...my child sold your honor student the answers to the test...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life Lesson: Tantrums

Everyone has a tantrum once in awhile and I am no exception. We parents tend to watch our kids in abject awe and horror when they melt down into pure emotional turmoil as their faces turn beet red, scrunch up their faces and loose forth their undiluted feelings in ear piercing shrieks and screams. But after yesterday, I totally sympathize, and will strive to remember that feeling of rage and frustration without the ability to use words to explain the depth of your utter pissed offness.

I admit that what I got super pissy about was low on the totem pole of things to go crazy over. The actuality of what happened is not important. It was more that, during my time of leisure while gaming, something was *not fair*. And while I get that life isn't fair, I still hold to that childish fantasy that leisure activities should be fair. Gaming is supposed to be an escape from life, from unfairness, from all those things that piss you off during the day. It's supposed to be a place to focus that pent up energy of the day and let loose with the knowledge that since it's not real, it's rules can be bent to be fair, or as fair as possible.

And because of my naive hope that if *I* show how to be fair to others that they will in turn do the same for me (and despite the fact they never have to this day I still keep trying to be the bigger fucking person), I lost out big time on a major event last night. I keep hoping that I won't have to be put in that position in the first place. I keep hoping that instead of having to step up (again) and volunteer to sit out so that the raid could start, the powers that be would do their job and choose people who had not sat out for a long time to make it fair.Or at least acknowledge the sacrifice I offer for the betterment of the guild. But they didn't in either case, again. It's been a long standing problem lately. And it was the final straw for me so I had my tantrum.

I recognize this is just plain silly and I own that. But knowing something logically and FEELING something are not existential.

Last night, after losing out on such an incredible event (again) for being the bigger person I had my tantrum. I wanted to throw blocks at the wall and scream. I wanted to yell and hurt feelings because I hurt too. I wanted to rage. I wanted to quit. I got offline and seethed, yelled, and had my fit. And J rocked. He let me tantrum without telling me I was being childish or immature. He never once mocked me for losing control of my feelings. In fact he validated them, and it made me feel better. Just as we parents will calmly hold our children when they tantrum, and let them know we understand. We validate their feelings. Their feelings aren't wrong, or bad. They just are. They are a part of us that need to be recognized once in awhile. Because if we ignore those feelings, if we ignore the urge to tantrum once in awhile, it bottles up and will need an out eventually. Bottled up tantrums are scary for everyone involved.

Maybe we should take a page from our kids book, and allow ourselves to tantrum more. Have you ever noticed how they can bounce right back after a good scream and let go? We adults have a very hard time with that. Most of us hold on to our emotions for days.

If only we adults stopped trying to "grow up" and put tantrums behind us, we could maybe achieve that feeling of validation and contentment more often for ourselves.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Little Exhibitionist

ex·hi·bi·tion·ism (ks-bsh-nzm)n.

1. The act or practice of deliberately behaving so as to attract attention.

2. Psychiatry A psychosexual disorder marked by the compulsive exposure of the genitals in public.

It is normal for little ones to strip down to their skivvy's. It is normal for little ones to resist bedtime. It is normal for little ones to assert their Independence by doing the two statements above.

But is it normal for little ones to resist going to bed, whisking off all clothing and dance on their windowsill for the neighbors pleasure each night?

Soren seems to think so.

The past few nights Soren has decided that once the light is turned off and the door closed, he can start his own strip club. He's even got the music and lights going (lullaby's from around the world and a ladybug stuffed animal that lights up stars on the ceiling). While I get that nakedness is normal, it is a pain in the ass to have to run up three flights of stairs to replace his Diego pull ups so there are no accidents.

However, its not the nakedness that bugs me. Hell, all three of my kids at that age preferred to have nothing on as much as possible. There were no pants to have accidents in. They could play with their nipples and penises to their utter delight. I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to walk around nude more often if they could get away with it?

My concern is more for our neighbors sake. You see, once the lights go down, and the musics on, Soren has taken to stripping down on his windowsill and dancing for the neighbors. And with his bedroom on the third floor, I assure you, NOTHING is hidden.

The other night we were raiding in game. We had Vent on, and were chatting with our friends around the country as we prepared to kick some pixellated ass. One of our guildies has a 6 month old daughter and we could hear her happily chirping away in the background whenever he spoke. At one point he said how she was such a delight and was the perfect darling baby.

A few minutes later Ashe came running down the stairs yelling "DAAAAAD!!!! SOREN IS DANCING NAKED IN THE WINDOW AGAIN!!!" J yelled "AFK!" in vent and ripped off his headset while I sat there rolling my eyes. I quipped to my friend with the baby that he better enjoy her perfection now because in two years, he'd be dealing with a naked girl dancing in the window and have to run AFK like J.

Most of us in the guild are parents and can appreciate both the horror and humor that goes with raising little ones. This started us off on a run of "What my kid did to drive me crazy this week", and commentaries of how their own kids strip naked and do weird things at night. It's nice to have a bunch of friends who get this whole parenting thing, and can sympathize with you, trading war stories of their own. Fortunately no one had their neighbors complain to them. I'm knocking on wood our neighbor's were once parents themselves, and will be understanding if Soren continues his little exhibitionist behavior. Maybe their kids danced naked in the windows at some point too.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Soren of Fire & Ice

Unless you've been living under a rock, by now you would have heard about the HBO tv series "Game Of Thrones." This is a series based on a fantastic story, "A Song of Fire and Ice" written by George. R.R. Martin. If you haven't read them, I highly suggest you do. Even though it's considered Fantasy genre, it's less fantastical and more about political intrigue. The coolest aspect (in my very own "humble" opinion) of these stories though, is that there really is no such thing as a "Good Guy" or a "Bad Guy". The way Martin writes about the characters, you learn why they do the things they do, and you begin to understand from each perspective that they choices they make are quite logical.

I started reading this series back in 1998, waaaaay before I had kids. In fact, while waiting for book 5 to finally come out, I had two of them. It's been a long journey with Martin, and while I cursed him for the 6 years I waited for the latest book to come out, I still come back for more.

