The End of Summer

School starts in two weeks. That means I have only one more true week of summer vacation. “Practice Week” begins on Monday the 23rd. Reacquainting Colin with a more rigid routine is not something I’m looking forward to, but it has to be done. When summer started, I told myself that keeping him in his normal morning routine (get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, take meds before tv or games) would be critical. Also, adhering to a regular bedtime would make it easier on him so he wouldn’t be tired during the day…which brings Tigger out in full force. Did any of that happen? Um…no. The only routine activity he’s clung to is reading the Sunday comics. “I only like the Sunday ones because they have color. The ones on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday are not in color and that means I don’t like them. They don’t make sense without the color.”

I think it took all of two days for me to sink into the joy of sleeping in and letting the kids get up without me. Colin won’t walk down the hall to the living room alone if no one is out there…so on mornings that he’s up first…he crawls in bed with me and turns the tv on. Actually, he doesn’t crawl in. He does this wild sort of run-jump-plop-scramble maneuver. Then, because he hasn’t had his meds yet, the stimming begins. That involves rubbing Mommy’s arms, playing with my elbows, touching my legs and putting his face two inches away from mine and asking “When are you getting up?” Not all that relaxing for me, but still.

The dumbest thing I did was not enforce his morning routine of getting dressed before anything else happens. By the end of last school year, Colin was finally at the place where he would get his clothing, socks and shoes on independently. Then, eat breakfast…brush teeth and THEN he could watch tv if time allowed. Guess what…he is still in his pjs as I write and it’s 10:30 a.m. So, Practice Week is gonna be tough. Adding to the stress is a new bus schedule, new bus route and new bus number. When I told Colin about this change…”I’m STUPIFIED!!”…was his only response, followed by flapping and spinning. Ugh.

Clearly I am not winning the Aspie Mother of the Year Award. But guess what? We had a fun summer! We stayed up late, swam in the dark, chased fireflies and ate lunch on the trampoline. We laughed a lot and grew a lot. So, my last official week of summer will be more of the same. I promise.

And only when I’m all happy and tired out from playing will I get back to filling out forms, scheduling therapies, IEP meetings, TSS set-up and enforcing routine. For now, we’re all just having too much fun…and I’m fine with that.

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I’m About to Come Alive

Someday I’d like a life with some peace, tranquility and stability. I often find myself in constant flux; trying to do the right thing and make the world spin in a perfect orbit. I’ve managed for the last 20 years to narrow myself down into someone who wants to make sure that everyone is happy. That means they like me.

Well…I’m kinda done. Honestly, I’ve been “done” for awhile. A few months ago, a wise man told me I should do more to care for Myself and let other people deal with their own shit. Yes, he used the word “shit.” Yes, my insurance company paid him by the hour to help me sort through the complexities of the place I find myself in. But he was right. In the weeks that followed his mandate, I gave myself permission to be occasionally selfish. I’ve gone out with my friends more, had a few moments of “me” time and managed a whole week away from home with old friends. Yikes! But, it’s not enough. There’s still a lot of me left to reaquaint myself with. I miss me.

I watch my children intently. I don’t want them to make the same mistakes I did. I don’t want them to sell themselves short for the sake of the status quo or to just please others. But I’m afraid I’ve been teaching them that their job in life is to make sure no one gets mad. That is SO NOT cool.

So, from here on out it changes. When it’s just me and the kids hanging out for days this summer, I’ve tried to be nothing but real and honest with them. I’ve always had fun, got silly, carried on and let them explore who they are. But I haven’t modeled independance and I will, from now on out, make sure they begin to be okay in their own skin, regardless of who they think they have to please.

We live in this world to care for others and to love and nurture each person we are in contact with. But, it is not in anyone’s right to change you into someone who you don’t recognize and to manipulate you into someone that no longer thinks for themselves. I will not have my children engage in that life.

My baby boy, Colin, has brought out in all of us the need to look beyond ourselves and learn another world. Frankly, learn an entire new language…and in so doing has brought myself and my children to a place where we respect the preciousness of others and yet are now finding out how real we all are.

