xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: April 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

OH MY GOD I'm doing a giveaway!

EDIT: I closed comments so that I can pick a winner somehow.

I know, right? ME? The most PR unfriendly blog EVER? Well, actually, I'm sure there are other blogs that are more PR unfriendly than I am, I mean... I don't even have any porn! (mental note).

Anyway, I happen to be in the possession of a number of copies of Big Daddy's awesome new book Big Daddy's Tales From the Lighter Side of Raising a Kid With Autism. Did you even know there was a lighter side to this shit? I, for one, was not previously aware of that until this book arrived at my doorstep the other day. THANKS Big Daddy!!

Anyway, I decided to do a giveaway. Put something in the comments explaining why you're too cheap to buy your own copy when they're only $10.99 fer chrissakes! I'm not entirely sure how I will pick a winner, but I will pick one and announce the winner on Monday. Or Tuesday. Or Sunday. I don't know what day. It might be completely random, I might just close my eyes and stab my finger at the monitor... who knows? I'm capable of pretty much anything, really. Enter as many times as you want; I mean, what the hell, why not? Oh, and there are a few of you who are not allowed to enter because I'm planning on giving you one of these. For example, if I have recently asked you for your address..... don't enter. Seriously.

And just in case you think I'm lying about actually having this in my possession, you untrusting bastards, I've taken a picture of said book lying next to one of Child 1's intricate drawings of a BART station as proof. Kind of like when you take a picture of a kidnap victim holding up a newspaper with today's date on it to prove you actually have them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm just doing as I'm told

After dinner Child 2 and I were in the kitchen playing ball.... what? I'm in charge and if I say it's okay to recklessly throw a giant ball around in the kitchen then it's okay! I threw the ball over his head and it hit a glass of milk on the table, and milk went flying all over the place. We both looked at each other as if to say "OOPS" and he says "you should blog about that."

"What? I should blog about how I hit the cup of milk and spilled it?" I ask.

"Yes," he says.

So I had him pose for the picture you see above. And now it is so.

Additionally, 100% of 5 year olds in this house agree that the following song is perfect ball playing music.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How a 5 year old boy says Thank You

In these parts, when a little kid has a party, you don't go to Target and buy them a gift. I actually really like that about this town, because, honestly? I have enough crap in my house; crap with parts that get lost the minute you cut through the plastic wrapper on the box. Crap that gets scattered around my house; under tables, inside drawers, on the lawn for some reason, all over the place. And the older the kid gets, the smaller the parts apparently get, and the pointier and more painful they become when you step on them with your bare feet. Depending on the age of the kid and the, uh... "politics" of the parent, you generally have one of two options for a little kid birthday party gift.

Option 1: The Book Exchange. This is where you pick a "gently used" book out of your own book collection, wrap it up and bring it. Everybody throws their wrapped gift into a pile and at the end of the party every kid gets to pick a book and bring it home with them. This allows all the children to get a gift, not just the birthday boy or girl. YAY!!

Option 2: Find something in your house, wrap it up and give it as a gift. Why? Something something consumerism something something better for the environment something something.... something. I actually love this option, because it means that I get to go through my house and find some crap I no longer want, and then it becomes your crap and no longer my problem.

None of this is relevant at all to the point of this post, by the way, I just felt like talking about crap for a few paragraphs.

Last week one of Child 2's BFFs had a party and we brought along a little plastic dinosaur (that I spotted on the floor by the front door when we were on our way out and snatched it up because I had completely forgotten about the whole "bring a gift" thing). This week, his buddy gave him a thank you card for the little plastic dinosaur (apparently this is the protocol when you receive wrapped crap. I was not previously aware of this and will try to remember in July when Child 2 turns 6).

I was lucky to be there when the card was handed over and was able to have the child read it to me, otherwise I would have no fucking clue what it says....

And then on the inside, in what is obviously the child's mother's handwriting, it says "thank you for the dinosaur, I bring it into the bath with me."


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I'm on BlogHer!!


It's probably something you've seen before, but go comment or something!! GAAHH!!!!

Out of the mouths of babes 24

Sometimes when I'm wondering what I should blog about, one of my kids will come along and help me....

Earlier, I'm in the bathroom, uh.... finding the cure for cancer.... y'know, bathroom stuff.... and there's a knock at the door.

Knock knock knock

Me: Yes?


Me: laughing Oh, that's nice. Not even a "hello Mama" or anything?

Child 1: Hello Mama!

Me: Hi Child 1!


Knock knock knock

Me: Yes?

Child 1's voice: Mama? Can you please make me a grilled cheese sandwich? It would make me very happy.

Me: swoon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Trolled by a 5 year old who can read

So, I'm sitting here lookin at internet stuff and Child 2 is sitting in my lap watching TV. I go to visit my awesome friend the mrs and encounter the perfectly delightful picture of a giraffe that she has drawn....

One day? When she's famous? And she writes her memoirs? She will be forced to mention me.

Child 2 sees it and says "AWWWWW! Look a the giraffe! It's so cute!! But what is he saying?"

I read to him: "I'm the tallest mammal on earth."

Him: What else is he saying?

Me: That's it, that's all he's saying.

Him: No, there's more after that. What does it say?

Me: Grownup stuff. Okay, let's move on, nothing to see here....

Him: Ssssssssssssssuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Me: NOOO!!!!!

Him: uuuuuuuuucccckkkkkk on that wwwwwwwwww


Him: wwwwwworrrrrrrllddddddd. It says "Suck on that world!"


* Dramatization. May not have happened.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Onion does an autism satire

I love the Onion. Love them. LOVE. But I'm honestly not sure if this is funny or not. I mean....I want to laugh. I get this. But I don't really know... is this funny? Is it mean? What do you guys think? What do you guys who don't have any connection to autism think? (don't be afraid to tell me, please, I want to know your opinion).


Autistic Reporter: Train Thankfully Unharmed In Crash That Killed One Man

Twitter: A post of uncomfortable truths

I've had this Twitter account for more than 2 years now but I never really used it until I started blogging; and even then it's really only been about 9 months. I don't know how many people I'm following at this point, I've been working on this stupid post for 2 weeks now and my numbers keep changing: Here, go find out for yourself.

I'm thinking of expanding my following list, though. Thanks for the helpful suggestion Twitter!!

I used to use my Facebook status updates for my short but oh so witty banter but then I decided I needed to branch out; find a larger audience, as it were. Also because my mom isn't so much a fan of the cursing and she's my Facebook friend. Strangers on Twitter seem to be okay with it.

My mom would not appreciate this gem

Or this one

For the most part, I use Twitter as kind of a brain dumping ground; whatever random thought that goes through my head: Twitter gets to hear about it! It's REALLY useful, especially when watching a movie

Or a TV show, particularly one I'm not very fond of

It's like my blog, but short and without all the pressure.

