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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Two shameless brags. Because I can.

Today I will be bragging about my kids. I know, it's uncool to brag about your kids, but fuck it. Today I will be bragging about my kids. Because my kids are awesome.


Child 1 is obsessed with calendars right now. Pictured above is a blank dry erase calendar that he has been filling out and erasing and filling out again. He'll ask us to pick a month and a year and then he'll fill it in. I'm sure it's 100% accurate every time, I don't actually check. Anyway, part of his calendar obsession has been talking about dates in the past, and things coming up and such (it reminds me of Griffin). This weekend was his tutor's birthday, and on Saturday he says "Today is April 28th, it's Karen's birthday." And then he asked me for my phone so that he could call her and wish her a happy birthday. He had to leave her a voicemail and it was his first one, so I helped him out. He said "This is Child 1. Happy Birthday. Goodbye."

So fucking adorable.


I was doing homework with Child 2 last week and this was his math problem:
Since this is 1st grade math, I'm pretty sure the goal of having to explain his answer was for him to show that he understands that half of fruit bar A is more fruit bar than half of fruit bar B, so he's probably supposed to say "I want half of fruit bar A because there would be more for me to eat." Instead, he looks at it for a while and then he says "Fruit bar B." "Why?" I ask. "Because I don't like fruit bars."

It reminded me of the time when we were participating in the Infant Sibling Autism Study at the MIND Institute, he was maybe 18 months, and they gave him one of these things and showed him how it worked:

The test was to see how he handled being frustrated by something, because he wasn't supposed to be able to make the toy work. Instead, he made the toy work, and then played with it. I guess he failed that test.

By the way, are you reading Pish Posh? You should hang out there and show her some love. Also follow her on Twitter. SHE knows why.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Kelly

Today we have Kelly. Just Kelly. Her name is Kelly. Do you need any more information than that? No. I don't think you do. Oh, also? I heart Kelly.

Putting Up With The Professionals

Having a child with any special needs is challenging. We know this - oh, how we know this! Personally, we deal with self-injurious behaviors and aggression, no potty training technique in the world is working for Ted so my day involves literally a lot of shit. We deal with sensory issues, OT, PT, Speech issues. We go to a special school. We have psychiatry appointments, developmental pediatric appointments, blood draws, pharmacy waits (two hours is not unheard of at a military treatment facility). We deal with a lot. A LOT. But what kills me is when we have so-called professionals who are not. In. Any. Way. Professional.

We've been at the new duty station for only 10 months. We are on our third school for Ted.

The First was a private Autism school. They transported Ted to and from his "field trips" in the teachers' own POVs. The "field trips" were to the Chik-fil-a playground. No shit. They went there several times a week. Very educational, I'm sure. And I'm also pretty fucking sure the teacher's dig on some spicey chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.

The Second school was the public school's Early Childhood Special Education setting in a "reverse mainstream" class. Half neuro-typicals, half neuro-atypicals. The teacher moved Ted while he was in the middle of a meltdown. Inappropriately carried him and left his spinal column bruised.

The Third school, and the one he currently attends, is a co-op. It is a private autism school run in conjunction with the public schools. Basically, the kids with autism are contained. I'm sure you all know what I am talking about. They have their own teachers, their own bathrooms, their own problems. Lemme tell you about the fucking problems:

I picked Ted up yesterday from school and the first thing the TA asks is whether or not Ted had his meds that morning. Never, ever a good way to start a conversation. Yes, I replied, he had. He always has his medications. I have NEVER missed a dose. I'm pretty neurotic about this. For really good reasons - I'm not a fan of fucking around with this class of drugs. His little psyche has already enough going on. I don't need to add to it with forgetfulness in dosing the magic pills that keep him from throwing furniture down the stairs. Anyway, the TA said Ted had an amazingly shitty day. That he screamed a lot (classic Ted) and that he stripped several times. Yup. My son is a stripper. I've told them about it. They never listen, because, well, I'm just a parent. I must be doing something wrong. THEY are educated PRO-FUCKING-FESSIONALS and THEY know him.


So, that was all the detail I got. Later that night, as I stripped him for a shower, I noticed marker all over his feet. What the fuck? That means he had to have his shoes and socks off while he was coloring with markers. Who was watching him, or rather, who the fuck wasn't watching him. This isn't the first time he has come home markered up. One day, he had it all over his stomach and in his belly button - PERMANENT marker. He still has a red belly button. He has come home with the markers all up his arms and on his thighs. THIGHS. Meaning, what? That he was coloring with his pants down? What kind of fuckery is THIS? Oh, and then his teacher drew a mother fucking car on his arm with markers one day. I'm not entirely sure what the fuck THAT was all about.

I went in this morning upset. Yeah, it seems like a little thing to be mad about, but isn't the whole point of teaching a kid to TEACH the kid what is appropriate? And coloring with your fucking pants down is not appropriate. At least not in this house.

What happened this morning, though, makes the marker incidents pale in comparison.

The head teacher - remember that, she was the HEAD TEACHER - told me that they don't like to put him on the potty because it is a big deal for them. Ted screams, protests, falls the floor and generally acts like a kid with autism when it is potty time. But, hey, yesterday, they put him on the toilet. Ted asked her to close the door. And she did, because, "If a child can ask for privacy, they deserve to have it." (BWAHAHAHA - isn't that funny!) She told me that she checked on him and found him with his pants DRIPPING wet and Ted trying to wring them out. It seems that in his private moment, Ted decided to throw his pants INTO THE MOTHER FUCKING TOILET. What did the teacher do, you ask? Did she have him change into one of the many spare outfits I have provided for incidents such as these? Well, yes...but only until the toilet water dried off of his pants. THEN. SHE. PUT. THE. FUCKING. PANTS. BACK. ON. HIM. Without washing them. Ted wore toilet pants for the rest of the day.

He wore them in my car, in my house, all over my furniture and carpet. He had fucking ENTERIC bacteria all over his skin. And now, other kids' E. Coli is colonizing my entire house. My undergrad is in microbiology. My undergrad thesis (yeah, in micro, you to a thesis to graduate with a bachelor's) is ON enteric bacteria (gut bacteria - E. Coli, Klebsiella, C. Difficile - you know, the literal shit that makes people really fucking sick? THAT stuff.

The teacher REASSURED me that the toilet was clean.

As a MOM, former scientist, and human being with common sense, I can promise you - PROMISE YOU - that the only clean toilet is one that is still in its packaging. There is no clean toilet. That's pretty much why we don't eat out of one.

I am pretty much at a loss. I have no idea how to explain the fucking nastiness of what she did. Her lack of common sense is truly appalling and not a little frightening. Jesus Effing Christ. What do I have to do to get Ted an education in a safe environment?

