Thursday, August 30, 2007

Paying it Forward

When Logan was initially screened by early intervention, I was scheduled 1 time to per week to have someone come to our home to work on his speech. His speech therapist is named Lisa and we parted ways last year with a sweet card and a good luck.
Then when Vincent started to display similar delays (in regard to speech) I again contacted early intervention and the same therapy was offered to him. I was happily surprised to find out Lisa would be Vincent's care taker as well.
During that time, I was struggling with sickness from my hyperthyroidism, gestational diabetes and gallstones. I was a wreck and Lisa would show up to my home and I know I looked it. The children would be acting crazy and the house was pretty much in chaos. So one day she told me she wanted to talk to me. She sat the children down and focused their attention on ice cream. Afterward she offered me a shoulder to cry on and told me it was going to be ok. She really made a huge difference in how I felt about myself in a difficult time in my life. I've never forgotten it.
Today she came over and we walked downstairs. She was working with Vincent when I made a comment about her nail polish. She told me she had it done last week and needed it redone. So I came into my office and dug through my extensive stash. I pulled out a few here and there for her and told her if she liked them she could have them.
I was surprised when she smiled and told me, "Jaime, I've had a really bad day today and was in a bad mood. I'm so glad I came over." I smiled back and felt happiness wash over me that I could help her day be a bit better. Even if only a little.
She then explained some of the things happening in her sons life. He too is special needs and she faces some difficult issues with his school tomorrow. I could tell she was still upset so I pulled out my nail polish inventory and told her to pick out whatever she wanted. At first she hesitated "do you wear this one alot?" and I would tell her "sweetie, pick whatever you like."
When she was set to go after Vincent's appointment and our talk I walked her to the door and gave her a huge hug. I told her to call me if she ever needed me. She walked out the door, toward her car, with several bottles of polish in hand.
I don't get the opportunity to make anyone's day better often and I have to say it felt really good. I hope the rest of her day is a happy one.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Haircut, rubbernecking and a Meth Lab

All the way back in March I got a gift certificate to have my hair cut and colored. I planned to use it before Annabel's arrival but with all things considered, it just didn't happen. In the meantime my hair has gotten way out of hand. For one thing, it's long and I mean long. For another, the color is a bit off. The ends are still dark from the color demi permanent I had last year. But enough about my hair.
My sitter arrives and I make my way down these farmer Joe back roads I know so well. Rounding the curve and flipping my turn signal, I was shocked to see sheriff and police cars galore. Some were pulled into the driveway of the little white house I see each time I make a trip into town. Others were pulled along the road. I'd say there were maybe 5 cars in all. I managed not to rubberneck (ok I did rubberneck but not THAT bad) and went to my appointment.
Lo an behold, upon driving back to my home the house was infested with people. We're talking the fire department, sheriffs department, police, news, hemsi, etc. The yard was full and my lane was totally blocked at this point. I slowed down to make my way past and see an SUV oncoming. I stopped and waited to merge into the other lane (after huge SUV made way) and to my amusement it appeared SUV driver is a true rubberneck. When he saw my van waiting he waved me on by as he pulled into the grass. Talk about someone really wanting the "whole" show. But I digress.
I took a look at the action, slowly accelerated and went about my business. I stored what I had seen in the back of my mind as a reminder to make sure to watch the local news this evening. But when hubs got home I decided to check the news channel online. I figured why not since I'm so tired I might not even make it to 10pm to see it. A few clicks here and there and bada-bing!, pay dirt.
It appears that two men decided to knock off a radio station and steal some copper. Things went awry when someone busted them in the middle of their copper shopping bonanza and they ran, shooting at this person that interrupted them and then bashing into his vehicle with their own until they made a speedy getaway. Too bad for them a piece of paper flied out the window and led the police straight to a house. A little white house that is located directly down the road from me.
Police arrive at the home and surprise! they found out what the copper was for. It appears these fine upstanding citizens were producing some crystal meth. Not only that but a child lived in the house. The police sent in back up and the house has been surrounded ever since. (to clarify, I'm not sure if a child was inside the house at the time but there was a sheriffs moving van being loaded up as I drove by.)
Some things never fail to amaze me. At least the child was saved from a potentially fatal home life. Can you believe it? A meth lab right down the road. I certainly can't.
And the best part? The reminder that I live in redneckville. The anchorwoman (I call them news ladies) was so classy while giving her report. And I quote:
"the police say the men who have been hiding in these woods are definately high on drugs, because they were running like they had super powers but not supervision because the deputies I talked with say one of the men almost ran into a tree."
Only in redneckville folks!

Mom confession of the Week

I love to kiss my children and cheeks are my favorite target. There is just something so wonderful about kissing their soft little faces.

Unfortunately, the kiddos don't share my joy. When they see me coming they run and hide.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Lunch Police

