Civil War…

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Monster War 7,592,483 is under way.  Already.  Again.

What is this war about, you ask?  The same thing the last 2,000 battles were about.  Cleaning.

I’m not talking about being a slave driver here – we are NOT being unreasonable.  Expecting my five year old to clean up the disaster that three days ago resembled a bedroom is not only reasonable, but completely necessary.  For me anyway.  For him this appears to be the equivalent of a child form of the Inquisition.  And he’s certainly making enough noise to make that very clear.  I’m amazed, AMAZED the neighbors have not called the cops on us yet for all the noise he makes.

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Kaleb screaming is a whole new level of ear-splitting.  It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.  It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on the enemies of every Marvel Comic superhero in history.  It’s just that loud.  You can feel your inner ear vibrating – to the point where you become worried about hearing loss.  I’ve been to hundreds of concerts in my life – right up next to those loud amps with no problem.  Daddy has spent most of his adult life around airplanes and engines with little problem.  Kaleb starts to scream and we both wish we had earplugs while simultaneously plotting our run for the hills.  

I mean, come on.  How can you possibly be an effective parental machine meant to teach your child responsibility, morality, work ethic, and the joys of a job well done when all you really want to do is cover your ears and hide?  Which is basically what Kaleb does when we talk to him anyway – except he doesn’t hide – he covers his ears and he screams like someone is ripping out his central nervous system one tiny nerve at a time.

Of course, this is made SO much better by Mason.  <~~Insert Sarcasm Here.

Who has learned to take exquisite pleasure in pushing Kaleb to the point of no return.  Kaleb starts yelling about how “Kids don’t clean only grown ups clean!” and what does Mason do?  He mimics.  He mimes Kaleb garbled, jumbled word for word.  And Kaleb flips.  Mason is copying him.  So, you shush Mason, and go back to informing Kaleb that kids do in fact clean, especially when they have made their bedroom look like something out of a Salvador Dali picture.

To which, Kaleb screams, whines, drops on the ground, and insists that cleaning makes kids tired.  Fine.  Then you can take a nap when you’re finished.  Only, kids don’t take naps.

This will go on and on and around and around.  Mason mimics Kaleb saying kids don’t take naps.  Kaleb screams at Mason with the kind of fury that would cause any other child on the planet (you know, the kind with self-preservation skills) to run in the opposite direction.  Not Mason.  Nope, he just mimics the scream.  If Kaleb had any form of super power I believe this is the part where he would obliterate Mason.  And, just to be a pest, Mason would rise from the ashes and mimic Kaleb.

Physically put Kaleb in his room.  Give him three simple tasks to start off with.  Pick up the 10 shredded pieces of paper and put them in your trash can.  Pick up the 12 books on the floor and put them back on the shelf.  Pick up the legos and put them back in the drawer.  Small, simple tasks that should only take a few minutes, but will in turn make the mess seem that much less formidable.

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Not.  Instead, another bout of screaming ensues.  Mason runs to the living room, parts the curtain for the french doors that lead to Kaleb’s room, and mimics Kaleb through the glass.  Kaleb now makes a bigger mess.  Emptying out his trash can, and throwing the legos across the room.  Well great.  Now you have just made more work for yourself.

Typically, I will help Kaleb clean his room.  I understand that even though he made the mess no problem, everything together seems overwhelming and he doesn’t generally deal well with picking it up unless I’m in there giving direction and a (slight) helping hand.  But now, now this is about the principal of the matter.  I helped you clean this mess three days ago.  I helped you pick up all of the Legos.  I helped you find a new home for your train tracks and accessories since you opted to destroy the train table.  But I am sure as heck not going to do it now.  You made this mess.  It’s not a disaster, but it certainly isn’t clean.  And I’m not going on vacation just to come home to your bedroom looking like it was ransacked by Max and The Wild Things.

Of course, when you add in Daddy’s reaction to the entire event, it just adds an extra layer of chaos.  It’s bad enough Kaleb won’t listen to me.  I’m used to it.  I’m frustrated by it, frustrated by my own frustration and by the fact that I tend to be so worn down by the end of the day Kaleb wins.  But Daddy is more frustrated.  Because he isn’t used to it.