The other pisser is that would she have done that? If her sweater sleeve had fallen into the toilet, would she wear it for the rest of the day? No. She would do what we all would do: scream and burn the sweater because it had fallen into a public toilet. She would not wear someone else's ass bacteria all day and literally rub other peoples' asses all over her furniture. Is it because she sees Ted as "less"? Is he less worthy of common cleanliness and respect because he has autism, or is she just a stupid fucking bitch? Either one is unacceptable.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The most annoying thing in the entire history of.... things

Also? I need a blogger therapist. You know... a therapist who spends their time talking to bloggers (via email and skype, of course) about their existential crises. Because I think I'm having a blogger existential crisis. But a blogger one only, of course. Not a regular one. Of course.

So, any blogger therapists out there? Skype me! *phone fingers next to the ear gesture*

Note: I don't actually use Skype.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey, girl. This week I've got a guitar.

I made more than one this week because.... come ON. It's Ryan Gosling with a fucking guitar! Sunday makes good choices.  :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why doesn't anybody want chocolate for breakfast?????

Oh, god, you guys.... I am so tired.

So, so tired.....

Child 1 has bad sleeping habits. It's my fault. I know. He starts in his own bed but comes into mine every night, which is usually the point when I stop sleeping. You can read about it here. I've been unsuccessfully and not even really very enthusiastically trying to change this for a while now, because at this point I figure I'm just fucked and I have to wait for him to decide it's time to stay in his bed all night.

That doesn't stop me from trying, though, and I've been attempting to come up with things that would be awesome incentives for him to want to stay in his bed all night.

And what's a better incentive than chocolate, right?? What kid doesn't love chocolate? I know this kid sure does. So, last week I told him he could have chocolate for breakfast if he stayed in his bed all night long.

His response? "Naahhhh, I don't want chocolate for breakfast."

LIES!!!!!!!! He wants chocolate for breakfast, he just wants to come into my bed more.


But the latest trend in night time antics? Child 2 has now started coming into the bed with me. He usually comes first, and then Child 1 appears a few hours later.

I get no sleep when this happens. See? LOOK AT MY EYES!!!

It's been happening every night for the last 4 nights now, so last night I told Child 2 that he could have chocolate for breakfast if he stayed in his bed all night. He was very excited about that, and readily agreed to the plan. I was very optimistic.

But then at around 1:00 this morning, in he climbs, and before I even have a chance to say a word, he says "Mama, I decided I don't want chocolate for breakfast, after all" and then immediately passes out.


I guess I'll be having the chocolate for breakfast. To ease the pain.

UPDATE: I sat Child 2 down earlier so we could discuss BedGate, and he started crying because he's been having bad dreams about being attacked by a giant ladybug and the only thing that helps him is to come sleep with me. sigh. So... I guess we'll be doing that for a while....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Outrage for Akian: It's about dignity

Note: Feel free to reprint this post anywhere you like, just please include the links to the sites I have at the bottom. I don't need to be credited for it, but Stuart does.

I know I said I was tired of talking about autism, but this is something I just can't stay quiet about.

I've spent a lot of time here talking about how one of the most frustrating things about autism, for me, is that when Child 1 is upset, he has so much trouble telling me why, that oftentimes I just won't ever know. When he comes home from school upset, which luckily doesn't happen often, I will do anything and everything to try to find out why.

Can you imagine if your sweet and happy autistic child started getting aggressive at school for no reason, how much you would try to find out why? Do you know the lengths you would go to for your child? I would do whatever it took, I can tell you that. Whatever it took.

I saw a video today, posted on reddit. It was of a father whose sweet and happy autistic child, exactly Child 1's age, suddenly started getting aggressive and violent at school and he had no idea why. They had IEP meetings, they met with a Behaviorist, he worked the system just like he was "supposed to," for 6 months. But when he got nowhere, he played a hunch, put a wire on his kid and sent him to school to record what happened there.

It turned out that his son, Akian, was being verbally abused by his teacher and aide in his classroom. I'm posting the video below, but I have to warn you that it is VERY upsetting. I had a hard time getting through it all, but I will sum it up for you.

It's mostly Akian's dad, Stuart, describing what happened, and you also hear some of the recording of the horrible things those people say to him.

They called him a bastard. These adults, whose job was to protect and help and teach children... they laughed at him, made fun of him and called him a bastard.  I'm horrified by this.

Stuart turned his recording over to the school district, and also the media. An aide was fired but the teacher was not. The school district has said that it has handled the matter appropriately and apparently they think the matter is closed.

Stuart doesn't think the matter is closed. In the video he says directly to the adults involved: "I want a public apology for what you did to my son. I want your full name out. I want you to come forward. I want you to take responsibility for what you do and then I want you to resign.... Not for me, but so one day I can play this video back for my son and say, 'Akian, you didn't deserve anything that happened to you. These people are at fault.' I'm not looking to sue anybody. I'm not going to file a lawsuit. It's not about money. It's about dignity. This is to reclaim my son's dignity. You owe it to him."

Let's help him get the word out. Below the video I'm posting some links where you can get more information

No More Teacher/Bullies A webpage set up to explain the video and the situation
No More Teacher/Bullies on Facebook
Stuart's email address

I'm turning off commenting for this post, because this isn't about me. Also, I want to be clear, and Stuart was clear in the interview that he did for his local Fox affiliate, that this isn't about the 99% of teachers who are great at what they do, this is about the 1% that aren't, and I don't want this to turn into a discussion about education reform and teacher unions or any of that bullshit. If you want to comment on the video, get more information or give Stuart your support, please go to the Facebook page and do it there.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

And no information was actually imparted

When I told hubs this story, his response, after laughing at me and face-palming, was the title of this post.

It was Sunday morning, it was early, I hadn't had any coffee or even gotten out of bed yet, and Child 2 randomly asks me "Mama, are you pregnant?"

I probably could have been offended by that, but I was pretty sure he didn't actually know what that means. So I said "No. Do you know what that means?"

"Yes," he said. "But it's hard to explain." That means he had no idea.

I didn't realize how right he was, though, and suddenly I'm faced with having to explain something that's really hard to explain to a 6 year old. Sunday morning. Early. Before coffee.

And so I say "It's, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............ it's where babies come from. It's how you make new people. A baby grows in a Mama's tummy for 9 months and then it comes out and it's a baby."

Damn I'm good. I should win parenting awards. People should write books about me. Instructional manuals!

"Do you understand?" I asked, hoping this was the end of it.

"I think so," he said.


"But how do you know when it starts?" He asks.


"It, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............ You, uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.................. "


.............. long pause ...........

uncomfortable laugh

.............. long pause ...........

"You go to your doctor and she tells you."

He looks confused. I pray for hubs to enter the room and save me. He doesn't.

"We'll talk about it some more later," I say, officially putting an end to the torture.

That seemed to do the trick. I'll have hubs fill in some of the blanks.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Lady Garden

Please buy a round for our friend Lady Garden, who you can also find twittering here or blogging here. HELLO, Lady Garden!!

