Category Archives: moms
A quickie post to note that even though last weekend was Little Drake’s birthday, THIS weekend will be the celebration. He’s been asking about all his cousins prior to last weekend AND this week. He’s so used to seeing his cousins for birthdays, for his birthday and it must be a little strange for him. I get it. Anyway, I should’ve gotten into the cleaning yesterday and today, but have not done a thing because of crampiness…. there, I’ve said it. Tomorrow, is D-day, however and crankiness, fatigue, cramps-be-damned, I’ve got to clean (do I have to?) Yes, dammit. Oh, landlord working on the bathroom tiles sort of gave me a pass for staying out of there for two days, but again, tomorrow will be a different story. Plus, I can never bring myself to clean for an event until almost right before people come. Oh, I’ll declutter key clutter spots, put things away and stuff; but actually cleaning gets done last minute…. why is that? Well, for starters, this place is a perpetual dust magnet. I used to think that it’s like that because we live in the city, but all winter our windows are closed. I’ve asked the landlord to check the boiler, thinking that maybe soot is coming up from there, but I’ve been told that it’s fine. It just seems that two days after I dust, it’s got to be done again, and shit, I’m not dusting every day.
To Do List for Friday:
- Wash Floors
- Wash Bathroom
- Vacuum (late in the day)
- Dust (very late in the day, scheduled for midnight)
- Make Pita Chips and Dip
So last week, as part of his present, I took LD to see the Lorax movie. You can read about that here. He’s all Loraxed up, wanting everything Lorax. Another planned birthday gift was getting him the Lorax book, so we made a little excursion to the bookstore. He totally enjoyed that because the book store has a Thomas the Tank Engine play table. Listen for British accent, “Hello, Thomas!”
Last minute change after all my planning via Pinterest: convert Lego cake to Lorax cake. Was planning on doing it myself before The Drake threw me a curve ball, the intention being to make it easier on me for party day, and ordered a sheet cake that was Lorax theme, but with a photograph as the focal point and well, that’s not my style. I was planning on getting fondant and really making a nice cake myself, I was feeling it. I AM doing it at some point. So the weird thing is that locally, there is NOTHING Lorax out there by way of little toys or anything that I can use to accessorize this cake. I thought for sure that the stores would be overflowing with Lorax merchandise… Target? Nope, Toys R Us? Nada. I have a feeling that if Target doesn’t have anything, that Walmart will not, either. Something’s up and I’m wondering about it. Don’t think there’s time to find a free pattern and knit a lorax that small… just don’t have the time. I’m actually thinking about getting some of that orange clay stuff you can put into the oven.. hmmm Have no idea where to find cotton candy for the truffula trees… Might do pom poms, but I’m keen on cotton candy! Maybe it’s just too close to the opening weekend? Maybe the store companies weren’t sure how big the Lorax was going to be? BIG, baby! I loved it.
Oh, so getting to the title. Friends and family, please do NOT bring anything on Saturday. Plenty of food… unless you want to bring me chocolate, feel free to walk in empty handed… no that’s mandatory!
OH… so look what I just found: Free Lorax Garden app in the apple store…. Still free, but price can change at any time.
oooo… Someone found cotton candy in the Easter Section… Look so cute!
So here I am, still up… well, actually, I had a kind of a longish nap today- around a three hour one. Crampiness will do that to ya, and it removes the danger from your loved ones.
