internet for cool quotes that bloggers have said and features them in a daily post. It's a little misleading, though, because they used a quote from here that I didn't actually write, but still.... more validation!!

And THEN I was passed an award from Tina over at Mommy is Teething, a totally awesome and funny mom blogger. How awesome is that?? This blogging thing is still so weird to me, that I write out these crazy thoughts and then other people (who aren't related to me) read it and think it's funny. And now, my first award. I'm very proud of myself, thank you Tina!! Even more validation!! YAY ME!! And all on a day when I should technically be really depressed and bummed because my life is officially half over and it's all downhill from here and then you die.

And, now, I will do my duty as award recipient and follow the rules, which are, as follows:

Rules for winning this award
  • Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 other bloggers who you recently discovered and think are fabulous.
  • Contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award. 

7 things about myself:

  1. I've been to more than 50 Grateful Dead shows.
  2. In the past 5 years I have slept through the night for no more than 10 nights; none of them consecutively
  3. I have about 10 email addresses, and I use them all
  4. I used to be very politically active; I worked on campaigns when I was in college and organized rallies. And now I'm the most politically apathetic person you've probably ever known
  5. I've been "online" since 1994.
  6. I'm hungry
  7. It's taken me about 2 1/2 hours to type this post. I really think it should have been faster than that, but apparently I'm not very smart.

Passing on the award:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More gorgeousness from the Avett Brothers

I'm bringing this one back because I heard it again tonight for the first time in a while and.... Damn.

This looks like a video but it's actually just the studio recording with a picture; it's the only way you can share m4a (iTunes) files on Blogger.

These guys are so fucking incredible. I MUST see them live (are you reading this, hubs??!?!?) This song just KILLS me it's so fucking beautiful (I know. I know). ENJOY!

My birthday cake

If you read Reddit, you'll especially get it. If not.... it's still pretty fucking awesome. Thanks hubs!!!!

Even better birthday quote of the day

There is no pleasure in the world worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward.

Posted to my Facebook wall by a friend. Sadly, I cannot claim credit for these words

Quote of the day: Birthday edition

Online birthday wishes:
Oh god, I'm so close to this miserable point in my own life . . . sorry about your day, dear.

Wait. What?

Do you ever do that thing where you're talking to somebody about something but you're thinking about something completely different? It always reminds me of that scene in Catcher in the Rye where he's talking to his Principal about something but thinking about ducks. I can't remember any more than that, I read that book a long time ago. I do this kind of thing all the time (and it's not because I'm all OLD all of a sudden, to those of you who have been delighting in reminding me of my age today. YOU know who you are.....) but it's usually totally uneventful and unimportant.

So, earlier today I was at a job interview (I'm still not sure if I should call it a "job interview" or "a meeting with a potential client." One gives me all the power and the other gives the other person all the power. Personally I like having all the power but I'm not sure if that's realistic here. Okay, I'll call it a job interview.) So, I'm at this job interview, and she asks me something like what I was looking for in a job, and just at the moment when it was time for me to start talking my phone made a chimey noise which meant I had an email, and suddenly my mind goes to my massive to-do list, in particular how I haven't yet finished checking references on these babysitters I'm thinking of hiring. And I was thinking "oh, right, I got those emails I haven't looked at yet, and that woman called me back yesterday so I still need to call her, and I think there's still at least one I haven't even contacted...." and then it's a good 30-45 seconds later and suddenly I'm like HOLY SHIT I'VE BEEN TALKING THIS WHOLE TIME. What the FUCK have I been saying? I honestly have no idea. Something about Bookkeeping, I can only hope/guess.

I usually consider an interview a success if I've made the person laugh at least once; not only did I get to make somebody laugh but I've learned that they have a sense of humor, because if they don't have a sense of humor, I don't want them as a client. So, I was done talking (phew) and I saw that she was laughing. I'm going to assume that she was laughing because I said something funny and not because I said something so incredibly stupid that she just felt sorry for me and it was a pity laugh.