Yesterday he got up with the boys and gave me a much needed chance to sleep in.  I stayed in bed until NOON.  For the first time (without being seriously ill) since Kaleb was born, I got to sleep until noon.  I probably would have stayed in bed all day if it weren’t for the periodic screaming coming from the children, and my guilt for making Daddy handle it all on his own.  I know he’s more than capable of managing, but I also know that every day it hits him a little harder – nobody listens.  The dog doesn’t listen, Mason doesn’t listen, Kaleb doesn’t listen – and if we’re being really honest here, there’s a good chunk of time when the only thing I’m listening to is my inner dialog of “You love your kids.  You love your kids.  You really, really, love your kids.”

Then the inner monologue gets replaced with “You do not need an exorcist.  They are not really possessed.  They’re just really… passionate.  About making you crazy.”  Of course, that change comes from Kaleb throwing a curtain rod down the hallway and Mason throwing trains in the toilet while the dog eats a Poptart that once belonged to one of the children.

So, here we are.  Another Monster War.  Probably a losing battle as Kaleb has locked himself in his room in an effort to make a bigger mess, and Mason proceeds to scream and rage at the dog for eating his Poptart.  Ah, well, at least I know whose breakfast the dog was eating.

Getting them haircuts and taking a trip to the flea market to buy them new suitcases should be a blast today.

I need more coffee.

 

I Fall to Pieces…

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Rollerblading while under the influence of alcohol is officially the most idiotic thing I’ve ever done.

I was basically abused by the pavement – and let’s just leave it at that.  My lack of grace, skill, and balance basically says it all.  It took me three days to get around to writing this, since I was unable to type with my left hand.  Whoops!!

Daddy came home Wednesday and, after the boys being on their best behavior for the first day, has gotten himself basically bitch-slapped by the reality of life with the Monsters again.  I’m so used to the screaming, the fighting, the constant back and forth, I forget how insane it really is.  They make me crazy and I’m with them 24/7 – I can’t imagine how high Daddy’s blood pressure must be after being thrust back into the Monster’s den!

There have been two poopcasso incidents – one that had me scrubbing inch after inch of Mason’s room with one hand.  That of course, was after Daddy walked in on the mess and I found him standing in the hallway with a look of utter horror mixed with absolute confusion on his face.  After a few “I don’t know where to start!” exclamations I sent him off to bathe the mini-monster while I put on my Poopcasso face and went to work.  I swear, the kid’s room is going to have a faint odor indefinitely, no matter how much we scrub.

In hindsight, this incident is what preceded our less than brilliant actions later in the evening.  Daddy decided he wanted to rollerblade to the bar in the neighborhood.  We called a sitter for the boys, and off we went.  Well, off he went.  I went down.  A lot.  And it was in no way graceful.  At one point I think Daddy was legitimately considering going back to the house to get me Kaleb’s bike helmet.  A few days earlier I had finally gotten a new phone, and my genius self had placed my shiny new device in my right back pocket.  The first time I fell, Daddy said my pinwheeling before I went down was something frightening to witness.  Most of my weight hit my left knee – successfully ripping a hole in one of my only good pairs of jeans.  After that, each tumble landed me either on my left knee, hip, or hand – because even in such a precarious situation one has to protect her phone.

While you sit there laughing at my clumsy and disturbing adventure there is something you should know.  Daddy got me rollerblades for Christmas.  This was primarily because usually while he uses his rollerblades I would ride my bike and he wanted me to blade with him.  Well that’s all great and dandy – I loved rollerblading as a kid.  I repeat, as a kid.  It had been 12 years since I’d been on rollerblades, and my fearless and effortless ability vanished when I realized that I was not invincible – at all.  Save for the day we got them, I have never been on them without something to hold on to.  The buggy I got a couple of years ago for the kids to sit in while I ride my bike came with an extra wheel so we could detach it from the bike and push it.  I’ve been pushing the kids around in the buggy while wearing rollerblades consistently for six months.  With their weight in front of me keeping it steady, I’ve never had a problem staying on my feet.

Obviously, I have learned I did not earn my confidence on wheels the way I thought I had.  At one point that night I was going down, and I knew I’d be going down hard, and without thinking I grabbed for Daddy to steady me – successfully bringing him down with me.  Of course, he was wearing shorts, so he got a bit cut up.  That was pretty much the end of that.  Well, kind of.  We took a trip through the neighborhood cemetery on the way back to the house (yes, there is a cemetery in the neighborhood, and yes, I’m odd enough to have really wanted a look at it).  At some point during this little detour my phone fell out of my pocket.  We were already halfway home before I realized this.  I had just taken Daddy down with me, and when I went to check and make sure the phone was good, I discovered it wasn’t there.