Sending your toddler to school for the first time is like dangling your heart out in the open when you fall in love. You hope your dreams will come true but worry about what could happen and that your heart might be broken.
I sobbed terribly the first day I dropped Arwen off at pre-school. I had to pull the car over to calm myself. Dropping Logan off his first day was equally difficult. Sure he only attended half a day but his being away from me was hard to swallow at first. I would eagerly anticipate the clock hitting 10:45 so we could rush out the door and pick him up.
I knew the notebook in his bag would inform me on his progress but one day I got quite the shock. The note informed me that I "need to please feed Logan before you bring him into school, he is very hungry when he arrives". At first I was embarrassed and totally confused. Each and every morning I gave Logan cereal, waffles or pop tarts to eat, so I wasn't exactly sure why he would be "very hungry". Then it dawned on me. He wasn't used to eating that early in the morning, instead he was reverting to our schedule at home, breakfast between 8-9am.
I sent back a note of my own explaining why this was happening and that I would do my
best to try and get him to eat in the morning. I also requested they be patient as I work on changing his set schedule. Imagine my surprise when I received yet another letter, this one more firm, stating the very same thing. So again I wrote the teachers and explained he had not gotten his schedule changed yet and I cannot force him to eat.
This went on until the teacher finally called my home. She said she felt I was "insulted" by the tone in my letters and that wasn't her intention. I explained I was somewhat upset as I would never withhold food from my children but that it is out of my hands if my son refuses to eat his breakfast. I can place him at the plate but I cannot force him to eat.
It took at least a month or more for this to resolve and I was finally able to enjoy his being in school. Then I got ill with my pregnancy and shortly after school was dismissed for the summer.
Logan recently started his program again, only now he is a full time student. Initially I thought we'd buy Logan's lunch from the school but one look at their menu stopped that idea cold. You see, Logan is one of the most picky eaters I've ever met. I'm not sure if his autism compacts the matter but no matter the cause, he will only eat certain foods. As annoying as it may be, I've been preparing separate items for his dinner and supplementing his diet with vitamins, milk and yogurt at every turn.
When faced with this lunch delima, I had no idea what to do. I finally made the decision to pack what he would eat (chips, milk, snack cake and yogurt or pudding cup) for lunch and would make up for it nutrition wise at dinner (to the best of my ability). I hated that first day. I was so embarrassed to send out a lunch like that but at the same time, I don't want to waste food and sending a sandwich would result in just that. I would send cheese on the days I packed his lunch and he seemed agreeable to eating it.
Low and behold, I had a note ready for me in his bag today. I was informed that they are "required to offer proper nutrition" and could I "please send a sandwich, meat or cheese. He might not eat it but we will offer it."
Of course I will send the food, I just hate the idea of it being thrown away after it sits untouched in the cafeteria. It's really hard sometimes dealing with these sorts of issues. Being confronted makes me feel as if I'm doing a bad job as a Mother. I've tried making different foods, making foods in shapes to make them more interesting, nothing works. I'm pretty sure I can't send him what he will eat for lunch like spaghetti, ravioli or his mushroom rice since it requires having a microwave to heat it.
I've been hit up by the lunch police.


I knew I was doomed the moment I looked over the selection at Stride Rite. No blue new balance tennis shoes in sight. I checked the sales rack with no luck. I took a deep breath and gave Jimbo the "look". The one that says, "brace yourself, we are in for a bumpy ride."
Purchasing something as simple as shoes for the new school year probably doesn't register on the "oh no" radar for most parents. Most just make the trip with their child, pick out a pair of shoes, pay for it, and go home. That is exactly what I did when I took trips with Arwen, back before Logan started showing signs that something was a bit different about him.
I finally selected two pairs to try. Each were black, one with more leather than the other. The store was packed with children and parents so it took a few minutes for a sales person to come to us. I had her measure and fit Vincent first. He sat patiently until she was finished and then hurried back to the play area.
Taking a deep breath I nodded and Jim began to lead Logan over. I sat him down and as the sales woman reached for his foot, Logan immediately started crying. I explained a tad louder than necessary that he is autistic and would settle down as soon as we had finished. I quickly removed each shoe and helped her measure his feet. With each passing minute he became more agitated. After being measured we had to wait for her to find shoes in his size. Logan continued to be distressed and I tried my best to calm him.
When she finally returned, he was inconsolable. He didn't scream or thrash, only continued to cry and point to the familiar worn blue shoes on the floor. His voice came out soft and forlorn, "shoes, shoes!"
During this I looked up briefly. I'm not sure why. I think I knew we had an audience. Sitting directly across from us was a father, wife and little boy. The child appeared to be Logans age and was being fitted by the other attendant. I noticed the father was staring directly at my son.
The disdain in his eyes was openly readable. I returned his look with one of my own before focusing on the task at hand. After we decided on the cloth pair and made sure they fit well, I grabbed the worn shoes my son loves so much and put them back on. The instant they wrapped around his foot his crying stopped and he was again the calm, happy child we adore.
Logan gave me his special smile and ran to join Vincent and Jim. As I grabbed the shoe boxes I looked at the man and his family beside me. I've seen the "look" from people before when Logan is thrown out of his comfort zone. This was the reason I spoke so loudly when explaining why he was crying to the woman assisting us.
I smiled at them and tried to be polite. "He's autistic and doesn't do well with change. This is how he reacts when being taken outside of his comfort zone".
I could tell immediately this father wasn't expecting to be approached or called out on his staring. I'd caught him off guard and he tried to recover by acting as if he totally understood. "Oh, I thought I heard you say that." He plastered a fake smiled across his face and I found myself fuming.
But instead of taking the issue further, I walked to the register and paid for the new shoes. We all walked out together hand in hand, my wee man and wonder boy laughing along the way. As I looked at my boys it occurred to me (as it often times occurs to me at random) that I wouldn't trade away any part of my life.
Logan requires a softer touch and a gentle patience but in doing so brings out the calm and sensitive side of me. He allows me to see how lovely simple things are, even if they are a worn pair of blue shoes. He reminds me that things are as special as you make them. He reminds me of just how lucky I am to be his Mother.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Note to Self...

Dear Jaime,
In the future, when your daughter asks you to demonstrate the roundhouse kick you learned in Tae kwon-do many moons ago, politely decline and walk away. You are not as young nor as flexible as you used to be and will only hurt yourself.
In the event this note comes too late, the heating pad is in the closet and the tylenol and left over narcotics from Annabel's delivery are in the cabinet.
Always looking out for your best interests,
Your Common Sense


At the risk of offending anyone, I'm finally putting this out there. What does his nose remind you of?
Is it just me or does it resemble a part of the male anatomy?
I'm just saying...

The best I can do

As we made the way up to the top floor the increase in temperature was instantly obvious. The air was heavy and thick. While the kids hopped into bed Jim took a look at the A/C. It quickly became apparent that whatever issues the unit has will require professional help.
So, what's a Mom to do when it's stifling hot in all the bedrooms and your kiddos need to get a good night full of zzzzz's? Why, you take a couple mattresses off the beds and have a slumber party in the living room of course! The novelty wore off quickly for Jim and I but the kids had a blast.
I woke this morning with a huge crick in my neck courtesy of a restless night on the couch and Jim didn't fare much better from a nights rest on the recliner. Annabel slept all snug and comfie in her portable bassinet.
Due to the brain fart of epic proportions I'm currently experiencing, this story about what's occuring in my life is the best I can do. I think it's the sleep deprivation.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas

I just finished reading this again. So sad but so beautiful. If you haven't read this please consider doing so on your next Barnes and Noble/BooksAMillion excursion.