You know the little voice that tells you in the middle of a conversation that you are having with someone that you are a lot smarter than they are? Perhaps it’s hubris, but it happens on occasion. I have recently recovered from breast cancer. I’m on the other side of this deal now, having finished radiation a couple months ago. Now, when people I know (or people of people I know) get a new diagnosis of breast cancer, I contact them and at least lend an ear, share my experience and listen to theirs. I feel like it’s the least I can do, because no one can really do jack shit for someone who has cancer other than be a friend. I had long-lost friends and new friends check in with me during my cancer experience and it meant a lot. Thus, I commence with my do-gooding. Only, the old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished” starts replaying in my head as the following conversation unfolds.

A friend called to advise that her cousin has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I haven’t seen the cousin in twenty years, but the friend and I have been friends so long that the friend and I are practically family. Only better than family, because the friend doesn’t bug the ever loving shit out of me. That’s an entirely different rant, however. Those with breast cancer really are a sisterhood, even though I fucking hate that word. All I’m saying is that ball sack cancer just isn’t getting the same community support from fellow scrotum cancer survivors. Cousin and I get through her cancer discussion, her biomarker test results, surgery information, etc. I encourage Cousin to call me after she’s spoken to the surgeon and assure her that everything sounds good so far. We wrap up the discussion and then we get to the awkward part where we remember that we don’t know each other very well. I’m squirming to get off the phone and making a mental note about the next time I talk to her to have a planned interruption after ten minutes. Sorry! Gotta pick up the kids! I realize too late that breast cancer is where our similar life experiences begin and end.

As she’s talking, I keep wanting to correct her grammar and will her a better vocabulary all the while thinking what a bitch I am. She is nice enough, but nice has never been compelling enough to keep my attention. I need snark. I need wit. I’m trying to get off the phone when she downshifts into small talk. She asks, how are you feeling? Fine, I say. How are the kids? Kids are fine, I offer. What about your son? I ask, The one with autism? Yes, she responds. What kind of autism does he have? Only the best kind, I think. Instead I say, Do you mean is he verbal? Yes. Is he verbal? Oh, yes. Quite verbal. Insatiably verbal, in fact. In addition to a seizure disorder, OCD, ODD and autism, he’s been recently diagnosed with ADHD at the ripe age of 8. We’re still working on the meds to try to equalize his behavior so I won’t have to buy so many dishes. He shattered two bowls just last week because I wouldn’t let him have five cookies on top of the three he already stuffed in his mouth before I could stop him. I may need to replace a kitchen chair too. Wow. He sounds like a handful. Well, he can be, but he can also be incredibly sweet and affectionate.

So this is the point where the conversation goes from boring and annoying to insulting and infuriating. Cousin with the new diagnosis of breast cancer (I am going to hell) is struggling to keep the conversation relevant so she launches off into a soliloquy about how one of her friends has/had an autistic son. Yes, there’s quite a lot of that going around, I say. The autistic son didn’t talk at all, didn’t communicate in the slightest. She continues without encouragement, the parents took him to someplace in Alabama or Louisiana and he underwent this therapy where they removed the toxins and mercury from his body. How nice for them, I say without conviction, realizing she has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. She gushes: He takes like 20 pills a day now, and he’s talking! Totally cured! I was so impressed they knew what to do for him. Yes, I’ve heard about those therapies. As kids age, they often start talking. Have you ever thought about doing that for your son? It’s like when the stupid salesperson asks you if you would you like to save forty percent with your purchase today by opening a charge card. No! I want to pay as much as possible! Top dollar! Stop asking me inane questions I can’t answer without sounding like an asshole! I don’t want your fucking charge card!

What I want to say to the Cousin is: Are you fucking kidding me? Have you been watching Dr. Jenny McCarthy lately? What you are describing is chelation therapy, and yes I’ve heard of it, as well as the 100+ therapies out there marketed to desperate parents of children with autism. Did you ask your stupid friends how much of their life savings they’ve shelled out for this miracle therapy? Have I tried chelation therapy? No, but I have tried lots of other shit that had no effect from the Wilbarger protocol to hippotherapy. Don’t you think if mercury was known as the universal cure that autism wouldn’t exist? My son needs understanding, not a cure. He needs love, not judgment! Just because you know someone who has a child with autism does not mean you have any insight into my personal experience. Stop making casual conversation with me unless you’re going to say something intelligent. Fuck you! Oh, and sorry you have breast cancer. That sucks.

Fuck you, Universe. Or whatever your name is

Hubs and I were playing Rock Band earlier, and I was singing Rock Lobster, and apparently (unbeknownst to me, before today) I have memories of my brother and that song, and I was completely overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts of him.

I guess I need an outlet for this shit. Not just me telling another person how I feel, but the stupid universe needs to know that this dude was fucking awesome and it sucks for taking him away from us.

And, so... Fuck you, universe. Fuck you for not letting him be here right now. Fuck you. FUCK YOU.

It's not fair, what you've done. it's not fair. He should be here today. He should be here now, and he should have kids, and a family, and a house, and I should be able to call him or text him or email him or whatever and ask his opinion about things. And I should have my wise and amazing and awesome brother in my life right now.

Fuck you, cancer. Fuck you, Universe. Fuck you for making this happen. FUCK YOU. It's not fair. It's NOT FAIR. FUCK YOU.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I'm tired of autism

I'm tired of autism. I'm tired of talking about it. I'm tired of thinking about it. I'm tired of "being aware" of it. I'm tired of hearing about it, reading about it, seeing tweets, Facebook posts, articles, news stories and emails..... about it.

I would like to take a break from autism, please.

Can we talk about something else for a little while? I don't need to know about any new theories about what causes it. Yes, I've heard about the CDC statistics, thank you. Don't tell me about conferences or speakers or events happening in my area, because I don't want to go to them.

I have awareness overload: I am completely aware. Thank you. Please stop making me aware of autism now.

I don't mind hearing stories about your kids, because I think your kids are awesome, and I don't mind reading your rants because I think you guys are awesome. I just don't want to know about any more studies or articles or featured stories or anything. At least not for a little while.

("Oh my god, she's saying she wants to take a break from her kid! She's saying she's sick of her kid!!" Go ahead, somebody.... say that. I dare you.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"All Kids Do That" Part 18: Obsessions

See the tab above for more information about this series.

Today's contribution is from the mysterious, nameless blogger from My Whac-A-Mole Life. Who is she? What is her name?? NOBODY KNOWS!

“I must confess I don’t know why my brother is obsessed by trucks,” harmonically laments Justin Roberts in his popular, cutesy kid’s song of the same name.

True, most parents with young kids will at some point roll their eyes and complain that little Johnny is “obsessed” with (CIRCLE ONE):  trucks; trains; superheroes; princesses; Dora; a particular blankie. Or maybe it’s a bedraggled stuffed animal, like the one featured in that adorable, mainstream picture book series – “Knuffle Bunny.” Aw, kids are so cute.

