Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tasty, Tasty

I love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart! It's like chocolate without the calories!


We do have a closing date on our new house, June 13th. I can't wait. I think we'll refinish the floors upstairs before we move in. So, we won't move in until Monday or so.

Last night I had a nightmare. I dreamed that our financing fell through. I woke up in a panic and thought, "Did I get a letter about that and forget to call my husband?" I think it was just a dream but I'm not 100% convinced.


Right now the closest thing Lizzy has to shorts is a pair of Jacob’s. And she has tried to wear them for the last four days! She put them on the other morning for school. I said, “It’s 40 degrees outside please wear pants.” Since, we all know how well Lizzy listens to me regarding clothing choices; she ended up wearing them, of course.

I talked her into a long sleeved shirt but not a jacket. Jake’s shorts were a light blue with a white track stripe down the side. Lizzy paired those shorts with a navy and white horizontal striped sailor shirt. I refuse to take any credit for that fashion pairing and blame it on her father.

I’ve decided that at this point everything in my life is BTBA – before two-bedroom apartment. At other times things have been BK – before kids, BA – before autism; but now things are firmly divided into BTBA or ATBA (after two-bedroom apartment). There was a time (before I almost moved to Texas, shipped all my stuff to Texas and when I lived in a house) when my life was a little more normal. My family of six was not crammed into two bedrooms. Yes, despite the fact that nearly everything we own is in storage in Texas a two-bedroom does not give us nearly enough space to live comfortably.

Bri, though she has been a tremendously good sport, has remarked that she would like not to have to share a bedroom with all her siblings. What? I gave them the master. There’s enough room for all their mattresses on the floor and the three toys that each of them brought. We were only supposed to live here for one month and by the time we leave it will be six months.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thanks, Katherine for making the banner!

Singing in the Rain

Boston is ugly during the winter when the snow is grungy, the trees are leafless, and you can see all the trash and sand. Then suddenly the trees erupt into blossom and everything greens up and fills in and it’s gorgeous. It’s like looking at the cherry blossoms in D.C. Suddenly the world is in Technicolor. Even the rain seems to bring out the deep green of the lawns.

Hot Drinks and Tattoos

I was sitting with Will encouraging him to use silverware with his breakfast. I asked Bri to get him a drink of water. She brought it over. Will took a drink then handed it back to me. “A cold water,” he said. Bri had given him hot water. I was so excited. Two years ago he barely talked! Now he can complain, definitively proving he is my child.

On Sunday, I saw someone at my church with a spider tattoo on the back of her shoulder. My church is very conservative and not a lot of people sport tattoos. Although, I know some of you have tattoos and piercing in spots that will remain nameless; I’ve never been interested in getting one myself. However, when I saw this woman in a conservative dress with the tattoo I must admit that my interest in her peaked. Was she a rebel? Did she have a colorful past? Was she perhaps more interesting than me?

Answer: Quite possibly so.

What kind of tattoo would I get anyway? I’d probably settle for a puzzle piece on my forehead. We all know I have a hard time making decisions and don’t know how to decorate.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Spirit Crusher

Now my sins are coming home to rest. Last night my dad called and talked about how as a child I would tell anybody anything. He said that he and my mother didn’t try to dissuade me from talking to anyone about embarrassing things because they didn’t want to crush my spirit. I, on the other hand, try to do a little “spirit crushing.” What can I say? That’s the kind of mother I am.

Surrendering the Radio

I think my family is beach deprived because on both Friday and Saturday the kids put on their swimming suits and we have gone to the beach – Gloucester on Friday and Castle Island on Saturday. Naturally, it is much to cold to go in the water and since I haven’t taken towels either day I must know that. But we keep hoping. My kids went into the ocean in November in Maine so it isn’t outside the realm of reality to assume that they could cowboy up and go in. but each time they tried they ran back out. The closest we came on Saturday to being in the water was when Will pushed Jake off a bridge and in the stream at a nature preserve. You know one of those places where they ask you to stay on the path, so as not to disturb nature. We disturbed it a little bit. Then Jake started telling all the people we passed that his brother had pushed him into the stream. I told him, “Jake, that’s one of those private family things that we don’t need to tell perfect strangers.” I hate to admit it, but sometimes I don’t want him to talk to people he doesn’t know.