So, how did the interview go, you ask? I have absolutely no idea. But thanks for asking.

Song of the day: Birthday Song

Um. No reason.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Some parenting advice from me to you

When your child is having a tantrum about whatever the subject, no matter how adorable he is: DO NOT LAUGH! It will only make things worse!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Look what I got for my birthday!!!



My fabulous son

"Your fabulous son" is the subject line of an email I got this week from Child 1's teacher. I really like her; she wants to troubleshoot some issues we're having and she's being very proactive about it; I really appreciate that. I don't think he has a crush on her, anymore, since he put her through the testing period that he puts all teachers through in the first few weeks and she did not pass his "nice" test, which means she doesn't let him get away with shit. That's actually good, because a good teacher will never pass his nice test. He doesn't agree. We'll just have to figure out how to come to terms with that.

Anyway, I'm cleaning up in here and avoiding the massive pile of laundry in the corner that's literally taunting me (massive piles of laundry can be VERY verbally abusive), and I found the following and wanted to share:

About a month ago hubs was sick, and I'm driving the boys home from school and telling them how Daddy is sick, and Child 1 says "He's sick? I'm going to make him a get well card and make him feel better." And sure enough, as soon as we get home, he wrote out his card and then presented it to hubs. All on his own with no prompting or help from anybody.

He's fabulous. :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hey, Jill, how's that cat of yours doing?

Oh, why thank you for asking! We had to take him back to the vet yesterday because he had wriggled halfway out of his cast. He's still in the garage yelling about stuff and he hates me with a passion. However, he seems to be starting to develop some of that Learned Helplessness that can often happen with animals and battered wives and has either lost part of his will to live or just his will to fight about it. Maybe when this is all over he'll be like a real pet! :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Seeking parental advice

I don't often ask for advice, so you should all feel pretty special right now. Go ahead, pat yourselves on the back... sigh... I'll wait... *looks at watch*

Anyhoo, Child 2 has been adjusting nicely to Kindergarten, and so have I, thank you very much... but this week has been a little tougher for him; I think the honeymoon phase is over. He's been waking up at night crying, saying he's having bad dreams, he's been making up excuses why he can't go to school, etc. Today when we got home he asked me if we still had any pacifiers in the house (he gave them up at least a year ago) because he wanted to know if they still felt good in his mouth (he's SO CUTE!). There's a lot of new shit going on, the social structure is different from what he's used to, yesterday he wasn't picked for the soccer team he wanted to be on at lunch and he had a major meltdown about it (coincidentally, I watched the whole thing from the hair salon across the street. Let me tell you it is no fun watching your child have a meltdown when you have no idea what's going on and can't do anything about it. It was like watching a movie with the sound off where the main character is a piece of your soul being ripped from you.)

He's feeling sad and lonely and scared and he doesn't want to let me go in the mornings and this is a huge deal for him and I want to help make him feel better but, oddly, I'm not freaking out about it, I'm just calmly thinking about it. Weird. So, I'm wondering, what are some things I can do right now that would make this all easier for him? If you are a parent of a former kindergartener and you have been in this place before, please feel free to offer advice.....

I should clarify...

I've been thinking about that last rant of mine and I want to clarify some things that I said; it isn't really what I meant to say and it kind of contradicts with things I've said in the past.

First of all, if you have a kid with autism and you find something that works for you, I say GO FOR IT. I totally support any kind of crazy anything anybody can find, as long as it works and it isn't harmful. If that means Traditional Chinese Medicine, then by all means, make it so! I obviously have a bias against Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on my personal experience with it, but that doesn't mean that I know any better about how to treat somebody else's kid.

The big thing that I have a problem with is anybody who makes a claim that they know what causes or what doesn't cause autism, and there's a tendency of people who have seen fantastic results in their own children to then make claims that because their child is "recovered," they now know all about the causes, and if you say otherwise, then you're just wrong. The same is true for the medical community, which makes a claim that vaccines don't cause autism and if you say otherwise, then you're just wrong.