Don’t be afraid. This is just me from this past Halloween and I totally enjoyed making myself up for the day. Now, it sort of fits my feelings. This post will be written as a specific comment for Jess’ post on “Diary of a Mom” blog in which she chronicals her family’s experiences, specifically with autism. I am responding to her post entitled, “I See Myself”, without taking up too much space in her comments, which is kinda inevitable at this point as my middle name is “Tangent” and at least here, I can go as far away as I want… hee hee. I almost did not read it because I’ve been rushing through my delayed morning routine which is to go through my morning emails and community sites I frequent before getting into much needed knitting this week. I read this post and saw myself and had to stop myself to breath. I am forever seeing myself, as she has. I’ve seen myself even before my son was diagnosed, but never knew it to be Autism. I mean, I see myself as being fine. Different, but fine. I grew up in the sixties and if I were diagnosed back then, it might have been for retardation, not autism and my life would most certainly be very different…. I don’t like to think about that. As a matter of fact, I don’t like to think about anything. As far back as I can remember, I could just sit there for hours, just staring off into space without a single thought. I still have these times, but not as much because, I suspect, solely because I have a computer with internet. Games? NO… My vice is just surfing from one site to the next without much thought or concentration. I LOVE information, and that is what I get though I rarely take the time to read each thing through… really. Wow, sort of the same thing except it’s external.
Jess, I know what you’re going through. The difference is that I’ve lived my whole life painfully knowing that I was strange, weird; and it was unexplained. I yearned to be normal, accepted as normal, make friends and be comfortable with them. I was acutely aware that I should look people in the eye, yet never could seem to get my eyes to accept my will. People judged me as being stuck up. Stuck up? I wondered how anyone could think that when I lived without the “things” in my life that I thought were instrumental for that assessment in other people, people I judged…. and it went on and on.
Eventually, I learned to compensate, but I was always criticized, chided by family for not seeking out peers, for being a wallflower, for never “making an appearance” when we had company in the house. I’d spend summers holed up in the basement, pursuing my interests, instead of being outside with the other kids on our block. I had a miserable school experience (I always have to add that in), but then later on, when I started working, I realized that I would meet people that didn’t know me and I could be whoever I wanted to be. I did that, but I soon realized that I’d have to spend time with friends if I wanted to HAVE friends… lol. How was I going to do that if I could not even hold a conversation without stuttering, without running? To this day I absolutely love to entertain gatherings, I find that I have a LOT of things to do in the kitchen, away from the people. It’s my refuge in some ways. I’m comforted by doing, preparing food and serving. This past Christmas, I was almost bodily forced to sit down with my own family.
I can remember one New Year’s Eve party. I was with a bunch of people, most of whom I did know. This was in the late nineties. I can remember not wanting to be the center of attention, I was cringing, I was frantically looking around, I was on the verge of what I can only assume was a melt down. I was shaking with pins and needles exploding into my skin. The irony of this is that I definitely was NOT the center of attention. As a matter of fact, I was not being noticed at all, a fly on the wall, sitting at a table, all alone. Yet, I burst from the room, into a bathroom stall–pretending. I was in my mid thirties and it was this night that, after 5 minutes or so, after the clock struck midnight, I first forced myself out of there to intentionally mingle. I tried to look normal, but felt far from it. I left soon after, but still, this was a good idea, I thought. I could accept and allow myself that social break when I needed it, but after 5 minutes I’d come back to people.
My own flashbacks include my dear hubby from the time our son was born, routinely would almost force me out of the house at least once a week to get out and take time off away from being a mom. He never wakes me up to get our son ready for school. Does he know something even from way back then that I am totally oblivious to? Believe me, he has his own demons, yet he either strives to make life easier for me OR he is merely sticking to his own routine which is so deeply embedded inside him. I like to actively believe the former. Jess, to this day I’ve never made it to the doctor’s office to discuss this possibility and probably won’t for a good long time. Heck, before my son got diagnosed, I thought I would be judged as a hypochondriac. Jess, that took a lot of guts and I’m inspired.
Last year I read “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s” by John Elder Robison (little did I know that, at will, I would remember and spell his name correctly) I linked to the author’s blog. I don’t like it that Amazon has a monopoly on book links. I’d rather give the reader a little more than just the obvious. I gained a lot of insight into my son and myself from this book; and hopefully, it’s the template for future insights into myself.