When the show finally aired on HBO last year, depite the fact we don't have cable, J & I worked to find it online, a hard thing to do with HBO shows. We ended up watching the series online with grainy images. We didn't care! We just wanted to watch our favorite book hero's kill each other and toss sarcastic retorts to the camera!

Ever since I started reading GoT, my all time favorite character has been Tyrion Lannister: a dwarf noble with an endless supply of witty quotes, utterly sarcastic, and a heart of gold. I'd have to say that he is my favorite book character in general, and as I read about a book a day, that's a huge endorsement. His personality is so much like my own I feel like he is the male version of me.

Imagine my surprise and delight when we began to watch the series and I saw Tyrion (played by Peter Dinklage) for the first time, and I thought he looked pretty damn familiar. It bothered me for awhile as I just could NOT place where I might have seen the actor before. I looked through his resume on IMDB and couldn't find anything that stood out to me as to why I felt like I *knew* this guy. J had the same feeling, but neither of us could figure it out.

Awhile later, while the kids were wreaking havoc on the house as they are wont to do, Soren raced by and it hit me like a bolt of lightning. THAT'S where I knew the face!!! Soren looked just like Tyrion Lannister! Granted he looks 40 years younger, but still, it was uncanny. I mentioned it to J and he agreed. Since then, anytime I asked any of my friends who were GoT fans what they thought, bolts of lightning would hit them too and 100% of them agreed wholeheartedly with us.

The photos I used are not the best to show you, but it was the best I could come up with for now to try and show the similarities. Take a look at Tyrion Lannister and Soren side by side:

It's now become a running joke amongst my circle of friends that we should have named Soren Tyrion. He's even begun to answer to that name. One of my best friends said we need to get him a teeshirt like this:

Unfortunately I've yet to find one in size 3T.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Housework Horrors

I think we can all agree that housework sucks. In general, it's one of those things that you HAVE to do, but really, all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch with a glass of Brandy and read a good book. But alas, at least once in awhile you have to suck it up and try to complete.

But doing housework for a family of 5 is something that should be in its own category. It is not the housework most people recognize. You would think that a family of 5 would create 5 times more housework but you would be dead wrong. Without exagerating, it's more like 20 times the amount. And when you add in little boys who are learning to use the toilet (or still learning how to aim corrctly) it's a whole 'nother ball game.

I wrote awhile ago about doing laundry for 5. Today, after a few close encounters of hit and run activity while I tidied up the house, I thought I'd add more to that lament.


Try and imagine yourself in the middle of a battlefield. Instead of landmines you deal with Lego pieces. Of course, you bribed your kids to clean up before you start, and when that didn't work, you threatened to suck up every toy on the floor with your giant vaccum. But still, you're going to find a Lego piece or 5 forgotten in the haste to clear off the floor so that Mom doesn't trash a beloved stuffie. Trust me.

Next, imagine one kid has a sensitivity to loud sounds. This is a kid who freaks out sobbing at the thought of fireworks, and constantly asks me to turn down the volume of -42 because it's too loud. This is the same kid who screeches to me when his younger brother is playing with one of is toys every 5 minutes. I don't get it either. But anytime the vaccum gts pulled out he races to the couch in utter fear.

Now, add in another kid who used to be afraid of the vaccum, but now realizes that it's it the coolest freaking game ever. He races to the toy box and throws everything out (that he just finished picking up) to find his toy sword. And the moment that vaccum goes he charges, sword thrust out in front of him, ready to slay the vaccum. Then he ruuns away, tripping on the cord, only to circle around and try again.

NOW add in the freaked out kid who sees his brother having a ball, and decides to join in. He races off to the toy box, hauling out more toys, to find his sword, and the game is on. All I want is to vaccum my "almost white" carpets in peace. And maybe to be able to see said carpets for at least 15 minutes. But nope, by the time I give up, the floor is covered in toys, the boys have tripped over the wire at least three times each, and I can't even tell that I had a clean room a mere 5 minutes ago.



Aside from laundry, dishes are the bane of my existance. I hated doing them so much my dear, dear husband has kindly taken over the majority of that chore. Still, even knowing I am not doing the lions share of dishes they still suck.

We have a smallish dishwasher and it doesnt matter ow frugal you are with cups and dishes over the day, it will fill up at least once. I tried for the longest time to give each boy one cup to use per day, hoping that it would cut down on dishwashing. it didn't. Somehow those bastards multiply faster than rabbits.

I have now convinced myself it is cheaper to buy paper plates and plastic cups at BJ's and use those for breakfast and lunch, than to pay the water bill for the ungodly amount of dishes we have to clean for a family of five. But now I'm running out of silverware each day. Maybe I should add plastic forks to the next shopping list....


Really, this one doesn't need much clarification. I live in a household with four males, three of which are young. All I have to say is, none of my children will ever be the winner of any type of accuracy contest, like archery. Ever. Did I mention we have four bathrooms? Yeah.

I can't be the only one with household horror stories. Let's hear yours!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Weighty Subject

All of my life I have had issues with weight, although not always in the same vein. When I was a kid, up until I left high school I was skinny: too skinny. Dr's thought I was anemic or even anorexic (although I promise this was NOT the case).

But once I had Xavier my weight went into a tailspin the other way. I gained a lot of weight with Xavier and post partum, I was determined to get back to something healthy. Despite determined efforts, no matter what I did I could not lose it. I went to the DR then and he set me up with a nutritionist. After 4 months of severe calorie counting and daily exercising I went back to find out I lost a total of 4 pounds. I was told by the nutritionist I was screwed.

This caused a bout of major depression for me for awhile. But then I realized I could sink into my own personal hell and wallow in it, or I could say fuck it, and live my life with my beautiful new baby. I chose the latter. Oddly enough, a year later, with no changing in my diet or activity I lost the weight.

Fast forward to the (kind of) present: I have had an issue in finding a good Primary Care Physician in this area. I loved the one we had back in MA and I'm always comparing the ones here to him. My first DR told me I was chubby (I wasn't at the time and my BMI was great). I walked out and never returned.