I have loved the following song for several years. It speaks of a hurting time between a man and a woman, but the lyrics can apply themselves to anyone who is about to realize that they’ve reached the place where they become who they really are. And the lead singer is pretty beautiful…so that doesn’t hurt!

To Blog or Not to

I can’t believe it’s been over two months since I added anything to this blog! My Writing Fairy constantly torments me with little things that I want to post here…but I’ve managed to ignore her. I’m not sure why I haven’t given in to the urge. I’ve stopped by often to see if people are still reading the stuff I’ve written, and amazingly…they have! I giggle every time I check to see what brings random people to this blog. Every day for nearly three-and-a-half years, someone somwhere enters a phrase like “Do women have nose hair” into their search engine…and pops to Divine Graffiti to read a post I wrote in 2007! Really? Are there that many people in the world worried about women’s nose hair? Apparently.

Maybe I’ve ignored The Fairy because it’s summer and I don’t have to worry about school and just simply set about enjoying this time. Last summer “pretty much sucked” as Liam puts it. This year I’ve tried to relax, have fun and enjoy my children. That will end and in a few weeks and they’ll be back in school.

For the first time in 14 years all of my children will be in full-day school. The house will seem eerie without anyone but me here for 8 hours…but guess what! I can’t wait!!! And, no, that does NOT make me a bad mom. I love my “me” time. A lot!

Soon we will be marking a very difficult anniversary. Charlie died almost a year ago. I just re-read my posts from that month. Such a different time than now. We’ll get through it.

My inbox has an email today from someone asking me when I’m going to start updating this blog again. Maybe I just did.

Birds, Bees…and Weak Knees

I have noticed Colin initiating more spontaneous conversation lately that FINALLY has nothing to do with Mario Brothers. A few weeks ago, it seemed like a little switch went on and we’ve been having quite long and complicated conversations that revolve around him wanting to know something about life.

Tonight’s conversation, however, made me weak in the knees.

Sitting by the pool, warming up after an after-dinner-swim. Erin’s still swimming and he’s watching her. He’s wearing his swim shorts, swim shirt and ever-present life vest. Wrapped in a colorful striped towel with his little purple lips….

Him: “Mommy…I think I’d like to be a girl.”
Me: “Why?”
Him: “Because girls are pretty.”
Me: “But boys are handsome.”
Him: “I’m quite tired of being handsome. I was hoping that I’d be a girl.”
Me: “You’re definitely a boy buddy.”
Him: Big sigh.

One minute passes silently.

Him: “I think you’re going to have another baby and it will be a girl.”
Me: “OH NO! We are definately NOT having any more babies.”
Him: “Well, you should have had two babies the last time…me and a girl.”

Another minute passes. By now, Erin’s out of the pool and we’re wrapping up and heading in.

Him: “By the way, was Erin a baby?”
Me: “Yes, everyone starts life as a baby. Liam was a baby too.”
Him: Smacks forehead, throws head back…”What the heck?! You had THREE babies! All at the same time?!”
Me: “No, at different times.”
Him: “Was I the first one?”
Me: “No, Liam was first…that’s why he’s oldest. You were last, that’s why you’re youngest.”

He thinks for a minute (by now he’s stripped totally naked, cause he like to be that way) and as we walk towards the pool fence door he asked THE QUESTION.

Him: “Mommy, how does the doctor get the baby to come out of the Mommy?”
Me: gulp…weak knees. “Um…well…you know how girls are the only ones that can have babies, right? And you know that girls have vaginas…remember, it’s near the place that their pee comes from. Well, babies also come from the vagina.”
Him: “What?! But it’s so small there.”
Me: “It gets bigger…trust me!”

Erin: “OH MY GOD MOM!!!”
Me: “I have to tell him the truth Erin.”

Him: “But I’ve only ever seen hair there. Isn’t that where your Penis (yes, emphasis added) is supposed to be?”

Somehow that ended it…and now I sit wondering when he’s going to ask me HOW the baby gets in there…right now he’s concerned with how it gets out.