Not sure if I should continue so I’ll stop dead in my tracks. It’s been my experience that I will repeat myself over and over, word for word because I wasn’t sure if I had anything more to say, but just felt that I should keep talking… and well, got nowhere for that effort. Oh maybe I got somewhere. I zeroed in to the Weird Zone.
edited to add:
Okay, of course immediately after posting, I decided that I’m not finished talking. There IS more I’d like to say. More about how I’ve adapted and more about the positives. Maybe these ideas belong in separate posts, so this is a good thing……
I posted a bit yesterday about a life lesson that I’m all caught up in right now, Some Life Lessons. It’s been a long time in the making, but this will hopefully be a short follow up.
I just wanted to add another thought, something that I had forgotten over the years. If you’ve read some of the earlier posts of my blog, you will have gathered that for most of my life I did not have a good relationship with my mother. She was distant, cold and definitely unapproachable. I have come to understand how and why this was so; but that does not help the little girl inside who longed for and needed to be shown the love that I know (now) she must have felt. I’ll try to be brief and describe a little background.
When I was born, it was 9 months and two days after my parent’s marriage. All the women of the family were counting the days on their fingers from the day of the marriage and my birth, hence how I know the exact number of days. That was back in 1961, she was 22 years old and the times were not as relaxed now about getting pregnant before marriage and, well, things were pretty stressful for my mom. Add on to that the pregnancy was in danger with hemorrhaging and from the second month, my mother was on complete bed rest. When I was born, I had stuff wrong with me. The one I’ll talk about because I believe that it shaped my mother, and I can imagine hardened her, gave her a tough skin and eventually, she closed herself off to feeling, experiencing the hard emotions. I was born with a condition, probably arising from my constant position in the womb, of my head and neck being scrunched down onto my chest. The doctor told my parents that it would amount to a hunched back as I grew up if not treated. I became part of an experimental treatment.. and I am even proudly in some medical journal somewhere. It was prescribed that I would receive muscular therapy. It was a very painful process of stretching my neck (and probably shoulder/back) muscles. A nurse had to come to the house and teach my mother what to do. She was to lay her infant (me) on the edge of the kitchen table, with my head hanging off of it. She then had to proceed to gently twist my head from side to side. I was told that this was very painful to me and I can imagine how my mother must have felt having to do this to me. I can imagine the pain she felt and yet knowing that if her daughter ever had a chance to grow up “normal”, she had to inflict this horrible pain onto her. I must have been screaming. My mother was also probably alone in this because my dad was working 2-3 jobs. Sometimes two, sometimes three. There were other things, too, like a bright red, pot-marked area on the left side of my face and two clubbed feet, which were two inwardly turned feet and legs. After I was born, I needed to have casts on my legs up to my hips in the (successful) attempt to straighten out my legs. So, as you can see, I was born a literal mess. Oh crud, it wasn’t until I became a mother in my mid forties I could not fully understand the pain and stress my mother went through with me and during my growing years. To be honest, I was the source of a lot of pain for her during the eight years between my mid twenties to mid thirties. So that is a little bit of background.
So, my mom hardly if ever showed us any affection. To make matters a little worse, I was not interested in the typical things that bonded mothers and daughters, like talking about home decorating, cooking and the like. BUT, one time, a year or so before she passed on, we were talking. I was in my late thirties and our relationship had recently gotten a lot better. I was able to communicate with my mother on the level of peers, not as mother daughter, or I should say not as mother, authority figure and blindly obedient daughter. We communicated honestly and we respected what the other had to say. It was a time I felt that I could honestly just say what I thought and had no fear of doing that… also, it was a time when my self confidence was on the upsurge, the first one in my whole life. Well, on day we were talking and she told me that I was special and that I should never forget that. I seem to remember that not being the only time she said that, but I don’t remember that time very well. I remember this time. I remember bodily freezing and fighting my hardest hold back the tears…. not like now.
