Monday, May 31, 2010

"Little Boy"

Setting the Stage:  My husband took Lizzy deep sea fishing last Wednesday.

Background:  Lizzy is particular about what she wears. She’s been like this was since she was two.  She refused to wear any pants that didn’t have pockets and belt loops.  She prefers to wear huge tee-shirts and boy shorts.  I have a couple of friends with one girl and Lizzy gets all their hand-me-downs.  We pass on more clothes than she keeps.    She hates to have anything in her hair; so, I keep it cut in a bob.  It is a little shaggy right now because I want to grow out the layers in the back . . . . Well, it’s really because I’m lazy and she wants it longer.  

So, there they were on a BOAT!  Lizzy was wearing a tee-shirt, camouflage shorts and a baseball cap.  And TWICE . . . I say again, TWICE people referred to Lizzy as a boy.  As in, “What’s your little boy’s name?”

My husband’s response, “Lizzy.”

Friday, May 28, 2010

Budget Hero

I found a cool website:  Budget Hero.  Here's your chance to figure out how to solve the US' economic problems.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

To BP or Not to BP... A Shakespearean take on the Gulf Oil Spill

While I listened to NPR this morning I caught part of this outrageously funny rewriting of Hamlet's To Be or Not To Be speech.  I laughed delightedly and now you can share my joy.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Last Saturday my husband, Lizzy and I went into Boston for Earthfest.  I wanted to hear the Gin Blossoms and Collective Soul.  Sadly, I missed Marcy Playground but I didn’t want to spend the whole day waiting around in the sun.  At the end of the day I realized that I’m way too old to go to free concerts peopled with 15 year-olds.  I don’t think I’ll make my husband go next year.

But it was a completely different experience to be there with only Lizzy.  Going somewhere with a completely typical child is easy.  I wasn’t pinched a single time.  I wasn’t asked for a piggyback.  She waited patiently in line.  No one looked at us at all.  No, she wasn’t perfect but man, it was stress free.  I forget how vigilant I am with Will in a crowd, especially a crowd like this.  He would have hated being there!  He would have wanted to get away from all the people.  He would have hung on me the whole time and I probably would have given him a short(!) piggyback ride out of desperation.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Working Mothers?

Tuesday night I was just finishing up my emails to a state Representative, two state senators, a commissioner, the governor and someone else who does something when Marcy called me to see if I’d run for the town’s Sped-Pac co-secretary.  Earlier, I’d given Bri a cooking lesson over the phone on my way home from Jake’s tutoring session (he’s learning how to write).  And the baked chicken and rice turned out perfectly.

I need to get on the ball because we have the teacher appreciation breakfast at Will’s school in two weeks and I haven’t picked out teacher gifts yet.  Yeah, the teacher gift I was sooo big on.  The gifts that I pushed and said I’d bake cookies for if we couldn’t afford anything else.  And we have elections for the Parent Group at Will’s school.  Last year I dodged the bullet but this year I already volunteered to be on the fundraising committee.

The only thing I can think about right now is that some mothers do this and work full time!  Uh . . . how?  No, seriously . . . how?  Marcy jokes that she’d like a sister wife.  I’d settle for an assistant, cook and live-in therapist!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Slaughtering Syllabomols

While Jake and I waited in line at a stop sign, we heard someone start honking.  They honked until the person in front of them turned and continued to honk as they followed them – without stopping at the stop sign, I might add; I think they considered the time they has spent stopped counted as an actual stop and unfortunately there wasn’t a policeman around to dissuade them.

I said to Jake, “That person has anger management problems.”

Jake agreed.  “They need to see a philotropoligist.”

“You mean a therapist?”

“A physicoligist.”

“Oh, a psychologist,” I stated.

“A theaterologist,” He agreed. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Forgiving Yourself

I read a blog yesterday on my google reader that touched me.  Even though I don’t know Jenny Alice I like to read her posts and sometimes I even feel as if I know her a little bit.  I like how she writes.  I think she crafts what she writes while my words just sort of spill out of me.  My voice tends more towards writing history papers and I think that hers probably pauses at flowers.  I like reading beautiful word play.  When Bri was in second grade I made the mistake of reading the first Harry Potter book out loud to her.  I like the series but reading it aloud was torturous!  It takes so long to say the words that I had time to read ahead in my mind.  I started editing Rawlings.  I noticed that she was too wordy and used the same words too frequently.  I came up with corrections and wanted to stop reading it but Bri wanted to continue.  Finally we finished and I decided she should hear what a good book sounded like so I started reading Tuck Everlasting to her.  Tuck Everlasting was one of my favorite books in middle school.  It’s beautifully written and filled with gorgeous words.  Naturally, Bri disliked it and only listened to the first several pages before she refused to hear any more.

