Snark

Throwback Thursday! No, No, NO!

here’s an oldie from 2011.  Also? VERY grateful he’s out of THIS stage now…

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No! No! NO!

This is Ben’s new mantra. yay for me.

kids with Autism can hit some milestones  a little more slowly than neurotypical kids, so it turns out all the joyous things typical kids go through in their 2’s & 3’s are currently entering Ben’s repertoire.  awesome.

A recent conversation:

mommy:  Do you want something to drink?
Ben: (screaming)  NOoooooooo!  Goodbye mama!  goodbye mama!
Mommy:   (grumbling) ok.  nothing to drink then.  (leaves the room)
Ben:  More milk?  Milk, mama?
Mommy:  (sigh) Ok.  Let’s get some milk.  Grab a cup.
Ben:  NOOOOOOOO!  (crying and incoherent screaming)
Mommy:  WE can’t drink the milk without a cup.
Ben:  NOOOOOO!
Mommy:  Ok then.  When you decide what you want, come and get me. (leaves the room)
Ben:  *sniffle* (rummages around in the “cup drawer”, grabs a cup and the milk and walks out to the living room)  More milk, mama?

aaaaaaand Scene!

This conversation, happens more times a day than i can count–not all about milk, mind.  Just insert whatever it is he wants to do, and that’s the Ben/Mommy interaction.   It’s a good thing i know my lines.

NOOOOO!  am i allowed to scream too?

And before you offer unsolicited advice commiserate, let me tell you kind reader, that i have recognized that this is his “i wanna do it” phase, and i am very pleased we have hit it, because it means that he is continuing to grow and develop.  I just wish it came with some noise cancelling headphones and an extra liter of rum.

He has lately also taken to a little more violence–hitting and kicking and the occasional head-butt.  awesome. So, of course he’s hearing NO!  from us a little more as well.

It made me think of the people to whom I’d like to scream no! :

  • Anyone who sends us an envelope with the words “total due”
  • the creepy bagger at Ralph’s that just skeeves me out with his intense eye-contact
  • Badwig McMantits down the street who hollers at people to slow down, even if you’re driving the speed limit
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • the makers of Elephun and Play-doh  and any noisy fuckin’ toy that doesn’t have an off button!
  • Weight Watchers
  • Mommy & Me
  • and lastly, the jackass who didn’t know where they were driving this morning on Camarillo and was going 20 miles and hour with 5 people behind her and sporadic stopping.

You know, I would feel immensely better if i could just shout NO! at people.  No wonder Ben does it.

Categories: Autism, parenting, Snark | Leave a comment

Camp Typical

Summer vacation is upon us.  And it’s new for us this year.  See, since Ben got mainstreamed, he no longer qualifies for ESY (extended school year or SUMMER SCHOOL).  And everyone around us–therapists and the like nod their head and say, yeah, that’s best.

BEST FOR WHOM?

seriously–what was the point of these again?

As you can imagine,I am getting a little punchy already. I didn’t set up Ben for any day camps because he’d never been to one, and I had never seen how fricken EXPENSIVE they are.  Also, he still has at home therapy 3x a week, meaning we would have had to cancel sessions to make time for camp, and I thought the therapy more important than making God’s eyes and other faith based crafts.

As you can see, I have very little confidence in day camps, having spent an eternity in them as a child.

So I figured, HEY!  I have multiple degrees and an educational credential!  AND, I can craft like a muthafucka (I really need to put that on a t-shirt) I can ROCK summer vacay yo!

Here’s some of the Summer line up that would kick any church day camp’s ASS…

1) Chore time party

This summer, we’ve introduced CHORE TIME!  woohoo!  Making beds!  picking up toys!  brushing teeth!  What kid WOULDN’T want to get nagged all day to get their chores done? Like those little imps at Camp Tom Sawyer, this kid is gonna learn the value of doing the work ASSIGNED to you, so that even spinster Aunts can appreciate it. And with no other kids around, there won’t be some bait and switch like Tom pulled on ol’ Huck.  No Sir.  And pick up that sock!

it’s SO EXHAUSTING to enjoy a lovely garden.

2) Gardening!

Camp always comes with a chance to get back to nature!  Here at Camp Typical not only can you water plants regularly, twice on the really hot days, but you can pick up dog poop as a bonus!  You might even get an opportunity to view some of the local wildlife, like squirrels and crows!  And what summer vacay wouldn’t be complete without a bevy of bug bites and bee stings!  Take THAT  Zoo Camp!

3) Brain Expansion

Just because we’re not in school doesn’t mean our work is done!  Why, we have the Summer Vacation Homework packet to prepare for 1st grade math!  I mean, can you think of anything MORE fun than adding by tens?  I know I’m stacking up dimes in anticipation. And of course the summer reading program as well, with multiple trips to the library where one enforces rules like “calm body!” and “inside voice!”  SO much more fun than some stupid Science Camp!