This was a big problem.  Daddy told me to sit where I was and he would go find it – and off he went.  After waiting for what felt like forever, I felt really guilty and attempted to go after him to help.  Thus falling twice more, the second time hard enough to jolt my wrist pretty badly.  Defeated, I took my rollerblades off and started to limp back toward him.  About two minutes later he came back around the corner, phone in hand.  He took one look at me and started laughing.

I’m pretty sure he’s still laughing.

Anyway, I’ve learned my lesson.  And even though I basically wrecked my left side for a few days, it was worth it.  Because by the time the Monsters are done with him, Daddy’s going to need that memory of me bedraggled and bruised to laugh at in order to ward off the men in little white coats.

There have been positives and negatives to Kaleb being home full time.  On the plus side, Mason will actually work with Kaleb, so his language is really starting to blossom.  On the down side, not all the language he is picking up is good.  “I said NO!”  tends to be a favorite amongst them both.  Or, depending on what it is they want “I said YES!”

Then of course is the constant battling between them.  Mason refuses to keep the door to the porch closed.  Kaleb closes it.  Mason screams.  Mason opens it, Kaleb screams.  The vein in Daddy’s forehead begins to throb visibly.

The living room is clean.  The living room is trashed.  Mason lines up his cars, Kaleb demolishes them.  Kaleb builds something.  Mason makes attempts to reach, eat, grab, kick, touch, knock over, or take it.  Kaleb screams.  Mason laughs.  Kaleb screams louder.  Mason laughs louder.  Kaleb screams at the top of his lungs and lunges for Mason.  Mason screams.  I’m pretty sure that vein in Daddy’s forehead has its own pulse now.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are a constant battle.  The dog is getting fat from Mason throwing him food, my ears are going to bleed, from Kaleb screaming over one particular issue or another – not enough ranch, asparagus is too mushy, etcetera and so on.

Poor Daddy left one war zone for another.

But boy am I happy to have someone here to join me in combat!

Father Of Mine…

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Happpy Father’s Day!

I can honestly say I’m blessed to know a lot of amazing fathers, and I hope each and every one of them have an incredible day today.  But, more than anything, there are three men in my life who have completely shaped my vision of what makes a great father, and I’d like to take the time to say something to each of them today, since I’ll only get to spend the day with one.  First, of course is Daddy – who I am lucky enough to navigate parenthood with Monsters with.  Second, is Papa Clyde – AKA my father; and third is Poppy – my know-it-all (it’s true, he does know everything!) grandfather. Without these men I wouldn’t be the person, daughter, friend, or mother that I am.  Each one of them has influenced me beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Poppy 

Happy Father’s Day old man!  I haven’t called you yet this morning because I figured you might actually take advantage of the day and sleep in and I didn’t want to be the one who woke you up!  Mind you, I obviously have no problem doing this every other day of the year, but still.  It is Father’s Day after all.  I truthfully don’t even know how to write this.  When I look back at my life, and your role in it, I can honestly say you are one of the only people in the world I have always known, 100% was there for me, no questions asked.

For as long as I can remember you’ve answered endless un-answerable questions, simply to entertain me.  You’ve given me your love for a good baseball game, a cold beer, and a determination to learn how to do an Irish Step Dance (which we both know I will never be able to accomplish given my miserable failure at any form of dance).  More than that, you’ve given me stability, love, faith, and a sense of humor I would be lost without.  I have countless memories of conversations we’ve had while walking through grocery stores, or other public places – most of those memories are seared into my mind not because of the depth of them (not that we haven’t shared in some wonderful and serious conversations, because we certainly have), these memories stand out because of the looks on the faces of the strangers around us as they eavesdropped on the constant banter between us.

You have always been able to find a way to find the humor in even the worst situations, and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to you for giving that gift to me.  Being able to not just find the good in the bad, but finding the humor in what should be a humorless situation has saved me on so many levels.  Knowing I can call you and no matter how much of my own hair I have pulled out over the antics of the Monsters, you will laugh so hard I can’t help but laugh with you.  It’s become one of the most important aspects of my life, and my number one coping mechanism when things get rough.

