I Pity The Fool…

Yesterday was a mixed bag for me.  For starters, when Kaleb had his yearly physical on Tuesday, he couldn’t read the eye chart – which was bizarre considering he’d never had a problem reading it in years before.  Honestly, at first the nurse and I both thought he was just screwing around – when we realized he really couldn’t see it I immediately called Sho-Sho to see if she could get him an appointment to have his eyes checked.  So, yesterday morning I picked him up from school for his eye appointment.  Honestly, I was anxious.  Nobody likes having someone messing around with their eyes, and Kaleb had only been to the optometrist one other time, when he was way younger.  I prepped him as best I could, and promised if he was brave and did as the doctor asked I would put Minecraft on his tablet and he could play after he got home from school until dinner time (He’s on the tail end of an electronics ban).

So, off we went.  It helped that the eye doctor is a friend and mentor to my mom, and the same person who gives me my exams – she also knew enough about Kaleb to take a really light approach with him.  After a series of tests, which he handled like a champ, we were informed that he’s near-sighted.  After the issue at his physical, I couldn’t say I was totally surprised, yet I was still a little shocked.  So, the boy needs glasses.

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This should be interesting…

The appointment took way longer than I expected, so I ended up just bringing him home with me, since there was only an hour left of school and there wasn’t a whole lot of sense in sending him back, especially when his eyes were going to be sensitive to the light for a while.  As promised, Minecraft (the newest obsession) was installed on his tablet, and off he went to play.

Kaleb’s first flag football game of the season was at 5:45 last night, so we ate an early dinner, loaded up the car and headed out.  He was really excited to play (even though it’s not “real football”), and I spent the car ride reminding him of what he should (and shouldn’t) be doing on the field.  By the time we got there he was pumped and ready to go.  He helped me carry the stuff out from the car, and then took off to join his team.  It was obvious right from the start that it was going to be a bit of a difficult night.  Not like he wasn’t going to behave, but he was really spooled up, and I could tell immediately that he was going to be all over the place.  His coach is a good guy, and super patient with him, even when Kaleb is jumping all over him and constantly invading his personal space.

The game started, and things didn’t get off to the best start for Kaleb.  He was told where he needed to stand, but he was too busy spinning around and shouting to really pay attention.  His teammates were getting frustrated with him, but eventually he pulled it together and got into position.  As the game progressed things headed downhill.  Kaleb was on offense, standing to the right of the center, supposed to be blocking.  Time after time he would get distracted and his teammates would have to yell to him until he would snap out of it and go where he was supposed to.  After each and every play he would shout and scream – if his team progressed, he would scream “Yeeeeeeesssss!” and basically try to fist-bump everyone – if they didn’t gain any ground or missed a catch he would scream “Nooooooo!” and stomp around in circles for a minute.

Regardless of any of this, I’m proud of him.  When the ball is snapped he’s paying attention, and at least trying to block.  He’s keeping his hands to himself, and he’s having fun.  Three years ago I couldn’t even imagine that he’d be out on a football field, interacting socially, of his own free will.  But he’s out there, and he’s doing it.

The clock continued to count down, and about ten minutes into the first twenty minute half I’m frustrated for him.  The kids on the other team are laughing at him, his own teammates are frustrated with him, and he doesn’t realize any of it is going on.  And then it all went to hell – for me anyway.

The lady sitting to my left had a kid on Kaleb’s team.  She and another woman had been talking for the majority of the game, and I’ve picked up on enough snippets of their conversation to learn that they’re both teachers (though I have no idea where).  At this point, the kid playing center is yelling at Kaleb and telling him (once again) where his position is.  Kaleb at this point finally stands where he’s told with a little huff and a stomp – not the angry kind, but the kind of out of control, wild and crazy Kaleb mode kind.

Then the women next to me start commenting.  Now granted, we got there early enough they obviously don’t realize they’re talking about my kid.  But the fact of the matter is, they’re sitting in a group of people they don’t know – it’s poor form to talk smack about someone else’s kid – especially when that kid’s parents could be sitting right next to you.  The conversation started like this:

“That’s how I feel all day long.  I just told you what to do, why don’t you do it?”

“I know, right?  What is he doing?”

“*giggling*  I don’t know.  How many times do you have to be told where to stand before you do it?”

“What is wrong with that kid?”

You want to know what is wrong with that kid?  NOTHING.  He’s accomplishing a goal, despite so many odds stacked against him.  Hell, he can’t even see the ball and he’s still out there!  Here’s the real question – what is wrong with you?!  He’s a little kid, sure he’s all over the place, but he’s still just a kid.  And come on now, seriously, at this point it’s not hard to see that he’s different from the other kids.  You’re teachers – are you telling me you have had absolutely no interaction with special needs kids?  But what kills me is the absolute gall.  You wanna talk shit about my boy?  Fine.  But do it when you get home.  Not when you’re sitting on the sidelines with a bunch of other parents.  If you’re going to be cruel to a little boy who just wants to be part of the team, do it where other people don’t have to sit and listen to you spew your ignorance.