4) Field Trips

Camp wouldn’t be camp without field trips!  Here at camp typical, we go to many exciting places here in the Los Angeles area.  Sure, we could go to Disney or LACMA or the Science center to see the Space shuttle–but how boring is THAT?  Oh no brave campers!  Get ready for the excitement of hitting the local Ralphs and Target!  Perhaps the garden center to replace the waterlogged plants being so zealously attended to.  We might even brave the parking lot from hell that is known as Trader Joe’s!  Adventure awaits intrepid campers!

5) Water play

What summer would be complete without a splash or two?  While the pool and the new water park/playland sprinkler thing/whatever the hell they call those devil playgrounds are fun for most kids, we’ve got it going ON here at Camp Typical.  Have you seen this hose?  HOURS of fun.  Not to mention a great time to develop independent play while mommy watches from the dry interior of the house.  Who needs sprinklers and slip-n-slides?  Why a hose and a tricycle and a frightened Chihuahua are enough to keep any child busy for hours on end.  And as a bonus, did I mention the wrestling fun of applying sunscreen before he heads outside?

6) Craft time.

Have i mention my crafting skills?  Legendary.  I don’t know why camp counselors are not sitting at my feet to learn from the master. We’ve got googly eyes and pom poms by the zillions.  And glue.  Five different varieties.  And a box of craft sticks waiting for their chance at faux Eiffel tower recreation.  Now just sit there with those items, son, while mommy scours Pinterest for a minute…

As you can see, we here at Camp Typical are ready to create a lifetime of summertime memories.  So that when the first day of school approaches in August, he will be SCREAMING to go back. Try not to be jealous fellow Special needs moms when you put your kids on the bus and enjoy a few quiet moments to yourself today…

*sobs in the corner*

When does school start again?

Categories: Autism, parenting, Sensory issues, Snark | 6 Comments

How To Be A Facebook Bully In 5 Easy Steps!

I know what you’re thinking.  Why doesn’t anyone take me seriously on Facebook and other social media?  What can I do to get the attention of the people who just won’t listen to the gas cans full of wisdom I have to give?

Well, I’ll tell you brother–you have to MAKE them listen.  That is the only way the world will ever stand up and pay attention!

I know, I know–BUT HOW?  you ask.  Simple–try bullying!

Oh, sure.  You could try the high ground and be respectful of other people’s values and beliefs, but honestly, where is the fun in that?  And it certainly won’t impress the ladies, amiright?

No sir, with my simple straightforward plan, why, even a hormone enraged teen could make this seem like child’s play.

But let me tell you a little bit about the background of this amazing plan.  I sent out my scientists, all graduates of ITT Tech and the infamous International Correspondence Schools to carefully observe and gather data on multiple social media sites.  In a triple blind study of the most popular candidates on Facebook and their amazingly inferior opponents, our crack team of scientist gathered the key ingredients for success in a social media outlet by carefully engaging the popular, placing false “vaguebook” statii, making wild political statements, poking fun and outright disagreeing with them.  All against a control of kitten and unicorn pictures.  After a careful study of the data, I was able to use my college education and superior logic skills to deduce a plan of action that would allow even the homeliest of maternal basement dwellers into the king of the Internet*

Read through and practice these steps, DIRECTLY AS WRITTEN, and when you come face to face with someone who refuses to listen or accept your opinion as word on high, you will know EXACTLY how to handle them.

1) Use your OWN insecurities as insults for your opponents.

You might be thinking–but HOW can I attack them?  I…I don’t even KNOW them.  Easy!  Turn that hateful stare back on yourself for a moment.  What do you hate the MOST about yourself?  Too fat?  no backbone?  inability to engage in sexual congress?  covert racism?  Well, then, THERE is your arsenal!  Simply look to the actions and words of your opponent and see how they fulfill that arsenal.  He made a joke about you that you didn’t like?  Call him a bigot!  Don’t hold back on the insults either–drop the big guns like bigot and pussy, and leave them no room to defend themselves.  If they should respond, make sure to point out how their argument is just as bigoted as the joke they previously uttered.  do not HESITATE for a minute.  Stand fast to your argument and refuse to back down.

2) Prove your superiority

If you find the little weasel you are trying to destroy has a few friends trying to defend him, it is time to prove your superiority.  This is a fantastic time to point out your credentials, your publications, your invitations to speak at conferences, the famous people you know, or even your 22,970 followers.  Let that little worm KNOW that YOU are the voice of authority.  Remind them of your mental acuity, with patronizing statements like “you should try this” and “reading is good.”  Don’t allow their arguments involving logic or pragmatic defense to cloud the truth that YOU are the one whose opinion should be paid attention to, and NO OTHER.

3) Use careful scientific methods to prove the stupidity of your opponent

One of the ways to really prove your superiority and drive your point home is to use scientific methods and graphs and pie charts.  No one can deny the power of science to prove your point!  And if they continue to discredit your point, you can then also mock them for not being able to read a graph!  It’s a multitasking tool!

4) Surround yourself with followers who only agree with you–to the point of blind devotion.