Unfortunately, these obsessions, as depicted by Justin Roberts and Mo Willems, respectively, are merely child’s play!

Both of my children have been professionally labeled with, among many other diagnoses, OCD.  Autism - which is prominent on my daughter’s CV - is known to include perseverative behaviors. And she, like many others on the spectrum, cleverly applies this perseveration to her passion du jour.

Oh that it would be something as cute and relatable as princesses! Instead, here’s a sampling of my 7-year-old’s die-hard obsessions over the past couple of years:
  • Red shirts
  • Hotels – logos, furniture, lobbies
  • Doctor’s offices (particularly shots)
  • Beds. Sometimes chairs. Rugs too.
  • Hamburgers
  • Pumpkins
  • Bags – first Ziplocs and then paper bags, particularly the one pictured here:
  • Bathrooms
  • Cake mixes

So yeah, for starters, the actual objects of desire are weird. Now let’s look at how this plays out, using her current obsession (four months and going strong): Expo dry erase markers. She doesn’t necessarily like to draw with them, mind you. She prefers hoarding, admiring and “talking” about them.

  • Every store we go into that could possibly sell markers, she’s off and running to the office supply section. Full tantrum ensues unless we buy her dry erase markers. And no, the cheap, generic brands will not do. Must. Be. Expo.
  • Given some freedom on her iPad (she uses it as a speaking device and I’m thrilled that her spelling, reading and typing skills are developing), she is on YouTube or Safari seeking a dry erase marker fix. Sampling of search terms she has employed: Expo, markers, dry erase, purple (yes, just purple), and so on. We have watched boring, corporate whiteboard presentations; we have visited every online office supply store in existence; and we have endured countless Expo ads. Too bad she can’t be a spokesperson.
  • Our home copy machine has run out of toner because she likes to make copies of Expo logos, boxes and markers. Unfortunately, she must have the markers arranged just so on the machine. Since they are cylindrical and they roll, she has yet to achieve the perfection she seeks. (See picture). Thus, we run out of paper or patience first and then the machine must “go to sleep.” This basically ruins her day.
  • Speaking of sleep, a particular picture (it varies per day) and perhaps even a marker go to bed with her.  How do we know which one she wants? We don’t; only she does. Lord help us all if she can’t find it!
  • When we pick her brother up from school, she repeats over and over that she has to go to the bathroom. When I am stupid enough to give in, I realize it’s her sneaky way of gaining access to the secretary’s office and pilfering the jar of Expo markers on her desk. Cue full meltdown when I do not let her take them. How do I explain?
  • Anywhere we go…any house we visit…she is on the hunt for Expo markers. It’s uncanny and kind of impressive that she has the ability to locate them everywhere. Her sixth sense leads her right to them. “Oh, does she want to color? Is she looking for a toy?” someone might ask. Um, no, I must reply, she just wants your Expo marker.

I could go on, but you get the picture. In a way, I’m grateful for the marker obsession. Previously, you might have witnessed me in the middle of Target screaming at my beautiful, tear-stricken, bawling daughter:  “No, I am not taking you to the doctor! You may not get a shot today!” Emotionally numb after repeating this statement so frequently, I had little awareness as to how disturbing it sounded to anyone else.

I can only speculate that these passions fulfill some sort of sensory need for her.  I imagine that they provide some semblance of comfort, or a feeling of control over her environment. Since she is largely nonverbal, I cannot know for sure. However, I do know this: All kids DO NOT do that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Autism, literally

There's nothing like living with an autistic child to make you keenly aware that a good deal of your speech is made up of expressions and colloquialisms that make no sense when you analyze them literally.

For those of you unaware, people with autism can be very literal with their use of language and can have trouble understanding these kinds of informal uses of language (examples below).

For those of you unaware, and really if you've been paying attention, none of you should be unaware... I have a tendency to talk first and think second. These things just come out of my mouth before I give myself a chance to think about whether or not Child 1 is going to know what the hell I'm talking about or not. As a result I find myself having to do a lot of explaining, which would be totally unnecessary if only I could pay attention to myself. It's kind of annoying.

Me: Don't worry, dude, I've got your back
Child 1: What are you going to do to my back?

Me: Okay, guys, let's hit it!
Child 1: Hit what? Are you going to hit me?

Me: I'm afraid so.
Child 1: What are you afraid of?

Me: I beg to differ
Child 1 makes this face:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Child 2 has a dream

This was Child 2's assignment for Martin Luther King Jr. day. It says "I hope people don't play inappropriate games."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Super Sister Mum

Today's contributor has asked to remain anonymous, but at least she provided me with a name I could use so that I wouldn't have to think of one, myself. Thanks! :)

Dearest father,

Guess how old I was when you started cheating on mum?
Guess what age I was when I used to lay down on the ground and pretend to be dead?
I wanted to die. You made home life that bad. Did you even know that? I was suicidal since I was 12. 12! I tried killing myself for the next 9 years. Only this year, when I am 20 have I decided that maybe I want to live.
I knew what porn was at the age of 11. I knew what it was like to watch your mother fall apart, to have her bear her soul because she didn't have anyone else to talk to but me. I listened to her. Who do you think looked after the younger two? I did. I was and still am Sister Mum.
That's been my job for the last 9 years.
Protecting MY family from YOU.
I was a kid! You always wondered I got bad grades but did you ever stop and thought that maybe I was too busy trying to hold everyone together from the mess that you helped created? That's where all of my energy went.
You said to me not so long ago that “you didn't cheat on mum.”


You know that's a fucking lie.
You may have thought that you could get away with saying that to the youngest child, she was only 5 when you started. She might not have remembered the time we caught you with your pants down masturbating to a girl on a web cam or maybe all of the phone calls declaring your love for them or any of that other shit.
I do. I was fucking there.
By the way? She remembers. She thought it was normal. She knows better now. You disgust her to the point where if she hears your voice she wants to punch you.

Maybe if it was just one girl, one time, we could be more forgiving.
But it wasn't.
It was women after women.
Time after time.
Multiple women, all gold diggers, all of them you gave money to them whilst our own roof leaked. All whores that didn't care that they broke up a family, just how much money could you send them. Money enough for one of them to build a fucking POOL. Yeah, we had our own pool. A pool of neglect.
Mum paid all of the bills because she loved you that much. So that /we/, her children would have a roof over our heads. She couldn't take care of us emotionally but she could at least do that much. I looked after them and Mum herself. Now I think that I'm a better parent to my siblings than my own mother is. She's put back together and I still think I am. That's fucked up and sick.