At this point, I’m in a spot.  I could turn my head and throw a bunch of venom in my voice, informing them that he’s autistic.  I could start a fight.  I could be a complete and utter bitch – we all know I’m more than capable of it.  But I don’t.  I opt instead to do what these women obviously aren’t capable of doing.  I hold my damn tongue.  First of all – my kid’s abilities and limitations are absolutely none of your business.  Second – the last thing I want is to have these horrible jerks looking at me with pity.  They don’t get to pity me – it’s my turn to pity them.  Your world is tiny compared to mine.  My mind is open, my heart is open, and I was at least raised with enough class to keep my thoughts to myself if they weren’t polite (when in the company of strangers at least!).

So I kept my mouth to myself, as I so often tell the boys to do.  I left fingernail indentations in my palms, but I kept my mouth to myself.  When halftime came and the kids all came running over to the sidelines, I gave Kaleb a high-five and handed him his water.  While he drank I reminded him once again not to yell in people’s faces, or hang off the coaches, and try really hard to get into position when the rest of his team does.  I didn’t even glance at the women next to me.  Until he went back to the huddle.  Then I looked – and offered a silent challenge.  Say another word.  Now you know.  That kid you were talking about?  His mother is sitting right here.  Say something else.  I dare you.

The last play of the game, the other team had scored and was going for a two point conversion.  Kaleb actually managed to strip the flag off the kid with the ball – after he’d already crossed the line and got the points – but that doesn’t matter.  He did it – he really, really did it – and he was so proud.  He wasn’t the only one.  I wanted to take that flag home and put it in a frame.

I’m not going to lie, after we got home and the kids got settled into bed, Watson (our elf) moved to a new locale and I had a glass of wine – I cried.  My heart hurt for my Monster Man.  He was doing something he loved – and yes, he was doing it poorly, but he was still going out there and putting in the effort.  He shows up to every practice and every game.  He watches training videos and reads articles to try and improve his game.  And all the while he’s being laughed at.  But the blessing in disguise?  He had no idea it was going on.  I did.  But he didn’t.  He just kept on being himself and enjoying the sport.

Both of the boys have games tonight, so we shall see how it goes.  But no matter what I’m proud.  I’m proud of them both for putting on their cleats and walking out onto that field with their heads held high.  And I will sit there and cheer for them both, for every time they manage a block, or strip a flag.  I’ll cheer, and I’ll know that in this moment, we are the real winners – no matter the outcome of the game.

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Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Okay, over the last two years I’ve struggled… not so much that you’ve seen because I’ve basically written four posts in two years.  I have had a million excuses why I haven’t been writing – some I’ve given to you, all I’ve fed to myself.  But I need to get back into the habit.  I need to get writing again.  I need to get back to a point where I can take some time every day and be honest with myself, without feeling guilty for doing so.

Speaking of guilt – I’m full of it lately.  I’m especially guilty of being ridiculously impatient and short tempered.  As I sit here right now, It’s 6:24am.  The boys and I leave for the bus stop in exactly 21 minutes.  They’re playing together in Kaleb’s room – which means they are three feet away from me, separated only by a glass french door, a poorly made one at that.  And they’re loud.  Which is the name of the game when they actually get together (which is basically only when they think they’re supposed to be doing anything else), and that’s okay, as long as it’s good yelling.  But I’m still in “seeking coffee” mode, and hearing that entire container of LEGOs just spill out onto the floor as they run around with the world’s most obnoxious Christmas stuffed animals ever made… It’s all I can do to sit here and tell myself to shut the hell up.

They’re playing together.  That’s progress.  They’re playing together in Kaleb’s room and he’s not screaming at his brother to get out while Mason cries and sobs dramatically over some stupid toy he wants to look at (with his hands).  So what if there are now 4,562,847 LEGO pieces all over the carpet?  So what if it’s December 2nd and I’m officially over the “Let It Snow” song the ridiculous Polar Bear and Penguin are singing?  They’re playing.  And I’m drinking this cup of coffee so fast I may end up burning my esophagus in the process, in an effort to not care so damn much.

I need to get off my horse and look at my kids for who and what they are – tiny people with big voices, big imaginations, and apparently access to the world’s most annoying sounds locked in their little brains.  But they are just that – kids.  So why is it so damn hard for me to let them be?  Why is it so hard to sit here right now and keep myself from scolding them on their volume; their mess; their “backing up sounds” (which genuinely make you feel like someone is scratching your tombstone after about thirty seconds)?  Where did all of my patience go?  Where did the humor in the situation go?  Because that’s the honest problem here.  I stopped writing, because I stopped being able to find the situations funny.  It wasn’t funny when Kaleb continuously urinated all over his bedroom for six months straight.  It wasn’t funny when he suddenly lost 20lbs over two months, and there wasn’t a damn cause any doctor could find.  It wasn’t funny when Mason started peeing on his carpet, because he loves to emulate Kaleb.  It wasn’t funny when the dog started following suit, because, well, he’s a damn dog – if there’s pee, he’s gonna cover it up with his own.  Sometimes my life isn’t funny.  More so than not lately.

So I’m going to shake things up.  This is my space.  This is my place, my soapbox, and I’m going to use it.  But it won’t always be funny.  Sometimes it’ll be ugly.  Sometimes it’ll be heart-wrenching, and sometimes it’ll be gross, and maybe it’ll be funny on occasion.  But that’s my life – in true form – that’s what my world is.  I can’t sit here and pretend that there aren’t days I wake up and want to just scream.  That there aren’t times I lock myself in the bathroom just to cry for a few minutes – sometimes happy tears, sometimes tears that stem from frustration, anger, or fear.  Life is messy.  Life with autism is even more so.

