Monday, November 29, 2010

Nerd Party

I told Marcy I was thinking of having a New Years Eve party. She looked at me quizzically, “But you don’t drink.” She stated. “People usually ring in the New Year with champagne.”

“I can make hot apple cider,” I said, “And buy eggnog.” I didn’t tell her I was thinking about spending the night playing games. I can only imagine what she would have said to that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for chocolate and washing machines and heat and running water and Marcy but most of all my family.  I’m also thankful for the internet.  Internet, thank you for videos and for this  and especially this and for the Gregory brothers and email and blogs and You Tube and SNL reruns … Internet, even though you gave me facebook, which is a giant waste of time, I still love you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IEP Season

I switched Jake over to a charter school last year.  Usually kids start there in the 6th grade but he started in the 7th.  I like my town schools, I liked Jake’s principle and most of his teachers but Jake was being bullied in spite of their best efforts.  And I was DONE with that!  He’s doing much better socially.  A lot of the kids are quirky at that school either from being brainy or having special needs.  And I thought Jake’s quirky would stick out less there.  

My plan has worked.  It’s a small school focused on Expeditionary Learning.  Kids are divided into 12-14 student crews, each with a faculty advisor.  It has a spiraled curriculum.  For example, one of Jake’s summer reading books was Downriver, after reading the book the class went river rafting, then they wrote an essay about the trip and did science experiments. 

Last week I went the best IEP meeting I’ve ever been to.  Our SP-ED PAC had sponsored four lectures on IEPs.  I learned about the importance of a really good vision statement.  I’d always written one but I decided not well enough.  The sped teacher and I started going over the IEP.  We had two writing goals instead of the previous, very poorly written, single goal.  She suggested a self-advocacy goal which I loved.

It was a brilliant meeting!  We wrote the IEP together which is exactly how it should be done but, somehow has never been.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mary Janes and Plaid Skirts

I had visions of what my children would be like.  Then I had one.  But I still had visions of what they would wear and play with.  I envisioned them playing with and adoring the kinds of toys I wished for and didn’t have!  Well, not my boys.  I didn’t really care about what kinds of toys they had, except weapons.  My boys wouldn’t have guns or swords or anything violent.  Can you tell that I bought into the entire nurture side of the nurture v. nature debate?  The weapons-ban lasted until I noticed my three year-old making a gun out of legos and sticks.  At which point I promptly gave up.

But the girls, the girls were going to have American Girl dolls and giant incredibly cool doll houses to play with.  And I would, um help them decorate the doll house and have tea parties with them and they would dress up and everything would be wonderful (but not pink because pink clashes with my hair – I’ve always had issues with pink).

But children are who they are and you have to respect that.  The first clue I had that Bri would not wear what I wanted her to wear was when she was two.  My mom had saved some of my clothes (circa 1972) and Bri insisted on wearing a yellow, red and blue gathered peasant dress three times a week.  She wore it basically every time it was clean.  And in elementary school she loved bejeweled pants.  I’d go to the store, spot a stripe of cubic zirconiums glued down the side of a pair of jeans and think “Oh, that’s hideous!  Bri will love it!”  I’d buy the pants for her and it never failed … she loved them!

I pinned my hopes on Elizabeth.  She was a brunette just like my mom.  I gave her a bob because I love bobs on little girls with dark brown hair.  My friends gave me adorable clothes for her and I bought more.  Then when Lizzy was one she started insisting on dressing herself.  Do you know how long it takes for a one year-old to dress herself?  Well, I’ll just put it this way -- you have time to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I quickly learned not to help because then she undressed and restarted the process.  It was a painful year.  And add insult to injury her hair started to lighten.

When Elizabeth was two she got particular about clothes.  She refused to wear knit pants or leggings (She still does) and she started insisting on belt loops and pockets.  If she didn’t like something she refused to wear it. Elizabeth is who she is and will wear what she wants to wear; which usually is a pair of jeans, a huge tee-shirt, a fleece and a pair of masculine sneakers.  On Sunday she wears a pink eyelet skirt with a blue butterfly sparkly tee-shirt, a sweater, pink, white and red striped knee high socks and black Mary Janes.  She’s been wearing the same thing for about nine months now.  I’m sure people think she doesn’t own another dress.  Come to think of it – that’s actually true now  . . . because I gave everything else away!

I’m now pinning my plaid hopes on my future grandchildren.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Posing for the Before Picture

Marcy and I talk to a lot of people in the free weigh room at the Y.  We consider it public service.  Friday we walked in, looked around.  Thought about what we wanted to do, looked around a bit more.  One of our friends was there.  He made a joke about us in a California workout pose. 

Marcy retorted, “The only thing we pose for is a before picture!”  Then we collapsed in laughter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Isn’t Your Life

Cheryl and I walked down a street in our neighborhood.  She told me about one of her friends who stresses over Thanksgiving every year. She always has her family over because it’s easier for her daughter who has Down Syndrome.  Her sister lives in the Cape and she mused about how nice it would be to have Thanksgiving there.  Cheryl told her, “No, it wouldn’t!  You’re imagining a relaxing dinner, and then talking with adults while the children play.  That’s not your life.”

