A Smeddling Kiss

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I'm officially moved in over there, I think...

So come see me at the new blog. I'm still unpacking a bunch of stuff, but I posted!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vay Kay

We are in Washington DC right now. Having a lovely time, wish you were here.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

NaBloItAgain...

Yeah, I'm not sure why I even bother. I've been blogging here for what... 4+ years? And yet I still get online every now and then to announce with great fanfare that I'm Going To Write More, but I seem to have permanently blocked the realization that Life Gets In The Way. Maybe I have brain damage in a particular area? I can think of a few nights in particular which certainly must have decimated some IQ points, so I guess it is theoretically possible that I had one too many Tanqueray & Tonics back in '97 and blew out the portion of my cortex that is responsible for accurately evaluating grandiose blogging plans, right? The birthday boy had a great birthday. His party was a rousing success, with almost all of the kids we invited showing up, and there was not a single tear-filled or screaming episode for the whole 2 hours we were at the party zone place. I got to hang out and talk to the other parents while the "party assistant" wrangled the kids. It was great, and I almost hope Peanut doesn't decide he's too cool for this place again next year. At home, we had a decent weekend. Yesterday was a high energy and high emotion kind of day, and there were one or two outbursts, but nothing like we'd seen earlier in the week. Today was great - I decreed it a "stay in your pajamas" day, and luckily no friends called to get the kids all riled up about doing anything outside the house. Peanut was great all day long - no violence or crying or crazy non-sequitar monologues. At the very end of the evening, after I'd given him his melatonin, he did have one crumpled face tear-fest, prompted (and I wish I was kidding) by the memory of the song "Our Last Summer" from the "Mamma Mia!" soundtrack. We'd watched a portion of the movie this afternoon, and apparently it was just too much for him to handle. Ahem. After some cuddling and quiet attempts to get him to talk about what was making him so sad, it came out that "Hotel for Dogs" was also bothering him. A day of lazing around with the television on was to blame! He couldn't verbalize it at first, but eventually I got enough out of him ("It's okay for 10 year old boys to cry!" and "Big sisters don't always have to go away!") to realize that the entire premise of the movie was too much for him. (In case you aren't familiar with the movie, a brother and sister in foster care have run through their options for staying together and yet risk it all to save a bunch of stray dogs.) He just couldn't get past the story line - the parents had DIED, the older sister TRIED to look out for her younger brother but FAILED and they had to live APART from each other for a short time - and even though the movie ends happily, the entire premise was enough to send him over the edge. It's really hard, this sensitivity thing, and what is hardest sometimes is trying to explain to other people that this isn't overdramatic spoiled rotten kids trying to manipulate their parents. I worry that people think I'm making excuses for the kids, but the truth is that I was one of these kids, too. Hell, I still am, which is why I take Wellbutrin and still have minor pangs of anxiety whenever I try to think about space and the universe and the vast emptiness of the cosmos. Too big! Too scary!! Eeep! That there is my weekend wrap-up. I just want to take a second and thank everyone out there in the internet ether again for all the kind and supportive e-mails and comments you have sent my way. It really, really, really helps.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

More... Angst.

After all my grandiose plans from the last post, I feel badly that all this day has given me to relate is worry and dread and sadness. Peanut is in a bad place these days, a darker place than he showed us in pre-school and kindergarten. There are a lot more tears, a lot more emotional outbursts, and a lot of bad and unacceptable behavior. There is kicking and shouting and throwing thing. There is self-injury and almost-but-not-quite biting behavior. Other children are starting to think of him as "the one who is always in trouble," and I absolutely cannot express how devastating this is, to me and his dad and his sister and himself. I am calling around, waiting for recommendations on counseling and evaluations. I think we will probably start with taking him back the the place where we had his first neuropsych evaluation done almost 2 years ago. We'll see what they have to say - it is a combined center for child development and I have hope that they will be able to give us some guidance as to which angle to deal with first: autistic, gifted, and emotionally disturbed. Where the hell do we start?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaBloPoMore?

I dunno. I kind of sucked at it in September, and it's not like I've had much success posting lately. Still, I think I'll give it another whirl. Halloween was a success. The kids had fun, the weather was balmy, and we even ventured out for our very first door-to-door-in-the-dark trick or treating. The kids were thrilled, and for the first time they have enough candy left after the big "peanut-safe" candy dump to have that special childhood feeling of being able to luxuuuuriate in the candeeeeeeeee! Peanut dumped it all out again this morning and grouped it into piles by type - half a dozen Hershey's bars, 4 packs of Milk Duds, etc. After he got tired of examining it all, he piled it all together and then started all over. When I looked at what he was doing, I could see he was piling it together according to candy manufacturer. So yes, the luuuxuuurriating in the candeeeeee continues. And aaaarrrgh! He's got an eyeball where his mouth should be!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Picture Day

Wow, there has been a lot going on in my life these days. Dr. V. is over the flu (we don't know exactly which strain it was, but are sure the Tamiflu helped.) I had a very quiet birthday, which was fine since we'd done our big celebratin' the weekend before. I actually met with a lawyer the morning of my birthday to discuss having our wills drawn up. Nice reminder of one's own mortality, I thought. Peanut has continued to be challenging, more so this week than last. He has had a few self-injury episodes in the past, mostly involving scratching himself when he is super frustrated, and he had one this week. Tuesday morning he woke me up at 5 a.m., climbing into bed and loudly talking about the dream he'd just had. I put him back to bed but then couldn't fall back asleep, so I was a little bleary when I sent him off to school that morning. It was one of Those Mornings, when the only clean shirt was way too small and had sleeves coming halfway up his forearm. We got down to the bus stop and I got a good look at him in the daylight and saw his poor flaky allergy eyes - the skin around his eyes is irritated but gets even more so if we try and clean him up too often. He's looking a little rough these days. He needs a haircut, he's got dark circles under his eyes, and he won't stop worrying at his lower lip so he's got this reddened chapped rim under it. When I picked him up at the bus stop that afternoon, I was disturbed to see scabbed-over scratches on his forehead, neck, and back of the neck. He told me he'd been angry and frustrated because he accidentally cut off part of his art project and he scratched himself. When I got home I read the note from his teacher talking about the incident, and at the bottom she had written a note about how we had forgotten to send in our school picture order... which was that day. And of course, art class is in the morning, so the pictures were taken after the little bout of self-mutilation. Because what could go better with an already scrubby-looking kid than a bloody forehead? FABULOUS! (Needless to say, this year I'm shelling out the extra $10 for "digital re-touching.")

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This Is How It Is.

I'm typing this tucked into bed on the family room couch. Dr. V. has been awarded full custody of the king sized bed after coming home sick from work, something that rarely happens. He definitely has the flu, type as yet undetermined. I picked up a prescription for Tamiflu for him, so hopefully that will help with his symptoms. Blergh. This after a couple really tough weeks has me feeling blue. Peanut is just so much work these days. There have been bad days, and lots of medium days, and few all good ones. Blergh. Dr. V. and I had the chance to leave the kids with his family overnight this past weekend, and we jumped at it. By last Friday, I felt like my nerves were exposed every time Peanut had a meltdown, and even 24 hours away from the kids made me feel much more centered. And now we may be getting the flu. Blergh. -- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Too Much on My Plate

Wow. I haven't gone this long without posting for months and months, but it's been an exceptionally crazy couple of weeks. 97% of the crazy has been dealing with Peanut, who has regressed tr emendously over the past few weeks. We think most of the bad behavior was related to a new allergy medicine we put him on, because his allergies were breaking through so badly. Remember the self-gagging? The new medicine did work to solve that issue - no more itchy throat - but the spaced out-and-emotional version of my boy we've dealt with has not been worth it. After a two week trial, we switched him back to the old medicine last night. He seems better today, but we'll have to seen what the school week brings. Hopefully there will be no more sticking his tongue out at his teachers and parents, no more throwing objects to the ground to express his displeasure, no more yelling out "OH, COME ON!" whenever he is told to do something he doesn't want to do.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

NaVelOffSu@NaBloPoMoMo

"National Velma Officially Sucks at 'National Blog Posting Month' Month." Catchy, right? School started up and I thought I'd be able to sit in front of the computer for hours while the children were gone and we all know what happens when you think you have a chunk of free time coming up, right? Yup - more stuff comes along to fill it right up. Meetings and doctor's appointments and events and school stuff and bleargh. I missed my blogiversary this year - it is September 19th, which is also National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Now that it is past, it means I have another year to recover from hearing Peanut's favorite Pirate joke eleventy billion times in one afternoon. "What's a pirate's favorite letter, Mom?!? AAAAARRRRRR!" Maybe I can muster up some fake enthusiasm for hearing it again over the next 12 months... or maybe I can find a few more pirate jokes to teach him. We went to see U2 last weekend, which was fun. Unfortunately, U2 is probably the only band I have seen in concert over the past 8 years, so the concerts begin to feel very similar since I have nothing else to measure them against. Awesome rocking out opening, couple of songs in a row before we talk to the crowd, bring the tempo down and cue the worthy causes of the world flashed on the stage set while Bono's antics fill up the Jumbotron. Yeah, I'm jaded. Or maybe it's just my hormones, since I have yet another period - my 3rd in the two months I've been off the pill. I'm hoping everything settles down soon, and I won't subject you to the gory details but I will say that I went on the pill in high school to control my god-awful periods and I have been having some really fun ("FUN!" she says with gritted teeth) symptoms again. School is going very well for both of my monkeys. I have been able to go out walking and get exercise regularly for the last few weeks, which feels good. I have been very busy in my real life, and my blog life has suffered. I have also been spending wayyy too much time on a stupid Facebook game, as well as having been semi-obsessed with the constantly changing Facebook details of someone I knew long ago, but that is a whole 'nother story that I'll tell y'all another night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