The most recent DR I found I initially loved! However about 6 months ago, for no known reason I gained 30 pounds in three months. When I went to him for help, he put me on a weight loss medication that was ,and I quote, "99% effective! I guarantee you will lose weight!"

Even with a calorie counting diet, meds, and a lot of exercise, I still did not lose weight. When I went back for a check up he told me, and I quote, "You must have the fat gene. I read about that. The gene can turn on and off at random. Basically, there is nothing you can do. You're going to be the kind of person who has to work out 5 days a week and eat practically nothing, just to stay the same weight."

I walked out of there in tears.

And then I got pissed. Really pissed. Like I wanted to punch a fucking wall (or a certain DR). Because I'm sorry, but while I can agree with the fact that it's genetically possible for people to be more prone to gaining weight, I do NOT believe there is some fucking "Fat Gene" that can blink on and off like a traffic light on it's own random pattern. I DO believe that there is something else that has to have caused such a significant weight gain in a matter of months with no obvious reasons. I mean look. I would take full responsibility for any weight gain if I was sitting in my ass eating Ho HO's all day long. But I haven't been. And I feel like this weight gypped me of the pleasures of Ho Ho's dammit!

So I called him back and ordered him to test me for everything he could think of. Alas, he couldn't think of anything aside from testing for tumors and thyroid. I haven't been back since.

My point of bringing all of this up was because of today: I went to a new office for women for an annual exam. While there I asked them if they did anything else aside from OBGYN, and explained my sob story. I admit, this hits close to home and while talking it brought back all the pain and humiliation I've felt over the years. Fortunately, when I got to the part about the "fat gene", the DR gasped and said that was ludicrous. She was angry on my behalf and seeing that... it gave me a sense of peace. She also said that yes, gaining 30 pounds in 3 months is a sign of something up and she is bound and determined to find out what.

So the deal is I have to fast and go in for blood work. She's going to run the gambit on all tests she can think of. If they all come back normal she is sending me to an endocrinologist for more work. In other words, I have hope. I'm not roadblocked anymore. I'm cautiously optimistic though, because I really fear being let down again. This last time hit me more than I expected and I can still feel the grief when I even lightly think on the subject. To have this come to nothing or be told I'm screwed again would probably finish off what little self esteem I have left in regards to my weight.

So.... keep your fingers crossed for me that I found someone who might actually listen and do some detective work.  I'm hoping this one won't give up on me. I really need all the good thoughts I can get.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well Fuck

I was perusing the news the other day when I came across this article regarding children swearing.  I had to laugh at the group grumbling, anti-indecency Parents Television Council, because first off, I don’t think most parents would be watching the show with their toddlers on hand.  Then again, I don’t know the show and could be totally off base. Since we don’t have cable I watch things of interest on Hulu or Netflix, and usually when the kids are passed out in bed.

But I found this article interesting for a few reasons. The first being that I immediately thought “DUH” when researchers claimed that by age two, kids are starting to learn adult language. Hell, all three of my kids were saying fuck by the age of two. And if you’re a parent and had this happen in your household, you know how both shocking and amusing it is. Of course we parents need to teach our kids that it’s not fucking ok for them to swear. I learned how to circumvent the “Do as I say, not as I do” without looking hypocritical and it has worked very well so far (knock on fucking wood.) My kids have been raised to understand that some things kids get to do and some things only adults get to do. It’s a right you EARN when you hit the age of majority. I’ve told my kids that I have earned the right to use “Adult Words” as I am a grown up. When they turn 18 they can swear all the fuck they want and I won’t bat an eye. But they cannot use adult words until they are an adult. Fair? They seem to think so.

But another reason I found this article interesting helps to argue against those who feel that parents shouldn’t swear at all in front of their kids. Now, I’m not condoning all parents start swearing up and down on a daily basis in front of their kids. That’s for after they’ve gone to bed. But in the average world, it is ridiculous to hold the parent to a standard where swearing at all is awful.Why? Because of this nifty note:

Swearing also makes it easier to bear pain, according to a 2009 study in which volunteers submerged their hands in a tub of ice water, a common laboratory method for inducing pain. Some were told to repeat a swear word of their choice as they submerged their hands, while others were told to repeat a boring, nonobscene adjective.

The volunteers who were swearing a blue streak kept their hands submerged longer than the other participants, suggesting the profanity helped them cope with pain. It's possible that swearing increases aggression and thus pain tolerance, study researcher Richard Stephens of Keele University told LiveScience at the time.

Swearing also serves a purpose of expressing emotion more deeply, succinctly and cathartically than any other type of speech, Jay said. But this positive side of swearing gets little attention, he said.

"A lot of people don't realize that swearing represents an evolutionary leap, in that it allows us to be verbally aggressive without being physically aggressive," Jay said. [10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors]

Two things stand out here. The first is pain. Pain is part and parcel of being a parent. I’ve had more toys thrown at my head than I can count, and I’ve stepped on countless amount of fucking Legos left on the floor that hurt like hell. How about when you’re dealing with a tantruming child and they wallop you hard with their kicking feet?

The other one is more common and less thought off. Swearing serves a purpose of letting us vent frustration without being physically aggressive. How many times have your kids done something to royally piss you off? How many times have you felt your adrenaline kick in and you stand there shaking, trying to calm down so you don’t lose it? Wouldn’t swearing under your breath be far better than to grab your kid in a moment of anger and do something you would sooo regret later? Yeah, me too. I would rather cuss up a storm in front of my kids when I see a trail of chocolate milk spilled over the entirety of my (almost white) carpets than to focus that anger in any other way.

So parents, I say to you, go ahead and swear without feeling guilt. We as a society put too much negativity on these words. They are, after all, just a combination of sounds we piece together, and they don’t hurt our children. And if it makes you feel better when you step on a damn Lego, isn’t that better than holding it in and seething for much longer than is needed? Just remember to teach your kids that they are not for kids. They have to earn the right to use them. Just like you earn the right to a glass of wine at 5pm. But if they do swear, don't panic. Just stay calm and give them an alternate kid friendly phrase to use. Just don't forget to video tape it for future blackmail purposes ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Schooled Out

Yesterday I went to Xavier's school three times. By the end of the night I was starting to feel like I should have bought a backpack and a bagged meal with me.

