Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pity Party, Table for One

Welcome to my Pity Party. 

Feel free to pull up a chair.  However it is BYOB (bring your own bitchin').

I have heard some people don't believe in pity parties.  Well, bully for you.  However, I am human and I feel the need to rage against the universe and bitch a bit.  So if this ain't your cup of tea, I will not be offended.  I'll just drink more wine.

And now... without further ado...  a list of Things I Hate (in no particular order of hated-ness)

*  I hate that when I am driving home with J-man from his new program, there is no conversation.  It is a long car ride and there is no response to "what did you do today?".  He can't tell me if he had fun, if he likes his teachers or other kids in the class.  There is just silence.  Except, of course, for the immediate request for ice cream that comes from the back.... "ie-eam!  ie-eam!!".  And that leads to....

*  I hate that I buy ice cream for J-man every day because he asks for it.  But it is the only thing he says.  So I can't seem to help myself.  And no doubt his future obesity will be my fault. 

* I hate that every stinking thing I read about feeding my kid makes me feel even more guilty, helpless and worthless as a parent. So thanks for that, a**hats!

*  I hate that J-man has such a narrow range of food interests and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.  And yes, you could say that I should just not give him anything but healthy food and he will eventually eat.  But you don't know J-man....  he very well might starve himself.  Seriously.

*  I hate that I have zero glimpse into the future for J-man.  None.  Not even the illusion of what the future will be for J-man.  Should we save for college?  No idea.  Should we plan on him living with us for the rest of his life?  Couldn't tell ya.  Will he ever have friends?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Will he even care?  I'm going to say yes, but can I even be sure of that?  The answer is no.

*  I hate that I have to fight to get J-man to even do basic crap... like brushing his teeth.  Or use the toilet.  Or ride a trike.  Or have a friend. 

*  I hate that my own illusions of human goodness have been shattered.  And not by Watergate, or the fact it seems like every male politician seems to have a problem keeping Mr Willy-Winky in his pants, or that Wall Street seems hell-bent on proving that they have zero ethics or morals at all.  While all these things definitely erode at one's confidence in humankind, I have found myself more personally violated by the events with the school district this last year.  That the people who are suppose to help don't.   That I can't trust the system that I should be able to trust.  That in the end we really are alone in all this. 

* I hate that nothing is ever normal and it appears it never will be. And yes, normal is boring.  I don't care. 

* I hate that everything is just so f*&%ing hard. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Best. Laugh. Ever.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Up North, Ya Know, U Betcha

Itching to get out of town (even for an overnight), J-man and I headed 'up-nordt" to hang out at my parent's cabin. Alas, Big Daddy had to work all weekend, which was a major bummer since it was Father's Day weekend and all. But since he works from home I figured he would rather we be out of his hair... plus a kidless house can be awful nice.

Life is simple "up nordt". As you can see, people in the northland find all kinds of ways to amuse themselves.

Suck it, NYC.
You might have Broadway,
but we have meat raffles!

I know you are jealous.

The highlight of the weekend was going out on the boat. J-man loves the boat. And apparently, J-man loves fishing. This was an unknown until this weekend when we went for a little boat ride and Grandpa started a little fishing. He caught two.

And J-man was in love.

He squealed. He laughed. He wanted to hold the fish. Clean the fish. No really, he took a towel and 'cleaned' them. We let Grandpa do the real dirty work.

J-man has zero... I mean zero... fear of fish.

The next day, Grandpa produced a J-man size fishing pole. J-man is in love with Grandpa now.   J-man was also a bit of a menace. He wanted to "cast" the fishing pole just like Grandpa did. Except there are three really big problems with that. The first was that he does not have the motor coordination down to do a real fishing cast. The second... he has no patience for failure. The third? He will not take direction from anyone. He got the jist of what to do from watching Grandpa, but refused help. So he swung the rod... with a live hook buried in a fake worm... around willy-nilly.

I still have visions of losing an eye.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What it is like...

... to watch a movie with J-man.  The action really gets started at about 1 minute and 30 seconds, give or take.

That phrase making your ears bleed?  "More puppieeee (movie)"

Friday, June 17, 2011

In Defense of Media

This month's topic over at Best of the Best SOS for Parents is on the effect that media (TV, computers, etc) has on special needs kids.  I am going to go out on a limb and say that I think the effects might be... oh, what is the word???.... oh, yeah, BAD.  And I am going to guess that many of the other fabulous bloggers will either spend time writing about either how evil TV/Computers are OR how overwhelmingly guilty they feel for allowing their children to watch/play said media. 