You’ve been a father to me through thick and thin, going above and beyond grandfatherly duties, and I’ll never be able to properly express how much that means to me.  I have never felt like I didn’t belong with you.  You gave me my first lesson in love being thicker than blood.  So, when you’re sitting in the pavilion next, drinking a beer and listening to the radio, have that flamingo at your side give you a toast from me.  Next month I’ll be able to give you a proper toast myself, and I fully expect to leave with a heart full of love and a belly full of laughter.  I love you Poppy, I miss you to pieces, and I hope you have the best Father’s Day yet.

P.S.

Kaleb says “Happy Father’s Day!”

Mason says “Why?”

Ha!  I love you,

Princess Flamingo

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Papa Clyde –

Happy Father’s Day Daddy!

I’ve had my fair share of father figures throughout my life.  But only when you came along did I truly get a Dad.  I know I have probably already said this a hundred times, for a hundred different occasions, but I’ll say it again:  Thank you.

Thank you for being my Dad.  Thank you for taking me as I was, and as I am, and loving me unconditionally despite my best efforts to make you do otherwise.  Thank you for standing by me, behind me, and in front of me as I navigated the world around me.  Thank you for being everything a father should be and more.  Thank you for opening your arms, your heart, your family to me and never letting go.  Thank you for rescuing me from myself when I needed rescuing, and letting me struggle when I needed to rescue myself.  Thank you for everything.

Through you I have learned so much.  I’ve always been stubborn (a trait we both share to a fault), I’ve always been a heard-headed girl, who wanted what I wanted and that was that.  You’ve taught me how to accomplish the things I want in this life, while building relationships, instead of burning them to the ground.  You’ve shown me how rewarding it is to teach others, and help those around me.  You’ve redefined compassion and loyalty, while encouraging me to continue to be as outrageous as I want to be.  You’ve given me independence, while making sure to be there when I needed someone to lean on.

We’ve grown together – you and I.  We’ve both had some of the stubborn stripped away in light of things that we couldn’t see coming or control, and we’ve learned from those things.  In all the battles I’ve had to wage, with myself, my kids, my family – even you – you have always been there to find the light at the end of the tunnel with me.  We’ve been through awesome times, and we’ve been through hell, and no matter what you never lost faith.  You’ve made me crazy, and I’ve made you grey, yet still you stand proudly by my side and introduce me as your daughter.  You’ve shown me what it means to have not just a father, but a Dad; proving once more to me that love is stronger than blood.  I couldn’t imagine what my world would be like without you, and I never want to.

Happy Father’s Day Daddy, I will see you this evening, and I’ll raise as many toasts as I can to a man who changed my life for the better, forever.

I love you,

Your pain in the ass daughter.

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Daddy 

Happy Father’s Day Love!

Of course you know I had to save the best for last 😉

Oh where do I even begin?  We have the luckiest kids on the planet – because they have you.  But they aren’t the only lucky ones, I am as well.  In the last five years we have gone through hell and back more times than I dare count.  We’ve made each other laugh, and cry, and yell, and curse the heavens – but through all of it you have been, and always will be, everything.

You are my constant (I am perfectly aware of how completely unstable that must mean I am!), my rock, a beacon for everything that matters in this world.  You have taught me so much, and continue to do so each day.  You’re honest to a fault (seriously, no girl actually wants to know if the dress makes her look fat), your integrity and ethic is unparalleled to anyone I have ever known.  But those aren’t the reasons I love you.  Actually, half the time, those are the reasons I want shake you!

I love you because you are you.  I’ve never been more aware of how lucky I am to share this life with you than I am right now.  Our boys get to grow up with a father who teaches them that life isn’t easy – but it’s worth it if you work for what you want.  They have inherited the best of you, and for that alone they will grow up to be forces to be reckoned with.  You sacrifice daily for this family – for me, for them, for us as a whole – and you don’t get nearly the amount of acknowledgement that you should.  You spend months away from us to ensure we are able to do the things we want to do.  To give them the life that we want for them.  To give me a life I could never have dreamed of, and we will never be able to fully make you understand how much you mean to us.

Each and every time life throws us a curveball you take it and make it work to your very best ability.  You miss so much, yet without you, there wouldn’t be anything to miss.  You come home to chaos, and crazy, and you accept and love every single bit of it.  You chose us – and we are so incredibly lucky.  We are lucky to have a man who knows when to push and when to wait.  We are lucky to have a man who is patient, compassionate, understanding, faithful, and just as insane as the rest of us.