Here is the description in case you're interested:

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson

Katie Wilkinson has found her perfect man at last. He's a writer, a house painter, an original thinker—everything she's imagined she wanted in a partner. But one day, without explanation, he disappears from her life, leaving behind only a diary for her to read..

This diary is a love letter written by a new mother named Suzanne for her baby son, Nicholas. In it she pours out her heart about how she and the boy's father met, about her hopes for marriage and family, and about the unparalleled joy that having a baby has brought into her life. As Katie reads this touching document, it becomes clear that the lover who has just left her is the husband and father in this young family. She reads on, filled with terror and hope, as she struggles to understand what has happened-and whether her new love has a prayer of surviving.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


I made my way to the local Wally World today for my bi-weekly shopping excursion. I dodged fellow shoppers, quickly made my selections and rushed to the check out. I have a love hate relationship with Wally World but I digress.
I looked for and was happy to find my Aunt. I don't get to see her often and take every hellish Wally world visit to catch up if she is working that day. She asked the usual, how are the kids, school, etc.
When I inquired about her life she took a deep breath and informed me that my uncle isn't doing so well. He is still unemployed but finally received medicaid so he can begin seeking help for his "sickness".
Since neither he or his wife have gainful employment and are raising my 6 year old cousin, my aunt picked up extra shifts in an effort to help them out financially. The problem is Hell-Mart is her second job for supplemental income so she doesn't really have the money either. So, she explained, "your Mom, Dad, Grandpa and Ma have been chipping in to help them out, it's very stressful for everyone right now. We are all so worried about him."
I listened to her talk about the toll this is taking on everyone, how worried they all are, how upset it is making my family. Then I asked about his wife and what she was doing as their son is in school and she wasn't working the last time I heard.
"Oh well, she' know...her! but the one thing that just pisses me off! Her family hasn't lifted ONE finger to help! Not one!" As she spoke her face turned red and her voice lifted. She became so agitated she told me she had to go and gave a fast hug before walking away.
I watched her go and the same thing repeated over and over in my mind. "Why would they want to help him?"
This "sickness" my Aunt so cleverly tries to disguise as something else is in fact drug addiction. My Uncle has been actively doing drugs, all sorts of them, for years. He has been in and out of rehab for addiction to narcotics, alcohol, cocaine, you name it. My family always kept his arrests and mistakes "hush hush". He would promise to get sober, they would band together to pool money to pay his fines and things would go back to normal. No one ever discussed the huge elephant sitting in the room.
Unfortunately, my family can no longer hide behind the facade that everything is ok. This time my uncle is addicted to a drug that is merciless and takes people down hard and fast. He is addicted to the drug spreading itself across our nation. A drug that takes piece by piece of you until there is nothing left. This drug I refer to is called crystal meth.
When I saw him this past Christmas I had a pretty good guess as to his drug of choice that holiday season. He was missing more teeth (years of abuse had taken a few of them), his skin was patchy and yellow and he had dropped a massive amount of weight. At 6"4' he weighed less than I do. He looked like death. I asked my Aunt (when he was well out of ear shot), "what's wrong with Uncle?? he's so freaking skinny!" and was told, "oh! he was diagnosed with diabetes and it's made him so sick! but he's getting better and has found a great doctor!".
I can't tell you why she said that. I assume she imagined I was still a child and would take everything told to me at face value. I nodded and walked away. Since then things have steadily went downhill fast for him and consequently, his wife and son. Meth doesn't take long to manifest itself in your everyday life after it's teeth have settled in, or at least that's what I've been told.
I watched my Aunt walk away today and felt a mixture of emotions but one stood out among them. Anger. I'm so angry at this person and his addictions over the years. I'm angry that my Mom and Dad, Aunt and Grandparents have to suffer and stress over this year after year. But at the same time that anger leads to frustration. Frustration that my family won't cut him off and make him stand on his own two feet. Frustrated that this has been allowed to go on for so long and probably won't end until his addictions kill him. And I'm sad. Sad that a 6 year old little boy won't ever know what it means to have a real father, just one that sits around high in his presence.
It's heartbreaking.

Friday, August 24, 2007


It was hot and humid that day. I hurried out of the office to meet Jimbo for lunch. Usually we packed our lunches but we'd had a long week and needed a break from it all and nothing seemed better at that time than a shared meal consisting of a greasy quarter pounder with fries.

I pulled into the parking lot and he was waiting for me. We walked in together, ordered and took our seats. I can't recall exactly what it was we talked about but I'm sure it had something to do with plans for our future (we were not yet married) and that conversation led to us being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A nice jewelry store was located in a building directly next door. We had some time left before we had to return to work and decided to go in and take a look at their wedding rings. We were ushered to the very expensive section with platinum and diamonds but quickly made our way to the rings more within our price range. As we were leaving, one of the women handed me a brochure for the diamonds they are licensed to sell. These diamonds are special because of the cut that illuminates each individual ray of light that touches it.

I was scanning the inside of the booklet and didn't notice the man walking inside. I just saw a shadow really and as force of habit made my way to move so he or she could pass by. I looked up when that little instinct we all have took over to let me know he was still directly in my path.

I cannot tell you what the gun looked like, or what kind of gun it was, or if it was even big or small. From the moment I saw it pointed at me, nothing computed. I just simply stopped and stared down the barrel while dozens of thoughts ran through my mind. The moment was beyond surreal.

The man had a bandanna tied around the bottom half of his face and a cap on his head. The only feature I could see were his eyes and I made sure not to look into them. I'm not sure why but I just knew somehow he might feel threatened and begin shooting us all. He motioned all of the people in the room into a group. I huddled behind Jim, terrified and kept thinking "wake up!!!" as if I were locked in some god awful nightmare.

"If any of you move I'll kill you, I swear to god!!" He repeated this over and over again. I began to shake violently and I felt a wave of regret that I wouldn't be able to tell my family, my Mom, Sister, Father or Niece that I love them. I wondered if my niece, then 1, would even remember me.

