Two Steps Forward…

I’m sorry I’ve been MIA lately.  It’s been hard here at the Adventures household.  With Smash-N-Break’s ASD diagnosis, things went a little lopsided for a while.  To be honest, they still are, but we’ve accepted our new normal for now, at least.  We’ve gotten him into ABA therapy.  He’s prescribed 24 hours a week for now.  It may increase to 40 hours a week.  We’ll see.  We’re having a “difference of opinion” with our local school district.  What can I say, there is an unqualified hag of an LSSP (licensed specialist in school psychology) who struggles with admitting when she’s wrong.    I don’t want to talk about that yet.

One thing I’ve learned with the special needs road is that there are so many bumps, twists, turns, and potholes along the way.  We got the diagnosis, we go forward.  We try to get an IEP for him, we get a detour sign.  We will see how that detour ends.  We get with his pediatrician to see what therapies we should be looking at.  The detour turns right to get us back on track.  We get him evaluated for ABA, and he gets accepted and prescribed therapy.  This sends us forward at the speed limit.  We work on changing his speech therapists so that his speech occurs at his ABA clinic, so that there is less transition for him.  Further progress on the freeway of life at the speed limit.  What’s around the next turn?  No idea, but I’m hopefully ready for it.

The other thing I’ve learned is that you should celebrate everything, no matter how small it seems.  This is because for every step forward, you need to be prepared to have a step backward at the same time.  It’s like learning to drive a stick.  You kind of jerk around at first before going smoothly until the next stop.

So far, ABA is helping Smash-N-Break SO MUCH.  He feels safe there.  He can talk to the kids.  He can approach them and know they won’t make fun of him.  Plus, he has a dedicated therapist there to intervene if needed.  So, he’s trying the social skills he has lacking in a safe environment.  It’s helping his behavior, too.  He’s also learning.  He wrote the entire alphabet today!  This is HUGE for him.  It’s so minor for some neurotypical five-year-olds.  But not mine.  Mine – this deserves celebration.  He usually refuses to write.  One, his fine motor skills are lacking in areas.  Two, he just doesn’t hear it with his teachers.  He loves his preschool teachers, but it’s different with them.  They can’t get him to open up and advance like the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) therapists can.  But, where he’s succeeding in ABA has other issues popping up.  He left his preschool.  He wasn’t gone more than 4 minutes, but it’s why we have AngelSense.    He knows not to wander, but he did it anyway.  The AngelSense gives us peace of mind.  I could see where he was going and hear his teachers while it was happening.  Step forward (alphabet) with a step back (wandering from school).

Now, we have his new speech therapy ready to start.  Like I said, it’s at his ABA clinic.  He doesn’t transition well, so this will maximize the benefit.  Plus, since his new Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is at the clinic, it lets her work with his BCBA therapists.  So, even when he’s not in speech, they can work towards his goals.  We met with the SLP today to get the goals from her.  We had another step forward in that his expressive/receptive language has improved to low-average range!  Woohoo!!!! Then, we had a step back.  His fluency disorder (he stutters) has gone from mild to severe.  I believe that it’s because we have his expressive/receptive language better.  It makes it so that he can communicate what he wants to communicate.  But, with that, the stutter opens more.

So, today, I shall celebrate that Smash-N-Break wrote the whole alphabet.  I’ll celebrate that his whole team is in communication and sharing goals.  I’ll high-five him and give him the alone time he wants.  And, tonight, alone in the shower, I’ll grieve the fact that his fluency disorder has gotten worse.  Tomorrow? Well, let’s see where that road takes us.  Maybe the stick shift will be driven smoothly.  Maybe we’ll burn the clutch out.  Maybe the freeway will open and we just drive.  Maybe we hit a new pothole.  But today, today he wrote the entire alphabet.

Its Official – My Child Has ASD, But ASD Does Not have Him.

Smash-N-Break had his evaluation.  The school can take upwards of 2 months minimum to get back with us with a draft before we even meet to finalize a report.  The wheels of government sure do turn slowly.  So far, they haven’t gone to see him in school and haven’t spoken to his therapist at all, which are our two big areas of concern and issue.  Further, Texas has a disgraceful thing of decreasing the number of students classified as “special needs” needing a 504 or an IEP down from 13% to 8.5%  Congrats, Texas!  You did it!  Not really a good thing if you have children who have slipped through the cracks, but you met your goal!  Good for you!  NOTE:  Texas – this really isn’t something to be proud of You’re hurting kids.  Dumbasses.  NEW NOTE: Someone told Texas Department of Education how dumb they are, and they have finally reversed this. 

We met in September with the school. We meet Friday, December 9

His therapist continues to work with him.  He’s also now had the testing done (ADOS model) and he “qualified” or whatever the term as on the spectrum. She also sees red flags in Littles. I’ll cross that bridge later.  The school district evaluator could see the red flags of autism, and said she would need to “see him at school to see if he only does this around mom”.  Hello.  He’s FOUR!  He spends most of his time around mom.  He’s going to be most relaxed and most himself around mom.  He can (and does) fake it at school – I get to deal with the aftermath of 15 minute scream fest at the top of his lungs after pickup.  I mean, he wouldn’t talk to the evaluators much or interact with them much.  They went and got other kids and I left the room.  He knew one of the kids from soccer, and still wouldn’t talk to them!  He would talk to them through his puppy by barking, but he wouldn’t talk to them.  This is normal.  This is Smash-N-Break.  Add in the above information about Texas and special education, and I’m preparing for a battle I hope I don’t have to face.  

People I have told have asked some of the most inane questions. 

Does he talk?  No, I’m a great ventriloquist.  Jeff Dunham has nothing on me.  Move over Achmed, the Dead Terrorist! 

Does he make eye contact?  Yes, but he’s in training to be an evil villain in a movie later, so he gets those shifty eyes.  

Its from vaccines, isn’t it?  No, don’t listen to a Playboy Playmate for medical information.  In fact, don’t google so much.  Why don’t you trust those people who went to, I don’t know, MEDICAL SCHOOL to use their training and superior understanding of microbiology, chemistry, and just science in general versus your Google Doctorate.    

Did you take prenatals?  Yes, but I puked them right back up mostly, so not really.  

You must feed him a lot of processed foods for this to have happened (substitute to have caused this, too).  Really?  Thanks SO MUCH!  I was feeling SO GOOD about giving my kid autism.  It’s EXACTLY what I wanted to gift to him!  

Was he a natural birth?  Or did you get an epidural (said with a shudder)?  Actually, I felt the doctor cut my uterus open, and felt her move my organs around and kicked her in the face.  Or tried to.  So, no epidural. However, they did give me some drug to knock my ass out.  And that was much better than feeling a c-section.  Mint?

God built him this way, and he is perfect the way he is.  “I praise you,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:14  I don’t know what caused this, and I need to change from seeing it as “my son isn’t neurotypical” to “my son can teach me so much about how he views this world”.  I can learn from him.  I can see the world in a completely different light.  The cause doesn’t matter.  This is Smash-N-Break.  That’s what matters.  