Nobody knows what causes it and nobody knows what can "cure" it. Maybe it can't be cured. Maybe it shouldn't be. I object to blanket statements about this subject when there are an infinite amount of factors involved and blanket statements don't take them all into account. Thus, whenever I see somebody saying they're successfully recovering their child, through whatever means, I steel myself against the next statement, which is "and you can, too."

I hope that clears things up....

Mini autism rant of the day

I was browsing my Facebook suggestions of who to follow and I came across somebody with this in their profile:
I am successfully recovering my son from autism through Traditional Chinese Medicine. 
Okay, um: no. No you're not. First of all, you don't recover anything through Traditional Chinese Medicine. When my brother was dying, he went to some dude who was apparently the Dalai Lama's doctor, so apparently really good at Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the guy put him on this crazy diet which was supposed to cure him. So, for the last year or so of his life he wasn't allowed to eat poultry or mustard, or other seemingly random things that had absolutely no effect on his cancer but just forced him to limit his diet in his final days. Let me tell you, that last Thanksgiving was pretty difficult, he couldn't have turkey, and he also couldn't have the stuffing which was cooked inside the turkey, so I made him non turkey stuffing, which just wasn't as good, and which sucked for him because he always really loved stuffing. How fucking stupid is THAT? 

If you deprive your child with autism of mustard will that cure their autism, I'm wondering?

Okay, it's true that there are actually a number of different kinds of autism, each manifesting itself in essentially the same way (social, language, behavioral problems, etc.) and there's a theory that one of the types of autism is an environmental disease and by fixing the environmental harm to the body you will fix the autism. (This is not the case for Child 1, he's got the regular old run-of-the mill infantile autism, which is without question a genetic neurological condition and IMO has not been impacted at all by his environment; not diet, not vaccines, none of it). But maybe the kids with the regressive autism and the leaky gut syndrome might actually benefit from not eating mustard and taking a handful of mysterious herbs every hour? I'm sure this person is seeing SOME benefit from that. And if they are, by the way, I think that's awesome and I totally support whatever it is they're doing for their child that is working for them. But "successfully recovering" somebody from autism? I don't buy it. If you can successfully recover your child from autism I say he never had autism in the first place. Take that, Jenny McCarthy!

Jon Stewart 4tw

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rally to Restore Sanity
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Quote of the day

Child 2: Why isn't laundry ever over?

That is a DAMN good question. Maybe you should go to school naked. OH. Right....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Uniquely Child 2

Child 2 went to this preschool that I call "Veeeeeery Berkeley." Picture a preschool created in Berkeley in the early 70s, apply every stereotype you have about Berkeley and imagine what that preschool would be like. Yeah, that's how it was, just like what you're imagining. I also call it "clothing optional," and I've been saying that Kindergarten is going to be a strange culture shock for him when he learns that he's supposed to keep his clothes on all day long.

Well, this morning another mom, whose child also attended this preschool, stopped me on the yard with the following information:

Other Mom: I had to help (your child) get dressed yesterday. He started taking his clothes off on the yard and I stopped him and said "I think we're supposed to leave our clothes on here."

Me: Oh, man, it was just a matter of time...

Other Mom: And he asked me "are you sure?" so I had to ask his teacher if you're supposed to keep your clothes on in Kindergarten; she said you were.

Me: How far did he get?

Other Mom: He got his shirt off and was just about to take off his pants when I stopped him.

That's my boy!

Monday, September 13, 2010

More about cats

So... remember how I said I hate cats? And then remember how I said we might only have 3 now instead of 4?

Yeah. Not so much.