I’m going to try.  I’m going to try to get back to a point where I can write on here and really let go of some of the impatience and frustration.  And I’m going to do it honestly.  Because I need this, and maybe some of you out there need it too.

Today though, I’d like to share a big moment.

Monday afternoon I was putting my empty Christmas bins back in the attic, while the boys were… just being themselves.  Kaleb was waiting for me to finish picking up because he wanted to do an ornament craft that required supplies I had to fish out of my closet.  Mason was… well I don’t really even know what Mase was doing, biding his time until I couldn’t see him, I suppose.  All of a sudden, as I’m coming down off the ladder the both of them start shrieking and screaming.  Mason is crying, Kaleb is shouting, pandemonium had broken out in the kitchen.

I ran in from the garage to figure out what was going on.  Turns out, Mason took the box of candy canes off the counter (thus, biding his time), which he was not supposed to do.  Kaleb then took the candy canes from Mase, which he is not supposed to do (if your brother does something wrong – come get mom – it’s not your job to police him, it’s mine).  Which started the shouting, which lead to smacking and hitting.  Lately, I’ve been in a “Welcome To Thunder-dome” mood – I’m not stepping in when you two go at it anymore.  Learn how to resolve your problems.  By the time I had reached the kitchen and Kaleb told me what happened, Mason had locked himself in his room and was sobbing dramatically (I’m going to make millions off this kid when Hollywood gets ahold of him).  Kaleb wanted me to get the craft supplies and I said no, sorry kid, but you don’t get rewarded for hitting your brother.  He told me he was sorry, and was promptly informed that I’m not the one who needed the apology, I’m not the one he hurt.

*Side note* I’ve been struggling a lot lately to explain to Kaleb the meaning behind a genuine apology.  He’ll do something wrong, and apologize only because he believes it will get him what he wants.  Suggestions on how to rectify this are greatly appreciated.

So, he goes to Mason’s door, and tries to talk to Mase, who yells at him (through a slew of dramatic sobs) to go away.  Kaleb comes back to me and says “Well, he’s never going to accept my apology.”  To which I reply, “Then I guess you’d better figure out a way to make things right.”  So for five minutes Kaleb just stands in the kitchen, thinking.

I’m out on the porch when Mason finally decides to leave his room, all hiccups and stifled sobs (seriously, when did my kid start manifesting Sarah Bernhardt?).  He walks out to the kitchen and Kaleb looks at him and says “Mason, I’m really sorry.  I shouldn’t have taken the candy canes and it was wrong to hit you”

*Whoa.  Back the truck up.  Did that just leave his mouth?  For real?!

Mase then says (again, he’s still doing the can’t catch my breath from crying so hard thing) “It wasn’t your fault.  It was my fault.  I shouldn’t have taken the candy canes.”

*WHAT?!  What is going on here?  Did I fall into an alternate universe?

Kaleb says “No, it was both of our fault.  You shouldn’t have taken the candy canes, but I shouldn’t have taken them from you, and we shouldn’t have hit each other.”

*That’s it.  Who are you and what have you done with my children?

After basically a repeat of the whole conversation when Mase once again tried to take all the blame and Kaleb once again took responsibility for his part in it, they both apologized and forgave each other.  Meanwhile I’m convinced I’m having a stroke, or maybe the stress has finally gotten to me and I’m hallucinating.

They came to me together and said they accepted each other’s apologies and asked if we could make ornaments.  Um.  Yeah.  Yep.  You can make all the ornaments you want after that little display.  And they did.

IMG_3824I was humbled, and flabbergasted, and astonished, and so very proud.  They might actually turn out to be okay humans one day.

It just reminds me, once more, that kids are full of surprises – and sometimes those surprises don’t even make you want to throw up in your mouth a little.

Happy Wednesday people, thanks for tuning in.

This Is Halloween…

This is my favorite time of the year.  That could have something to do with the fact that I get to wear my favorite clothes without being called crazy (hellloooo hoodies, super soft pajama pants and fuzzy socks!).  It could be the leaves changing and falling.  Or probably not that since I’m in the south.  It could have something to do with the fact that I get to eat all of my favorite foods (okay, really, it’s more like ‘I get to see how much crap I can make with pumpkins and apples, and how fast I can eat it’).  But the most likely reason of all only needs one word:

HALLOWEEN.

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My favorite holiday – and I’m not just saying that until Christmas time comes around (for real – why has Target already restocked half of the Halloween shelves with Christmas wreaths???), with all the all sparkly “joy to the world” rears it’s head.  It’s my absolute, 100% favorite holiday, and it always has been.  Always.  At three years old, the only two things I wanted to be when I grew up were a lawyer (umm that should speak for itself) and Lydia from Beetlejuice.  I had a cat named Krueger before I was in kindergarten. When I was nine I read Cujo (and my first nightmare.  I also spent a week terrified of all three of my dogs.) and the Tommyknockers – which is still my favorite Steven King book to this day.  Subsequently, my kids love Halloween.  Kaleb sings “This is Halloween” and Mason sings “Halloween, Halloween, Halloween, Halloween.” in the form of the Halloweentown song.  It never fails to make me laugh.