I can also grieve.  I have grieved.  I cried so hard when his psychologist said he was on the spectrum.  I envisioned not fighting for him harder in Colorado when I felt something was off with his speech.  I felt like thinking “we beat the autism odds” when Littles turned 18 months caused this.  I wouldn’t have chosen this for any child in the world.  I wouldn’t want to give any child a special need or diagnosis.  I took him to a birthday party not long after we were told he is on the spectrum.  I cried so hard on the way home.  It broke my heart.  Shattered.  All the other kids the same age were talking, playing, laughing, running.  He knew them from school.  He hid under the picnic table.  He would walk away when they tried to talk to him.  It was a very upfront in-your-face moment of “Yes, he is different”.  And it hurt.  I didn’t want him to be different.  An hour and fifteen minutes into the party, Littles went on the bouncy slide.  He then came back to Smash-N-Break and said “Come on.  Go on slide with me.”  He wasn’t trying to push Smash-N-Break – he just wanted him to come play with him.  To see your 2 year old helping your 4 year old come out and have fun just hurts.  The bouncy slide was empty, so he tried it.  He then played on it.  On his own.  When other kids came back, he would hug a side and still go down.  He was smiling and was happy, though.  But, I knew what would be “normal”.  Then, I got him in the car.  Being in public for so long in a strange environment had been hard on him.  We had a 15 minute scream fest on the way home.  It’s the high-pitched, open mouthed, wail.  He just couldn’t hold it in any longer.  He was exhausted, too, for not playing much.  He just wanted to sit in my lap that night.  And, I was happy to oblige.  

I had a friend send me an awesome link Oh, the tears flowed.  I bawled like a baby.  It was the exact words I needed to see, hear, and feel.  I felt these words like they were a hug from a dear friend.  I needed that.  I’ve made a few friends down here, but the ones I truly needed, my village of women, weren’t here for that hug.  This article was that feeling for me.  It honestly felt like that mom hug, where she just brings you in and you can sob and she tells you it will all be okay.  All from just a few hundred words on a screen.  She wrote my mom hug.  The sentence “It crushed me and put me back together all at the same time” – she KNOWS.  She gets it.  I’m still putting the pieces back together after the crush, and having it formally diagnosed so that I can get all the insurance and school/therapy headaches straightened out, I will probably be crushed again.  But, there is a community out there of people who have been there.  Who have put themselves back together.  Who are there to help dial the light down from blinding so we can see.  I still cry when I read her article.  It’s like she’s talking to me and just me, but she’s not.  It’s because these feelings are so normal.  These feelings aren’t wrong. It’s a normal thing to feel this way. There is support.  There is hope. 

So, if you’re waiting for a diagnosis you don’t necessarily want, but
need to make sense of your child (or yourself or your spouse), take comfort. Others have been there. Others will help guide you.  Once you’re out of the blinding light and into a new normal, you can be there for the new person who is blinded. Feel all the feelings. Embrace it. Grieve it. Then put it all back together to make a new masterpiece. It may be more Picasso than DaVinci, but it’s still your masterpiece. 

My name is Q, and my child has ASD. ASD will not have him. 

On the ELF day of Christmas, I went a little insane!

I’ll be adding to this as Christmas goes on, but I figured I could share what Jingles will be up to for the 2016 Christmas season.  (Okay, really, Plus One will add to it for me, because computer stupid Q.)

imbackFirst, Jingles had to become poseable.  Get some floral wire and velcro.  Rip a tiny bit of his seams at his arms and legs.  I did it near the top joints in his red part.  Then, cut the floral wire to fit his length.  Stitch it closed.  Hot glue (or be smart and buy velcro with a sticky back) to his white mittens.  Yay – poseable elf!

Next, I had to plan ahead.  This isn’t always my strong suit.  But, I’m so afraid it will be Bubba’s last year really believing in the magic of Santa.  So, I did it.  


31 Days of Elf on the Shelf

  1. A welcome party – Make a banner and litter the floor with Christmas balloons
    • I used my Silhouette to cut out the banner triangles and letters.
    • I ordered snowflake balloons from Oriental Trading. (Plus One here. These are the worst tasting balloons ever. I can’t feel my lips and my mouth tastes like gasoline. Q agrees. Try Amazon for these instead.)
  2. Have him serve breakfast.
  3. Have him bring Christmas crafts.
  4. Throw him in the dryer.  
    • I’m prone to leaving a load in overnight.  I need to do this one when I don’t need to do laundry the next day.  
  5. Bury him in a bowl or canister of sugar.
  6. Hide him in a stack of toilet paper.
  7. Hide him in my coffee cups.
  8. Hide him in a tissue box.
  9. Feed the ducks
    • Make blue jello, and get some rubber duckies.  Luckily, I had leftovers from Smash-N-Break’s birthday.  Set the Jello with the ducks in it overnight.  I then enlisted Plus One’s help one morning to have Jingles sit on the edge of the Jello, throwing croutons onto the Jello.  
  10. Reading a story to stuffed animals
  11. Set up a cocoa bar.  
    • I found a recipe online and will set it up the night before, so it’s ready for them in the morning.
  12. Wrap him in lights trying to decorate.
  13. Bring out the Elf movie, and have him sitting ready to watch it with the food Buddy makes.
    • You’ll need to make spaghetti the night before.  You’ll also need syrup, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and chocolate fudge pop-tarts.  
  14. Have him leave a note “Write on! Your good behavior hasn’t been overlooked.  Here are some Christmas pencils!”.
  15. Hide and seek Christmas treats
    • I ordered some special Christmas treats from Oriental Trading, and will hide them in the family room with a note to go look for them and how many are hidden.
  16. Leave a joke book
    • I LOVE Dad jokes.  I googled a bunch of Christmas Dad jokes.  I put together a list.  I cut out squares of two-sided scrapbook paper.  Then, I printed the jokes on labels.  One side was the question and the other was the answer.  Tie it together with a ribbon.  I’ll link to my Joke List once it’s done.
  17. Movie night, with Jingles spilling popcorn.
  18. Hide him in a jar for the kids to carry around and play with him.  Leave a note “I’ve stuffed myself in a jar so you can take me with you!  Don’t pop my lid, or I’ll fall out and lose my magic!  I’m so excited to see what you show me today!”
  19. Get a Mylar balloon.  Tie underwear to it.  Put him in the underwear.  
  20. Have him bring Christmas coloring books.
    • I got mine from the dollar store ahead of time.
  21. Bring a new Christmas book.
    • I still need to find one without little people around.
  22. Cut out a little cape and hang him above the costumes my boys play with.  Leave a sign – “Let’s play superhero!”
  23. Cut a stick of butter to look like a Christmas tree, and leave him in the fridge with the knife.
  24. Toilet paper the tree.  We’ve done this before and it was a big hit.
  25. Wrap the stairs with wrapping paper, so we can’t get downstairs.  Bonus points – Smash-N-Break can’t sneak out of the house or sneak food!
  26. Cut out stuff to make a countdown to Christmas ring thing and leave it for the kids to make.
    • I got lazy on this, and just ordered a set from Oriental Trading.
  27. Make a drum set from empty cans.
    • I’ll do this after I make a soup or stew that uses a lot of canned food.
  28. Replace the stockings with underwear.
  29. Hide him in our Ghostbusters Fire Station Lego set.
    • I need to finish this to do this….
  30. Hide him in our Simpson’s House Lego set.
    • Again, need to finish it…
  31. Tic tac toe with marshmallows
    • Mini marshmallows – write on them with the edible food paint and leave it out to play with.  