The first time was for a meeting. I finally met up with Xavier's teachers to discuss his focusing problems. His main issue is that he won't stop talking about his "flavor of the month" during any transition period. This month it's Minecraft. I asked what the teacher did when this happened and I swear, she blushed and looked down, saying she feels bad but she will ask him to stop. I tried very very hard to keep my eye rolling to a minimum, realizing that she may have met a parent or two who would freak out and yell "YOU DON'T SAY THAT TO MY BABY!!!!" And I gave her permission to tell that to my baby as many damn times as she needed to. I told her what I did during homework: if he starts talking about anything nonhomework related it sounds like this:

Me: "is it about homework?"
Xavier:"....um no...?"
Me: "Then I don't want to hear about it until your homework is done."

5 minutes later......

Me: "Is it about homework?"
Xavier:(sighs) "No."
Me: Then get back to homework and tell me when you're done."

The teacher looked both grateful and hopeful after I told her I was totally ok with her doing this in class, and to also let him know that non class related subjects were not to be talked about unless it was during free time, lunch or recess.  We also got his homework cut down. Everyone 'round the table agreed 2-3 hours of math was ridiculous. While I know Xavier will be happy I have to say I am beyond excited to know my weeknights will stop consisting of hours of long division. I did that crap when I was his age. I don't want to do it again.

The second reason was to pick Xavier up from school early. I was called by the school nurse to come pick him up. While he didn't have a fever, she said he looked pale. We ALL look pale! My nickname as a kid was Snow White, and while I may have moved down to a sunnier climate, I can still blend in with paper. But I went to pick him up, and he spent the rest of the day lying down reading or watching movies.

And finally, I had a special education session in the evening. I was asked to be a guest speaker for parents with children with ADHD, and to tell Xavier's story. It was a great experience to meet other parents in similar situations, and to watch peoples eyes light up as I spoke about what we all go through as a family, to see that realization that they weren't the only ones who had seriously crappy mornings before the medication kicked in. It is very very true that misery loves company.

Yesterday reminded me how much I appreciate being an adult and parent. I am so glad I don't have to go to school anymore like the kids do. And I loved the fact that, as an adult, I could (and did) banter with the teachers about it being 5pm somewhere. If I tried that when I was younger, it might have gone on my school record ;)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Was Bored

not really. But after two years of having "worked" (i.e. did not get paid) as promotions manager for a cool support site for moms, I have recently stepped down. While I loved the role, it was a lot of work and I was getting burnt. And a burnt SRM is a bitchy SRM.

And as it's been a long time since I had had time to blog, I decided to dust off the cobwebs and pull this sucker out for some air. Annnnd I got bored of seeing the old background. And decided to make myself an actual logo. And a FB fan page.

Mah New Logo!!!

Im still not sure if I'm completely happpy with the look, but it will do for now. I do <3 my new logo though!

So here's the deal. I promise to keep the FB fan page updated. I promise to keep the blog updated. I promise to not censor myself in any way regarding warped humor. All I ask you is that you read, comment, like my FB page, and help spread the word by sharing.

Let's see how well we can do together. Do you think we can get 100 people to like the page and blog by say, my birthday? We've got until May 1 peeps.....

Ready. Set. GO!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Murphy's Law can suck my middle finger. I had just hit the publish button for my "Morning Miracles" blog when I received an email from Xavier's teacher requesting a meeting. It seems that he is having difficulty in paying attention in class. We set up a meeting for January 19th, and I emailed Xavier's Special Education teacher, asking if she could please join us, to which she agreed to.

That afternoon when I picked Xavier up from school, I mentioned the email, and asked him if there were any areas he was having trouble concentrating on. "MATH" he yelled from the backseat. So I told him that we were going to sit down that day together, and I would not leave his side while he did his math homework. I would be there to answer any questions and help him. I would not DO it for him though.

So we got home, and going through the mountain of paperwork that always arrives on a Monday afternoon, I saw one possible issue that could cause focus issues in class. Xavier is starting to learn long division. And the teacher is showing the kids multiple ways on how to do it. Now. For a normal kid, this would probably work just fine. But for a kid with severe ADHD, the more possible ways to do something, the more confusing it can be. It clicked why he was having issues. And frankly. reading the explanation the teacher sent home made my own ADD kick into high gear. I couldn't follow it at all.

So I sat down and showed Xavier how to do division the way *I* do it. And after a lot of questions, it seemed to click. So we grabbed some paper and pencils, and sat down to get to work.

This kid focused his ass off. I will give major props to him after this day of homework. He didn't lose track, he didn't get up a lot. He sat there with me by his side, and worked hard. Even knowing this, it took him 3 hours to finish 1 1/2 pages of homework. 3 fucking hours with the both of us sitting there, working on long division. He never lost focus. I, on the other hand, started daydreaming about alcohol around the 45 minute mark.

Finally by 7:30 I had had enough. Even though we didn't get to any of the other homework, I sent Xavier off to play for the last hour before bed. I wrote a note to the teacher, explaining the situation and letting her know I was totally ok with him not finishing his homework that night. She wrote back the next day to let me know she agreed and was cool with it as well.

The following day I called my friend Sabra, both to crow about Xavier's ability to sit and focus, but to also bitch about 3 hours of long division. She gave me a great idea on how to make it easier. You flip the paper sideways so that each number has it's own column and it's easier to see. I tried it that afternoon. With the combined efforts of having it starting to really click for him, and the sideways paper, we cut it down to 45 minutes.

Xavier has an IEP that allows for his homework to be scaled down if needed. We haven't used that yet, but I think I'm going to bring that up at the teacher meeting. While I want Xavier to succeed, I also want him to have time to play too.  I'll update after the meeting


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Morning Miracles


Throughout the past several months while I haven't been blogging, we've been working hard to help Xavier with his ADHD issues. We had a point where we had to call the Dr and say "you know what? We think something else may be going on. The meds aren't working, and he's sometimes acting like Curious George on crack."