The man quickly went through the glass cabinets and displays, yanking gold chains and jewelry out and shoving them into the bag being held by one of the women that worked there. The entire robbery took place in under 3 minutes but it felt like an eternity.

When he was done, he fled quickly through the doors all the while still threatening , "if you call the cops I'll come back here and kill you all, I swear to god!" and ran out the door into the hot midday sun. We all stood in shock until one of the staff ran and locked the glass doors and hit the panic button. I collapsed to the ground and began to shake and cry. I finally stopped when the police arrived.

This happened to me several years ago. My carefree days of walking into a store, or any pubic place, was forever changed in those 3 minutes. The first few months I was terrified to go anywhere on that particular busy street again. I attempted to go to that came McD's a few months later in an effort to "get over it" and had to leave with food in hand. I've never eaten there again.

It's so sad and so wrong when violence touches so many, even those just trying to do their job and live their lives. I should also mention that, while I didn't know it at the time, I was pregnant with our first child.

ernursey. for sharing your story. I'm glad that you stood up for what you believed in and took a stand. We never did find the person that committed that crime but I like to think that eventually his lifestyle caught up to him. The police believed it was a "crack head" looking for a "fix".

Jimbo and I moved into a house in the country shortly after and a stay at home Mom was born.


Just like the title says. I can't stand them, they look nasty and repulse me.

Today I found one in our house and being the mature mother I am I screamed and jumped around wildly before swatting it to death with the broom. (which is no easy task, those suckers simply don't want to die)

My skin will crawl and I will feel "bugs" on me for the rest of the day. Fan-tas-tic!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The "Sign"

Well, it's not exactly what I had in mind but if it slows people down that's all that matters.

I have to hand it to them, the department of transportation in my county might not know alot about speed tables but they get signs up quickly.

Update: Road Rage Driver

I've spent the better part of my morning being directed from one person to another in an attempt to have a speed bump, excuse me *cough* I mean, a speed table, placed on our short residential road. (I was informed they no longer call them "speed bumps" yet he couldn't say exactly why when I inquired)

After playing phone tag I got in contact with the person in charge. Unfortunately, the person in charge is somewhat confused on the procedure and policy concerning placing a speed table on our street. It seems they no longer are allowed to do that and since it's state property, I cannot pay and have it done myself. So what's a Mom to do to prevent the idiotic people around her from driving like loons and putting her children (and her neighbor's children too I might add) in danger?

Well, it seems that Logan's autism warrants a "handicap children area" sign in front of our house. They will be coming this week or the beginning of next week to place it. When I asked exactly what a handicap sign looks like he said he wasn't sure but "it has something about deaf children on it".

While I am very concerned that our state representitives don't know what they will be sending their crew out to place in front of my house, I'm at least relieved that Mrs. Bimbo speed freak (and the teenagers that live in the house next to her) will see they need to slow it down.

Oh and if that doesn't work, I've got permission to contact the sheriff's deputy for a "stake-out" at the ponderosa to catch us some speeders. I wonder if he likes donuts or pancakes?
**for clarification on exactly what I'm talking about, please see my Eating Hearts blog two posts down.

Mom confession of the Week

I love to smell my children. I'm like some strange wildlife creature. Annabel has taken Vincent's place now, as the youngest. I smell her feet, toes, belly, neck and my personal favorite, top of her head.

My husband thinks I've lost it.

Eating your Heart

Today was a pretty bad start as mornings go. Annabel woke me at 4am to nurse and didn't finish until about 5am. I put her back to sleep and rolled over to attempt to get in one hour before I had to get up to get the kids going for school.

At 5:30am, I hear Logan come from his room. He climbs into the bed with us and I pray he will sleep at least the next 30 minutes. Sadly, as is the case most of the time, he didn't want to sleep any longer and his father and I slopped out of the bed. The rest of our family woke before 7am (all but Annabel who is very wisely sleeping while she can, it isn't something easily done in this house) and we got Arwen and Logan ready for school. I took Vincent downstairs, cut on some cartoons to tide him over while I took Logan outside for the bus and we bid farewell to Daddy and Arwen as they made their way to work and school.

Then something happened I have feared since the moment I had Arwen. We were waving goodbye and suddenly, as our car took off down the road, Logan took off running to it. I was several feet behind him and started off after him (at a fast walk, since he was not at the road and we live in a residential neighborhood in the boonies with only 12 houses). As Jimbo pulled off I hear a car...and it's not his. I look as Logan is running toward the street and see the neighbor that flies down the street in her SUV barreling down the road.

I begin to scream at the top of my lungs and a gurgled "LOGAN STOP!" tries to fly out of my lips but my chest cold and sinus infected lungs won't work properly. I'm running as I'm screaming and time seems to stop but not the car and not my son. My heart sinks and I see an image in my head of my son being struck down by that car and his smiling face being gone from my life.

At the last moment, before Logan actually reached the road, my voice worked, "LOGAN STOP NOW!!". He stopped and stood laughing, as if it were a game and I was terrified he would continue running because of it. Then he saw the car (which was almost upon him) and watched it sail (FLY by, she and I are going to have a talk this afternoon, I'm going to see her and let her know there are children that live on our block. If that doesn't work I'm calling the county roadway director about getting a speed bump in front of my home) on by.

In retrospect, I should have done several things. I should never have let him walk away from me without holding my hand (we have a very large front yard he plays in usually whlie awaiting the bus) however and as I said, live in the country in a tiny subdivision, our road ends with a cul de sac. I should have pulled him down to my level to try and convey just how dangerous running toward the road is. But in the end, my son is autistic and he wouldn't have absorbed just how upset I was over his actions.

I ate my heart this morning. I haven't done that since Arwen turned blue and was rushed to the ER with RSV at 2 weeks old. It is something I won't forget and will mold the future of how I walk my son to greet the bus.