I hope that covers me until Christmas.  Now, let’s see if I can do this!

Hagatha – A True Story Of A Modern Wicked Witch

Something that I’ve kept abreast of are grandparents’ rights.  It happens when your mother-in-law (MIL) decides she knows better than you what is best for your child.  You know, the child she tried to deny was your husband’s baby.  I’ll eventually get to my point about that.  First, allow me to introduce MIL.  I’d use her name, but Google and anonymity.

In The Beginning

Short story time!  Plus One is his mother’s only child.  When Plus One was 14, she and his dad divorced.  She didn’t date again that Plus One is aware of.  She did commit what is now known as parental alienation.  Even I heard about what an SOB her ex was, how he never paid child support, how he never kept visitation, how she’s sure he cheated on her, blah blah blah.  I’ve met my father-in-law.  Could he have done more with his son?  Probably.  But, MIL prevented it whenever possible.  Hard to fight for more in those days, too.  So many states were so pro-mom and golden uterus.  Suffice it to say that my father-in-law is a decent guy who did try, and has been SO GOOD to both Plus One and I when we desperately needed it, and has been a good grandfather to our kids.

flyingmonkey
Artist rendering of my MIL and one of her flying monkeys

But, she didn’t really LIKE Plus One all that much either, unless he was doing something that made her look better.  She DQ’d him in a swim meet when he was like 1 body length ahead of someone else for an imaginary second-pull underwater.  Even his coach agreed there was no second-pull.

Then, Plus One meets me.  His parents have been divorced 8 years.  In that time, he had become the man of the house.  Mom needs to vent about Dad?  Plus One hears it.  Mom needs to vent about work?  Plus One hears it.  Mom needs someone to be her Emotional Prozac?  Plus One! Come here!  In other words, emotional spouse.  He was hers.  And I was an interloper.  She was nice enough at first.  I knew she wasn’t a fan of me.  One example – I had a severe kidney infection.  Like, raging fever, hallucinations, etc.  Plus One fell asleep on the couch with me.  I’m SICK.  Nothing happened.  She flipped her shit about how it was disrespectful.  Okay, her house her rules.  I can dig it.  But, don’t tell me the next time I see you about how you used to send Plus One to his girlfriend’s house in middle school or high school when her parents weren’t home, and she would come over here and sleep/spend time when you weren’t home.  Isn’t that special?  (Church lady voice)  She also invited an old ex-girlfriend was still friends with over for a weekend.  A weekend I was down from college.  And wanted Plus One to spend time with said girlfriend.  Funnily enough, I never saw her visit again.  And, I KNOW this was just a friends thing with Plus One.  They’re still friends.  But, I am 99% sure that was the only time his mom reached out to her.  When Plus One and I were in our home together, she would still call him to come over and take the trash out, take her tires out, mow, etc.

Here Comes The Bride

Fast forward – we get engaged.  We tell Plus One’s family.  Lots of congratulations from everyone except MIL.  She is frowning and playing with her mashed potatoes.  She’s obviously upset.  Planning the wedding, she tells me that the wedding isn’t about the bride and groom, but the parents of the bride and groom.  She then continues by telling me that the most important person in attendance is…..the mother of the groom because she’s losing the most.  Now, I have all boys.  I will be the mother-in-law one day.  This is so obviously NOT TRUE.  We discuss the guest list.  I was bad – I didn’t allow her to invite anyone.  To be fair, neither did my parents, but I knew she was mad.  She told me she needed to have her friends around her if we were going to invite “her ex”.  Not Plus One’s dad.  Her ex.  Not what’s best for your shared child.  I held firm.  She whines to Plus One to not invite his father.  He tells her that if it’s that big of an issue, she doesn’t have to come to the wedding.  She decides to threaten to sue for back child support “so it’s uncomfortable for him”.  I’m guessing she either 1) decided not to, 2) there was no back child support, or 3) found out it would go to Plus One and dropped it.  My guess is either 2 or 3.  I don’t have enough faith in her as a person for 1.  I show her my wedding dress while it’s still in alterations, trying to include her.  Her response?  “Oh, you’re wearing white.” While planning our wedding, we also bought our first house.  Her response wasn’t happiness.  It was, and this is a direct quote, “You will fall flat on your face within 6 months and THAT WOMAN isn’t allowed to move in here when that happens!”  She lurves me so much.

Our wedding – she behaved.  Well, mostly.  The only pictures I have of her smiling is when she and Plus One are standing at the altar alone.  She has a creepy mega-grip on his arm.  Everywhere else, it’s either frowns or an obvious fake/forced/barely there smile.  Yes, we got married in the stone age before digital cameras, but come on.  Every picture but the ones with just her son?  Also, she walked around our reception asking if anyone had “dirt on Q” that they wanted to share.

Before The Kidlets

One Christmas, Plus One finally had enough seniority at the police department to take time off at Christmas.  Now, we had been together for almost 7 years.  In those 7 years, we had spent ZERO time with my family or his dad’s side of the family for holidays.  Well, we did spend one Christmas with his Dad.  I hadn’t met him yet, and we were getting married in a year.  So, she had had 6 Christmases, 7 Thanksgivings, 7 Easters, etc.  When Plus One had to work, I was sure to go to the holidays in his place, and we found time to celebrate with his family around his work hours.  Mostly – I mean, he did work graveyards and swings a lot, so it could be challenging.  So, Plus One tells her that we are having Christmas with my family.  My brothers were flying into Colorado.  We had a niece who was almost one that we wanted to meet.  I was so excited.  MIL gets angry and tells me I need to learn to be fair with holidays.  Excuse me, what, twatwaffle?  Ummm, fair would mean 7 years of holidays with just my family, and then 7 years of holidays with just Plus One’s dad’s side of the family, and then 7 years of holidays alone.   She asserted it again that I needed to be fair with the holidays, that she was alone and my mother had other children.  No, bitchflake, you don’t get to claim all holidays for all eternity because you got divorced and only had one child.  Life doesn’t work that way.

No...this artist rendering is too pretty.
No…this artist rendering is too pretty.

Plus One gets a chief’s commendation at work.  Big deal – ceremony type award.  Families are invited.  It was for a call that had a bad result in that a child drowned in a creek, nothing he could do to change that.  Plus One had the child in the creek call ongoing with a wildfire burning, and handled it like a champ.  MIL tells me that Plus One really shouldn’t get an award because the child died.  Something 100% out of his control to her meant he shouldn’t be recognized for being a badass dispatcher and handling all other emergencies while taking a very difficult and challenging call.

