Thursday, September 18, 2008

Until Next Time

Friends, I want you to know how much I appreciate the support I've gotten here.

I am afraid it might be time to take my blog underground. Or just stop. I don't know.

All I know is that I don't have the heart for getting so dark out in public anymore, and my quests for light have not succeeded the way we had all hoped.

The rooster tried a medicine, and slowly, over time, it began to help. And then it stopped helping. No one knows why. Maybe it never really had helped after all? Maybe it peaked? Maybe he grew and then it wasn't enough? All I know is that I had a similar experience with blogging. It helped, it peaked, now it's not enough. I don't know what the rooster needs, and I don't know what I need, but we're going to pursue some plan Bs for now.

I suddenly realized that I was going to say goodbye when I thought and thought and thought about what I'd write in tonight's blog, but nothing I wanted to write seemed bearable. For you or for me.

You know, I never in my wildest dreams imagined it would be fathomable that I could feel sadder about my kids' childhood than I felt about my own. Alas. There is always something worse. I understand this on a real level, and at the same time, I cannot summon my imagination to work hard enough to imagine what worse at our house would look like than it does right now, any more than I can imagine what a billion dollars in ones would look like stacked in my back yard. Because it's too unlikely and too impossible.

I have had the most incredible support through this blog, and I weep with gratitude to think of it. I have been a tedious person to read, I know that. I wish I could buy you all presents. In lieu of gifts, I at least can offer this one upbeat note as I sign off.

Yesterday, a boy in the rooster's class was crying at nap time because he missed his mommy. The rooster walked over to him, patted his back, and said, "Don't worry, J, it'll be okay, mommies always come back."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I admit with great shame how little I know about the hurricanes that hit our country, or how those of you in the affected areas are faring. (Though I have been sending good thoughts, of course.) What I know, I learned from the blogs I read.
I wouldn't be able to name a movie made in the last year if I didn't drive down Billboard Strip on my commute, where the titles and the celebrity likenesses loom large enough that the Rooster points them out to me.
I heard about the bum call in the Chargers/Broncos game from lunch room talk and thought I'd Google for the full scoop, but haven't had the chance.
I just have precious little contact with the outside world.
But two stories have penetrated my bubble, capturing my attention, and I'm dwelling.
About the first -- the Sarah Palin story -- I am at a loss for words.
But the other -- the train wreck in Los Angeles -- brings me to this blog to write tonight when really I should be sleeping, because I need to process it here.
I live not too far from that terrible train wreck. In case it didn't penetrate your bubble, a Metro train and a freight train collided, killing and injuring many people.
Now, if we turn on our only television, it's almost always for a Rooster to get his daily fix of Curious George. He doesn't really allow us to watch "Mommy and Daddy TV," and we don't want the kids to see the news, anyway. Car time means kids books on tape. Internet time means blogging and email. But I have snuck a few minutes here and there to find coverage of this train wreck. Today, although I never had time for an official lunch, I dropped by the lunch room to find the newspaper. I have no idea why I feel so compelled to follow the tragedy, when I avoid tear-jerker books, close my eyes during sad parts of movies. But today I read about how at least two of the victims in this latest train crash also had been victims of the previous worst Los Angeles train crash. One of these two men survived both crashes; he has terrible injuries, but he will leave the hospital in time. The other, a hero who rescued others during the first crash, did not make it this time. A tragedy.
Reporters asked the man in the hospital: Does this make you lucky, since both times you survived, or unlucky, because twice you found yourself in train crashes. The question itself stopped me in my tracks for several moments as I thought about what my answer would be before I let myself find out his response.
What do you think he said?
What would you say?
He said: Only time will tell.
Sarah Palin. Autism. There are a lot of things that fit that man's description: only time will tell.
There are all kinds of train wrecks.
There are all kinds of tragedies.
The wife of the man who perished said, "Last time, my husband came home." Such a tragedy.
And yet I read someone who talked about why that man had continued to ride the train. Didn't he get scared from the first wreck? No, it said. He didn't chose to live that way. He liked his commute, liked the camaraderie of the train, didn't believe in living in fear. The person quoted said that if instead of dying in this second wreck, the man had lived but lost his legs, he would have wheeled himself on to another train to commute to work.
I guess I'm thinking a lot about perspective. I am thinking about the perspective I have versus the perspective I want to have. I am thinking about tragedy and triumph, fear and courage, train wrecks and survival.
To me it feels tragic to read of that hero dying in this latest crash. It also feels tragic that my grandma is gone. But which is worse? Would that man on the train have preferred the route my grandma's life took, at the end, or would she have preferred his ending?
We all die. My initial reaction to that thought is a feeling of grief. But maybe I just need to work on my perspective. Yes, there are train wrecks, and yes, they are tragic. But maybe not everything is a train wreck. Maybe sometimes I make train wrecks out of little fender benders.
Okay, I'm tired and I'm making exceptionally weak metaphors here, but what I'm processing here is what I have to learn from those two men who had been in both crashes. For one thing, the both kept on riding. They refused to let tragedy stop them. And the man in the back brace recuperating for a second time makes a good point; you can't have perspective on good luck versus bad luck so soon after the wreck. Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Getting it Out of My System