So, about a week ago, hubs wakes me up about 1 in the morning because I needed to "come see McDougal's leg, I think it's broken." Le sigh. I was like "WTF?!? Hell no! Okay, fine." and, sure enough, there's McDougal (pictured, but about 2 years ago. Y'know, I'm not even sure if I'm spelling his name right; how embarrassing) walking on 3 paws with one of his legs dangling lamely at his side.

This is the cat that never comes inside; he's basically feral. He lives in the yard and only comes inside to eat (kind of like the raccoons, actually) he refuses to be touched by human hands, I don't think I've ever actually pet him, not since he was the size he was in that picture up there, anyway. And now he's got a broken fucking leg and it's 1 in the morning. And, I'm not wearing any pants.

So, we go and get the cat cage, although in this case it's a plastic Ikea bin with holes drilled into the lid, and we put the wailing, angry cat in the bin and safely seal him in with duct tape... and, of course, our perfect cat containment method fails and the broken ass cat with the lame leg squeezes himself out of the box and zooms through the cat door before you can say "OH MY GOD IT'S A FLYING CAT!" And so I go out the door after him, in my tank top and my no pants at 1 in the morning, and end up on my hands and knees in the driveway, looking at him hiding directly in the middle underneath my giant car where there's no way in hell I'm going to be able to get him out of there. I think he actually flipped me off with one of his little paws. So, we'll wait for him to come out, right? Okay, we'll wait. I'm allowed to go back to bed and hubs agrees to stand watch and will come and wake me up as soon as the cat makes an appearance.

Feral days are just beginning

Okay, so now it's a week later and we haven't seen hide nor fur of him. We assume the worst. Wouldn't you? He's got a broken leg, he hasn't come in the house so he hasn't eaten anything, he won't allow himself to be touched by human hands so it's not like a neighbor is going to adopt him, how the HELL can he survive? But we've informed the neighbors of the situation and everybody has been on the lookout. Anyway, it's a week later and Child 2 comes into the room and announces "MCDOUGAL IS IN THE TV ROOM!" and suffice it to say we were very surprised. But we block off the doors and I go out and I buy an actual cat carrier since it's 1 in the afternoon at this point (and I have pants on), and the next day (which was today) hubs brings him to the vet. We have 2 options: 1. Surgery ($2000) or 2. Splint his terribly, terribly broken leg, keep him locked in a dog kennel type thing so he can't run around, administer pain killers and antibiotics twice a day and bring him back to the vet once a week for a check up. For five weeks. This option was $500 and was the one we chose.

So, now we have a feral cat with a splint on his leg locked in a cage in our garage screaming his fucking head off, and we get to go in there twice a day and give him medicine. But what is our other option? Let him walk around in constant pain with a broken ass leg? Let him just die?

Anybody want a cat with a broken leg? He's really cool, as far as you know. And free!

Fuck. Politics.

The state of California is supposed to pass a budget every year which would begin its fiscal year on July 1. A 2/3rd majority vote in the Legislature is required to pass a budget and every year they argue and bicker and act like fucking partisan shitheads and the budget gets stalled and stalled and stalled some more. As far back as I can remember the state has never even come close to making its deadline.

Unfortunately this means that organizations that rely on state funding are pretty much screwed. If they're lucky they have money in the bank and can hang on and wait until the funding comes through. One of my clients is not so lucky. They are a nonprofit organization that gets its funding from the California Department of Education. Their contract with the CDE has been renewed but they can't get paid until the state budget is passed. They deal with this every year and being a nonprofit organization that serves kids they are very cash strapped. They've had a bit of a reserve but they've been spending it down and now they're just screwed.

I spent the morning coming up with scenarios for how much longer they had until they have to give notice on their office space. Maybe they can get a loan, and surely the state will pass its budget by January, right? But even so, there's not enough money in the bank to cover expenses past November 30th, no matter what. Once the budget is passed, they'll probably get a check about a month or two later. But in the meantime, they're just fucking screwed. Because of partisan politics. Which brings me back to my original point.