In her post Jenny Alice writes about falling short.  While I suspect all mothers believe that they fall short, I believe there is a special category for the mothers of children with special needs.  There is so much to constantly do, so much need, such a large deficit and the result is dramatically different than one can expect from a typically developing child.  For years I’ve watched therapists work dedicatedly with my children to help them develop skills.  I can’t do that day after day, year after year.  I get tired.  I go on a vacation.  My routine get messed up and I can’t manage to back in the habit.  I look at the years that have stretched behind me and the years ahead and want to get something to eat and sit down in front of the most mindless TV show I can stomach.

I appreciate my friend Marcy.  She decided to change her attitude years ago.  She often says about autism that she “knows what it’s not.”  And sometimes I need to hear that.  Her attitude about a lot of things can be illustrated by an event that occurred when we were in New York a couple of months ago.  We were staying at the Ritz Carlton overlooking Central Park.  It’s not my kind of hotel but my husband travels so he turned in hotel points and you can’t beat free.  One morning we asked the concierge for recommendations for breakfast.  We wanted to eat north of the hotel closer to the Met.  We stumped the two concierges who were trying to help us.  “We don’t usually send our guests that direction for breakfast.”  One said.

Marcy piped up, “We don’t need fabulous.  We just need adequate.” I mentioned to Marcy on the way to breakfast that the concierges at the Ritz Carlton probably have never heard that before nor will again.

Adequate is alright.  The times we are spot on can be averaged with the times we fall short.  And even though people don’t aspire to be adequate, I think over the lifetime of parenting a child with special needs we should cut ourselves some slack.  Recognizing we can and should do better should go hand in hand with recognizing when we do well.  We would all be happier if we held ourselves to the same standards that we hold others to.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A lovely Adoption Story

One Friday night my friend called me just as she was starting off on a walk. I told her to wait for me and I quickly drove over and joined her. She interests me because she’s in the education field, has a daughter with special needs, and has a great sense of humor. She told me part of her daughter’s adoption story. I didn’t realize that they knew their daughter had Cerebral Palsy when they adopted her and now I have even more to admire about her.

She told me that when she was being interviewed by a social worker prior to the adoption she was asked what she would do if her daughter wanted to find her birth family when she was older. My friend responded that she would never stand in her way but she thought she might be concerned -- emotionally. The social worker responded that my friend wasn’t a mother yet so she didn’t understand how her feelings would change. She went on to explain: "By the time your daughter would possibly be interested in searching it will be years in the future and your perspective will be vastly different. Through the years, you will bond with your child, love your child, and help her to grow and mature. Along that journey, you will encounter times that your daughter has challenges both big and small, and you will try to help her to ease the pain. When you see that she has a hole or a void in her life, your natural instinct will be to help her to fill it or learn to deal with it if "filling" isn't possible. The desire to find one's birth family is often an aching void, and you will you likely will transition from the vulnerability that you predict you will feel, to finding yourself wanting to scour the planet helping your daughter to find her birth family."

My friend reports that this journey to a new perspective took less than one month. Now, eight years later, she's hoping that her daughter will eventually want seek out her birth family so that she can thank them for the wonderful gift that they so selflessly gave to her, motherhood.

I thought it was a lovely, touching antidote about motherhood.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


During Will’s therapy today my husband came in to see what was going on.  Will ran over and pushed me into my husband.  We thought he wanted us to hug him.  So we did.  Then he tried to push and turn us around.  We weren’t sure what he wanted, so we didn’t really cooperate.  Then he pushed our faces together.  He wanted us to kiss each other.  Delightful!  Joan got to see us kiss.  But he wasn’t satisfied with just one.  Later he ran to get his dad and made him play Sequence for Kids with us.  It was exciting because he usually doesn’t request both of us to play with him.  Will was weird and cute at the same time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Children Are No Longer Pet Deprived (Although, petting them could be a problem)

A couple of months ago, my husband bought bees online, in a fit of madness. Once he ordered the bees, he needed a hive and assorted bee gear. So, he ordered that as well. Four hundred dollars later, he and Lizzy put the hive together and painted it. He informed me that he was lucky to get the bees because there is a shortage. He picked them up the day after we got back from Mexico.

He planned on putting them in the woods behind our house but it’s not sunny enough. So he decided to put them on the roof because he thought our neighbors might freak out if we put a beehive in the front yard.

My mom and I watched him put the bees in the hive on the roof. I was worried that if he got stung he’d fall off the roof on the wrong side – the side that had a two story fall onto stone pavers rather than fall onto the deck. I worried needlessly. He didn’t get stung; although he looked very attractive in his bee mask and gloves.