Please let me know how I contact your corporate headquarters. If you don't let me know how, I will research and find out, and I will pass along the information that you did not let me know along with the rest of this letter. It might not be effective, but writing it and sending it are the only satisfaction to be had when dealing with your dreadful organization.

I am writing to tell you why you have not JUST lost my business permanently online and in your brick and mortar store, but why I will share my story with everyone I know, just as I used to tell them how convenient I found your service. What I hope that you learn is that you clearly do not understand your market. It really should be obvious that people use your online service because they can't get to the store, and they NEED what they NEED as conveniently as possible. Why on earth would you have a "no substitutions" option on your grocery order form and then repeatedly insist on sending substitutions anyway? And why on earth would it be that my complaints by phone, online, AND in person to the driver do not one bit of good and only waste my precious time? I have been reassured repeatedly over a period of months that my account would be marked "absolutely no substitutions." This is not about me being a difficult customer. As I have explained to no avail, this about me being a working mom to an autistic child, and when you substitute the gluten free items I carefully select with garbage he can't eat, it infuriates me. YES, I had developed the habit of checking my groceries as they arrived, which is a CHALLENGE I don't want or need, but last time you delivered I had a babysitter so that I could attend a meeting at my child's school, and I came home to find bags full of gluten filled Snappea substitutions and other JUNK that we can't eat and I don't have the time to return. I don't have the time to write this letter, in fact, but I will make time, just as I will to find your corporate headquarters' address, spread the word to all I know through my blog, and find the time to shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and any other store but yours.

Your customer service people are rude and ill-named; there is no service there. You are a failure at all the reasons why I choose to shop online - convenience and time savings. I hope whoever is responsible for the shambles there spends some time needing help from DMV in the near future; you need a taste of your own medicine.


Room at the Inn

Dear Hotel Manager,
I decided to write to you because I knew if I tried to explain this to you aloud I probably couldn't get through it.

My husband and I live down the street from here, about 1.25 miles. We admire how beautiful this place is, and when my mom comes from the East Coast I am hoping she will stay here.

We have two beautiful children who we adore, but, honestly, look at us -- we are a wreck. Now, I know probably a lot of people feel this way! Lots of families never get enough rest. But I think we might get fewer hours of sleep than most. Our oldest child, who we nicknamed the Rooster, has autism. He keeps us going a million miles an hour all day, but then he doesn't rest well at all at night. He has to take herbs to try to help him sleep. We call him our Rooster because we awaken to his crows. And our youngest, our 2-year-old daughter, has started waking up several times every night. For three and a half years, we never got a whole night's rest. Now it's better than that, but not what you would call normal... one or two nights a week, we might both get a good seven hours of shut eye. It takes its toll, physically and mentally. Eventually we run out of the necessary steam we need to run a home with two working parents, two high maintenance children, and autism.