One of the great things about building a major following, is that you can make sure that those you follow are in complete 100% agreement with you–even if you don’t make sense.  Why look at the power of Jim Jones, L Ron Hubbard and David Koresh!  Their followers never doubted their wisdom!  Look to their example.  Should any of your followers begin to question you, you can then use these methods on them as well, before discrediting and blocking them from your group.

5) Accuse the person you are bullying of being a bully themselves

This is the method that is key–KEY to your success.  Because what is the one thing that will garner sympathy from no only your followers, but gain you NEW followers?  The accusation that YOU YOURSELF are being bullied.  Your social media success  CANNOT move forward without this step.  Anything else is just commonplace bullying, and frankly a CHILD could do that, right?  the mark of the evolved bully is to really use ALL the bullying tools in your arsenal.

Trust me, this is the one and ONLY plan that will work quickly and efficiently.  Why, one of my own friends was bullied JUST TODAY, and his name has been dragged through the mud for simply making a joke in which no malice was intended.  I  simply have to bow to the genius of the bully in question, because he certainly knew EXACTLY what he was doing.  On top of that, his own argument was so convoluted and disjointed, that I almost believed him, being a simple-minded parent who could never EVER understand the complexities of someone else’s life.

But don’t just trust my professional word.  Read these amazing testimonials:

“I followed these 5 easy steps and now my cats, Mr. Mittens, Mrs. Paws, Fluffy and Fuzzypants McGillicutty agree with me that the other person was totally stupid”–Jillian Snoland

“These steps must really work.  As soon as he called me a bigot I knew I had no chance at winning the argument. After all… I’M A BIGOT! How could I be right?”–Jeremiah Snodgrass

“I am a firm believer in these steps. When followed to the letter, you simply cannot lose another Internet argument again.” ~Juan Andon

“I used to feel helpless and unloved, surrounded by my own misery and left-loathing. But now I’ve learned the steps toward turning that anger outward in ways that devastate others while making me feel self-assured. You can’t put a price on self-assurance.” – Hubert Myspays

These steps really raised my internet bullying to a whole new level. I NEVER lose an argument now. It doesn’t matter whose character I defame. ~ Ben Dover

Dream big my friends! Owning the Internet is not just a dream! Don’t let your own insecurities hold you back, use it to your advantage, and make your enemies quake in fear! The world is yours! MAKE IT YOUR BITCH!

*no actual title or subsequent land grant is of yet available

Categories: Snark | 10 Comments

VS

You know what I think?

Yeah, I don’t know what I fucking think.

I’ve stayed away from the blogging scene recently because of that.  I’ve got nothing, except a full schedule, and I always don’t make time for writing.

And some would look at that and say I am not a true writer.  That were I truly dedicated to my craft, I would wake up wanting–no, NEEDING to write, and nothing would get in my way of doing it–not the dishes, not the mortgage, not the laundry…

And I haven’t been sewing much lately.  My schedule, again is full, and I’ve found those moments to myself have been just that–and I’ve curled up with a book and a cuppa and haven’t ventured much into my studio.

And some would say I’m not really committed to my art. That if crafting were that important to me, I would be COMPELLED to do it. It would take up every moment I have,  because that’s how they define inspiration.

I haven’t been eating well lately.  I have a tendency to reach for what is easy, and what tastes good, and what fills that internal comfort meter of the fat/sugar ratio of delight.  Because pastries were meant to be consumed.  And “beer is proof that God loves us.”  (Ben Franklin)

And some would say I am not serious about getting healthy and losing these extra pounds.  That if I were serious, I would only eat this or that, and I would have will power, and I would exercise and nothing would get in my way.

My face to face time with friends has been limited lately.  Because sometimes I find it exhausting.  And I prefer a moment to myself with the new season of Downton Abbey and a warm beverage.

And some would say I am not a good friend.  Because I don’t go out of my way to make the time to go on this lunch date and join that book club and share that recipe and drink that cocktail.  If I really wanted girlfriends, I would make the effort.

My parenting has been sorta off track lately.  SO much so that I have to make lists of the things I’m supposed to be doing because I forget that he has to brush his teeth, or that we should go to the park, or that there is homework in his backpack.

And some would say I’m not being a good parent.  Because they define parenting by some sort of construct they developed themselves based on a ratio of their own parents’ actions in relation to the way THEY wanted to be raised, with a healthy dose of whatever it is they read on the interwebs.  And that if I were really serious about being a good parent, I would read this and do that and feed him that and read him that.

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions.  I always figure if I need to make a change, I do.  I don’t need a prescribed date to do it. 

And, I suppose, some would say I’m lazy and missing an opportunity to better myself.

But, funny thing is, there’s a resolution I just realized I was so far keeping this year:  oddly enough, I’m not listening to what THEY say anymore.  As far as I’m concerned, THEY can go fuck themselves, because they obviously don’t know me.  THEY seem to make a habit of bullying others because that person doesn’t fit within their social construct.  THEY shout loud for all to hear that THEY are the ones with the answers, and woe to those who disagree.  And they quote holy books, or scientific studies, or Facebook posts, and claim to have the answers. FOR ME. Having never sat on my saggy couch or eaten my banana bread.  THEY are no better than the invisible army they rail against.  Just loud and obnoxious and insulting bullies.  And I’m tired of them having a voice.  I really am.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some laundry to do, and I need to brainstorm a way to get my kid to WANT to line up at the morning bell, and I’ve got some knitting to finish, and I’m a little hungry since I haven’t eaten brekkies yet.  You know–LIFE.  The thing we end up doing when we stop listening to THEM.