I'm sure Meg Whitman will save us from all of this, so... it's cool.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Birthday parties and autism

I have this unanswered evite sitting in my inbox right now. A kid in Child 1's class is having a birthday party and we're invited. I asked Child 1 if he wanted to go and he said no, which I knew he would. He hates parties; he hates having to interact socially with other kids. He even said just now that he doesn't like cake, which is an enormous lie because he fucking loves cake, but that's his response when you tell him things like "but they'll have cake there!" The offer of cake just isn't worth having to endure the party.

I never know what to do when I get these things. I could make him go, and we could hang out for a while, and he would be miserable but maybe he might have some fun in the end? So, do we go in the off chance that he decides he doesn't actually hate it? Or, do we go because we were invited and that's what you're supposed to do? Or, do we go because at some point the invitations are going to stop coming and we might as well go now while we have the chance?

No, of course, the answer is no, we're not going to go, because he doesn't want to go and I'm not going to make him. Maybe if I were a better teacher I could turn it into a learning experience for him, but as I've said before, that's just not where my skills are. This is that thing I'm constantly bumping up again, though: my internal conflict about what he's "supposed" to be like and how he really is. My instincts always tell me to let him be himself, in this case that would mean not going; but my societally-implanted fear tells me that we should go because that's what the normals would do. Then there's that other part of me that berates myself for not being better at this, I should be able to make this a teachable moment for him, but I just can't/don't know how.

So, as is now my custom, I will make an excuse about how we're busy that day (we're not) and thank the parents profusely for the invitation. I guess I can take heart in the fact that one day the invitations will stop and I won't have this internal struggle to deal with anymore. Sigh.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Song of the day: Two Step

Love these guys.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes 12

Child 1: What are you doing, Mama? (LOVE how he asks, by the way)

Me: I'm cleaning.

Child 1: You're not supposed to be cleaning; you're supposed to be making dinner!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spotted in Berkeley

My favorite sign. :) This is in front of the City building downtown and it labels 2 parking spots and they were both filled with these adorable little electric cars. They look like toys.

Later I saw a woman with "MOTHER" tattooed across her chest. She was with a small child and while I was unable to spot any visible label of "CHILD" or "DAUGHTER," no doubt there was something on her somewhere so as to prevent any future confusion. I'm sure we can all see how awkward that might be....

There's something wrong with me

Last night was Back to School Night. I'd never done that Run-Between-Two-Classes thing before; we prioritized Kindergarten so I barely even got to hear what Child 1's teacher had to say. It's okay, I'm sure I'll be meeting with her a lot in the coming months.

Anyway, many of you may know this about me already, but I am a chronic volunteer-er (we have a support group, it's called the PTA Exec. Board, and we meet at the Bread Workshop). I spend so much fucking time doing shit for that damn school it's a miracle I manage to get myself dressed in the morning. Okay, the truth is that sometimes I don't manage to get myself dressed in the morning, but the important thing here is that I get my children dressed in the morning. Anyway, I do a lot for the school, but one thing I've never done is volunteer in the classroom. It might help the teacher and the other kids but I don't think it would be helpful for Child 1, because having me around would make him ignore what he's supposed to be doing and just want to sit in my lap all day, so I think it serves him best if I just stay away. I don't think Child 2 will have that problem, though, so ... um, I think I may have signed up for stuff I don't have time for. And I've never been a room parent before, I just don't have the time and trying to get other people to step up is too fucking exhausting so I don't bother, so last night I was like "I'm not going to be a room parent! I'm just walking right by both of those sign up sheets! HA HA!" But then I looked at the lists and there was only one person signed up for each one, and in the K room it's a brand new parent and I didn't want them to have to do it all by themselves, so, um.... I think I'm now a room parent in both my kids' rooms.

Seriously, will somebody please shoot me? Just shoot me now, at least that way I might get some sleep....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Song of the day: Hallelujah (Jeff Buckley)

Damn good song. Written by Leonard Cohen and covered by a bunch of people, but this version is by far the best. I used to sing this song to Child 1 when he was a baby and I was putting him to sleep. Also: Jeff Buckley was really hot. Fucking shame.

