Monthly Archives: March 2012

Faces, not data

So the numbers came out yesterday–i even posted on FB about them.

1 in 88.

For boys–1 in 54.

I’m not gonna get on the data train.  I posted the articles on FB as a sort of “heads up” to my neurotypical friends.

But in our community, I fear even discussing the numbers.

We have been so contentious lately–that whatever you feel, you are open from attack from whomever feels the opposite–accused of child abuse, insensitivity, or just plain idiotic moron-hood.

This ain’t helping ANYONE.

Jess, over at Diary of a mom had a great post.  And imma jump on that bandwagon.  It isn’t a political statement, a pro-vax/anti-vax statement, a personhood/autistic statement.  It is simple.

This is my 1 in 88:

Whether or not you take an interest in the new numbers, no matter how these numbers change over time, he will still have autism.

Let us not forget the faces of these numbers.

(especially when they are this friggin cute.  Am i wrong?)

 

Categories: Autism | 9 Comments

50 ways to Inspire?

So I’m trolling around on Pinterest, (I KNOW, right?) when I come across this pin that shows 50 ways to inspire your husband.  And since I am a woman who realizes that marriage is a work in progress–WORK being the emphasized word here, I thought I would take a gander at this list of inspirations.  The divorce rate among parents of special needs kids is supposed to be stupid high (actually just 1 or 2% higher than the national average, so fuck you statistics), so I take the work of trying to a) raise my child right b) keep my marriage together and 3) maintain my FUCKING SANITY very seriously. I want my husband to be inspired.  Ok, mmaaayybbeee I’d like him to be more inspired to do the dishes–but still, that’s inspiration, right?

Now, I should say, as a disclaimer, that I was NOT the intended audience for this article.  My Old Man and I don’t go lookin’ for ways to pray together, nor are either of us Christians.  Now–don’t construe this as a “making fun of Christians” post. Lemme just be clear on that measure.  If you clicked on the link and said–“Hey, that’s a pretty good list!”, you MIGHT want to disregard the rest of this post.  So just click on back over to that mommy site and have yourself a grand old time.  I won’t mind.  Have fun.  *waves*

Now–for the rest of us who think these suggestions would only inspire our husbands to run shrieking from the house…

Here’s the top 10 gems!

  • 3.  Give him one night on a regular basis to do something he loves.

Masturbate?  I don’t understand.

  • 8.  Text him. Example: “REMINDER: I BELIEVE IN U.”

I can think of a gajillion OTHER text he would like to receive most involving shots of your cleavage or BJ promises.  I think this one is right up there with “pick up a gallon of milk” or “get the dog spayed”

  • 10.  Leave sticky notes in his lunch, on his steering wheel, in his briefcase, etc. “So proud of all you’ve been doing with ___.” “You are so great with our kids.” “You are my dream come true.” “You are an incredible lover.”

“WHY ARE THERE GODDAMNED POSTITS ALL OVER MY SHIT?” –what I would hear.  Also–be sure to leave the salacious and embarrassing ones in his briefcase or work files so that they can be discovered by his boss and co-workers.  I mean, if he’s an animal in the sack or you’re making a “back door” promise, they should all know and be proud of him too, right?

  • 18.  Start and keep a “Dreams” binder with him. Include some travel brochures or whatever gets you excited. In the back, make sure you have a “Dreams turned reality!” file.

Great.  Homework.  He LOVES homework.  What if that dreams binder included burning the dreams binder and running off to Vegas with a floozy?  are you ready to make that happen?

  • 21. Gently communicate with him about what you like in bed, and respond encouragingly to his attempts.

I don’t think that means “awwwww.  At least you tried, huh?”

  • 30.  Do something fun and unexpected together: paintball; laser tag; on a spring day, have a picnic, blow bubbles, and bring the books you’re reading; swing; go to a drive-in movie, bring popcorn, and instigate a make-out session.

Or, or…at the bank, make him wait in the car and when you’re done making the deposit or harassing the teller, run out of the bank, jump into the back of the car and yell  “Drive!  If you want to live to see our kids again, for the love of god, DRIVE!!”  for extra fun, pay someone over by the ATM to run after the car after you take off.  See? FUN.

  • 33. Go to a home improvement store to plan a small, doable project that energizes both of you, even if it’s just painting a room or fixing up some landscaping.

Yeah–like take him down to the specialty shop and force him to look at 50 different kinds of curtain rods to pick the PERFECT ones for the guest room he never even enters.  And matching pillow shams.  and bric-a-brac.  You know how he LOVES bric-a-brac.