Every year it takes all of my self control not to start decorating for Halloween on the first day of September.  This year, I lost that battle – kinda.  I only decorated the inside of the house.  I didn’t put up the outside stuff until October 1st.  Usually, October is crammed for us.  I seriously start researching nearby events, pumpkin patches, festivals, carnivals, and anything that has the words “caramel apple” or “pumpkin” in August.  By the time October comes around I’ve generally got a calendar so full of Halloween events it’s enough to make you dizzy.

To some extent I did that this year – I wrote everything down, but it just didn’t actually happen.  Part of the reason is the kids themselves – we can’t very well take Kaleb to a pumpkin festival when he’s running a 102 degree fever.  Nor can we take Mason to an event out of town when he has literally done nothing but scream for the past 12 hours.  But mostly it’s my own fault.  I just can’t get into it this year – and that is killing me.  I’ve been playing Halloween music basically around the clock (trust me, Daddy is ready to throw out every device in this house that has the capability of playing music).  I’ve decorated the house – though I can’t keep it clean for even five bloody minutes, so I can’t really enjoy it.

For some reason this year just doesn’t feel like Halloween.  I bought a costume – but it was at Daddy’s insistence.  I’ve made pumpkin cupcakes – but I still haven’t made the frosting for them (actually, they taste like muffins anyway so I might not make any frosting and just eat them as they are).  The boys and I have watched what I deem “Halloween movies” constantly.  I do have to say though – the first time I put on The Nightmare Before Christmas (which I still know every single word to) Kaleb said “Mommy!  I know this movie!”  I’m pretty sure I responded just as enthusiastically.  Then he followed it up with “But, we watched this last year.”

Uh, yup.  We sure did.  And we’re going to watch it this year, and next year, and the year after that, and the year after that… you get the point.

It’s one of my favorite things in the world.  Give me a pumpkin spice latte, some apples and caramel dip, a soft fuzzy blanket, and I’m one happy cat.  Normally.  This year?  I haven’t sat through the whole movie one single time.  I haven’t restocked our candy corn supply.  I never put the tombstones back after our lawn was mowed.  I don’t get it.  Am I the only one feeling disconnected from the season this year?  I’m excited about little things as they happen (like the PSL I’m drinking right now!), but I can’t find any real enthusiasm for the bigger things.

We haven’t even gone to the pumpkin patch yet!  I know, Mom Fail, but we’re going after school today and we will carve tomorrow night.  At least our pumpkins won’t be rotting by Halloween night – for the first time ever.

It just hasn’t clicked.  The weather has FINALLY cooled off enough that I can open up the doors and windows (note:  I will be complaining about it being cold in the very near future), so it feels like fall.  The decorations are out in full force, so it looks like fall.  The pumpkin flavored everything has arrived, so it tastes like fall – so what the hell is wrong with me this year?  Everything is as it should be, except for me.  The only Halloween-ish event we’ve done was Kaleb’s school carnival Saturday (I won hottest chili in the cook-off btw!  Yay!).  That and Kaleb’s costume are the only two things I’ve really been pumped about this season (he’s FINALLY decided he likes a superhero and is going as Spiderman.).

This is honestly driving me kind of nuts.  I know there’s always next year, and bla bla bla.  But that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve never been “Halloween’d-out” before, and I don’t like it.  I feel like a total traitor for wanting to yank down all the halloween stuff and start working on the Christmas lights.

Ugh.

I’m just as bad as Target.

I Can Tell That We Are Gonna Be Friends…

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 1993, you’ve seen Jurassic Park at least once.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen it approximately 8,476,521 times.

So, it isn’t much of a surprise that the quote above popped into my head (and consequently relieved a bit of my tension because of the ridiculousness of the situation) when Kaleb was suspended again today.  Because that’s totally what it feels like.

You are in this car and everything is going fine.  You’re on the right road, sure, there are a few minor glitches here and there – but for the most part all is good.  Then, without warning, all hell breaks loose.  The roof of the car comes crashing in – thanks to something that isn’t even supposed to exist.  You get spun around, flipped upside down, and trapped.  Then you get spun around some more, while subjected to a deafening roar of sound coming from all sides.  Then everything gets flipped around again, and you and the car go flying.  You land in a tree, shaking, sick, confused, frightened and alone.  Much to your surprise, someone reaches in a helping hand.  And you slowly climb out of the car.  You think you’re clear – on the road to something better.  Then the next thing you know, the tree branches snap, and the car you’ve been so desperate to leave is coming after you.  And no matter how fast you climb down that tree, you still end up back in the car again.

But at least this time you have a friend.

And we do.  We have friends and family that are worth their weight in gold.

Right now, I don’t have a lot to say about today.  Mostly because I believe it goes without saying.   Part of me is just stunned, and frustrated, and angry.   I do not want to hear that everyone is doing all they can.  I really don’t.  If you were really doing all you could – how did he manage to throw the same exact chair across the room twice?  Why wasn’t the chair taken away?  Why wasn’t he removed from the situation?  Look, I get it.  Kaleb is a force to be reckoned with.  You think I don’t know that?  If you read the post directly before this one, you’ll get a sweet little insight into the things that happen in my world with the Monster Man.