I’m sorry that you are missing Father’s Day.  But you’ll be home in just a few days now, and we will make up for it as best we can.  I know it’s hard being gone.  I know it isn’t easy to have to miss out on so much, I can’t even imagine how hard that is.  But what I also know is how much we love you.  We go about our daily lives while you fight tireless for us to have them, and we could not be more proud of you.  You are the strength in this family.  The foundation of the life we are building together.  I can look back at the last few years and know with an absolute certainty that we can face anything.  We can make it through anything together.

I cannot wait to start the rest of our lives together.  I cannot wait to marry you.  And I love you all the more because you’re crazy enough to actually want to marry me.

You are an incredible father, (future) husband, and friend.  You deserve an amazing Father’s Day – and when you get home, I will give that to you.  Once and for all you have proven to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that love is thicker than blood.  I love you more than words can express, and I will see you soon.  There will be cold beer, warm pizza, and a house of Monsters waiting for your arrival.  Have a wonderful day Love.

I love you,

The insane mother of your children, and your future wife.

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***There is a side note here.  Because I probably won’t be writing tomorrow, I need to say this now.

This is a bittersweet day for me.

Don, one year ago tomorrow you left this world, and all of us in it that loved you.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you.  For 364 days I have looked down at the pirate band on my arm I have thought of you. I hope wherever you are, you have the peace that was sometimes so difficult for you to find in life.  I hope you’re playing beer pong and listening to music loud enough to make everyone around you crazy.  Most of all, I hope you are happy, and I hope you know how much you were loved by so many people.  We miss you.

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Learning To Fly…

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Well, it’s official.  Mason has been diagnosed with autism.

As you may, or may not have noticed, I have been basically been avoiding all forms of human socialization lately with few exceptions:  interactions that are required in regard to one of my many “jobs” (this includes school meetings, the very awesome special needs convention this past weekend, and walk related duties); interactions with my children (which, given their constant screaming lately, has taken a lot of silent counting in my head); and a small handful of friends and family.

This is nobody’s fault but my own.  I typically handle stress pretty well – given that I live in a world of Monsters and Mayhem and am often the focus of angry little people (not actual LP – the small humans I gave birth to).  At any given point in time you can find me juggling multiple things at once while still attempting to actually read books and not go completely crazy.  This is not currently the case.  What I’ve been doing has instead been less like juggling, and more like trying to catch the balls shooting out of a tennis ball machine on high speed.

While wearing giant clown shoes.

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I’d love to be able to pinpoint exactly what has gotten my sanity in such a state, yet there isn’t a way to really do that.  It’s mostly been a lot of little things that refuse to go away and are slowly playing tug-of-war with what’s left of my mind.  Take insomnia for example.  There were a few years where I legitimately didn’t sleep more than 2 hours a night, and it was never consecutive sleep.  I never really knew what the problem was, I just knew I couldn’t sleep, and that was a pain.  Now, many years and two kids later, the insomnia bug has struck again.  Even on the nights when the kids sleep through the night, peacefully and quietly, I can’t stay asleep to save my life.  Then when I do sleep, I have dreams that would make Dean Koontz proud.  Seriously, I wake up irritated in the middle of the night because some of the nonsense my head is brewing up would make for some really wild stories.

Anyway, enter the vicious cycle.  I can’t sleep because I’m stressed.  I’m more stressed because I’m tired and less equipped to manage all of the tennis balls shooting out of the machine.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

Add to that the kids spending all day long acting like a case of fireworks that someone tossed a match into…

Mason screams because Kaleb touches A.

Kaleb screams because Mason touches B.

Mason screams because Kaleb screamed about Mason doing X…

They aren’t even actively fighting – they’re just shrieking at each other for absolutely no logical reason.

And then they do start fighting, and I wish they’d go back to screaming at each other.  At least the risk for immediate physical injury is not present when they are on opposite sides of the room shouting at each other like a couple of tortured banshees.

Then there were the two evaluations Mason had scheduled for this week.  I’ve been completely stressed out about these evals for an absurd amount of time – and as insane as it is to be so worried about something I have no real control over – those tend to be the things that make me the craziest.  Captain Control Freak here – checkin’ in!