On the way home from Boston my husband and I fought over the radio. The civilized kind of fighting where you listen to their radio station until you can’t stand it any longer then you change the station. We were listening to mine until Billy Idol came on, and some risqué commercials and at that point I was willing to change it myself.

He started off by listening to a little fiddle music. Then he moved on to some Honky Tonk. Then I assume he thought, “You know what’s missing – country. Yes, that’s exactly what is needed in this car!” A song came on with “the” reverberating country twang that forced us all to sing along. As the opening bars of the next song came on, my husband with stunning precognition said, "This song will be about a whiny woman, I can tell by the cords.” As Craig Morgan started singing, my husband exclaimed, “It’s a fishing song!”

I didn't know that there were country songs about anything other than drinkin', cheatin', leavin', lovin', losin', or dogs. But there are! There's one song about none of the above. It's about an aquatic trailer park, the Redneck Yacht Club.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yes, this was an actual conversation.

Today at lunch Bri asked, “What is the loudest thing to eat?”

Lizzy: “Celery.”

Me: “Croutons.”

My husband: “Live chickens.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Revenge of the Ticks

A couple of weeks ago, while spending quality (AKA walking through brush covered with ticks) time together as a family we surprisingly experienced a tick infestation. Even though I crammed my family into the bathroom and stripped them down, I evidently missed a tick because as I was doing Lizzy’s hair this morning I found an enormous tick stuck to her scalp. After I stopped flapping my hands, jumping up and down, and screaming; I ran her downstairs to confer with my husband.

I remembered reading something about alcohol killing ticks so I started poring alcohol in her hair. Naturally, it started running into her eyes as it did not occur to me that I might want to give her a washcloth to cover them. But Lizzy, unlike some of my other children who will remain nameless, is tough so after I washed out her eyes with water she was ok. I killed the tick but it was still stuck in her head. Fortunately for all concerned, at that point my husband took over the tick removal procedure.

FYI -- not really necessary to pore half a bottle of alcohol over your child’s head to kill a tick.

Brain Cells are a Terrible Thing to Waste

Almost every night Will and I watch TV until he falls asleep. It helps him stay in one spot long enough to realize he’s tired. Usually, I turn the TV to the most boring program I can find i.e. Charlie Rose and force him to sit by me until he nods off. But sometimes I want to watch something else. Last night Will and I were watching The Soup on E! My husband came in, watched the show for a few minutes, looked at me and asked, “Do you watch this?”

“No, but William does.” I responded. He watched it for a few more minutes and I saw his brain literally start to turn into mush. Realizing that he was in danger of losing all his brain; he staggered from the room.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bad Boy 101

When you have a child in recovery from autism you say things to them that you do not say to your other children. Jake is frequent visitor to the principle’s office. Enough so that Lizzy has taken to saying, “I’ve never gone to the principle’s office.” He doesn’t understand things that the rest of us intuitively understand. Things like before you do something wrong, look around to make sure no one will see you do it. So, the other day while we were driving in the car, Jake complained about getting into trouble. I said, “Before you do something that you know you’ll get in trouble for; look around first to see if a teacher is looking at you.”

There was a horrified gasp from the back seat and Brianne said incredulously to me, “you’re telling him to break rules.”

“No,” I responded, “I’m telling him how to get away with it.” Actually, I feel I’m giving him survival skills. I also told him not to tattle (I know it makes me worry too), and that he can’t make someone like him so please, please just stay away from that person. That part of his brain doesn’t work right so I try to give him some helpful hints.

I’m trying to explain acting cool to him right now; and as any of you that knew me in high school know that’s the blind leading the blind. Yes, I’m the one that spent every 10th grade bus ride home for a year pretending to be a DI cheerleader.

I’m not trying to mold a future criminal. I’m trying to mold someone who understands at least some of the unspoken rules. And anyone who has a slightly “colorful” past is welcome to explain more PG-13 rules to him or at least teach him how to be cool.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Next He'll Want a Piercing

Today, I went over to my friend’s again. I’m “helping” her paint and go through stuff. My job is to inspire and provide moral support; AKA, sit on my butt and talk. At one point, I find a half naked Will wandering around the house. I send my children on a treasure hunt to find his pants. Finally, I find them outside under the swing set. I should have looked there first because he routinely left pants under it at our house (BTBA—before two-bedroom apartment). My neighbors have frequently seen my child naked but I doubt that her neighbors are used to the sight of a child running about the backyard in varying states of undress. Usually I have a stash of extra clothes in the van but today I’m down to a shirt and pair of pants. So, I guess Will is commando until we get home.