We were referred to a psychiatrist who thought that it might be possible that Xavier may have Bi-Polar, but it wasn't concrete enough to give an official diagnosis. it does run in the family. After talking to family members so I had enough information to hand over to doctors while we tried to figure things out, I found out my paternal grandmother was Bi-Polar. I knew she had been in a mental hospital at one point in time, but never knew the official diagnosis.

That said, we're still working with severe ADHD, and if things start to change again, we will revisit it, as suggested by the Dr. He is too young right now, and too low on the spectrum for it to be diagnosed anyways. We (combined minds of several doctors and parents) think that his Curious George Mentality happened when he outgrew his medication. So over the past few months we have been trying to find the right medication, and the perfect dose.

Yay that we finally found it!  It took awhile and we had some rocky moments, both in school and at home. But the special education resources at his school are amazing, and I have developed a bond with his special education teacher. We're actually now working together with other parents to create informational sessions for new parents with children with special needs. Its amazing how much help it can be to know you are not alone when you have a child who is not "typical."

But still, the mornings and evenings can be tough, even with the right meds. Before meds kick in, Xavier is like to bounce all over the place, unable to focus for more then three seconds on one thing. He bothers his brothers by getting in their space, which causes epic tantrums from all three (add four if you want to include J who deals with the kids in the morning.) And at night when the meds have worn off, he's again, all over the place.

Until two weeks ago, when, one morning, Xavier woke up at 6:15, an hour earlier than his brothers. J gave him his booster meds with breakfast, and without anyone around for him to bother, Xavier was quietly able to get his school stuff ready, and had plenty of time to play before we had to leave for carpool. By the time the two younger boys woke up, he was engrossed in his own thing and didn't bother them while they had breakfast. It was a huge change. Normally I wake up to everyone yelling or screeching, and J losing his patience. This time I woke up to happy smiling faces.

 It was such a profound difference that J decided to try it each morning. Xavier got a Lego alarm clock for Christmas, and we set the alarm for 6:15. J sets his for the same time, and each morning, they quietly walk downstairs together, have breakfast, get things ready for school, then Xavier goes off to play quietly.

And every morning, EVERY morning, it has been...peaceful. It's odd and wondrous at the same time. At one point you want to smack yourself upside the head and wonder why you didn't think of trying this before? Could it truly be that if we had tried this years ago, we would have had a more peaceful morning?

Not only are the mornings great, but because he gets his booster early in the morning, Xavier can take his real medication a little later in the morning, which allows it to last longer through the day. Which means that he can focus better on his homework, and he is calmer, and more able to socialize with the family without anyone going crazy!!! It's a freaking miracle!!! I finally have this kid, whom I adore but could never really have a conversation with him without him being silly or losing focus, BUT NOW I CAN!!!! I can sit with him, and we can talk, and we can listen, and we can joke together, and it's not hard!!! It's amazing! And I can see it in him too, that he is loving this new found ability to really join in on family stuff without losing his ability to control his impulses. He can play with his brothers without ticking them off. He's become this big hero to Soren, who now follows him around like a puppy. Soren will now do anything to make his brother laugh. And where once Ashe and Xavier were always playing a metaphorical tug-o-war, the bickering is so much less and they are really beginning to create a bond of friendship.

Xavier has always had a hard road to walk. Even with parents who would do anything for him, and friends, it's tough having to deal with stuff like this, things you would not wish on anyone. And the sad aspect is that most likely, he will always have to deal with ADHD and how it will affect his life. It will affect everything: work, home, social, love.... Things we take for granted on a daily basis are a hundred times more difficult for him, even with medication and a lot of support.

BUT... I gaze in wonder at my oldest son lately, my husband the genius who put two and two together, and my happy family, where the quarrels are almost nonexistent now ( ok well, lets say normal for a family of five...) and I am filled with such gratitude and hope. Hope that no matter what we go through, we go through it together, and as a team, there may always be new things to find to help our son on this path called life.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Soren is now two and a half and still can't talk. Strike that, he won't talk, at least not in English. He does talk non stop, and he's quite understandable if you speak HIS language. He has an amazing language all his own, which family and friends alike have dubbed Sorenese. Most people who don't know Soren  very well believe the he must have some issues, some impairment the does not allow him to use the English vocabulary. Those who do know him well laugh their ass off at this suggestion, knowing very well that he could if he wanted to. The key phrase here is if he wanted to. And he has made it abundantly clear that he does not. Despite concentrated efforts in trying to get him to use real words like cat or dog, he uses equally concerted efforts to teach everyone else the Sorenese version of these words.

Our Pediatrician suggested that we have CDSA come out and evaluate him, just in case there was something going on. Having had a child who needed speech therapy, (Ashe, for Apraxia) comparing the two kids I honestly didnt think Soren had an issue. I think it was just my genetic stubborn trait shining through. But after discussing with J a time table in which Soren learned to talk, and passing that time table with no results in English, we decided to call them and see what they said.

As fate always decrees, the moment you make a call like that, things start to ramp up. I had recently gotten Soren potty trained using M&Ms as a reward. He was fully trained in two weeks. One day I got the idea to see if his favorite candy would also prevail in getting him to talk. If I was right, and he was just being stubborn, it should be easy. If he couldnt even with the carrot on a stick attempt, then I knew we had a problem, and calling CDSA was the right decision.

Yeah. In one week I got him to spell SUPER MARIO, say I love you, please, and thank you. BLESS you M&Ms! ( I now keep a giant stash on hand in case the boys need a good bribe reward).

CDSA still came over and they brought a speech pathologist to test him. In order to be considered for the program he had to fail certain tests. He didn't. In fact, he aced them with flying colors. The only issue was verbal expression and even that did not score low enough. The speech pathologist did mention that it was very uncommon for non twin children to develop their own language, and he was convinced that Soren was unique in this aspect. I told him about my M&M trick and he felt that while he could do well with speech therapy, M&Ms would work well too.