  • 35. Find a mutually enjoyable activity you like doing together on a regular basis

Sleeping?  I don’t get it.  We also like eating.  Eating is good. Oh–we like to ignore Benji when he’s screaming or being a pill.  Does that count?

  • 38. Discover his love language and become even more fluent in it.

OH DEAR GOD.  If I even initiated this discussion, I think he would file papers.  Yeah–he’s got a love language.  It’s “don’t fucking talk to me about love languages!”  or baseball.  He’d prolly faint if I showed a SMIDGE of interest in baseball. Gawd–I’m yawning just THINKING about it.

  • 48.  In his area of weakness, pray about how to subtly and gently step in and help him.

In other words, change him into the person you want him to be. Because that’s why you got married, right?

Look, men will be the first to tell you that they are not that complicated.  The lady who taught at my Mommy & Me torture session baby class, who was also the mother of 8 and married some gazillion years told us simply:  “just feed ‘em and sleep with ‘em. They’ll be happy.” Now, this is a bit of an understatement–but not much.

I am not gonna come out and say my marriage is perfect or that my husband is always happy.  But we WORK at it and we TRY–and that’s what really matters in our book.

By the way–here are two of the gems she DID list that I think she nailed:

  • 1. Initiate great sex.
  • 26. Ban yourself from any nagging

Add to that feed them well, don’t be a bitch (or at least warn them when you feel you can’t help it) and love them for who they are.  There is only one person you can change in your relationship: YOU.  I mean seriously.  Trying to change him is like puttin lipstick on a pig.  And that is a SERIOUS waste of the perfect shade of raisin.  Am I wrong?

Categories: Autism, Snark | 9 Comments

Thank a Doctor!

So, it turns out March 30th is National Doctor’s Day!  Normally, i would be all–“who friggin cares?”  BUT

This is doctor cousin.  (well, actually it’s me, my bestie and Dr. cousin–who is actually my bestie’s cousin) She’s not actually cousin by blood, but she’s my cousin, OKAY?  Anyway, she’s a bonifide doctor now and she’s the best thing since sliced bread!  Unless you’re gluten free–and then she’s even better. (and she’s single, gentlemen, says her Jewish matchmaking yenta)

But i have no reason to support her other than love.

As some of you may or may not know–I have not had the best luck with doctors for Ben.  His first Ped. was a moron who fed the “he’s just a boy” argument to me when he wasn’t speaking at age two.  I’m sure he meant well, but I just had no confidence in him.  And his nurse was a BIOTCH.

But this isn’t about him.

Ben has a new doctor, that we started with last year (after his second doctor just up and retired) and for the first time–THE FIRST TIME, we have a pediatrician who LISTENS to us and our concerns.  She takes Ben’s Autism seriously, and treats him with so much respect that i’m a little teary just writing about it.  She treats him like I know Doctor cousin would, as if we were family, as if my little boy is the best little patient she has EVER had.

But how do you say thank you for being so awesome?

Well, it turns out a certain organization has already though of a way…

click on the image for their website...

ASF is a not-for profit organization founded by parents and scientists.  It’s mission is to “support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research.”

This is from their Mission statement:

  • Autism is known to have a strong genetic component. Research must aim to discover the mechanisms of action that trigger autism, as well as safe, effective and novel treatments to enhance the quality of life for children and adults currently affected.
  • Early diagnosis and early intervention are critical to helping people with autism reach their potential, but educational, vocational and support services must be applied across the lifespan. Science has a critical role to play in creating evidence-based, effective lifespan interventions.
  • Vaccines save lives; they do not cause autism. Numerous studies have failed to show a causal link between vaccines and autism. Vaccine safety research should continue to be conducted by the public health system in order to ensure vaccine safety and maintain confidence in our national vaccine program, but further investment of limited autism research dollars is not warranted at this time.

I know this ain’t in everyone’s wheelhouse–but it is turning cartwheels in mine, and they have my support 100%.

Anyway, they have this cool fundraiser going on.  As a special thank you to a favorite doctor in your life, for every $15 donated, ASF will send a cool card to your doctor letting them know a donation was made in their name toward Autism research and education.

And really–how often do we show our doctors how grateful we are other than harassing them about late-night fevers and eczema prescriptions?

So if you have a moment, make a quick lil donation to ASF, and thank your doctor in the process!

[UPDATE:  Fundraiser ends March 30! ]

Categories: Autism | Tags: | 1 Comment

STABBY

So.  Someone has done it again.  Claimed that parents will “make up” an Autism diagnosis in order to get services.

Yeah–cause this is a fuckin JOYRIDE.

