Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My little paleontologist

On Saturday we had bubs' fifth birthday party. Yep, my son is five (officially it's Thursday). I am of course emotional about it. We had twenty one kids at a bouncy place. Honestly, a few years ago, I was really worried that we wouldn't get to celebrate a party in such a way. I didn't even know if my son would know or care what a birthday party was, let alone give me a list of friends twenty kids long. It was wonderful. Chaotic, tiring (and sweaty in places I didn't know I could sweat) and wonderful. The theme, picked by bubs' (another thing I do NOT take for granted) was his new love, dinosaurs. On the way to the party, bubs said 'I want to be a paleontologist when I grow up'. Completely unprompted, and learned from the magic school bus book that he reads every night. He even asked me 'how many numbers do I have to be to be a grown up?'. We even went to the party store and picked out the crap made in china for our goody bags.

Speaking of goody bags, how Martha Stewart am I? I sewed my own goody bags. Yeah, I was cursing myself and my great ideas somewhere around baggie number 18. Spending all those time on those crafty earth mama blogs, made me feel inadequate. I really wanted to make my own dinosaur shaped crayons (out of chocolate molds) to put inside my homemade bags, along with some organic nuts and berries in a biodegradable package,in an homage to some crazy Montessori/Waldorf goddess somewhere out there, but thankfully my good sense kicked in and I just put in some crayola colored pencils I got for a deal at toys r us with some of my favorite laffy taffy (love the banana ones!). I thought that was creative enough, and I even included a pencil sharpener. We always get those cute little themed pencils at all the holidays, but I never have a pencil sharpener around so they just sit around looking pretty.

The kids had a great time, bubs' had a great time as well. I am so grateful for everything. Tired and burned out, but grateful none the less.

We were driving home from our play date this afternoon and bubs was sitting in his car seat looking kind of sad. I asked him 'what's the matter?'. He said 'I am sad, I miss my birthday party'. I told him we still had more celebrating to do. Of course when I asked him what his favorite part of his party was, he said without missing a beat 'presents'. I think though (and I hope) that it's more than that. We are still going to have a mini celebration on Thursday, my husband is taking off from work and we will go to the beach, weather permitting and we are having a family bbq on Sunday. So the party never ends around here!

Hey Norman, if you're visiting(and I think you are)-a big thank you for helping with the computer!!!.I appreciate all the time you took ... Now get off my mommy blog and go look at some racing stuff will ya...;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bloggy giveaway goodness...

Even though I think it should be mine, if you want to win this gorgeous retro apron (to wear while you are making homemade lemonade and toll house cookies for your kids, Ward and the Beav) plus some more great stuff, enter the giveaway here at Sew take a hike.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We are having a magical summer, damn it! Now stop crying...

Like I have said in the past, we have kind of gone 'cold turkey' on all the therapy and while I have tried to maintain some semblance of structure, it's just not the same. For the most part, I have succeeded in having fun filled days for bubs. I signed us up for some classes at a local farm, which were wonderful. On the days that we had nothing special planned, we kind of hung around the house in our pajamas, usually way too long. We watched way too much TV and we ate way too many snacks. I have to admit, I kind of enjoyed it, but in a guilty sort of way. By Thursday I had had enough though and I decided it was time for some projects.

The art teacher in me has laid dormant for a while. It's tough to do projects with my self directed boy. I have nothing but the utmost respect for any parent that home schools, but I think it would be disastrous for us here. I bit the bullet though and found some very cool projects on this website. It's tough being an anal retentive art teacher, it really is. It's a constant battle with markers with no caps vs. the wonder that is the creative spirit. I have gotten worse since staying home. All that data taking took it's toll on me I guess.

I painstakingly laid out the materials, and did a quick task analysis of the steps involved in each project. We did them outside, I also need to mention that my son hates being outside, especially when it's hot out (he inherited that from me, I was a bookworm who easily preferred a rainy day at age 4). I thought we could have one of those fun 'creative fun earthy momma' kind of afternoons, with plenty of laughs, paint and sidewalk chalk along with lots of happy summer memories. There is a plethora of amazing mom/craft/magical childhood experience blogs out there which I don't recommend anyone visit, unless they want to feel like a big huge failure.