None of our family lives here, but we are very lucky we do have someone who knows our children well, loves them fiercely, and once in a while can babysit for us. We have her for four hours tonight, Hallelujah!

Some people would go out for a fancy meal, a movie, or a show. Those things sound wonderful to us, too, as they are not part of our lives these days. But what sounds better to us? A nap. Blackout curtains. Fluffy pillows. Maybe - but not necessarily - a soak in a warm tub.

We came to rent a room. For just a few hours.

Can we? We have heard that your hotel doesn't do that -- I assume that is about illegal activities that might happen when people check in for a few short hours. I can promise you this: the most excitement that will happen in our room -- if you agree to let us book one -- will happen in our dreams, because we really don't have the energy for real life excitement. We would be the easiest guests you ever had.

Please consider our request. We aren't rich, and this isn't a splurge we could ever do on a regular basis. And we wouldn't even ask if we didn't feel desperate for the sake of ourselves and our kids. Please will you let us get the break we need so we can go back and be able to successfully meet the needs of our challenging family?

Rooster's mom and dad

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tell Me...

What would you say if your doctor said, "Tell me about your stress"?

When mine asked, I told him I didn't have a clue what to tell him about my stress. (Why didn't he just say, "So, summarize the encyclopedia for me"?)

He wasn't taking no for an answer. I went in to talk about tummy troubles. I wanted to talk about my symptoms, and possible solutions. Again, as I am feeling worse and worse. I was a little annoyed at how much time he wanted to spend in chairs, blah-blah-blahing when I have been telling him for MONTHS that I have some issues going on. Physical ones. "Tell me about your stress."

So I told him, "I have a lot of it."

He said that is why he wanted me to tell him about it.

What would you say? I mean, really, what would you say? Picture it. Your stomach hurts, you are not sleeping well, it's your third visit to this office, which means it's the third time you've dashed away from work, at this rate parking fee will hit the $14 max, and this guy has barely ever touched the gizmos in his little black doctor's kit. You're still sitting in chairs; you haven't even crinkled the paper on the exam table yet. He wants to chat. About your stress.

I thought I felt my anger flare.

But then I heard myself say quietly: "My son is autistic." And my eyes welled up. "My son is autistic, my daughter is two, my husband and I have demanding careers, we don't have family nearby."

The anger seemed gone, and I felt very, very tired.

"I understand," he said. "So what do you do for yourself to deal with this stress?"

And the anger came back again for a flash.

"Did I mention my son is autistic?" He got me a tissue.

Now, stress is NOT what is making my stomach hurt. It surely does not help, it may even exacerbate the problem. But I do have some medical issues going on, and eventually this guy got to that.

He is a good doctor. I probably sound like I have an axe to grind with regard to doctors, and that is not true. I know some amazing doctors, women and men who I hold in the highest esteem. This doctor cares, he listens, he pays attention, and he offers solutions -- he might go about it a little slowly, but, hey, it beats the bum's rush. It is good -- no, it is right -- that he looks at his patients holistically, that he appreciates the role that emotion plays in overall health.

What surprised me today is how I reacted. It's been months since our diagnosis, and I freely talk about my Rooster's struggles. I didn't realize I would still get annoyed by people hinting at my need to take yoga or get massages for a little me time that just doesn't jive with our reality. I didn't realize it would still make me well up to say, "My son is autistic."

I have often replayed in my mind conversations I've had, wondering how I might have done them better, what I might have said. I have thought a lot today about my answer to, "Tell me about your stress." My own answer still shocks me on some level. I am sincerely curious: If the doctor said it to you, what would you say?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


J is one of my two favorite letters in the alphabet. J starts my husband's name, and it also comes first in the names of many amazing women in my life. Today, I struck gold with Js.

I love many things about my friend long-distance friend J, but one thing I particularly admire is her faith.