He's A Sneaky Little Bugger With A Scary-Good Vocabulary

Yesterday morning, I told Peanut that when the cartoon episode was over at 8:15, it was time to turn off the television and get ready to go down to the bus stop. I was doing something through the commercial break, and when the next episode came on, I said, "Hey! The last episode ended so it's time to get moving." The child came over to me and tried to cover my eyes as the title sequence came on, then said,"No, Mom! This isn't a new episode! It's the epilogue!" Holy crap! How does he even know that word?!? Much less use it correctly to try to lie to me? I am so screwed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Whoops, I Did It Again

Yup, tried to post in bed from my iPhone last night once I realized I hadn't posted again, but the stupid had set in nice and deep from all the sleep deprivation. Peanut fought the sleep on Sunday night, then stumbled into our bedroom at 4 am complaining that he was too "lonely" in his own room. Fabulous! Today was better. Had multiple long, involved phone calls with various friends, catching up and so forth. I think we have solved the Great Social Upset of Aught Nine, in which various of Pepper's friends wish to pair up with other friends during activities but some girls feel more strongly about activities than being with friends and yet some girls feel the opposite way. They just want to do what their friends are doing even if they hate the activity. AHEM. Amidst all this GAH! parenting, I received word that a dear, dear friend and his wife had a son today. They are a couple close to my heart, even though I rarely get to see them. My friend found an amazing woman to marry after years and years, and they have had various heartbreaks dealing with starting their family, and today? They had a son. It was a beautiful day. The End.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too Tired to Write.

Such an unhappy night with my boy. Nights like this make me feel bad for passing along all the heightened emotion and sadness that seems to come bundled with my DNA. -- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Petty Peeves.

We went to a big charity fundraiser last night. It was a big formal black tie event, and a lot of fun since we actually got to sit at a table with people we like. Dr. V. got a little crazy with his bidding paddle during the live auction, but he stuck to our budget so I can't complain too much. (Of course, I personally don't think a signed and framed Red Sox jersey is worth that much money, but whatever...) So here is my minor pet peeve - don't introduce yourself as working for the local paper by saying, "I'm from the Local Paper" unless you are a writer or photographer from the paper. I met several people who all said they were FROM the paper but who turned out, after further conversation, to actually you know, sell ad space or something. Weird. We also got Beatles Rock Band, which is a blast. I highly recommend it as a family activity - really fun. Not so fun? I think I'm coming down with something. Welcome to the school year! Sick within a week of starting school must be some kind of record, huh?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

5 Random Questions From My Children Today

1. "Mom, can you send me to lasso-ing camp next summer?" 2. "Mom, what was the name of that guy who invented karaoke?" 3. "Mom, are YOU in Sarah's Goon Squad?" (because they like to try to sneak peeks over my shoulder as I read blogs.) 4. "Mom, did it hurt when I came out of you when I was born?" 5. "Mom, do you think that it rains harder when you think bad thoughts and lighter when you think good thoughts?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Duty Calls

Once again, I have messed up the NaBloPoMoing. Ah, well. I'm still going to try to post everyday the rest of the month, but this week was a rough one. I pulled something in my lower back last weekend, and with the start of school I never had the chance to just rest and let it get better. It is slowly feeling less and less sore, but that chronic pain just sucks your will to live, don't it? While I would prefer to have another day to sit around on a heating pad and mope, duty calls. I must go purchase and deliver a peanut-safe treat to school for my son so he isn't left out with the first birthday celebration of the year. I must find some sort of sparkly gala-ish jacket to wear over my black dress to a formal event tomorrow night where I must smile and nod and be the gracious doctor's wife. I must sign the children up for various activities, and I must do this with a throbbing backache. But above all, I must remember that morning, 8 years ago, and how hard this last 8 years must have been for all the family and friends of those killed that day. I'm not really going anywhere with this, just dumping emotion and stream-of-consciousness because I really do have to run out and do all those errands now. But I'll carry those memories around with me all day, like most of us, doing our duties for each other.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Fove It

Spotted on the clearance shelf at Homegoods:


-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy "Back to School Tomorrow" Day!

I am celebrating this gorgeous New England Labor Day holiday by, uhm... cleaning. Yes, it's a glamorous life here at Chez Velma, where the highlight of a holiday is sending my husband to the store with the kids so I can vacuum in peace. What can I say? Maybe someday you, too, will live the dream. Cross your fingers! Anyhoo. As you can no doubt tell, I'm climbing the walls waiting for school to start. I'm so sick of my own kids that I'm cleaning to avoid having to play Legos. I'm scrubbing the sink to the tune of two children clamoring for my attention so they can repeat the funny thing that was just on the television - yes, that snippet of comedy gold that I MYSELF JUST ALSO WATCHED, children. I'm locking myself in the bathroom to clean toilets so I don't have to re-transform another friggin' toy from car to robot no-I-meant-back-to-car-no-wait-robot, Mommy heeeeelllllp!!! Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will read the paper from start to finish in one sitting. Tomorrow I will take a shower without seeing a shadowy figure hovering through the steamed-up glass door. Tomorrow I will eat lunch without once uttering the phrase, "Yes, when I'm done eating my lunch I will help you with (insert activity here)." I'm... how you Americans say? "Looking forward to tomorrow." Ahem. Just a teensy bit.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Socks and Gum and Mints, OH MY!

Oh, the joys of sensory processing disorder. When I started writing this one down a couple days ago, I actually only got as far as the title before I was overcome with the "AAARGH!" How to boil it down to an easily digestible nugget? I could say it started back in the beginning of the summer, when I introduced him to the joys of the "Road Runner" cartoons. That wouldn't be the truth though, since he's been obsessed with cartoons his whole life. So, let's just accept that the boy has his issues and move on to the specifics. He picked the Cartoon Exit up again while we were visiting my folks, and frankly got a lot of positive feedback from it. Lots of extended family saying, "Peanut! Show us how you leave the room!" because yes - frankly, he's fucking adorable at 6 when he does this shit. Everybody loves him at the family barbeque, but nobody else has to break him of the new OCD script before school starts. Nobody thinks about how this is going to play out when he is 8 or 10, except me. (The "Cartoon Exit," BTW is when he rocks his arms back and forth, lifts a leg, and then zooms out of the area. With sound effects.) The socks and gum and mints in the title refer to the fact that we ran out of one of his allergy meds on the trip and suffered through an awful number of hours on the road with him gagging himself. While I think the scratchy throat was perfectly normal, the trying to touch his "nebula" was not. It was a really hard trip home, and once we reached MA the fun didn't stop. I've spent the last few days putting multiple pairs of socks on his hands at bedtime, encouraging him to use his fidgets, feeding him umpteen pieces of sugar free gum, and loading up on tic tacs like they were extinct. Reading back over this, it may not make much sense to anyone not familiar with the quirks of a sensory processing disorder kid. But for us, it's "normal." All I can think is, "At least he's not shoving rocks in his mouth anymore."

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Poor Excuse

Yes, this is my first "phone it in" posting for the month of September. I was lying in bed a few minutes ago getting ready to fire up the Kindle app on my iPhone when I glanced at the time and thought - "NaBloPoMo!! Crap!" So now I have 10 minutes to post something. Right now, all I can think about is how simultaneously grateful and petrified I am for the start of the school year on Tuesday. Excited because I can hardly wait for the freedom of my upcoming days, petrified because I worry about the adjustments my kids will be making over the next few weeks. I had a great coversation with Pepper tonight about how excited she is for school to start and how 4th grade was one of my favorite years. She seems happy and ready for all the changes, which is wonderful after the rough start we had last year. Peanut is going to have trouble adjusting to all the school rules and regulations, I think. We have had a busy, exciting summer with a lot of variety and not so much structure, which I suspect we will pay for heavily over the next month. Still, I don't regret not trying to force his square peg mentality into a round hole routine this summer. We had fun, and he'll get enough of the whole "structure" thing when school starts. And now it is 11:58 and I'm done! -- Post From My iPhone

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Last Hurrah

Living on Cape Cod, you get used to the schizoid population growth during the summer. This year, I noticed far more cars on the roads and people in the stores... not to mention number of restaurants we couldn't get into on a Saturday night. It's a good thing for the local economy and it's due to the larger economic woes facing the country, because people aren't flying away to exotic locations. Nope, they are all driving over the bridges to enjoy the beaches and general laid back Cape Cod vibe. It's hard to remember that all these people are on vacation and to remind myself they aren't all visiting with the express intention of clogging up the self-checkout lines at my local Stop & Shop. So, yay! It's Labor Day weekend! I mean, I try to be gracious, but hallelujah! The tourists are almost gone! A couple more days and I'll be able to run up to Target on a Friday without worrying about how long it will take me to get home through all the traffic. Another few weeks, and we'll be able to stroll into any of our favorite restaurants on a Saturday night without a reservation. Nobody packed in next to you at the movie theater, no stores running out of your favorite items. Nope, we'll have the Cape all to ourselves again. (Someone remind me of this post when I'm bitching next February about how there is nothing to do here, okay?)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Home Again, Home Again. Jiggety Jig!

