xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Autism Shines

A new Facebook page, called Autism Shines, has been created where people can upload photos of themselves or of the people they know who are autistic. It was created to combat the disturbing trend of autism blaming that has jumped into the spotlight since last Friday's horrible events.

This is the real truth of autism: caring, kind, loving children and adults. Come and see their pictures and read their descriptions; even upload some of your own.

Let's make sure the world knows that this is what autism really is.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Guest Post: A Letter to Elisabeth from an autistic adult

This post was written by my friend Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, who blogs at Disability and Representation. Rachel is a writer and photographer, a disabled woman, and an activist passionate about disability rights. The piece is addressed to Elisabeth, the same person to whom I directed my last post. Please feel free to share it widely.

I saw your post making the rounds of Facebook today. I’m sure you know the one I mean. It’s the one in which you refer to autistic people as “monsters” who “need to be locked up… ALL OF THEM.”

I realize that you’re scared. I realize that we live in a country in which 20 little children were just murdered while sitting in their classrooms. I realize that you want to somehow solve it, that you want to somehow feel safe, that you want to somehow cast this evil out of our midst.

I understand how you feel. I feel scared, too. I want to solve it, and I want to feel safe, and I want to cast this evil out of our midst so that no one ever has to bury a loved one again after such a horror.

But calling for all to be punished for the evil done by one person — that is its own violence.

It is prejudice. To decide that, because one member of a group did a despicable thing, all members of that group are suspect is the very definition of prejudice.

It is scapegoating. The person who did that despicable act didn’t do it because he was autistic. I don’t know why he did it, but autism wasn’t the cause.

It is verbal violence. It engenders hatred. It has the potential to put innocent people at risk. I have friends who are fearful for their safety right now. I know parents who are afraid for the safety of their children right now. Innocent people. Good people.

People like me.

I am on the autism spectrum. Let me show you who I am.

This is a picture of me with my husband Bob. It was taken at my kid’s high school graduation in 2011. I look distinctly like a full-fledged human being, don’t I?

That’s because I am. I’m a human being with a husband and a kid who love me, and who rely on me, and who can’t imagine their lives without me.

I’m a human being with friends both near and far.

I’m a human being who loves to write and to think and to create things of beauty.

I’m a human being who becomes upset at injustice, and who sometimes can’t sleep at night because she feels the suffering of other human beings so deeply.

I’m a human being who walks into any situation just wanting to help and to extend a kindness.

I’m a human being whom other human beings implicitly trust, because they know that I would never use anything they tell me against them, and that I would never break a confidence, and that I would never willingly hurt a living soul.

That is who I am.

Autism doesn’t make monsters. The monster is the fear that evil creates.

Don’t let the evil win. Don’t let it make you see monsters in the place that human beings are standing. Because if you do, evil wins. And after the events of last Friday, none of us wants to see that happen.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A letter to Elisabeth J.A.

This screenshot has been making the Facebook rounds; I don't know where it originated from and I've done my best to remove the identifying information. Seeing this makes me want to start sobbing and run and hide from the world, but instead of lying on the floor in the fetal position, I thought I would try to calmly respond to this, in the hopes that Elisabeth might see it.

Elisabeth, my son is autistic; I call him Child 1. He's 10 years old, will be 11 in January. His autism affects him in a way that causes him to spend a good deal of time "lost" in his own thoughts. When you talk to him, he is very likely to respond to you in a way that involves whatever he is thinking about (elevators, subway trains, etc.) and oftentimes it doesn't make a lot of sense. He also flaps his hands and runs back and forth a lot. He doesn't like it when other people try to engage with him, particularly people his own age. He likes to be alone. If you were to meet him, it would be obvious to you almost immediately that there was something "different" about him. You wouldn't necessarily know what was going on, but you would know that there was something happening.

Sometimes he gets angry with me, usually because he doesn't get his way, much like any other kid, and when he does he will hit me. He doesn't hit hard, he doesn't cause injury, and he does it only to express his frustration. He feels frustrated because he's not getting what he wants but also because he has a very difficult time explaining to me how he is feeling. Have you ever been having a conversation and suddenly you can't find the word to describe what you want to say but you don't know why? You might say it's "on the tip of my tongue," or something similar. Imagine if all of your words were always "on the tip of your tongue." That's how my son feels almost all of the time, and as you hopefully are able to understand, that can be a very frustrating feeling. If you felt like that all the time, you might want to hit me, too: in the moment.