I never feel comfortable talking about that subject -- faith -- here on this blog, and as a matter of fact I don't have a lot to say about it right now. I'm still swimming. But I do feel comfortable telling you about J, as I have a lot faith in -- her faith. It's powerful. It amazes me.

Very early this morning, a difficult morning for many reasons (only one of which related to autism, if you can believe that), I opened my email to find kind words from J. I really needed it, and when she closed by saying she would pray for a bright spot in my day today, you know of course that I couldn't stop the tears of gratitude.

You'd think I would have found a moment to write her back today, but life slammed me, and the first time I have had for writing anything came right now. Hopefully she's reading this (because, J, I know you'll approve of me flying in the face of my infamous bad-luck "deities," and telling everyone about the bright spot you sent us).

The bright spot brings me to another amazing J, the one who watches my rooster for an hour every day after school at the daycare program. In my opinion, this J has a tough job. She watches kids age 3 to 12 for two and a half hours after school each day. She supervises their play, feeds them snack, manages their comings and goings, coordinates their study activities, and deals with their parents. Needless to say, it can get chaotic in daycare. But J handles it with grace. She has excellent experience; before she came to work for us, she worked with special ed kids in the public school system, so she has learned patience and creativity, and she also is the sister to one of my former boyfriends, so I KNOW she can handle challenges! (Just kidding, R.) Still, mixing in my wild child, still in diapers and exhausted by 3:30 each day, well, where I come from down South, people would say J "has more than she can say grace over." Once in a while she needs to call me early to say the rooster can't quite handle the whole hour of daycare, and I appreciate that. If J says it, I believe it. She doesn't pull any punches.

Today I walked in to the daycare room a few minutes early. I didn't feel well, not well at all, and I wanted to get the kids in the car as soon as I could and head home for some medicine.

When J saw me coming, she got the look on her face -- the look that says, "I need to talk to YOU." I suddenly felt much worse. Very sick. Oy. I thought about telling her, "Sorry, can't talk, not well..." But you can see the bright spot coming, can't you?

She wanted me to know that a new boy came to daycare today, a boy the same age as the Rooster. The two came in hitting each other, which is not okay. But then the other boy wanted to play cars, and there were none left. He grabbed one from another child, but J made him give it back. All of a sudden, the Rooster says, "Here! I have two. You can have one!"

I waited. J's lips had stopped moving. This story did not sink in, did not add up, did not seem complete at first. An awkward pause lingered. Maybe she didn't know how to say the rest? I said, "And then he grabbed it right back again?"

"No!" J laughed. "Look! They are still sharing!"

My poor iPhone. I used up the entire battery clicking pictures of the Rooster with his... with his... oh, I am sorry long-distance J, I haven't come as far as I thought. I can't put all the good words out there. After all, we still have to survive again tomorrow in the world with all our dysregulation and idiosyncrasies. But let's just say I got some good pictures of the Rooster with his ... NOT ENEMY (YET).

I send good thoughts out to all of you. If you want to send thoughts of us, please make them for more bright spots. We would be ever so grateful.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

So How are Things?

Lately, I can feel the need on the other end of the phone line, and it is a need I cannot meet.

Not from one person in particular, but from a few devoted, loving cheerleaders who call long distance to check on all of us here, I feel the need that goes unspoken. They need me to tell them that something - anything - got better here. They love me, love us, enough to call, to ask, to listen, many times over, and I understand their support fatigue. Believe me I do. And they have given us all so much, in so many ways, that when I feel their need, a part of me rises up, wanting to meet it. But the rest of me riots. Uh-uh. Nope. Sorry. This week, at least, no more needs can be met under this roof than the ones of those living under this roof. Very sorry.

Things are not getting better here, they are getting worse. It isn't what you want to hear, and it isn't what I want to say, but it is what it is, and it is survival through ugliness, moment by moment.

I want to say: Add yours to the pile of unmet needs, and forgive me.

I know that they do. I know that forgiveness comes as part of the package of anyone who braved calling our zoo in the first place. I am glad they still call, to be honest.