Road trips just suck donkey balls. There is no getting around it - 10 hours each way is ALWAYS going to suck. We decided several years ago that 10 hours in the car spread over two days was easier than 10 hours of airline transit. It takes about the same number of hours to get to my hometown if we drive or if we fly, but the wear and tear on all personnel involved is significantly easier if we drive. Never mind the exorbitant cost savings - if we fly, it's anywhere from $800 to $1200 on average, sometimes way more. Those cheap prices are for the flights that leave Boston or Providence at 6 am, mind you, which would mean leaving the house at 3ish. God, I love living in the middle of fucking nowhere sometimes. If we drive, it's not more than $400, including tolls, hotel, meals, and bribes for the children en route. As attractive as those savings are, however, it's not why we drive. For us, it comes down to playing the autism card. I don't play it a lot but it's out there, and although we try very hard not to live "by the schedule and only the schedule," Peanut's need for regimentation can mean chaos when it is breached too often. We've certainly had our share of awful travel experiences, and I like to keep such episodes to a minimum. I prefer not to scar my children with the typical 70's era "get in the back of the station wagon and drive forever" memories that I myself suffered through, and frankly that isn't even an option with our particular constellation of... ahem - "issues." The indescribable positive is the ability to pull the damn car over whenever we have a problem. Like when your son suddenly develops an OCD tick involving trying to touch his uvula. Or as he explains it: "I can't stop trying to itch my NEBULA!!!" After the 4th or 5th gagging episdode, it is crucial to your mental health to be able to pull over and brainstorm a solution. In our case, it involved (for the scratchy throat) a dosing of the only antihistamine we had - Benadryl - and then alternating many Tic Tacs with copious amounts of sugar free gum, but we eventually made it to our stopping point without any actual pukage. Score! My conversation with my mom later in the evening illuminated a key point that I should have factored in to avoid all the misery we dealt with on the trip: "... so all we had was some Benadryl to give him since we were out of Zyrtec. Now I remember why we avoid giving him Benadryl! He was a lunatic for hours afterwards, not listening, not focusing, crying, whining - just out of control." "Oh, sure. I remember you were exactly the same way! 41 years ago, everyone told us to dose you up with some Benadryl on the flight over to the states when you were 2 and you'd sleep right through it... but you didn't! You were awake the whole time! And craaaaaaaazy!" Good to know, Mom. Good to know.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

'Cause I'm Feeling Like I Need a Kick in the Tush, That's Why.

Yeah, I signed up to do NaBloPoMo for the month of September. I'm going to try to stick with the monthly theme, which is "BEAUTIFUL." I'm not sure why I was making that goofy buck-toof face, but I remember feeling really beautiful that long-ago Christmas morning:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brang Some Extra Crazy Along for the Trip!

We made it to PA this afternoon, the kids and I. It was not the worst trip we've had, not by any stretch of the imagination, but still exhausting. We pulled into the hotel in Syracuse last night, only to realize that we had stayed at the same place a couple years ago. It was the hotel where Pepper had accidentally left one of her precious Webkinz and was crushed when they had no luck finding it and returning it to us. She charged into the lobby ahead of me last night saying, "I'm going to check their Lost and Found!" and I had to break the news to her that her stuffed puppy was long, long gone. Luckily, they had a pool that was open until 10 pm, so she got over the whole "painful memory of loss trauma" pretty quick. Peanut had a few screamy moments in the car, but I continue to be astonished at how adaptable he can be. If it is a new, interesting situation, he is totally intent on exploring it rather than freaking out at the unfamiliarity - something I still can't get over. It is teh awesome. Except when he is fiddling with the fire hose cabinet the second I turn my back to unlock the hotel room. Or unscrewing the knobs from the dresser in the room. Or turning the mini-fridge temperature up so high that I think he broke it. Ahem. So, we made it. We smell of chlorine and road food, but we are here. And I really hope the Comfort Inn doesn't charge us for a new mini-fridge.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Diagnosis? A Raging Case of Summeritis.

It's that time of the year again. It sounds crazy, I know... but my kids are getting sick of summer. "Want to go to the beach?" "We did that yesterday." "Want to help me wash the car?" "It's too hot outside." "Want to turn off the Wii and clean your room?" "It's not fair! You are the meanest mom ever!" "Yes, I AM the Meanest Mom Ever. But how did you know that? Did you paw through my underwear drawer and find my pageant sash?" "You are NOT FUNNY! NOT FUNNY AT ALL!" "Oh, did you miss my "Funniest Mom" award? Oh, that's right - I keep that one boxed up in the basement." "AAAAARRRRGGHHH!" (usually followed by her patented "door-closed-hard-enough-to-express-displeasure-but-not-technically-a-slam" move.) I am looking forward to the start of school. I need more time to concentrate on my personal projects, which have gone absolutely nowhere this summer. I should know better, but I always think I'll be more productive than I turn out to be when summer rolls around. New blog design, Etsy store, review site, fiction writing - none of those things have been finished, between car pooling and friends coming to town and lazy days. I'm not complaining. It has been a fine summer, full of travel and friends and good stuff. I'm just, you know, ready for it to be done now. And it's obvious the kids are, too - all the stuff they were looking forward to in June is now boring and routine. Library, playground, beach, friend's houses, craft projects, sprinkler... heck, there is only so much of that stuff a kid can take! So, yeah. We'll have another week or so at home, with the kids going to a camp in the morning next week. Then we drive to Pennsylvania for our annual summer visit with my family. Then we come home and have another week of holiday picnics and fun, and then they start school, and I can stop torturing them with awful things like... HOMEMADE SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM! (Cue the horrified shrieking, right?)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Do I Wash His Mouth Out with Soap for This One?

Seen this yet? See how the kid at 0:27 says, "I don't have to be asked to take a bath?" Last night, as I was talking to Peanut about his desperate need for a dunking, he got all huffy on me and said, "MOM! I DON'T HAVE TO BE AN ASS TO TAKE A BATH!" Thanks, SpongeBob!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Convergence.

I had an amazing and transformational time last weekend at BlogHer09. Plenty of other bloggers have written far more eloquently about the experience, so I'll just say it was all of that and more. I met many new lovely people and re-connected with folks I'd met last year, and laughed so hard I needed to keep my inhaler handy to regain my equilibrium. All these people in the computer? They don't even know my real name and yet we can talk to each other and laugh and somehow we all just GET each other. In my opinion, it's the single most wonderful thing about BlogHer (and blogging in general), that it gives us so many chances to connect with each other, far beyond what daily life offers. It's meaningful shit, yo. I had a couple Deeply Contemplative Moments while in Chicago, from my heavy duty nostalgia at being back in a city that I love to my gratitude at the relationship I have with my cousin, who was my roomie and wingman during the weekend. I loved getting to know a few people better and participating in the swap meet and listening to the amazing stories featured in the Community Keynote session. I learned last year to listen to my brain when it tells me "ENOUGH!" and skipped out on sessions and parties when I needed to, and honestly? It was all good. The session that has stuck with me the most was the "Blogging Identities" panel, where The Redneck Mommy, The Caffeinatrix aka Izzymom, and Annissa Mayhew discussed their experiences blogging both anonymously and in the public eye. I've been blogging on this particular blog for almost 4 years using a pseudonym and have been pretty hardcore about not telling anyone in my life about my blog. I started telling a few people about it last year, and lately a few more. I left the panel thinking, "Someone is going to out me eventually, and I really need to prepare for that." Here's where the convergence comes in: after that session was over, I headed out to an impromptu special-needs blogger gathering right outside the ballroom, and while I was standing there checking out name tags, I saw a woman who had the same name as someone I went to high school with. I covertly watched her, thinking, "Same jawline - it's her!" and then, "Nah, too young looking - I must be a couple years older than her" and dismissed it... until she said, "Your name isn't Velma...!" I was soooo BUSTED! Actually, it was the loveliest outing possible - someone I actually was friendly with in high school has grown into a woman who, despite our short re-acquaintance, it seems I could still be friends with. We share children with similar issues, and I hope we will reconnect more in the future. I just couldn't get past the timing, though... I walk out of a panel thinking, "Oh, man - as careful as I have been to segregate my dual lives, I'm going to get found out..." and then - BAM! Convergence. Blog life? Meet real life! To top it off, I've been planning to re-vamp this blog into a shiny new one, but all the traveling this summer has made it difficult to get started. I've wanted to expand my platform here to encompass more of the things I do and care about, but I kept thinking, "After BlogHer, I'll figure it all out." I've been having a hard time posting the last few months, and I've wanted to take advantage of more opportunities blogging has offered me, and I've been holding back because of my need to stay anonymous. I attended my first "blogger event" at PBS two days before I left for BlogHer, and while I'm not ready to throw off my Velma identity, I have an awful lot to think through about where this blog is headed. Convergence. Between figuring out where I stand on the Promo-Mom spectrum and Blogging with Integrity and re-opening my Etsy store and twining more of my real life relationships into my on-line world and wondering if I need to go back and sanitize my posts, my brain is bubbling away. It seems as if all these threads are being pulled together, but I'm going to need to go slowly with my weaving so I end up with a fabric rather than a tangled knot.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Miss Chicago. (Not Right Now, Obviously, But in General.)