We moved out in a week 6 years ago when we found out that you went back to the Philippines. We LEFT you and yet, you still act like nothing has happened. You actually gloated this year that even after 9 years of constant cheating mum hadn't divorced you. She was still your 'wife'. You still keep on trying to suck all of us back in. You still manage it and I'm tired of playing your games. We left that house over 6 years ago and you still come around every weekend.
We LEFT to get away from you!
I'm in therapy trying to get away from you!

Did you even know that we found the engagement ring you bought for one of them? We were in transit, in Singapore, just returned from a trip in china. Yeah, we found the letters you arse hole. Mum and I. We saw the ring, the secret camera with all of the pictures. I remember. You weren't even separated from Mum at that time when you went over there, paid for her entire extended family to stay in a hotel and asked for her hand in marriage in Tagalog.

I was there when you had your laptop background picture of 'Cheryl' in my mothers own family house. I was there sitting on the table when my grandmother was so in tears that my auntie had to translate from Chinese to English. "We trusted her with you. We trusted you! How could you do this to her?" My grandmother hates you. She says that my mother has a big heart, too big of a heart. You take advantage of that. It's true, you do. If you can't, you just create drama. With me. With my younger sister. You thrive off it.
And most recently? I was there when I watched you transfer money over to them this year. Again, in my mother's maternal house. At another holiday. Which mum only let you come because it was my brothers 18th birthday over there. One that you begged to go and then complained about it the entire time.

I don't know how you could deny it.
Your own daughter is on MEDICATION.
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders.
And yet? You still have NO FUCKING CLUE that maybe, just maybe it has something to do with you.
The cuts she has on her legs, the fact that she refused to eat so many times, how many fights mum and I had because I flat out refused to eat anything at all.
Because I didn't want to be a 'woman'. I didn't want to be preyed on by men like you.
You actually had the gall to say “It's not my fault. What did I do?”.
Not once but multiple of times.
I went through TWO abusive relationships both lasting over a year, one lasting for 4, because I didn't know better. That was just how men treating women. One of told me when I was 14 to slit my wrists and fucking die because no one would miss me dead. Cheating after cheating, lies after lies.
I thought it was /normal/.

I went to guidance consoler for years. I told her about how you used to kiss my shoulder, my neck, stick your tongue in my ear and shit like that. She told me that I didn't have enough of a case.
But it was enough. I am terrified to leave my youngest sister alone with you. Mum is terrified too. Maybe not to the same degree that I am but enough that she doesn't want my sister there without my brother. I didn't tell her all of the times you slapped me hard enough to leave a hand print. How you would threaten me just because I didn't do what you said.


And YOU are the one that is fucked up in the head. I made my choice given the cards I was dealt with. YOU are the one that put me in that situation. That is on YOU. Not me but you.

Guess what the kicker is? Even after all of those years, even now, he still thinks he is a good person.
You aren't.
I'm ashamed I'm even related to you.

Here is two words of advice.

My ideal future does not have you in it.
Get the fuck out of my life!
- Your eldest daughter.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A winning haiku

Was about both beer and wine
Well. Obviously.

Congratulations Jenny!! You are officially the author of the following award winning haiku:

I'm out of beer now
this would not be so sad but
I'm out of wine too

Check your inbox, Jenny!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Hey, Girl. Help me pick a winner.

There are two things happening on the blog today.

Thing the first! I am linking up with Sunday's Ryan Gosling meme, which she does every Friday and apparently I can only remember about once a month. Here's our boy!!!

Thing the second! And this one was much more difficult: picking the winner of my haiku giveaway thingy. I had 38 haikus to pick from and I could NOT make a decision. So, I copied and pasted them all into a word doc, without any identifiable information, and I asked for help! I emailed it out to a bunch of people and asked them to pick their 5 or 6 favorites. Then I combined everybody's favorites (and my own) into one document, to end up with 11. THEN I gave the list of 11 to hubs, who hadn't seen any of them before and has no idea who any of you even are, and asked him to narrow it down to 6.

Then I took his 6 and made a poll, which you can see over on the left sidebar, at the top. Now YOU guys need to pick. Seriously. Please pick a winner, because I can't. I'll leave the poll up for as long as necessary until you guys are able to take the pressure off me.

Here are the finalists, in no order whatsoever:

I'm out of beer now 
this would not be so sad but 
I'm out of wine too 

My kid is screaming 
I had to wash his blanket 
My ears are bleeding 

I used to do art 
Canvases were fun but then 
I stapled myself 

I live right near you 
So no need for postage, yeah. 
Give me that fucker. 

I need a vaca
With hot tan cabana boys
I really like booze

I like to win shit
But I never get a prize
So fucking pick me 

Please help me with this. Please?

EDIT: Please don't leave your choice in the comments, but cast a vote up at the top left, instead. If my blog is being a bitch to you and won't let you, let me know.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Now, a giveaway

I have this thing I don't want.
Who wants to have it?

Remember how I went to that PTA auction and came home not having a clue what I had bought? Well it turned out that one of my drunken purchases had been a Flip Camera, which is now the property of Child 2. We have many videos of cats we can share with you, if anybody would like to see some. Also included in that prize was the gift certificate you see pictured above, a $100 gift certificate to www.canvasworld.com, whateverthehell that is.

Let's give this fucker away!!!! Anybody want it?

Here's how you enter: Some of you may have noticed that the combination of my post title and the first two lines make up a haiku, so, if you would like this awesome $100 giftie thingy, leave me a comment in the form of a haiku.

As a refresher, a haiku is a 3 line poem where the first line is 5 syllables, the second is 7 and the third is 5. It does not have to rhyme. In this case, it also doesn't have to be about the gift certificate AND it doesn't even have to make sense. It does, however, have to be proper haiku form. For example, I will accept the following submission:
I want that gift thing
I take pictures real good like
Gimme the gift thing
I will also accept this:
The kitten is cute
The tail is very fuzzy
I also like dogs
I will not, however, accept this:
I like to take pictures so please give me the gift thing.
See? Not proper form. Unacceptable!

Feel free to leave a comment not in the form of a haiku if you want, when I tabulate the results, which I will do on Friday, I will disregard anything non-haiku-like.

As you can see, I have altered the image so as to not include the information that would let you redeem it, because... how stupid would that be? The winner will receive the actual undoctored photo, via email, so make sure I know how to contact you. You can just add your email address to the end of the comment, you don't have to turn it into a haiku.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm going back to my roots

You know, "my roots." I'm going to go back to my original hair color.

NO, that's not what I mean by "roots."

You know, "my roots." I'm going to visit Russia and Poland, because I am an Ashkenazi Jew.

NO, that's not what I mean by "roots!!!"

MY ROOTS!!! I'm going to start doing a lot of gardening!!!!!

Wait. What?
By "roots," I mean the roots of this blog, although the more times I type the word, the more convinced I am that it's not actually a real word. When I started this blog, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. I had no point, I had no reason, it was simply going to be a dumping ground for my brain bits. Those are my roots: Brain Bit Dumping Ground.