It occurred to me that when you need to scream, or run, or react, everything seems to freeze. It's as if time stops so you can absorb every detail of what is about to happen. I never want to experience that again. I'm hoping the lady down the road won't either when I'm finished dealing with her.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mom to daughter, daughter to Mom

I should warn anyone that might come across this, this particular entry is being done as a rant by myself. It might prove to be a long journey so take heed now.

My Mother and I have always shared a tempestuous relationship. Early on my devotion and utter admiration toward her was fed by her comments and the worry she would somehow disappear from my life. Call me stupid but as a child nothing meant more to me than my Mother. So when I was "bad" she would make comments to me along the lines of "tomorrow I could die and then you'll regret what you said". Things children say to one another or think in the back of their minds when a parent has wronged them. In any case, I revered my Mother and although she might state otherwise, I was rarely a "bad" child.

Over the years, as I grew, our relationship changed but that basic foundation remained. No matter what our fights or disagreements, my Mother always kept me firmly in place. I might yell or scream but always came back within an hour apologizing to her and telling her I loved her.

This unhealthy balance continued well into my adulthood. Even as a young woman working two jobs while attending college (I moved out as soon as I turned 18, straight out of high school with my boyfriend to escape it) all it would take to reduce me to a quivering child was a call from my Mom. She could shake and break me down as no other could.

It drove a huge wedge between my boyfriend and I. He despised her and her manipulations. He ranted to me and his family about how controlling she was and how much he wanted to tell her so but he didn't. Eventually (5 years later to be exact) our relationship ended. I moved in with my Dad who was reconciling with my Mother after many years of divorce. Apparently she has him wound in the same way she does myself.

I moved out again and met my future husband. My Mother adored him and tried to push me into a solid relationship with him. I refused at first. Jim and I were fresh out of bad relationships and started out as friends. Eventually that changed and we dated, then married, then began having children.

I'm not sure when but things began to shift in that control my Mom always had over my life. I'm pretty certain it occurred with the birth of my first child. I was no longer a child but a Mother myself and I was tired of the insecurity my Mother brought out in me. It was now my job to comfort and protect and I couldn't do that if I allowed her to intimidate me. It took months and months for things to start easing off every time we talked. She blamed my husband and his family, stating they had "brainwashed" me and I had forgotten my family. She said things to purposely make me feel guilty and accomplished the exact opposite of what she was trying to do, she drove a huge wedge between us.

The purpose of this blog and rant is an argument that just took place with my Mother. She wanted us to visit her this weekend to celebrate my sons birthday. Jimbo requested we go on Saturday so he can catch the Browns game. Yet for some reason she is determined we will visit on Sunday (which is her Mom's, my Grandma's birthday) and Sunday only. When I told her that if we come that day I would have to come at 8am with the kids and leave at 11am she responded "I'll just send him his birthday card!" before slamming down the phone.

I collected myself and called her back and got her machine. As calmly as I could I told her I love her but I wouldn't be speaking to her again until she can talk to me like an adult and stop hanging up on me like a child.

When did I become the Mother and her the Daughter here? When did I take on the mature demeanor and her the "it's my way or no way" persona? Is this the way it is between all Mother's and daughters?

Why can't I just be like my sister and let it roll off my back like water. Then it wouldn't matter to me so much that I rush to blog it all to get it off my mind.

Changing directions too late?

The first time I've ever been hospitalized was to have Arwen. That experience was awesome. My labor and delivery nurse was so wonderful and I'll never ever forget her (for professional purposes I'll keep her name hush hush). Then I had Logan. I had her as my delivery nurse again (my son was born on her birthday!) and again, she was the most wonderful and caring person in the world. I actually began at that point to consider a career in nursing, especially as a L&D nurse. Then I had Vincent.
My labor and delivery with Vincent was terrible. I don't blame my L&D nurse at all but the other nurses in post partum were horrible to me. I didn't receive pain meds on time (I had a 3rd degree tear that absolutely hurt) and on one occasion (directly following the birth and I'd been without any medication for about 5 hours and my epidural was all but gone) my husband lost it when I was writhing on the bed in pain. I swore afterward I'd never return to that hospital and the experience made me fear if we ever had another child. It was that bad.
Fast forward to Annabel's delivery. I was taken in by the wonderful nurse about to change shifts. She took me in, got me set and introduced me to my new nurse (whos name I will also keep hush hush). This nurse for Annabel's delivery was an angel sent down from above I swear. She took the best care of me, didn't let me hurt at all and comforted me when I had all the fears I did from the complications. She was the nurse sent for during my break down the next morning following a failed IV insertion. She not only started my IV and calmed me but she also accompanied me to have my tubal surgery. I was so grateful to her that I had Jimbo pick her up a gift basket from the Fudgey Nut. I'm not sure if this fantastic woman is aware of the huge impact she has made upon me.
From her kindness I have a more intense desire to enter nursing school. I love helping others and I'd like to pay her kindness toward me forward. My only hesitation is my age. I'm 30 years old now and it would mean starting over (although not totally, I do have credits I can use but I'd have to take a lot of classes. Education and nursing are two very different fields). My desire to do this is becoming more solid as I'm afraid of needles and especially IV's but have began to investigate how one learns to insert them and do blood draws. I'm even willing to be stuck myself by other students in order to learn this essential part of nursing.
Will this happen? I'm not sure. As with anything, I always go over things with a fine tooth comb. Also I have a few years until I could attend college again (at least on the basis of more than one class per semester).
I've been thinking of sending the nurse that has impacted me so deeply flowers with a card to convey just how much she did and what it has meant. Those women who are fortunate enough to have her provide their care truly are blessed. She's that good.

Nathan and Susan

When I began this blog I was at a very emotional point in my life. I'd just found out I was pregnant again and was unsure of how to feel. Then very quickly that worry turned to despair when I found out something might be wrong with the baby. After that I had to worry about my own health and it was one of the most difficult times in my life.

During that time, I came across a blog. The description lured me in "a SAHM of 3 and nurse to my 6 year old cancer kid". I began reading Susan's blog faithfully after.

It is somehow so wrong that something like this can bring a person out of their own funk and self doubt. After reading each new blog I kept pushing forward in my own life. Determined that if Nathan could do it, then so could I. If his Mom could keep their family together in spite of everything then I would too. But something more occurred during my reading of each new blog as well. I became attached to this little boy and his family that I've never met, so much so that I began to talk to my extended family daily about them and their struggle.