I finish college and we move to the other side of the state.  Just in case I wasn’t aware of how badly she hated me and how much she did complain about me to others, one of her friends was quick to confirm it.  I was in line at a grocery store buying some packing type supplies.  Lines were long, so I’m chatting with strangers.  If you haven’t noticed, I like to talk a lot.  One woman commented on what I was buying, and asked if I was moving.  I said yes, and named the town we were moving to.  Now, it was a small town that many people wouldn’t just move to.  The woman looked at me and said “OH!  You’re the bitch stealing MIL’s son!”  She knew enough about me, what I looked like, where we were moving, and had heard enough “bad things” to warrant calling me a bitch in public.  I did respond “You say that like it’s a bad thing?” but I was fuming inside.  Plus One had made it clear to his family that this was me moving and he was just having to follow, and she had obviously lapped it up like a dog that I was “forcing” him to do something else.

Plus One graduates from college.  He went to school while working full time.  We moved across the state in the process.  I’m super proud of him.  We go to his graduation.  He is like 5 people away from walking across the stage to graduate.  She takes THAT MOMENT to go call a restaurant for a reservation that was still 2 hours away!  She missed it!  Then had the audacity to ask me NOT TO TELL HIM!  I did, but not right away.

The Crotch Fruit Ripens

Once upon a time, I was pregnant with Bubba.  We had tried for 3 years to get pregnant.  No, we didn’t share our struggle publicly.  But, come on.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that we announced a pregnancy after being married 6 years and together for 10 years.  When Plus One called his mother, instead of the normal “Congratulations”, he got this:  “(silence)…A baby, huh.  Well, you know Q was working out of town a lot in January.”

Now, Plus One, God love him, isn’t fluent in bitchspeak.  I, however, am.  I knew what she meant was “it’s her audit manager’s baby!”  Plus One instead say “I know!  Isn’t it great!?” She couldn’t really argue with that statement.  She even sent a card to say congratulations.  Oh, wait, no.  It didn’t say congratulations.  Instead it said “A baby.  Wow.”  I’m her favorite!  Can’t you tell!?  I snatched Plus One and magiced him away with my fancy hoo-ha.  It’s sparkly.  Then, I “made” him a college graduate, got him a white collar job, forced him to move away from a dead-end town, and made something out of him other than “her son”.**  I’m awful.  I know.

Anyway, fast forward to having Bubba.  That’s a whole dramatic issue of his mother cannot handle not being the center of attention and made me smack Plus One in the face mid-contraction due to her antics.  Seriously.  I didn’t want her at the hospital during my induction.   Plus One did.  In the interests of being “fair”, I allowed it with the understanding that she wasn’t to see me until baby was here.  I knew she’d like seeing me in pain.  Plus, stress stalls labor.  That was ignored, and she was back in the room.  However, she didn’t get to see me in too much pain.  As soon as she was in the room, my contractions stopped dead.  I was on pitocin, and they stopped dead.  She’d leave, they started back up.  Our biggest request was she was to handle her side of the family, and Plus One would share information with his father, so that he could share it with his side of the family.  She’s been divorced for 18 years at this point.  Not a huge expectation to allow the sides to find out from their respective person.  She calls my father-in-law’s mother to share that I’m being induced, and am in labor.  After being explicitly asked not to do it, she did it anyway.  This upset my father-in-law, who called Plus One to complain.  I’m mid-contraction and can’t talk.  He’s on the phone with his dad because his mom HAS TO do things like this.  He finally realizes I need his help counting through the contraction.  Trying to make up for his huge lack of judgment and the fact that his mother has proven me right yet again, Plus One starts holding up fingers for me to breathe through like a quarter inch from my face.  Not being able to talk, I just hit him to make him back up.  She also had two grandma showers for my baby.  I wasn’t invited or aware of them, but that’s okay.  I’m not tacky.  Well, not THAT tacky.  I do have metal yard art that I find adorable, and Plus One finds tacky.  While I’m recovering from my emergency c-section, she’s bringing out thank you notes for gifts I’ve never seen for people I’ve never met and expecting me to write them.

Oh No You Didn’t

Then, she starts her mental abuse on my child.  Mama Bear decides to roar.  When her ugliness was directed at me, fine.  My kid?  All bets are off.  Bubba is named after Plus One’s dad and grandfather.  MIL hears his name and announces, while holding my hours old newborn, “I’m just going to call him Nabisco instead of that name.”  (Nabisco.  I still don’t understand that comment.) Oh, Q has a raging fever and an infection at her surgical site?  Please sit next to me, Plus One, and I’ll hold your hand as comfort.  No, no, don’t go towards your wife or child.  Pacifiers are bad.  Dirt is bad.  Shouldn’t you do this instead of that?  Sure, I’ll visit to see him, but can I wait until my son is there, too?  Oh, my son is here!  I’m going to ignore everyone but my son!  Use a thimble to cut his gums to alleviate his teething pain.  Just rub it back and forth until you see blood.  Tee hee, I always have rights if I don’t like what you are doing.  Isn’t he a little small?  Plus One was never that small as a baby.  You aren’t going to raise him as a Republican are you?  Oh, no, I don’t really want to hold him.  Let me sit by my son and hold his hand instead.  My son needs a backrub.  Come here, Plus One, *I’ll* rub your back.  Do you clean, Q?  Oh, with nasty chemicals.  Uh uh uh (that disapproving sound some people are masters at).  Bubba was about 6 months old the last time she laid eyes on him.  Back and forth issues occur.  We sent our boundaries (which really were simple things like don’t talk so negatively about my wife that a stranger calls her a bitch, and other things).  She refuses to respond, insisting it’s abusive.  Well, cuntcake, if it’s abusive to have boundaries, imagine how abusive the behavior that is causing the boundaries has been.  We eventually send a cease and desist when she started sending us junk mail certified.  She did it a few times.  Once, I signed for it.  About 2 or 3 other times, I refused it.  But, since the first one was junk mail, I don’t really care what was in the other ones.  She also sent Bubba a birthday gift after not seeing him for 6 months (or being interested in him the first 6 months of his life).  RTS that sucker, too.  No relationship with the parents means no relationship with the kid(s).

Negativity Be Gone!

After a full year of no-contact (it was glorious), I got a unicorn up my ass and decided to reach out to see if she had had time to reflect on missing her son and grandson.  I knew she didn’t want me involved, but I’m part and parcel to the family.  You get me, too, or you get none.  I sent an olive branch email.  Her response was to have a divorce mediator contact us.  When I contacted them, they stated that it was to mediate and sign a contract for her relationship with her grandchild and to mediate a potential divorce.  News to me!  News to Plus One!  Needless to say, we declined that gracious opportunity.  And this is when I learned about grandparents’ rights.  Sad when you have to have an attorney retained just in case your batshit crazy mother decides to force you to legally have a relationship with her.

It’s been mostly silent from us from then on.  We saw her once when Plus One’s grandfather broke his hip.  I emailed her when pregnant with Smash-N-Break.  She said best wishes.  We moved out of state to Texas.  She broke her silence to wish us a Happy President’s Day.  No, I’m not kidding.  7 years of silence, and HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY!  She has sent her flying monkey minions our way to tell us to bury the hatchet, be the bigger person, she doesn’t know what she’s done, is this Plus One talking or is it Q, she didn’t raise you like this, blah blah blah blah blah.  I told you my hoo-ha is sparkly!