Lord Have Mercy.

Flight of Ideas

Well….typical ADHD day for me….brain flits from this to that and then finds a shiny thing to watch for a few seconds.

I was diagnosed with Adult ADHD about four months ago…which caused my mother to say…”Well, THAT explains everything!”.

Wow.

Here’s today’s flighty recap:

“Mom, mom…..Mommy!!!!! Mom, mom…..mom…do you hear me? MOM!!!!!”

Son #1 managed to get through another day of 7th grade without a girlfriend (thank god!) and kick ass in a baseball game.

Daughter #2 managed to get through another day of 5th grade with Maximum attitude…resulting in a few disciplanary actions…..

Son # 2…see Colin Speaks

Hubby? Well, I don’t want to know that he’s in 90 degree weather (and I don’t care how much time he spent inside)….

Daughter #1 I imagine is doing okay since she hasn’t asked for anything lately or wandered into more trouble than she can handle.

Life as a relatively single Mom with crazy schedules and Asperger’s needs gets tough sometimes.
But…it’s good…it’s ALL good…or at least it wil be when it all pays off.

And tomorrow, I cap off or begin (however you want to look at it) my 40 lb weight loss with the beginning of a crazy, insane home workout….

I’ll let you know if I’m alive on Sunday, K?

Post-It Note Tuesday

It’s almost Wednesday and I’ve missed a few of these but….

and if you ever want to create your own or find more of these to read…

When Red isn’t Really Red

I would like a word with the Crayola Company. Frankly, any maker of crayons, markers or colored pencils. I’d like to invite them to my home to observe the frustration Colin experiences when he’s required to do a coloring activity. Why? Because not one crayon in the box is labelled “Red”, “Blue”, “Green”, “Yellow”, “Brown”…you get the idea.

Colin doesn’t like to color for fun. His preferred style is to scribble with a Black crayon. However, when homework requires him to “Color the square shapes red”, for example, he’s more than willing. It’s required, therefore it’s a rule and he must follow it. (One benefit of his typical AS personality.) Because his fine motor skills are diminished it takes a LONG time to get the coloring to stay within the lines…but he’s meticulous in that task. What would take a neuro-typical child three minutes to complete takes Colin ten. IF he can find the right colored crayon to fit the job.

This is where my gripe with those crayon companies comes in.

Colin’s literal brain can’t use “Posh Pink”, “Rusty Brown”, “Blue Green” or “Amber Yellow” when his instructions call for pink, brown, green or yellow crayons. Even “Light Blue” won’t work if the required color is simply BLUE. We’re working through it … like we’re working through everything, but it’s not easy. He feels like he’s not doing his homework right.

I do love all the beautiful colors in a great big box of crayons…it’s just not Aspie friendly and I’ll be darned if I can find a normal box (other than with the kids meals at Applebee’s) of crayons without the extra hues thrown in.

Yesterday, I took Colin and his best friend (Yeah! he has one!) to the petting zoo and then for ice cream. Colin ordered his typical “Green” ice cream (read mint-choco-chip) and I got strawberry. He looked at my dish and uncharacteristically ventured outside his zone and asked if he could taste my flavor. He liked it! Cool…

HIM: “Mom, next time we come here I will ask the persons with the ice cream for a medium cup of strawberry…and then the time after that…which will be two times from now…which is the third time…I’m going to try the raspberry ice cream in a medium bowl.”

Well, okay I thought.

Later that evening he repeated this agenda to Liam at the kitchen counter while they ate dinner.

Colin: “Liam, I had green ice cream today…next time I go to the petting zoo I am going to have strawberry…I tried it and I think I like it…then the third time I go I will sample raspberry.”

Liam: “Cool buddy. It’s good to try new things. You want to try raspberry huh?”

Colin: “Yes, Raspberry is darker than Red. I don’t know what color Raspberry really is, but if I taste it, maybe I can find out and then I’ll know.”

There ya go, Crayola…just flavor the off-the-wall hues in the box and we’ll be fine!

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