It was nice to know we're not dooming our child, and that he really can talk if he wanted to, but chooses to have his own enriched language. I also know that when he starts to really talk, there will be plenty of times I will wish he would just shut up for a bit. So Im not going to push his language. I'll offer him treats once in awhile, but Im pretty sure that by the time he hits kindergarten this will all be forgotten.

Either that or he will start teaching his classmates and teacher a new language. And that's not all that bad, to be considered bilingual at age 5 ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wine Bottle Battle of 2012

I love me a glass of wine. Or three. I'm a huge red wine fan and if you come to my house you'll normally see about 4 bottles of red hanging out on my kitchen counter, waiting to be delved into and appreciated once the kids go to bed.

My friend Kelly knows this, and sweetheart that she is, she bought J & I a bottle of red for the holidays. The other night I decided to pop it open after a long day and relax with a glass of red and a good book. I grabbed our trusty cork screw, which had uncorked countless bottles over the years, and started the process.

I didn't know it at the time, but the cork was not actual cork. It was some kind of weird rubber material. And it bitch slapped my cork screw. when I say bitch slapped, what I really mean to say is that it dragged my poor tool into a dark alley corner and beat the shit out of it until it was in 4 pieces. Literally

The first handle snapped off when I tried, and it resulted in me bashing my knuckles hard on the counter. J came over to make sure I was alright, then took over. I told him I didn't need wine *that* badly. I could always grab some brandy or Vodka, but he wouldn't hear of it. "I will get this wine for you!" he declared, and went to battle.

And a battle it was, of epic proportions.

The second handle snapped when he made his first attempt. Then the screw itself snapped off when he tried to pull it out. That's when he pulled out the full armory: knives of assorted shapes and sizes, screw drivers, meat thermometer (ok that one was my idea), and the tool box. I jokingly asked if he wanted to try the electric drill. Deadpan, he told me he had already thought of it.

The situation was just so funny, I started posting regular updates on FB, along with snapshots of the battle. Towards the end, I had to record the final moments, and post it on youtube to share, because it was just so damn funny to see the lengths J would go to so I could have a glass of wine. This people, is true love. Screw flowers and jewels. When your husband pulls out the tool box in order to ensure his wife has alcohol, you know you found your soul mate.

Here is the video:

Three bent knives, one broken thermometer, a sliced knuckle, and 30 minutes later, J finally won as the cork gave up from the brutal torture it endured. After tending to wounds, burying the casualties (I had to trash my meat thermometer and knives), and cleaning up the battlefield, J and I sat down with 2 giant glasses of red, and celebrated the victory while playing Words With friends. While it didn't turn out to be the relaxing evening of wine and book that I had originally envisioned, it was a fantastic night of humor, to see how far one would go for love.... and alcohol ;)

P.S. Kelly, the wine was very good!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Domesticating SRM Round 1: Cookies

Growing up I never learned the every day stuff of keeping house. My mom didn't cook, didn't bake, etc. I grew up on McDonald's drive thru and thinking that steak had to be cooked to almost burnt before it was done. I wasn't taught laundry skills. To this day I still shove loads of clothes into my washer willy nilly, slap a bunch of detergent in there, sit on the lid to make sure it stays down, etc. I never had home ec class, to teach me how to sew, or balance checkbooks, or anything life skill-esque. And I NEVER learned how to bake cookies. Cookies from scratch in my language means grabbing the precut Tollhouse Cookie dough, warming up the oven and tossing it in.

My friend Sabra, on the other hand, is what I would call a domestic goddess. When I go over to her house, she is constantly puttering around in her kitchen making goodies from scratch. I fell in love with her all over again the day she made me home made strawberry scones. Usually I go to her house since her idea of clean is not mine. She likes to iron her curtains. I don't have curtains to begin with. I used to tell her she wasn't allowed over my house, but I've rescinded that decree as I love to watch her eyes gaze around my living area, and see what project she will offer to do for me. I haven't taken her up on any of them, but I love hearing what she will come up with next.

In the next few days I will be retiring from a volunteer management position at a moms support group. I've been managing promotions there for two years and it eats away at a lot of my free time. Knowing that I am nearing the end, I got this crazy idea that I need to learn something new. And thinking of Sabra I decided I wanted her to teach me how to bake from scratch. I don't know what drugs I was on when I came up with this crazy idea. But there has always been a part of me that has wanted to learn domestic stuff that many people take for granted. So many of the moms in this area bake cookies. I wanted to bake cookies too dammit! So I asked her and our mutual friend, Sarah (another cookie baker) to come over and let our kids destroy the house while they taught me how to bake.
 I thought it would be a simple thing. You get flour, you get sugar, salt, butter, etc. Scoop the ingredients, mix them together, toss in the oven and voila! 30 minutes later home made cookies.

 Holy hell was I totally off base!

Sabra brought over her Ipad with a "Simple" sugar cookie recipe. She thinks simple. I think you need a degree in rocket science (see whut I did thar, Sarah???)  But they were the teachers, I the student, and so we started off.

The first thing I apparently did wrong was that I didn't read through the recipe ALL THE WAY before starting to get out the ingredients. Sarah asked if, when I put something together, like a book case, don't I read through the instructions first then go to square one? I said hell no! J usually puts those together, and when we do it as a team, we go step by step. I found out that was the wrong answer.

After reading the recipe ALL THE WAY through (and reading it aloud so they both knew I had, and to lovingly piss them off) I made my next mistake. When I went to get the flour, I scooped into the flour bag with my measuring cup. I kid you not, Sarah had a look of complete horror on her face and Sabra had to walk away from the kitchen. I noticed her consumption of coffee started ticking up by that point. She did refuse a shot of vodka to calm her nerves, but I think it was a near thing.

I learned you need to FLUFF flour, when you measure it. Not like you fluff a pillow (as I mentally thought of beating the flour bag as I do my pillow at night). No, you have to scoop little spoonfuls and shake it into the measuring cup. Because if you don't FLUFF your flour your cookies will taste like shit.