Anyway, I’ve rambled.  I’ll put part 2 of my opinion on Grandparents’ Rights in a new post.

**I didn’t make him do anything.   He is an awesome person who finally had someone supporting him instead of dragging him down into the dirt about how he couldn’t do whatever he set his mind to.  Seriously, in my opinion, his mom is as abusive as someone who beats the crap out of their kids.  She did a number on his mental health.  He’s stronger than her and that, though.  He’s healed a lot.  He’s a great man.  I’m so proud to call him my husband. 

***Plus ones note: I post all of the blog posts because I haven’t taught Q how to yet. I didn’t edit anything and agree with it all. My mother did everything she said, and I was a jackass. I am still trying to apologize for what I did. Q deserved better, I needed to be a man. 

Lifted Up, Right When I Needed It

It is amazing how God puts the right people in your path, right when you need it.

I had occupational therapy for Littles today. Smash-N-Break had occupational, speech, and behavioral therapy. Littles was way overtired. He was happy playing on my phone for a bit, but then wanted to build blocks. He asked me to help. I immediately shut my iPad, got on the floor and started playing with him. That’s just what you do when a 2 year old asks you to play with them. We built a castle, then Kitty (his stuffed Beanie Boo that he cannot go anywhere without) needed a castle. That was followed by Kitty needing a tower (or 3), a castle, a house, a bed, and a chair. I had one email come in that I had to read from Bubba’s teacher, but once I realized it wasn’t important I put my phone back away.

Smash-N-Break’s therapist came out and we all go back to chat. I left my stuff in the waiting room because I’m stupid and too trusting. We left, went and got pumpkins and dinner with Bubba and Plus One, and did our normal routine.

Imagine my surprise to open my iPad hours later to find this note*. It nicenotedelighted me. I was feeling down because I have a date for the formal autism evaluation for Smash-N-Break. I was doubting myself. I felt like I yelled too much today. I felt like my kids will only remember “angry mom” and how I need to work on that. I needed this today. I needed to know that others see that I’m not always “that mom” trying to make her kids behave and failing. I have been feeling that fight-or-flight instinct for a few days, and can’t pinpoint why other than I feel like my whole family needs someone better than me. I feel like I’m failing my entire family most day. I cannot express how much this meant to me. It came when I needed it. To know that someone unbiased sees positivity in what I do with my kids was a needed reminder that I am enough.

If you see someone doing things right, tell them. We are all so quick to judge and find others lacking. Instead of knocking people down, lift them up. Let them feel what I feel right now. You won’t regret it.

*The note says:

You are the MOST AWESOME mom. 🙂

I think you are doing an excellent job. He is precious and playtime with you made his day – and my week!

Joy to observe you – Brilliant!

Keep it up!

You are doing everything right. 🙂 He said thank you – 6 x’s. I counted. AWESOME!!!

 

nicenotecomparison

Texas Homecoming Mums – Steel Magnolia’s Lost Scene

Homecoming mums and garters.  If you’re from Texas, you know what I’m talking about when I say those words together.  If you’re not from Texas (like me), prepare to be edumacated!

What Are Texas Homecoming Mums?

In case you forgot your camera her mum has a spare.
In case you forgot your camera her mum has a spare.

Basically, a homecoming mum is a large decoration of ribbon and trinkets, personalized for the girlfriend and/or date to the homecoming dance.  The boy will ask the girl to the dance, and then a few days later present her with the mum if she accepts.  She will wear this at school, and I’m sure hang it in her room.  She doesn’t wear this to the dance itself – I was worried as some of these things are bigger than the girl!  I didn’t understand the point of wearing it over your dress to the homecoming dance.  Plus, the pictures I’ve seen are of girls wearing them while they are in jeans.  I didn’t see teenage girls wearing jeans to the homecoming dance.  Some mums are very pretty.  Some are…..not.  Some have LED lighting in them.  You can pay upwards of $300 for a homecoming mum.  Girls can also present their date/boyfriend with a garter.  This is NOT the leg garter that I knew about from weddings.  It’s an arm band – a much smaller version of the mum.  I ordered Bubba a garter for his homecoming game this year.  When in Rome and all that.  Plus, I want to embrace Texas culture, as I don’t want or plan to move out of our house unless I’m in a casket.  So, if my boys are going to be raised in Texas, I want and need to understand the culture.

I am betting mum envy is a real thing. Thank God I only have boys.
I am betting mum envy is a real thing. Thank God I only have boys.

The story goes that, years ago, a boy gave a girl a single flower to ask her to homecoming.  From there, this flower has developed into a steep tradition that is cute and sweet.  (Most of the time – bigger does not always mean better.)  I’m not buying it.  First, as Plus One pointed out, the mum does resemble the Native American battle shield.  This makes me wonder if it’s closer to some Native American roots.  Second, come on.  We ALL know what a southern woman means when she says “Bless your heart”.  I’m pretty sure the first mum of ribbon and trinkets was a passive-aggressive “Bless your heart”.

I Prefer The Steel Magnolias Version

Imagine Truvy and M’Lynn from Steel Magnolias, sitting around drinking wine.  Both ladies had boys.  Those boys dated.  Imagine if they didn’t like the girl their son was dating.  They were brought up properly to not say anything.  (I’m closer to Clairee – don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.) But, from experience, mothers can be incredibly passive aggressive if they don’t like the whorish she-tramp trying to steal and trap their precious son.  I haven’t done this yet and vow not to do this, just had it done to me.  So, I can SO EASILY see Truvy and M’Lynn drunk Pinteresting and making a homecoming mum for their son to ask their girlfriend to the dance with.

Int Room – Afternoon (Immediate)

*Fade out music*

Clairee is serving wine, letting Truvy and M’Lynn vent away about the she-devils their sons have been dating. 

Clairee

Why don’t you say something? White or red?

M’Lynn

White, please.  It wouldn’t be proper.

Clairee

Pours glass and hands it to Clairee 

Then do something.  Here’s your glass.

Truvy

Like what?

Clairee

Pours another glass for Truvy. Hands it to her

If you won’t be direct, be indirect.  Make something for your son to give her for the school dance.  Here, have another glass.

M’Lynn

What good would that do?

Clairee

If she is raised right, like y’all, then she will accept it and wear it without saying a word.  But she will know.  Oh, she will know.  Here, let me top you off.

Truvy

What could we make?

Clairee

I’m sure I’ve got craft supplies around here.  Give me some time.  Oh, we’re out of wine.  How about some scotch?

Truvy and M’Lynn

Slurring tipsily, yeah they are day drunk

Sure.

Clairee

Why don’t we make them a battle shield, but with girlie things?  Tell them it’s to protect their heart or something.  Y’all are proper – you can spin it.

Clairee

Leaves and returns in a moment with craft supplies and scotch.  They drink more, and then do drunk Pinteresting before Pinterest.  They’re southern, so it still looks pretty decent, but the message is clear.

Like Truvy, M’Lynn, and Clairee this mum is lit yo!
Like Truvy, M’Lynn, and Clairee this mum is lit yo!