Maybe someday I'll be able to meet their need.
It would bring us all great joy.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Well, today the teachers described the day as "Bumpy." I always appreciate this euphemism they use. It evokes, for me, the image of a rash, or knots forming on recently bumped heads, or sandpaper, and it really works better than the words I use when people ask me about the weekends. Those words I can't print here - this is a family show.

So, the school day was bumpy. Then, I heard my name paged a half hour prior to when I usually pick up the rooster from daycare. Rooster's AMAZING teacher needed to let me know that he melted down completely after knocking over a child's construction and then refusing to apologize. She wanted to know: Could I come?

Yes, bumpy. But once I picked up the rooster, I expected things to go downhill quickly. I figured picking up his sister would take things from bad to worse, and I braced for more.

We found Peaches playing with one of her new teachers in the gym, which was other unoccupied because after school activities don't begin for a week or so. Peaches and her buddy IF were racing around the empty space playing with balls. Rooster ran in, ready to steal away the cool new shiny soccer ball, but did I mention Peaches' new teacher is young, fit, smart, savvy, and rides a motorcycle? She immediately sensed the situation and managed to subtly tweak it to get the rooster and IF involved in what could look for all the world like a game of soccer. A game. Together. On the same team. Within 30 seconds she manipulated them into cooperation like a snake oil salesman. It was beautiful. I truly almost cried for all manner of reasons as my boy managed to just barely keep up with a child half his age but together kick the ball into the net. To. Geth. Er.

I walked up to hot new teacher and asked, "Do you have experience working with special needs kids?" And she said, while still managing six kids age 6 months to 4 1/2 with one other teacher, "Well, just a little working with a couple of high functioning autistic kids." I just pointed at the Rooster, who has barely met this teacher. She and I both knew as we watched him that he'd love to steal the ball, knock IF on his face, and run for the border, but she continued to pull the strings and work the magic of at least the appearance of kiddy cooperation, and no one got hurt or sad. She said, "Yeah, I kind of just started to get that vibe when you guys came in, I mean, like, I worked with boys who were super high functioning and all, but like the Rooster they weren't so good at... well, what is the word I'm looking for?"

I wanted to buy her presents and hug her for her generous way, for her skills and her comfort in the face of discomfort. She was still running the game, watching the babies, checking on the other teacher...

"Socialization?" I offered.

"Yes," she said. "Thanks. They just needed help with socialization, with playing well with other kids."

All of a sudden the rooster knocked down little IF in a calculated move to make it look like an accident. The teacher never missed a beat, "Wow, IF, great recovery, that was great. I think the rooster is going to pass you the ball now so you both can score! Great, you guys, run! Run! Run!" And they ran. And the ball. Went in. The goal. And the boys. Were happy. Both of them. For over a minute, no less.

I wasn't taking any chances. Desperate to leave on a high note for once, I grabbed my kids and dashed to our car, promising popsicles at home for everyone doing soooooooooo well in the gym.

Tired, they barely tried to kill each other in the car. They actually stared out their windows in silence once in a while, and no hostile words were exchanged until the last few blocks of the drive.

And so we survived the second day of school. With only one more day to go, some would call this a short week, but they would be wrong. It is not a short week. The way I see it, it is the bumpy start to a very long year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Today, the first day of school, seemed like a day of grace.

In other words, by virtue of not going horribly, we consider it a success. We have a sliding scale here, and low standards.

Or, to get specific, this is what passes for a banner day for us (and I know without any doubt that we are unlikely to have more such days in our immediate future):