I talked about autism because it's a part of my life, but the truth is that it's not the whole part of my life (and I am very much aware that I have the luxury of being able to say that while a lot of you do not, and not a day goes by that I don't both take note and feel thankful for that). Autism doesn't run my life; it is not the center of my world. My child is autistic but he also has brown eyes, and he has a brother who has blue eyes and is the funniest person I've ever met. Those things are just as much a part of my life as autism is, and I don't want to be an "autism blogger." I don't want to try to change the world anymore; frankly it's just too much pressure. I know I do it to myself; many of you, particularly those who know me well, tell me that I put too much pressure on myself, and yet.... here we are, with me putting too much pressure on myself. So, this post is more for me than it is for you guys. TOO BAD. Read it anyway!

I'll be honest with you guys: last week's attempt at creating a discussion between autism parents and autistic adults knocked me flat on my ass. As soon as I posted it I knew I was in over my head. It was too much; it was totally overwhelming. I know that a lot of you guys appreciated it, but I don't think it's for me. I don't have a big enough readership to actually make a dent in the public discourse, and honestly I don't want that responsibility, anyway. I don't believe that I am destined to change any dialogues, or to "bring people together" in a Kumbaya/campfire kind of way. I can and will help anybody who wants to do that, but I'm just not a leader in that area. Maybe I can accidentally educate some people along the way, and that's awesome, but that's as much responsibility as I want to have.

This blog is like Seinfeld: it's about nothing. It has no purpose, it has no point, but most importantly I don't want it to have a purpose or a point. I like being able to switch back and forth between complete crap and maybe some serious stuff, shitty artwork and random pieces of music; and I want my Brain Bit Dumping Ground back.

So there. We'll see how it goes. Knowing me, I'm going to change my mind tomorrow and this post will have been for nothing, but the point? Is that this blog is for me, I do this shit for myself, and even though it's no longer just me and 2 friends having a private conversation, my only responsibility in doing this is to myself. In my opinion.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be doing a giveaway. Wait... WHAT?? Didn't you just get done saying you were going back to your Roots of Nothingness??? Since when were giveaways a part of that?? Well, see? I'm totally unpredictable!! HA HA! Ha. *cough* Actually I just have this thing that I don't want, so I thought I'd give it away, but I didn't know who to give it to and this way I don't have to ask around. Genius.

I will end this post with Brandi Carlile's new song, because SERIOUSLY?????? This chick fucking rocks and this song is AWESOME.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Every. Single. Time.

How often does this happen to you? EVERY FUCKING DAY, MAYBE??? 

My shitty art skills are particularly shitty right now so I used rage faces for this one. Note: I didn't draw these faces, I totally stole them!!!!!  OH, speaking of shitty art skills, I officially forfeit all 45 of my Draw Something games. I'm sorry, I got in over my head (AGAIN) and it's too overwhelming, I can't do it. I was letting Child 2 play my games for a while (again.... REALLY sorry about that) so he might continue on with that, but I don't have it in me anymore so feel free to cancel your games with me. I know, I know.... I SUCK! :(

Monday, April 9, 2012

We've created a monster

On Saturday I had to go pick up my car, which was in the shop because I regularly break pieces of it off. This time I had been getting gas and I put the gas tube-thingy in the gas hole-thingy (that's what she said) and I distinctly heard the sound of plastic snapping (that is NOT what she said). The next day I was unable to open the side door (it's a minivan) because I had broken off a sensor which tells the side door that the gas door is open, and both the gas door thingy and the van side door thingy wouldn't open.

I swear there's a point to this; really there is.

So, I had taken my car to the shop on Friday and they had to keep it overnight, and then on Saturday it was ready. Except I didn't feel like walking to go get it because I was hungover lazy tired really really busy that morning, so hubs said he would drive me.... and that we should leave the kids at home by themselves.

I was freaked out, as you can imagine; they've never been home alone before. But we were only going to be gone for 10 minutes, tops, they were both hanging around in their pajamas being lazy kids, and they were totally fine with it; actually they didn't seem to give much of a shit about the whole thing. Anyway, Child 1 is 10 and pretty responsible, all things considered, and you can leave 10 year olds alone in the house, right? (Do me a favor and just give me a heads up before you call CFS, would you? THANKS.)

So, we went through a huge list of do's and don'ts and rules and laws and all that good stuff (you don't open the front door for any reason; if the house caught on fire, go out the back door and go to the neighbor's house; if there was a bear attack, play dead; don't open the front door for any reason; etc.), and I showed Child 2 how to call me on my cell phone, in case of emergency (Child 1 already knows how to call Hubs); we practiced a few times and he had it down.

I swear there's a point to this; really there is.

So, we left and were only gone for about 10 minutes, and all was well in that time. Except? Now Child 2 knows how to call me on my cell phone. And call he does. (Yes. That was my point. See how important all that back story is? It not only makes the pointless story even more pointless, it adds another layer of inanity that you wouldn't have normally known of. YOU'RE WELCOME.)

He calls when he's downstairs and I'm upstairs to tell me that he's downstairs watching Too Cute.

He calls when he's upstairs and I'm downstairs to tell me that he's upstairs and I'm downstairs.

Saturday night he decided to sleep on the couch in the TV room so he called me from the TV room to tell me that he was sleeping on the couch in the TV room, even though we had just had that discussion face to face a few moments before.

Sunday afternoon I was out running errands and he called me to tell me that he was downstairs, Daddy was in the kitchen making breakfast, and when I got home could I please heat up some of that leftover pizza for him because he would probably be done eating breakfast but would still be hungry by the time I got home?

Later on Sunday afternoon I was out taking a walk and he called to remind me that I hadn't yet made the pizza that he had called me about a few hours before. "Remember how I called you and asked you to make me pizza? You didn't do that yet, so I'm calling to remind you."

He's not very good at talking on the phone, though. There are lots of long pauses and lots of discussion of cats and cat activity; much like when you talk to him in person, actually. He needs a lesson in phone etiquette, definitely.

Oh, I gotta go... somebody's calling me.....

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All Kids Do That: Part 17, Sensory Issues again

See the tab above for more information about this series.

This is my last part of this series, I'm pretty sure I've covered all the bases. So, I'm not taking any new submissions, unless I've already asked you and you've promised me something and I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for it. So... unless you've done that.... *cough*

Today we have Grace, who blogs at That'sRightISaidIt.Dot.Mom. Hi Grace!!

We're two years post diagnosis, and I still don't understand sensory processing disorder well enough to explain it to you in any scientifically insightful way.  Basically, my son's brain processes sensory information differently than that of a typical child.  Information taken in through the senses of taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell feels, sounds, and looks different to him.  He sometimes has difficulty understanding sensations in his body (hunger, thirst, the need to use the bathroom, etc.).  Some kids with SPD also have difficulty with spatial issues and understanding where their body is in relation to other objects in the environment.