 

Here is a big huge mum covered in ribbon and trinkets that you are to wear as marked property of my son’s.  I made you this, because you don’t measure up to my expectations.  It’s pretty enough, and hides a lot of you.  I expect you to wear it.  And you cannot say anything bad about it, or I will be insulted and the victim.

End Scene

Seriously, Why Did They Do This?

Seriously, some of these things are monstrosities.  There is no sugar coating it.  Some of them are very pretty and decent, and I would have been happy to wear one.  But, the first girl who got a true homecoming mum with ribbons, trinkets, stuffed animals, maybe even lighting, made by your boyfriend’s mother – there is no way to hide the fact that it was made to probably embarrass the poor girl.  The good news is it didn’t work, and a new and proud Texas tradition was born.

Side note:  I still vow to not be the passive-aggressive you don’t measure up to my expectations mother of the boyfriend/groom/husband.  If/when my boys want to do this, if I cannot make it look pretty with my crafting inabilities, I will buy them one.

Ass Strep

School started for everyone recently!  This means new germs in the house!  Yay!  I love getting sick!

Warning:  I don’t pull punches or censor myself.  Read at your own risk.

A Rash Harkens Doom!

About two weeks ago, Littles had a diaper rash.  He’s my third, so I figured I could get rid of it on my own.  It hurt him, and he would beSick Littles in tears as soon as his diaper was wet, convinced he had pooped.  If he pooped, the tears were bigger.  I fought this bad boy as much as I could, but it would not go away.  Baking soda baths, air time, changing him constantly, was using water instead of wipes, bag balm, Neosporin, you name it.  It would not go away.  And it looked funny.  It was just around his little butthole.  It looked like a combination of someone bleaching their butthole and doing a chemical peel on it at the same time (I warned you).  Some mornings it looked like chorizo was spread over his butthole.  While I am battling this, I get diagnosed with strep.  I didn’t think anything of it.  I keep the fight going.  Plus One gets diagnosed with strep.  Okay, well, we sleep together and I snore a lot.  I probably breathed it on him all night.  No big deal.

Then, Bubba tells me his throat kinda hurts.  I am giving up on the diaper rash from hell, and figure if I have to take one to the doctor, let’s get that looked at so I know what to use on it next.  Bubba has strep now, too.  Okay, he’s a carrier, so he usually tests positive anyway.  Plus One calls because Smash-N-Break’s throat now hurts, too.  Great.  My pediatrician is like Oprah.  You get a strep, you get a strep, you get a strep.  I’d rather have a car, lady.  But, wait!  There’s more!

Its Really Just The End Of Your Throat (Think About it)

madsicklittlesThe diaper rash wasn’t a diaper rash.  It was Ass Strep.  Okay, the doctor just called it strep.  I’m calling it Ass Strep.  And we all got infected with the Ass Strep.  When Littles started this rash two weeks ago, I got strep bad enough there was a pus pocket in my throat that popped when they did the culture.  Littles loves me.  He loves drinking my water, and poking my face, and shoving his fingers in my mouth when I’m talking.  I didn’t think anything of me having strep with what I thought was a diaper rash.  I wash my hands after every diaper change, every bathroom trip, etc.  I wash them constantly!  My hygiene is pretty good, I think.  But, this rash was Ass Strep.

While I’m sick with strep, I let the kids play like kids.  They got dirty.  Bubba takes showers most of the time, because he’s older and is responsible.  Plus 3 kids in a tub is a tight squeeze.  But, Smash-N-Break and Littles share a tub.  But there was one night that Bubba wanted a bath.  See where I’m going?  I put the Ass Strep in the tub, and then washed Smash-N-Break and Littles (and Bubba one night) with the Ass Strep Water.  I never used the same washcloth on Littles butt and any other body part, but it’s in the water.  Smash-N-Break is a picker, too.  So, all his bug bites he picked open to bloody scabs, and they were in the Ass Strep Water.  You can imagine how they look right now.  Plus, Littles and Smash-N-Break are young – hygiene isn’t always high on their list.  They’re also boys, so their hands are always in their pants.  Ass Strep was easily spread.  So, we all have Ass Strep.

Alls Well That Ass Well

We are all now on antibiotics.  Well, I’m not as I have already finished my 10 day course.  I hope I don’t get re-contaminated with Ass Strep.    I also have two tubes of antibiotic ointment for the Ass Strep.  One is labeled for butt, one for body.  I have to put that one Littles and Smash-N-Break three times a day.  Smash-N-Break has a smashandbreaksicklot of scabbed over bug bites.  I hope one tube will do it.  Tomorrow will mark everyone else being on antibiotics for 24 hours.  The decontamination of our Ass Strep bathroom will commence, complete with fresh new toothbrushes for all 5 members of the Adventures Family!  Bleach water solution for everything that isn’t machine washable or dishwasher safe!  I can’t wait.  (That was sarcasm – I can think of a million other things to do than deep clean a bathroom on a Saturday morning.  All of which start with coffee.  One even involves running and Legos.)

Plus One asked me where Littles could have picked up Ass Strep.  Duh.  He licks public.  No, that’s not a typo.  He licks public.  Give the kid anything and he will lick it or put it in his mouth in some fashion (SPD).  If the object doesn’t go in his mouth, his thumb does.  He sleeps with one hand down his pants on his butt (outside the diaper) and a thumb in his mouth.  How an Ass Strep pandemic hasn’t happened at our house before is the miracle!

Isn’t parenting glamorous!?  Admit it – y’all are jealous.  Damn Ass Strep.

The Evaluation, Is It Autism Or … What

All of my reading and research on ADHD and anxiety has helped in other ways than blaming myself for everything.  It got me to find Bubba and Smash-N-Break a behavioral therapist.  Bubba to learn some coping skills for his anxiety, and Smash-N-Break to (hopefully, God, please) learn an impulse control.

Bubba

Bubba is like me – he’s a stuffer.  I know, I know – it’s kind of shockingmarshmellows that I would say I stuff my feelings but also write about feelings and things publicly on a blog on the webernet.  It’s the internet – it’s out there forever.  I’m crazy, duh.  We’ve been over this.  But, Bubba is like me.  He stuffs his feelings and you have to pull them out of him.  His therapist sees it.  She knows she will have to build the trust.  Bubba shuts down when I yell (or when Plus One yells).

So, we need to change it and NOT yell.  When you have Smash-N-Break who doesn’t listen, respond, or stop, we yell more than we should.  So, we’re changing our parenting.  It’s a good thing.  The kids deserve it.  But it isn’t easy.  We also have to explain it to other people, like football coaches and teachers.  They’ve been great.  I tell them not to feel like they have to walk on eggshells, just how he may react to yelling, and how to get him to calm down and come back to the present in those cases.

Smash-N-Break

Smash-N-Break – even his therapist has admitted she has her work cut out with him.  She also warned me she sees some red flags.  He has trouble making friends with kids his own age.  He is repetitive.  He likes to sort things in ways that make no sense to me.  He has ADHD.  He has SPD.  He walks on his toes (curled).  He has language issues and pronoun confusion.  He has a stutter when he starts a junglesmashsentence and he is overwhelmed/excited/anxious/etc.  He takes things literally.