But he isn’t The HULK.  He isn’t The Rock.  He is a four foot tall, 60lb five year old – and yeah, he has a hell of a lot of muscle mass underneath those scrawny little arms. Yet, you’re telling me that four grown adults were not able to make certain that he did not pose an imminent threat to the other children around them?  When I spend a vast majority of the time alone with him and two other little kids – by myself, in a fairly large house – and I’ve managed to prevent any serious harm coming to anyone.  And believe me when I say the projectiles we have here are probably sincerely more effective than those little blocks he was chucking.  You are in one room.  You out number him.  You’re bigger, and stronger.  Be an authority figure.  Be the boss.  Don’t just call freaking mommy!

I reign a lot in about this when I’m online.  Because the internet is the internet and you never know who is going to read what, and the last thing I want to do is make life more difficult for my main dudes.

However – one thing I’ve been thinking for months –

STOP MAKING ME THE PUNISHMENT!!!!!!  

We are NOT the punishment.  We are NOT the bad guys.  Do NOT use me as a threat!  I am a SAFE place.  Our home, our family, Mommy and Daddy and Mason and Milo – we are his SAFETY.  We are the ones who make the nightmares go away and keep the bad monsters at bay.  We are the ones who kiss the boo-boos, we are the ones who read the stories and tuck in the blankies.

Stop using me as a punishment.  You do not seem to see the potential damage you are doing to not just him – but to our entire family.  You are instilling in my sponge-like child that mommy knowing things is a BAD thing.

Stop it!!!  Stop it stop it stop it stop it!  And yes.  I am actually stomping my feet right now.

If you’re going to insist on suspending my child time after time after time – you need to find a different way to approach it – because I absolutely refuse to let you make me a punishment.  I have to be the bad guy often enough – I have to be the bad guy at home, and the store, at parties and vacations.  But he can ALWAYS talk to me.  Any single time he has something he wants to discuss we will sit down and discuss it – and regardless of what he is saying, I remain calm – because I want him to know when he gets older that he CAN come to us – we won’t jump to conclusions and flip our wigs.

Only now here’s yet another conflicting message.  Oh boy, I’m in trouble – but I can’t be in trouble because I GET to go home with mommy!

Don’t hit, kick, bite, scream, scratch, or spit – those are bad things.  We have to be nice to our friends.  But you can’t hold hands.  That’s not nice.

How is he supposed to understand all of the rules when the rules are consistently inconsistent?

How am I???

“Well.  We’re back in the car again.”

But at least we have friends.

Actually, we have a lot of friends.  And an incredible family.  We have been absolutely blessed with the number of amazing people in our lives.  For those friends I am grateful.  Kaleb and Mason are grateful.  The friends who give advice.  The friends that keep me sane.  The friends that show up with pizza and beer.  The friends that listen when I cry.  The friends who scream along side me as I rail against the walls being put around my kids.  These people are a part of my family.  

So, I want to thank every single member of our family – no matter how they came to be a member of our family – you are all superheroes for being a part of something so much bigger than me.  I love you all.

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The Worst Day Since Yesterday…

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Yesterday was the kind of day that shatters me as a mom.

One of those days where you end up on the verge of tears for hours until the dam finally breaks and the flood comes rushing out at the slightest thing.

Calling my boys “The Monsters” has become a something so light and common place in our lives, I forget sometimes why the nickname started.  Yesterday reminded me of exactly why Kaleb is the Monster Man.  He was absolutely, unequivocally horrendous yesterday.  And while the past few months haven’t been a walk in the park – we haven’t had a day that bad in a long, long time.  

The biggest problem for me though?  Wasn’t that he was being a jerk (yes, I did just call my five year old a jerk.  If you were here yesterday you would understand).  It was that he was such a jerk, I couldn’t tell when the stubborn, back-talking, mouthy, bad attitude ended and where the meltdowns began.  I didn’t know what to do or how to react.  Nothing was working.  Nothing was working.

Talk, conjole, yell, discipline, ignore, hold on to – I did all of that and more.  But it just kept going.  On and on.  I’m bruised.  I’ve got scratches all over, and bite marks to match.

Who is this MONSTER  and where the hell did my kid go??

Everything was fine when he got off the bus – happy, excited, a little flighty, but overall, I’m like yay for good moods!  I had been cleaning (with very little help from the Mini-Monster) basically all day – Daddy’s parents get to town to visit today.  So, Daddy was painting and I was in a cleaning frenzy.  I was working on the office, and asked Kaleb to clean off his art desk.  It’s completely covered with paper, books, and miscellaneous nonsense that does not belong there.

Insert an hour and a half of complete chaotic nightmare.  At first all I can think is where the hell is this attitude coming from?  Seriously.  I didn’t dare speak to my mother that way until middle school.  He’s got the attitude of a thirteen year old girl.  And it absolutely stops us in our steps every single time it rears it’s angsty head.

So aside from the abject refusal to take a time out for chucking a Lego car across the living room at Mason, he flips their play table, upends a couple chairs (okay, they weigh all of two pounds, it’s not like the fact that he’s flipping them around is shocking, or even new – it’s the vigorous attitude he’s got while he does it), screams, kicks the sliding glass door a couple times, and then starts spitting.

SPITTING.  Since when does my kid spit?  All over the chair.  At me.  At Mason.  You’re joking right?  I inhaled too many fumes from my little canister of Clorox Wipes right?  I’m hallucinating?  Well, the kick to the shin just pulled me out of that little delusional wish.  He’s completely out of control.  And I can’t make heads or tails of it.  All this?  Over what?  Why?  I don’t understand.  I can see you.  You’re with me.  You know what is going on, what you are doing, and you are in control over yourself.  Why are you doing this?  Why??

