Sunday, March 30, 2008

I'll show you crazy...


I have been thinking a lot about "Autism:The musical". When I watch things about autism, it becomes more about me, and my perceptions, and my son. I don't know if anyone else does this but whenever I see shows like this, I kind of look for answers. I know they are not there, but I can't help it. I want to see how parents are doing, how kids are doing, what school is like for them, do they have friends, are they 'ok' (whatever the hell that is). I get very emotionally wrapped up in it. I think overall the show focused a lot more on the parents, and I would have preferred more of the kids, but I do think it's an amazing program, and I thought that the woman running it put her heart and soul into it, and she was wonderful. Some of it made me really really sad. Listening to Wyatt talk about being bullied, made my heart ache. Watching Henry, who was so adorable, talk about his beloved dinosaurs, tugged at my heart as well. My husband and I chuckled when we heard him talk about reptiles and what they liked to eat, because he reminded us of bubs.
I was also struck by how 'weathered' all the parents were. When Adam's mom spoke about their marriage, it made me so mad. She said it was her job to make sure her son was 'kept out of an institution', and that their marriage suffered because of her devotion to her son. I think it struck a nerve with my husband and I. I also felt sorry for Lexi's mom. Sorry because she seemed to not be able to accept. Then I wonder about myself. For again, the whole thing is about me, right?

Ok, so now that I am in that mode of thinking, here's where the 'crazy' comes in. I take bubs to a 'kiddie kicks' class at a local gym. The owner of the place is one of bubs' home therapist. We love this woman. The place is great. It's open to all children and a lot of my friends take their kids there. I think it's common knowledge that the owner is also an aba therapist, so the 'nt parent's' are in general pretty cool. So we were there this Saturday for a special 'music and movement' class. Bubs was loving it. One of bubs' school mates was there, and I was hanging out with his mom. I thought it was pretty obvious that we were friendly. Now this little boy has some more visible affects of asd, he had a chewy tube around his neck to help him not chew on his shirt, and he was a little more on the active side. He is a sweetie and was having fun as well.

So I went to the bench to sit and watch my son have fun. Bubs tends to fly 'under the radar' these days, and I guess that's the reason this other mother of a neurotypical little girl felt comfortable saying what she said to me. She came and sat down on the bench next to me and was looking at the kids and said 'that boy is crazy, no?'. Ok, to give her the benefit of the doubt she was Russian, and it was obvious to me that English wasn't her first language. But the comment still had me steamed. I said 'NO, he is not Crazy, he has autism. Just like my son, they go to the same school'. I usually don't talk about bubs like this to total strangers. I feel like he has a right to privacy, and I tell only the people that need to know, like dentists and doctors and teachers (and sometimes even they don't need to know). Only when it helps him. But this just had the bile up in my throat, and made me angry and sad and proud of all the hard work that the boy and his mom endure. Ugh. I am sure she was just curious, but she could have used a better choice of words.

Ok, so how does this relate to the HBO show? I am not entirely sure, it's just that it's been on my mind. I am not sure I entirely understand autism, so how are people who are not directly affected by it going to get a grasp on it?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The 45 minute hour

I am happy to report that after two sessions of counseling, my husband and I are cured. Just kidding. But things are much much much better. I think my perception gets out of whack when I am angry. I see everything through angry colored glasses. I am a lot less angry these days. Which is good.
I have always known that my husband and I are polar opposites of each other in many of our personality traits. Being the worrier that I am, (my husband doesn't know what worry is), it has been a concern and a frustration of mine. The things that I once loved and adored in my husband are the things that are slowly driving me insane these days. We are trying to appreciate each other for our differences. I am trying to look at his ability to put off projects that are important to me, as 'spontaneity' and 'laid back-ness' and he is trying to look at my ability to perseverate and stress on things as an 'organizational strength'. I have really tried to dig deep and come up with some concrete answers on why Denmark is such a sore subject with me and he has actually admitted to not taking my wants and needs seriously as of late. So we are definitely moving in the right direction. We are working on our communication skills, which I didn't realize were as awful as they were, now that we are actually communicating.

We are making a promise to spend more quality time together. On Monday night after our 'session' we went out for coffee instead of going right home. On Tuesday night we actually watched a show together, the first time in I don't know how long. We watched 'Autism:The Musical" which I will have to devote a whole other post to, it was that good.

My husband emailed me this article about couples who argue, and how it's actually healthy for you to argue with your spouse. We have been pretty healthy lately.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!


Tomorrow is Easter. We are not religious, we are a party lovin family. So we will head out to my sisters for a massive Easter egg hunt, present frenzy and feast. Tonight bubs and I wrote a letter to the Easter Bunny and left out a plate of mini carrots. Bubs thought this was hysterical. Tomorrow the E.B. will leave mini carrot crumbs, a thank you note and a ginourmous basket of goodness. My husband was just asking me what kind of candy was in bubs' basket. To be honest, peeps are the only kind, which will probably get eaten by me. He is not a big candy eater. When we were little it was all about the homemade chocolate bunnies gnawed apart carefully, pectin jelly beans, and a few other assorted goodies. Somewhere along the way, Easter has morphed into a mini Christmas of sorts. Hey, I love to buy presents. Bubs' will be receiving a new game for his leapster, some new crayola markers that somehow change the chemical makeup of construction paper (that comes with it in the kit), a sea creature magnet art kit, and a nice bug catching jar. He originally asked the E.B. for a watch, but I think that was just because he wanted to play with his father's and he was denied. He also wants 'deep dark sea creatures' (his words) and sea monsters. I hope he is not disappointed but the E.B. could not find those particular items and he forgot all about the watch.
Happy Easter everyone, however you celebrate!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008