Categories: parenting, Snark | 6 Comments

Including Inclusion

The other day, we’re at the park with my mom, and Ben is playing, and I lose sight of him.  I figure he’s just on the other side of the jungle gym, and I’m just about to get up, to tell him not to climb on the rock wall, when his head pops up–above the rock wall.  Climbed up that fucker like a lil monkey.  And then proceeded to slide down the slide and DO IT AGAIN.  And I say to my mom, “well, I guess he can do THAT now.”  (see?  I’m not QUITE the helicopter mom I make myself out to be)

It was that moment when you realize as a parent that your kid can really do more than you expected. And while it frightens you, while you kinda want to take that moment back with all haste, you realize, “wow–he can DO this.”

(remember that story.  There’s a point coming.)

I’m preparing for an IEP. An IEP that is gonna be a big change.  An IEP I apparently always wanted, that yet completely terrifies me.

Next Friday we discuss placing Benji in a full inclusion mainstream kindergarten.  And it’s got me in such as state that I may run out of Xanax before the week is over.

First off, of course, is the pure shock that we have gotten to this point so quickly. I really wasn’t expecting it yet.  When Benji was first diagnosed as having a speech problem (pre-autism) we were told that the prognosis may be that  with lots of work, he might enter kindergarten with his typical peers in a general ed classroom.  And I clung to that idea like a fucking life-preserver in the middle of the pacific.

And let me be clear–it wasn’t that I wanted him to be typical, or “normal”, because that shit really didn’t–and still doesn’t–matter to me.  But I was so fearful of the stigma that would be placed upon him, the judgement of others, the battle he would have to face on a daily basis for the rest of his life if he wasn’t able to “catch up”  I can still remember with stunning clarity the moment I allowed myself to face the fear of what Autism meant–and the first thing I thought was “My baby!  They are going to be SO MEAN.”

But when the A-word was mentioned, and the subsequent evals and forms and evaluation forms, and forms evaluating the evaluations, and so on and so forth,  by the end of the diagnosis, I was numb and broken.  I put aside that life preserver and put my head underwater for a while.  I figured it was just something positive those early therapists were trying to say, because they could FEEL the ugly cry just below the surface.  And yeah, I wallowed in that for a bit.  Or a month.  Or something.

But like many parents in my situation, eventually, I snapped out of it.  And I embraced the programs in which my son was involved, and saw improvement–MARKED improvement–and I made sure he got every gods-damned service he could get by right, so that I could help him grow and become the amazing kid I already knew he was.

And I forgot about mainstreaming and inclusion.  Because it didn’t matter anymore.  I knew what my job was as advocate: not to change him, but to help OTHERS understand how “Au-some” he was.

Well, ok, and help him learn a different response to his frustrations rather than screaming.  But that goes without saying, no?

We entered Kindergarten this year, and it’s been…an experience.  He has some super sweet and wonderful classmates, and I’ve met a great group of Autism moms.  But the class just isn’t a fit.  Because it turns out it isn’t the High Functioning class I was told it was.  Nor is it on the general education track, which is where he should be according to the IEP.  So, as the school struggles to cover its out-of-compliant ASS, the powers that be observed my boy and declared him ready for all day mainstreaming.  Inclusion.  Right now.  In Kindergarten.

As previously predicted.

And, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am scared shitless.

Because those fears I had–about the stigma and battles and judgement?  Just came to the forefront.

We were insulated in special day.  Sure, the class itself might be shorted or judged, but there was a nobility in the class standing together in the face of that judgement, you know?  It was always an issue of “you just don’t KNOW these kids” when one came face to face with ignorant statements and judginess.  There is a camaraderie among parents of that class–who do not look upon your kid with a frowny chin-waggle if he chooses to simply stand there and flap with joy.  They understand your struggles, without explanation, and offer comfort or congratulations for every milestone met.  There is a solidarity, if you will, and you can always imagine yourselves “us vs them” if you have to.

But now, we lose the “us.”

And there is still the “them.”

Sure.  I’m not being fair.  All the parents of typical kids aren’t the judgey assholes one runs across online, or even at the park.  Hell, the kids in the class Ben has been part-time mainstreamed to have been super loving and supportive of Ben–so much so that that general ed. teacher has never even seen Ben even close to his worst.  And that says a lot for the parents, right?

But he isn’t going to be mainstreamed at the school he’s currently attending.  Nope.  Back to the home school.  And when I say back, I really mean, in attendance for the first time.

And who’s to say I won’t cock punch the first parent who gives me the stink eye?

IMG_1569

what’s that? Can’t? Never heard of it!