Jeff Buckley (written by Leonard Cohen)

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
This is love not some kind of a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Yeah but it's not a complaint that you hear tonight,
It's not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light
No it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah…

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I made a rage comic!

Most of you probably don't read reddit or 4chan, but these comics are (usually) 4 panel comics that end in a person being pissed off and saying "FFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-" (short for "FUUUUUCCKKKK!!!") More info here and here.

Anyway, this just happened and I thought it would make a delightful comic, but I'm only going to put it here and not on reddit or anything :)

Top 10 Snappy Answers to Annoying Comments

From http://autism.about.com/od/inspirationideas/tp/snappy.htm

If you're a parent with a child on the spectrum, you've probably responded to the same annoying remarks and questions a thousand times. Here's a handy list of responses that...you'll probably never use out loud (but are fun to imagine using)!

1. He can’t be autistic -- he can talk! (or make eye contact, smile, engage)
And yet, amazingly, he’s still autistic! Y’see, autism is a spectrum disorder, and that means…

2. Oh, she must be SO good at math! (or science or music)
Actually, her great talent is in memorizing and reciting lines from Sponge Bob videos! (Or those annoying Thomas the Tank Engine songs!)

3. All he needs is more discipline, and he’ll get the message.
Yup, it’s true -- if you give a child enough time outs, he’ll just stop being autistic. And if I speak French to you loudly enough, you’ll become fluent!

4. You poor thing, it must be so upsetting to have a child with a disability.
Yes, it can be hard. And pity really helps me to get through the day and feel better about myself and my child. So…thanks so much!

5. Will he be able to go to college (or get married or hold down a job)?
Hm. Good question. By the way, has your daughter’s divorce been finalized yet? And I’m so sorry to hear that your son was recently laid off from his job…

6. I have a friend whose child was autistic, and she cured him!
Wow! So I guess she’s enjoying the millions she made after figuring out how to cure autism? I bet her second home is a yacht!

7. If she can’t behave properly, you shouldn’t BRING her to the grocery store!
Wow -- that would be great. Should I fax you my grocery list, or send it by email? I’ll really enjoy the delivery service!

8. We can’t include him in typical classes, it wouldn’t be fair to the other kids.
Hm, that’s an interesting perspective. So I guess you have a pretty big endowment to pay for all the law suits? That must be great!

9. We can’t accept her at our school because she doesn’t have a learning disability
Ohhhh… what a shame! Oh, wait, look, she’s suddenly developed dyslexia! Can she come to your school now?

10. You should make more time for yourself!
You’re so right! So will you be babysitting tonight or tomorrow night?

Friday, September 3, 2010

The kid called my bluff

I hate it when they do that

Me: Child 2, go brush your teeth.

Child 2: But I'm too tired (repeat ~5 times)

Me: Do you want to go to the beach tomorrow?

Child 2: Yes!

Me: Then you'd better go brush your teeth.

Child 2: Why? What would happen?

Me (I'm not the one taking them to the beach tomorrow, and I won't even be around when they go, and he damn well knows this): UHHHhhhhhhhhh.....  then, um.... you.... uh.... can't? go to the beach?

Child 2: Actually I will go to the beach tomorrow, but I'll go brush my teeth, anyway, or they'll get all rotten and fall out. Except these two (points). Because they're healthy and in the shade.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things I really, really hate

In the letter that came home with Child 1 from his new teacher today:

Your child should generally be able to complete homework on his/her own. It's great if you go over the work with your child after s/he finishes.

Yeah, well, not so much in this house. Not even close, actually.

Fuck you, autism.

Uniquely Child 1

Excellent penmanship. Correct capitalization, including appropriately placed dash. And, of course, multi-colored BART tracks; probably 100% accurate and to scale.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So. How did it go... ?