I will always recall vividly, the morning I came down to my computer with Annabel and found out Nathan had passed. I always go to Susan's blog first thing when I get on and I saw it and began to weep. My husband heard me and came to see what was wrong and his face dropped when he looked on the screen and saw the cause of my sorrow.

This little boy has touched so many and his Mom was so strong she openly shared him and her family during his battle. That takes alot of courage and love. Thank you Susan, your strength allows those like myself to keep going forward. You've touched more lives than I think you realize.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

No Better Sleep in the World!

The last few weeks have seen little sleep coming my way. Annabel wakes often as I continue to "nurse on demand". I'm not rushing a set schedule with her since I stay at home and honestly at this point don't "have" to. This causes me to lose major zzzzz's at night and I wake pretty darned tired each and every morning.
Then this past week, the household has been sick. I've personally been carrying this cold for 4 days now and for the past 2 continue to lose my voice. I'm achy, have a sore throat and worse of all, my monthly friend is taking this time to reintroduce herself into my life (after tubal) so I'm in a bit of pain. Top that with all of my children waking each night and wanting "Mommy" to come soothe them back to dreamland.
Luckily for me, Logan and Arwen returned to school today and Vincent woke up at 6:30 am. So I went about the morning as usual and after lunch it was time for nap. I carried Vince and Annabel upstairs, got Vincent comfy and set for a loooong nap and then took myself and Annabel to my bed.
Yes, I am aware of the dangers of co-sleeping BUT I've slept with every child of mine at night for the first month or two. Naptimes are prime co-sleeping times due to the fact I have the entire bed to share with her and I can nurse her in the middle with a pillow along her other side and we can both fall asleep together. This is exactly what I did today.
I woke up 2 and a half hours later and felt soooo much better. Then I got to look down into my baby girls sleeping face and kiss her softly. I'm positive there is no better sleep in the world.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reach out and smack someone

Logan's party went very smoothly (aside from the sickness that still lingered). We picked up his spongebob cupcake cake and I had the place decorated. Family arrived, we had cake and ice cream, he got tons of toys.
It's amazing to witness each and every "birthday" of my children. I am reminded of the day I held them first in my arms and love to pull out pictures each time and reminisce on the experience and all that has happened to bring us where we are today as a family. I truly live for each and every one.
But as is the norm in my house, nothing goes by without some sort of problem or "hitch". I've become accustomed to this and just prepare myself that something can and will probably happen. It's easier to accept than if you are expecting a wonderful day with no drama.
My husbands relatives showed up for the party (none of mine did but that's a story for another blog). I didn't mind and sat down with them to talk just prior to cake and ice cream. Problem is...Jim's cousin Jay showed up with is wife Lorie and their two boys, Caleb and JJ.
I'd been told of Lorie's desire to have a girl while she was pregnant with Caleb (he is about 8 months old now). When she found out she was carrying a boy she was very sad and I felt for her. I understood how it feels to want one sex but I also remembered that no matter what you have the love is no different afterward. After Caleb's birth she had a tubal ligation. Jay is 46 years old and does not want more children, Lorie is 36 and did. Jay has already said once in the presence of family that he didn't want to tell Lorie about Annabel's birth (she was two weeks old before Lorie found out we had a girl, we'd waited to find out sex until the birth) due to the fact "she might want to reverse her tubal".
So as I sit with Annabel, Lorie points to her and prods Jay. "Look at her!" and Jay completely ignores Lorie and my daughter. Then Lorie asks to hold her, this grabs Jays attention. "Don't hold that baby, you might losen your tubes". Thinking he is joking I almost laugh until he continues "if you wanted another you shouldn't have gotten your tubes tied". My smile vanished and the urge to reach out and slap the hell out of this man overtook me! I was so fracking pissed!!!
How dare he address his wife and mother of his children in such a cold, hateful way? In front of family no less! Had that been Jimbo I'd have given it right back but Lorie just sat there and said nothing. A part of me feels badly for her yet another part feels that you are only a doormat if you allow yourself to become one. I feel for her and her desire to have a daughter but I also realize that even had she gotten pregnant one more time she may have had a boy again. It's a 50% lottery each time.
Once Jay and his crew left (immediately after cake and ice cream, they didn't even stay to allow JJ time to play with the children) things returned to normal. We all chatted while the kids destroyed my wonderfully clean house. I was so angry I brought up Jays behavior (he completely ignored Annabel before and I was still angry about that brush off) and was happily surprised to have his mother and sister both agree his behavior was out of line and rude. I told them that next time, I'm calling him out on it. I won't ruin my sons birthday but on a regular day all bets are off.
After everyone left, I tucked my newly minted 4 year old boy into bed and told him how much I loved him and about the day he was born. I kissed him and hugged him tightly and made a memory I can hold on the days when I need them most.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


I'm not sure why this has happened to our happy family yet again but...

Our bundle of joy you want to choke sometimes aka Arwen woke up Wednesday complaining of a sore throat. Now, seeing as how she always complains of some ailment prior to school, my husband brushed her off. She was not running a temp so he told her to start getting ready. As per her norm she doesn't listen to dear old Daddy-O and runs to me instead.

"My throat hurts". So I pry open her mouth and take a look. The tonsils are definately swollen. I take a feel on the outside...yep she's got something.

I inform the hubbie that he can head on to work, that I'll have to get Arwen into the doctor. Upon inspection Doc informs us she has tonsilitis and a nice contagious cold. We get her meds and return home. I tell her she is to remain in her room to keep us from catching the cold she's got. As usual she doesn't listen to me and is busted downstairs on more than one occassion with her brothers. I also find her touching the baby while I'm preparing our dinner.

In the course of 3 days, due to our generous daugther and sister, we all have this funk now. And the worst part? Tomorrow is Logans 4th birthday.

Thanks sweetheart, nothing says I love you like a good cold with chills, fever and body aches.
**the same thing happened on Christmas eve 3 years ago. Vincent has just been born and Logan got a seriously bad cold, which we all passed around for a week. Fun stuff.