I took bubs to a birthday party on Saturday. It was at one of those 'jumpy' places, a big huge warehouse with inflatable structures for the kids to go nuts on. It was for a kid at bubs' center based school, with my 'autism peeps'. I was talking with a couple of the other moms about things. One of them was wearing a heart monitor. It seems she had a panic attack recently and the docs wanted her to wear it because they noticed something was up with her heart. She wound up in the e.r. due to the attack. It seems like we are all on edge because of our annual cse meetings. I mentioned that I did a stint in the old e.r., (although before bubs was born) but I had my share of anti anxiety meds since the whole autism journey began. The other mom in our convo also has been having some issues. What are we doing to ourselves here? I just wanted to give a collective hug to all of us, a nice comforting pat on the back, and say 'it's all going to be ok'. It seems like this transition to kindergarten is knocking us on our asses.
I was looking at some pics last night of bubs' first year. It was only four years ago, but man I aged. I need a good moisturizer I think. That and some more xanax. What's going to happen to me when bubs' learns how to drive, huh? I guess I really am getting ahead of myself here, let's get through kindergarten. Hell, let's just get through the summer.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Time for a change


Tonight we are going to counseling. Hallelujah, ring them bells. My husband reluctantly agreed to go. He said that he thinks we don't really need it, but he will go because it's important to me. I am sensing some denial mixed in with a little fear here, but all that matters to me is that he agreed to go. I have so much I need to get out, it's a little overwhelming for me. I have been keeping a list, is that bad?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gender Roles


I have noticed that bubs is starting to have an awareness of 'boys' and 'girls' being different. I guess he has known they are different for a while, but now he is starting to have more of an understanding of what it means to be different. It's really interesting to see the development and I see where the importance of teachable moments arise. My sister does home jewelry parties and I had one in my house today. The other night, I was telling bubs about the party on Sunday and I was explaining to him that Aunt K would be coming and setting up her jewelry. He has been to some parties at my sister's house where she had all her stuff out and he was just mesmerized by all the sparkly shiny stuff. He loves to put my bracelets on. So he said 'I like jewelry' which of course I said I like too. Then he said 'I can't have jewelry because I am a boy'. He said 'jewelry is for girls, boys get strange sea creatures and dinosaurs and animals'. I of course said he could have jewelry if he wanted. It is my goal that my child be an evolved non-sexist/non-racist human and I am starting to see just how impressionable he has become. He said 'I am going to grow my hair long and curly and become a girl and then I can have jewelry'. I thought that was hilarious, given the fact that I have long curly hair.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Choosing to be happy...


I watched a documentary last night by the filmaker Mira Nair. It's called 'The Laughing Club of India' and it's about a man, Dr.Madan Kataria a Bombay physician who created a laughter club. Ok, what is a laughter club you ask? Simple, it's a group of people that get together and laugh hysterically, kind of a joyful group yoga-ish giggle fest. I was really struck with some truths while watching it. First of all, life is hard in Bombay. Second of all, these people were making a choice to experience joy, even when the situation might not have been so joyful. They kind of set aside time in their day to laugh. Thirdly, I need to get my act together.Honestly, I don't know if I am quite there yet, but it seemed kind of ironic that I happened to have the experience of seeing this particular movie in the middle of all the crap I am going through. Plus, it really reminded me of Marla's suggestion to skip when I am feeling sad. Kind of similar.
Hopefully, this link will work and you can see the Laughing Club in action.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What's the secret?


Do people choose to be happy? I know it seems like a stupid question and I am probably meandering off on a tangent here. I have been in a funk the last few weeks and for someone who has struggled on and off with anxiety and depression (and the appropriate meds that go along with these lovelies) I find myself looking around and thinking that perhaps being content involves some kind of choice. So is it work to be happy? Do you stop yourself from perseverating on the stinky stuff and reminding yourself of your blessings (like having a little Oprah Winfrey on your shoulder)? I am able to do this for a while but then the nagging shit comes seeping through.

I am not a religious person, and I often think 'why not'? It seems like such a comfort to be able to have some kind of 'thing' to go to when the going is rough, when the going is OK and just have some kind of 'Lordiness' permeate your everyday existence. Honestly though, I just cannot wrap my head around it. I have known a few people who are 'born again' as well as some Orthodox Jewish people and all the different flavors in between. Again, it seems like there is a choice, to surrender? Probably more so with the Born Again, because I guess if religion were part of your upbringing, it would be way more ingrained. I have gone to church, and I think I am just too literal a person. I have the same issues with Musicals. I just can't get past the fact that real people wouldn't break into song mid sentence and start dancing around right in the middle of the street. I can appreciate it for what it is, but enjoy it, no. Just as I can read my Buddhist books and take snippets out of it for comfort, am I renouncing my worldly possessions and completely giving up concepts of desire and hope for the promise of nirvana? No, I know I do not have it in me.

OK, so hopefully I haven't offended anyone. These thoughts are still in their embryonic stage and I am just trying to figure out a non medicated way out of this dark side I have mistakenly wandered on over to. I told my husband the other night that my wish for us is to be happy. We have so much to be happy for, to be grateful for, to celebrate. Somehow, those things have been tossed aside and all the things we have to be annoyed over have taken over the joint. So do we just say 'screw it, let's be happy'? Is that even possible? Does it just lay dormant in the furnace till one day it's an explosion? Do you try and work every little detail of your life out so that you have ironed out everything, flat and neat? Everything? I think I need a panera session stat.