I love having an audience for this kind of crap! Narcissist? Probably.
I'm bummed they struck that last minute deal. Whatever, Planned Parenthood
Don't panic, I went back the next day

Recently I reached a milestone. 10,000 completely useless pieces of crap in 140 characters or less. I'm guessing at least 10% of them say "I KNOW, right??"

There are a few problems, though, and here is where I get into the "uncomfortable truths" I mentioned earlier. First of all... most of the time... I have absolutely no idea who I'm talking to. I mean, I see these things fly by my timeline and I just go ahead and respond to them, without even really wondering about who the recipient is.

Uh. Sorry about that, whoever you are. Does it matter that I was joking?

And while all these conversations are flying by me, I'm doing my best to respond to everything I see (because... I mean... I don't want to be rude) but I honestly have no idea who most of these people are. If I'm following you, it's probably safe to assume that you're somewhat amusing, and you may or may not have some connection with autism? But other than that.... sorry, I got nuthin. There are a bunch of people, of course, who I know and who are my friends; I'm going to guess there are maybe 40 or 50 of you? but for the most part, yeah. Heh. Sorry about that.

Sometimes it's easy, like if your Twitter name is the same as your blog name, okay, I think I can figure out that @ConnorChronicle is Flannery at The Connor Chronicles or that @fourplusanangel is Jessica at Four Plus an Angel (see what I did there?) but do you have any idea how long it took me to figure out that @heym0mxtwo is actually Bella at If This is Motherhood??? DO YOU, BELLA??? And who the HELL is @modinkpeeb, anyway? (OMG, Kelly, I'm so kidding. I'm just using your name as an example of names that are weird and make no sense. And to prove that I actually know who you are, "modinkpeeb" is actually "Mo Dink Peeb," which is your son's first sentence.)

Most of the time, though, it's just some random name with punctuation or some such shit, and I am clueless. That doesn't stop me from having some very nice conversations, of course. I'm not going to show you any examples of this because I will, no doubt, hurt somebody's feelings. But just in case you were wondering... I don't mean you. I totally know who you are.

Secondly... this shit moves so fucking fast. Conversations are whizzing by and if I get up for just a minute I return to this massive pile of unread tweets and, I'm sorry, I just can't keep up with that!
19 minutes I was gone for. 19 !!!!!

And some mornings I wake up and find that some friends who live on the East Coast have been having a conversation for fucking hours and have been including me in every tweet, and I am clueless.

Of.... course.

And sometimes I'll say something random.... like I do... and then somebody will respond to it 10 or 15 minutes later but by then I've completely forgotten what I said and their response totally baffles me. (Although, an "I KNOW, right??" is a pretty safe guess most of the time).

I KNOW, right??? I.... think.

Although, there's a difference between Sober Twitter and Drunk Twitter. For the most part, on Drunk Twitter, everybody else is drunk, too, and it doesn't really matter what I say. Plus, I really like Twitter on Friday nights. Because #wineparty is awesome. If you don't know what #wineparty is, it's because you're not a drunk, and that's actually okay. For you. But you don't have to wait until #wineparty to get drunk on Twitter, of course. Any night of the week would do just fine.

Any drunken Twitter evening starts out innocently enough.....
..... until.....
.... slowly... very slowly....
.... things start to fall apart....
... until, apparently, I lose the ability to type altogether.

I know this is nothing compared to the Twitter gods/celebrities who follow hundreds of thousands of people, but I have to guess that a couple of hundred is probably about the average number of followers an average Twitter user has... which makes me an average Twitter user, right? Apparently average things are just too hard for me.

So, there you have it. Twitter: it moves too fast for me, I have no idea who I'm talking to most of the time, when I do know, I have no idea what I'm talking about, and the whole thing is just easier when I'm drunk, much like the real world. Am I doing it right?

I'm still going to keep at it, of course, even if I seemingly suck at it. Because, after all, if it wasn't for Twitter, who would I show my Pin Wall Boob to? NOBODY.

P.S. @zachbraff.... if you're reading this... try to think of these things as more endearing than anything else :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How jillsmo deals with a canvasser: A one act play.

The scene: 

Downtown Oakland, a busy street corner. It is raining.

The characters:

Our Heroine: jillsmo, dressed as though she's going to the beach, and if she were a person who didn't hate the fucking beach. NO, she didn't see the weather report before she left the house this morning, so quit fucking asking her! She is hurrying to get some coffee in order to keep herself alive and get back to her client's office. Said client is getting ready for an audit and jillsmo's mind is completely wrapped up in audit-type things. jillsmo's internal dialogue is represented below in red and italics.

The Bad Guy (or whatever the scripty-ish term is for "The Bad Guy." jillsmo should probably ask Emily before she posts this. Ehhh. jillsmo doesn't feel like doing any extra research for this post): A bearded dude with a clipboard. He probably works for Greenpeace; jillsmo doesn't know or care.

As we begin, we see our heroine standing on the corner, holding her beloved coffee, wearing a t-shirt, Birkenstocks and no socks, getting wet, waiting for the light to change. Bearded dude with clipboard approaches, and.....


jillsmo: ... so I would need to debit that equity account 8200 so that the

Bearded Dude: Hi! Do you have a minute for the environment?

jillsmo: numbers would match, but then Hi. I'm really sorry, I don't right now. I'd need to credit the revenue account so that

Bearded Dude: Did you know that millions of Americans have been put at risk by the inherent dangers of nuclear power?

jillsmo: it would equal the 10,000 that we reported, but  Yeah, you know, I totally support what you do but I just don't have time right now, I'm sorry  I don't think we actually have the backup for the original 8200

Bearded Dude: Did you also know that radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster is in the milk you're drinking today?

jillsmo: and even if we had the backup I don't know how to make the liability account  You're starting to annoy me and you need to go away match the statement that they're going to want to see

Bearded Dude: ...

The light finally changes and our heroine crosses the street and walks away.


Monday, April 18, 2011

This is what it looks like in front of my house right now

The ONLY good thing about the sun

On an unrelated, or possibly related, note... today I am guest posting over at my musical sister, Dani G's, place.

I'm Just That Way and That's Just Me

Go read it! I wrote it last week and no longer remember what it says. Then come back here and tell me. KTHXBYE!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Does anybody really know what time it is?

This is probably one of those posts that I'm going to delete later because I think I've shared too much. For the record, though: totally sober right now! I'm not entirely sure why the Chicago reference; the uncertainty of it just seemed appropriate at the moment.

I've been thinking about taking a break from blogging. Don't worry, I probably won't, I've just been thinking about it. I hate making grand declarations of things like "I'M GOING TO START TAKING CARE OF MY BODY AND STOP EATING GLASS ONCE AND FOR ALL" because I never follow through and then I feel like an idiot for having said it in the first place, so I'd rather just not announce my plans about anything; and yet .... here we are.