“Oh, I wish it were mine!”  I burst into her story.  But it won’t ever be mine, not even when I’m old.  And I don’t want it to be mine ... not really; because if that ever was my life then William wouldn’t be there and that would be much, much worse.  But I admit to being a little envious of people whose life is like that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love Notes

I wrote a note to Will.  “I love you!  You are funny and cute.  You are a good boy.”

He read it, then grabbed my hand.  “Capital I.”  He directed.  “Lowercase l, lowercase o . . .”  I read, “I love you.  You happy.  You radicsh.”  

I told him that radish didn’t need the “c.”  Then I paused . . . completely unsure as to why he was calling me a radish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today at church one of the speakers said that his favorite part of church was listening to hear what song William decided to sing. When I talked to him after church he asked if Will ever had play dates because he wanted his “kids to get to know Will and Will to get to know his kids.” I demurred from the play date because I thought it would be disappointing for them. Will would probably spend the whole time watching the previews on a DVD. But isn’t it great that he asked! So many people are intimidated by special needs that it’s always a pleasant surprise to meet someone who is not.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pants are Optional


Will doesn’t like to wear clothes.  I don’t know why.  Maybe they’re uncomfortable, or binding, or not the right name brand.  For years he’d only wear a diaper or underwear and strip every time I dared put a shirt or pants on him.  He also liked to run away.  And often those two activities would intercept.  

Shortly after we moved into our current house, I was sitting at the computer when I heard the front door shut.  I casually looked out a window to see a half naked cherub running barefoot across the lawn.  I ran downstairs.  Though it was November I didn’t stop to put on shoes.  I ran out the door.  Will was wearing a tee-shirt and a pair of underpants turned around and running down the middle of the street.  I started chasing him.

I was slowly gaining on him.  We ran past a landscaping crew raking leaves.  Their heads turned, watching us run past.  A pick-up truck pulled alongside me.  The man rolled down his window, keeping up with me while barely pressing on the gas.  “Is everything alright?”  He asked.

Panting, I thought, “I’m chasing a pantless, coatless, shoeless, sockless autistic cherub who is running down the middle of the street.”  “No, I’m fine.”  I assured him.  Then putting a frantic burst of speed I caught hold of Will’s tee-shirt and slowed him down.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 1: Autism Shout Out vs. the Communication Shutdown

I’m sure that most of my friends who have kids on the spectrum haven’t heard of either.  I hadn’t, until I read this post at the Autism Blogs Directory.  So, I’ve spent quite a bit of time during the last few days reading posts from the side that communicated that day. 

I was ambivalent about the whole thing and decided not to participate with either.  Because both sides are right.  We all view things within our prism.  I view it from within my understanding of autism.  Which is from the perspective of my family, my children.  I don’t understand mind blindness.  I don’t understand why I can explain a piece of social interaction 500 times to Jake and why he can’t just intellectually understand what to do in a social situation even if it doesn’t make sense!  

Shutting down electronically or not, doesn’t matter to autism in my house.  Jake doesn’t use social media to communicate and I doubt Will ever will.  (Oh, William please prove me wrong.)  Acceptance and awareness doesn’t matter to Will.  But believe me, it does to the rest of us!  I will kick down any door I can for him.

Both plans had merit and bravo to anyone who participated in either!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thrown for a Loop

Sometimes I make an absolute final decision about something and then suddenly something changes and my decision isn’t final anymore.  It drives me crazy!  I can’t talk about what has thrown me for a loop right now but thought that I would mention that currently I AM CRAZY!  (And yes, I mean more than usual, dad.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Jewish Mother

When we went to Virginia Beach in August we ate at a place called the Jewish Mother because Marcy heard the name and couldn’t resist.  Last night we promised the kids if they’d clean up the house we’d take them to dinner.  They did, so my husband loaded them in the car.  Then he made the near fatal mistake of asking them where they wanted to go.  They disagreed with each other over every suggestion.  Finally Lizzy asked, “Is there a Jewish Mother around here?”

When I recounted the story to Marcy, she looked at me and said, “You’re looking at one.  Next time bring her over.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Swimming is Over

Since it’s almost Thanksgiving I felt I should write a post on gratitude.  And today I feel very grateful that swim season is over.  I feel grateful that I no longer have to drive over and pick up Bri at the pool even though I paid for a perfectly good bus to drive her home from school!  I am grateful to have her home more to do her jobs and pick up the shoes that everyone leaves all over the house.  I am grateful that Bri will be home more and can have more time for practicing the piano, wasting time on the computer, and spreading warmth and joy around our house.

I, however, must admit I am not grateful that I will hear more about Kingdom Hearts; because hearing about Kingdom Hearts make me want to put my hands over my ears and curl up in a ball.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Amusing Lizzy’s Teacher

I wrote an email to Lizzy’s teacher.


Lizzy hates to do her reading.  Last night she took 45 minutes to read six pages to me.  Will you please explain to her that reading is also an important part of homework.  Because making her read makes me tired and grumpy.

Take away recess or something when she doesn't read.


The Teacher’s response:  She threatened to send Lizzy to the principal’s office.

Lizzy’s response:  She came home and did her homework.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Husband Makes Me Laugh

Sunday night my husband and I were both on a computer when he said, “We should go spend some time with the kids.”  I looked at him.  I didn’t say anything.  “They have candy.”  He added.
When he came back upstairs he told me, “The kids are boring.”  (I think they were watching America’s Funniest Videos.  And neither of us see the appeal of that show.)
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