(or worse yet, bust into a full ugly cry?)

Because what makes this so stressful is that it kinda puts us back at square one.  And all the trepidation and uncertainty, and down right intestine-twisting FEAR that I felt right after the diagnosis–it’s back, blowing cigarette smoke right in my face.  She sits there, blowing her smoke and reminding me of the stories I’ve heard first hand of teachers refusing flat out to work with IEPs, supports getting cut due to budget constraints or administrative idiocy, and students–like my own son–falling by the wayside in favor of typical kids with vocal parents and a teacher with only so much energy to give.

Mainstreaming is the right decision.  My kid is practically reading at the 1st grade level already.  He knows how to get in line and sit for circle time and hell, today he demonstrated a math problem he made himself using graham crackers.  He’s eating up knowledge like an unattended plate full of chocolate covered peeps.  And while I have very little confidence in the team I’ve worked with so far, I KNOW they are not the enemy here.  Because there is no enemy.  Only that nicotine soaked bitch known as my fear.

So, once again, I have to kick her to the curb, and advocate and make sure he is placed in the best situation possible, where he can continue to blossom and grow.  I have to put aside my need for solidarity.  I have to put aside the things that made ME comfortable, and stare fear straight in the kisser and tell it to fuck off.

And all by next Friday.

Because the thing is?  He CAN climb that wall.  Without fear or hesitation.  And slide down the slide and do it again.  And I love him to pieces for that, and for reminding me that he can always do more than my fear would lead me to believe.

Categories: Autism, parenting, Snark | 38 Comments

What I Wore Wednesday

sometimes, the truth must out.

 

I’m joining my girl Lexi over at Mostly True Stuff (you haven’t read it?  you really should.  go do it now.  NOW.  I’ll wait.  *files nails*  Oh, you’re back?  speedreader, huh?  she’s awesome, right?)  for the what i wore wednesday.

 

I’ve noticed this trend of posting what you wear–and for those people with the cute clothes, and jobs taking them OUTSIDE into the REAL WORLD, y’all look super cute.  What with your hair did, and those eyelashes and the tres chic get-ups!

Alas–THIS *pointing to the cute people* is NOT my Wednesday.

The only reason i am semi put together at all is because i have to drop off my kid at school, and, well, the girls MUST be contained before stepping out in public.  Safety requirement, really. 

So here i am on this glorious Wednesday:

What-i-Wore-Wednesday

Feel like sharing your get-up?  HEad on over here and join the linky!

Categories: parenting, Snark | 2 Comments

Dear Ann Coulter

Or, like I like to refer to you, Cunty McCunterson.

Wow.  just…wow.  You know, I “get” that you get your attention by using shock value.  I understand that every fucking thing you say really has no meaning, or weight, or substance.  I get that you are just some lonely woman who needs the attention, good or bad.  Usually bad. I get that.  And I would give you a patronizing pat on the head any day of the week for that.

But really?

*sigh*  after last night’s debate, you did it.  AGAIN.  

And now no doubt you will trot out a little dog and pony show telling the world you should have used a different word.

Well, I’m going to stand by mine.  Cunt.

First off, it was the most OBVIOUS play to distract from Romney’s obvious loss with your stupid words.

But the second, and most important point.  By choosing that word, not only did you make a cheap shot to get attention, you disenfranchised and entire group of people. And not just liberals this time.  You sent a signal to every one of your fucked up followers that it is open season on people with developmental delays, or any differences, mental or physical.  Your continued use of this word is as insulting as if you called the president the N-word.

Which I suspect is what you wanted to do in the first place.  Cunt.

When you use words like that, you justify the rampant bullying that you and your kind do  to any person with a perceived difference, who may be facing and conquering challenges you would never be able to overcome.

Like this kid:

So while you may applaud Romney for taking it easy on the president–(BTW, is THAT what you would call that? Because, to me,  it looked like someone WEAK on foreign policy being schooled.  But I digress)  I hope the country and ALL the parents of kids with differences throw the fucking book at you, cunt.

Categories: Autism, Snark | 19 Comments

Flashback Friday

Time for a lil vocabulary lesson, yo.  Here’s a blast from the past…

June 30, 2010

Werd…

Like any new paradigm, when raising a special needs child, you are thrust into a world that has its own vocabulary. It’s a fine mix between a psychological and educational vocabulary. As a prior teacher, one of these I was quite familiar with—but the other was new. And frankly a little annoying.
As I began this journey with myriad professionals and the piles of books sitting on my nightstand, I found myself simply immersed into this vocabulary. I had failed to get the “Autism for dummies” series, but luckily I had the gift of inference having received the first part of my education OUTSIDE of Calfornia. So with a little observation and thinking, I was able to decipher the true meaning of these new words coming at me.

Typical: a kid without any developmental or physical delays. Also called neurotypical.