I just don't think I'm doing it right. I take it too seriously, I care too much about how many followers I have and how many comments I get on each post and how many unique visits I get a day. That's not, and shouldn't be, the point of this whole thing. I think the people who are doing it right don't actually obsess over things like that. So, I thought it might be good for my mental health to just step back a little.

Plus, I'm always so concerned about having a new post every day, so I end up putting up crap that I don't like (I mean the things I've written, not the guest posts or Dive Bar posts that other people have written). I read once on some blog somewhere that when (whoever it was) starts to get that "should post something" feeling then what they'll come up with will seem forced and inauthentic. That's a really good attitude. I need to do that. Instead, I've been forcing myself, inauthentically (it's a word!) to come up with something every day and, well, some of it... okay most of it... is total shit. So, I'm going to try this thing where I don't post every day. And I won't feel an overwhelming urge to fill in the empty spaces with stuff.

But... if I don't post something every day, will you forget about me? Will you move on to somebody else who babbles incoherently and makes no sense? There are a lot of us out there, you know. I'm afraid you'll forget about me. On the other hand, I'm also afraid you'll get bored of me. I'm also afraid of not being funny. I think I need some perspective. Or vodka.

I'm just going to try it. It probably won't last.

Today is Flannery Day!

Check out my amazing likeness. The hair is perfect.

YAYYY!!!!!! It's Flannery Day today!!! 

Come celebrate with me, won't you?

What do you mean "What the fuck are you talking about?" ???? Are you seriously telling me you didn't know it was Flannery Day? Oh, and I suppose that means you didn't bring me a gift, right?? SHIT, people, I sent you the evite, like, THREE WEEKS ago. You never got it? Really? Do I have the right email address for you? I don't? Oh, crap. I was wondering why you never responded. Sorry about all that shit I said about you behind your back, then.

Okay, I guess I'll just have to explain. My buddy Flannery, over at The Connor Chronicles, has declared every friday on her blog to be Flat Flannery Fridays. Go read about it here, I can't do it justice, because it took me a few readings to understand it, myself, but let's just say that it involves this magnificent piece of art

I imagine it's hard to get stuff done when your arms are stuck out to the sides like that

So, not only is it Flat Flannery Friday, but it just so happens that yesterday she posted a guest post that I wrote, and, um.... I didn't mention it here. (By the way, if you live in Berkeley, please don't read that. KTHX) SO! To make it up to her, I have declared today to be Flannery Day! YAYYY!!!!

Please take a moment or twelve to go over to her place and see what kinds of crazy shenanigans people were able to make Flat Flannery do! I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! GO GO GO!!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Post: We Are Not the Enemy

Today I am hosting Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, who blogs at Journeys With Autism. She is not only an awesome blogger, but she's also written a book! I've wanted her to guest post for me ever since I read Autism Parents: It’s Time to Stand Up With Us. And now here she is. I am really honored!

We Are Not the Enemy

I have come into the world of autism rather late in life. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in November of 2008, when I was 50.

Of course, I have always been autistic. Over time, I've learned lots of skills, discovered lots of strategies, and found lots of ways to adapt to my difficulties and to the world. Some of these adaptations happened in the several decades before my diagnosis; a great many have happened only in the past two years. It's always odd to me to hear people say that autistic people are inflexible, because had I not found ways to adapt, I'm not sure whether I would have survived at all – and, given the violence I experienced throughout my childhood at the hands of my parents, I mean that quite literally.

Finding out that I am on the autism spectrum gave a name to my challenges, and it catapulted me into a profound change in identity and purpose. As soon as I got the diagnosis, I wanted to help others on the spectrum, and I found in myself a desire to help parents understand their autistic children as well. In the course of more than two years in the world of autism blogging, though, I've encountered a troubling phenomenon: When it comes to speaking to parents of autistic children, I often find myself cast into the role of adversary.

I've been told by some parents of autistic children that I am not really autistic, because I am not autistic in the same ways that their children are. And yes, it is true: Even in my worst days, I would never be diagnosed as anything other than high-functioning. And yet, I'm always shocked when people attempt to strip me of my truth in this way. I've never presented myself as anyone other than who I am, and I've never attempted to say that I am just like anyone else.

I've also encountered a tremendous amount of raw hostility from people who are clearly angry at people with Asperger's and high-functioning autism in general. I understand where a lot of this anger comes from.

In some respects, it's simply a question of resources; there is a sense that high-functioning kids get more air time, more funding, and more respect. Whether or not that is true, the perception is there, and I get why it's there. The face of autism has changed, and some parents feel that their severely autistic kids now get short shrift.

In other respects, the anger comes from the experience of having people with Asperger's and high-functioning autism make pronouncements about how parents should raise their kids, and how they should feel about raising their kids, and how they should feel about autism in general, without ever having met the parents or the children.

But even with parents who do not attempt to un-diagnose me via Internet or engage in open hostility, I sometimes find myself posed as an enemy. And it's because I have this whatever-it-is called autism, and autism is the enemy du jour. God help me if I say anything positive about autism, or the necessity of respecting autistic people, or my feeling that autism isn't something I have, but one essential part of who I am. I end up being accused of insensitivity, denial, stupidity, and a host of other terrible things – when I'm not simply ignored altogether.

So here's what I want to say: I am not here to tell you that I understand what it's like to have severe autism. I don't. In fact, I don't know what it's like to be anyone other than myself. No one does. Each person on the planet has a unique experience of life, and no person can possibly say that he or she truly understands what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes. We can only guess. We can only do the best we can. But we can never know for certain.

I am also not here to tell you how to raise your autistic child. Not me. In eighteen years of parenting, I have read only one parenting book – and it drove me so crazy that I decided never to read another one. Among other things that had nothing to do with my life, the book described how much my daughter should be eating – two cups of this, seven ounces of that – when I was lucky if she ate two strands of spaghetti and a piece of carrot for dinner. The child appeared to be living on oxygen and formula. When I went to my pediatrician in terror, she said, “A starving child doesn't refuse food. You provide the food. She decides what to eat and how much. Forget about what the book says.”

And that was it. I figured that no one who had ever written a parenting book had ever met my child, and that all I needed to do was to pay attention and respond to what she needed. And today, she is happy, healthy, creative, adaptable, highly ethical, sociable, open-hearted, and college-bound.  I followed my instincts, and she and I have a wonderful relationship.

So I don't have much fellow feeling with anyone who tells a parent how to raise his or her child.

And yet, I want to help other parents. I don't want to dictate. I want to provide insight. Those are two very different things. I understand sensory sensitivities, especially auditory ones. I understand not getting nonverbal signals. I understand anxiety. I understand visual thinking. I understand having so much empathy that I can't possibly express it all. I understand finding myself so paralyzed with feeling that I have to withdraw. I understand sensory overload. I understand having to move away from environments with too many people. I understand needing to have time alone in order to recharge. I understand why eye contact is so difficult. I understand why sometimes, I just don't want to be touched – and that it has nothing to do with a deficit, but with an overabundance of perception.