His therapist explained expected and unexpected and how unexpected can twist your heart.  (I’m really paraphrasing here.)  Smash-N-Break honestly thinks his heart is twisted in his chest now.  He has a loud voice and a quiet voice, but not really much of one in between.

He doesn’t really do the give and take of a conversation.  It’s pretty one sided, usually.  If he wants to talk, you can’t get a word in edgewise.  If he doesn’t want to talk, you will have a monologue of questions.  Noise hurts him and has caused him to act out.  He doesn’t play pretend as much as his brothers do, and it’s usually their idea.

He doesn’t listen – I’ve often wondered if he has a hearing problem.  He has so many questions.  Compared to Bubba, he asks about 10 times as many questions.  He has no patience.  He wants it NOW.  He is the definition of hyperactive.

So, she’s asked us to have a speech evaluation done for the stutter.  Okay, can do.  It’s scheduled.  She is also concerned about autism.  Aspergers specifically.

*Screech sound effect*

What?  Smash-N-Break?  He makes eye contact!  He’s outgoing!  I workingmanknow autism is more than that, but it’s been drilled into my head that this is the BIG SIGN.  Yeah, he doesn’t talk to kids his own age, but he’s just shy.  Right?  It’s the ADHD, isn’t it?

Doctors have warned me about autism signs in Littles, and he’s outgrowing those as he gets older and gets more occupational therapy.   She’s going to keep a watchful eye on him, but since we’re already having a speech evaluation done, why not have an informal* autism evaluation done, too?  If the evaluation comes back “negative”, but she still has concerns in 6 months or so, a neurophysiologic exam is the next step.  If the evaluation comes back “positive”, well, I guess we have an answer.  I took the CAST test, too.  He got a 22.  Above a 15 is indicative of more testing necessary.  Okay.

Guess We Need To Do That Evaluation

The evaluation is coming up.  I’m scared.  I don’t know why.  Well, I know why.  I’m good at blaming myself and feel like I’ve wasted years that could have been helping him.  The stutter – I always assumed he was just excited to get his words out.

smashfishingI had him evaluated for speech in Colorado.  They said he had a “slight speech delay”, but that it wasn’t enough to warrant therapy.  I should have pushed more.  I’ve tried correcting him on pronouns for almost 3 years now, and it hasn’t helped.  He still uses the wrong ones.  He can’t say certain words.  I know that, no matter what, the Smash-N-Break before the evaluation is the same Smash-N-Break that will be there after the evaluation.  I will love him just the same.   I know all of this logically.  It doesn’t help.

What do you pray for when you see the warning signs, too?  Do I just see them now because someone mentioned them?  Is this another “Overactive Oversensitive Q”?  Do you pray for a diagnosis that would be lifelong, because then you at least have answers?  Do you pray for someone to say “Nah, he’s good”, but then you still have the red flags waving?  If he gets a diagnosis, or needs services, do I pull him out of his new preschool?  Or do we go the private insurance route?

If he has to go to a new preschool, the one he will go to requires a uniform.  That will go over like a lead-balloon filled with a fart in church.  How do I do that?  He will feel like there are ants all over him teetersmashwith the clothes they require from his SPD.  How am I going to fit all of the appointments into our days, and still get done what needs to be done?

Am I borrowing trouble right now?  Probably.  I’m good at that when I don’t have a plan and can’t have a plan without others input.  Should I put down the coffee cup today, since I’m working myself up into spaztastic levels?  Yes, yes I should.

I’ve known Smash-N-Break was different, just like I knew Littles was different, than other kids.  I could see the differences between them and their older brother.  Bubba is more mainstream, more expected.  So far, I’ve just been praying for strength to be the advocate he needs, and to not sound like a bumbling idiot or forget anything when I talk to the people who will do the evaluation.

Wish me luck.

 

 

*Informal isn’t the right term, but I’m going with it.

Are You Ready For Some Football!

It’s almost the end of August.  I’ve got more reminders and appointments in my phone than I care to admit.  I’m sure I’ll forget some of them.  It’s time for back to school.  Pumpkins and costumes are starting to make their appearances, as well as other fall decorations.  Hobby Lobby has Christmas puked all over the place.

That Can Only Mean One Thing

No, not pumpkin spice lattes.  That’s good, too, but not what excites me the most.  FOOTBALL!!!!

Bubba Running For His First Touchdown
Bubba Running For His First Touchdown

Bubba is playing his first time in Texas, his second season.  It looks like he will be a running back and quarterback both.  It’s midget football – they kind of play everyone.  We’ve at least graduated from “everyone is a winner” liberal Colorado to a team where they will keep score.  They have “developmental quarters” where the score doesn’t count, but the kids can learn the game.

I’m okay with that.  It guarantees that second and third string can play and learn, with a chance to improve.  Out of five quarters, two don’t count.  They will also play the whole field (Pop Warner only played 80 yards at this age), and have kick offs and extra points.  Real football.

HOW COULD YOU DO THAT!?

It also leads to a few issues.  First, you get comments from people about letting him play.  Don’t I know about concussion issues?  Yes, but the younger they learn the fundamentals, the safer they will be.  Plus, have you watched midget football?  It’s not the bone-crushing tackles of division 1 college or pro.

The likelihood of my kid being a pro football player isn’t high.  I’m not knocking Bubba’s athletic ability.  I do wonder where he got it from, because I fall out of bed trying to stand up, but he’s a decent player.  He’s fast, too, which I still haven’t figured out where he got that from.  It’s just a mathematic and statistic thing.  There are 1,696 maximum professional football players at any given time.

I’m willing to let him play a sport he enjoys as safely as possible.  There are so many good things kids can learn from football.  How to read plays, camaraderie, team work, needing to put school first, balancing school, social, and sports, etc.  All the kids will be from the same school district, but not necessarily at the same school.  So, they will need to learn how to communicate as a team when they don’t know each other well yet.

Self Esteem Is Nothing To Laugh At

Bubba Running For TD #2
Bubba Running For TD #2

Plus, it does help him with his anxiety.  He’s so worried before practices and games.  He’s afraid he’s going to screw up.  But, it helps him go out and prove to himself that he can do it.  It helps him learn that he has to practice and work at things to be the best he can be.  With a kid who gets anxious even asking a question in class, this is a good thing.

I still got comments, though.  At least, I did in Colorado.  Texas seems to be a whole lot more accepting.  (Have you seen the size of the Homecoming Mums!?)  There seem to be fewer and fewer younger kids playing football.  It doesn’t seem to have slowed down in high school, though.  At least my kid will be safer if he’s still playing high school.  He’ll have the fundamentals down.

Four Actual Problems With Texas Football

First – Smash-N-Break Is Big

Coaches don’t believe me that Smash-N-Break is too young to play.  He’s big for his age.  He’s almost as tall as Bubba, and weighs more.  He’s not fat – he does have some chubby kid pudge on him, but he’s not fat.  He’s just BIG.  He’s strong, too.  With his energy level, football will be good for him.  He’s already told me he wants to play.  So, I’ve had coaches asking me if he can play.  Not yet – next year, he will be old enough.

Second, Practice All The Things!