Yeah—I know. We’ve all heard this one—maybe not this word, but we’ve been through the routine. When I was a kid, typical was “normal” and everything else had a label—usually retarded or handicapped. But those terms are passé now, and I think I’ve seen a millions different labels since. (I also have a special needs aunt, so I’m a bit more familiar with this particular dog & pony show) Like a lot of people, I always thought this was silly. I have to say, I get it now. If I sit and refer to my friend’s kid as “normal”, well where does that leave Ben? Yeah—it’s like hearing your neighbor’s meatloaf is restaurant quality, and you think, well, what the hell is wrong with mine? Nothing. They’re just words. But words don’t wipe the smirk of Rhonda McSupermom’s face when her kid does something yours doesn’t. Correction: I know one or two words that might, but that would hardly help my cause…

Receptive Vocabulary: the language we receive.

A problem in this arena is best explained with an analogy, it think. Imagine you were dropped into a foreign land, lets say, Utah on a Sunday. Being it is an arid state, you might wish to quench your parched throat with a tasty libation, and since you have no idea how or why you’ve been dropped in Utah, perhaps that libation should contain a certain percentage of alcohol. So, imagine your confusion when you find no open bars or liquor stores. You ask passersby where you might find such a libation, only to hear them say to you that liquor may not be sold on Sunday. These words make no sense in your brain. Beer cannot be purchased? How does one celebrate one’s favorite sporting event if it should happen to fall on the weekend? Where might one escape the drudgery of every-day life and tilt with complete strangers? You are confused and frightened. You decide that speaking to these people is not a good choice, and remove yourself. Next time your son, daughter or significant other look at you with quizzical horror, remember Utah.

Expressive Vocabulary: the language we express. 

If you have a problem with receptive, you will no doubt have a problem with expressive. Example: If you don’t understand that the person honking their horn at you is trying to tell you that you have a coffee cup on the roof of your car, you might respond with the wrong expressive vocabulary—either verbal or non-verbal—such as a string of four letter words questioning the parentage or IQ of the honker in question, or a simple non-verbal finger gesture. A strong grasp of the surrounding receptive vocabulary can lead to more appropriate Expressive Vocabulary.

Transition: moving from one activity to another.

This has become a favorite, since it is one of Ben’s weaknesses. Once little man has a routine, or if he’s having a fabulous time doing something, he does NOT want to be told that we are going to do something else. I mean, if you were told, “no, you need to put down that margarita and come over here and eat some lima beans,” would you not object? Typical parents have to deal with this too—but the objections evolve into different forms. My son? Screamfest. Your son? *whine* “But WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY?” Which is more annoying? Who can say?

Meltdown: The Special Needs Tantrum 
(not to be confused with the special needs boogie)

Toddlers have tantrums. We all know this. Kids with Autism also have tantrums. Managed in similar ways. Basic rule: ignore a tantrum and it stops—maybe not instantly, but it will stop. This is not what this word meltdown is about. Just google the words Austim and Meltdown: page upon page of descriptions, possible set-offs and desperate pleas from parents on how to deal with this phenomemon. Ok. Imagine a tantrum. Now multiply times 100. Add violence. And half a day. That, my friends is a meltdown. It’s like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict of tantrums. Every parent has their strategy—some work, some don’t. That’s because most of our strategies involve how to handle this occurrence at home. (i.e.—I put Ben in the bathtub. Calms his shit down immediately) But many of these meltdowns happen OUTSIDE the home. Which leads to the even more fun, “looks from strangers”. I really think I should start taking pictures and then make a coffee table book. Call it “Views From a High Horse”.

IEP: the school district’s educational plan for your child. 
(Or, an hour of making you feel like an idiot.)

This meeting, following the joyous evaluations you’ve had, is set to discuss these evaluations and what they plan to do for your child. Now, my snarky comment aside, many school districts have lovely IEP meetings with caring teachers and therapists who work together to create an educational plan that best suits your child’s needs. Those meetings tend to occur in districts that do not have the words “first” or “second largest in the country”. For those of us in those districts, these meetings can be…well…shot worthy. They often start with READING TO YOU. Yes, it’s story time children. Let me read this report to you instead of giving you your own copy to read before the meeting so that we can “discuss” the findings. This is right up there with people who make power point presentations and then READ THEM TO YOU. Frankly, this whole thing could be handled better if they would just set up a bar with some snacks. You have a drink, eat a little crudite’ and then take 30 minutes to discuss the findings and the plan, make sure everyone is happy, or if not, how to discuss implementing alternate plans. I realize not everyone is college educated, and moreover, I recognize the sad state of education in the state of California—but if we continue to treat parents like they are idiots, that state of education isn’t going to get much better.

At this point, it’s probably safe to say I should start carrying around a notebook to start recording all these lovely words and phrases. Never know when you’re gonna be stuck in Utah (or a few choice states in the south) on a Sunday. Ok, a notebook and a flask. And a camera—to catch those “looks”.

Categories: Autism, flashback friday, Snark | 1 Comment

Would You Care For Some TEA?

After a few years of Jr. college, I ran away to the redwoods after I was accepted to Humboldt State University.  And of course, I had to attend some stupid orientation where students tried to engage us and get us to have a chat with a  perky “if you could meet ANYONE from history, who would it BE?” *twinkle smile*

seriously–this may have been the birth of my misanthropy.