I understand the pernicious effects on my psyche of the constant talk of deficits to the exclusion of gifts. I understand how much it hurts when someone compares autistic people to robots or machines, ignoring our deep capacity for empathy and fellow feeling with other human beings. I understand how much it pains me to have an autism diagnosis compared to cancer or HIV or a car crash.

And I understand that non-autistic “experts” can never know what it is to be autistic, from the inside out.

I understand all these things, and so much more.

I very rarely mourn being autistic. I've spent many years learning to love who I am, and an Asperger's diagnosis won't undo that. But there is one thing I mourn, very deeply: I have always had a very, very profound need to help other people, and my sensory sensitivities make doing that face-to-face, on a regular basis, impossible. If I'd had a different neurology and the same heart, I'd have spent all my days helping others – especially those whom the society dismisses as worthless and without basic rights. But I am who I am, so I do my best to help through my writing. I write about my experience of being autistic, and I write about the ways in which autistic people are treated by the larger culture.

Many autistic people do exactly the same thing. You can find a number of excellent blogs by autistic adults who are not interested in telling you what kind of treatment or therapy to give your child. Many of us grew up in the “sink-or-swim” generations of autistics. We didn't get diagnosed as kids, and we figured out how to survive entirely on our own. We're not interested in debating the merits of this therapy or that one – but if your child is having an aversive reaction to a therapy, or if a therapy is not helping at all, we might be able to give you some insight as to why. You can then take that insight and see whether it makes sense when you look at your own child.

That's all I ask: that you listen to us, that you respect us, and that you acknowledge that many of us have insights that the average person cannot.

Please listen when I tell you: I am not your enemy. I am your ally, and I am your child's ally. Now and always.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mostly Awesome

Before I begin, today you can also find me guest blogging at my friend Laura's place, Life in the House That Asperger Built. PLEASE go check it out, it's totally not about autism!!

I thought I would take some time today to talk about the awesomeness that is Child 2. I've been talking about Child 1's awesomeness a lot lately, and I realized that I've kinda been talkin shit about his brother. The truth is that despite his annoying NT antics, he really is made up of mostly awesome. This kid is amazing. He's hilarious, he's a freaking genius, he's fun, he's happy: He's awesome!! So, here are some stories about him, which will prove his awesomeness.

(By the way, I've taken, like, everybody's advice and OH MY GOD the past two weeks have been practically heaven. It's working SO WELL. YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME. I'm coming to you people for all my parenting needs from now on)

Last week was Spring Break so we had lots of time to kill! We spent one of those days at a science museum for kids, with Children 1 and 2 and a friend of C2. (And no other grownup, I might add. But I managed to survive it somehow). It was crowded, being Spring Break, and as usual there were a lot of Older Kids.

I hate Older Kids. They're big, they're relatively aggressive, especially in groups, and my little kids tend to get pushed out of the way when the Older Kids arrive, which is exactly what happened at some point when C2 and his buddy were playing at this table/ball thingy. The Older Kids came, took over the whole space, took the ball away, of course, and my little ones were pushed off to the side.

Usually when this happens I don't do anything because I like to watch and see how my kids will deal with the situation. Unless somebody actually asks me for help, or if somebody is just acting like a huge dick, I just sit and watch. And this is what I saw.

My little 5 year old, who was half the size of these kids, having been pushed out of the way and now was standing behind this new group, walks up to the back of one of the kids and whispers into the back of his head: "Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the flooooooooooor." Just like in the video, actually.

He's been singing this song a lot lately, and watching the video. I have no idea where he heard it from and oh my god it is so totally inappropriate for a 5 year old but that was one of the funniest fucking things I'd seen all day. I instantly pulled out my phone to take notes so that I could remember it later.

The older kid was like WTF?? and he totally moved away! It worked! Nice WORK, little man!!!

This incident reminded me of something that happened years ago, before he was even walking. It was way before I was blogging but I wrote about it on a message board that I run (hi Rards!!) so I can just copy and paste it here:
We're at the Discovery Museum today (yeah, we go there a lot) and Child 2 and I are in the toddler room. He's playing with blocks. I'm sitting there trying not to pass out from fatigue. Suddenly this little girl, maybe 2, comes over to where he is, stands between him and his blocks with her back to him, and bends over so that her butt is in his face.  So what does my little man do? He reaches up and pulls her pants down! I started laughing hysterically and I say "yeah, we're startin' him early!" The little girl was PISSED and her dad came over and made a joke. Good thing he was cool about it, I suppose I could have had a lawsuit on my hands. Although, no jury in the world would convict a baby. Maybe Texas.

Earlier this morning, I had started planning this post in my head while I'm hanging out with him, and I said "Have I ever told you that I love you?" To which he responds: "Uh.... YEAH. Like three times a day! No, like ten times a day. No, like.... how many is it if you count by threes seven times?" "21," I say. "Yeah, like 21 times a day!"

Oh, hey! You made it to the bottom of the post! Did you forget to go to Laura's place and read my guest post? Well, here's that link again, just in case you need it. :)

It's about blogging. And awesomeness. Okay, it's about blogging.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A post about pure bliss; with a history lesson for you younguns

For those of you who are relatively new here to Y.GT. you might not know about my overwhelming and all-encompassing love of the Avett Brothers. In fact, in my early days of blogging, when I had first discovered them, I used to write about them all the time.  I wrote about the first song of theirs that I heard, I wrote about a song whose lyrics I wanted to analyze, I wrote simply because the beauty of their music fucking blew me away. And almost every time I said I wish I could see them live.

They've never been here, though; at least, I've never known they were coming before they actually got here. Grrrrrrr. I've fanned their Facebook page and have been bitterly watching as all these status updates go by, announcing tour dates for everywhere except near where I live. It's been rather frustrating.

I knew it would happen eventually, though, so I waited. Impatiently.  And then.... on March 28th.... I went to Facebook... and there it was....

Am.... am I dreaming? Mark Zuckerberg wouldn't try to cheat me, would he?


Actually, that was the comment I left on that very same status update.

The next step was to sign up to their email list, because people on their email list would get a secret code so they can get tickets before they actually went on sale. FUCKING SWEET. So, I did that, and I waited for my email with instructions on how to get my tickets....

.... which arrived 2 days later and told me that tickets would go on sale at 10:00am the next morning.

So the next morning, there I was refreshing and refreshing the page (because I started too early because I'm compulsively punctual) waiting for the ticket sale to start. While I was refreshing and refreshing, I noticed this:


Was this show General Admission or Reserved Seating? I actually didn't know, but I figured I would find out when it came time to pick out some seats, right? Finally the tickets were on sale and I very quickly made my purchase and my sale was complete before I even realized they hadn't asked me to pick a seat.