Bubs was psyched for his afternoon of craftiness, but he wasn't prepared for my gestapo type tactics. In all fairness to me, he is a giant scutch (I don't know how to spell that word) and when I was trying to explain to him how to do this project, he just picked up a sharpie and started making random dots all over his shirt. When I nicely tried to explain that he had to wait for me to show him what to do, all hell broke loose. So after some major hemming and hawing and at least 15 minutes of crying we went inside for a breather. I was really disappointed that our happy summer memories seemed to be morphing into mommie dearest art project time.

Thankfully though, after our meltdown and subsequent recovery time, we started over, and came out and actually had fun. I am also very thankful that camp starts tomorrow. It's just a little three hour YMCA program three times a week, but I think we are both going to enjoy the time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The space between

We have been out of school for 3 weeks. I kind of knew it was going to be a huge adjustment for me and bubs, probably more for me at this point. It was a highly structured program and they kept data on everything. They had a clip board on it with all the slightly quirky/annoying things my son did and they would make slash marks each time he did one. That kind of crap made the leaving easier.
Entering the 'secular' world (for lack of a better word) has been somewhat eye opening and stressful (gee, what a surprise) for me and I think it's been a little confusing for bubs. I think if you were to describe bubs' place on the spectrum at the present moment, it would be 'falls under the radar- most of the time'. First off, I need to say that him falling off the radar is not a value judgement on my part. At our home and with our friends, there just isn't a radar to speak of. It's free and easy, flapping is optional. It's more about trying to find our place in this world, in this 'do I tell or do I not tell' kind of world. I usually don't tell because I feel like bubs has a right to his privacy (although I guess I shot that wad when I plastered his pictures all over the internet, right?) or maybe it's just that I don't think it should be an issue, I think people should accept people for who they are and not need some kind of label in order to be compassionate. Needless to say, it's a loaded issue for me. I respect any autism momma's choice in how to handle the issue. I am still finding my way here.

I have seen over the last few weeks some moments here and there where it's just not that easy for my son to keep it together. I have one child on the spectrum, I do not know what is typical for a child of five. I think sometimes I am harder on him than I should be, then other times I worry that I am making excuses for him. Does that make any kind of sense?
We were at a birthday party yesterday (A fabulous birthday party by the way at a cool jump house). I followed the boy around like one of those annoying helicopter moms you want to pinch at the park (at least I want to pinch them). Basically I want to make sure he isn't giving someone his world famous love taps (I think it's sensory seeking, and I usually am the one receiving them) and that everyone is sharing and communicating. I guess I was meddling. I just didn't want my son to make anyone cry or for anyone to make him cry. I know in my tired brain that you need to let the little stinkers handle it on their own. But I think for my bubs, he still needs some help in that department.
At any rate, at one point, bubs went up the huge bouncy slide but he went in front of a child at the top of the slide when he slid down-ignoring the one child at a time ride, and probably some kind of 'cutting the line' infraction. Honestly, I don't' think he knew what he did was wrong, it was impulsive. Not a big deal. I saw when he got down that the guy running the thing was reprimanding him. Not in a mean way, nothing bad-he was just reiterating the rules. I was going to intervene, and it occurred to me that I can't hold him up to these standards all the time, and not expect him to be treated like a 'typical' kid. It's really what I want for him. For the record, he got embarrased and never went back on the slide. It's probable that he does know way more than I give him credit for.
My friend Mary, who is my voice of reason amidst this chaos, told me that I might be holding him up to impossible standards. I don't see the forest for the trees when it comes to other kids. I intensely focus with razor sharp clarity on my own little being. She said typical five year olds can be like wild banshees, especially at a bouncey house. It's tough, we have spent the last few years working on behaviors, on my boy like white on rice. I know it's time to let him fly, and perhaps shed a few tears in the process.

I think my biggest fear is that I am making my child nuts. Hopefully one day he'll be able to work it all out with a good therapist.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Spelunking anyone?