I just wish that I knew then what I know now. What pain she suffered just to make me a “normal” kid, girl, woman. She was much as I am now. No income of her own, though she worked before having me. I am so much in debt to her for what she has done for me. I can understand now how and why you became so cold and seemingly to me, unfeeling; and it’s that understanding that will lead me to be a good mom in my own right. It was survival. It was something that I’m sure was not an intentional thing. I totally get that. I’m glad now that you just did what you had to do to carry on the business of raising two girls in your tradition. I understand and that comforts me. I can’t sit here and wish things were different. I’m really grateful for the time we had together during the brief years at the end of your life. I’d want you to know that your actions have now given me the courage and strength to, in turn, do what I now have to do for my son, the grandson that you never got to know on earth.
Thanks so much, MOM.
This morning I’m so sad and, well, pretty much upset by a post I read at a diary of a mom, a blog with a lot of love and inspiration. She is a mom of an autistic girl writing about their family’s experiences and the little joys of every day life. This morning it was on a subject that is near and dear to my heart: Education and Support for Special Needs Children, in our case, the autistic child. So now, as usual when something touches me this way, I write…..
The post in the a diary of a mom’s blog was about two women who murdered their autistic children. For the details, please link to the blog above. These mothers could not get past that first stage when you first get diagnosed. I remember it well, and I still have my days of worrying about the future; but these ladies seemed to have gotten stuck there. I know nothing of these horrible events, but one thing I am sure of is that they felt like they had nowhere to turn while teetering on the edge of a cliff. I’ve felt this way and sometimes still do, but I’ve scrounged together a good support system, partly with luck and a lot through loving, caring, compassionate individuals. Some being family and friends, but others being strangers. I believe that God has brought all these people together uniquely for us. Just yesterday I had a conversation about hope. Well, to be more accurate, I received a good tough-love, in your face smack down from a good friend about not loosing hope. Even the most optimistic person sometimes needs someone (or something) to bring them back to perspective. Maybe these moms didn’t have that.
As I said, I know nothing of these individual women, but I do know that education is severely lacking out there for both the adults, as well as all children in the school system of this country. I’ve seen ignorance color my son’s peers’ perception of him and it kills me inside as a mother and as a citizen of this city, this country. In my dealings with my own school system, I must say (and give credit) to the professionals here; BUT, and there’s always a “but”, I see a lack of knowledge and and training on the school’s part. With that said, they ARE trying, but I’m disappointed and surprised that they have no idea as to how to go about putting together strategies. They are doing so for the first time, as I’ve even been told that they are just putting things together as they go along; and that worries me. I am wondering why these professionals have not been to workshops that would educate and inspire them. No money? Hardly. I am in an Abbott District and, in general, we get more funding than other areas around here. Autism has been around a long time and there is no reason why our schools cannot meet the needs of these kids.
Getting back to availability of information. It seems that it’s very difficult to network with other parents of special needs kids and though I’ve given repeated permission to hand out my telephone number to other moms in the school, for years I have not met even one other parent, though I know that there are at least 8 other kids in my son’s class alone. A couple of weeks ago, however, through the school, I did manage to hook up with another mom of an autistic girl, two years older than my son and we had a play date and spoke a couple of times over the telephone. Just this alone, could have immensely helped these tragic moms and maybe they would’ve chosen life instead of death for their kids…. My heart is breaking.
To any desperately overwhelmed parent out there I must say STOP~!!! Stop and take the time to see the unconditional love your child has for you. For YOU alone. The love and trust found in these kids for their parents, and maybe even everyone around them, is sacred. Every single day of my son’s life has been a learning experience for ME. Wow. Here I am thinking that I am going to teach and mold my son into an admirable human being only to be side swiped because I am the one who is the student here, enrolled in a lifeclass originating not from the OWN network, but from the person of my little boy from the moment he took his first breath of life. LIFE. OMG, when I think about what what the world has lost with the loss of these little lives.