My email confirmation arrived at 10:01, and informed me that tickets were general admission and were available only at Will Call. I don't know if I was one of the first 30, but I had bought the damn tickets within the first minute after they went on sale, so the chances are probably pretty good, right? I'll find out a week before the show when they email with instructions on how to get inside early.

The whole thing, from start to finish, from finding out the show date to getting my ticket confirmation, took about 72 hours, and for that, I have only one thing to say.....

Child 2 was able to read this to me. THANKS, TEACHERS, FOR TEACHING HIM TO READ. NO REALLY. THANK YOU.

Now, you whippersnappers out there are probably thinking to yourselves right now "so fucking what? What's the big deal?" My god, do you have to have such a fucked up attitude? I swear.... kids these days. AmIRight????

Well, rugrats, let me tell you about how it used to be. When we had to walk to school 4 miles every day in the snow.... with open toed sandals.... and paper bags for pants.... Let me tell you how it was when I was your age.....



So, back in the day.... the late 1980's and early 1990's.... I was in college in Santa Barbara and all I was really interested in was going to Grateful Dead shows. I had a car but not a lot of money and even though they played all over the country, I was in school and could only see them when they were in California, which was maybe 6-7 times a year. This was before the internet, of course. Try to imagine a world without the internet. Go ahead. I'll wait.


So, the only way to find out when they were playing next was to call their not toll free 900 number; they had these handy dandy fridge magnets so you wouldn't lose the number. I still have mine:

Duuuuuuude. Is this, like, a collector's item now?

You would just have to keep calling and calling and calling, at 79 cents a minute, to find out when their next show would be. There was never any notice, unless somebody you knew had a friend who knew a friend who once got high with the dude who wore that shirt at that one show and did that thing for Phil, remember that? Man, that was so funny. Was his name Dave? Or I think it was Bob. Or wasn't it something weird, like Sylvester? Anyway, unless you knew Steve, you had no idea when the next shows would be announced, so you just had to keep calling.

So, they would announce these tour dates 3-4 months in advance, and then they would have mail order tickets available before Ticketmaster had them on sale, and there was this major process involved in order to get your mail order tickets. And they were very strict. Unless you followed their instructions to the letter, they would return the whole thing to you and you would have NO tickets. That's would be, like, the worst thing ever. Luckily I'm good at following directions.

First you would need 2 #10 size white envelopes. Then you would need one 3 x 5 index card. These sizes were critical, your paperwork could be no larger and no smaller.

I thought I should put a graphic here to break up the text. This is what an index card looks like, kids!
Then you would need a postal money order.... no cash... no checks..... for the exact amount of the tickets you wanted (you were limited to 4) plus whatever their service charge was. One penny too much or too little? The whole thing comes back to you.

One of the #10 size white envelopes was to be a return envelope to you, should you be lucky enough to get tickets. You had to write your name and address and nothing else. Shit, I can't remember if you needed to put stamps on it or not. You know, I'm sure you did, and more than just a first class stamp, too. Anything more or less than this? NO TIX FOR YOU!

On the 3 x 5 index card you were to put your name, your address, your phone number, the location and date of the show you wanted tickets for, how many you wanted, and how much money you were enclosing. (Do I need to say again you weren't allowed to put anything more or less than that? I think you're getting the point by now).

The whole package: index card, self addressed stamped envelope, money order... went into the other #10 sized envelope, and you had to mail it off to their PO Box in San Rafael (you were allowed to request a return receipt, at least, so you knew it actually got there).

And it was all just random chance, apparently, the way they chose who would get tickets or not. There were some rumors, like if you had a return address in the Bay Area you would have a better chance of getting your tickets. Also, if you decorated the outside of your envelope, which you actually were allowed to do, that would make it stand out in the pile and also give you a better chance of getting tickets. This wasn't necessarily important most of the time, but if it was a popular show, like New Year's Eve shows, we did everything we could to make sure we got those things!!

A sample I found online. Having no artistic ability of my own, I probably just wrote "OH MY GOD PLEASE GIVE ME TICKETS OKAY THANKS" on mine.

And then? You would wait. Check your mail every day. Wait some more. Smoke some pot and check your mail again? Wait some more. I think it took about 6 weeks and if I recall correctly (HA! Not very likely) I got my tickets every time. I think it was just luck, though.

These are the only ones that seemed to have survived the years

So now you see why the 72 hour process of today is so fucking cool? I hope you young people appreciate what you have!! A paper bag for pants is all I had.

By the way, while I was looking through my old crap, I found this picture of me from my senior prom, taken in 1988. I don't look like this anymore:

Nuthin but hair and boobs. And attitude. And alcohol. Okay, those things are still the same.

image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Guest post: Can you help a sister out? #spd

My friend and blogging/twitter sister Brandi, who blogs at Dysfunctional Supermom has a just-turned 4 year old boy who was very recently diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder. As is often the case if you live on this planet and have a child with a diagnosis of some sort, they're having some trouble finding services. There are OTs in their area but they all have really long waiting lists. In the meantime, though: They need help! I asked her to tell me what issues she had, specifically, in the hopes that I could give her some tips, but then I figured, why not ask you guys, too? Who else would know how to help a little boy with SPD than a bunch of autie parents, right? So, here is what she sent me, please read and advise. THANKS!

He squints constantly. Especially when he's talking. Like blinking to the extreme.

He's eating all forms of paper. Paper, cardboard, his flash cards, books. Eating it. As in shitting paper, eating it. His pediatrician and speech therapist suggest "firmly reminding him that it's not food." Really?! Like I wouldn't have thought of that on my own or already be doing that...because after four kids and 14 years of mothering, I would have NEVER guessed to try that idea. Fucking idiots. NOT WORKING.

Food is a challenge. "PICKY" is a super understatement. He eats the following: chocolate milk, orange juice, apple juice, waffles, pancakes, chicken, potatoes (mashed, fried, baked), rice, chicken noodle soup, yogurt, pudding, bananas, apples, and bread. Sometimes... cheese. Rarely--oreos, vanilla ice cream, popsicle, teddy grahams (honey). He's a food Nazi. I supplement with Pedia-sure and liquid vitamins to make sure that he's not undernourished.

He refuses to wear shoes. About 98% of the time. And then...only crocs, which is FINE! But it's a fucking war to convince him to put those on. He doesn't like socks either. HATES them.

He hates any clothing but what is made out of knit cotton jersey and it better be soft and tagless and SOFT. Did I say soft? Because he will let you know in a heartbeat. It's itchy. Or makes him sweaty. Or it hurts.

Getting a haircut hurts him. What. The. Fuck.