If anyone would have told me ten years ago, that my idea of a fun time would be 150 feet underground searching for bats and newts, I would have said you were smoking crack. To be honest, it's still not in my top ten, but now that I live vicariously through my son, it wasn't as bad as I thought.
We had a wonderful time on our vacay. It was a little rainy, hence the visit to Indian Echo Caverns. I was really worried how bubs would be, it was a lot of walking and a forty five minute, half mile tour given by an old man who told us we were not allowed to touch the rooms of the cave because our greasy hands would ruin it. So yeah, I was really thrilled that we made it through the whole thing without hearing my sons screams echoing through the entire cave. That might have been the exciting part for me. It was kinda cool though, literally and figuratively. It is 54 degrees inside there year round. Apparently the Native Americans used it to store their food and to take a break from the extreme temps, and they have evidence of a recluse who lived (and died there). But enough about the cave.
It was really great to be together as a family. My husband and I never seem to be parents at the same time, and I realized over the course of those few days just how separate we had become. I also noticed that my son can really try to work us both over. He was relentless at times. I blame some of it on the lack of routine and the crazy hours. He was tough though and it was nice that my husband and I could deal with it together. Even better was the fact that we were able to have good times together. The cave was definitely an experience for us, and it was really nice. After the cave we went to the Wilbur Chocolate factory, which was probably my favorite place of the day.
We stayed two nights and we were sorry we didn't stay a third. I didn't get enough Amish love. I realized how excited I get every time I see them in their little buggies. Just driving around on the winding corn filled roads, it was a thrill to see the purple and black clothes hanging on the line drying, and we even got to see a bunch of kids playing volleyball. Why does it thrill me so? At any rate, I didn't get my share of souvenir shopping, although I did get quite a bit of chocolate. We decided to make it a yearly thing and stay at the same place every year.

I felt really bad that I could not send out a package of goodies to everyone. I promise that I will have more giveaways. It is fun! My birthday is August 9th and once bubs starts camp in a week, I will be able to carve out some more time with my sewing machine.

Marla-I sent the package out on Friday, it should be there by the middle of the week!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It's that time...

We have a winner!!!! We have a winner!!!

I think I am clicky, send me an email Marla!

Thank you all for your comments, I truly appreciate your coming here and reading my rants! Stay tuned for more giveaways in the month of August as it is my birthday and I will be in the mood to party!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The gifts of summer - and a belated 100th post giveaway extravaganza

I am always amazed when I can grow something, be it plant, mold or child. Amazed! These little beauties are plucked right from my beautiful raspberry patch (that sounds better than bush, don't you think?). Heavenly!

I think it's time to put the crapola aside and enjoy a little summer. We were supposed to be on vacation right now, but bubs got sick on Sunday night (old man coxsackie knocked upon our door). I called the resort where we were going (in Pennsylvania) and they were kind enough to let me reschedule for this Thursday, so we did not lose our deposit, or our much needed family time. Bubs is feelin better, knock on wood, he is going on a little mini overnighter trip with his dad to the north fork of long island tomorrow night, and then Thursday we will be off. I even borrowed my parents gps thingie so I will be able to find a Panera bread there (just kidding about that, it's so my husband doesn't get angry when he misses his exit on the Pennsylvania turnpike). I cannot wait for some Amish love! Apple butter anyone?

I also want to celebrate my 100th post, about six posts later. I really wanted to do a giveaway for my wonderful bloggy friends. Apparently this is the way they do it on the craft blogs, and I have been reading them like crazy lately! So here it goes, if you want to win this box of goodness which includes; a raspberry zippy pouch for you to store all of your summer lip glosses, a tissue cozy in my summertime scoops pattern (reminds me of ice cream), my all time new favorite clothespin holder to make drying your clothes on the line even sweeter, and a couple of little raspberry button magnets- all you have to do is leave me a comment. I know there are a few lurkers here so please don't be shy. I will check back on Monday and pick a winner!!! Have a wonderful fourth of July!!!!!

Click on the picture for a better view