And while i realize that any asshat with a sociology degree can publish a paper, what worries me is that people then READ said paper, especially when it’s published on some parenting website (and no i am NOT going to publish the link because i don’t want to direct traffic to that stupid article–but you can check out my girl Jill H Smo’s FB page and the gazillion comments we made about said article) and then they think, “oh, those parents!  They just SAY their kids have autism and then steal resources from my little Suzie or Tommy.”

These are the same parents that don’t like mainstreaming, or the fact that their kids have to SEE anyone with a disablity and actually interact with them.

Ok–maybe i’m overextending my irk–but you KNOW what i’m talking about.

Those parent who comment about how little Suzie isn’t getting a quality education have NO IDEA what one has to do to even get a diagnosis.

Having to go against your own Pediatrician because he says your son is “just being a boy” implying that you’re just a worry wart when your kid doesn’t even say mama, or have any sense of danger.

The amount of paperwork one has to fill out–answering the SAME FUCKING QUESTIONS EVERY TIME.  sending each set of papers off to different organizations and hoping they dont’ get lost in the mail.

Having neither of the two regional centers claim you because you live in this grey area that neither can agree who covers, and having to threaten them with a lawyer to get SOMEONE to start the paperwork chain.

Making endless phone calls to physchologists, pdiatricians, regional centers, school districts…

Waiting MONTHS just to see these same people–where you are inundated with MORE PAPERWORK with the SAME questions.

Then waiting MONTHS while they go over all the paperwork and observations and bubble sheets from various parent surveys

All the while paying out of your own pocket to get your kid SOMETHING like speech or occupational therapy and running up your credit cards that you are STILL paying off 5 years later.

And then FINALLY you get the school district, or regional center or SOMEONE to recognize that your kid has an issue and needs services.

And then you wait MORE MONTHS until they can schedule that initial IEP, or go to various meetings and fill out MORE paper work to enroll your child in ABA therapy provided by the state only to wait a few more months before you actually get someone in your home to observe and write ANOTHER report.

In the meantime, the birthday party invites stop arriving, the playdates come to a halt, you struggle to figure out how to go grocery shopping or navigate through Target, and you NEVER go out to eat anymore, and you have to listen to parenting advice from every well-meaning friend and PERFECT STRANGERS and you realize your kid will have to fight these idiots FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE, even after you are gone

And you cry yourself to sleep, and you walk around in a daze, and you feel completely isolated, and the doctor prescribes various pills, and you’re lucky to get a shower regularly, and the only real adult interaction you get with your husband/partner is after the kid finally sleeps (if you’re lucky) and you both collapse in complete exhaustion and the thought of having a conversation, let alone “marital relations.”  And you read all the statistics about the divorce rate among parents of special needs parents, and you freak out during every fight and tense moment.  And then the doctor prescribes MORE pills.

And you think–“Seriously–it’s easier to get vicodin than an Autism diagnosis”

And then finally the services start trickling in, and his speech improves, and his behavior improves, and he can finally sit during circle time (a year later) and a few more playdates start cropping up, and respite–BLESSED RESPITE–allow you to remember the man/person you married, and you breathe. I mean BREATHE.

Until you read about budget crises everywhere and the fact that the first place they are gonna start slashing funds is in both education AND mental health services.  And you realize that EVERYTHING your child gets, that helps him improve and be part of a society that is already giving him the stink-eye, could DISAPPEAR in a heartbeat, or senate budget hearing.  And the doctor writes ANOTHER prescription.

And then some asshat comes along and says you’re faking it.

Ok–yes–there are stories about “some” women who demand services for their kids who really don’t need it.  And if i had a chance–i’d give them a piece of my mind, only because they give the rest of us a bad name.  A REALLY BAD NAME.

You know, we don’t always write about all the difficulties because it makes it all sound so daunting–as if our world collapses. Which it does, kinda.  Because we know that parents new to the diagnosis  doing late-night internet searches looking for SOMETHING that will make them feel like they aren’t going crazy, will sometimes find our blog–and we want them to know that you’ll get your head above water eventually.  because we know how absolutely FRIGHTENING the whole thing can be.

But maybe we do need to share more of it–because there seems to be this idea that a diagnosis of Autism is a grand day in the park leading to the life of Riley.  Because they don’t know.  THEY DON’T KNOW.

It is work. and unending marathon of advocacy and research and the knowledge that you have to stand by your kid to defend them against people who read these silly articles and think they know everything there  is to know about Autism.

But–and here’s the kicker–it DOES get better–although it takes a few MORE months to figure that one out.  And eventually we realize we are survivors–not from autism, but from the judgement of others, including douchebags with sociology degrees and their 15 minutes of fame.  and at that moment we usually say something like–“who the fuck are you?” and go on with life.