I'm sitting in my hotel room feeling bombarded by nostalgia. Everywhere I look, even right out my window, are memories. There is the condo building where one of the attorneys I worked with lived, and we used to go to her place and have drinks before going out at night. I can see the movie theater where Dr. V. and I waited in line for hours to see "Star Trek: Generations," like the good little geeks we still are. Golly, I can even see the bridge where our taxi had to pull over one night so one of the members of our party crew could throw up. Lovely. I walked around last night for a while, past my old office building and our apartment, checking out all the changes that have happened in 14 years. It's strange to see what's new and what is still exactly the same. We lived in Chicago for 5 years, moving away only because Dr. V's medical training demanded it. I would have stayed in a heartbeat - in fact, the depressing prospect of leaving triggered a series of therapy sessions for me. Today is when all the BlogHer09 fun starts, although I had a great time last night catching up with lots of on-line friends at one of the hotel bars. This on-line/real life collision is scary, especially when you have to walk into a room alone, but then you start talking to people and it stops being weird. Now I have to decide which old favorite restaurant to have lunch at. Star of Siam? Their pad thai was a favorite lunch back in the day... or maybe I'll go see if the burgers are still awesome at Blackies. Tough choices, huh?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

CabShare @ BlogHer

I had an idea about hooking people up to share cabs at the airports in Chicago at BlogHer next week. No need to spend $50 and be lonely as you travel to the hotel - just print this .jpg out and wave it around like a fool at baggage claim or the taxi stand and watch other attendees flock to your side to share a cab! (You also get the added benefit of meeting a couple other attendees before you even check-in, so you'll have a few familiar faces even if this is your first BlogHer and you don't know anyone.) (Spread the word, if you don't mind.)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

London Rocked.

Our trip was a big success. If you had told me a couple years ago that we would be traveling internationally with a minimum of stress, I would have smiled politely and thought, "Not with these kids, we won't." Peanut was simply incapable dealing with that much change and transition and it wasn't worth the struggle to go anywhere when just getting through a routine day at home was so tough. I won't pretend that this trip was all sweetness and light, because there were a couple rough episodes, the worst of which involved a weeping Peanut repeatedly banging his head on the fiberglass window of the tube train we were squashed into like sardines while I attempted to restrain him. That was pretty ugly, a combination of heat and exhaustion and stress and ASD. All those people trying not to watch us as Peanut screamed for water and then screamed harder after spilling some on his shirt, as I tried to soothe him and keep him restrained while pressed up against strangers. Awful. But we pressed onward, stopped for breaks, got through it. But for each one of those episodes there were entire afternoons of watching the kids discover everything there was to see all around them. Over the course of the week, we visited Big Ben and Parliament, rode a boat tour down the Thames to Greenwich and back, and spent a day at the Science Museum, where the kids were thrilled to find a "Wallace and Grommit" exhibit. We spent another full day at the zoo, complete with a stroll through Regent's Park at the end of the day: We made multiple visits to the British Museum, since it was right near our apartment: At the end of the week, we rode the London Eye and saw the entire city laid out at our feet: As if that weren't enough, we also rode around town on a double decker tour bus, visited London's largest toy store, and managed to cram as much time in with my sister and her family as possible. Pepper astounded me with the kindness and patience she showed with her younger cousins and Peanut is such a little sponge for factual information that he was in heaven with all of the history and dates that filled our days. The place we stayed was terrific - it cost us less than a single hotel room at a nice hotel would have, and we ended up in a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apartment with washer/dryer and kitchen. While the lack of air conditioning was a problem, the location turned out to be perfect for us. There was a children's park a block away, a shopping center 2 blocks away, and the British Museum was only 3 blocks away. In fact, other than the occasional crazy ASD-style meltdown, the only downside of the trip was the heat - it was in the 80's the entire time, which means the non-air-conditioned buses and tube trains were a nightmare. The weather report before we left indicated 70 degrees and breezy, so I never got to wear those cute cardigans I brought. As I've detailed before, I really don't do well in sweaty situations. The only thing that made me feel better about the heat was coming home and finding that the weather on Cape Cod had been wet and cool, including one freaky July hailstorm. Getting back into the swing of things has been tough for all of us, but I always think it takes twice as long as you are away on vacation to get back to normal after you get back. Unfortunately, this means we should be approaching normalcy right around the time I leave for BlogHer, which is going to throw everything out of whack again. (But - YAY! BlogHer!)

Monday, July 06, 2009

I Have Pictures, I Swear!

Except I can't access them, 'cause my husband loaded them all onto our networked external hard drive and now the drive has dropped off our wi-fi network. I supposed I could haul my tired ass alllllll the way upstairs and fumble around with the USB cord and physically connect my laptop to the hard drive... but that seems like a lot of effort right now. Maybe I'll send Pepper upstairs to reboot the computer system up there, after I eat some more leftover potato salad. (And that pretty much tells you all you need to know about the energy level around here. Between my surging hormones and the jet lag, I'm moving extry slow today.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

No Such Thing As Global Warming MY ASS!

Last year we spent this same week in Ireland on vacation, and we needed our fleece pullovers almost every single day. We had a turf fire going in the house almost every night, so much so that I needed my asthma inhaler to deal with the smoke. It felt strange because at home on Cape Cod we had been having a streak of years where the weather went from a rainy 50 to a muggy 80 within days and stayed that way for the rest of the summer. It was so odd to be somewhere more temperate, somewhere we wore fleece in July. This year we are spending the last week of June in London and it is 85 degrees out - but I can say with authority that it feels like 110 in the tube. Maybe even 120, based on the amount of head-sweat I produced. Then again, I am a freaky head-sweater. I packed according to the 10-day forecast I had right before we left, which predicted 70 - 75 degrees and a couple days of rain. I packed rain jackets and lightweight pants and short sleeved shirts, but what I really needed to pack was stuff suitable for a tropical vacation. Who'd have thought I'd be worrying about a sunburn in London? Damn. What threw me off more than anything, though, was that we had finally been having a fabulous spring-into-summer season on the Cape - it has been the first year in memory that we haven't tripped directly from rainy spring into full-blown summer. We've had weeks of "Ish" weather, as in "60-ish" and "gorge-ish." You bring a cardigan with you everywhere, and you are good to go, and it has been lovely. So, here I am, in London. Sweaty, hot, and at times fairly miserable, but there is also good stuff to talk about. Spending time with my sister tops everything. Just letting the kids hang out, playing and fighting and just being in their house and catching up, has been the highlight for me. Sure, the park at the end of the block has become a godsend in this weather, complete with ice cream truck. The nice people we are renting from have supplied us with a super-duper fan, and the prepared food at the local supermarket is totally kick-ass. But it all comes down to spending time with family. Dr. V and my bro-in-law went out to the local pub on Saturday night, leaving my sister and I to deal with the kids and chill out. We got to have a bro-in-law love-in AND my sis and I were reassured that our freaky kids aren't all that freaky given the shared genetics we witnessed. :) We are all going to meet up and ride the London Eye, which will be awesome... although I think I need to check and see whether those pods are air conditioned. On our own, we have been to the Science Museum, and seen lots of bus tour "sights," and traipsed around the city, and we will do more of the tourist stuff. After a few days here, though, it's obvious that it all comes down to picking the right restaurant for 8 of us to keep 4 crazy loud children happy while 4 parents get to catch up and just... hang.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I See London, I See France...