The badge that Child 2 wore home today. I'm keeping it; I earned it more than he did.


He's smooth as silk, man; he has no worries (except fire drills, which were mentioned briefly last night and then not again, so far). Since we had met his teacher yesterday, he's all kinds of prepared for 3rd grade. Last night we were discussing the issue and I asked him what he thought of his teacher. His response: "She's very nice. Not like my LAST teacher.... Mr. F." I was giddy with delight at how hilarious that was and this morning I told as many people as I possibly could, including Mr. F who laughed uproariously. Then after picking him up today I asked him how it went and he got a big smile and said "My teacher is really nice." I think he might have a crush on her. That's awesome.

People have been asking me a lot about that whole "pretend to be normal on the yard" thing that I talked about last week, so here's something I said about the subject in an email I sent to a friend that I'm just copying and pasting (easier than trying to formulate new thoughts); perhaps controversial, perhaps no, but these are my thoughts on the subject:

Yes, in theory kids should be taught to be accepting, but in reality the world is a cruel, harsh place and if you're weird or you stand out you're going to get shit for it. Doesn't it make sense to at least implant the idea that if you want to make your life easier you need to learn how to be like everybody else?

I'm not saying I agree with this, at all, actually I think that everybody should be free to let their freak flag fly, but the worrier mom in me is afraid of what's going to happen when he gets to middle school and high school and the kids could potentially fuck him up bad. He's not socially savvy enough to figure this out for himself and he likely never will be, so shouldn't the grownups who care for him teach him to at least pretend to be normal?

This is probably the hardest part about having a kid with autism, my internal conflict between letting him naturally be who he is and how that directly contradicts with societal norms of how kids are "supposed" to be. One day I hope that he is able to make these decisions for himself and I hope that he will be able to accept himself for who he is, but in the meantime it's my job to (try to) prepare him for whatever kind of shit is headed his way.


Also smooth as silk. The past few days I've been afraid to ask him too much about how he was feeling because I didn't want my anxiety to rub off on him so we just haven't been talking about it at all. He's so mellow, though (one of these days I'm going to blog about how much he's like my brother; but not today). This morning, though, while getting shoes on he says "I'm actually a little bit afraid." "Why?" I said. "Because what if I make a mistake?" I suppose I could have asked him "like what?" but I didn't really think the specifics were that important at that point so I just said "then you say 'UH OH! I made a mistake!' and you try again." He seemed satisfied with that answer. And then in the car on the way, I had been so focused on getting pictures I forgot to buckle him up, so we're halfway down the street when he reminds me that he wasn't buckled. A perfect life lesson! See? Mama makes mistakes, too! HA HA! That was the plan all along, as far as you know! Because I'm all about the life lessons, you see.

Going into the classroom, I wasn't allowed in the door so I walked him up the ramp and he hugged me and said "you're going to be standing here waiting for me, right? And then whenever I look out here I'll see you and feel better?" (heart = break) I said no, I wasn't going to stand there all day, just for one minute until he found his seat and stuff. He hugged me, walked in the door, saw a friend from preschool and they were both immediately doing that 5 year old excited loud talking thing "MY LUNCH IS IN MY BACKPACK? AND MY CUBBY HAS MY NAME ON IT? AND MY MOM'S GOING TO PICK ME UP AFTER SCHOOL?...." etc. I wanted to barf, but I didn't.

Later in the day I was in the library helping to put books on the shelf; I was by the back door, which was open, and the door looks directly over the Kindergarten yard and into the door of the classroom he was in, which was also open. I couldn't see him.... but I could hear him. His voice was ringing out across the damn yard, he was obviously playing with something that he was making a dinosaur which was eating something else and possibly having a race. He does that a lot, make things race; but then they take turns winning because he's just that kind of guy. The only information I got out of him about how his day was had to do with the gingerbread cookies he ate (first he ate the arms, and then the legs, and then the head). That's just good stuff, right there.