I’ve just decided to create a new page, listing the resources I come across. Please check back this time next week for that. This weekend will be pretty busy, but I will get to it right after that.
- August 23, 2005 ~ Written in Yahoo 360 blog
It’s 11:50AM and I am expecting Gabriel to wake up from his nap any minute. Nothing out of the ordinary today; but later we will go shopping for a crib. Gabriel has almost outgrown his cradle, the one in Ed’s family for a generation. All his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews have been in it, and now, our son. We hope the tradition is carried on by the kids. This weekend we will be going to Ed’s sister’s house, so I probably will not blog over the weekend. We want to bring back the cradle when we go, hence the crush to get a crib this week.
Gabriel has been such an unexpected blessing in our lives.
First of all, we didn’t even find out I was pregnant until I was almost 7 months along. I experienced no symptoms until a couple of weeks before I found out; but my lame brain still had no idea. I had two indications… one was that my ankles had started to swell up during the day. Then over night, they went back down to their normal size. I thought nothing of it, just that maybe I was on my feet too much, or that I needed to change my shoes. Then one day, on a Saturday, I experienced nothing that I ever did before. I took a nap and when I woke up, I got a chill and it affected my breasts. I was in such pain that I had to tear off my shirt and bra to get a measure of relief. Thank goodness I was home alone! That happened two times and to be honest, I thought that something was wrong; but I thought it might be breast cancer since my mother had it. I was really worried but it didn’t happen again.
Then I started to get pain in my groin and leg. It got so bad that by Jan 17th, 2005, I could not put my weight on my right leg, nor walk without assistance. That day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Eddie took me to the emergency room. While I was getting registered in the ER, the woman said that I should take a pregnancy test which was supposed to be routine since I would probably get an Xray. I was called before I had the chance to give a sample and then later, the ER nurse hesitated on allowing me to take the test; but must have referred to the doctor because I did take it. I was examined and I assured the dr that I was not pregnant. We waited for them to xray my hip when the dr came to us and said, “It’s positive.” Right away I said, “WHAT?” I don’t think that Eddie caught on right away, but he soon did. Instead of an xray, I had an ultra sound done! Right then, we found out that I was 26 weeks or so along and the baby was a boy. We were in total shock. I will never forget Eddie’s reaction to being told we had a boy. The angle I had allowed me to see his face even though he was sitting behind a curtain. When the technician said we had a boy, his face lit up in a smile and he snickered to himself!
We left there still in shock, with the first, of many pics, of our child. He was so very clearly visable that there was no denying it. I was pregnant~! I was immediately put at a high risk because this was what is known as a “late pregnancy” because we found out late and there was no prior prenatal care. I was at high risk for other reasons, too. I was 44 years old (still am), I am overweight, and my mother had diabetes, which automatically puts me at a risk… pregnancy makes it even more risky, indeed, I did get gestational diabetes. I had to be seen by an OBGYN very soon and start on a prenatal care regimene.
In early Feb, I was put on bed rest because the drs were not satisfied with Gabriels growth rate. The idea was that I would put all my energy into growing the baby. Unfortuneately, I still had a long drive to the hospital two times a week, plus going to the OB. With the diabetes, I needed to get up from bed 6 times a day to eat something and then again to give myself insulin shots…. so complete bed rest I did not get. We were worrying about our baby from the get go, not that Ed nor I needed a reason to worry. Everything was running through my/our heads.