Because frankly–we have more phone calls to make and paperwork to fill out, and its time for therapy.

Categories: Autism | Tags: , , | 14 Comments

XANAX

My lil man is going through a THING right now, and i’ve been leanin on my lil bottle of wonders a little more that usual.  So here’s a repost about that same little bottle…

[April 28, 2011]

So, every male in this house has some sort of sensory “issue”–and yes that includes the dog. Thus, i spend my day tiptoe-ing around them, trying not to be too loud, or too chewy, too babbly or too….too. And before you say–oh you poor thing–that sentence just made it sound worse than it is. Most days I clomp around the house in loud clothing, babbling on about nonsense, munching on celery and banging on pots and pans in the kitchen. They usually don’t have their issues all together, (and one of them i can actually REASON with) so I only have to tiptoe around one of them at a time. (as if i REALLY take into consideration what the dog feels. HAH!) But sometimes–oh SOMETIMES–I end up with a trifecta of sensory overload, where anyone without ovaries in the house is having a BAD FUCKING DAY, and they are letting me know about it.

THIS (and the state of Democratic politics, Somali pirates, the crisis of potable water and the fact that I am 40 years old and STILL don’t know what i want to be when i grow up) is why the doctor looked over her glasses at me, and told me in her Filipino accent that I have an anxiety disorder.

yay. for. ME.

But you know what else gives me anxiety? taking pills. You ever see that scene in “As Good As It Gets” when Jack Nicholson is talking about taking pills? that’s me–without the compliment to Helen Hunt and her fussy little look. I have TRIED to take pills regularly throughout my life. Let’s just say it’s a wonder I didn’t get pregnant in college, that Ben exited my womb with an intact spine and that my bones are still in working order. I TRY. I get the friggin pill containers. I fill them up. I look at them daily, and I just forget to take my pills.

G-d help me when I am an old woman (keep yer cracks to yerself) and I have to take pills daily in order to keep myself from dying.

Look, as much as routine is important to my kid–that’s how much it ISN’T important to me. It chafes. I can’t do it. Yes, I know, my world would be much nicer if I could just swallow that damn B-vitamin horse pill every day and watch my pee turn bright yellow, but I have some sort of internal demon that just won’t let me do it.

So when the doctor “suggested” I take some sort of pill to deal with my anxiety–after acknowledging that i have a VERY full plate (seriously–the dog can’t even sit his butt down on anything that isn’t carpeted), i looked at her like she was suggesting an exorcism. Me. take a pill. yeah.

But it turns out she isn’t quite the quack I’ve made her out to be in my head. She gave me a lovely prescription for Xanax, to “take as needed”

THANK. YOU. G-D.

Someone out there understands that I live life as it comes to me. Some days only need a moment in the sunshine to recharge. Others need a fifth of SOMETHING and my little pill bottle. (not that i actually condone the mixing of alcohol and anxiety pills, or anything else that might lead to me having to take more pills after my liver kicks it.) So now I can deal with it as I come to it, and not have to dive deeper into my own “issues” to take some stupid pill daily.

Now if something could just help me deal with the strange anxiety i feel when the carpet in the main room gets flipped back or “scrunched”, I’d be just about perfect. After a cocktail, of course.

Categories: Snark | 4 Comments

SOC Sunday: I Love LA

#SOCsundayToday is the LA Marathon.  And all i can think is “SUCKERS!”

I am not, of course a runner.  Never have been.  I tried a few times.  meh.

But skinny folk and rainy weather aside, this day is often the bane of an angeleno’s existence because of road closures.

A few years they brought it up to the valley (i guess so we would feel “included”) and all i can say is that i spent those days cursing the marathon because i couldn’t GET anywhere.

I know, i know–first world problems.

This is a big city.  i mean a BIG CITY.  and honestly–i like that.

I think i always knew i would end up in a big city.  I spent enough time in small towns–which have their appeal, i grant you, but never ENOUGH appeal.  Although in college i lived within walking distance to the bars–and THAT was nice.  but i digress. I always figured i would end up in New York or Chicago–except for the whole freezing weather thing.  yeah, about that…

City livin aint for everyone–but i really dig the hustle and bustle.  I love that there are a gajillion different kinds of restaurants. I love the myriad cultural areas.  I love the food truck explosion!

Yeah–traffic sucks.  and?  Like anyone in a traffic congested area–you learn to get around it.  Hell, i drive a hybrid.  Stop and go just saves me gas$$.