That’s about as far as I got – because I had to sit on him to keep him from going after the dog.  Then Mase.  And he’s screaming, and spitting, and biting… it’s like he’s gone rabid.  I’m stunned.  I don’t know what to do.  I’m getting scratched and punched and slapped.  And I’m just sitting here, keeping him down with all I have – because if I let go, something really, really bad is going to happen.  And the way he’s raging – I’m just not sure I’d be able to stop him once he got some momentum back.

He starts screaming at me because he’s not a chair.  Well I’m not a punching bag!

Doesn’t matter.  All I need is for some of the rage lining his face to relax enough that I can trust him not to seriously injure someone.

In the meantime, my niece gets dropped off, takes one look at us, and runs for the hills.  I knew she was a smart one.

Then Kaleb threatens to cut me.  WHAT??  What did you just say??  What the hell just came out of your mouth?  Where did you hear that?  Do you even know what that means?  What is happening to my child???

I’m trying with all I have not to cry – because I just don’t know what else to do but sit here, wrapped around him like one of those velcro stuffed monkeys.  I’d already had a bad arthritis flare up in my hips, this – totally not helping.  Between the emotional pain, and the physical pain, it took every ounce of self control I had not to burst into tears.  Then Daddy came out to try and help, and a few tears slipped.  He tried his turn – conjoling, talking, reasoning, threatening to not finish his room – he got the same “Nah nah nah nah BUH” crap Kaleb had been spewing at me for the better part of an hour.

Finally, finally this nightmare comes to an end.  He calms down – we talk for about thirty seconds before I decide I really need some air and let him go play with the kids.  And all is fine.  For thirty minutes.  Until I discover all three kids in Mason’s closet making the mess of the century.  Considering the amount of time it took me to get that mess organized the first time around, I am not happy.  I’m not seething angry, but I’m definitely not pleased.  I want all three of them to clean the mess up.  Either you play with the toys or you find something else to do.  Dumping them out on the floor and laughing is not playing with the toys – it’s just mean at this point.

Mase and my niece both start picking up – and I’m helping – I don’t expect them to clean it all up without some encouragement.  Kaleb flat out refuses.  Sits there with his arms crossed glaring at me, “No.  I don’t clean.  You clean.”

You have got to be freaking kidding me.  After all we just went through?  You’re doing this again?  I can’t just let this go.  I can’t just sit here while you act like a hellcat because… well I don’t know why you’re acting like this.  But I can’t just let it slide.  Help us clean up, or take a five minute time out.  “NO.”

Enter meltdown number two.  It is now four thirty in the afternoon, he’s been home for just over two hours and yet again I’m sitting on him to keep him from harming something or someone.  This was basically a repeat of the last episode.  Conjole, reason, demand, yell, ask, plead – please.  Please stop this.

Another hour goes by before he’s finally calm enough to take his five minute time out while I wash dishes.  He sits in the chair and he spits.  He hits the sliding glass door.  He kicks the table and chairs.  But his bottom stays in the chair, so what-the-hell-ever.

I throw the meat in the sink to thaw for dinner and start to pull stuff out to prep.  He wants a snack.

No.  I’m making dinner.  If you eat dinner you can have a snack.

What’s for dinner?

Salmon and veggies.

Insert meltdown number three.  He wants chicken and veggies.  Suddenly he doesn’t like salmon (something he has consistently enjoyed forever).  Now I’m done.  No more.  You can sit your happy behind in bed, where it is quiet until it is time to eat.  The problem with this theory?  He doesn’t actually have a bed right now.  He’s sleeping in our bed while we re-do his room.  Fine.  Put him in our bed, tell him to take the time to calm down and stop misbehaving, and leave the room.  To hear something crash against the wall approximately 4 seconds after I pass the threshold.

Oh.  My.  Freaking.  God.  Now what??

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out again.

For him to pick up the same picture and throw it again.

March back there, put him back in bed, walk out and close the door.

For him to open the door, slam it, and open it again.

Just shoot me.  Please?

This of course escalates quickly into another thirty minute wrestling match.

More beating the crap out of mommy while mommy tries desperately to figure out just what is going on.  And fails to come up with a single reasonable explanation that doesn’t include possession and an exorcist.

Eventually he calms down, and I limp my way back to the kitchen to finish making dinner.

Put dinner on the table – insert meltdown number 4.

I.  Can.  Not.  Do.  This.  Again.

I just can’t.  I don’t have it in me today.  I do not have the emotional or physical wherewithal to take another bout in the ring with this kid.

Daddy recognizes this before I can even say anything, and he takes over.  Thirty minutes later, Kaleb is still raging, and Daddy is as frustrated as I am.

Kaleb’s Lego Police Station from the hospital has been sitting on top of the popcorn machine for a couple weeks now.  It’s safe up there, he can see it, but Mason can’t touch it.  Well – it was safe, anyway.  Until Kaleb takes the box it’s sitting on and chucks the entire thing across the kitchen.  Right then I felt like I was going to drown.  In Legos.  Confusion and anger.  More anger at myself for being so angry and not having more patience.  Sadness.  Frustration.  You name it – I was a rainbow of emotion, not a good, pretty rainbow either.  A rainbow that got swallowed by a storm cloud.  I just wanted to sit down on the floor, amid the hundreds of Legos and cry.