... and now I'm trying to think of something funny to write about underwear. Maybe it will come to me. We are in London. Actually, I am typing this from the sunny back room of my sister's house a bit out from the city. We arrived on Thursday night after a loooooong flight. The plane had a "maintenance issue" that had to be resolved, so that added an hour of "when are we taking off?" to the 6+ hour flight. Fun! (Plus? I scored 100 bonus super sparkly fabulous anxiety points by starting a vacation with that old favorite, "Potential Death by Plane Crash Due to a Maintenance Problem.") The flight was long, and while it was a lot of work keeping Peanut happy and occupied on the plane, it was easier than the overnight flight to Ireland last summer when he was crazy psycho tired. When we arrived, we didn't know if the cab we had arranged would still be there, and it finally felt like vacation to me when we walked out and saw a man with my name on a sign waiting for us to take us to the hotel. I'm actually not sure what to call the place we are staying. It's not a hotel, per se - it's a "short stay rental." And it is AWESOME. I'll link to the company but not the actual property we are staying at for now, and all I have to say is that we are never staying in a hotel again if there is one of these places where we are going. We have 2 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a fully equipped kitchen. We are right in town, a few blocks from a huge supermarket and a block away from an awesome park with multiple playgrounds for the kids. I've actually got to go now, to do fun things with the family, but we made it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Sweet Little Goth

"Mom, I want to be goth." "Goth? What do you mean?" "You know, like black clothes and scary makeup." "Dude. You're six. You can't be goth." "When can I be goth?" "When you are older." "Like a teenager?" "Yes. When you are a teenager, you can be goth." ......................... An hour later, he comes out of my room with brick red lipstick smeared around his mouth, complete with fake blood drips down his chin, asking if he can use my eyeliner to make fake stitches on his arm. We discuss everything that is wrong with this scenario, from rooting around in my makeup without permission to why he wants to look so scary. ......................... As I am tucking him into bed, he asks, "When I'm a teenager and I am goth, how old will I be?" "Eighteen, honey. That's a good age to be goth." 10 hugs, 10 kisses. I nuzzle his neck, smooth his hair, run my hand down his back. Barely 3 1/2 feet tall, 44 pounds. He's so little, and yet he's so... MUCH. As I move to the door, he mumbles, "I think I'll be goth when I'm 13. THAT'S when you turn to a teenager." I whisper, "How about 16? You can be goth when you are 16." The last thing I hear as I shut the door is, "How about 14? That's a good compromise." Nothing like a little late-night negotiating of future alternative lifestyles, huh? (We settled on 15.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Get Ready for the Cute Overload...

Oh, yeah. I'm bringin' it, baby! (And as if the entire performance isn't friggin' adorable, check out my kid near the end singing "... and I think to myself, what a wonderful world," and then mugging at the videocam. My kid RULES THE CUTE.)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Oh, My Poor Ears

Just a few minutes and I'm off to Pepper's school music program, to see the 3rd & 4th grades play their recorders and sing. I have very, very, very low expectations about this little event based on things Pepper has told me. My sneaking suspicion is that it's going to be... pathetic. Here's why: Pepper came home and told me,"Mrs. Music Teacher yelled at us because only two kids in the entire 3rd grade knew how to play all the songs." This was last week, by the way. Do any recorders or music ever come home with the kids to practice? Nope. How often do they have music? Once a week, for an hour. How much of that hour is spent practicing the recorder? 15 minutes. I repeat, do any of the recorders or or even sheet music ever come home with the kids? NO. I asked Pepper how many songs they were supposed to perform, and she said, "I think it was supposed to be six." Then I asked her how many the entire group actually knew, and she said, "One. It's the easiest one, 'Hot Cross Buns.'" Thinking to myself, "WTF Mrs. Music Teacher?!? Have you not had all freaking year to teach them something - anything - and NONE of them know how to perform your selections?" I asked Pepper what the teacher was going to do if no one knew how to play the songs, and she said the teacher decided to give the two kids who did know how to play the other songs solos. So, wish me well - I'm off to watch the entire 3rd grade mangle "Hot Cross Buns" and then listen to two musically able children play every other selection while the other 56 kids shift and mutter in boredom. Fun!

Friday, June 05, 2009

COUGH. No, Really - I'm Fine! COUGH!

I finally got in to see the nurse practitioner, who put me on a steroid regimen. This is excellent timing, as I have a lot to do before school lets out in two weeks and steroids are sooooo much easier on my stomach than copious cups of coffee. Less fattening, too. I am enjoying the beautiful early summer weather more than I have for years. One part of it is that Peanut's allergies seem to have settled down after a rough start to the season a month ago. He is still itchy-eyed and a little crabby, but the general mucous threat level is hovering at yellow. Another part of the outdoor enjoyment is that a friend and I have managed to cobble together a walking routine, whether it be once or twice or more (<-- optimism) times a week. It's been really nice to enjoy the sun and I barely noticing I'm exercising since I'm so busy yapping with my friend. But really, I think the biggest part of this outdoors appreciation is thanks to last year's bug-fest. I'm just happy to go outside without being swarmed by cicadas launching themselves into my face, and whoa! The lack of noise! Unlike last year, it's actually quiet out, for the most part. Well, the woodpeckers are back, and I know in the past I've given them a bad rap. While I'm not thrilled when they decide to pound on on the gutters at 6:30 a.m. to announce that all the ladies love their sugar lumps, after the constant mind-numbing cicada song last year, a few rat-a-tat-tats aren't so bad. Plus, I get a little charge out of going outside and yelling at them and watching them fly away in fear of my wrath. It's not often I get to strike fear into any type of creature's heart. (Not that I've got power issues or anything.) As usual with my random writing and editing style, I'm not exactly sure how this post morphed from chronic coughing to my need to dominate woodland creatures, when what I was planning to write about was all the fun autistic spectrum behavior we've been attempting to manage lately. In combination with the cough that won't quit, dealing with all sorts of new fun stuff with Peanut has been keeping me firmly in the real world instead of spending time online. But honestly - I'm so sick of it in my daily life, the last thing I want to do is sit here and write about it right now. Autism, schmautism - I've had my fill over the last few weeks, with the IEPs and the school meetings and the new coping strategies and the bad behavior reports from school and the general pissiness of my ASD child BOTH of my children as school winds down for the year. It makes my brain hurt when I think about it all. The woodpeckers are quiet right now, but we've got a shitload of nature behind the house. I should probably go find a squirrel or something to scream at, huh? Oh, wait - that reminds me of one of my old favorites: Rick's Custom Squirrels! I'll just make sure not to yell one of this little guy's buddies: (Don't you just love the cigarette?)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sitting in the Doctor's Office

... and wondering why I always have to wait when I AM THE ONLY ONE HERE?!? Hopefully Pepper will get off my back about this cough now. Harumph.


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

T-Minus Three Weeks...

Am I the only parent out there panicking at the thought of summer vacation? Every year around this time, I start hearing all these other parents talk about how they can "hardly wait" for summer vacation and I just nod and smile and think to myself, "YOU ARE DERANGED, happy-for-school-to-let-out person." It's kind of twisted, because my innate nature is to hate routines and schedules and regimentation of any sort. You would think I would LOVE summer, right? I don't though, because it's when I most need to step up my parenting game. The kids still need a routine and instead of the demands of the school days dictating what we need to do, it's all up to me. And that's hard for a day-dreamy, need-my-alone-time type, yo. Over the years, I've come to realize that my parenting style is best (or at least most kindly) described as "flexible." I would even go so far as to state that I am the Anti-Kate (Gosselin, of course - gotta stay topical, right?) It's just the way it is for us - take a mom who is easily distracted and needs peace and quiet to think about anything deeper than a shopping list. Add in the super emotional, needy-but-knows-it-all tween plus a child on the autistic spectrum plus a wonderful-but-not-around much dad, and you know - skipping the vitamins for a day isn't going to kill them. Wearing a paint splattered t-shirt isn't going to kill them either, even if I'm the only one who knows it's clean. Eating pizza two nights in a row? Not deadly. Not combing the hair if we aren't going anywhere? Stepping over toys for two days instead of cleaning it up for them? Hours of "screen" time? Not ideal, but when the schedule is tight, you do what you can do and shrug off the rest. For me, the arrival of months of unscheduled summer days means the arrival of a new load of guilt that I'm not doing all this parenting stuff a little better. However, the deal breaker for me on summer vacation is the loss of solitude. During the school year, I love getting the kids out the door and then having a huge chunk of time to myself. Sure, a lot of that time is spent in mundane tasks, but the freedom to do whatever *I* decide to do is glorious. Summer steals that away from me - there is always someone here, needing something from me, and even when I have a babysitter come... well, they are all still here, aren't they? There is still the possibility that Mommy will need to be consulted if some big issue comes up. If I'm nearby, it feels like I'm still on the clock. Let's face it - babysitter or not, I can still hear them screaming about who gets the yellow chalk, and that means I'm thinking about buying more chalk and wishing they would pipe down instead of writing a good blog post that will be personally fulfilling in a way that yelling at my children about fighting over chalk is not. (Plus, I would have more time to edit myself, instead of having to go settle the Great Chalk Dispute of Aught Nine.) (As an example, I mean.)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

That Time of the (School) Year Again...