Then came the day that my dr said that I should consider having a amniocentisis test to check for chromosomal disorders. I was well past the time that this test should be done and the risk was higher that I would go into preterm labor. Eddie didn’t want to have it done because of the risk. He rationalized that an abortion was not an option and this baby would be loved regardless. I, however, needed to know ahead of time so that I could adjust and prepare for such an outcome. I needed to know what was what. I scheduled the test and I told Ed that we could ask questions and not go through with it, if it came to that. So we went and our dr was so patient with all our questions. He answered them all very directly. The bottom line was that there are some other defects that are not “condusive to life”, which was how he put it. It would dictate to him how aggressively Gabriel and I was treated. That really hit me in the gut; but we both agreed that I should have the test done. After what seemed an eternity, we finally got the word that our baby did not have any chromosomal defects. This was uplifting to us; but the baby was still not growing at a sufficiant rate. The one thing that was encouraging was that his head was the normal size for his age, but the rest of his body was not. They were watching my placenta very closely. The placentas of diabetic mothers age too fast, stop functioning properly and basically starves the baby. When I found out about this, I knew that this was probably what was going on inside me. It killed me to think that my body was starving my baby; but technically, the placenta is actually from the baby, not the mother. Still, I centralized it to myself.
After one of my bi-weekly visits, our dr said that they will have to take the baby soon, but he didn’t know when. That night I told Ed that he should come with me to my next visit because of what he said. I just had a hunch that it was not going to be much longer, plus Gabriel was to be measured again during my next visit. Sure enough, Gabriel did not gain any weight at all in that past month. Dr Smith (real name) said that from today on, we should think of Gabriel as being in a “hostile environment”, and that he was better off out here than being inside.
Gabriel Walter was born March 4, 2005, 9:45pm, 3 lbs. 3 oz., 15 1/2″ long, and he was born via C-section. I can tell you that I did not feel anything; but I did feel as if they were rummaging around inside me looking for Gabriel while I was up there on the table. This was a very emotional time for me. My head was tilted downward, toward the floor. I had my glasses on, and I still could not see my baby, though I could hear his little squeaky cry. They finally brought him over to me so that I could see him. I could not stop crying…. even for a long time after that, every time I went to see him in the NICU unit, I would stand over him and cry and cry, not able to speak at all. One of the nurses finally said that she was looking for the day that I could walk in there and just talk to my baby. I was just so overwhelmed by it all… everything happening so fast, and now there was this little baby doing just fine in his little isolette. He was so light that when he would move around, he would actually crawl forward on his little bed-like pad they had him on. They called him the Wild Man because he was constantly moving around. God was truly with us during those days, and now, too. Though he was so small, Gabriel had no other health issues other than his size and weight. It was my intention to breastfeed him. I pumpled my milk all during his time in the NICU and after I went home; but I had to abandon that life long dream. I was expressing my milk for Gabriel and bringing it to him every day as he was in the NICU for 24 days. Then, I had a complication and had to have surgery which left me with a lot of pain afterwards. It all overwhelmed me too much and I made the decision to give up on breastfeeding the day before Gabriel came home, which was Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday this year. So on Good Friday, the day that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, I backed away from a life long dream of breastfeeding. I felt terrible about making that decision; but I did not have any regrets. I was mentally and emotionally a mess, I was trying to get over the surgery and I realized that I just could not handle breastfeeding. Maybe it would have been different had Gabriel been home and actually feeding from me. I was using a mechanical pump and it just was not the same… plus the circumstances surrounding my surgery made it very difficult and I was in a lot of pain. I could not sit and get comfortable, or relax and these are must have’s for expressing your milk. Gabriel did have plenty of breastmilk in our freezer, so he did have a good supply at home before I had to switch to formula a little over a month later.
Despite the breast feeding fiasco, Gabriel is doing great now, at almost 6 months, he is 14 lbs 2 oz. and 24″ long. He is now starting on infant cereal, 3 tsp a day. I am not deviating from this because Gabriel has acid reflux and is on baby pepcid and mylanta, of all things. Still, he is doing great. He loves the cereal and cries for it, like he does for formula, when he sees it coming.
Well, Gabriel seems to be happy in slumber; but I need to get off here and get dressed and get out by 1:30pm which is half an hour away. I will probably not make that goal; but I’ve learned a long time ago that it’s not the destination but the journey that is important.