Thursday, September 24, 2009

Take That, Economy

I was driving around with my son talking about the economy. What??? Doesn’t everyone discuss the economy with their 9 year old?? OK, so we were. Whatever - don’t judge. J

He wanted to know if the economy was getting better. I was telling him about leading economic indicators, and all that kind of information. You know us home schoolers, everything is a teachable moment.  Then we started talking about all the construction we noticed as we were driving, with people fixing up their houses, painting and doing repairs. I told him that people were fixing and maintaining their homes, because they couldn’t afford new ones.

He said: “I think this is Nature’s way of teaching people that they should be happy with what they have and not to always want new things that they don’t need”.

I was so proud. My son is so clever, so insightful. I’m such a great mom, I raised him so well, I taught him such good values, I...

My thoughts are interrupted by the following:

AJ: “After the dentist, if I do a good job, can we go to the toy store?”

What???  Sometimes bribing is good parenting.  Sometimes....  OK, never mind...

Me: “But, AJ, didn’t you say that Nature was trying to teach us to be happy with what we had?”

AJ: “Yeah, but I didn’t say it was going to work!”

Got me on that one!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Keep The Cold Germs Away From Us!!

Last night, AJ came into our room at 10:00. That’s not unusual. But, he was upset. Normally, at 10:00, he wants to tell us all about his new invention, or something like that. But, last night,:

Me: “AJ, what do you need?”

AJ: “I need to be close to someone.”

I sat up and opened my arms. He knows that means he can get up on the bed, and get hugs - if he wants them. He did.

Me: “Are you OK?”

AJ: “No.”

Uh-oh.  One word answers.  That does not bode well.  Something is definitely bothering him.

Me: “Can you use words to tell me what’s wrong?”

AJ: “Just need to be close.”

OK, Question and answer time.  It's the only way I'm going figure this one out.

Me: “Are you scared?”

AJ: “No.”

OK, no monsters.  Move on.

Me: “Are you sad?”

AJ: (starting to cry) “Yes.”

Tears.  This could mean anything.  We don't see tears alot.  So it's not good.  But, we might be able to figure this out.  I’ve been sick for a week. Nothing too bad, a cold, fever, blah, blah. Not even worth a doctor’s visit. But, I’m guessing he’s worried about that.

Me: “Because I’m sick?”

AJ: “Yes.”

Time for a shot in the dark.

Me: “Are you worried that I won’t be around to take care of you?”

AJ: “Yes”

Me: “Like Grandpa?”

His grandfather died last year, and he’s still not completely over it.

AJ: (really crying) “Yes”

OK, now I’m crying too. He really misses his grandfather. He’s still processing it, but soooo slowly. And, it was the first time he really figured out that parents can die. It’s bad enough to him that most people don’t always live with their parents forever, but the fact that parents could actually die - it’s too much for him. And, then I got sick. I’ve probably been whining about it too much, without realizing how it was affecting him. And, before bed, we told him that I would be going to the doctor’s office, and Mamu would be home to take care of him. We told him that, because I am always with him during the day while Lisa works. We never thought that he would freak out over that. So, he probably has worked out this cold into some horrible disease. Poor kid, he’s so scared.

Me: “You know that Mamu and I are REALLY healthy, right? I just have a little cold. Just some sneezing and coughing. The doctor is just going to look in my ears and in my throat and give me some medicine to make it go away. I’m fine!! Mamu’s fine!!”

Lisa: “We’re both healthy and strong.”

AJ: “You’re OK.”

Not a question, just repeating what we said.  But I'm not sure he gets it, or he's just repeating it.

Me: “I work out, everyday, right?”

Lisa: “I do karate, right?”

Me: “ We’re strong. We’re healthy. And we’re young.”

Lisa: “Grandpa was really old. But, we’re young, and we’re healthy. We’re going to be here a really long time.”

We’re tag-teaming here. Trying our best to say everything he needs to hear. We’re a good team.