And they would be right.  TV is evil.  It is passive and minimally social.  It is often violent.  It is very repetitive, simplistic, and requires very little use of imagination.  All kinds of (poorly designed) studies show that letting your kid watch TV is like feeding them lead-paint and mercury-filled tuna with a BPA-infused glass of red-dye-#2 Kool-aid spiked with vodka.  I am actually surprised child-protective services isn't called.  And I feel very guilty about letting J-man watch TV or play on the IPad.  On the tally sheet of "how I fail as a parent", TV watching is #1 with a bullet. 

So, having said that...  allow me to spend just a few moments to defend media for special needs kids.

(and oh boy, does it ever need a defense!)

Letting J-man watch TV allows me to not go ape-shit insane.
     Parenting a special needs kid is not for the weak.  The analogy of "it is a marathon, not a sprint" comes to mind.  And TV is like the porta-potty along the way... Gross, but a necessary evil. While J-man watches Little Einsteins, I get to do exciting things like dishes.  Or laundry.  Or pee.

The repetitive nature of TV does actually teach J-man something.

     When J-man floored us with his knowledge of the alphabet, it wasn't because we didn't think he could learn it.  It was because we never taught it to him.  In our world, we had bigger fish to fry.  So where did he learn it??  I am guessing Sesame Street.  Maybe SuperWhy.  Now, of course, knowing the letters and using them to create words are two entirely different things.... but hey, that is one thing off my list! 
    Also, watching the same shows over and over and over and over again allows J-man to hear words being used in the same context with the same reference point.  The difference between TV and flashcards might only be in the entertainment value.

TV can be a medium through which we engage each other. 

     A few months ago, Mary Camarata from the Vanderbilt Late Talker Foundation saw our video of J-man watching Aladdin with Big Daddy:

She LOVED it, and actually used it in a lecture series about media.  And yes, she thinks media is evil too.  BUT, she noted that in the case of this video, we were using the context of the show to create opportunities to engage J-man, and though this engagement he went from single sounds to repeating 3-word utterances (unheard of for him at that time).  Her point was that sometimes media can be used as a springboard to engagement and discussion, but that it requires an active thought by us parents to make that happen.  But it can be an entry point into their world.

Other media, like the all-holy IPad, provide a ton of different cause-and-effect learning opportunities.

Shannon Des Roches Rosa from Squidalicious has numerous articles touting the benefits of the IPad for children with disabilities (like her son Leo).  Check her out!  What little I can add is that the IPad is huge reinforcer for J-man, and an activity that we can engage in together.  Let the bribing commence!

So there you have it.  A few small points of defense for media .  Now you will have to excuse me, J-man and I have a date to watch Blue's Clues for the 100th time.  I wonder if Steve will wear that sexy striped shirt again? 


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Playing Hookie from IEP Season

(Check out this very cool site and buy their stuff. 
Or at least just check it out! )

This year, I am missing IEP Season

Actually, I am not exactly missing it.  IEP Season, that is.  I am not missing it AT ALL.

It is like I am suppose to be at an all-day staff meeting with a boss who can either be sweet as pie or a complete prick.  Who cuts my budget.  Wants me to work Saturdays.  And moves my desk into the basement.  And takes my red stapler.

And instead, I took a mental health day.  I called in and am frolicking at the beach.  Or going shopping.  Or doing yard work.  Or having painful dental work.  You know, something better than the anticipatory soul crushing anxiety and emasculating experience of IEP meetings. 

Not that I am bitter or anything.

I know my reprieve is probably short-lived. Unless I homeschool, I am pretty much doomed to have to enter the IEP arena again.  I will have to go back on my meds, endure the stress-induced ulcers and migraine headaches, and pray pray pray that no one breaks my baby boy. 

But until that day comes, I am going to bask in the sun with my son.  Make the decisions that are right for our family... our son... without condescending "we know better than you" attitudes.  Enjoy the company of professionals whose first priority is the J-man... as it should be. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Video from IMFAR

I just thought I would share this great interview with the keynote speaker from the Internation Meeting for Autism Research.  Brings me back to my old days.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some Things Are Not DIY

J-man hates to have his hair cut.


Usually it involves crying and tears and sobs and a nervous hairdresser doing a scissor cut.  No clippers, thank you very much.  So I tend to put it off...

...and off.... and off....

And this time we decided that maybe we could just try and do a buzz cut with the clippers at home.  Maybe, just maybe, having Mommy and Daddy doing it in the comfort of his own home might work for the J-man. 

Again, as so many times before, Mommy was so, so wrong.

How Bad It Got :

Just call me Shaggy

And Our First Attempt (before he freaked)

Our very sad asymmetrical back buzz cut

Because we know when we are licked.... and when we don't have a clue what we are doing... we decided that the professionals could earn their money (and a hefty tip) to fix our screw-up and deal with our little J-man.  And let me just say... thank goodness she went SHORT.

A little more of a short-and-tight look
Note to self.....some things to never DIY:

           1. Heart Surgery
           2. Dental Work
           3. Cutting J-man's Hair


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