Ah, May! This is the month that spring truly arrives here on Cape Cod, when the socks and parkas get packed away for good and we start to trust the warmth and sun. The pollen counts rise and our noses start to run freely in the breeze, and the wasps begin to sneak into the family room through the as-yet-undiscovered access point in our attic, and the lawn starts looking like a rather scraggly meadow and yet the rain prevents us from mowing it down to an acceptable suburban height... God, I make it sound so pleasant, don't I? Ah, well - all of those things are happening, and so too is the end of the school year coming, which means it is also time for Peanut's annual IEP (Eye-YEEP!) meeting to plan for next year. I had a very positive meeting with his speech therapist last week and went over some of the progress he's made this year. I've spoken to his teacher about the re-organization of the school district and what his classroom structure will likely look like next year. Everybody has good intentions, but the closing of 3 elementary schools in the district means that the upheaval is tremendous. We know which school he will be attending, but our hopes for a fully integrated co-teaching classroom like the one he's had this year are slim. His teacher has been told that she will be spread through the new school as a K-2 "Autistic Integration Teacher" instead of being permanently assigned to a single classroom as a full-time co-teacher, which is disappointing. I've been doing a lot of reading about his particular issues, and coping strategies, and enrichment activities and blah blah blah OH MY GOD my brains feel like they are leaking out of my head. This parenting stuff is HARD, yo! I've definitely been stressed out, physically from being so sick for so long and mentally from trying to figure out what to advocate for my kids for next year. One of the things I've done over the past few months is participating in a "Parents of Gifted Children" discussion group, which has been very helpful in giving me some perspective on both of my kids' behavior. It has also been an interesting window into my own childhood, and I have definitely picked up some tips about keeping the kids busy and positive. In fact, the only negative part of it has been the occasional social awkwardness when I try to snatch a few moments to catch up on the required reading and someone innocently asks what I'm reading and I am caught red-handed with my dork-a-liscious "Handbook for Parents of Gifted Children" book. They are so different, and over and over again I really have to find different strategies for each of them. One of the interesting things all of this reading and planning has uncovered for me is a new understanding of what exactly is going on with Peanut... and of course, there is a chapter in the "handbook" about "twice-exceptional" children. The short version of Peanut's issues is "not Asperger's Syndrome but PDD-NOS/Hyperlexia and Gifted," all of which sounds incredibly confusing for anyone reading this who isn't interested in autistic spectrum disporders! I may write up a long version in some future blog entry, but the important thing is that this new understanding of his issues has led me to some basic changes in how I communicate with him, like writing down instructions for him on a piece of paper instead of just telling him something verbally. I gave him a piece of paper to take to school with a saying written on it to help him remember not to rush and push to be first in everything, and it really helped him focus. The meeting with the speech therapist was amazing - she was just full of wonderful things to say about him, including the progress he's made this year. An example is that one of our goals from last years IEP was to improve his narrative abilities in conversation. When she recently retested him, she said a "normal" score would be between 7 and 13... and he scored 17. And in another test she gave him, one that she's given to hundreds of kids, he scored the highest of any kid she's ever tested. Obviously, I'm thrilled to hear that kind of thing - it makes me feel all floaty and teary-eyed even when I think of it. I think we are in good shape for next year. With all of this preparation, I think the hardest part of the IEP meeting will be finding a time that Dr. V. can attend it with me, and I'm looking forward to some of the transition activities the schools are holding soon to get the kids used to the new schools. All I have to do now is worry about how I'm going to keep them busy and happy all summer, right?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Getting Better. COUGH. No, Really - I'm Fine! COUGH!

So... COUGH COUGH I'm really feeling a lot better these days. COUGH COUGH COUGH. I'm dressed and showered and out of bed and I'm COUGH COUGH almost able to COUGH COUGH COUGH have a conversation without COUGH coughing! Isn't that COUGH COUGH COUGH HACK COUGH HACK HACK COUGH great? I even went to a COUGH COUGH meeting with Peanut's Speech Therapist and only got offered a COUGH COUGH cough drop 3 times! This is the first time I've ever gone through an entire prescription of Tussinex. I'm still coughing, but I refuse to spend more than 2 weeks of my life doped up like that, so I'm off the narcotic cough syrup and still sleeping upright on the couch and taking two inhalers and slowly getting better. I'm not THAT sick, I'm just sick in a way that is annoying to be around and annoying to experience, and I've been that way for 19 days. Not that I'm counting or anything. (Actually, I am. I'm totally counting so I can moan about how damn sick I am. My cough has now devolved into a totally non-productive yet HIGHLY annoying dryish hack that just won't stop. And sometimes I still cough so hard it makes me gag. C'mon - admit it... you SO want to invite me over, don't you?) And the saddest thing is that the above pretty much sums up the last several weeks of my life... weeks that I will never COUGH COUGH get back. I have been crazy bad about getting online, mostly because I've been napping instead. But I have high hopes for the next few weeks, so here's to spring and the COUGH COUGH COUGH return to some semblance of normalcy in my life!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Kind of Souvenir You Don't Want to Bring Home From Vacation.

I'm really, really sick. And no, before you ask, I don't think it's swine flu. I don't know if I picked it up on the cruise or if Peanut already had it when we left for vacation, because he was coughing badly before we left, but I don't have the fever/body aches that would make me worry about becoming a swine flu statistic. I am, however, still coughing after taking two different types of prescription cough medication. I'm barely awake, since both of them are narcotics, but yup - still coughing. Coughing for this many days means my ribs are sore and I'm frantically emptying my bladder as often as possible so I don't pee myself a little when I have a coughing fit. So, you know, BIG fun. And yes, I don't have a fever, but my throat is sore, my sinuses are blocked, and my lymph nodes are popping out of my neck like Frankenstein's bolts. It's a good look for me, goes well with the faded tan that no one has seen and the slow lurching movements, courtesy of the cough syrup. To top it all off, my eyes started dripping with goo a few hours ago. I figure my eyelids will be glued shut tomorrow morning, which should be fun. Figured I'd stick a quick post up, share my misery, and sigh off teh innernets for the rest of the week. Sorry if I owe you an e-mail, haven't replied to your comment, or am waaaay behind in my editing obligations. I'll be back when my body stops dripping with gooey secretions from multiple orifices.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Vacation is Exhausting

Did you know you have to pay a $25,000 fine if you shoot a walrus? And that George Washington's teeth were made from donkey and cow teeth!? When can we go back to the pool? Are there any people who are really invincible? Why can't we go to the pool? Where is Jesus buried? Can we Google it? Why is that man's skin so red? Will a manatee pop out of the water and bite me? Did you know that Paul Revere was the first mayor in Boston? Why does your skin get all wrinkley when you get old? Why can't we go to the pool now? Is that guy really Captain Jack? Does your skin slide off when you die? Why don't Pull-Ups have a siren that would start ringing if you peed in one? Is that seagull going to hurt me? Where does the wind go when it blows past you? Do planes crash with people inside them? What happens to the people? Wouldn't it be awesome if planes had pools inside? Is today Tuesday or Thursday? Wouldn't it be weird if everyone was born in 1985? (In case you were wondering, I'm ready for the kids to go back to school now.) -- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

This Week Sucks. (Yes, I Also Suck, Primarily at Thinking Up Post Titles.)

The heavy-duty crap shooters seem to be working overtime these days. I'm lucky that my personal crap has obviously been just that: crap, not tragedy or crisis or heartbreak. Just crap. Family crap, life crap, and kid crap, in a variety of types. I'm definitely up for some smash therapy tomorrow, so if you see a middle aged woman slamming the shit out of some poor defenseless shopping carts in a parking lot corral somewhere, it's me. In fact, rather than bitch about the bordering-on-funny-it's-so-bad crap, I'm picking a little one at random. Here we go! Welcome to today's edition of "Ridiculous Crap Pain-In-The-Ass Moments of the Week." Ridiculous Crap PITA Moment #16: I just realized that I dropped off my car yesterday to have a big multi-day repair done and forgot to empty the little trashcan I keep wedged under the gearshift. Why is this a problem? Because on Sunday, when we were returning from my in-laws after Easter dinner, Peanut had a hissy fit about 15 minutes from home because he couldn't hold it anymore. We pulled off the highway for a minute and used one of these porta-potty bags, which I tied up and tucked into the trashcan and promptly forgot about. So, yes - tomorrow, when I pick up my car, there will be a 4-day old bag of urine waiting for me.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Heartsick

Today I learned of the death of a beautiful little girl. One of my fellow Blog Nosh editors is Heather Spohr, who has chronicled her difficult pregnancy and life with her husband and darling premature daughter on her blog The Spohrs Are Multiplying. Madeline Alice Spohr passed away yesterday, sometime after Heather tweeted from the hospital, "They are going to intubate her. I'm freaking out." I rarely pray, because I'm not sure who I'm praying to, but sometimes when things get scary I fall back onto my Catholic upbringing and find myself repeating the Lord's Prayer over and over, just sending it out there in case it might help. I did it the morning of 9/11/01, I did it when my dad was in surgery, and I found myself doing it last night after reading that tweet. The terrible news about Maddie stopped me in my tracks this morning. I forget after 9 years that Pepper was a preemie, too - 6 weeks early - and so I made my way over to Maddie's March of Dimes page to make a donation. I urge anyone who reads this to do the same. I realized I hadn't posted anything in a week, and while looking for something to post, I found a draft I started last month titled "Heartsore" about all the ways I am worried for my daughter. She and I have been having a difficult time lately. She is grumpy and whiny and ungrateful and I am often at a loss how to deal with all of these negative emotions. As you might expect, re-reading it after learning of Maddie's death flipped my perspective. I have a beautiful 9 year old girl, smart as a whip and full of neurosis and overflowing with emotions, and I am so grateful. So lucky. And that is what I will tell her tonight when she starts yelling at the computer or whining about bedtime or making faces at the dinner I have prepared for her. I'm going to tell her, "I'm so lucky to have you." She'll probably think I'm teasing her at first, but I won't be, and by the time she falls asleep tonight, I'm going to make sure she understands how much I mean it. Tomorrow morning, I'll wake her up for school and she will groan at me and whine about brushing her hair. It will all start all over again, the crying and the lecturing and the love and the anger, and it is difficult to put into word how grateful I am for that.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Happy April Fools' Day!