AJ: “When I’m old?”

OK, he's hearing us, and he's processing it.  He's back, he's got words again, and he can use them.  Making progress here.  He’s feeling better now. I think it’s safe to try for joking.

Me: “Long enough for you to get sick of the sight of us!”

AJ is giggling now. I go for a tickle and a tighter hug. I ask him if he’s ready for sleeping now. He says yes and goes back to bed… but not before this:

AJ: “Love you guys!”

Us: “You too baby!”

Whew - that was a tough one. I think Lisa and I did OK, and I think we need to make sure not to get another cold.

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Don't Want Your Pity

AJ and I were at my chiropractor appointment a while ago.  While waiting to go in, there was the normal waiting room chit chat.  Just strangers making small talk.  A man came in with a stroller of triplets.  Of course, everyone was cooing over them, and talking to them.  They were seriously cute.  But, AJ is not a fan of babies.  Mostly because they are unpredictably noisy, but also, because I pay attention to them, which takes my attention away from him, however momentarily.
Anyway, that ramped him up.  We got called in for my adjustment, just in the nick of time really.  We almost escaped a meltdown, getting away from the horror-inducing infants.  And, some woman touched his head and said how great his hair is.  CRAP!!!!!  He was already losing it.  And she TOUCHED HIS HEAD and TALKED ABOUT HIS HAIR.  These innocent sounding events are major triggers to AJ.  He hates unwanted touch, and he hates anyone talking about his hair.
But, he very calmly said, "I don't like to be touched."  Apparently, this was the height of rudeness to this woman, who said in return, "Well, exxxxcccuuuussssseeeee meeeeeeeeeeee!"  I turned to her and calmly said "My son is autistic, and unwanted touch is painful to him." 
I wanted to educate her, to let her know not to assume he was just a snotty kid, with an attitude problem.  Instead, what she said was "Oh, the poor child.  And how terrible for you.  What a horrible thing to deal with!!  Horrible!!"  I tried to tell her it wasn't horrible, that I was just letting her know what was going on, that we didn't want her pity.  But,  the doc was waiting, and more importantly, AJ was waiting.  He'd had enough, and at that point, so had I.
So, how do we educate without it looing like we want pity.  We really, really don't .  I don't want people thinking my kid is an ill-mannered brat, but, I don't want the reaction I got either.  Maybe I just shouldn't care, but somehow, most of the time, I do.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


GLEE - by definition (according to your lively joy; gaiety; merriment

Also a television show. I was waiting for this show with great expectation. Jane Lynch is in it. I love Jane Lynch. She’s smart, funny, acerbic, and just cool. The show is about a glee club and the teacher that’s trying to keep the glee club at the school. It’s really about mocking the social hierarchy of high school. Now, in high school, I was in band and the math club, so I know something about school hierarchy. Not to say I had no friends, or that I got picked on, because, for some reason, I didn’t. But, to say the least, I wasn’t in the stratosphere.

In the series premiere, there is a boy in a wheelchair. He’s in Glee Club. He gets picked on, but no more than the other geeks in Glee. So, I was very happy about that. He was just one of the kids. There is a gay student. Not as happy about that. A walking stereotype. But, I’m still giving the show a chance.

Jane Lynch plays the coach of the Cheer Squad. She’s just nasty. They need to establish that. Here’s how they chose to do it:

JANE LYNCH: (As Sue Sylvester) So I had a little chat with Principal Figgins, and he said that if your group doesn't place at regional, he's cutting the program. Ouch.

MATTHEW MORRISON: (As Will Schuester): You know, you don't have to worry about glee club. We're going to be fine.

JANE LYNCH: (As Sylvester) Really? Because I was at the local library, where I read Cheerleading Today aloud to blind geriatrics, and I came across this little page-turner: "Show Choir Rule Book." And it turns out you need 12 kids to qualify for regionals. Last time I looked, you only had five and a half. Here - cripple in a wheelchair. I also took the liberty of highlighting some special ed. classes for you. Maybe you could find some recruits because I'm not sure there's anybody else who's going to want to swim over to your island of misfit toys.