As I’ve explained before, Mason is really good at manipulating the people around him to get what he wants.  That is by far his biggest strength.  When we were going through this with Kaleb I knew what was coming.  Kaleb is who he is, you see that the minute you meet him, and you’ll never have cause to think anything else.  Mason however, can be who or whatever he wants to be depending on the situation he finds himself in.  So many people only see the sweet, funny, yammering Mason who appears to be just like any other kid.  They don’t see the motor problems, the sensory issues, the meltdowns and the OCD like behavior.  Most people don’t even have a clue they’re being shamelessly manipulated by a two year old.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people who barely know him, or only see him on good days inform me that they don’t think there is anything “wrong” with him.  I’ve learned over the last few years to shut my mouth, smile politely, and change the topic.  The same thing happened with Kaleb when he was going through his evaluations.  One nay-sayer after another crawls out of the woodwork.

The biggest stress point of this is people trying to attribute Mason’s own peculiarities to learned behavior he picked up watching his brother.  Which is basically impossible considering most of Mason’s problems are either things Kaleb stopped doing long before Mason was born, or things Kaleb never actually did.  I could sit here and list them one by one – but I really don’t think it’s neccesary.  Daddy and I both see it – and we’ve been seeing it since Mason was very young.

My concerns regarding the evaluations stemmed from this.  I was so worried Mason would put on his little angel face that the people doing the evaluations wouldn’t see the issues underneath it.

Now, a part of me knew this was a ridiculous fear.  These people are trained to see the delays, the pervasive play, the preferred solo play, the sensory issues, the lack of communication (This is not to say he doesn’t speak because he does – he has words.  Most of them are in reference to a vehicle of some sort, but he does have words.  The difference between speaking and communicating however, is huge.  Just because Mason can use words does not mean he uses them to communicate.).  Regardless of it being an absurd thing to fret about or not, Mason is a sneaky little thing, and I was sincerely worried about this.

Tuesday he had his evaluation for Child Find.  This was to ensure he would be starting school in the fall, and get the help he required (speech, OT).  We got up in the morning and headed over to the school they were to do the evaluation at.  I remember going to the same school for Kaleb’s evaluation three years ago.  We walk in and meet the psychologist and the speech pathologist who are to do the eval.  We put Mason in his seat, and he immediately starts to flip out.  We put him in my lap, and get more of the same.  Eventually we just put him down to see what he’ll do.  And of course, he goes directly to a school bus I wouldn’t have found if I was looking for it.  He must have honed in on it the minute we walked in the room.

The rest of the evaluation was pretty standard.  They ask questions, I answer questions.  One tries to engage Mase while I answer questions, then they switch.  It became obvious pretty quickly that Mason had no intention of cooperating – but at least he wasn’t screaming.  I have no idea what their end result was, and I imagine I probably won’t until the staffing meeting is scheduled before school starts up.

That night we went to see Scooby-Doo Live (Musical Mysteries).  Growing up I was obsessed with Scooby, and it absolutely thrills me that both the boys have a love for the crazy pooch as well.  We went to Johnny Rockets and got milkshakes and burgers before the show, and all three of us had a great time singing along and warning Scooby and Shaggy whenever the ghost entered the stage.

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Yesterday morning Mason had his diagnosis evaluation.  This was it – time to figure out what is going on with the bug once and for all.  Daddy and I knew what was coming – but it’s still a nerve wracking experience.  Once again Mason had no interest in any interaction with the psychologist doing the final evaluation (this of course was added to the mountain of paperwork I filled out a few weeks ago, the evaluations that Mason’s therapists did, and all of the information on file from the last two years).  No big meltdowns occurred (unless you count him throwing himself down on the ground and screaming for ten minutes over a matchbox car being taken away).

At the end she was able to total up his scores and give us an official diagnosis.

Mason has autism.

This is the point in time where I am brutally honest.

I am so unbelievably glad the evaluations, wondering, questions – all of it is over, I can’t even begin to express.  Am I upset?  Sure, a bit.  But honestly, we’ve known this was coming for so long I came to terms with it long before yesterday.  It doesn’t change anything.  At least, not really.  It doesn’t change who my child is, or who we are as a family.  It doesn’t affect how we play, or learn, or spend our evenings.  It doesn’t mean he’s anything more or less – he is who he is and we love him for that unconditionally.  And, with the exception of the Poopcasso Jr. tendencies, I wouldn’t change a single thing about him.

