Saturday, September 13, 2008

If you love something set it free...

My husband found a caterpillar on a plant at work a week or so ago. He thought bubs would really enjoy seeing it, so he got a coffee can, some leaves and poked some holes in the lid and stuck it in his car. By the time he got it home it had turned into a chrysalis. So we moved it into a mason jar, and vented the top. Bubs was beside himself with joy. He had to call up everyone and tell them about it. I did some Internet searching and determined that it was indeed a butterfly and not a moth. Do you know how to tell the difference? FYI a moth spins a cocoon out of silk like thread. This cocoon looked more like a leaf, it was green and of course we talked all about camouflage. I felt like a homeschooler.

So we kept the thing on the shelf. High enough so that it was out of danger from bubs' not so gentle touch. It has been kind of damp around here lately and mold kind of grew all over the leaves. This was shaping up to be quite the science experiment. I was kind of expecting this to not be a positive experience. Our catfish died in the tank the other day, so we were fresh off of a strange kind of explanation/conversation about death. That's a subject that has me stumped. Considering religion isn't something we haven't embraced and we haven't even begun to to discuss the concepts of heaven and afterlife (which quite frankly was not anything I'd ever thought I would have to explain for some odd reason) it really became the lamest teachable moment I have encountered (so far) . But I veer off course here.

Friday when I got out of the shower, I just had a feeling that I should go and check out our jar. Lo and behold I see a beautiful monarch butterfly right here in a jar in my living room. I was humbled. I put it on the table. Then I started to worry. Would the mold kill it before bubs and my husband got home? Would it get claustrophobic and do grievous bodily harm to itself trying to escape confinement? Would the noise from the vacuum hurt it's ears? Do butterflies even have ears?

I called my husband who was thankfully on his way home so I wouldn't have to deal with this kind of pressure on my own. Bubs got home a few minutes before. He was so thrilled to see his butterfly. Thrilled. A thrill that was short lived till we told him we were going to set it free. He started to protest, the bottom lip started to quiver and the tears of real true sadness came pouring down. It broke my heart. My husband who wanted to film the release for posterity caught the sadness on video for us. It was quite the scene.

The went into the backyard. My husband had the jar and the camcorder. Bubs was screaming. They found a stick and opened the jar. It was like those wildlife shows where an animal is raised in captivity and finally let go into the wild. They don't want to go at first. This butterfly planted itself firmly on a stick that my son held tightly in his little fist. He stayed there for quite some time, either in some kind of crazy attempt to console my son, or torture him. Again, all filmed. The thing finally flew off the stick and flew around the backyard for a while. Bubs was inconsolable.

I was going to purchase one of those store bought butterfly hatching kits. I think I have changed my mind.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Today kind of snuck up on me. I knew it was coming. I saw it on the calendar. For some reason it still hit me like a ton of bricks. I was listening to the radio this morning and they were playing people's requests all morning. They played songs like Marvin Gaye's, 'What's going on?' and Elvis Costello's, 'What's so funny bout peace love and understanding', and things like that. I was overcome with emotion. Probably more so than that day. That day I was numb.

I am sure everyone has their moment. Where they were, what they were doing. It's like this generation's Kennedy Assassination, in the sense that time is frozen in that moment forever. I was teaching. It was second period. The attendance woman came in to collect the folder and said that she hear a plane attacked the World Trade Center. My immediate thought was that it was a small aircraft, one of those crop duster things. One of my students went into the hallway to look. I taught in a school on the border of Queens, very close to Kennedy Airport. You could see the towers from the school. He came back and reported that he saw a lot of black smoke in the sky and that the building was very clearly on fire.

I taught computer graphics, so we had computers in the room. I also have to say that I taught high school students. Had it been elementary students, none of this would have been discussed at this point. So we went on the Internet for more info. Internet was down. That was my first clue that this was bigger than a Cessna. We did our best to keep calm, and to comfort each other. Later on that week I told them all that we would forever be cemented in our memories. I told them that when they were older, retelling their story to whomever, they would talk about being in Miss C's Media Arts Class when it happened. The bell rang and we were all off and running.

I had a prep period so I went in search of a t.v. I found one in the gym teacher's office. Crowded around the set with a group of my co workers we watched it all unfold. It was just too horrible to watch, yet we watched it. I really thought the world was ending. And if the world was ending, that place was the LAST place I wanted to be. I wanted to be home. I wanted to be with my husband (who wasn't my husband yet).

The phones were down so we couldn't even talk to our loved ones. Then we heard the fighter jets overhead. I didn't know whether to feel safer or more terrified. We had to go on with our day and try and maintain a sense of calm. Those were the orders from administration. It was just too hard to pretend that it was all OK, and I think the kids new that, but they did not want or need to see their teachers freaking out. We all did the best we could that day. Unfortunately every time the bell rang, the students walked in the hallway and could plainly see the black cloud of smoke that would linger for months after that day.

My husband was on a job interview. Can you believe they still went on with it? I think it was at like 9:30 in the morning, in the height of all the mayhem. He didn't' take that job. He had my car so if I wanted to leave I couldn't. We listened to am radio the whole day trying to get information. Of course there really wasn't much at that point. I really hate am radio. I think the frequency does something to my insides, and especially on that day, it was awful.

I finally got to go home and while it was the end of a horrible day, it certainly wasn't the end. The smoke lasted forever. The supermarkets had pictures up of people still missing. I also think it was the birth of CNN overdrive with all the bands of words moving across the bottom of the screen, information overload. It was 24/7 Osama Bin Laden. American Flags. Hatred of anyone wearing a turban. Insanity.