UMMM, WTF??? Really, was that necessary? Really? Making fun of special ed?? Really? Don’t these kids have enough obstacles in life? We need television shows to make fun of them?

But, OK, I think. I’m being too sensitive. They need to establish that she’s horrible. OK, she’s horrible. Job done.

Next episode. The gay student is talking to the girl who’s the “best singer”. She is thinking that if Glee does well, maybe it’s her chance with the popular kids. His response:

"Even the Special Ed kids get more action than us."

OK, not necessary. Doesn’t move the plot forward, doesn’t move his character forward. It’s just played for comedy. Oh, ha ha, those pathetic special ed kids. We must be horrible if those losers get more action. What could be more pathetic than special ed kids? That’s how bad we are - we’re worse than them. Oh, yeah. That’s funny. Can’t stop laughing.

Excuse me if I don’t feel the “Glee”.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Being AJ's Mama

Kate - an update for you. :-x

There are lots of things you learn when you become the parent of a special needs kid. You learn patience, you learn to fight - HARD, you learn unconditional love, and you learn to ignore the unsolicited advise from the parents of NT kids. And lots more. I can't remember what else, because you also learn that you have no memory because you've learned to live with very little sleep.

But, I've realized lately that AJ is teaching me lots about myself.

1. I am a drama queen

I learned this one when AJ was helping me pick out frames for my glasses

Me: "AJ, I've narrowed it down to two choices. Which one do you like?"

AJ: "That one, Mama. Because they are dramatic, just like you. Because you are a drama queen!"

Sadly, he was right. And I love those frames!

2. I have spit bubbles in my mouth

Apparently, when I open my mouth just a little, like to do something annoying like breathing, you can see "disgusting little spit bubbles in my teeth". Ewwwwwww.

3. I have gross sweaty arm pits

I had just finished working out downstairs (no more gym for me - I just can't get up at 5:00 anymore and pay for the privilege of doing that - I work out at home now). Normally, I shower right after that, but I was so hungry, I decided to eat breakfast first. AJ was eating breakfast too.


OK, I was confused. Did we move to a country where it is indecent for a woman to show her armpits???

Me: "Ummm, OK. But why?"

AJ: "Because your arm pits are sweaty, and it's disgusting. I'm trying to eat here!"

Just try not to laugh. Go ahead, I dare you. It's just funny!

4. I'm not a teenager, and I shouldn't dress like one

AJ and I were getting ready to go swimming. I normally wear a one piece. I'm 44 years old (almost), and I've had a child. Some things should not be seen in public. But, that suit had not dried (we swim ALOT), so I have an emergency bathing suit. That one has a sports bra type top and LONG trunk bottoms. Trust me, not much was showing. I'm not exactly a flasher.

AJ: (top volume) "WHAT ARE YOU WEARING??"

Me: "Ummm, my bathing suit?"

AJ: "Mama, some things really should just be for teenagers. Don't you think you're a little old for a bikini?"

Me: "Well, it's not really a bikini, AJ..."

AJ: "MAMA, I CAN SEE YOUR (whispering) stomach"!!

Heaven help us. A 40+ stomach seen in public. Alert the media!! :-)

5. I give "wet blubbery" kisses

AJ doesn't like kisses. Never did. Even as a baby. Really hard kisses are OK, soft kisses - not so much. So I was giving AJ hard kisses, just playing with him. Suddenly:

AJ: "Mama, no more kisses!"

Me: "OK, why not? Too soft?"

AJ: "No, too wet. For God's sake, Mama - dry your lips before you kiss someone. Noone likes wet blubbery kisses, you know!"

6. However, despite my many flaws, too numerous to list:

AJ: "Don't worry, you're still a pretty good Mama. I love you!!"

Well, I guess that's alright then!!