But we finally have something written down.  Something that gives us an absolute, definite direction to go in.  We know now where to get help for him, and we know he will get that help, no matter how hard we have to fight on occasion to make it happen.  That is a relief.  The piece of paper, the label – they don’t matter to us, but they’ll go a long way to ensuring he is not looked over or ignored as he continues to grow.

Last night was the first time in well over a month I really slept through the night.  I didn’t so much as move.  Seriously – I woke up in the exact same position I fell asleep in, not even the blankets had moved.  Of course, an entire night without moving is a great way to give yourself a backache and a stiff neck – but it was so worth it to not feel like I was going to fall asleep standing up.

It’s been a crazy couple weeks.  In the last week alone we’ve had The Family Cafe conference, my mom’s birthday, both of the evaluations, Scooby-Doo, and more meltdowns than I can count.  To add to the crazy, I’m packing up all three kids with Miss Lisa tomorrow and we’re going to go meet Lightning McQueen!  I cannot wait to see the look on Mason’s face when he gets to go meet his Cars hero in real life!  Follow that up with a trip to the T-Rex Cafe and our week will be completely.  Thankfully, Daddy comes home in less than a week and maybe we can go back to having some semblance of calm (if you know us personally, you are probably laughing like crazy right now).

But, since it is Friday, the week is finally over, the evaluations are finally over, and the house is relatively clean (no, seriously!  Mason has of course trashed his room again, and the living room has a few cars scattered here and there, but it actually looks like people live here instead of crazy Monsters).  I’m going to go make mini tacos, fire up the popcorn machine, cut up some fruit, and watch Star Wars with my Monsters. *Mason has discovered the joys of watching the Jedi go to town with a light saber – the look of awe/wonder/what the hell?? that crossed his face when he first saw Yoda was priceless!

MasterYoda-Unlearn

Honestly, I’m not trying to be all MIA – and I’m going to work on getting myself back in the habit of writing in the mornings.  Of course, I promise nothing.  Have a great weekend everyone, I can’t wait to tell you all about meeting Mason’s heroes!!

Since You’ve Been Gone…

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Kaleb has taken it upon himself to become an informant on Mason.  By that, I mean every time Mason strips himself of his diaper Kaleb shrieks across the house “Mommy!  Mason’s Naked!”  And if Mason has opted to take off all his clothes he will shout “Mommy!  Mason’s Super Naked!”

Unfortunately, as much as this sounds like a blessing, it’s got some big downfalls.  Like Kaleb not going to sleep until Mason goes to sleep because he feels the need to run to Mason’s room every fifteen minutes to make sure he isn’t naked.  Neither Mason or Leah taking a nap because Kaleb is constantly running into the gate to make sure they aren’t naked.  Or this morning – this morning was the worst.  I woke up at 6am to Kaleb screaming.  He was screaming at Mason.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but Mason was still sleeping, so this was not cool.  As I made my way out to see what was going on, Kaleb stopped shouting and headed in my direction.  I asked him what he was screaming at Mason for – because Mason was sleeping, and it wasn’t nice to wake him up.  Kaleb’s response?

“I had to see if Mason was naked!  He wouldn’t stand up!”

Oh good grief.

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Okay, so I’ve been pretty absent over the last couple weeks – sorry about that.  There’s been a LOT going on.  I started writing this Thursday – today is Tuesday.  That seems to be the reoccurring pattern for the last few weeks, I’ve barely touched the computer.  In part because of the kids, and in part because I have a bunch of different projects going on at the same time, and I can only do them in bits and pieces while the kids are sleeping.  Which is typically when I write if I don’t get it done in the morning during breakfast time.

I mean, it’s actually gotten kind of ridiculous.  I have a bunch of save the dates to address (and don’t bother suggesting the printer, every time I have attempted to use that infuriating device I end up with a paper jam and ink everywhere), and I can only do a few in a sitting because after about five my handwriting turns to something so illegible even I can’t read it.  I have finally finished painting all of the tiny wooden letters for Mason’s walls (that took me almost two weeks after sorting them all out).  But, I still need to finish the shadow boxes and the canvases for his walls – which is a huge problem since every time I sit down with them I draw a massive blank on how I want to do them.  I have a cabinet I need to sand down and paint to replace the crumbling POS I’ve been using to house the kids’ artwork, coloring books, work books, etc.  I have to transport all of the stuff I’ve stock piled for a garage sale out of our garage before Daddy comes home and has a mini-stroke at the pile of boxes and bags in the corner.