This was the first year the kids had any interest in planning some pranks for April Fools' Day, and the person they most wanted to prank was their dad. I took them to the store after school yesterday, where they chose a pair of ridiculous looking (and extremely tight) underwear and picked out the ugliest $7 tie they could find: The plan was to wait until Dr. V. set out his clothes for today and then hide all of his underwear and ties, leaving only the newly purchased replacements for him to wear. Oh, and we also squirted toothpaste behind the handle of the shower door. This morning, the kids started giggling as soon as they heard him start up the shower, and by the time he came out of the bedroom I seriously thought they were going to wet themselves. He played along and pretended to be very confused about his sticky fingers and newly tight underwear, but the hilarity truly peaked when the kids heard him bellowing from the garage, "Call the police! Someone vandalized my car! It's the most horrible thing I've ever seen!" It was all very cute. I'm sure I won't feel like this once the kids are Teenaged Mutant Ninja Liars, but right now it is freakin' adorable when they try to cover up stuff like this. They are really, really, REALLY shite at keeping secrets, so Dr. V. and I often have to pretend that we are dumber than a bag of hammers. (Pause... why yes, that WAS nice of me to give you this moment to insert your very own smart ass thoughts right here!) Last night, though, it was all up to Dr. V. to pretend stupidity. Pepper kept making excuses for why we were out in the garage, like "Mom had a really interesting... uhm... SHOEBOX she wanted us to look at in the garage." She must have made about 57 excuses for what we were up to, each as believable as the next. Meaning "not at all believable." And Peanut? Well, he just waited until bedtime, when he snuggled up to his dad for a hug and kiss and said, "Goodnight, Dad. We TOTALLY didn't put Yankees magnets all over your car."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Homophones

I pulled an index card out of Pepper's backpack yesterday, and on it she had scrawled: The bear saw me bare. The horse sounds very hoarse. That man is bolder than a boulder. Why is that person roaming Rome? I took a nap with my knapsack. I put a stake in my steak. This suite is so SWEET! My nose knows that there is a stake in a steak nearby. At bedtime, Pep and I began to plan a homophone vacation to Rome where we would stay in a SWEET suite with our knapsacks and eat steak, and try to work all the other homophones into our vacation itinerary. It sounds like a kick-ass vacation to me, except for those pervy bears. We'll have to make sure the curtains in the suite are properly closed, I guess.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy "Mommy's Turn with the Wii" Day!

Friday night the kids ceremoniously presented us with a big chunk of money they had saved up, so we went out and bought a Wii on Saturday morning. We told them at the beginning of the year that if they wanted a Wii, they would have to save up a reasonable amount of money (half the cost) and we would pay the other half. I am now officially the least interesting thing happening in the house. Three cheers for the Wii! The tally for last week was 1 surgical procedure, 2 evening meetings plus 1 night out to dinner with a friend, 3 various medical, dental or personal grooming appointments, 6 hours of volunteer work, and approximately 47 conversations about Peanut's latest obsession, cemeteries. I also discovered that my children have decided that "hell" is a swear word and now they call the devil's playground "anti-heaven." Needless to say, we had a quiet and relaxing weekend, since I barely saw the kids for 2 days. This week is busy, too, but not AS busy. This week is more of a "busy enough to keep me showered and dressed nicely" week instead of a "busy enough to break out the Ativan so I can sleep at night 'cause my brain don't want to shut down" week like I just had. Today, I spent my kid-free morning playing the Wii and Wii Fit by myself, and it was fun. It is supremely satisfying to KO the opponent dude in the Wii Sports Boxing game, especially when using my true-to-life measurements Mii avatar. That's right - little short fat middle-aged woman is kickin' your ass, boxing dude! The kids have also been having fun with the Flip video camera. Unfortunately, most of the clips look like this one that Peanut shot while spinning in a circle in the living room. You can hear me warning him that if he falls over with the Flip, he is done playing with it. I don't even know why I told him that, because he NEVER gets dizzy. He can spin and spin and spin for minutes at a time and while it is a tad nausea inducing to watch him, it practically made me car-sick to experience it from his perspective:

Monday, March 16, 2009

We'll Do It Again Next Year, Only Better.

So, the BSAICBA is over for the year. We went to the tournament, did our thing, and now we are done. I'm proud of the kids and what they accomplished, and very frustrated with myself that I didn't leave them enough time to embellish and polish their work, and am chalking the whole thing up to being a huge learning experience. Mind you, I was in tears myself after the whole thing was over, fretting that I had failed the team, but I also learned a ton from participating for the first time. It was totally heartbreaking at the end of the day to see my kids drift off with their parents, tears in their eyes. Two days later, I'm still feeling bad and guilty that I didn't guide my kids better this year, but as usual, Dr. V.'s even shittier day has put my failure into perspective. That morning, while I was organizing the kids and giving them pep talks, he was in a hospital room lending support to a family friend as she authorized the hospital to terminate the life support on her brother. The family had made the decision the night before, and the rest of the relatives are out of the country, so he offered to go up there and be with her when they turned everything off. So I will do a much better job next year, and thus the kids will hopefully do better. Dr. V. will continue to do quietly heroic things for others, and I will brag about him here because it's the only place I can talk about it. I will continue to fret about the big and small things that make me feel like a failure, but then the sun will shine and I will go for a walk in it to shake off the sadness. Which is what I'm going to go do right now.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I Can See The End Of This Long Road But I'm Not There Yet.

That is my new mantra. After this upcoming weekend, the Big Secret Activity That I Can't Blog About will be over for the year and I will be a free woman. No longer will I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, "Wow! A lambswool dusting tool would make an excellent tail for that costume!" (I swear to God, that was the actual dream that woke me up at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning, and the most frustrating thing is that I can't say ANYTHING - not a single word - to the kids about my awesome creative dream ideas.) In other news, there is not much to tell. Pepper is doing her usual cut-rate Sybil routine, which starts with being sweet, then cycles through anxiety ("What if a coyote bites me??!") and pissiness and total brattitude, and then shows up after 10 minutes in her room back in sweet mode. She's 9, for crying out loud, and I can't believe how often we are knocking heads already. It's exhausting and brings out the worst in me and makes me sad. Peanut has decided that he loooooooves being tickled again, and I have spent more time rolling around on the floor with him this week than I have since he was 3. He seems to be in one of those transition stages of development where they are still babies and scarily mature at the same time. He has discovered Calvin & Hobbes, and as he was reading the first one, I said, "Do you understand that Hobbes is Calvin's stuffed tiger, and so whenever you see Hobbes as a real tiger you are in Calvin's imagination?" He looked up and said, "Oooooh, that makes more sense!" and then proceeded to plow through 3 huge anthologies over the last 10 days. 50% of the time he is throwing toys and crying like a frustrated toddler and then the other 50% of the time I find him doing something like... quantum physics. I actually went to check on him at one point last week and found him yapping to himself about the theory of relativity, which he'd apparently absorbed watching tv with Daddy. Lest you get the wrong idea and are thinking you've heard enough about my pwecious wittle genius, I'm offering full disclosure here: this conversation took place while he was naked from the waist down and wearing a giant Mickey Mouse glove on one hand, trying futilely to hold his toys in the giant hand and getting progressively more frustrated. I was like, "DUDE! Put the toys in the other hand, or take off the glove!" and he kept trying and crying and trying and crying again. And then, later? I totally caught him eating a booger, so I'm under no illusions - he's a work in progress. (Just like the rest of us, right?) I just had to update this because after I reread what I'd written, I realized that I kind of made it sound like I was also a work in progress because I eat boogers. Which I don't. Just so we are clear on that point.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A Little Random Tonight, Are We?

Peanut nearly killed me with the adorable tonight. He kept yammering on about his class visit to the fire station last fall. I don't know what prompted the re-telling of the walk to the fire station or the description of the fire station, but the pay-off for tuning him out as he rattled on and on and on about all that was his narration of what happened once the kids were crammed into the paramedic truck. 10 minutes of brain-damaging repetitive prattle, and 30 seconds of AWESOME. At the end of his extensive story of the field trip, he described for us how they "hooked up (one of his friends) to a machine. Then he said, "It showed us..." and stopped and made a heart monitor flat line/up and down/flat line heart beat motion with his finger. "It showed us his HARD DRIVE." _____________ You know what? I'm getting sick and tired of all the lovely-dovey family crap on this website. So, in other news: What are your chances of getting a tapeworm? Update: In my defense, I should mention that I often eat beef carpacio and have visited developing countries. You don't need to worry about my personal or household cleanliness... I hope.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Little Future Hot Dog Entreprenuer

A recent Kindergarden writing prompt exercise that came home in Peanut's backpack: "If I had a hot dog stand... and I sold all my hot dogs I would spend all of my money on toys. I would go to Toys R Us. I would buy Legos. I would also buy a dino figure. I like toys." My child is turning into an excellent reader and writer. Also? Apparently, he likes toys.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mah Baby! She's Gittin' So BIG!