But then the moment is over, and my son's frustration will subside, and he will go about his business just as happily as before. This is typical autistic behavior, and it comes with differing levels of severity depending on the individual person. What is not typical autistic behavior is somebody who will irrationally direct violent rage onto a person who is not immediately connected to their situation. They will not spend any time plotting revenge, or planning what they will do next; they will not drive to a different location and shoot people they don't even know. When the frustration is gone, it is gone.

My son is who you're talking about when you refer to "these monsters," and I'm writing this now because it's so important to me that you know about him, and others likes him. Autistic people are not "sick fucks." My son is not a "sick fuck." He is a sweet, beautiful, smart child, who is funny and warm and caring, just like most autistic people are, regardless of their ability to communicate. Elisabeth, what happened in Connecticut didn't happen because the shooter was autistic.

Here's another point of information for you to know: 46% of autistic children have reported being bullied in middle school and high school. This happens for a number of reasons, most notably because 1. They are noticeably "different," as I mentioned about my son earlier, and 2. There is a good deal of misinformation out there about autism, a lot of which is being spread by an irresponsible media at the moment, and your words here cause harm. You are helping to spread incorrect information about my son and you are causing him harm. 

You need to know that my child has a much greater chance of being a victim of violent crime than of being a perpetrator. You need to know this, Elisabeth; you need to be aware of how your words cause harm. I understand your anger at the situation, I'm angry, too; and I understand your need to try to find meaning in why 20 babies and 6 adults had to die, but I promise you, Elisabeth, I promise: autism is not the reason for this. 

I'm happy to talk with you more about this privately if you'd like to contact me. jillsmo at gmail.com; I promise I'm a nice person and my goal here is to educate, not to cause a fight.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Connecticut tragedy and autism

I sent this letter to every single person I could think of at our district, including the Superintendant and the School Board.  Feel free to grab it and use it as your own, although I did borrow some of the language from the Autism Discussion Page on Facebook.

Dear (school) community:

There has been much discussion online and in the news about the connection between the Connecticut school shooting and the fact that the shooter may have been diagnosed with autism. As our families and our community discusses this issue and tries to find a reason for this heartbreaking tragedy, I feel that it is very important to remember the following: There is no connection between planned, violent behavior and an autism spectrum diagnosis of any kind.

Autism is not a mental illness; it is a developmental disability. Many autistic people may have emotional regulation problems, which are impulsive expressions of frustration and anger, that are immediate and disorganized. They may lash out with threatening statements or behaviors, but these behaviors are impulsive reactions, they are not deliberate or organized plans. Once the situation has been diffused, the behaviors will stop. What happened in Connecticut required methodical planning of a deliberate and tremendously violent act; this is not typical behavior of an autistic person.

Right now we are all struggling to find a reason why this kind of atrocity would happen, and we can speculate about the mental state of the shooter; about gun control laws; about the current state of our country’s mental health system, or about whatever else that might help us make some sense out of this. Please know, and please tell your children, that even if the shooter was autistic, autism is not the explanation for this tragedy.

If anybody has any questions about autism, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you very much for your time,

Mom to (Child 1) in 5th grade, with autism

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sunspots have faded and now I'm doing time

Somebody thanked me today for a post I wrote about 6 months ago, ironically it was a post I had written in response to people thanking me for posts I've written. She said it saved her from despair, and it got me thinking about how I have apparently gained myself this reputation for speaking the truth about things, but I haven't been doing very much of that lately. So, I thought I'd do it again and explain the real reason why I've pretty much stopped blogging: depression.

I'm struggling. Hard. The last 6 months or so have been really difficult. I've been depressed my entire life, at some point in the last 10 or so years I just came to terms with the fact that my brain chemistry is fucked and I would need to be on some kind of medication for the rest of my life, but apparently they stop working after you've been taking them for 20+ years and so I'm currently in the middle of trying to work out the chemistry in my fucked up head, and it's been an enormous struggle.

I know I'm not the first person who has stopped blogging because of depression, in fact I know that a few of my blogging idols have gone that same route.