I’ve got picture frames with plastic instead of glass to paint with chalkboard paint, then convert into daily schedules for the boys.  All of the other projects I’ve had going on for a while and have been trying to balance them with all our other activities.  The schedules are a new project, and have planted themselves pretty firmly at the top of my list.  Our house has always been pretty loosely controlled chaos.  I want the kids to be able to adapt to sudden change and the unknown.  Now, that’s not to say we don’t have a routine, or we just throw the kids into potentially meltdown-causing events without warning.  When we know something big is coming (such as an upcoming trip up north) we talk about it constantly, so they can be ready for it.  I know how well Kaleb does with routine and structure.  Sometimes I feel like I’m cutting of my nose to spite my face with the whole “life is chaos” theory.

So, I’ve decided to try to balance the two a bit better.  We used to have picture boards and schedules all over the house.  Until Mason started eating them.  And Kaleb started having meltdowns because Mason was eating his pictures.  So, since Mason had no interest in using the pictures, and Kaleb no longer needed them to communicate, we took them down.  I’m going to make each kid their own daily schedule – on the chalkboard so I can adjust the times each day as needed.  I want to set it up so we have a few hours spread out through the day for “school work”, as well as separate time for me and the boys individually.  However, the schedule will not be the same every day.  I’ll change it up each day, moving around the activities and times – sometimes we may have adjust in the middle of the day.  I still want them to be able to adapt to chaos, but I also need to prepare Kaleb for his first year of kindergarten and Mason for his first year of pre-school.  Anyway, we’ve been busy doing other things as well.

First off, after a week of nothing but play and nonsense, we’ve been attempting to get the house back in order.  And what I mean by that is – I’m trying to clean while the boys have metaphorically superglued themselves to my backside and proceeded to fight and argue with one another while making a mess behind me.  I still don’t know why I try.  I remember a time when my house was clean.  It is not clean any longer.  In fact, it looks like a herd of bulls ran through it.  Bulls with sledge hammers.  Costumes from us playing dress up and going on treasure hunts strewn everywhere.  Potato head body parts launched like rockets through the living room.  Doll houses, furniture, cars, and people.  Puzzle pieces scattered.  Alphabooks strategically placed in locations designed to make me slip and break my neck.  Dinosaurs, dragons, and legos hidden everywhere.  Kaleb’s stories, books, and assorted artwork on every surface… it’s a giant mess.

funny-house

Then again, the fun parts are totally worth the mess.  Both of the Monsters love music of all different genres and styles.  Classical music helps Kaleb calm down, but put on some Adele and the boy will be singing “Rumor Ha-Ha” with every bit of passion he has.  Mason is the kid who likes to dance though.  I have come to realize I’m going to have to put him in a dance class of some sort since it appears he has inherited my unfortunate rhythm (or lack thereof).  But he loves to dance.  We don’t watch a lot of ‘typical’ tv with them around – it’s usually Disney Jr., movies, or music.  However, one of the few shows I love to watch with them (aside from Jeopardy!) is So You Think You Can Dance.

I can’t dance.  I know this.  It is a well documented fact, and if for some reason you should see me attempt to do so you should either knock me out, shield your eyes, or run in the opposite direction.  I have no hopes of ever being a participant on this show.  The boys however?  Different story.  Every time we watch it Kaleb asks me if someday we can go there with all the dancers.  Mason doesn’t ask anything – he just dances.  I have been trying to capture video of this forever, but he’s elusive, that kid.

Anyway, Nigel says “Cue Music” and Mase moves his little body all over the place.  He usually tries to mimic whatever he sees on the screen – which is 100% of the time really entertaining.  He goes from ballet to jazz to hip hop and back again – it’s absolutely hysterical.  Especially when he’s pretty much naked pretty much most of the time.

On the less humorous side of things, we had a meeting the other day to determine Kaleb’s placement in kindergarten next year.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the entire meeting and the decision that was made so that will be a post for tomorrow (or whatever day I’m able to sit here for more than five minutes without being attacked by my Monsters).  I would however, like to ask anyone who knows anything about EBD to share thoughts and feelings on it, because I’m still trying to decide how I feel.

Hopefully I’ll actually be back to posting regularly after this – we are cleaning the main part of the house today.  Well, we’re going to try.  Well, I’m going to try.  Oh, who am I kidding?

I’ll be back tomorrow to tell you what a disaster my house still is.