I do, however, understand how sensory processing disorder causes challenges for my son.  So, let's talk about sensory challenges, shall we??

I fully acknowledge that many non-spectrum kids have sensory issues.  Lots of people – children and adults – have sensory sensitivities.  For example, my eyes are extremely sensitive to sunlight.  Consequently I wear my sunglasses even when it's kind of cloudy because it's better than spending the rest of the day feeling like my brains are trying to gouge their way out of my skull.  And if your car alarm blares for more than three minutes, it's all I can do not to impale myself (or you) on a letter opener.  So if your otherwise neurotypical child displays some difficulty with certain sensory stimuli, I get it.  But if your child is not disabled by said difficulty, then please do not belittle me or my son by saying "all kids do that" when I tell you about his sensory processing disorder.

Oh, forgive me for being so defensive.  I didn't realize your daughter doesn't like fire drills at school.  She covers her ears, and even cried one time in Kindergarten?  Yeah, well, let me tell you about my son.  He's terrified of ANY type of high pitched noise – to the point where he develops physical symptoms and cannot function.

Like this one time, I was sitting in traffic trying to get home after a concert when I got a very distressed phone call from my mother, who was at my place watching my son.  The battery was dying in one of my smoke detectors and making that annoying, incessant *beep*.  My mom couldn't figure out where it was coming from or how to make it stop, and my son was hysterical and begging to go to her house.  By the time I made it home, my son and my mother were sitting outside in her car.  His entire body was shaking so hard his teeth were literally chattering.  It was July, people.  I had to rip the battery out of the damn smoke detector and hold my son on my lap for 45 minutes before he stopped shaking.

Not long after that, I had to replace my carbon monoxide detector.  I went to the hardware store by myself, on my lunch break, because my son would have completely lost his shit in the middle of the store if he were with me and saw what I was buying.  As it was, he freaked out that evening when he saw it sitting, still securely wrapped in the package, on the kitchen counter.  He cried and shook and begged me to throw it in a dumpster.  He didn't calm down until I took it outside and put it in my car.

My son has also been known to run screaming – again, literally – from the kitchen because I put bread in the toaster.  I might accidentally burn the toast and set off the smoke alarm.

Let's be clear here.  My son is not terrified because of some perceived danger.  Honestly, the house could completely burn down, and as long as it happened quietly, he wouldn't be half as upset.  My son is terrified of THE NOISE.  He is so terrified of it, he is crippled with anxiety over the mere POSSIBILITY that it might happen.  A brand new CO detector in its package sends him into a complete panic.  He screams when I make toast.  Sorry, but NOT all kids do that.

Oh, what's that??  You have to remind your child to brush his teeth??  Ok, how many times, may I ask??  Because I have to remind my son about 97 times every night.  Then, when all that reminding fails, I have to cajole, threaten, and bribe.  Then, if I haven't completely thrown in the towel (which happens sometimes. . .give me a break, I’m only human), he will brush his teeth, with a barely visible, miniscule amount of toothpaste, for about 20 seconds.

He tolerates the bristles rubbing against his teeth ok, and after a few trials and failures I found a kids toothpaste that he claims to like, yet he still doesn't cooperate.  It took dumbass me far too long to figure out that he hates the sensation of the toothpaste foaming up in his mouth.  If too much toothpaste foams up in his mouth, he will actually choke and gag and accuse me of trying to kill him.  There is no way you will ever convince me that all kids do that.

Oh, you have to remind your Little Suzy Neurotypical to wash her hands after she uses the bathroom, too?  Really.  Does Little Suzy require occupational therapy to learn to tolerate the squishy feeling of the soap bubbling up between her fingers?  Because my son does.  Does Little Suzy also despise the sensations associated with finger painting, Play-Doh, and making mud pies??  Because, wow, my son can't tolerate any of that stuff.  So while your kid may simply forget to wash her hands, MY kid avoids it like Blue Ivy avoids the paparazzi because it is actually uncomfortable and unnerving for him, to the point that he requires therapy.

I tried to compromise with my son on this handwashing issue by Purell-ing the hell out of him instead, with less than stellar results.  I would squirt the Purell in one hand, he would barely dab it with three fingers from the other hand, then wipe BOTH hands on his jeans.  Hygiene FAIL.

My son also accuses me of trying to kill him by making him wash his hands.  I'm guessing not all kids do that, either.

All kids put things in their mouths, though, right??  Ummm, maybe when they're babies, but not when they're 8.  In this way, my son seeks constant sensory input.  He. Must. Chew.  It's not an annoying little habit, it's a need, which I don't claim to understand.  I have gum written into his IEP at school because chewing helps him to stay calm and focus on his work.  If he doesn't have gum, he will put whatever he can get his hands on in his mouth.  Paper clips, rubber bands, thumb tacks, it doesn't matter.  I don't own a single pencil that still has its eraser on the end.  He has, on at least one occasion, swallowed a plastic button.  If he doesn't have anything to put in his mouth, he will chew his fingernails, which are nothing more than gnawed-off stumps, or his shirt.  I can't tell you how many shirts he's ruined.  But all kids come home from school with their collars and sleeves in chewed-up tatters at least once in a while, right?

Believe me, I could go on and on, but I think I’ve made my point.

Let me be clear about something else.  This is not about some kind of crazy competition over whose kid has it worse.  I don't play that game.  I have never actually said any of the above things to another living person.  If I share personal stuff like this with you and you dismiss me with "all kids do that," I will simply stop talking, because you clearly don't get it, and if that's how you really feel, one conversation with me probably isn't going to change anything.  But maybe if you would just listen, and simply acknowledge the things I'm telling you, I would feel like less of a misfit in the Mom World.  And if I feel like a misfit, imagine how my son feels.

One last thing.  Before you attempt to reassure another mother with "all kids do that," consider this: When my son was younger, I was so inexperienced and lacking in confidence that I actually listened to those people.  As a result, my son got diagnosed much, much later than most kids.  So, your offhand effort at being helpful to a concerned first-time mother may, in fact, be anything but.  Just something to think about.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Spotted in Berkeley

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Today is April 3rd

9 years ago today I took BART into San Francisco to visit my brother, who had been in the hospital with advanced melanoma for almost 2 months. I had been there pretty much every day during that time and had gotten used to the routine of either riding BART or driving into the city every morning.

I had been the last one to leave the day before. They had moved him from a private room and back into the ICU, where he had spent a number of weeks previously. At some point they'd decided that he was doing better, so he was moved out of the ICU and into a room across the hall, but things were starting to get bad again, so he was once again wheeled across the floor and into an ICU room.