Right now I'm in this place where I bounce back and forth from being semi okay to being very very not okay; it's completely unpredictable and I'm literally a slave to my emotions. Some days it's all I can do to just get the bare minimum done, and even then I don't do it all that well. Blogging, or being funny, or being eloquent, or being meaningful,,,, is simply impossible. Even typing this words right now is a huge effort for me. So I'm just waiting.... waiting for the brain chemicals to figure themselves out and for things to get better. Fuck, waiting is hard.

I'm not really sure why I'm writing this. Is it to "de-stigmatize mental illness?" I've always hated shit like that, it sounds so phony. Do I feel the need to "come clean" about where I've been? I don't know, I don't think I owe anybody an explanation. I'm not doing this for your pity (turning off comments, sorry), this is not a cry for help, and I'm definitely not asking for advice; it's just more informational than anything else. This is what's going on with me. I bet it's also what's going on with a lot of you. I guess we should talk about it? Will that help?

So, I'm just writing this to get it out there, I guess. I mean... what's the worst that can happen? That the world will know? Isn't that the point of this truth-telling reputation I've gained for myself? To be honest about the good and the bad and all that's in between? Although maybe this is too honest; too much information. I don't know. If I end up regretting this, I'll just delete it.....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things I find in my house 15

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Out of the mouths of babes 34

The scene: The Smo family is sitting down to a lovely meal that Mr. Smo has prepared.

fade in

Me: This is awesome! Thank you, Daddy, for making such an awesome meal! (whisper) Child 2, thank Daddy for the awesome meal (/whisper)

Child 2: Thank you, Daddy! This is the best meal I've had ever since the last meal I had that was a great meal!

Me: Nice. (whisper) Child 1, say something nice to Daddy about the food (/whisper) 



Friday, November 30, 2012

It was a Pyrrhic victory

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Social media tips from @jillsmo

Let's say you're following somebody on twitter who annoys you. You think they're a whiner, you think they talk too much about getting drunk or something, you think they're a shitty parent.... for whatever reason, you don't like them. You no longer wish to read the things they have to say about their lives.

This is potentially a very common problem for those of us who use social media, and so I've decided to use my vast social media experience and give you guys some tips on how to deal with a terrible situation like this.

If the offensive behavior is happening on Twitter, here's a simple button you can press that will instantly alleviate you of your crushing burden:

And on Facebook? There's a similar button!

Here's what you should NOT do, however:

Because.... why is being an asshole necessary?

The answer is that it isn't: being an asshole is not necessary. It makes you angry, it makes other people angry, it causes unnecessary fighting; it's just bad shit, in general. If something bothers you so much that you feel the need to say really, really shitty, personal things to somebody you don't even know? Fuck off and keep scrolling.

In short, my social media tips can be summed up with this handy graphic, which you are free to use and share:

For more social media tips, constant talk about vodka, stories about shitty parenting, or just general planet-killing irresponsibility, you can follow me on twitter at @jillsmo or on Facebook at Yeah. Good Times. YAY!

Friday, November 23, 2012

The bane of my existence

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The ebbs and flows of poor personal hygiene

Earlier today I was sittin' ... just sittin'.... you don't need to know where.... and I was looking at my arms and noticing that I have a ton of freckles and sun spots and shit. I remember asking my doctor about them years ago, she said they're there "because you're old." I love her. That's just something that happens to your skin when you've spent your life in the sun, it develops freckles and spots and other unsightly things.

But today I noticed something was new; there was a new spot I hadn't seen before. I spotted it and immediately thoughts of melanoma went through my head. That's the kind of cancer that killed my brother so everybody in my family is hypersensitive about any changes to our skin. I inspected it and saw that it was dark and symmetrical in color and shape, so probably not melanoma. Probably just a new freckle that's there because I'm old. I pondered the new spot on my arm, thinking about life and how everybody ages; one day my kids will be my age and I'll probably be dead; one day they'll have kids of their own who will also be my age... the circle of life, the constant ebbs and flows of it all. Very existential stuff for a Sunday morning.

But then I moved and I bumped my arm onto the side of the counter and suddenly half of my new spot was gone! So, I scratched at it and the rest of it just came right off.


I guess it was food. Last night I made duck with a miso glaze and my spot was the exact same color that the duck skin had turned out to be. A nice, deep dark red, almost black; it really was very tasty.