I learned you don't FLUFF your sugar or salt, but you do MASH your butter. Oh and I got reamed out for not having unsalted butter. We don't use real butter most of the time. We use margarine. I thought my two friends  were going to die right there and then when they realized I didn't own any REAL butter. I mentally made sure I knew where my cell phone was in case I had to call 911 for a heart attack.

Then I learned I need to buy parchment paper. Because parchment paper ensures that whatever it is you're cooking wont stick to the pan. Between you and me, I don't even know what the hell parchment paper is. I toyed with the idea of asking if they wanted to use college lined paper instead of the tinfoil I had, but I was scared that by this time in my lessons, Sabra was going to come after me with the new rolling pin I bought, if I made any sarcastic comments.

The cookies came out decent, if I say so myself. They're edible. They didn't poison anyone. And the kids asked for seconds. I did notice that neither Sabra nor Sarah tried one. Hmmmm.

Next week we're going to make Turtle cookies, yay!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Glasses Revealed

I promised an update once we got Ashe his new glasses, so here it is. Ashe has now had his glasses for a week and he is in loooooooooove with them. I posted a photo on FB while we were at the Eye Doctor, picking them up. To all of you who left a comment, THANK YOU! he got the biggest kick out of all of your praise, and I don't doubt that it helped cement his love for his new look.
So without further ado, here is Master Ashe with his new Sponge Bob Squarepants glasses:

We did have to go get them adjusted a little bit this past Monday. Unfortunately they kept sliding down his nose. But within ten minutes they were able to adjust them accordingly and they fit him perfectly. So far this week, there have been no Asheidents to report.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Black Out

Some days when you're feeling sick, or the weather sucks, you indulge your kids to keep the peace (and much needed quiet) by allowing them more electronic time than usual. At least I do. I'm not a perfect parent (never said I was) and there are just times when it's too crappy to go out, or I feel like shit, and really, all I want to do is lie on the couch while I try to survive a killer cold. And the last thing I want to do is play play dough with the two little ones, which WILL result in many minutes of me muttering curses under my breath while I try to scrape the red goo out of my "almost white" carpets.

However there is a boundary that shouldn't be crossed. And that is when the kids start showing signs of addiction. Now. My kids come to their glee of electronic devices and computer games naturally. I myself, am an avid gamer. J is one as well. So the kids hear us talking about the previous nights raid in our game, and they want to be like Mom and Dad. Xavier has his own mini MMOs's that he gets his school friends into so that they can play and chat together online after school (once homework is done). Ashe is an avid Zelda lover. He frequently comes up to me with his big blue eyes and tells me how I am Zelda, and he promises to rescue me from the evil Gannon every time I am kidnapped. Soren, well, Soren doesn't talk English much, but he makes it very clear that Super Mario is his BFF.

But that doesn't mean that a love affair of electronic games means that you drop everything else for that. That is when it becomes an issue. And the issue happened this morning, after 2 weeks of me being KO'd by a cold, and crappy weather out today. I woke up this morning to Soren screaming at J for a DS. Soren doesn't own a DS. But he wanted his brothers. And J told him no. Hell broke loose.

Getting in the car to take Xavier to school, Soren flipped out when I told him he couldn't bring the family Nook with him so he could continue playing Angry Birds. (On a side note, what is so freaking addicitng about this game???? I don't play it but my mom does and somehow she got all three kids hooked on this. They even got angry birds stuffed animals in their Christmas stockings). I'll fess up here and now and say that there have been a few days where I have allowed Ashe and Soren to bring an electronic device with them to pick up Xavier at carpool. But in my defense, you try sitting in line for 40 minutes with two young children listening to kids songs every Monday through Friday, and tell me that if you could have a little bit of piece and quiet you wouldn't have done the same thing too! It makes for a very happy family when we each have something we like while we wait for so long in the car.  But waiting for that long and just dropping off are two different things.

So today when we got home, and the whining continued I laid down the law. We were having an electronic black out today: NO Nooks, DS, TV, Xbox, etc. TODAY we were going to play with REAL toys. TODAY we were going to have face time. TODAY we are going to remind ourselves how much fun other things are that don't hook into a plug.

It took them about 5 minutes to realize Mama wasn't joking. They tried whining, screaming, cajoling, begging, promising me their favorite stuffed animals as hostages for good behavior. And I stuck to my guns. Initiating play, I told them they could ransack my bedroom and bring down blankets to make a fort. And huffing off, they went. And brought them down. And started working together as a team to build a fort. Next came the bean bags to make the fort cozy. Then came the backpacks for their adventures. Books to read, our stick horse Epona to ride around the fort. And before they realized it, it was lunch time and they had been having a blast. We made a game of cleaning up, and taking down the fort so we could eat.

Sometimes, despite it being easy to ignore an issue when your kids are happy and quiet, you have to Mom up, and force your kids to find another source of fun. Like the other times when I had to redirect Soren to draw on paper and not our "white" walls with flat paint. You have to deal with their tantrums, sometimes epic ones, and say "Not Today".

Now just don't tell the kids I snuck down here to use my electronics to type this ok? It might get me in trouble. ;)