Friday, August 10, 2007

School Money

As you probably gather, I don't know a heck of alot about school and how it works. My daughter is currently initiating me on the ups and downs. At first I was excited. I would get to do homework with my daughter and plan out her snacks and meals daily (and help out when I have the opportunity at school). The one thing my silly little brain didn't take into account was money and just how much the school would be asking for...

First I should mention, the institution our daughter attends is a private one that we pay for and it isn't cheap.

Ok first I have to buy things that coincide with being in a private school: uniforms. We forked out over $300 smackers for this, then we had to buy the school supplies, lunch box and sleeping mat, so that was another $100 or so, we'd figured on that too.

We get a letter in the mail asking for $25 to "buy supplies to help the class". Of course I'm confused since I just bought the school supplies in the first place, what supplies exactly do they mean and how will it go toward benefiting Arwen? We passed on this. Then we went to the parent/kindergarten meeting. Here we had to write a check for $9.95 to cover magazine costs for the year. Then we were asked to donate $10 or more to the PTO and then were directed to a board that had "items we'd like to have for the school" which had to be purchased in bulk at pretty high prices. We paid the magazine fee and passed yet again.

Then today I get an email asking for money again and this time people to volunteer for the lunch room (they've asked this numerous times in each email) and also someone to volunteer as head over sports and planning. So I've started to wonder...

Where exactly is the huge amount they are being paid PER student to attend this school going? At first I assumed naturally it would pay the staff and costs for the building, etc. But shouldn't some of those funds go to fund items and staff the school needs? Isn't it somehow wrong to expect people to continue to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets as well as their time after forking over checks monthly?

Perhaps it's due to the fact that this is a Catholic School and most of the families belong to that parish. Many of them are very well off (this is apparent when I see all those new shiny vehicles, chanel sunglasses and coach purses galore) and I suppose digging into their check books isn't an issue. For average Mom of 4 here it is however.

I want to do what's best for my daughter and her school yet I just can't justify paying all that extra money for things the school should provide (at least partially) from the money they receive from tuition. I'm fairly certain sadly that this trend asking for money won't stop in the near future.

I should also add, I would be more than happy to volunteer my time but have been told the school can't use help when you have one or more toddlers in tow. I suppose I should welcome myself to the world of being a school Mom huh?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's called Autism!

It started out innocently enough. As a baby Logan didn't cry to be held, he didn't cry much at all in fact. He loved to be in his bouncer, a combination of a travel bassinet that raised up so he could see around. When his father or I would hold him he would become fussy after a short time and when we placed him back in his bouncer, he was happy again.

As he grew and became a toddler, he smiled and laughed. I became pregnant very early on with his younger brother, so perhaps I missed something along the way, I'm not sure. But by the time Vincent arrived, Logan had began to change somewhat, yet we didn't become alarmed. He enjoyed playing with his cars and we just figured he didn't want to play dolls with his sister. Then we noticed he stopped making eye contact, began keeping to himself and wouldn't respond when we called out to him.

At first my husband and I assumed he might have hearing issues (we thought he was actually deaf). We could stand directly behind him and yell his name and it would get zero response. We took him to a NET Dr. They sent us to have his hearing checked in a very hi-tech booth (which is VERY hard to do with a 2 year old) and it came back totally fine. We were at a loss, what was wrong with our child?

My mother in law saw a commercial around this time about autism and asked me if I'd seen it. She told me the child made her think of Logan. It took some time but I finally was referred (I wish I could recall by whom, I think it was my friend Kelly) to a program called Early Intervention. Their program deals with childhood developmental delays until the age of 3 and then helps place children in programs to help them with their needs. Our care coordinator and two workers came out to evaluate Logan. It didn't take long to discover he has high functioning autism.

At first I beat myself up. Was this my fault? Why didn't I catch it sooner? But eventually we got him into the program and shortly after he began a school like program part-time. The change was drastic. He began to speak (he still only uses 1 two 2 word commands, sometimes we get lucky and he will place 2 to 3 words together, such as "where are you?") socialize with the family and show affection again. It took some time but as a parent I am so grateful to see my child be a part of our family and not sit to the outside any longer.

Which brings me to the point of my blog. For some reason, there are still people in my family that function under the thinking that my child is mentally retarded. I've explained to these people time and again that Logan doesn't have any form of retardation, that he has a social and speech developmental delay caused by his autism. They shrug me off and the next time we speak they will ask how he is doing in "slow school". It's infuriating!

One of the main offenders is my very own Grandmother. I try to keep my cool and remember that she is getting on in age and is somewhat senile but it's very difficult. She constantly compares my son to her grandchild Jessica that was born with mild mental retardation. The two are nothing alike.
It's hard for me as it is without worrying over people assuming my child is "retarded". (and for the record, even if he were, it wouldn't be ok say it so lightly) I already have to deal with the stares I get from parents standing waiting to eat lunch with their children and watching as my tiny toddler comes down the hall from his class (he is so small compared to the regular school children).
I adore my Son. Hearing things like this or watching people in the family stare at him during get togethers when he softly (he speaks VERY softly) gives a one word command irritate me to no end. He isn't slow, stupid, or retarded people! It's called Autism!!!

I realize that in our society nowadays, anything goes and this is probably something I need to just get used to and move on. Everyone views things differently I my father for example. To this very day he swears nothing is wrong with my son...since he spent the weekend with them months ago and my son followed a young boy visiting them around and mimicked what he said. I've tried to explain that copying behavior isn't a sign that he can do things on his own unprompted but my own father shrugs this off too.

Maybe it's a generational thing? Who knows (I wish I did).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It begins...

My daughter has found her "attitude". I've been told by others facing the same problem in the past "you just wait, you'll see". I always smiled and gave a laugh while thinking to myself "that will never happen to me, my daughter is an angel". Well let me tell you, I was delusional, I now see the light.