The biggest problem now is that my parents are freaking out that I don’t have an EpiPen because we are both allergic to bees.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thoughts about Americans

Sometimes the tone deafness of Americans is shocking.  While I think our country has much to be proud of, I think many people lack global awareness.  Much of that is due to the size of our country, educational gaps and lack of travel outside of the US.  The stereotype of an “ugly American” is at least partially based in reality.

While my husband and I were on our way into a close town in Mexico; several of the people in the same car started talking about how much they loved seeing how people lived in other countries.  It sounded almost as if they felt they were on an anthropology tour of Mexico.  Then someone said it was so quaint how Mexicans managed to live without washing machines yet had such bright white clothing.  

They said this in front of the driver and guide who probably lived in the town they were discussing.  I think they could have said the same thing in a non-offensive way.  (Well, except maybe the washing machine thing.  Seriously, most of the houses had satellite TV, I think they probably had a washing machine and bleach, as well.)  I don’t believe it even crossed any of their minds that they were being offensive, dismissive and a stereotypical American.  And come on, it was a tourist town not necessarily real “Mexico” anyway.  And would a small poverty stricken town be more authentic than a bustling Mexico City?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


The ocean in front of the hotel.

The view from my balcony.

View from the roof of the hotel.

Some ruins at Coba.

View from the top of the pyramid at Coba.

A Mayan ball court at Coba.  You can see the stone circle just above the slanted wall in the middle if you squint.

Typical Mayan building.  We saw a lot of homes made from sticks and topped with a thatched roof.

I thought I'd put up a picture of Lizzy at her reading recital in her green and white striped felt hat, while wearing Jake's outgrown suit.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I use to say that hotel points were the only benefit to my husband’s near constant travel.  I’ve now found an additional benefit . . . a “business” trip to Mexico.  We left on Wednesday and returned on Sunday.  It was pretty sweet even though I came back with hives.

Highlights:  I had breakfast on our balcony overlooking the ocean every morning.  We went snorkeling in the ocean.  On Friday, we went to the Coba Ruins and snorkeling in a cenote.  Snorkeling in the cenote was actually the highlight of the trip for me!  The water was delightful.  I didn’t have to worry about getting a sunburn and our guide showed us some special sand to use as an exfoliate.  My skin felt quite nice until I developed hives a day later. 

That night we went into Playa del Carmen and I bought Mexican wrestling masks because honestly, what else could I possibly buy.  I tried on all the masks in two stores before I decided on two and of course Lizzy and Jake wanted the same one so I told them they could wrestle for it.  I made the driver bargain with the shopkeepers in Spanish because I lack bargaining skills.  Really.  When we have garage sales I undercut myself and when people ask me for prices I start saying everything is free.  I figured that if I tried to bargain with anyone in Mexico I’d end up paying more than the original price. 

On Saturday, we went to the Muyil Ruins and on a Float Tour.  (This is actually when my arms and neck developed blisters.  Now that my neck is starting to peel I’m telling everyone that I caught an exotic Mexican disease.)  Then we had a cooking lesson at the hotel.

I think I’m now ruined for personal travel because the office manager was there to arrange everything and I admit that I am lazy enough to really enjoy that.  

But any trip would not be complete without an autism component.  I mentioned to one of the other spouses that Will has autism and she told me she was in the middle of trying to get her son a diagnosis.  They live in Zurich so I couldn’t give her as much advice as I would like but I think she appreciated not feeling alone, since disabilities aren’t the sort of thing most people bring up with strangers especially when they are in the process of getting a diagnosis.

Monday, May 3, 2010


My mom came to Boston to baby sit my kids while I was in Mexico and I tried to cram in some quintessential experiences into a couple of days. I took her to the Minute Man Memorial. We walked the Freedom Trail, bought cannolis at Mike’s Pastries and some gelato in the North End. Then today we took her to lunch at Legal Seafood before she flew back home.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Mommy Dating

I started dating again. This time it’s different. By different, I mean there’s no kissing and I’m not dating men. I read an article in the paper over a year ago about “mommy dating.” Although, I’d never call it that I have to admit that there are some similarities. I’ve found the older you get the harder it is to make friends. I’m pretty lucky that I’ve found some wonderful ones here.

In high school I tended to be oblivious and naïve. That’s a dangerous combination and I’m grateful I grew up in Utah because if there’s one place on earth that is a little safer for those of us who were born with gullible tattooed on our foreheads that is the place! Needless to say, my high school experience was just fine and if I was significantly sillier than the average person I will also say I probably had more fun as well. But oblivious, naïve, pure and silly does not attract guys so there was little dating. But it all worked out because I was attracted to bright and nice guys and I married a good one.

Since the article explained a few things to me, I’m obviously still oblivious about social games, but I can’t imagine being as obsessive and worried as the women in the article. “It’s not you it’s me” whatever! Maybe it’s easier for me because I already belong to a club. And moms of kids with special needs tend to be pretty inclusive.
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