So much for the ebbs and flows of life, this was just some food I'd dropped on myself while I was eating, about 12 hours earlier.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fuck you, cancer

We have this area in our house that has a very long section of floor; you can see by the picture, which I took just now, that today the space is used to spread out a really long piece of easel paper, and said paper is then used to draw elaborate BART tracks or elevator schematics. When Child 1 was a pre-walking baby, this space was used for him to crawl back and forth, or push his cart back and forth. Eventually, and also today, this space was used for him to run back and forth.

My brother died in April 2003, he was 35; in 5 months it will have been 10 years. One day when Child 1 was a baby he was at my house, sitting on the couch that would have been just off to the top left of that picture. Watching Child 1 crawl back and forth in that space I remember him commenting "wow, he really likes to go back and forth back there," or something like that; I don't remember the specifics. It didn't make an impact at the time but I guess it stuck in my mind, for some reason.

This was before our diagnosis, before Child 1 even had a speech delay; he was 15 months when my brother died. We had no idea, at the time, that this space would become significant in later years; when he would spend hours running back and forth in this space, this roomy space on the other side of the couch. Where he can now spread out his very long piece of easel paper and draw his most favorite things. There was nothing significant about his comment of my brother's, at the time.

Today, though, I will sometimes watch Child 1 flap his hands, jump up and down and run back and forth in this space, and my memory of that day is sparked. I remember what my brother said about that space behind the couch and I get angry; so very very fucking angry. My brother, who took notice of the significance of this back and forth space before any of the rest of us did: he's supposed to be here now. He was supposed to have been here when Child 1 started walking, when he was diagnosed, when he went through his home program, when his brother was born, when his brother started walking, when they both went off to school..... He was supposed to be here for this. He's supposed to be here now. He's supposed to know his nephews, to be the awesome Uncle who gives them treats and teaches them tricks that I disapprove of, who they want to hang out with when they have a day off. He was supposed to be here for them. They're supposed to know him.

He would have kids of his own now; I would have my own nephews or nieces. My kids would have these cousins, they would have their play house in San Francisco with all the toys and the games and the piano. This is what was supposed to have happened. But cancer had other plans for us, apparently. And almost 10 years later I still get so angry about it. So fucking angry.

This isn't how it was supposed to be.

It's not fair. It's not fucking fair.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dead mouse revisited

I discovered a dead rat in my house earlier today and as I forced hubs to deal with it, while I cowered in the corner, I was reminded of what happened the last time I found a dead rodent in my house: My most favorite post ever. I originally posted this in July 2011

So, it was Friday night, late, and I was making my final rounds through the house, turning off lights and such, when I encountered 2 things in my TV room: 1. A dead mouse, and 2. A bowl of cheerios that had been spilled all over a chair. I took pictures of them both, assuming I had something for a "Things I Find In My House" post.... little did I know that fate had other things in store for this particular blog post. I would show them to you, but, nobody really needs to see a picture of a dead mouse, right? So you can imagine what it looked like. Plus, I have no doubt that you can also imagine what a spilled bowl of cheerios might look like.

I stood there for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do about this situation. Normally what I would do would be to call hubs and make him deal with the dead mouse, and then get one of the kids to come and clean up their mess on the chair. However, everybody was already in bed, hubs had the flu, and I figured I should just deal with it, myself. But what was I supposed to do?

Then it came to me! I'll take the bowl, where the cheerios used to be, and I'll use it as a scooping device, of sorts, and I'll take the dead mouse outside! Awesome! Oh, did I mention that it was Friday night? And that I was drunk? Yeah. That fact isn't necessarily important to the outcome of this story, but it should be pointed out, nonetheless.

So, I do the scooping thing, and I head into the backyard, and suddenly I'm being followed by about 5,000 (murderous) cats who are very interested in what I might be carrying in this bowl. Hey, what do you have there, human? Can I see? Can I just check it out? Just real quick like? And suddenly I have this sense of urgency, that I must get rid of this mouse as soon as I possibly can. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with it; I actually considered composting it, but that would have required a whole lot more effort than I was interested in at the moment, so, instead, I head to the back of our backyard, to the fence that separates our property from the neighbors, and.... observe.......