So, marathon aside, i really do love this crazy town.  And while the bucolic cliches may be good enough for some, they mostly wanna make me puke.

Categories: SOC sunday | 5 Comments

This is Not a Competition People II–the Return.

So, I’ve been chewing on an idea lately, that kinda stems from my original post This is Not a Competition People.  But I’m gonna dive a little deeper in a two-part series here–both ideas are too big for one post, so imma address each one individually.

Issue #1–You’re an idiot; or why you no longer deserve to be a parent

See, I’ve gotten in a few verbal scrapes recently on the interwebs over various parenting issues. (I KNOW, right?)  And people’s reactions to what I view as whole-hearted common sense is really making me question humanity.

Previously, I discussed how parents kinda compete with one another to qualify for the “Best Fucking Parent in the World” award (at least that what I have to assume–otherwise, why be such a bitch about it, right?)  But I want to take this a step further.  I think some parents are also competing for an appointment on the Supreme Court of parenting–because the level of vitriol and judginess of some has crossed the line from “I’m a better parent” to “you don’t deserve to be a parent”–which I think we can all agree is the most supreme level of douchebag one can attain.

So, let’s just bring up a noncontroversial topic, like spanking.

I was recently having a friendly discussion typographical fist fight heated debate about spanking.  You know–light afternoon discussion fare. (We had previously been discussing 1st amendment rights, you know–chit chat…) Now, if you don’t know me, let me state this upfront:  I do not, nor ever plan to spank my child.  It is not a parenting technique that I feel is effective, so I do not wish to engage in it. In all honesty, it’s something both my husband and feel passionately about for personal reasons that ain’t nobody’s binnis but our own–capice? But even if it weren’t personal reasons, it isn’t as if we made this decision in a void of thought or consideration.  We are adults, and as such we take time to make decisions–just as I assume (rightly or wrongly) that other adults do as well.  So in this discussion, having stated my viewpoints–and nothing else; no diatribes, no mandates, no “people should” statements.  Just a simple “what I practice” statement–I was then (of course) inundated with views on how the moral fiber of the country and the absolute failure of today’s generation was based on the fact that parents don’t spank their kids (ok–I paraphrase.  I’ve actually had a few of these discussions, so consider this a Reader’s Digest version) .  And any of you who have had the joy of being part of such a discussion know exactly what I’m saying.  And this isn’t to sa the anti-spanking lobby is guilt free.  On the contrary, I’ve seen mild-mannered people accuse others of out-and-out child abuse and the source of all of society’s ills on said corporal punishment practitioners.

But what got me thinking is this:  why does it matter?  And I believe I said as much in various discussions.  I do A as a parent, and you do B.  Neither of those things make us either good or bad parents.  It just makes us parents–whose sole job is to keep these lil larvae alive, and guide them as best we can until they are old enough to spin their cocoon and fly off.  Some of us do that wearing Birkenstocks and eating organic produce.  Some do it by attending church regularly and dressing modestly. NEITHER OF US ARE WRONG.  And that’s what I try to say every time. EVERY TIME.

But somehow that’s NOT what people read.  Even when I type those exact words.  No, they then come back with even more energetic vitriol or passive agressive nonsense, trying to change my mind and state just how wrong I am.

And I have to tell you, it leaves me gobsmacked every time.

Look–I get high-horsiness.  we’re ALL susceptible to it.  Yes, even you.  And you, who just put their nose higher in the air saying “I never act like that…” well, guess what you’re doing all the way up there on your high horse?  Yes, YOU.

Its human nature really.  Its how we define ourselves.  I am A because I am not B.  They have stars upon thars, and so forth. It is the foundation of tribal scarring and dietary mandates.   And all we can do, really, is continue to work on ourselves and our “uncharitable thoughts” (that’s what I call my own sittin there hatin on someone)  and try to NOT be a douchebag, right?  I mean, if you think about it, you’re RARELY gonna change someone’s mind just by talking to them–and really, THEY are the ones changing their mind, not you.  All we can do is be ourselves (witnessing, in the truest sense–you hear that doorknockers?) and hope.  At least that’s what I believe.  And frankly, I don’t think that’s radical.  It’s pretty straight-forward, down to earth pragmatism.

And yet…

Look, I get there are people who will certainly parent differently than I.  I mean–look at Kirk Cameron.  He is gonna raise his kids how he chooses, including , no doubt, diatribes about the evils of homosexuality.  And while I certainly don’t agree with  that sort of hateful nonsense, it just ain’t my place to say they are wrong in how they parent.  Because his kids (Goddess willing) may not believe as he does when they get older and leave the nest.  It just isn’t my place, and as much as I think it’s a shame, I don’t feel comfortable telling someone how to parent.  Same goes for people who force their daughters to wear prairie dresses, make their teens work for their own money, pierce their daughters’ ears when they’re babies, or choose to not circumcise their sons.  As long as Abuse and Neglect are not part of the picture, then WHAT DOES IT FUCKING MATTER?