The blood tests the Rooster needed got him to school less than an hour late, and his father took him this time.
The third shadow assigned for fall actually showed up for the first day of school only half an hour late, but had a good excuse and seemed like she might really work out and actually have a commitment to showing up on a regular basis. Though she has to leave early every day this week.
The consultants coming to my important meeting for work showed up 35 minutes late and kept my bosses and me waiting awkwardly, but they had good ideas and showed real potential. I just don't think we'll be able to afford them.
Balancing my mommy job at school and my school job at school did not keep me from eating real food during a real lunch period. Someone even shared their fruit tart with me for dessert. So much for dieting.
The biting incident that happened in Rooster's class DIDN'T INVOLVE HIM. (For this, I did a happy dance.)
Peaches only cried a little when I left her in her classroom for her first ever day of real, big girl, half-day preschool.
No grownups cried. Not even me. Not even my coworkers.
I did not have to pull the car over on the way home to stop any bleeding or assaults in the back seat.
I did not overreact to my kids' poor behavior in any way that would have caused me to have to apologize to the children for losing my marbles.
I managed to make hypochondria jokes at my own expense over my current and recurrent health fears regarding tummy trouble, though I'm sure I'll be sleepless later tonight envisioning my imminent demise and worrying who will do the laundry when I'm gone.
After all the chores, I have enough left in me to blog.

You see? Banner day. I am thinking of sending out press releases. But you realize I'm in for an awful day tomorrow, don't you?

I'll keep you posted. I can already envision tomorrow's blog: The High Price You Pay after a Day of Grace

Monday, September 1, 2008


We got a babysitter.
For three hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, it might be my journalism background, but usually overuse of the exclamation point offends my sensibilities. Just like huge fonts in banner headlines, it must be justified.

Let me assure you, the punctuation is warranted.

We had. A. Terrible. Terrible. TERRIBLE weekend. Three days of terrible, of LABOR, thanks for nothing federal government. Today?



Very bad.

The brink.

You could sense the hopeless by NINE A.M. yesterday, with still a day to go. And we are morning people. By ten, I looked at my husband and said, "CALL THE SITTER. Text her. Tell her we'll take ANYTHING. We'll pay ANYTHING. Beg, if you must, but please CALL THE SITTER." He texted her to keep from frightening her with the combat noises in the background and negotiated enough to arrange for her to come today at 4 p.m. We quickly did the math and realized we had a long way to go, so we tried all our best tricks.

By today, I had such an upset stomach I considered going to the E.R.

But four finally came. In the last forty minutes, I managed to hide most of the, clean up a little, make the kids' dinners, lay out their supplies, write the sitter a note, prepare Peaches to like the sitter who had only previously watched her brother alone, pack lunches for tomorrow, and take off the filthy clothes from spending a day with snarling, my kids.

Four came, and so did the sitter. I warned her, I thanked her, I prepared her, I encouraged her, I told her she was saving our lives, not just our sanity. I promised to be home on time, seven sharp. I admitted we had no idea where we would be, just OUT, and I promised to have cell phone in hand at all times.

I kissed the snarling... I mean darling... children, and I ran.

The cell phone rang after an hour. It rang as we sat eating cheap comfort food that was too spicy for my still knotted, rotted, throbbing belly, and I knew when it rang who it would be. After all, most of our friends have all but given up on calling me. I knew who it would be, but still I had a shock in store...

The sitter called to say: he fell asleep. The rooster went in his room and put himself to bed. At six p.m. Right after biting his sister -- hard -- on her hip, he took a bath, got out, and cratered, completely unprompted.

She wanted to know: should she wake him? Good Lord, when the child who never slept for the first three years of his life VOLUNTARILY goes to sleep, I imagine he MUST BE TIRED, so I said thank you, thank you, no. Please let him sleep. I knew he'd wake before we returned, and then a little Melatonin would help him get even more rest.

At seven, we walked into some strangers' house. Looks like ours, but quieter. Subdued. Like ours, two kids live there, but these two clean smelling souls wearing matching pajamas spoke to us quietly before politely saying goodbye to the sitter.

The sitter, by the way, thinks I'm just a crazy drama queen. I actually love that. Otherwise no way on earth could I afford her.

It seems both children slept a little in our absence, and it had done them a world of good. (We tried so hard to get them to nap all day that we even drove them up and down the freeway -- forgive us, Earth -- in holiday weekend traffic in one of the most trafficky cities in America, with books on tape and everything short of a swinging pocket watch, to no avail.)

