My Guy

My guy had a chorus concert tonight.  This was huge.  In elementary school, we missed every show because he absolutely refused to participate.  Now he is singing!  In public!   He has what was called Aspergers and now referred to as HFA, or high funtioning autism.  He has grown so much.  I am so proud of this step.

I wish our family could have celebrated with him.  But, they did not, and so it goes.  Holidays always make me want a large, loving family.  I guess it is not to be, unless I can create that culture of love in my own children.  Every year without my extended family gets a little less painful, but I still know they are there.  Just not here.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

I am an avid reader, but usually several seasons behind the most popular titles.  Mainly, this is because I am extremely frugal and wait to buy my books used.  With a toddler, perusing the library is not super practical.  I finally did start an ebook, but I will leave that for another review.

I really liked this book.  The idea of a rapture has been around since the the Bible became widely circulated.  Maybe even before in other religions and cultures, but my mom brain does not have time to do that sort of research right now.

NPR did a great interview with the author here NPR interview.  I had not read this before I picked up the book and no, I have not seen the HBO series.  A lot of times, I find that movies and series are not able to be true to the book version.

So, my favorite part of the book is the longing.  The wondering of why some people were taken and some left behind.  The breakdown some people had – leaving their homes behind to find themselves – was the best part of the story.

Recommend

Adventures at Veterans Affairs

I just started a DBT group at the VA.  That is also known as

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) Click to read more

I have taken several group classes about this topic and honestly, I do not feel like I have applied any of the lessons to my life.  This time, I am determined to be present in the moment and to try to not scoff at the ideas presented.  This can be hard when you have a cynical nature with therapy, as I do.  It is a love and hate thing.  I know I need it, but making my mind accept that I need therapy, feeling the shamefulness that comes with the label of mental illness is so hard.

As a female vet, it becomes even harder because my issues are not related to combat, but are related to service.  I feel like a fraudster sometimes.

school-bus-clip-art-black-and-white-Black-and-white-School-Clip-Art

School is in, My Sanity is Baaaaaack

school-bus-clip-art-black-and-white-Black-and-white-School-Clip-Art

First, let me say I love my kids.  Love, love, love them.   I am, however, so grateful that they are back in school.  I am not alone, I still have a tag-a-long toddler and a husband who is with me a lot.  But, the school year gives us structure that I am some how not able to give them myself.

I have tried to be the “summer mom” I read about in magazines and blogs….100 fun crafts to try…great lunches for the pool….FAIL.  I love the slowness and sleepiness of summer in the South.  It is so warm.  Going to the beach, the pool, porch sitting with friends.   That is my idea of a great summer.  I love to blow bubbles, catch lightening bugs, watch the stars and read my brains out.  Organized fun is hard for me.

I think maybe it is because I grew up in the era where mom or mawmaw sent you out to play and that is what we did.  I typed a newspaper on our typewriter because I wanted to, not because mom said.  I played with the dog, hid in my Koolaide tent, took Barbie out for a swim.  We packed a lunch and went out for fun.  It was “in or out” because we did not pay to cool or heat the outdoors.  I just do not feel that kind of freedom with my kids.  Outside, great.  Gone for hours, nope.

When my husband is gone, am I a better mom?

Recently, my husband went on a solo trip to visit some old buddies.  With school starting soon and the chaos of five kids, I decided to stay home with the kids.  It has been a little challenging.  Dramatic crying from the toddler, some slackness on chores with the older three, dealing with a plumbing crisis and realizing I know nothing about the house we live in.  There has been a bright side: easier meals to fix (hey, who wants a veggie tray and pizza?), more time with my kids, and some actual alone time.

Not that I do not miss my husband and count down the five days until he is back, but it has been a nice break.  I hope when he comes back, he will miss and appreciate me, too.   I have just been reflecting on whether I divide my time with my spouse and kids fairly.  Not evenly, because that just is not possible.  But, when he is here, I am usually with him.  If the kids want me, they come to me.  I have realized I do not really seek them out to have conversations besides chores, homework or topics that I find relevant.

How much of them am I missing out on?  Should I worry?  Things to ponder.

20150812_094655

When things do not go my way

Today, I woke up happy.  Not too unusual, but since my husband is out of town and I am dealing with a cranky toddler, I was surprised.  Of course, a couple of hours later and a faint hissing sound tells me there is a leak in the wall.  THE WALL.  I am not a plumber, a fix it gal or any of that.  So right away, I am screaming, calling my husband and trying to find the water key.

What is a water key?  You use it outside at the water meter to turn the water on and off to the house.  Actually, the water provider does that, but years of being on the teetering edge of poor, meant I had one to turn the water back on for those times the city turned it off before I could pay the bill.  I am so thankful those days are behind me and equally glad I kept my water key. 

I turn off the water, find out from my husband we have an inside water off main valve, good to know.  Find out that the leak is probably from the upstairs bathroom to the downstairs bathroom.  (Boo hoo, my kids will have to share, I grew up in a one bath house)  Get step ladder, lay out plastic (thanks for having weird stuff like that around to my hubby) and tear down the mushy tiles.  Clean up the mess and wait for the plumber.