It was probably sepsis, we were told, and we thought we were in a waiting stage, so my parents had gotten back on the road to drive back to LA where they were still living at the time. I had stayed behind after they and my sister-in-law had left for the day, and my brother was put under sedation, presumably to let him get some rest so his body could recover some from this latest downturn. That afternoon I had sat by his bed and read to him from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which he had asked me to do while he had still been conscious. I talked to him a little bit, about our childhood and about some loose ends in our relationship that needed some tying up. He was under sedation and I don't know if he was able to hear anything; but at one point I know that I saw his eyebrows move as if to acknowledge me. Or maybe that was just what I had hoped I was seeing.

The next morning I walked into the same room and it was like he had shrunk. He was smaller in the bed than he had been the day before; like it was swallowing him up. Next to his bed was his best friend Larry, whom we had known since Junior High, some 20 years before. Larry was standing there watching the monitors and he told me that he had been there for a few hours. He was watching as my brother's blood pressure slowly went down.

We stood there for a while, discussing what to do. I don't remember the specifics now, 9 years later. I called my sister-in-law on my cell phone and said "You need to get here now." She didn't ask or argue, she just hung up. The nurse turned down the monitor that was beeping incessantly, and the room was very calm, while Larry and I just stood there, watching. It was actually kind of a nice moment, despite the purpose for it.

Suddenly my sister-in-law burst into the room and everything became very chaotic. She climbed onto the bed, on top of him, and started screaming and crying. "Jill, call your Dad." She ordered. "I promised your Dad I would call him if he wasn't here at the end." So, I called my parents, who were in their car somewhere along the grapevine, and told my Dad that if he had anything to say, now was the time; and I held my phone up to my brother's ear while my Dad talked.

I don't really remember the next few minutes, I just remember chaos. I remember my sister-in-law shrieking "is he gone?" I remember the nurse turning off the monitor. I remember having to call my parents back because when I looked back at my phone my Dad wasn't there anymore.

I don't remember leaving the hospital. I know there was a gathering at my brother's house with my parents and a bunch of his friends, but I don't remember that, either. I remember calling my husband and he came into the city to get me but I don't remember riding over the bridge to go back home. I remember going home that night and an infant Child 1 pulled himself into a standing position for the first time.  It's funny, the things you remember.

(This is the post I wrote last year on this day. It's shorter.)

Monday, April 2, 2012


It's past 11:00pm and Child 2 is still very much awake, and running around.
Occasionally I can see him out of the corner of my eye running from his brother's room and back to his own. I yell at him but he laughs at me.

Earlier he yelled "Mama! I figured out how to bring my hamper into my bed using only a plastic sword!" And then he explained the process to me in excruciating detail.

Just now he informed me: "Mama. I gotta say, I need more love from you. We should spent more time together."

He has promised to stay in his bed, but he claims that he is allowed to get up under the following conditions:

  • To pee
  • To poop
  • To get a drink of water
  • If the room is on fire
  • If he's being attacked by a bear
  • If there's a monster
  • If a bird is trying to rip his eyeballs out of their sockets

The other night he went into Child 1's backpack, took out all of his reading books... and then read them.

Now I can hear him whistling. Badly.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

My broken eyeballs

I used to have this eye disease called Keratoconus. Keratoconus (or "KC" as the cool KC kids call it) is an inherited, degenerative disease of the corneas which, in layman's terms, makes them all fucked up. I think probably a visual may help you at this point:

KC is bad enough as you can see, but, of course, I never do things half assed. No, if I'm going to have a degenerative disease, I'm going to have the worst possible version of it in the entire world.

I first started having trouble with my vision when I was in high school, so I've been going to eye doctors for about 20-25 years now. I'm an expert. The thing with KC is that there's really not much you can do about your vision except get really good at squinting. Glasses don't work, because the fucked up cornea is the problem and since it lies on the front most part of your eye, light is going to hit it first and then get all warped and shit. It's kind of like a broken prism; or, nothing like that. So, to fix your vision, the only thing that works is the hard/gas permeable contact lens, and it's a bitch to find a good fit, but, since I also have that astigmatism, hard lenses never fit me properly and they were always flying out and getting lost. I think at least 3 of them went down the shower drain in one year; until I figured out I probably should stop showering with my lenses in. (I'm slow.) I went through countless doctors and versions and varieties of lenses and the best I could ever get vision-wise was 20/80. Without anything it was something like 20/400. I don't even know because after a while they stop actually measuring and they just tell you your vision is 20/totally fucked.

There is a cure for KC, however, and that is a cornea transplant. Yep, that's right, first they wait for somebody to FUCKING DIE, then they slice off the front of your eyeball and sew the dead dude's cornea onto the empty space. Yeah. That IS as horrifying as it sounds, and I did it. Twice.


In early 2001, hubs and I were trying to get pregnant. I also have a condition that's supposed to make it difficult for me to get pregnant, and we had only been trying for 2 months, so we weren't really expecting anything yet. I had my first transplant surgery scheduled for May 23, 2001 (yes, I remember the date) and I was really freaked out about it. Did you see how I described it up there? Freaky shit. The day before, I thought I'd go to the store to calm my nerves and there, I bought an expensive bottle of champagne with which we would celebrate afterwards, and "fuck it, why not?" a pregnancy test, even though I had just taken one 2 days before and it was negative. I had nothing to do that afternoon, why not pee on a stick, right? So, pee I did. And then I looked at the result: it was supposed to be blue for not pregnant and pink for pregnant. Mine was purple. WTF?? Was I pregnant?? I PANICKED. I ran to my doctor and made them take ALL my fluids and put a rush on the test. Did I need to cancel my surgery? I had no idea what to do. I called hubs, crying (what a lovely way to learn your wife might be pregnant, am I right?) and he said "go to the store and get more tests." So I did. I went to CVS and bought 4 more pregnancy tests. The results on those were much less vague, so I canceled the surgery.


So, I had my first transplant when Child 1 was 6 months old and my second shortly before I got pregnant with #2. The KC is gone but I still have the astigmatism, so I get to continue my journey with eye doctors, which I've been doing for so, so long now. The past few years I've been going to the eye clinic on campus, which means I see students who are learning, and they've always been very nice and sweet and it's a delightful place. This was my experience today, though.....

Yes, they're open on Sundays, because they're students and student labor is free so I guess they have to work whenever they're told. I was there 2 weeks ago and today I went back to try on some new lenses to see how they worked, but because my eyes are so football-like, it's hard to get a good fit. So, she put it on and I couldn't see a thing. She said "let's let it settle a bit" and then I still couldn't see a thing. She said "let me try to adjust it" and then she shines the fucking SUN in my face and says "Look directly at the sun while I nudge the lens" and then says "okay, now look at the eye chart, is that better?" And I'm like "NO, you fucking idiot! NOW all I see is an enormous purple BLOB where the wall used to be!" So we had to wait for the blob to go away. And then I still couldn't see. And then they dilated my pupils and I had to drive home completely blind. That was fun.

My eyes suck.

The end.