But, alas, there were two other little people to chase down.  Mase decided he was done and put himself in bed.  My niece started to pass out at the dinner table – so I put her to bed.  Then I sat down with Daddy and Miss Lisa and ate my dinner (which, at least, wasn’t half bad).  Got Kaleb up off the couch where he’d planted himself after the Lego showdown, and talked him into cleaning them up.  Talked to him for a few minutes about why he was in so much trouble – again.  Got his milk, took him to bed, had a good hug and “I love you” moment – because I needed that.  I needed to make sure before he went to sleep how very much I love him – even when he makes me want to hide in a closet with a box of tissues, a keg, and a straw.

Still, the tears didn’t come.  Until quite a few hours later when Daddy and I were talking about something completely unrelated – something that in no way should have been emotional.  And I just burst into tears.

Daddy gets kudos for not showing (much) how baffled he was – and for letting the flood gates open.  I woke up at 4:30 when Kaleb came out and crawled onto the couch.  He leaned over, gave me a kiss, rolled over and went back to sleep.  If I wasn’t so tired I probably would have cried all over again.  Because he’s so freaking sweet when he wants to be.  He’s so easy to love, and so hard to understand.

It makes me crazy (er).

This morning was typical, no sign that yesterday was a complete nightmare.  That is, until you look at the bruises all over my legs, and the fact that my arms are like jelly.

Now, Granny K & Grandpa Dave are here to visit.  And I’m having miniature panic attacks every twenty minutes or so.  I don’t know what to expect with him – I have no way to anticipate what’s going to happen.  Plus, it’s going to take significantly longer to finish his room than we originally thought – and we’re going to have to put him on an air mattress in our room.  Because Mommy’s hips and Daddy’s back cannot take much more of the couch.

I just hope today is a better day.  I still have a bit of clean-up to do.  I’d like a nap.  I’d like to know what to do with my child.

Oh, and btw, he was suspended again Tuesday.

That’s a story for tomorrow.  I’m going to go chew a couple packs of gum and clean up the Special K cereal that Mason dumped all over the power wheels jeep.

But just in case today is not a better day, a friend of mine (you know who you are) should not be surprised if I show up on her doorstep in a couple hours to steal their kegerator.

‘Till tomorrow, folks.

Oh, crap, one last thing –

There is officially 100+ people who follow this lunacy.  Thank you to all of you.  I was going to wait to say something until I wrote my 100th post (which will be in the next week or so I believe), however, that’s kinda rude of me.

So, thank you all very much, for continuing to fall down the rabbit hole with the Monsters.

Back To School Again…

“You can’t win, you know.  You can’t lie in front of the bulldozer indefinitely.”  He tried to make his eyes blaze fiercely but they just wouldn’t do it.

Arthur lay in the mud and squelched at him.

“I’m game,” he said, “we’ll see who rusts first.”  ~ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (written by the sorely missed Douglas Adams)

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

Arthur Dent laying in front of the bulldozer

That’s what I’m starting to feel like when it comes to dealing with the school systems.  Like I’m laying front of a bulldozer that is trying to knock down my house to make room for a bypass.

Only the bulldozer is the administration, and the house is my child’s entire academic future.

Am I being a bit dramatic?  Maybe.  It’s happened a time or two before.  But nine suspensions – NINE since Christmas is a bit dramatic as well.  Especially when you’re talking about a five-year old pre-schooler with autism.  Don’t tell me you “tried to implement the intervention behaviors” and then turn around and tell me you’re suspending him because he refused to go to music class!  Maybe it was too much today – maybe he was overstimulated and couldn’t handle the noise.  Who cares what the reason is at this point – stop suspending him!!

We’ve looked at other options – they aren’t feasible.  For both financial and logistical reasons.  Which really doesn’t even matter – my child has a legal right to be given an education by this school.  The federal government placed him in the school.  I didn’t.

 

So, now instead of cleaning out the garage – which is what I had planned to do while Mason was down for quiet time – I’m throwing on my glasses and I am going to sort through every single piece of paper with my child’s name on it.  I’m going to gather every bit of evidence and ammunition in my paperwork arsenal, and I’m going to prepare for battle.

Because I’ve finally had enough.  Congratulations administration – you woke a sleeping giant (and you probably couldn’t have picked a worse week to do it).  I have played nice.  I have gone through every proper channel.  I have climbed my way up the ladder and the chain of command like a good little girl.  I have requested all of the right meetings and all the right tests.  I have hopped, skipped, and jumped for you people, and I am done playing nice.

… There, now I feel better!

The Last Beat Of My Heart…

Let me paint you a picture (and no – don’t go getting all excited, this is NOT a Poopcasso adventure.  There will be no painting with poo.  Use your imaginary paint).

we-re-all-quite-mad-here-you-ll-fit-right-in

Kaleb gets home from school and is immediately arguing with himself.  Terrific.  This is not a good sign.  See – if you try real hard you can see me standing in the kitchen staring at the cabinet that holds the container of cupcakes counting to ten under my breath.

Now, Mason has speech therapy.  Thankfully, he’s happy today, and this is not a repeat of last week’s scream-a-thon.  However, while Mason is behaving in therapy, Kaleb is in his room building some village with his Lego’s – and arguing with himself.