And then I went inside and went to bed.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

The R-Word and Why It Matters: The Case of Jenny Hatch

Please take a moment to read this article, written by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg, about Jenny Hatch. Jenny is a high-functioning 28-year-old woman with Down Syndrome who has been placed under temporary guardianship and sent to a series of group homes, away from the community she knows and loves, and against her will, and then sign the petition at Change.org.

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Horray for vaginas!

Last night was a victory for vertical smiles across the country!!  Congratulations cooches!!!

Let this be a lesson to the cranky old men who want to wield their power sticks and try to control our love muffs.

Our beavers will not be silenced. Last night they spoke out, taco-style, and discharged a very clear message to politicians: Stay out of our clams!!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Things I Find In My House

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm getting fuzzy for my boys

Look at me, I'm wearing a mustache in that picture. Isn't that CRAZY???

Well, no, not really, but here's me wearing a french maid's uniform AND a mustache. That's actually more awkward than anything else.

For the month of November I will be participating in Movember, which means I'll be wearing a mustache here and on Twitter, and probably Facebook. And wherever else I go, I don't know, reddit? Anyway, Movember is a movement to raise awareness for testicular and prostate cancer. Men are supposed to stop shaving and grow a mighty stache; women support them by.... well, considering my PCOS I probably could grow a mighty stache if I wanted to, but, no.... not so much. Instead I put a fake mighty stache in my avatar.

Oh, and I create a page at Movember.com in case anybody wants to donate. Money goes directly towards prostate cancer and testicular cancer initiatives. After all, I live with 6 testicles and 3 prostates that all need to be kept safe!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog of the month for November, plus a present for its owner

This month I'm putting in my sidebar the awesome hand drawn logo of Bec, who blogs at Snagglebox - Autism Parenting Support (and can also be found on Twitter here and on Facebook here).

Bec's blog is an awesome resource for autism parents; it's informative and helpful, but most importantly... it's FUNNY. You might remember Bec from a previous The Funniest Thing I've Seen All Week where I laughed my ass off about Tarzan and pronoun reversals, but this month she's getting her own spot in my sidebar. Because the world needs to know about Bec, she's simply not famous enough, and I know that by doing this I will get her at least two new readers. Maybe three.

Oh, and then there's one other thing...... I don't exactly remember why, but at some point I told her I would draw a picture of myself in a french maid's uniform. I was probably drunk at the time (obvs) and I seriously don't even remember the discussion, but she has reminded me that I owe her this, and I always follow through on my promises of shitty artwork. Always.

So, Bec.... here you go. Enjoy! :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cancer is bullshit

I think there's a meme or a hop or something with that name, but I don't know exactly who or where. I don't mean to steal it, I'm just joining in on the sentiment.

I'm not even going to go into details, because I know that every single person reading this will think "yeah, fuck cancer!" The details aren't important, really: somebody we know, somebody we love, somebody we admire, somebody we met once... they had a family, they had friends, they had kids, they had a career..... They were loved and they are gone now and they will be fucking missed. 

And, once again, we all need to remember that life is short. All we have is today, even with a goddamn hurricane outside, but find the people you love and tell them that you love them. Don't assume that they know, don't assume that anybody knows anything; if you don't tell them, they might honestly be unaware. Make a point of it. Do it today.

Tell them you love them. Tell you them you appreciate them. Tell them.

Tell them because cancer is bullshit, and any one of us could be next.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

This one's for the nutjobs

Recently one of my tweets, talking about my vagina, was picked up by the hatesite Twitchy.com. Apparently some people who happen to be voting for Mitt Romney this year took some offense to the idea that... well, they just take offense to anything a liberal has to say, do the specifics really matter? And so they created this thread complaining about me, and suddenly I was getting it on twitter from all sides. It was really confusing, I had no idea where they were coming from until somebody told me. I mean, I'm just this little tweeter, who cares what I say? I wasn't at all bothered by it, by the way, so there's no need for you guys to tell me you're sorry about the haters. In fact, thanks to these guys, my little teeny twibbon campaign doubled its number of "supporters," so, actually ... thanks haters!!!!

