Parenthood

Parenthood kicked me in the gut tonight with it’s all-too-accurate portrayal of mothering a child with Aspergers. I’ve got a love/hate relationship with this show, and I don’t watch it every week- but I’ve watched enough to know they do a damn good job most of the time. But its kind of like watching Breaking Bad– I don’t really have any desire to watch a show about a guy devolving into drug addiction. It’s not…um… entertaining to me. But this here? Well, it’s shocking to see someone on TV (where by and large what I live is not really even on the radar) dealing with an incredibly accurate and emotionally loaded, nuanced portrayal of what it’s like to mother this child.

The show opens with Max, the boy with Aspergers, blowing up at his well-intentioned mother. He unloads, cursing her and telling her he hates her. He throws things at her, and rages at the situation. And she is caught there, knowing she must do something, unclear what is spectrum disorder processing and what is a child misbehaving; pulled taut between uncertainty, her own anger, shock, grief, surprise and a hundred other rolling emotions. The actress (Monica Potter) captured it beautifully. Tragically, painfully, beautifully.

And doesn’t it figure? Bean’s IEP is tomorrow morning at 8 am, where his team of teachers and therapists will sit with me and go over his education plan, where we will discuss his inability to control his emotional responses, and try and figure out how to lead him in a way that balances the delicate dance between what is disability, and what is a child testing his boundaries. A hundred rolling emotions coming down the track…

Random Crap: Startin’ Out Right

The boys are back in school this morning, but because of whonky kindergarten schedules, Abby doesn’t go back until Thursday, and then is off Friday. Care to do the math on that one? Me neither.

Every single piece of laundry in my house is washed, dried, folded and PUT AWAY. Bow down, suckas! I shall enjoy it for the 3.7 seconds it will last, before Abby changed her wardrobe for the first of twelve times today. But for those few seconds… ahhhhh.

DSHS has my annual review scheduled for sometime between the 3rd and 6th- this week. Only they’ve been closed for ten days. I can’t even get the recorded voice on the phone this morning- only the error message telling me all circuits are busy. Hooray. This should be fun. Hopefully I can catch a lull by Thursday, otherwise- sorry kids! no food for us this month! Living on the edge is so much fun!

If I do get through to DSHS, my kids all have an appointment with a nutritionist downtown. Their pediatrician thinks maybe a nurtritionist, all official-like, might be able to convince Bean to eat something besides peanut butter English muffins. I let her have her delusions, and kept the food log for the week. This should be fun.

I’m running again, if you’re generous in your definition of “running”. But it’s happening, and that’s all that matters. Right?

I’m having to cut myself some slack on my grad-school applications. Some of them are due by the 15th of this month if I want to start in August, and I haven’t been able to take the GRE yet. This makes me want to cry, but there is simply not anything I can do. I might have to accept matriculating to January, and while I’m not happy about it, I have to acknowledge it was not humanly possible to knock out the 19-unit quarter, study (and pay) for the GRE back in the fall, deal with the Holidays and raise three kids alone. Expectations, meet the Brick Wall of Reality. I’m trying not to let it take the wind from my sails- and some of the schools still have April deadlines- which is waaaay more practical for me. Either way, I can do this. Keeping my eyes on the horizon and realizing sometimes things won’t go perfectly.

Speaking of, school starts for me on Monday. A more sane 15 unit quarter, I have to admit, and I’m trying to look forward to it.

Bean has taken my five-pound weights and done something with them- I have no idea what. Knowing that kid, they’re in his backpack. Remember when he used to put cans of pineapple in his backpack and wear it around the house? Creative problem solving and self-therapy. My kid is a genius. Now where the hell are my weights?

Perhaps the best Christmas gift we got was from Grandma- the Hot Wheels Wall Track- regard, the tidiness and compact nature of the track belies the coolness of the cars cascading down the wall. They all love it, and I’m not constantly cursing the tracks being everywhere:

Worst gift? Oh easy-peasy! Baby Alive! Dude… why? WHY?

Was treated to an optic migraine (x3!) yesterday. It’s not as bad as it could be, I know- I only get the effed-up vision and the nausea and dizziness that come along for the ride. The fun is what it starts when I’m out running errands. Usually I can get myself home before I can’t see- but yesterday it came on fast and furious, and I was in the grocery store. No way was I getting home, and no way was I gonna drive basically blind. So I parked my cart and hung out at the in-store coffee-shop until it passed enough to see and walk again. Good times.

Mo got me started (and totally hooked on) Words with Friends. It took me umpteen games to finally beat her, but I think I got the hang of it. It reminds me of playing Scrabble with my grandma when I was a kid. I’m terrible, but its fun.

Wow, I have a ton of thank-you notes to write. I’m grateful.

My friend Steven Peck wrote a new book called “The Scholar of Moab” and it’s sitting right here on my bed waiting for me to curl up and finish it. It’s spectacular, if you’re looking for a bright, creative, slightly odd science-fictiony western-ish book. It’s really its own genre- and I highly recommend it. I also recommend his other book- “A Short Stay in Hell”- it’s coming out in March, and is one of the best books I’ve ever read, no joke.

On that note, I better get reading. Monday academia takes over again and my reading will no longer be at my leisure.

As Jeffrey used to say when he was little, Happy Janulater!

Back in the Saddle: Happy New Year

January 1, 2012 finds me sitting indian-style (or is it criss-cross applesauce now?) on my bed, wearing stripped pajamas (do you know how much I love stripes? I do.) and listening to the end of who-knows-how many Star Wars movies we consumed today. On the bed next to me are the ever-present communicators; Mo chimes in every now and then with our ongoing Words game, Facebook pings me, and those I love chirp and chime across the miles.

Down the hall, I snapped this picture of Jeffrey when I was kissing him goodnight- I love how happy he looks. Bean and Abby breathe soft and regular, snug in their messy beds strewn with Christmas toys. It’s a peaceful, quiet and easy start to the new year.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Year over in Seattle at Mo’s place, and insanity and craziness ensued. Six kids, buckets of Lego, new Wii games, and no one has a car big enough for all of us to go anywhere together anymore. It rained the whole time. But you know, in Seattle, you just go anyway. No one cares, and everyone is soggy and wet and it just doesn’t matter. We hit the zoo in the drizzle, and it was lovely.

Christmas was quiet and lovely. We were blessed far more than we had any right or expectation. We stayed home, and never got out of our jammies. I meant to get us to church, but when I finally looked at the clock that morning, it was already 20 minutes into Sacrament, and I just threw my hands up and headed back to the couch with my new Steven Peck book.

Abby did her best to show how universal and awesome Lego are, and other than a small segue with Baby Alive and the sick people at Hasbro who included “peas” in her food, she spent the day doing exactly this. I wish I had taken a picture of myself holding BA over the sink as the “peas” dripped out of her plastic behind in sick electric green blobs and the boys laughed until tears dripped from their chins. That’s a precious Christmas memory.

Oh, and Bean made a snowman. Then he cried when it rained, and the top two balls flopped down onto the lawn. It was tragic. But I love this shot and how you can see the crazy path he took to make the base snowball.

That pretty much wraps up my hiatus. School starts for the kids tomorrow, and next Monday for me. The pressure and chaos is about to take a wild upswing again, ready or not. Here’s to a bright and happy 2012.