With three hours of normalcy, of being able to look one another in the eyes and be a couple, of being able to debrief and comfort one another, of being able to BREATHE, my husband and I also came back a bit restored.

At seven, we all settled down together for story time. The Rooster's scary voice had been replaced by the voice we cherish, and after Peaches showed us her bite booboo, everyone seemed mollified. We got through the nighttime routines without blood shed.

So what I'm telling you is, we made it through another day. I can read the words of wisdom in the comments and in my email and feel the welcome support and contemplate facing another day again tomorrow. I'm not looking for an open window...

Because WE GOT A SITTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, you go get one too, you out there who needs one. Sell something on EBay if you have to, but get out for three hours. And keep passing open windows.

(Special loving gratitude to J and Friends of Rooster; you know who you are.)

Binge and Purge

I think I've alluded a few times to my new voracious reading of all the autism/special needs blogs I can find, but I have mentioned in the way one might mention, "Oh, I had a few snacks," when what I really should confess (in order to spur perhaps an intervention) is, "7-Eleven is empty because I inhaled every Dorito, bag of Whoppers, and Slim Jim in the place. And by the way, I'm craving more, so look out, Wawa." If special-needs-parenting blogs had caloric content, I'd need gastric bypass tomorrow.

It looks like this. Any time I am not at work, I have my husband's laptop, my kid's desktop, or my own iPhone open to Google Reader. There, I pull in about twenty-some blogs about autism (and about education). When I have read them all, I begin to read their blogrolls. When I have read all the blogs by the bloggers followed by the bloggers I follow, I Google for more.

What on earth is it I'm trying to find?

On the face of it, it's a mystery. After all, twenty-something blogs I read provide me a healthy diet of what I have needed, wanted, sought. I read the blogs of smart, caring, wise, intuitive moms who face daily challenges and serve as a good example to me. You'd think I could read them once, digest, feel satisfied, grow. I care deeply about so many kids I've never seen, and it's a huge blessing. I also gain tremendous friendship, camaraderie, community, and have no excuse for feeling lonely.

But beneath the surface, maybe I'm doing more than comfort binging?

Maybe I still think, okay, autism, but what else? What else are we dealing with in our Rooster? Okay, he's autistic, but he's also so freaking DARK. The darkness doesn't show up much in my reading. In fact, I read so much LIGHT. It can't just be that all parents BUT ME are able to see past the dark and write only about the goodness, can it? Am I that skewed? Maybe my blogmarathon means I'm trying to figure out if that is the situation, or maybe I'm trying to diagnose this darkness, or, forgive me if this offends you, cure it. The rooster is so angry all the time lately. He scares me. I scare me. What I see of me in him scares and depresses me. It's the rage. This rage. We all have bits of it in us, don't we? I have always thought of my bits as healthy bits, of expressions of not settling for less, of fuel I can use when I need to fight. I don't watch movies, don't like them, but a friend told me once that my occasional anger reminded him of the film Red Dawn, when one character says to another (something like): "You got a lot of hate in you, boy." And the ME character replies without missing a beat, "Keeps me warm." Maybe my own rage is more of a problem than I realize. Maybe it's bigger than I thought. But I'm more worried about his rage than mine. Lately the rooster is on fire. Just like when we first floated the autism question, I scoured the Internet for proof, found blogs, dove in, felt kind of at home. But the truth is, I never found the Rooster's rage described in the autism blogosphere. Doesn't mean he isn't autistic. Just means maybe there is more.

Yeah, I've started reading bipolar blogs, too.

I think soon my husband is going to snip our wireless router.

And, again, I don't like movies, but I remember bits of an old movie called What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I can't remember much about Gilbert except that he had special needs, but I can tell you this: I am feeling a lot like his mother these days. If I remember right, I think she ate so much and grew so large she couldn't leave her house. Sure I need to lose ten pounds, but I feel just like her on the inside lately. The way I remember it, Gilbert Grape's mom was looking for something she couldn't find.

Keeps me warm.