I think I said Genghis Khan or Mary Queen of Scots–just to keep the perky lil cheerleader out of my hair–but would I really  want to meet those people?  I mean, Khan wouldn’t have spoken to me, and I’m sure Mary had a serious need for incense.

Seriously–why do we romanticize these non-bathers?

However, in my grumpy, misanthropic ways, there ARE a few characters (mostly fictional) I wouldn’t mind having tea with.  I realized there are some books to which I return, not just for their wordcraft, but also because of some very amazing women within them.

so step with me into my ornate and garishly decorated parlor, with doilies on everything (why yes, I DID make them all), a silver service in need of a good polish, teacups with pictures of men on them, whose clothes disappear with heat, and shelves and shelves of books.  Oh, and my Chihuahua Manny–the only male permitted to this tea party (I mean, he IS lacking testicles…)

Elizabeth Bennett (Pride and Prejudice)

Ah, my dear sweet Lizzie.  With a sharp tongue, a well-read mind, acerbic wit and the ability to admit she was wrong.  Not that Darcy was at all charming upon first impressions.  But anyone who could stand up to that old hag lady Catherine deserves a seat at my table.  Plus, she knows enough about basic manners to keep the conversation going if necessary.

Josephine  March (Little Women)

And next to her we have the lovely Jo.  Perhaps not as witty or acerbic, but refreshingly honest and forthright.  With a passion.  I have always had a soft spot for Jo.  Making her way in the world. determined to be a writer (mirror mirror…) knowing that loving the wrong man would be the worst for her, and instead ending up with the man who challenged her mind.  Another well- read lass, but with American sensibilities, and not quite so much “refinement”.

Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)

This was a bit of a toss up–because it would seem quite natural to invite darling Kate to my parlor.  And while I adore Kate, there is something in Beatrice that speaks to my soul.  The sharpest of all tongues covering a tender heart.  Prepared to enter hell as an Old Maid rather than marry to please the men in her family, she is spunky and sharp!  No mooning over some silly boy at my table–nor would she tolerate it in others.

Sookie Stackhouse (The Sookie Stackhouse novels)

Now, let me be clear–I mean precisely the character from the book, and not that insipid nudist on HBO. I don’t know who that whore is, because she isn’t HALF as charming as The character created by Charlaine Harris.  THAT Sookie is real, down to earth and SOUTHERN, from her charm and hospitality, to her perfect usage of the phrase “Jesus Christ, Shepard of Judea!”  I might have to mix up a batch of sweet tea for our darling Sookie, but I’m sure she’ll still have delightful manners, and perhaps a saucy tale to two to tell.

Professor Minerva McGonagall (Harry Potter and the gazillion incarnations)

I’m hardly a Potter head, but I have read all of the books, and Minerva always stands out for me.  Oh, you can have your Snapes and Malfoys and Rita Skeeters, but I’ll take Minerva any day. There is no question to who she is or what she stands for.  No mystery, no back story.  Again–straightforward and honest (this time with Scottish sensibilities), she takes her work seriously, and works very hard to instill in the youth around her a solid moral compass. But she also strikes me as someone who would appreciate vigorous conversation and witty repartee.  Besides, I would HAVE to invite another witch, would I not?

For me this sounds like a loverly afternoon, where one might find laughter, debate, passionate declarations, snappy come-backs, honesty and charm.  And a nice Oolong.  Shall I be mother?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Categories: Mama Kat's writing workshop, Snark | 9 Comments

Perfuckt Parunting

I’ve realized something. I’m doing it all wrong.

All this time I’ve been thinking that I can call upon my internal reserves, my college education, my moral compass and an insane amount of pragmatism to guide my own parenting, and I’m JUST. PLAIN. WRONG.

Because, throughout this journey, I’ve been crazy and focusing on my child and letting him grow, instead of controlling every aspect of his life, watching every word I say and putting my own sanity at risk! How foolish of me!

And the fact that he has Autism? WELL! I am most CERTAINLY doing it wrong. Just ask all the experts. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

*whistles badly* (I never was a good whistler. Something else I should be working on)

See? THEY know so much better than I do. I mean, why isn’t my son already mainstreamed? Why won’t he eat kale and drink Kumbacha? Why isn’t he speaking Chinese fluently? And there is NO WAY he’s going to get into the Olympic trials for the 2024 Olympics here in Los Angeles, for which I should be petitioning the IOC with every spare moment I have.

If I am ever to see that elusive unicorn, puking sunshine and rainbows, I really need to change my tactics. I’ve obviously done irreparable damage so far that only YEARS and YEARS of therapy MIGHT be able to reverse, but I can start new from right now. I’ve developed this simple plan to turn me into the perfect parent, based on all my Internet readings, gleaned mostly from Facebook, blogs and parenting magazines.

First: Language.