Yes, we only need to cap off the mess for now!  Later comes the pain of knowing that there is no access to the plumbing and we will end up replacing dry wall, ceiling tiles and piping.  There goes my gardening fantasy for the fall.  Oh well, at least we can deal with it.

Sometimes life just gives you crap.  Flush it and move on.

20150812_094655

WIN_20150428_122709 (2)

When You Realize You are Part of the Problem

I had what I can only call an epiphany a few days ago.  One that is not going to please the people around me, who are enjoying choices I have made.  I have lived my life as a vessel for others, always pleasing, bending, saying yes when I really, really want to say no and putting everyone and everything ahead of my own emotional, spiritual and physical needs.  This means my kids, my friends, and especially my spouse.

I am going to lay the blame for this where it belongs, with myself.  I grew up in a home where I never felt valued.  I absorbed that and carried it through out my life.  I have felt the only worth I have is in the service of those closest to me.  So, I would silently suffer while my spouse went out to play pool four nights a week, leaving me home with five kids including a new born.  I always smiled and said, bye have fun, so how was he to know?  Not by my words.  Should he have known better?  Probably.  Would I have escaped a hormonal mother and needy infant if I could? Definitely.

So, now with epiphany in hand, I have to change the trajectory of my life.  I truly do not know where to begin.  I expect resistance, since taking on more responsibility is not going to come willingly to those I must bestow it on.  I am actually dreading the thought of giving myself more freedom.  Does that mean I should not? Nope.  Change is uncomfortable for all of us, whether it is a new commute to work, a new workout routine or a new relationship.  This time, it is a new relationship with my own self-worth.

I know I am a woman of worth.  Now, it is just becoming it. profile_eyes_closed

heygirl

Hey Girl

The name of the notebook I carry around with me.  Some days, I am either so tired or distracted I cannot remember anything – so I use my handy dandy notebook (cue the Blues Clues Theme here).  I worry at 46 that I am already starting to lose cognitive function.  I do not know what my ability should be, but I definitely feel like it needs to be better.  So, the notebook.

heygirl

I want to say it took me over ten minutes just to figure out how to take this picture I snapped with my phone, add to my G+ account and then retrieve it from my laptop.  My smartphone has made me lazy and less apt to think.  Or perhaps it is my schedule.  I do have the ability to be at home, which I am most of the time.  I have five kids at three different schools,  short-term therapy for one, two in austism social clubs, plus the usual running around all moms do.   I am not complaining.  I have a great life compared to most women around the world and I know it.  When I start feeling blue, I start with….but I have flush toilets and disposable diapers.  Maybe not the most admirable admission, but then I am still only writing for me.

Autism and the Picky Eater

Although some children on the autism spectrum have co-existing conditions of food allergies or sensitivities, many have sensory issue with food.  The experience I have had with my two sons is that some foods feel odd in their mouth (texture), have strong smells, look unappealing or otherwise are just gross.  I grew up in the era of the “Clean Plate Club.”  It has been a hard road to travel to accept my sons where they are right now.  I am trying and here are my suggestions:

  • Respect you child’s appetite.  That may seem obvious, but we as grown ups tend to think children need to eat so much food at specific times.  I certainly do not operate that way myself, so I finally had the epiphany to not force my child to eat when he is not hungry.  I know for some ASD kids, this is an issue because they would rather do a preferred activity than eat, so that leads to suggestion number two.
  • Offer food at scheduled times, but do not force your child to eat.  Make sure that the time right before eating is not being filled with one of their favorite activities, because that can lead to meltdowns, when you are trying to transition.
  • Keep portions small.  Allow your child to ask for more, but do not make a huge plate of food and then become angry when it isn’t eaten.  Sometimes, the visual affect of a lot of food is discouraging, because it feels like it will never get eaten.  Think of it from your child,s perspective.  Perhaps use a smaller plate or use a divided plate if food touching is an issue.
  • Keep trying to offer new foods.  My sons have still what I would consider a limited diet, but I have found eating new things around them, giving them a taste to try or not, keep re-offering the food and sometimes magic will happen.  Perhaps make it fun, but I honestly do not try this as a first resort.
  • Take your child to the grocery store and let them pick out a fruit or veggie.  I would even say canned or dried fruit snacks.   I have found that if they pick it out, they will at least try it.
  • Do not use dessert as a reward for eating.  With childhood obesity being a national concern, I think setting your child up to think of food as a reward is not a good plan.
  • Do not let your kid watch TV, play videos games or other distractions.  I like to think of dinner as a time for us to talk as a family.  I often hear things from my kids I truly feel I otherwise would not.  Plus, the pleasure of family interaction may allow your child to relax and actually try something new or at least eat what is on his plate.
  • Do not be a short order cook.  I admit I did this for a few years.  Not only did it mean I never ate with my kids, but I felt resentment at having to do it.  Now, I offer the meal we are eating.  If not eaten, I will offer something they will tolerate, but not a preferred food.  For example, my son could eat mac and cheese daily, so I do not offer that as a substitute.

As with all things dealing with autism, if you have met a child with autism, you have only meet one child.  It is a spectrum disorder and each child has their own tolerances and needs.  I like to say they are different, not less.  I am learning to meet my children where they are, not where I or society thinks they should be.

Please feel free to share your tips with me.  I am always open to learning.