Later, Jake comes up to me and whispers in my ear that Will has wet his pants because the tent is wet. I find Will to check on him. No, he’s dry. But I am so focused on checking his pants that I don’t notice the purple and green glitter paint that covers half his head until I walk back into the kitchen!?! I know I can be a little single minded at times but I don’t understand how I could have missed that!

I couldn't resist

I have days like this? Thanks Kim.

Exquisitely Painful Negotiations

As many of you can attest, the negotiation skills that having multiple children requires can be exhausting. Refrains of “he got a bigger piece,” or “hey, she gets to stay up later than me” echo endlessly in my ears. Today it was Bri got more playdates this week. I mention that he had one Tuesday and will have another on Thursday and Friday. The refrain shifts to well, she got to have playdates alone with a friend, and when he has playdates sometimes Lizzy or the rest of us come along.

I forbear from asking, “How often do I get ‘alone playdates?'” Answer: not often, usually I bring four little people along with me. And I try to dredge up some patience for this conversation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Obama in '08

I have to post a link to's song about my man Obama. Because it makes me happy and I decided not to talk about politics while I'm in Utah this summer. As my family's token Democrat it can be a little divisive when we talk politics as each side assumes they are right. Fair warning: don't diss my man.

Yes, We Can Video

The dreaded implantable ID chip

Yesterday, I went over to my friend’s house. She has two boys one of whom is in Will’s school. Her husband is out of town for the month and I decided to move in since space is available. It’s really nice to have friend who is an “autism” mom because she just gets it. I have lots of friends and family who don’t bat an eye if Will walks past them naked but it’s a little different dynamic to hang with someone in the same situation.

Anyway, I was watching her clean her garage which I found very vicariously satisfying. She threw away some of her husband’s junk, and I thought “ahh, if only I could do that.” I don’t touch my husband’s stuff. Rather, I politely and sweetly point out the lack of necessity of keeping say, a broken DVD player. But it never fails that every time I convince him to get rid of some piece of junk a year later he needs it.

While I am watching my friend clean her cupboard handles we realize that we have not seen her son for a while. We split up and search her house twice. Then we start looking down her street. Two of her neighbors join the search. 10 minutes later she calls the police and I head to route 30 in my car. I can’t see him anywhere but I alert more neighbors to look for him. After a few minutes I give up and return to search closer. I’m trying to remember what he was wearing. Oh, that’s right – the perfect tee-shirt to be lost in. As I pull up to her house there are six police cars there with at least two more pulling up. I see her holding her son. They saw him walk down the driveway a couple houses down with very dirty feet and a book that didn’t belong to him.

I was happy to see that the police had taken the call so seriously. It did bring back memories of the multiple times that Will has run away. My husband put extra locks on the door the day my neighbor woke me with a call at 6:00am. She said, “Will is in the street in front of my house.”

I still half asleep replied, “No, he’s in bed asleep.”

“It really looks like him,” she said.

As I woke up I realized that I should double check on him. And sure enough little four year-old footprints in the snow led from my door to the street.

His ID bracelet has come in handy on multiple occasions. Fortunately, we are past the days of daily bolting into the street and routinely retrieving Will from the park in various states of undress. Quite often he was only wearing underwear. The day I found him wearing only a pair of underwear on backwards was a little embarrassing (repeat mantra: that’s the kind of mother I am. That’s the kind of mother I am.) Usually the underwear was in the correct position when he wandered mostly naked to the park. The day I found him at the park only wearing a shirt I thought I really should bring clothes with me when I retrieve him at the park. And I was very, very grateful that the day to police brought him home he was fully dressed except for shoes!

I’ve thought about implanting a locator chip in him but I can’t bring myself to do it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fighting over the Car Radio

I am thrilled that Will has started talking and I try to reinforce all talking. There is always the possibility that he will say something before resorting to pinches. Every year the kids get a CD from primary that has all the songs they need to learn for that year’s primary program and we like to listen to it on the way to church. Sometimes on the way to church Will says “Heavenly Father.” I assumed that he realized that we were on our way to church. But a couple of weeks ago Bri figured out that one of the CDs that he likes has Heavenly Father in the title. He was requesting to listen to it. That’s really cool! But who knows how long he has been asking for it without anyone understanding what he meant?