If we don’t allow people to PARENT, then they never will.  You cannot mandate good parenting, no more than you can mandate morality.  You can write rules a plenty, but there will always be folks who find ways around it.  Because in the end, we know the truth:  WE ARE THE PARENTS, and as such, we have the right to parent as we see fit (without abuse and neglect, obviously) whether you agree with it or not.

So here’s your assignment, if you choose to accept it. And I by no means mean to say you “have to” or “should” do this.  Just a suggestion really.  Just throwing it out there.   Recognize the difference between outrage at obvious abuse, and simple high-horsiness.  Accept the fact that people will use parenting techniques that you don’t agree with, and save your opinion for when you are asked.  And remember that parenting is not an appointment granted by the queen:  ANYONE can do it. And while you may harp up and down with the idea that THAT is the problem, it ain’t gonna change.  So either we can embrace freedom (because that’s what this is, folks) or we can create a Stalinist state.

I for one do NOT like Siberia, but you have fun there in your gulag.  I’ll be over here in my Birkenstocks using time-outs when my kid  misbehaves.

And if any of you comment that I should spank my kid, imma cut you.  Just sayin.

Categories: parenting | 3 Comments

Flashback Friday

So, i’m lazy.  This is an older blog post that seemed appropos this week because i was a) taken to task for my language in a post earlier and b) my son’s cursing vocabulary has now expanded from “dammit!” to “what the hell?”.  So, here’s an oldie but goodie…

“Life is a Four Letter Word” –Lenny Bruce

[april 7, 2011]

It has been suggested by those who peruse my blog that I have, lets say, a rather…interesting way of explaining myself. An adult way. A rated R or PG-13 manner that suggests that I am quite familiar with the works of George Carlin and Lenny Bruce.
And they would be correct in their observations.Yes, yes, i know, it doesn’t seem to speak well of one’s vocabulary or training. There are myriad biblical quotes to strike fear in he whose “mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud” (Psalms 10:7), or perhaps “As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.” (109:18), for “because of swearing the land mourneth.” (Jeremiah 23:10). Then again, the Torah also says to stone the damned queers and any child of yours who is disobedient, so perhaps another source?George Washington called it a “foolish and wicked practice”–a phrase which would have been really funny to hear him spit out of his lipless, denture-filled mouth. Jefferson, not much of an orator, but having a way with words, probably loved to cuss!Here are a few more:“Profanity is the weapon of the witless.”“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both.”

“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”

In response, allow me to say…

HORSESHIT!

(I love old-man cussing. I find it carries the most weight, and/or comedic “Get off my damn lawn!” effect.)

Let me instead turn to American author and expert in the art of cussing…Mark Twain.

“When it comes down to pure ornamental cursing, the native American is gifted above the sons of men.”
– Roughing It

“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”
– Mark Twain, a Biography

“If I cannot swear in heaven I shall not stay there.”
– Notebook, 1898

Yes, i get it. Swearing is not very creative. Sure, it can be a crutch–and it can be clumsily used in the poorest of circumstances by dullards who wrap their ignorant nuggets of shared wisdom in ignorance and hate.

But, as Twain so eloquently put it, some circumstances demand it. It’s just that I find my circumstances tend to be…frequent.

Do I lack the vocabulary? Hardly. Do I lack the creativity? Please. Do I lack respect for other folks’ aural conservatism? Well….

Look, like any person with good home training, I know when it is appropriate and when it isn’t. I don’t cuss in front of my Rabbi nor my kid’s teacher. I wish I could say the same about my kid…

My husband takes me to task on this–although truth be told, he’s got a potty mouth as well. And I suppose, in one aspect, Autism has helped us in this regard. Ben’s speech continues to develop slowly. I mean, he does jabber away endlessly at times, with scripting and echolalia, but he doesn’t always retain what is said unless it is repeated. And in this instance, that’s a damn good thing.

Although yesterday I had a scary moment. I had a mini-tantrum of my own because I kept repeatedly dropping a toy I was trying to awkwardly pick up off the floor, and I burst out with a resounding “dammit!” (mild on my scale of cursing power) For a good ten minutes, Ben went around the house saying “dammit!” over and over. And i thought, “Oh, imma catch hell when daddy gets home,” even though it was kinda cute. Luckily though, that mantra he soon replaced with a script from Bee Movie. Damn, that was close!