Practice is 3 nights a week for an hour and a half to two hours, plus a game.  Plus One and I trade off who stays at practice, and who takes the kids home.  It still sucks for them, though. Now that school is back in session, it’s pick up Smash-N-Break, drive a half hour to pick up Bubba, drive a half hour home.  Quickly do homework, get them a snack, and drive back for practice.

They come home from practice before Bubba, and then I have to cook dinner quickly.  If I’m intelligent (so, not often), there will be a crockpot dinner so it’s faster.  Then bath time sometimes and bed.  If it hasn’t been too long of a day (meaning, did they nap or rest), I’ll read them a story.  They don’t get a lot of quality time with either one of us on football nights.  It sucks.

Games – I lose them.  They wander off, I admit it.  I’m watching the game.  I keep enough of an eye on them that I know their general area at least.  They get bored.  I spend a lot of money at the concession stand because they like treats, and I have money, so they come back to me.  I’ll take that as winning, though.

Third, You Want A Schedule? HAH!

Smash-N-Break wants to play a sport.  I want him to play a sport.  But there’s one of me.  I cannot figure out how to get Bubba to practice, turn around get Smash-N-Break to practice for a half hour, turn around and pick up Bubba without upsetting the apple cart of Littles being stuck in his car seat for 2 hours or more, right at the end of the day.

Plus, Plus One and I would have to miss some of one of their games.  Since Plus One will be helping on the sidelines, that means I have to miss Bubba’s games.  Hence why Smash-N-Break can play next year.  He’s not even 5 yet – missing one season of soccer won’t hurt him.  Is it wrong of me to be like “No, you will both play the same sport”?

Fourth, First-World Problems

It’s better now that we live in Texas.  But, I loathe John Elway.  He’s just, ugh.  He’s taken a team that was reputable and decent and turned them into fouling asshats with criminal issues, all to win a game.  Dude, one of the players  (Talib)  was involved in a shooting at a strip club with marijuana found here in Dallas.

I don’t know if the police found the marijuana on him or not, but it’s obvious he has issues making good choices, to say the least.  Did his mom not shout that at him every day after dropping him off at school?  “I love you, Aqib!  Make good choices!”  Is that just me?

With Elway at the helm, I cannot cheer for the Broncos.  I don’t want my kids to cheer for them.  He’s just not a good or decent person.  When we lived in Colorado, it was orange and blue everything, Broncos are great, yay Broncos.  When you can’t stand the team, it makes Sundays suck because you always have to see the Bronco game.

Now, it’s Cowboys.  I don’t like Jerry Jones.  (Shhhh.  I’m hiding it because I’m still new to Texas.  I did wear a Cowboys jersey into Tom Thumb, though.  You got a discount on your groceries on game day.  I’m cheap.  I’m also hard to please, evidently, based on this paragraph.)

I don’t have a favorite pro team, but I’ll still watch the games.  The kids get it – Thursdays through Monday night, football is on TV.  Go to the playroom if you don’t want to watch it.  Laugh at Mommy and Daddy while they yell at people on the TV doing things they physically could not do when they were that age.  Learn new and creative swear words to get Mommy called into the principal’s office for repeating.  Oh, wait, that’s bad, isn’t it?

Now Shhh

I’m just glad that Bubba’s game times are consistent.  I can still park my butt on the couch and watch at least one NCAA game before he has his games.  Add in that it’s Texas – I won’t be freezing my keester off on the bleachers praying it won’t snow before playoffs can end.

Don’t bother me, it’s football season.

Enough! or Is It Ever?

I sent Bubba back to school this week.  He started second grade. Bubba 2nd Grade

One, how did a teeny tiny little baby start second grade?!  I mean, I KNOW he still sleeps in a crib and eats every two hours.  He’s still a baby, right?  I just had him?  Brought him home just the other day, yes?  Okay, really, the only true thing is he eats every two hours.  Lucky child inherited his father’s metabolism and can eat anything he wants.  Smash-N-Break is three years younger and weighs more than Bubba by one pound.

Two, who else has that mom voice of “enough”?  No, not your Batman voice of “ENOUGH” when your kids are, well, acting feral.  I’m talking about the internal mom voice of measurement.  Did we do enough fun things this summer?  Did I balance his brothers’ therapy appointments with fun time for him enough?  Did he get enough fun time?  Did he get enough one-on-one time?  Did I speak enough of his love language while he was out of school?

Nope, Its Never Enough!

Me, being the ever pessimist with a side of anxiety and depression, says NO.  We only went swimming in a real pool a couple of times.  We got together with friends a couple of times.  We did the library a few times.  We did the zoo, splash pads, and museums a few times.  They saw a couple of movies.  We mixed in doctor appointments, dentist appointments, and football practice to all of that, too.  Plus, we unpacked more of the shop and swam/splashed in our little backyard pool a lot.  We swung on the swing set and went to a couple of parks.

We went on splash walks, and went blueberry picking.  We attempted to do things in the heat, and ended up falling down in front of the fan trying not to die.  We made a few forts.  We did some water balloon fights.  Those always seem to end with me or Plus One using a hose to try to soak the other one.  We went to Six Flags and Gas Monkey Garage.  Yeah, great list, but was it enough?

Well, to me, I should have done more.  I’ve blinked and he’s in second grade.  Cliché?  Absolutely.  Also, absolutely true!  This time is so fleeting, and I want to build that relationship so he knows I’m there, so he knows how much I love him.

Love, Angst, & Therapy

I don’t want him to ever question if I love him, if he matters to me, how awesome he is as a person.  I don’t want him to ever question if there is a ranking to my love (side note:  there’s not – I love them all equally).  I don’t want him to ever think he’s not the (imaginary) favorite, or that anyone IS a favorite.

I know that come the teenage angst-y years, he will probably think that, which is why I want this foundation there.  But, I don’t want to push it, either.  He’s not responsible for my feelings, for my happiness.  He’s responsible for himself.  I don’t want to suffocate him.  (Seeing the fucked-up family dynamics yet?  I’m pretty sure we’re going to be buying our therapists a new car.  I hope it’s shiny.  Maybe it will drive itself, and she can conduct therapy sessions down the highway.)

Bubba Loved It Though

boysTo Bubba, it was a great summer.  If you ask him, he says “YEAH!” We spent more time outside this summer than we did back in Colorado, and it was way hotter down here.

One, we have neighbors but we don’t see into each other’s homes.  There is a sense of privacy.  I’ve noticed that my kids want to go out and play now because they don’t feel like they’re on display or being watched.

Two, we have more than a postage stamp of a yard.  Yes, it’s all dirt and weeds with some leaf cover, but that’s a little boy’s dream!  It’s my nightmare with laundry, but that’s at least a chore that can never truly be done, unless we’re all walking around naked.  I am seriously considering making a sign that says “Welcome!  Be prepared to see a wiener! If that bothers you, don’t knock.”  Think I can make the sign into a wreath? That would be a great Drunk Pinterest video!

How Do You Know Your “Enough”?

So how do I quiet that voice of “enough”?  I don’t think I can.  I haven’t come far enough in my personal growth to even know how to quiet it yet.  Even when I get there, can you quiet it?  Can you know you are enough?  How do you quiet that voice of “enough”?