I don't mean that all conservatives are nutjobs, of course, I just mean these in particular. You know, the ones who spend all their time online talking about how awful liberals are. Liberals do that, too, but I've never actually been targeted by them before, so this is my whole frame of reference. I think that rational people will agree that there are extremists on both sides of everything, but most people are cool and capable of rational discussion. Nutjobs, however, don't care about rational discussion and they create sites called Twitchy.com where people who agree with each other about how evil liberals are can talk to each other about how liberals are evil. Again, I know there are liberal sites that do this, too, I've just never been called out on one of those.

Anyway, I have this thing that Child 2 drew last weekend, and I've been sitting on it because I wasn't sure if I should post it or not. However, after having heard from all these lovely people about how much of a loser I am and how they feel sorry for my kids because of me, I've decided to post it; in their honor.

The back story is that we were having brunch with my parents and my mom asked Child 2 about politics, and he said "I hate Mitt Romney!" My mom said "hate is a really strong word," and so he took a pen and paper and wrote this, instead.

Again, I wasn't going to do anything with this, but now that the nutjobs have found me, I'm posting it for them. You may hate me simply because of what I think, which is fucking stupid, but just so you know.... I'm raising a second generation of liberals and there's not a goddamn motherfucking thing any of you can do about that.

So suck on that, bitches.


P.S. Looking forward to reading your hate comments!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dear @AnnCoulter: This is who you insult with your words

Dear Ann Coulter:

I don't post pictures of my kids or of myself here, but if I did, now would be the time where I would show you a picture of my beautiful child, who is autistic. I would show you his picture and I would tell you that when you call people "retard," it is my child, and the adults in the disabled community who help guide his way, that you are insulting with your hate speech. My child, who is sweet and kind and is 1,000 times a better person than you are.

I don't post pictures of my kids or of myself, but my friends do, so I'm putting a linky below for anybody who wants to post a picture of themselves or of their child with special needs, and then link up below so that everybody can see exactly who it is you're insulting with your hateful ugliness.

Contact me at jillsmo at gmail.com with questions about how to use this.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why I don't blog much anymore

This is what I look like much of the time

Friday, October 12, 2012

heh heh. yeah.

I did this at upworthy.com

h/t Danielle

Thursday, October 11, 2012

And the winner IS...

Fucking everybody. Everybody guessed correctly in yesterday's guessing game. Well, pretty much everybody. So, nobody gets a prize. Actually I think I might give prizes to the people who got it wrong, since there were so few of you. I'll think about it.

So, yeah. It was #3, the two different types of pasta that made him gag, but I was really surprised by that! He used to be a huge gagger (TWSS) but he's gotten so much better in the past few years that it rarely happens at all anymore; only from old food that's been left out for a while and from the smell of parmesan cheese, because, come on.... parmesan cheese smells like barf, of course that's going to make you gag. Unless you're like me and eat that stuff by the handful, because DAMN I love cheese.

But I digress..... So, Mac & Cheese, in our house, requires a lot of discussion beforehand. There are 4 different types: Short, which for some reason is what we call the classic macaroni noodle, and Regular, which for some reason is what we call the shells, and then there's orange and white. So, if I ever want to make it, I have to get preapproval for the type and color, because there can't be any surprises. Last night was "short orange" night. The problem, though, is that a long time ago I bought this huge box of regular orange at Costco and for the life of me I can't get this fucking stuff to move no matter how much I try. I'm constantly pushing the regular orange but they both constantly turn it down. I even try to sneak it into things, but I always get caught. I really need to do something with my 736 boxes of regular orange mac & cheese.

So, last night I thought I had 2 boxes left of short orange but it turned out I only had one and of course the 736 boxes of the hated kind, so when I opened what I thought would be 2 of the same kind and poured them into the boiling water without looking, I was quite surprised to find out that they were, in fact, different.

Well, shit. I'm making it anyway. It's too late at this point and I'll be damned if I'm going to throw it all out and then re-negotiate another dinner. He'll probably be pissed but he'll still at least accept it, and that was true. I mean, the look on his face was that of utter and complete bewilderment and disgust, but he did take it (and he wasn't forced to eat it in the kitchen, btw, they both had it on the couch in front of the TV. Because I'm a good mom) but he gagged on it while he was carrying it away, and I was surprised by that. It wasn't from the smell, it wasn't from the texture, it was from the clashing pasta types. I guess it's good that I can still be surprised by things at this point?

