Thursday, May 26, 2011

Rooster Style

My Roo loses teeth a bit like how he was born... slowly, needing a tug or two, and in somewhat of a dramatic fashion. He does things his way, that sweet boy of ours, and tonight he lost a tooth Rooster-style.

For the last few days, he has started crying unexpectedly. It caught us off guard. He isn't prone to fits of sadness. But what really threw me? When I asked him what upset him, he said, "I am going to miss you when you die, Mama." The mantra he tells me lately: "Mommy, you are going to get old, and then I'm going to be alone. I don't want you and daddy to die."

My husband wants me to tell our boy that we will never die. I can't lie, though --- it's virtually beyond my powers to tell lies. Plus, what would the DEITIES do with such a pronouncement? So I tell my boy, "I have no plans to go away, my love, I'm right here with you now, hoping to be here a very long time, and I love taking care of you. Let's go make some happy memories right now, okay?" He dries his eyes and nods.

There are people who know my boy who can't stand his unique ways; they find him too loud, it bothers them how he takes his own time meander along while they race from A to Z, and they would like to control him, soften his dramatic edges. But there are others who respond to him with an affection similar to that which he stirs in me, who catch his contagious enthusiasm and delight in it. These people make a point to tell me things like, "You know, he is a special boy." I realize lately that I divide the world into these two camps, and lately I only have heart for the latter. Someday I hope to have the patience and good will to reach out to the others, to teach them the error of their ways, to help enlighten them to what they miss when they choose not to make a friend in my little guy. For now, though, I have no time for anyone who does not dearly love a little boy with a jack-o-lantern grin, an elfish run, and a heart bigger than the sun and moon and stars.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lucky Seven

Magical milestones to celebrate as my boy turns seven:
  • He asked for a party.
  • Friends came to his party.
  • He had fun playing with friends at his party. (Yes, these are milestones. Take that, autism.)
  • When the party venue offered him free ice cream and I had to say no, he can't, he didn't even say a word, just enjoyed the special cake I baked him.
  • He could read his cards to me himself; at least, when he had enough patience to read the cards and not rip into the box... often it went something like this. "Have a happy birthday and I hope....OOOOOH, MOMMY, I think there are RACE CARS IN HERE!!!!"
  • He played a game. For. An. Hour. With the option of quitting sooner. Nope, he wanted to PLAY! With his buddy! And, when no one won, well, I think maybe we all did!!!!
  • He smiled and said "cheese" for a few photos ... sometimes even looking in the direction of the camera.
  • The photos show the big gap where he's missing a tooth; one more hangs by a thread. He looks adorable! But I am biased. But I'm also right. And he's also adorable. Because I adore him. So there.
  • I promised him a pinata, and I bought him one, but the party venue said no. Meltdown? Drama? Tears? Whining? No, no, no, and no. Score!
  • He wore his very special and dearly loved knight costume for the party. Another child asked to wear it. I bet by now you can guess what happened. SHARING! Happiness!
  • Someone gave him a movie he loves as a gift. He asked to watch it tonight. I said he could see a few minutes. Drama? Tears? Score again! My boy was just happy. He said he loved his day.
OKAY, deities, listen up, because this is serious. My little Roo had a good birthday, and I need to say it. Once every seven years or so, I expect a free pass. So. Back. Off. Let seven be our lucky number, and let the good times roll.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Math. How is That for a Title?

Sometimes I say out loud, "I wish I could find..."

And sometimes the universe hears me and answers by way of the blogosphere.

If you are interested in helping students who have autism learn math, as I am, read this:

It was posted on my very favorite education blog for practical resources, Even my husband knows I have an intellectual kind of adoration of Richard Byrne -- or whatever. It is a phenomenal place to go for straightforward tips about tools, learning, instruction, school, etc. Subscribe to it! You will never be sorry. But this post is a guest post by Torrey Trust ( I am headed over there right now to see what other gems I can discover. Already I am adoring Torrey, too...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tired Meme

I am tired
Of being tired,
Of talking about my tired,
Of yawning, swollen-eyed, in a bleary mirror
Of lather-rinse-repeat fatigue;
Aren't you tired, at least, at last, of this poem? Of me?

I am tired
of complaining,
of trying not to complain,
of admiring optimists,
of fearing optimism,
of the known quantity of my kvetching
even as I write this.