I’ve known people on one end of the parental philosophy wagon train who wouldn’t dream of cursing themselves, let alone cuss in front of a kid. And I’ve known the opposite end–parents who are just themselves, and who have the most foul-mouthed little kids (hilarious, but foul-mouthed). We’ve actually taken to apologizing to Ben when we curse in front of him, as it’s not fair to teach him words he cannot use without rebuke.

So, like many things in life, I strive to find the middle ground. I won’t curse in front of my probation officer (teehee, j/k), but i might colorfully question another driver’s ancestry if they cut me off in traffic. And my car window may or may not be down at the time.

[aside-->colorful--if it is so wrong to cuss, why such a loverly word to describe it? I like colorful language. It's like rainbows just pour off my tongue.]

So…no, mom. I’m not gonna stop cussing. And no, honey, I won’t always be successful in keeping my language clean in front of Ben.
But I do promise to try to keep a sense of humor in this sometimes overwhelming world, and to teach Ben the lesson that language, like everything else in life, is a fluid and often hilarious thing.

And that sometimes, cussing is the most appropriate way to phrase something. Like how I love to fucking cuss, dammit!

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

the power of words

r-word.org

I taught high school for a few years.  And i heard this word repeatedly.  If a shoe looked unfashionable, if a homework assignment wasn’t done correctly, if someone asked a girl out who was CLEARLY out of his league–they all carried the same epithet:  RETARDED.

I have friends who use it.  Aquaintences.  I hear strangers use it. You hear it in the movies.  ALL THE TIME.  Everywhere. It is SUCH a part of our social vocabulary that we prolly don’t even know we are using it.  Never even notice.

And there was a time I didn’t give a shit, it’s true.  Prolly even used it myself–although I don’t remember it being a pervasive part of my vocabulary (preferring, instead a number of 4 letter words and shakespearean insults–You Fucking Piece of Warty Offal!) Even though I have an Aunt who was hurt as a child resulting in Cerebral Palsy and a mental delay that gave her this label–because at the time, that’s what they called it–RETARDED.  I remember my mother never really using the word–usually picking a synonymous term because even though it was official, it still left a bad taste in her mouth.

But my Aunt wasn’t around during my childhood, so I wasn’t forced to deal with the language of my peers using that word.  All i really knew was that I shouldn’t use it around adults, especially my family.  So I’m sure it peppered my speech among my peers, but honestly I never really thought about it.

Until its consequences smacked me square in the face.

When Ben was diagnosed, and I was in the deepest of my depression, there was a thought that surfaced every hour or so that would have me in tears–hell, I’m tearing up right now thinking about it–and it was the idea that my son would be mocked and teased and *shudder* bullied because of his delay. I remembered the derision my high school peers held for the “special ed” class on campus, who were the butt of jokes more often than naught.  I remembered the comics of the 80’s openly mocking those who were differently-abled, and everyone thinking it was ok to imitate them.

But the first time I heard the word uttered after his diagnosis, I wanted to smack that person–who was prolly referring to the traffic, or a missed sports shot, or the state of her perm–with a chair.  A heavy, metal one.  With spikes. A few times.

And from that moment on, every time I hear or read that word, it is like a spotlight on a stage, and I cannot think of anything else, but wanting to shake that person by the testicles and saying–DO YOU NOT SEE WHAT YOU ARE DOING?  IDIOT?

When you use that word you are demeaning an entire group of people who are not DEFINED by that word—but whom you continue to define through your nonchalant usage.

Everytime you imply stupidity by using that word, you are claiming that ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE who have been diagnosed with any sort of mental or developmental delay, has no intelligence or value.

Everytime you use that word in reference to an OBJECT that has no life, you are saying the same of an ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE

Everytime you use that word to imply that something is annoying and you’d rather do without it, you are saying the same about an ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE.

Everytime you laugh at a comedian, like Carlos Mencia who is a loser in his own right and who is getting paid to make fun of an ENTIRE GROUP OF PEOPLE, you insult them (and the comedians he stole his other jokes from).  If you imitate that comedian, you are doing it again.

I suppose this means alot to me, not only because my son has a delay and could be called this by someone who has a death wish, but also because of my history.  Lemme splain.