I am particular about what I listen to. The radio is mine while I’m in the car and my children don’t get to choose the songs. My mom always had classical music playing. I may not ever listen to it but I have a healthy appreciation for it. However, my children are deprived and have not been exposed to the same cultural experiences I had. I started listening to New Wave in High School and rode that wave into Alternative. I hate “teeny bopper” music. I am trying to mold my children into rejecting the tween crap their friends listen to. Although, I’m not sure how effective I have been because Jake’s MP3 player is full of High School Musical songs.

There have been disturbing incidences, I was a little concerned when Lizzy told me that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ song Snow (Hey Oh) was her favorite song. I’ve heard my kids singing along to songs I’m not sure are all that appropriate for six year olds. But my taste in music is really limited. I would not do well on Don’t Forget the Lyrics. On Sundays I listen to good music but the rest of the week I own the radio in the car and it’s playing my stuff.

While we were in the car on Monday, Will said, “Heavenly Father.”

I said, “crap.”

Monday, April 21, 2008

Boston Marathon

This year I decided to take the kids over to my friend’s house for Patriot’s Day instead of watching the Boston Marathon. We use to live fairly close to 135 and for the past several years have gone down to watch the runners. We enjoyed cheering on the runners and yelling out the names of the people who wore their names on their clothes. The only problem with my plan is that I live in Framingham, Katherine lives in Holliston and the marathon route goes in between. Nothing crosses 135 except emergency vehicles. I have to drive out to 495 and go around Hopkinton.

Unfortunately, I am compelled to try and save 5 minutes by taking a shortcut on the frontage road by Hopkinton. Silly me! I should have realized that, of course, Hopkinton is shut down from 495 in. I get off the freeway and I am directed by one the five police men through the traffic light. I try to go the opposite direction, I can see the road I want but it is blocked by more policemen and vehicles. I have to go back on the freeway but now I heading back to Framingham! I get back off. At this point I should have cut my losses and got back on the 495. But no, I am committed to saving 5 minutes and I will do it or die trying. I’m driving through unfamiliar towns so I have to pull over occasionally to look at my map. Of course, by the time I pull over I have missed my turn and have to drive to the next turnoff. Ironically, 20 minutes later I end up at the next exit of 495 where I can finally I can drive under it.

As I drive though scenic Massachusetts country side occasionally stopping to look at my map (with apologies to my dad) I realize that if I see anymore policemen directing me away from where I want to go I’ll scream.

And at my final stop to look at the map REM’s Stand comes on the radio. Great! Now I have a soundtrack.

. . . If you are confused, check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along . . .

That’s it. Will is going to have to learn how to read a map! And an hour and a half after we leave Framingham we pull into my friend’s driveway.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yellow Crocs

It’s tough trying to live with most of our stuff in storage in Texas. It’s one thing to have all your shorts unavailable in December but quite another if it’s May. My friend Marcy is taking pity on me. She loaned me shorts for Will and gave some sandals to Lizzy. Today she gave Lizzy some bright yellow crocs. Lizzy loves them. She enjoyed wearing them all day, along with the batman mask and cape. I noticed she brought them in the bathroom with her to take a bath. Then she came out wearing her pajamas and yellow crocs. I asked her to take them off but she replied that she likes wearing them. I surrendered. Lizzy is actually one of the few children to actually wear a hole through rainboots.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Soup!? No really, I wanted to make rice pilaf

Occasionally I try to cook without a recipe. It never turns out well. Once I tried a new recipe when I planned on taking dinner to a new mother . . . she ended up with takeout. I tried to make a chicken, carrot and rice soup. My friend made one that was very tasty for us. I tried to duplicate it. I added to much rice, Will ate the chicken from the fridge and there was not enough seasoning. So as I dished up the “soup” AKA rice pilaf sprinkled with six pieces of chicken; Brianne said she wasn’t very hungry, Lizzy said she didn’t want any carrots and Jake put soy sauce on his. It is so satisfying to cook for appreciative and loving children.

BTW, I just counted 7 apple cores in the garbage can and two on the floor.

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