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Talk 2.0

If you been following me for a long time you remember the time I had a talk with Xavier. Well Xavier is 9 and a half now and his brother Ashe is following in his footsteps. Recently I found myself yet again in a position of awkwardness as I was asked questions about sex, this time coming out of the mouth of my 4 year old in the backseat of the car. And of course the weather was miserable so it was doubly difficult to pay attention to the road and to answer the questions of sex piping from the back seat.
I don't understand why it's always me that gets asked these questions. I mean I'm not the only parent in the household. And you would think that the boys with gravitate towards their father with these types of questions. But oh no it's always me, and always when I am alone without my partner in crime to help give me back up. I remember the last time Xavier brought up sex to me J was on a business trip up in Massachusetts. Somehow his questions when from sex to learning about the female cycle. I swear that 9 year old boy knows more about menstruation the most teenage girls.
But this time it was Ashe to ask the awkward questions. As he asked the inevitable where do babies come from, I at least felt a little bit more confident in answering as I'd already gone through it once before. So I'm driving along in the rain with the kids in the backseat talking about sperm and eggs, the spiel on a man and women loving each other getting married and how sex equals babies.
I decided this time around to really push the importance of responsibility. I explained how sex can make babies and how babies are a lot of work. I told him that he had better be ready and responsible before having sex and making babies. First he had to be a grown up which in our household equals 18. Then he had to have a steady job, and his own place to live, before he could even consider sex and there for babies.
He grew quiet in the backseat as he contemplated this vast responsibility. And then he almost made me drive off the road as he said don't worry mommy I will practice a lot before I start making babies.
It took all my will not to slam on the brakes and scream the hell you will! Fortunately before I could react this way he clarified by saying I will get myself a good job and be responsible before I have babies.
I hope you do kid I hope you do.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Glasses for 1

Both J and I are blind as a bat. We need either contacts or glasses to see clearly on a daily basis. So we knew the chances that 1 or all 3 of our children would need glasses at some point in their life was inevitable. What we did not expect was that 1 of our children would need them now

Ashe has always been clumsy. He falls down so often that we call his accidents Asheidents. It's a common term in our household. However we always assumed that he had gained his clumsiness from his father, who also has a bad sense of balance.

When I ask him to find things Ashe always has a hard time. He could be looking right at the object in question and still not see it. However I also have a tendency to do this. Even with my contacts I tend to not be able to see things  right under my nose.  J constantly mocks me for this. So I always put Ashes inability to see things as part of my genetic traits.
He has had both of these issues ever since I can remember. It was such a common thing that I never gave it much notice. But then Ashe had his 5 year check up to get ready for kindergarten and we realized that there was an issue when Ashe failed his vision test.

His left eye seemed to see clearly But his right eye failed miserably. The pediatricians office used 1 of those giant posters that has lots of different shapes and numbers on it. The top picture was of a giant ship. Standing 30 feet away Ashe could not tell me what it was. Despite multiple tries he could not figure it out. Our pediatrician referred us immediately to a pediatric eye specialist. I made the call that day and within 3 days we were at the office.

Since this with Ashes first time at the eye doctors he had to have is eyes dilated. Getting your eyes dilated as an adult sucks. Having to watch your 5 year old get his eyes dilated for the first time sucks times 10. I was disgusted as I watched a pediatric eye doctor walk out of the office wringing his hands because he could not handle Ashe when he started to panic. J and I have come to realize  that everyone our pediatrician referrs us to pretty much sucks. I should've known better after dealing with the pill pushing psychiatrist we recently saw for xavier's ADHD. Fortunately the assistants were  fantastic and helped as I held on to Ashe while they placed drops in his eyes.   After we finished with the eye drops we had 30 minutes to wait for them to kick in. Ashe and I decided to go to the craft store next door look around and grab some snacks.

After the examination was complete we realized how bad Ashes eye really was. Perfect eyesight is 20/20. Ash is right eye was 20/150. His right eye is worse than my eyes and J's eyes. Glasses were a must. Fortunately Ashe thinks that glasses rocks since his dad wears them and insisted on finding a pair just like J's. In fact as we searched the racks for the perfect pair of glasses Ashe decided on a pair that was the same color as his dads. The only difference is that Ashes glasses are sponge bob square pants. Unfortunately they did not make sponge bob square pants glasses for adults.

So in a week or 2 Ashe will start wearing glasses everyday. He was pretty miffed that he couldn't walk out of the eye doctor store with his brand new glasses. He's been bouncing around in excited anticipation ever since. While I feel bad that 1 of my children has to wear glasses at such an early age I have to say I'm both proud and happy that he is so excited for this. And maybe I'm being biased since I am his mom but damn did he look cute in them. He reminded me of a human Theodore chipmunk. I'll post photos of him once the glasses come in. Knowing how much of a ham he is I'm sure he'll love posing for that.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

PSA: Sick Non Parental Units

This PSA goes out to all of you non Parental units:
In general being sick sucks. Your nose is stuffy, you get headaches, aches and pains. All you want to do is lie in your bed wishing the day would just go away. If it's bad enough you even call in sick to work.

BUT...  When you become a parental unit there is no such thing as calling in sick. Ever. There is no ability to go hide yourself under the covers and just wait for the day to go by. Nope instead you gotta crawl out of those covers, get dressed, make breakfast for the kids, make sure the homework is in the folder, get in the car, drive to school, come home, and take care of the other kids who are not school age.

I reiterate there is no such thing as a day off when your parent.

I was fortunate enough to get sick when my kids were at the grand parents for the weekend. And you know what? It was fucking heaven! No joke. I just had the best sick day I've ever had since my 9 year old boy was born. I lavished in the ability to call back under the covers when I wanted to. I could sit on the couch in my pj's all day long and watch tv while I skipped my tea. I could nap whenever I wanted to without having to worry about the house being destroyed. I had no kids clamoring for attention, no one whining for a snack. No fight to break up, no clashes to referee. It was just me my drugs my pj's and my tea.

I have decided that all of you non parental units are absolutely never ever ever allowed to whine complain when you're sick. You have no idea how easy you have it. I wish I could send my kids to my mom's house whenever I'm sick but that's not an option. This time was a fluke. And it was wonderful.

But if I ever hear any of you non parental units whining when you're sick, even if I love you, just understand I'm going to give you the finger. Because seriously you have no idea how good you've got it. Embrace your sick days, and raise your teacup in honor of us who don't get a chance to crawl back under the covers.

Family Photo Video 2011

Happy New Year friends!

Every year instead of pasting photos into photo albums that invetiably get ripped up or damaged by the childrens hands, I opt to make a virtual album, complete with music, of the boys throughout the year. So here are the boys from 2011, a damn fine year for us!

If you're interested in checking out the past videos, or you enjoy gaming vidoes of my sexy avatar killing pixellated monsters with friends around the world, you can visit my youtube channel at
Just make sure to post some comments!