Therapy ends – all is good.  Or is it?  Where did Mason go?  Oh, he’s looking at his fish.  Okay, we’re good.  I get halfway through the living room and Kaleb (who came out to play about ten minutes earlier) goes flying past me whining, grunting, and yelling at himself.  Oh jeez.  He held it too long.  Now he is going to scream the ENTIRE time he pees.  I turn around to follow him, just as I hear THE scream.  The high-pitched, in-.04-seconds-I’m-going-to-barrel-roll-someone scream.  I take off toward the sound, just as I hear him shriek

“NOOOOOOO Mason! Don’t touch!!  No!  You’re ruin it!!  Noooooo!”

Ahhhhh sh*t.

Here we go.

I run into Kaleb’s room, to find Mason holding part of a Lego car, tears streaming down his face, building up to an earth shattering scream.  While Kaleb, who had managed to get his pants half off on the way to the bathroom, is rolling on the floor, screaming, holding the other part of the Lego car (who was the king who used to cut things in half again?  Oh.  Solomon.  Right).

So, here’s Kaleb, on the floor of a room that was clean three days ago, surrounded by scattered Lego’s, pants around his ankles, screaming like a banshee at Mason.  And here’s Mason, finally letting out the screams of the century, crying hysterically clutching the little Lego wheels in his hand.

Well crap.  Mason is in trouble because he knows better than to be in Kaleb’s room – it always amounts to this.  Kaleb is in trouble for flying off the handle because Mason broke a rule.  And touched his Lego’s.  And now the car is broken.  Basically, they cancel each other out and now I have to suffer the fallout.  At least Mase is unhurt and unscathed.  In the five seconds it took me to get down the hallway that could have been a lot worse.  So I am left to deduce that Kaleb ripped away the car and dropped to the ground – ’cause it’s not like either one of them is about to actually tell me what happened.

Get the pieces from Mason, put them on the table, pick him up, step over Kaleb and carry him out before Kaleb comes back to some of his senses and goes after Mase for real.  Set Mason on the couch where he proceeds to scream and cry for ten minutes.  Go check on Kaleb, debate intervening – my currently unbrusied face thinks that’s a bad idea.  He rolls around holding the remains of the car (which are falling apart because of his grip by the second) kicking and screaming for ten minutes.  *Insert visual image*  Kaleb’s pants are still around his ankles, and all the kicking has done nothing but further entangle him.  So add in some extra oomph to the kicking because now he’s got himself caught in a fishing net of jeans.*  Until he remembers he has to pee – then it’s five minutes of a whole different kind of screaming and crying.

Finally, it stops.  It’s quiet.  Too quiet.  Oops.  Spoke too soon.  Kaleb comes out to the living room, where I’m sitting with Mason looking at a book.  He proceeds to drop to the ground (again), and start screaming (again).  This time because his legs hurt.  You THINK???  This is the third time in thirty minutes you’ve dropped your sixty pounds onto those knobby knees.  You’re darn tootin’ they’re going to hurt!

For the next thirty minutes I (and the entire neighborhood) listen to him scream, shriek, and whine – all at the same time – because his  legs hurt.  Won’t tell me why.  Won’t tell me what part of his legs.  Finally, I’ve had enough.

“Kaleb, get up.  We’re going to the gas station.”

Stops.  Sits up.  Sniffs.  Wipes his face.  Looks at me.

“Can I have gummy bears?”

“WHAT?!  No.  You cannot have gummy bears!”

~~> insert new meltdown here.  Ten minutes later…

“I’m serious.  Get up.  Right.  Now.  We.  Are.  Going.”

“Why?!”

Why??  Because mommy is out of cigarettes and she’s pretty sure her blood pressure just reached dangerous levels.  Because at least in the car I can roll the windows down and drown out some of the screaming.  Because I’m your mother and I said so.

So… we go to the gas station.

And the entire way there, he’s playing with his new cash register (oh thank you Sho-Sho.  In case you were wondering – that’s what I was calling about earlier).  But he isn’t actually playing with it.  Instead, he’s just hitting the same, high-pitched button over and over again.

Beep!

Beep!

Beep!

We get to the store, grab what I need, get back in the car and head for home.

Beep!

Beep Beep!

Beep Beep Beep!

Beep Beep Beep Beep!

The faster he pushes this button, the faster my heart rate increases.  Until…

images (1)

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee….

Oh my.  Is this it?  Did I just flatline?  Am I dead right now?

…EEEEEEP!

Nope.  Not dead.  That’s a good thing – right?  Right.  Definitely.

Beep!

Please.  Someone.  Just… punch me.

Get home.   Get dinner ready.  Feed the Monsters dinner.  Rather – spend thirty minutes making a dinner Mason feeds to the dog, and Kaleb deems ‘yucky’ without even knowing what it is.  Well.  The dog had a good meal.  Play with Mason.  Kaleb starts screaming.  Help Kaleb.  Mason starts screaming.

Bed.  Go to bed.  Go to bed right now.  Right now.

Mommy’s infamous patience has officially worn out.  I’m going to bed.  As soon as I’m done drawing up the plans for the velcro wall Daddy and I are going to install in the house.  We will get the kids matching suits to wear under their clothes.  Then we can just place them on the wall.  And wear our invisible noise cancelling headphones.  While I go play in Neverland.  Because I am all done being a grown up today.

BEEEEEEEEP!

BEEEEEEEEP!

BEEP!

Oh shut it.