I went archive trolling to try and round up a little post in honor of Pepper's 9th birthday this week. I thought I'd just mosey on over here and link to a couple of previous birthday posts about my girl and ta da! Lazysucky Blogger gets all caught up! Except it turns out there weren't too many bloggy birthday posts about my darling girl. There were several posts where I mentioned I was working on a birthday post about her, but I never did get around to posting a true retrospective of my girl. I'll spare you the light bulb moment and tell you this: I consciously stopped posting lots of details about her a year or two ago, and I kept putting off posting about her. She's turning out to be a person who desperately cares about, oh everything, and I figured I'd better leave her daily goings on less defined. Obviously, I have still posted about the big things she has gone through that have affected our whole family, but I've left a lot out. In fact, I've left so much out that when I look back on what I have posted about her much of it seems negative, when in fact she is mostly a joy. She is so damn smart, and funny, and creative, and even though I'm clearly biased I think she's absolutely gorgeous:
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And now I'm all weepy, dammit.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank God I'm Not A Duggar

I've started writing about 4 heartfelt posts about all the different things that are going on in my life lately. I want to share Pepper's 9th birthday, and my family health crises, and the wonderful childless 24 hours Dr. V. and I shared last weekend. The Big Secret Activity That I Can't Blog About is in full swing, however, and that means seven 3rd graders at my house multiple times a week, with me as their only guide. I have a new respect for those Duggar people right about now. I'm only dealing with lots of extra kids about 5 hours a week, and despite her curling-iron winged hair and mysterious and/or obligatory sexual attraction to her husband, Michelle Duggar is obviously in far more control of her life than I these days. Then again, my parole is mid-March, when the regional competition will (hopefully) eliminate us from progressing further... and Michelle Duggar is stuck with that many kids for life. Is it wrong to be immensely cheered by that thought?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gotta Keep Her Busy

One thing that has become glaringly apparent over the last few days is that Pepper's anxiety level skyrockets when she is bored. I suspect she is laying it on quite thick for my benefit, but the moaning and sobbing get to me all the same. Time flew at the holidays, thanks to the anticipation of Christmas followed by the time in PA with the cousins, and the general air of cheer and goodwill seemed to mellow her out quite a bit. We are four days into the school vacation, and she's been moaning about her stomach hurting for, uhm... hey! How 'bout that? 4 days! She's been checked out by the doctors, she's been counseled by the therapist, she's on Prilosec, her diet hasn't changed, but you'd think she was dying from the way she's acting. Which of course makes me crazy, because I wobble between "Cut that shit out!" and thinking, "Oh my GOD! What if everyone is missing something and she IS DYING?!?!" Thank God I upped my meds. On the plus side, my best friend is coming down for a visit with her daughter, so that should give my girl something new and fun to do. And although you know I love you, internet buddies, I need someone who knows me well to bitch to in person now and then and reassure me that I'm not screwing up my kids too badly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

February Vacation

Unlike previous years, we are not basking in the sun and picking sand out of delicate parts of our anatomy this week. We are having a "staycation" instead, and I know you'll be shocked when I tell you that so far? It is not nearly as fun as reading trashy novels as the warm breeze caresses my palid skin. On the bright side, it's a lot cheaper. I also didn't have to spend a week packing up the family. Oooh - another big plus: no flying involved. Wow - I think I'm starting to talk myself into enjoying this week. Lord knows I've got plenty of trashy reading material lying around the house, so maybe with a little creative visualization I can recapture the feeling of balmy weather and relaxation. Maybe a glass of lemonade and a sunny spot on the hardwood floor? I haven't swept up all weekend, so there should be plenty of grit on the floor to simulate the sand. We do have a few fun things planned for the week. Some playdates, and friends coming to visit, and then Dr. V. and I are planning a overnight getaway in Boston this weekend while the kids stay with the in-laws. It's been a long time since we've done that, and I'm kind of at a loss as to what we should do on Saturday night. (Besides the hotel sex, I mean. Heh.) I've noticed this winter that I feel less inclined to go out and do things. Not in an anti-social way at all, more than I'm extraordinarily content to stay home. Maybe it's the medication, but I think a bigger part is that the kids are so much easier to be around. In previous years, when we would plan a date or a night away from the kids, it was to escape them. It's different now, and when I read blog posts written by moms with much younger children, it brings it all back. How HARD it was, how exhausting and demoralizing, and how right now it's... not. ____________________ (Or perhaps I spoke too soon, as there is blood curdling screaming coming from the family room. Ta!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

5 Things About My Week

1. We are heavily into the Big Secret Activity I Can't Blog About right now. It's pretty damn exhausting, but I can't blog about it. Which is too bad, since it is taking up an extraordinary amount of my time and attention, but I can't blog about it. 2. I've decided I have to buy myself a Flip video camera. There are too many golden moments passing me by these days, especially with Peanut, who is a one man comedy show. My favorite new tic (maybe I should start a feature called "Tic of the Week?") is that he has started clearing his throat and singing "Mi mi mi mi MI!" at the beginnning of any sort of statement. "Mom, I need to tell you something." "Yes?" "I'd like... (ahem, mi mi mi mi MI) I'd like to have cold pizza for dinner." or "Did you know that - (throat clearing) mi mi mi mi mi - did you know that the Incredible Hulk would be able to lift this house?" 3. We booked a Disney cruise for April vacation. Shoot me now, please. 4. I'm back up 2 lbs., thanks to the evils of wine and steak. Delicious, juicy grapes and cows. Mmmmmmm. 5. Pepper is going to be 9 in a few short weeks, and I'm more freaked out about that than I expected. I've been dreaming about her as a baby a LOT lately (when I'm not having naughty dreams about bad boys) and I'm convinced that it is the prospect of Dr. V's upcoming "outpatient procedure" that is making me a little baby crazy. We are going with the old family tradition of telling the kids that Daddy is having a root canal and will need lots of rest for a day or two. With bags of frozen peas in his lap, to ease the discomfort of the... root canal.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I Am ALWAYS Right. It's a Burden, Really.

You know how when you find something awesome, you want to share it? And you try to get the people you love into it because you know they'll love it too? But sometimes they resist you, and resist you, and they give you that "whatEVER" attitude? So after months of suggesting that they might really like it, you give up. Time passes, and then suddenly... they GET it? They finally watch or listen or read whatever it was that you wanted them to experience, and by then you are kind of "meh" about it? Yeah, so Dr. V. has discovered "Flight of the Conchords" this month. He actually woke me up at 1 a.m. with his uncontrollable laughter over the weekend, and I was pissed. Pissed that he didn't listen to me a year ago, pissed that he has consistently refused to watch the DVD I bought, and pissed that I was right - AGAIN - and awake in the middle of the night. Because really, hearing "You were right, honey - these guys are hilarious!" isn't nearly as satisfying at 1 a.m. when you've been woken from a dream involving Christian Bale cursing you out while licking honey off your belly. Ahem.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A Cozy Kind of Day

Big snowstorm. Plenty of groceries. Clean house. Laundry done over the weekend. No urgent errands to run. Best of all? It's NOT a snow day for the kids! We all know how I feel about being alone in my house for a big chunk of time, right? Here's a hint: I FRICK FRAKKIN' LOVE IT! I've been having a good spell lately. I made the decision to return to the full dose of my anti-depressant a couple weeks ago, and I feel really good these days. Really good. Like, dieting-and-exercising-and-cleaning-and-organizing good. Not manic, but productive. Looky! I finished the afghan I've been working on for two years: Several times in the last few weeks, Dr. V. has come home from worked and asked, "Did the cleaners come today?" This makes me laugh and laugh... because the answer is NO! *I* cleaned the house! HAH! See, I'm laughing again right now at the mere thought of it, and yet! Clean! The weirdest thing I have noticed is that my desire for food is markedly less. I take Wellbutrin, which in addition to being an anti-depressant is used as a anti-smoking medication due to it's ability to reduce cravings. I've heard of it helping with weight loss, but I'd never felt the effect before. I really feel it now, though. It's very strange to suddenly feel the absence of that kind of previously intense life-long craving, but I'm riding it for all it's worth. I've lost 6 lbs. so far, and it feels... easy. I just got the call that they are closing the schools early, so I have just enough time for a cup of tea and a shower before I have to go get the kids. I've spent the morning twittering and catching up on a few blogs and responding to e-mails and puttering around on-line, so I can't complain. Once I get home with the kids, we'll turn on the fireplace and have hot chocolate and may even bake something. All in all, a very satisfying day!