Normal sounds hurt him. As in the sound of people talking... if there are more than 2 people in the room. He curls up in the fetal position, puts his fingers in his ears and screams bloody murder.

When he's nervous or worked up, he chews on his lips until he's bleeding and even then doesn't stop.

He scratches and claws at his own skin until it's red and sometimes bloody.

He sleeps sporadically and not on a normal schedule.

The only way to calm him if he's worked up is to put him in the water. Bath, shower, pool, ocean, even washing his hands...water soothes him. There are times when he stays in the bath or shower for and hour and a half but it works. There have been nights, we've gotten in the bath together at midnight, just to calm him down when the pajamas or sheets and blankets or the bed or something didn't feel right and he got worked up, so I could "reset" him.

I am so tired. And frustrated and angry and sad and grieving. A year ago, I had a beautiful little boy who didn't go through all of this shit and he just couldn't talk. Now I have a 4 year old little boy who is still heartbreakingly beautiful but his body fucking hates the environment around him and I don't know what to do.

I'm angry. So angry. I don't want this. I don't. I just don't.

I don't know what to do now.

How do I help him?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Awesome Guest Blogger is Awesome

So, if you're on The Twitter, and you're interested in The Funny, you need to be following The Empress. The Empress is always giving suggestions for funny people to follow and The Empress is always right. I learned very quickly to always obey whenever The Empress tells me to follow someone because, as I've said previously: The Empress is always right. So, when The Empress told me I needed to follow The Mrs, I didn't ask questions, I just hit that "follow" button. (Also pay attention to The Empress' Get To Know Thursdays where every Thursday she surprise features a funny blogger she thinks you should be reading. Every Thursday morning.... I wake up.... hoping.... *sniff* .... praying... *sob*.... But so far.... Nothing. One day, Empress. Oh, yes. One day..... uh... you will run out of other funny people to feature and I will be the only one left. THAT will be the day I shine.)

But THEN, a few days later, I actually went to The Mrs' blog and started reading (NO. I don't know why it took me so long! I have no excuses! All I can tell you is that I was probably drunk. I mean... it's plausible, right?).

First I saw like a scary, mascara-less box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. OMG! She draws bad pictures along with her funny!! So awesome.

And then I saw the super-secret dance party in my mind. Holy crap! She puts her bad drawings into videos along with her funny!!!!!

And THEN I saw it..... the one that would change my life forever: how to make a bowl of cereal in 12 easy steps.

It was love at first sight.

I immediately wrote to her on Twitter, telling her she was the next Allie Brosh (my blog idol) and that she needed to guest post for me. She's going to be famous one day, you see, and I want to be able to brag that "she once guest posted for me before she was an internet superstar!! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! I'M SO FUCKING COOL!!!"

Mark my words, people. MARK THEM!! And mrs? Scroll to the bottom, even though you've read this one before, because you have a prize waiting for you below.... (by the way, I write this before the results of the Vampire Squid T-shirt Contest results are announced and I have no idea who won.)

This is me (pissed off) meme
by The Mrs.

Dear Internet,

Sometimes, I think we were MFEO (please reference Sleepless in Seattle for further details on that acronym.) I mean, we like all of the same things—namely: wasting time, unicorns, and disastrous cakes. And you’re pretty knowledgeable, not to mention funny. We could spend all day together, and I still wouldn’t be sick of you.

Remember that time I made you my Valentine? Well, I almost made it official and proposed to you when I saw this:

Yeah, I thought we were pretty close, Internet. I can’t help but take issue with a certain meme that’s been making the rounds, though, and I think we need to have a serious chat.

I’m talking, of course, about the “This is Me Meme”. The This is Me Meme instructs bloggers to post portraits of themselves drawn by their children. Our very own Jillsmo posted her addition to the meme last week.

Well, Internet, I guess we don’t know each other as well as I thought we did. Because if we really were besties, you would know that 1. I don’t have children and 2. I HATE being left out.

I know the meme’s not taking over the universe or anything—it’s not Charlie fucking Sheen, for Chrissake (thank God)—but it’s gotten kind of popular. And as the meme continues to appear on blogs I read, I feel more and more cantankerous.

What’s a girl to do, Internet? Why are you discriminating against me? I thought we were pals.

I know we don’t do everything together. Sometimes, you branch out into activities that I can’t support, like when you started spending too much time with that Numa Numa kid.

And normally, I would brush something like that off and go about my day. But this? This feels personal. I mean, joining two of my favorite things—bad drawings and talking about myself—and then NOT letting me participate? That’s just cruel.

My first reaction was, of course, disappointment. Sadness, really, that my good friend the Internet was excluding me.

But then, as is my way, I got thoroughly pissed off.

So, guess what? Not that you asked, Internet (rude), but here’s what a rendering of me—drawn by anyone, but in this case myself—would probably look like.

(This is, of course, just a drawing. Cape and awesomeness are not to scale.)

I bet you feel foolish for trying to keep that drawing from the world. Don’t you?

Well, let this be a lesson to you, Internet. I am too tenacious to be held back by simple rules and instructions.

Your move, Internet.


The Mrs

P.S. Just kidding. You know I’m lost without you. This was all just an elaborate excuse to show you my cape. Nice, no? Let’s never fight again.


Dear The Mrs:

On behalf of The Internet, and I'm pretty sure I have authority to speak on its behalf, I would like to offer my humblest and most sincere apologies for the This Is Me Meme, which has caused you to feel bad. I assure you that The Internet had no intention of excluding you in such a cruel and spiteful manner.

Please accept this award that I have created, in the hopes that it will somewhat lift your spirits. I'm pretty sure this isn't exactly how these meme things work, where I just hand them out all willy-nilly-like, but I created the fucking thing and I get to decide to bestow it whenever the fuck I want! I have modified the rules slightly in order to make you extra happy. If you choose to pass this on (not like you have a choice, actually, but I thought I should imply that you did) the actual rules don't ask you to draw anything, just list them.


on behalf of The Internet

Rules for this award:

1. You must proudly display the absolutely disgusting graphic that I have created for these purposes (put it in your post, you don't have to put it in your sidebar, I think that would seriously be asking too much). It's so bad that not only did I use COMIC SANS, but there's even a little fucking jumping, celebrating kitten down there at the bottom. It's horrifying! But its presence in your award celebration is crucial to the memetastic process we're creating here. If you need a higher resolution version... I totally have one!!

2. You must list and then draw 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies. Just make some shit up, we'll never know; one of them has to be true, though. Of course, nobody will ever know the difference, so we're just on the honor system here. I trust you. Except for the 4 that you lied about, you lying bastards! But don't go crazy trying to think of stuff, we're not really interested in quality here.

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don't like or don't really have much of an opinion about. I don't care who you pick, and nobody needs to know why. I mean, you can give a reason if you want, but I don't really care.