I must be positive and loving in all things uttered from my mouth. I must never say anything about my own feelings or weaknesses aloud, and indeed punish myself if I ever DARE to think them, as anything negative from me can only be construed as abusive. The Plan: From this day forward I will not speak or write or express myself in any fashion. I will assume, and rightly so, that those around me know far better what needs to be done. Our house will only contain the noise of my son, scripting away and screaming in frustration while I maintain a placid countenance. In a lovely apron and freshly coifed hair.

Second: Scheduling.

My son does not have enough of a structured day. I will plan every minute, and enroll him in 5 or more activities in order to a) extend his education to counter the meaningless public school education that is no doubt damaging his precious psyche and really getting in the way of his full grasp of Latin and the classics and b) give him the parenting role models he so desperately needs since I am obviously still a disappointment since I can’t even muster the energy to homeschool him. These activities, on top of various therapies–approved only by a knowing panel of blogging parents, advocates and celebrities–will foster mental, physical and spiritual growth. I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how I’ve failed him spiritually with my silly pagan beliefs and simple focus on the golden rule. How naive of me to think that without Christianity in his back pocket, that I would just be setting him up for failure.

Third: Diet.

Why I am even allowed in the kitchen is beyond me. Why, I don’t even have my own sourdough starter! It is simply not enough to make homemade meals and menu plan, and have fresh fruit available and a freezer full of meat. NO NO NO. I am not NEARLY vigilant enough about how far my produce has traveled, and the amount of grass eaten, or precisely how many vitamins and minerals my child ingests daily. I don’t even check the GMO status of all produce in a 5 mile radius, and I DEIGN to call myself a mother? In fact *hanging my head in shame* I give him…Gummy Vitamins. (gasp) A travesty, I know. So from now on I will keep a detailed feeding log of every item my son ingests, with a breakdown of all the appropriate nutrients of each. I will buy ONLY from farmer’s markets, where I can speak to the farmer DIRECTLY and make sure each nectarine and leaf of kale was hand picked by fresh faced virgins in the morning dew. OTherwise, i could be responsible for the downfall of our society as we know it.

And, as for my child’s picky eating and limited diet? I can really only blame myself. I mean–and the evidence is clearly out there in the bloggy world–if I would just provide a great variety of healthy foods, he wouldn’t be eating dried fruit and peanut butter sandwiches with homemade jam. NO NO NO. I obviously did not start him on healthy foods, instead allowing him to eat foods he likes like homemade pumpkin soups, which was sadly his favorite food at 12 months. No, I should have put him in front of a plate of steamed kale and not let him eat another thing until he ingested every bite. It’s really my weakness at fault here. If ONLY I could have been a better mother and fed him vegetables when he started out–carrots, green beans and peas not counting, of course. AS if they were legitimate vegetables!

Fourth: Medical.

I can really only blame myself. The vaccines. All those diseases injected into my little boy in order to protect others from getting ill. How selfish of me. How abusive. How naive of me to think that the government is trying to protect those with weak immune systems and newborns by stamping out preventable diseases that kill people. Am I not AWARE of how big pharma runs EVERYTHING in this country? Well, perhaps if I were a better parent, I would have read some of the very insightful blogs about vaccine damage and how I am entirely to blame for damaging my child and causing his autism. I mean, how could I POSSIBLY wrap my feeble brain around the fact that he never reacted to those vaccines and never had any serious regressions after the MMR vaccine or other deadly suspects? Perhaps if I had read more, and not eaten Tuna when I was pregnant, my son would be whole and perfect like those other bloggers’ kids. Shame on me, really. My lack of research and preparation should have disqualified me from ever having children, you’re quite right. Let this be a lesson to new parents–please read each and every blog you can before conception, so as not to make the fatal mistakes I have in my ignorance.

Fifth: Personal Growth.

I am an imperfect human. *sob* A spider hanging over a flame, without any faith in the hand that holds me: the mommy bloggers and parent magazines. I don’t know why I am so contentious. To think that I could come to any parenting decisions BY MYSELF? Preposterous. I should have more faith in the thousands of women before me, and ALL the celebrities with an opinion on anything parental, post-natal and “having it all” oriented. This has always been a struggle of mine–doing enough. I mean, working through college, two bachelor’s degrees, teaching in South Los Angeles–I may as well have put my feet up and sipped piña coladas. But now that I have accepted the gauntlet of SAHM, I must challenge myself beyond keeping a clean home, happy husband and loved child. NO. I must perfect my brainwaves so that all I can think is perfection–because once I do so, I can be the parent my child needs me to be, and join the elusive passive-aggressive-circle-jerk group of perfect mommy bloggers. I can only hope of gaining just a small percentage of the knowledge and wisdom they have attained. I have to do MORE than try–I cannot waiver even for a second, or else it will all be a failure.

These are the goals I must set for myself–besides beauty and thinness of course (those go without saying, right?)–that will allow me to make this world a better place and create a child that will no doubt cure cancer and destroy asteroids with the power of his mind (who needs Bruce Willis with this kid around?) Because until I attain these goals, I am just a shell of a human being, and frankly, unworthy of the title “mommy”.

Categories: Autism, parenting, Snark | 17 Comments
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