I am tired
of guilt - others' guilt as well as my own;
of pity - getting and giving;
of comparisons, of stares, of explanations;
of sorry, please, thank you, and the lack thereof.

Coming and going, backward and forward tired.

I am tired of seeing the fatigue around me
in my generous circle
of those who desperately want to help each other
and would
if not for their own, real, unflagging, well earned
Are you nodding a sleepy head?

I am tired
of those who are not tired, who,
at the salon, in the mall, on the talk show, in their bubbles contribute to the crush of exhaustion
sometimes with tiresome judgments and cruel commentary,
with malice and indifference;
of those who, alas, do not merit a place in poetry.

I am tired
of poor word choices;
of thinking about the r word;
of people saying spectrum but meaning only sky blue and teal.

I am tired
around and pertaining to parenting,
around and pertaining to special needs,
but not of them.
I am tired of not being the best I can be,
for and with my kids,
but not of them.
For them, I will be tired.
For them, I would not choose the restive road.
My tired friends, you know what I mean.

I own that tired is Okay. There is worse than tired.
I have a tired mantra I offer my kids.
"Try. Learn. Love. And be happy."
Worn to cliche, I do not know if they hear me.
But I hear me.
And still, though weary, I rise.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bright Knight

My son will turn 7 next week.

If you are a parent, you know how that can sentence can spin me into a dizzying stupefaction.

If you are a special needs parent, you know that sentence comes with the onus of ... duhn duhn duhn... deciding how to celebrate.

I almost feel like I should just rest my overwhelmed head in my two hands in a dark corner and not come out until he turns 21 and I can just buy him a beer or something.

My beautiful, charming, funny, complicated, sensitive, loving, challenging, delightful boy will turn seven next week no matter how much that shocks and exhausts me, and he simply and absolutely deserves to be celebrated, so I am trying my level-headed best to get it together and throw him a... a... (ohholycowamicrazyorwhat)...a party.

See, he doesn't want to go to Disneyland this year. He cannot be distracted and deterred by bribes of rides and slides and pricey tickets and the Fast Pass. This year, he totally gets it that it's his birthday and he gets to call the shots. First, I thought he told me that he wanted a "night party." Well, he's also been telling me he how much he likes the girls and how he likes the "sassy" way they walk, and I thought he envisioned himself in high school musical or something. Then his sister translated. "No! He wants a party in 'SHINING ARMOR' mommy!" Oh! So much more age appropriate! And so it became the plan.

My knight has invited his whole first grade class, and his pals from social skills, and a neighbor, plus I threw in a few ringers who I know love us enough to show. I think I hand wrote 40 invitations about a week ago, then I did an evite. We have 3 RSVPS so far. Good enough. I spent part of my weekend creatively solving the problem of how to make a knight theme work with no weapons or potential calamities or law suits, and then I handed my paycheck over to Oriental Trading, Amazon, and Castle Park. Next up, I will find our metropolis' finest nut free, gluten free, casein and soy free, chocolate treat that can be designed in the shape of a castle or dragon or what-have-you.

All I know is this.
Autism might be hard, and I might hate parties, and I might dread the unanticipated surprises that are likely to occur, and why exactly do kids parties have to cost more than my savings for retirement, BUT...
I can still vividly remember birthdays one and two and three... they are microscopically tattooed within my wrinkles... and they were hard, and I was scared, and my boy didn't want to celebrate. It wasn't fun. He didn't play with his friends. I wondered if he would ever be happy. I wondered if we would make it. Nothing felt right, and autism seemed to rain our parties out. And so we stopped having them.
And here we are. This year, my boy wants a party, and he wants to have fun, and he wants his friends to come. Some things stink, but some things feel kind of right. It's drizzling now, but the forecast calls for sunny skies again soon. We have a lot to celebrate.

Seven years ago, I carried around a gigantic belly full of a boy only I could hold, a secret joy all for myself. Seven years ago next week, I got the best birth day present, my very favorite boy, and I had to figure out how to start sharing him with the world. We have been on a journey together, a journey that I try to learn from an understand each and every day as best I can.

And so I will not rest my overwhelmed head in my two hands in a dark corner next week. I will stand beside Sir Rooster, and together we will slay dragons. And play miniature golf. And celebrate.