I taught Middle and High schoolfor 7 years in South Los Angeles.  A white girl in the middle of a not-so-white area.  And there was a particular word I would never be allowed to say.  EVER.  And I knew it.  Because of the power it held–HOLDS, when uttered by someone white.  I am not making an argument here–I am stating fact.  I am aware of how that word was used in history–and today–as a weapon, as an epithet, as a means of oppression.  I also grew up in an extremely racist part of Southern Indiana, with a few of my Junior High teachers being KNOWN members of a certain sheet-wearing organization.  And my best friend in childhood was black.  It was a word I heard A LOT, and it will NEVER be a word I am EVER comfortable saying.

In fact, I did an experiment one day in class.  My students were forever trying to tell me the word had no meaning, no power, and that  I was cool and practically one of them and if said it, it wouldn’t matter.

So I said it.  In context, mind–something like “so if I said the word______________, you would be ok with that”

SILENCE. (and yes, at that moment, I thought my teaching job had just come to an end.  I won’t lie)

And one girl looked at me and said, “no.  I’m sorry Ms, but I’m not.  And I’ve got no reason–except that it changes everything to hear you say it”  And they all realized that it DID have power, and that as cool as they may have thought i was, it would NEVER be ok for me to say it.  And I will say I rarely heard it within the confines of my classroom again. ( I was also never called to the principal’s office, so they must have kept that lesson under their hats, so to speak)

WORDS HAVE POWER, even if we claim they don’t.

You cannot say that just because the word RETARDED is no longer used as an official diagnosis in most states, that it no longer has power.  You cannot say that if you use the word in a slang fashion that you don’t mean it.  You cannot say that it’s ok to use the word because you have a sister/brother/cousin/neighbor who has a delay, and that they aren’t bothered by it–BECAUSE WE KNOW YOU’RE LYING.

This word needs to leave our social vocabulary.  People need to be as uncomfortable saying it as they would a racial slur (and if they’re not uncomfortable saying either, well, then at least you know who to avoid). It needs to become such a social no-no that if anyone says it, it will mark them as undesireable.  It needs to STOP.

If i hear you say it–I WILL call you out.  If I read it on Facebook, I will defriend you.  You can think me over sensitive or uptight–but if it is more important to you to mock and entire group of people so that you can sound “cool”, then you are an idiot with whom I do not need to associate.

Categories: Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Organization, Bitches!

For any of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, you know that I’ve been posting some pics with a few friends, Sunday and Marj,  of my kitchen, utensil drawers etc.  It’s kinda like Spring cleaning peer pressure. It’s time to start scratching  a few things off that “annual chore” list.

This weekend, though, I did a big one–the kitchen cabinets.  ‘Cause it was gettin’ crazy y’all.  This woman here has WAY TO MANY appliances, gadgets, etc. and it was starting to drive me a little batty.

mixing bowl hell...

Just down the road from Appliance purgatory...

Now, I know what some of you are thinking.

Dafuq?

Hear me out.  I’ve GOT to be organized.  Lemme tell you why.  Or better yet–lemme show you:

See that face?  That sassy lil canvas of giggles can LOSE IT if the right cup is not available, or bowl  or ice cube tray, etc.  And he uses maybe 5-10 bowls a day for his various snacks.  What?  Put the animal crackers in the bowl that previously contained cheese?  ARE YOU MAD?!

So not only do I have to keep on top of the dishes, I’ve got to keep them organized and available for his majesty to grab them when needed.  And I’ve got to prepare a variety of snacks (well, the handful of sanctioned ones anyway) in order to make sure he does, actually eat.

Fancy dishes used for big dinners pushed to the back, and mixing bowls WITHIN REACH!! Crazy!

And then there’s the other special man in my life, the Old Man.  He doesn’t demand or even expect it, but I know he’s happier when the house is neat and thing are where they should be.  Or where he “thinks” they should be.  Which doesn’t mean that’s where they are.  ;)

Just the essentials--except for what sits on the counter...

And then there’s me. As tedious as it is, *sigh* my life is easier when everything’s picked up. (boy, i bet my Grandma would have loved to hear me say that one–not my mom mind. She likes it picked up too–but i think she enjoys a little cluttered chaos as well.)  I am more apt to cook when the kitchen is clean.  I am more apt to get down on the ground and play racetrack when the rug has been vacuumed.  And when everything has a place, a weird sense of calm comes over everyone because we know there’s at least ONE thing in this house that is not a mystery.  Unlike our feelings, Ben’s behaviors or the dog’s wherabouts.

So, I spent some time this weekend purging those stupid cheap appliances i never use, and a few pots and pans that REALLY needed to go.  And cleaning a layer of Los Angeles and grease from the cabinets.  And creating a little order in the middle of this chaos.  At least in the kitchen cabinets anyway.  You think i could crawl in there and hidewhen things get too crazy?  There’s certainly room now…

Categories: Autism, Snark | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
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