Anyway, he took it and he did (kind of) eat it, and I didn't actually take a picture of the bowl when he returned it, although I should have, but I was able to find one online to show you these relatively accurate before and after pics:



That's pretty much how it looked, and of course my dinner for the night last night was a lovely bowl of regular orange shells that had been pawed through and then discarded. I couldn't let it go to waste.

Child 2, on the other hand, was delighted to have 2 different kinds of pasta to eat. It was like an eating adventure, he said!

I'm hungry now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let's play a guessing game!!!!!!!

Why did this plate of Macaroni and Cheese, which I made tonight for dinner, make Child 1 gag?

  1. Because it's orange instead of white
  2. Because he was forced to eat it at the kitchen table with a fork, rather than in his room with his hands
  3. Because there are two different kinds of pasta
  4. Because it doesn't have enough milk mixed in with the cheese.

Go ahead and guess! Maybe the winner will get a prize :)

EDIT: While technically "all of the above" could be a correct answer on any given night, tonight there was only one specific reason.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pokemon is destroying my confidence as a parent

I'm fucking cool; I'm a cool parent, I swear to god. First of all, I say things like "I'm fucking cool," which, right there solidifies my status as "cool parent." I'm extremely tech savvy, I'm up on the latest tech trends, I can figure out how to make things work without the help of my kids: I'M COOL, GODDAMMIT.

I've always been determined not to be one of those "lame" parents who doesn't understand the little neurotypical games that their neurotypical little boy plays with his neurotypical little friends. I play video games with him, even if I suck at it. I listen while he explains, in excruciating detail, how he beat Koopa by throwing that turtle just at the right time. I get it. I may not care, but at least I understand; I can speak his language. I'm. Fucking. Cool.

Enter Pokemon.

I don't know what it is about those stupid things that just makes my brain completely shut down. I didn't even understand what they were for a long time; I had to ask somebody on Twitter (everybody say thank you to GoodNghtIrene), and even now it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. They're pocket monsters, they have unique skills, they fight each other. When they talk, they only use words that are variations of their own names, for some reason. (I find that very annoying).

You collect them. You play a card game. You watch the TV show. You talk about them incessantly. These are all relatively simple things, right? I'm fucking smart; I should be able to understand this, but NO! I just don't get it.

Over the weekend Child 2 tried to teach me how to play, and I sat there at the kitchen table, trying very very hard to understand, but it was like he was speaking a different language. Hubs tried to help, too, but it just wasn't sinking in.

Eventually I just threw up my hands and said "NO! I'M NOT DOING THIS! I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS I CAN'T DO THIS!" while Child 2 is still insisting, "It's easy. I'll teach you." NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!

And then earlier today I'm in Target, and my mission is to purchase some new cards that got ruined yesterday during a game (OMG don't ask), and I'm staring at this display and... what? What am I supposed....? I don't underst-..... So, I call hubs (because Child 2 doesn't have a phone and I can't call him) and say "What am I getting?" and he starts rattling off my various options and I'm looking at this display and I am unable to make the connection between what I'm seeing and what he's saying. Dragon Exalted? I don't see any dragons. Which one is exalted? Where does it even say that? Which one of these packages should I be looking at? OH MY GOD I don't know what I'm doing.

What is that.... I don't even....
I'm not a cool mom, after all. I'm a lame mom.

Goddammit, I'm a fucking lame mom.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Discovering the Bosley difference

There are these obnoxious commercials you sometimes see on late night TV (I saw them when I was watching Adult Swim) for this hair restoration procedure, which is really just a scam for men to shell out thousands and thousands of dollars because society dictates that you must look a certain way if you ever want to have sex with anybody... and they show these before and after pictures of these guys and they ask "which picture looks better?" Except in the before picture the guy is always sad, forlorn and bald, and in the second picture the guy is always happy go-lucky and with hair.  Observe:

Does Joe look better without hair....

or with hair....

Huh. I wonder what that Bosley "difference" is, exactly?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pure, unadulterated bragging

I don't even care how obnoxious this will sound, I'm so proud of my kid right now, and also myself, so I'm going to brag my fucking ass off right here right now! Sorry if this is annoying, maybe you want to skip this one if you're tired of rainbows and unicorns.