Arwen has always been a tomboy. I figured that would keep her pretty down to earth. I mean how prissy and bossy can you be while looking around outside for bugs? She began getting the 'tude a few months ago. I'd blindly hoped it was due to her not being a morning person (like her role model Mom here) and we could share our spiteful nature in the morning (and hopefully not kill one another as the years progress) but alas it is just not so. She is sour and ugly the entire day. Morning is just another time to get down right pissy.

I've taken away privledges, threatened and sent to her room, hell I've even spanked. Nothing works. She cries and screams (sometimes in a fine display of control she will throw herself in the floor, it's a sight) and when done returns to do the exact same thing that got her into trouble in the first place.

A part of me wonders if this is my punishment. I've been judgemental in the past when seeing absolute terrors in public with their parents and thought, "not me" or "why don't they bust that butt?" I realize now how stupid that thinking is. Some kids don't "get it" no matter what you do. Or maybe it's just us select few unfortunate parents that judged in the past that are getting a wake up call from the guy upstairs.
No blog would be complete without a "story" to explain just how bad the situation in question is. So here you go:
Yesterday I get a sitter and leave an hour before Arwen is due to be released from school. I get there first and am so excited to be first in line to pick up my little girl. When school releases it takes a bit to finally get her (that is another story for another day) and when she sees me she starts throwing an absolute fit "I'm thirsty!!!!!!!!!" I tell her to please calm down and try to keep my own cool while also watching my child throw a tantrum in front of other parents. I get her into the car and drive to McD's to get the child a sprite. During this time she has calmed (or else no sprite for her, no way) but as soon as she gets a draft of that frosty beverage up she starts again. "I don't like my teacher, she is mean! I don't like my hair, you did it wrong!!" get the point. I warn her repeatedly, "Arwen, if you don't stop, you're going to your room when we get home". Nothing works.
Finally we reach the road that leads to our home and she starts yet again. I tell her this time "either you stop right now or I'm pulling over and you're getting a spanking". She replies, "no you won't".
Needless to say, I pulled the car over, walked around the car, opened her door and gave a firm slap toward her leg. Sadly I smacked the seat belt clasp instead but I'd proven my point. She stared at me as if to say "wow! she actually DID pull over".
Then I leaned close and whispered "next time I'm pulling YOU out of the car". I stood and put my hair back into place before turning around to see some person standing on their porch. I kept my head held high and walked back to the drivers side to slide into the car again. (I still have my pride damn it!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

School Days

Today was our daughter's very first day of kindergarten. I didn't get alot of sleep last night so it took a few minutes to wake up* (I woke immediately when I realized I had to do her hair and pack her lunch and snack) and get in gear.

I got her looking pretty and took some pictures at then it hit me, my baby isn't a baby anymore. I'm not sure when she got so big or so grown up. She looked at me with those beautiful browns and that winning smile and I wanted to tear up. I held it back and told her how lovely she looked and gave her tons of kisses.

Jimbo just called to tell me that it was equally hard for him when he dropped her off in class. He said she was totally fine and seemed excited to be there. I'm not sure if this will ever become easier, no matter how many times we do it. In fact I think by the time Annabel starts kindergarten I'll be a wreck.

Time sure does pass quickly. Blink and you'll certainly miss something.
*due to Annabel's night owl ways, she kept me up all night long. Don't you love sleep deprevation?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Kids, school and a Van

Since the topics are so different I wanted to blog about this seperately.

My oldest child starts school this year! The big Kindergarden girl. I'm worried sick and nervous which confuses me since she attended pre-school for a year. I should be used to her leaving in the morning and returning in the afternoon but I'm not. Perhaps it is due to the fact that this school is VERY different from her pre-school.

We have placed her into a private catholic school in the city. The school has a great reputation for excellence (which is why we placed her there) and values. The only problem is my daughter is VERY stubborn and independant. She's began to push the boundaries here at home and I really worry she will be that one problem child in her class.

We went to her Kindergarden orientation and I sat worried as the teacher explained she is very strict and the children will probably come home and complain that entire first week because of it. She told us that she starts out hard and stays that way or the children will walk all over her and the class. She then explained the "fish" that each child has and how they are taken for each infraction. Basically there are cardboard fishes that each child has in their number slot. For each time they get into trouble a fish is taken. The fish are colored: Green then Yellow then Red then Black. Black means a trip to the office to call home...I have a sinking fear she will reach black within the first week alone...perhaps the first day.

Then my 4 year old son with high functioning autism starts his school the very next week full time. I'm very very nervous about this. He will go in at 8am and get out at 3pm. This is a long day for a 4 year old and I don't know how well he will take the change.

These two things bring me to an important issue. Jimbo and I got out last weekend and made a very very important purchase. We bought a minivan. We'd argued for a time over getting an SUV over a van. Jimbo doesn't like minivans at all. He pushed hard to get an SUV and I shopped around for one. Too bad the prices alone were out of our budget but the gas mileage was just crazy. So he caved and we began the search.

The first weekend we went was a bust. We found a Dodge Caravan that we liked with low mileage but it had a "thump thump" when you hit 50 and the dealer wouldn't fix it so we moved on. On the way home we drove by a place and I saw some vans and we almost didn't turn around as we were tired and wanted to get home. Good thing we stopped. For sale was a very nice and small Mazda minivan. It caught my eye immediately since it didn't "look" like other vans we'd shopped and when I looked inside I was in love. Leather interior, sliding seats, and more than enough room for our children (plus the side windows roll down, the back seats fold to make more room and did I mention it is smaller?). The mileage was a bit higher than the 100k I'd wanted but not so much that we didn't inquire inside. The dealer was closing but told us to come back Monday and gave us a card.

We came back Monday and got to take a look inside and take the van for a test drive. We drove it to my fathers shop and put it on the rack. All looked great and for the price (this MPV was priced thousands of dollars LESS than all the others for sale that didn't have leather interior) we just couldn't pass it up, so we went inside and made the deal and now she sits pretty in our driveway.

Luckily we just paid off our Toyota Camry and have decided to keep her as well since she only has 85k miles and is a wonderful car. Jimbo bought her for me for my birthday 4 years ago.

So I am now an offical minivan Mom and have the car pictured above to prove it! Now to prepare for sitting in the long pick up lines at school!!