4. If you fail to follow any of the above rules, I will fucking hunt your ass down and harass you incessantly until you either block me on Twitter or ban my IP address from visiting your blog. I don't know if you can actually do that last thing, but I will become so annoying to you that you will actually go out and hire an IT professional to train you on how to ban IP addresses just so that I'll leave you alone. I'm serious. I'm going to do these things.

5. This one isn't actually a rule, but once you do the above, please come back here and link up to the Memetastic Hop so that I can keep track of where this thing goes.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Amy

Today let's welcome Amy, who blogs at Not A Real Princess and can also be found on Twitter at @LLA_Princess. Go, Amy, GO!!!

Here’s a toast to the douche bags, toast to assholes…

There are so many times in life where we have two paths to choose: being a mature adult or an ignorant high school bitch. I generally pride myself at choosing maturity but there are times that the bitch in me wants to sneak out and rip into all those high school-like Mean Girls that get off on hurting people. The ones that just don’t get how much their immaturity and negativity affect those around them. So I’m hoping this letter is a way to be more mature about things than just stooping down to the level of the Mean Girls that are so hurtful.

I remember my first “adult” job when I was 20 in an office with a whole bunch of 40-something mothers. I was so shocked and saddened that they were just as catty and bitchy as girls in high school. I thought that people matured when they graduated school. No not at all. Back stabbing, secrets, cliques and popularity still rule in adulthood.

I realize, now, that some people think snarky and sarcastic means bitchy and hurtful. Is it so difficult to allow someone into your friend circle that is new? If you don’t like something they have said to you, why can’t you be mature enough to say something to them? Is it necessary to ignore them or tell others to? Is it jealousy? I’d like to think so, but honey I am not all that, nor do I portray myself to be. Do you pride yourself in collecting numbers of friends instead of accumulating lasting friendships? When you are alone with yourself at night how do you really feel about you? How do you feel about your life and who you have become? Do you even really know me? Here let me tell you about me:

Did you know that I am a 35 year old mother of 2 children on the autism spectrum? I struggle each day wondering if I am doing everything I can to help them be the best people that they can be. Did you know I cry when I think about my kid’s futures and fear that if I die before them, that no one will be there to care for them? I don’t live near family and have some great friends to drink and hang out with but really no strong connections with anyone in the autism community; like so many, I feel alone.

Did you know that I am a registered nurse? That my job is to help people that are depressed or suicidal or to get off of drugs and alcohol? Do you realize how many people come in the hospital because they feel worthless because of bullies? They may turn to drugs or alcohol or self mutilation because they are trying to mask the pain. Many times, they are trying to deal with so much pain from people judging them when they don’t even know them.

Did you know I have my own health issues? I struggle each day with arthritis and auto immune pain and exhaustion. That despite the fact that everything inside me says shut down, I don’t because I can’t. I have two little boys that need me and I can’t just give up. I have to keep fighting for them.

Maybe I thought you were funny. Now I realize you are nothing more than a bully. Someone who prides themselves in collecting superficial pats on the back and laughs at their witty remarks of self-loathing. You don’t deserve to know about me or my kids or my life. Deep down inside me I feel like maybe you are just a sad and lonely person that needs people that will be genuine and kind to them. Maybe you have those people and just don’t need me. Fine. But at least be mature enough to say so. Don’t be the dirt bag scum bag that steers other people’s opinions and friendships. Be your own person.

So here’s to you and all you have become. As Kanye sings, here’s “A toast to the assholes, the dirt bags, every one of them that I know.”

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Uhhhh

I'm running out of ways to creatively identify people who wish to remain anonymous. Suggestions?

Before I unload, cyberly-speaking, could I get a bourbon and scotch, on the rocks, with a tequila shooter? Thanks.

I have a mother-in-law. You know the kind. You might even have one. If you don't, consider taking mine. For the sake of my small nugget of a daughter, who adores her, I refrain from poking her in the face with a number two pencil.

For the decade that I've known my outlaw, she has always been self-centered. I knew bearing the first grandchild wouldn't diminish the fine lines and wrinkles of her overbearing personality, but the ruckus she stirred up over Lighting it up Blue last week, has left my mind reeling to piece back the remaining bits of the mental tornado aftermath she left in her wake.

[brief rewind]

My little one has Asperger's. From the time I brought her home from the hospital, there were the following issues:

"Don't hold me. I'm going to scream and never stop. Don't laugh or talk in my presence. It's too loud and hurts my ears. Oh, no coughing either. You're kidding me, right? You actually considered using a vacuum? That will set me off for days. Did I mention, don't hold me? Oh, and my screaming has two volumes. Loud and never-ending. You want to change my routine? Please see the previous sentences involving screaming. Sometimes I will scream for hours at a time and you won't know why." These issues continued. And new ones cropped up. And it got worse.

After months of reading and researching, I realized this was bigger than anything I could handle on my own. We started some early interventions I and was pretty convinced we were dealing with Asperger's, though we didn't get a formal diagnosis until few months later. This was something I broached with my outlaw. Although I don't agree with her on most everything, I believed our mutual affinity for this cute nugget of cuteness, might shift the focus onto something meaningful. I was met with a response that floored me. It shouldn't have, but it did.

My outlaw has been a nurse all her life and raised her own brood, as she pointed out to me. She'd seen it all and there was nothing wrong with my girl. In her experience, there were kids in far worse predicaments. As her mother, I just hadn't exposed her to enough and was being too hard on myself.

OH MY Guh! I didn't know being a nurse (in a completely unrelated field), by default, makes you an Autism expert. It's been months since my girl's diagnosis and I've long since given up on getting any kind of apology.

[abrupt fast forward to the point of our story]

I invited family and friends to take part in Lighting it up Blue. Key word "invite". With love and open arms. My outlaw, on the other hand, chose to strong-arm family and friends with inaccurate information about Autism (as a side note, she purposely misspells Asperger's because she doesn't like the name) and accusations about their lack of knowledge and support. Just short of beating them black and "blue" if they didn't participate. This went on for days! I was completely embarrassed for and by her. She certainly doesn't speak for me and I can only hope that her family, who has known her longer than I, is aware of this. She has used this opportunity to wear Autism as some personal badge of valor. I don't know that I will ever be able to let this go.

Fuck. I got through all of that without saying fuck. But that drink I got at the beginning of this is making me throw expletives to the wind. Fuckity fucker fuckington.

[pointless drivel]

So now, do I:

A) Continue to live like this never happened and continue my path of passive aggressive communication?

B) Carefront her?

C) Sharpen that pencil?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Tessa

Today we welcome Tessa, who blogs at Apples and Autobots. Welcome, Tessa!!