My husband went to work cleaning up the area around Battery Park. His friend had a restoration company and he took a temporary job with them. He saw lots of destruction. He also came back with bronchial asthma. For quite a long time after bubs was dx with pdd-nos, I often blame the toxic mess he inhaled on a daily basis.

I was totally numb that day, and I think as each year passes, it seems to hurt me more. I wasn't a mom when it happened. Being a mother really changes the way you see things.

I have the tv on. For the 6th year in a row, I am listening to them read the names of the people that perished. I am so thankful for all that I have. I am so sad for the people that lost their loved ones. I am also very sad for us as a species today.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hell has frozen over

I am now a soccer mom. Yup. We are digging out the folding lawn chairs with the beverage cups in them.
I was watching bubs last week at a family picnic. He was kicking a ball around and running at the same time. I thought to myself, 'wow, he's really got that down.... we should sign him up for soccer...' Lo and behold in the backpack on Friday there was a notice about a CYO micro soccer league on Saturday mornings at our neighborhood elementary. So I discussed with my husband.
He takes things very seriously. So I am kind of afraid that if my son doesn't like it, this could be a fiasco. Like he blew a gasket when I told him that we couldn't make the first game because bubs has a birthday party to go to. Seriously. So I am kind of apprehensive that if it doesn't go well, between bubs and my husband, I might have the life sucked out of me. But I'll do anything for bubs, even suffer the wrath of my intense husband.

We went and signed up. Bubs was more interested in the dragonfly that he saw buzzing around. Not a good sign. But he liked the outfit. They tried to entice me into coaching. Please, I am not qualified to even teach five year olds soccer. Hopefully that is not indicative of what kind of person will be coaching bubs' team. I didn't' say anything about bubs. It's sensitive information not to be shared with just anyone. I need to see how it pans out. Bubs shadow this summer told me just to sign him up for stuff and he will be fine. As a teacher and as a parent, I am not sure how to handle this. But seeing how this is just kids running around chasing a ball, I think we might be OK. I'll play it by ear.

So I took bubs to get cleats and shin guards and a ball yesterday. He did NOT want to go. He told me he was scared of cleats. I think he was just yanking my chain because he didn't feel like going shoe shopping. I am just not sure if he will wear those shin guards. They looked uncomfortable to me and I am not wearing them. They go on under the socks, which are gigantic. I am now getting ahead of myself here with worry. We are operating under many stressors here-sensory objections to uniform, objections to just being told what to do, intense pressure from spouse,attending and behavioral issues, over stimulation..... ahhhhh, somebody stop me.......

So I am a soccer mom. A neurotic soccer mom.

edited to add: I look JUST like that picture by the way.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Freaky Friday

click on the picture for all the deets

I was looking through one of my farty housewife magazines (I think it was Women's Day) and I came upon this ad. Usually you see them for things like the m & m candies babies, or the little cute dolls that you can hold in your hand (and I don't mean cute in a good way). You know them, they could be yours for 3 easy payments of $24.95. I usually just glance at them and think about what kind of person might want one of those. An adult I mean. I imagine a house filled with creepy dolls and lots of ruffles on the couch and windows. Some E'au de Mothball.Someone I probably wouldn't hang out with. Don't get me wrong I like dolls, but the lifelike ones totally creep me out. My husband told me a story about how someone had one of them in their car and the cops shattered the window to try and rescue the baby in the car.
OK, back to Umi. I came upon this picture and I have to say, it really jumped out at me. I mean who is the target audience for this? Is it for an animal lover? I don't think so. It's not for a child because even though it's made out 'lifelike silicone', it's way too delicate and chokable. A Paris Hilton wannabee? Who is going to want a lifelike monkey doll dressed in baby clothes with a bow in it's fur? Oh and it comes with a free pacifier. This kind of crazy doesn't come cheap though , it's only five monthly payments of $27.95, which if you do the math, comes to a whopping $139.95 It moved me though, I have to admit. Enough to show it to my husband (I told him I wanted it for Christmas) and enough to take a picture of it, download it into my computer and share it with you.

In a totally unrelated note, my son did well yesterday. He didn't want to talk about it to much but from the snippets I got out of him, someone named Andrew wasn't being a good listener. He got to go to music class and play with the instruments, and he sat with a girl from his class on the bus ride home and her name was Hannah Montana. This morning when he asked me what he was doing today, I told him he was going to kindergarten again. He said 'but I already went there already'. Apparently once was enough for him, although he seemed to forget that when the bus pulled up. He skipped happily down the driveway and onto the bus. Thank you God.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Swimming with the sharks

This morning at 8:24 am the bus came and picked up my son to take him to the big bad world of elementary school. You know it should be easier for me to deal with seeing as how he's been going on a bus to school for the last 2 years. Should be, but it wasn't.

I remember back when we started all the home therapy. I just couldn't imagine this day. I didn't know where he would be. I just could not picture it. It's almost surreal that it is here now. Simultaneously a blink of an eye and a million years ago if that is entirely possible. It was hard enough sending my 3 year old on a bus to go to school all day, but at least I knew exactly what he was doing for most of the day. We had the little black and white communication book. I know I have one of those now, but it's not quite the intimate portal into my son's day that I am used to. I think it's kind of a vague thing that I'll be lucky to get a morsel of info at the end of the week. I know that it's supposed to be that way, what we had wasn't typical. There's the thing. I am not used to typical. I am scared of typical. Terrified to my core.Whew, that feels weird to admit.

My big fears for today are: did he eat his lunch, did he listen to his teacher, did he keep all of his clothes on when he went to the bathroom, was anyone mean to him.

He'll be home in around 20 minutes. Hopefully my sanity will preserve itself till then. I can't wait to see him.