I don't think I've talked about Child 1 and homework here for a while. It's a struggle, to say the least. I'm incapable of doing it with him and we had a tutor for years but this year I decided we couldn't really afford it anymore, so I guess fuck homework? We just won't do it, I don't care. It's not worth it.

Fortunately for everybody in the entire world, though, we got the greatest teacher who ever lived this year, who happens to be a former Special Ed teacher, and who totally fucking gets it. So, I told him about our homework issues and maybe there's a way to figure out how to get him to do it by himself? In the end it's the goal, anyway, so let's give it a try?

So I said, let's come up with something really really easy just to get him in the habit of doing it by himself; like one page with two math problems on it, and I will withhold his fun stuff until he gets it finished and our wonderful fabulous teacher came up with a modified homework packet. Very very simple stuff. (Have I mentioned how awesome this guy is? He's also the teacher representative on the PTA Executive Board and I have now learned that he gets really embarrassed when you say these things to his face and in front of his boss, the principal, who also goes to those meetings).

Anyway, today was our first day having math homework. Child 1 has a mental block about math; in a nutshell it's an emotional thing for him, he hates it and it makes him cry. However, he's actually really good at math and I know this because 1. I've watched him do multiplication in his head and 2. His IAs constantly tell me that he whips this shit out like nobody's business when he's in class. His thing, though, is to say "I don't know how" or "I can't do this, it's too hard" or whatever.... basically he's pretending he can't so that he can get out of it, which is what makes homework such a struggle every time. But this time I took the attitude that "yes you can" and "whatever, take your time, I'll be in the kitchen and you can have your fun stuff whenever you're done."

So, he said "Tell me how to do this. I don't know how to do this, it's too hard" and I told him (and this is the part where I'm proud of myself, too) "I do not accept 'I can't do this' because you can do this. I know you hate math but I also know you can do it and that you're good at it" and I left the room.

Not 5 minutes later he comes running in, "I'm done!" and sure enough, the math problems were done. He did it all by himself, and with ease. I was SO GODDAMNED PROUD OF HIM. After the high fiving and the "you're awesomes" were done, I kneeled down and said to him "never say you can't do something, even if you don't like it and even if it's hard, because you can do anything."

He had the hugest smile. Good fucking stuff, man.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An aspect of parenting I could happily live without

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog of the month: Autism Underground

This month's featured blog (in my sidebar) is a brand new blog produced by a group of anonymous autism parents called Autism Underground. It is described as "Raw, uncensored, heartfelt stories from the trenches. We are autism parents. We love our children. We're keeping it real."

Okay, well, first of all, I think it's pretty obvious that I am one of those "anonymous" parents, and I chose to be the only person who uses their real name so that I can pimp out the blog and the posts to my tens of followers. Plus I don't really care what anybody thinks of the truth that I tell on the internet. There are others involved, I am not the brains behind the operation, I'm just the only one using my "real" name. But don't ask me who the other people are, 'cause nuh-uh.

It's like one big Dive Bar, but its own blog, and it's only about autism parenting. This means that the posts aren't always going to be fun to read; if you're one of those "kumbaya everything is wonderful all the time" kind of autism parents, you're not going to like it. It will make you feel uncomfortable, but that's actually the point. The other parents posting on this blog are unable to speak their truth on their own blogs, for fear of retaliation or ostracization or whatever else the internet or the real world might bring them. This blog has been created for truth telling purposes, and the truth isn't always pleasant. But it's still the truth.

What you're going to read here is real, honest, brutal, heartwrenching stories from parents in the trenches. Nobody is going to hold back, this is the real deal.

I highly recommend it.

You can also find us on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Full disclosure: I administer both of those pages. I also get the emails which are sent to AutismUnderground@gmail.com

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The funniest thing I've seen all week

This week there are three things.

Thing the first is from a post from my friend Bec who blogs at Snagglebox. This picture is being taken out of context, from a very informative post she wrote about autism and pronoun reversal, but I saw this and couldn't stop giggling about it for days afterwards:

Thing the second is just a random tweet that passed by my timeline, from @Leggalicious. ALSO couldn't stop giggling about this one for days. I told her she's a fucking nutjob. She agreed.

And thing the third, which I'm guessing a lot of you have seen already because I've been talking about it for days. The best Facebook thread I have ever participated in, hands down.

Seriously, this shit is internet comedy GOLD.