Dear Mom,

Six years ago, you were depressed, addicted to prescription pain pills, and trapped in an abusive marriage. I fucking saved your ass. My husband and I took you into our home without a second thought. You lived with us for five fucking years. We got you healthy. We helped you get a job. We helped you get your life back. And we never asked you for anything in return. Not one fucking thing. Why? Because that’s what family does. When someone’s down, family is supposed to be there. You’re not much on learning by example, are you mom?

You are by far one of the most selfish people I’ve ever known. I called you crying once because I couldn’t afford my son’s medicine. Oh, you gave me the money—and asked for it back two weeks later. Bitch.

When you lived with me, you constantly criticized my parenting. Your kids never acted like that. Surprise, surprise, mom. Eli has fucking autism! Of course he’s a little more challenging than what you’re used to. The thing is, you still criticize me. I don’t need that shit from you.

When we were paying out of pocket for Lela’s evaluation, you fucking promised me that you would pay half. Two thousand dollars was a bit much at one time, especially considering that Joe had lost his fucking job. You had just gotten married to a man whom you bragged wouldn’t let you take on any household expenses. You said it would be no problem to help, but when it came time to pay up, what did you give me? Fifty fucking dollars! And if you hadn’t had the money to help because of some unforeseen emergency, then I would’ve totally understood. But what did you spend that money on? A convertible. Yeah. A fucking car, that you didn’t even need, I might add, was more important than your granddaughter.

You live twenty minutes away. You pass my house on your way to work. I haven’t seen you in a month. Do you know what Lauren said when I recommended that she call you about Grandparent’s Day at school? She said, “Why? She’s not going to come anyway.” That’s right—my nine year old has already learned not to rely on you. Lela doesn’t even ask about you anymore.

I’m going through hell right now. Did you know? You certainly don’t listen to me when I call you to talk about it. “Oh, Noah will talk when he’s ready. You worry too much.” That’s not what I need to hear from you. I get plenty of that from other dumbasses. What I want from you is a little support. A shoulder to cry on. But that’s too much for you, isn’t it. You don’t even bother to read my blog anymore. What really makes me sick, though, is how you gush on Facebook about how you have the BEST daughter. How I’m your best friend. Well, guess what? I may be your best friend, but you certainly aren’t mine.

Yes. I would.

EDIT:  Here's an update for all my new readers

So, there's that age-old question that gets tossed around a lot: "If there was a pill that would take away your child's autism, would you give to to him?" The politically correct answer, and one that I hear most of the time, is no. Because my child is a unique snowflake and I would never want to change who he is; autism is a part of him and I wouldn't want him to be a different person.

See, I have a different take on that. My son is sweet and mellow and kind and scary smart and beautiful and happy... and he would still be all of things without the autism. In my opinion, not having autism would not change any of his wonderful qualities, it would not change who he is: he would still be the same person, just without the burdens that autism brings.

Now, it's important to mention that I am very much aware at how I have been changed as a result of autism. It's brought out my Mother Warrior; my "I am his fiercest advocate" side. It's allowed me to appreciate, so much more than I would have, all the NT-like things that both of my kids do (that are actually quite annoying).

The endless string of questions: I remember the day when I longed just to hear "Mama"; I can tolerate these questions that seem to never end.

When they sit on me until my legs and arms fall asleep: I remember the day when I wished he would just give me a hug without squirming to get away; I can deal with numb arms a little while longer.

How they insist on doing things for themselves, but not up to my "standards": I remember when I thought I would always have to get him dressed; he can go to school with his shirt on inside out.

And there are more, of course, but the truth is that it isn't about me. This question isn't about how I have been changed, and how much my life has, dare I say, benefited from having a child with autism. I may say that I wouldn't want to change anything about who he is because things are perfect just as they are, because they're not perfect for him. So, it's not about how much I've learned to appreciate these qualities in myself... it's about him.

So, yes. If there was a pill that would allow him to walk into the kitchen when there was already food on the table and not make him gag and have to run out of the room... I would give it to him.

And if there was a pill that would help him be able to navigate simple social situations without anxiety and without the ridicule and torment that I know he will face some day... I would give it to him.

And if there was a pill that would take away the unexplained and extreme anxiety about the fact that the light in his brother's room is on a dimmer switch... I would give it to him.

And if there was a pill that could help him take the thoughts that he has inside his head and form them into words, without having to struggle, and without frustration and with enough clarity that other people understood what he was saying... I would give it to him.

And after the pill, he would still be sweet and mellow and kind and scary smart and beautiful and happy... and he would also be free. Free of these things that burden him; free to be who he is.

So yes... I would do that for him. If I could.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Guest post: Domestic abuse and why I chose to live with my abuser

These beautiful and heartbreaking words were written by my very good friend Kelli who wrote the book, and runs the website and radio show Birth Stories on Demand. This was originally a "note" on Facebook and I asked her if I could post it here. Love you, Kelli!!!!

Domestic abuse and why I chose to live with my abuser….

I’m smart enough to know that I’m a victim of domestic abuse. I’m also smart enough to know that I can leave at any moment. So why do I stay?


Isn’t that always the answer?

I’ve been bruised from head to toe, knocked unconscious, suffered injuries that were visible and others that weren’t. I’ve had to make decisions about going out in public because of how my face looked, and what to wear to best cover my bruises and contusions. I’ve had a bank close my account because my signature never matched my signature card…but it doesn’t if your fingers are broken, strained, and sprained.

I don’t like to be hit. It hurts me physically, and it hurts my feelings. I know my abuser loves me. I also know my abuser will kill me. But I still can’t leave. So now what?

I live.

I always wanted to write a book, so I did. I’m learning to play the guitar. I would like to write songs too, so I will. There isn’t any reason to put it off, is there?

I hope the hitting will stop. I hope I don’t get killed in front of my children Q and Ainsley.

And If I am killed, I hope I don’t get revived by some well-meaning EMT or ER doctor. I would hate to have to die like that TWICE! I wear a DNR (do not resuscitate) bracelet, and have paperwork filed at the hospital. But this remains a huge concern of mine.

There was a day recently when my abuser was really out of control. The blows were coming, and coming, and coming I was seeing stars and unfortunately lost my footing. Now I was on the floor prone and in real trouble. I reached in my pocket for my phone and was able to dial 911 before the phone was thrown out of my hands. When the officer arrived, I was so relieved! I had survived it!! It was (thankgodinheaven) over. Just like that, calm replaced the savage beast. The police officer looked around the room and became hostile to me, “Why did you call the police?!” I looked at her with my eye, the one that wasn’t swollen shut, and apologized for calling her. My mistake. Clearly.

So why do I stay?

Because my abuser is my autistic daughter. She is now much larger than me and has no understanding of the damage she does. There doesn’t seem to be a way to stop her. Nor is there anyone who can help us. We’ve tried.

She has autism and I’m in stage 4 autism.

Written for April 2011. April is Autism Awareness Month.