disclaimer or something

A mummy-hand holding, (former) biker gang affiliating, hippie influenced semi crunchy granola mom's ramblings and reminisings on an off-kilter life

Friday, November 7, 2014

the living puzzle

My child is a living puzzle. His speech and language pathologist (slp) says he is like swiss cheese, with lots of holes. This week made it very apparent.

He can barely compose a sentence, comprehend someone, or survive an hour without a meltdown tantrum. And yet, he can write most of his name and draw people, a skill a year ahead of his age. He even labeled his drawing, with specific letters of people in the family. Wow kid, you blow me away.

But then.....he had a speech and language asssessment that nearly left me in tears. He could not follow the simple directions. He could not answer "what is your name". Sure, when asked, "say one" he counted to twenty (another super skill set of his) but then when she said, "say dog" he mimicked, "say dog". She pointed at another picture, "boy" and he stared blankly. She had never had a child his age who needed her to say "say", every single time. He lacks most verbs. He cannot finish a sentence (such as, the teacher shows a boy putting the ball under the table and says, "the boy" , he is to say "puts ball under a table" or something like that. He just stared. She repeated "the boy" and he would mimic her, or point to something unrelated, "like this one.") Sure, he can make the correct sounds; in fact, he is a bit ahead with his flawless Js, Shs and Chs sounds. But he cannot quite.....have a simple conversation. Sure his speech has grown leaps and bounds (he never would mimic before, and just yesterday he learned grocery, take, lettuce) but yet he seems leaps and bounds behind.
My snuń£gle-buddy children


Add in this....je ne sais quois of his and man. He is a puzzle. He tells anyone who is crying, "it's ok" and brings them toys, and yet he pinches and hits everyone.  He is not fully potty trained, but can remember certain things as if he has a photographic memory. He has epic meltdowns and yet he seems to be the popular kid.

Sometimes, I look at my one year old and think, oh no....someday soon, you will surpass your big brother...how will I deal with that?

This new SLP only treats kids with speech/language issues, nothing else. She even sees that there is a je ne sais quois with him and that that will likely mean he cannot get speech therapy (drats) but she is willing to bend the rules and give him a try.


Meanwhile, my school district is in violation, over 50 students are awaiting special ed assessments (I am number 51!). It has been 2 years since I noticed my son was a bit different and all I have gotten is a speech assessment, NOTHING ELSE. And not for lack of trying. But I am determined to get him the help he legally needs.

I fear him growing up, being one of the "slow kids", feeling bad about himself. This fear makes me like a deer in headlights. But I know no matter what, I will figjt to the death to get him help (even if it seems like he might be in high school before he gets any help) and that no matter what, he is my special little puzzle guy. Somehow it will all work out, even if it seems I am stumbling backwards, cursing everyone to get their shit together and give a damn. This mama bear is about to roar and protect her baby cub!

A labeled drawing of the family



Friday, October 10, 2014

no interest in pinterest

I kept hearing about Pinterest and decided to finally pay it a visit. I revelled in horror upon seeing it and vowed to never be a Pinterest mom. I just couldn't spend two hours and twenty bucks to make a sensory table that my kids would destroy in one minute flat, leaving me with sand and rice grains in strange places for the next decade. I just could not make sense of color coordinated popsicle stick snowmen bathroom candle votives or whatever. C'mon people, is this "home maker" thing a competition? Screw that! So what if I only sent a dozen pre-made 99 Cent Store cards to pre-school when all others sent handmade sparkly finger puppet cards with attached lollipop cupid's arrows or whatever. I didn't need to create and micromanage every childhood experience according to some website. I did not need to post my crafts on tumblr and instagram for the entire world to see how awesome of a homemaker I was.

And then....as my boys discussed penises and farts while my mom told me she was a non-traditional mother, after my grandma could not even comprehend why I had a (somewhat) clean house and planned dinner in the making....I logged onto Pinterest and made a quick pumpkin craft.

I can never get my spit together to be a mom who makes 3 exotic, never from a box, meals a day, who has a daily schedule with craft time and learning time, a seasonally hand crafted and decorated home mirroring Good Housekeeping meets Architectural Digest. Aint gonna happen.

But my kids deserve something. I won't have to send my kids to other's homes to experience a real Thanksgiving or Easter. They will see fireworks every July, and help put cheesy themed clingies on the window and help make a Holiday centerpiece. We will attend church and social functions, hang Christmas lights,  have 3 meals a day (boxed mac and cheese counts, right?). We will do a craft or Pinterest activity a week, and my home will attempt to look more clean than, say, a Hoarders episode. I won't let addiction take me over, and will do my damndest to not let depression make me into an empty shell of a mother.

 I will flounder and fail and rise again. I will never be like my best friend, a mother I dream to be. I will never quite grasp mother/home maker one-upping, and Pinterest still makes me feel like pile of crap because I don't make bunny-shaped organic cauliflower buns or whatever and...sigh...we do sometimes eat crappy fast food and leave the television on too long, the antithesis of Pinterest. I am a product of generations of neglect, and have to dig down deep and learn everything new, but it will show. And my no-sew pumpkins and soon-to-be-cooked bratwurst and kraut dinner will be proof that I am trying. I am trying to battle the Pinterest vs neglect demons and come out on top.

Friday, October 3, 2014

this is why i don't do disaster recovery

My paternal grandma, Nanny, is a sweet 94 year old British lady who still serves tea at four o'clock. Except not today. We went to visit her today and she sat in her chair, frail and papery, her eyes milky and dull. She stuttered out a scratchy mumble of words that sounded like a raven's caw and sandpaper. She clawed for a tissue and clutched her stomach with as much poise as could be mustered. "I am a bit nauseous, I don't feel well" she rattled. My uncle grabbed her a pan (in case she needed to vomit) and she clutched it and shook her head, sighing. She had not eaten all day and refused to let more than water grace her lips, a small and mostly full glass sat next to her as it had all morning.

My mom started to tear up, offering a warm beer to my Uncle (a former alcoholic). He declined and she silently served up some rice to my son. Nanny refused the rice, her hand shook and she had to make an effort to say, "I love you but no food" to my mother.

My mom pulled me aside, not a religious one (unlike my staunch Catholic nanny) and mumbled something about me telling her the angels were here for her. I blew it off as too morbid, but as my uncle was finally able to convince her to go take a nap, and she could not even get to standing, I knew it could be the last time I would see her. A certain urgency and silence hung in the air. Shit, I have never seen anyone close to death before. Especially not this close. mother.

My grandpa decided right then to call the doctor, but at 96 he is a bit senile and quite deaf. He was getting nowhere. I wanted to help, but had two small children to chase after in a home full of glass figurines, family too distraught to watch them. My cousin's wife stepped in, and I guided her through things since my Nanny and I go to the same hospital. As usual, they did not have any appointments for the next month and wanted to funnel a dying woman through the hours-long urgent care process. I helped demand a PA or RN, and they magically found an appointment tomorrow morning, praise God. If there is a tomorrow morning. I helped provide medication informations and birthdates and breathed a sigh of relief. mother.

Nanny was finally convinced she needed rest, after grabbing frantically at her shirt and trying desperately to say something but uttering only a breathy rattle. mother.

Shit. She was going to bed. I had to say my gooodbyes, but you know, without saying goodbye, here come the angels, and all that. I grabbed her hand, feather light and neither hot or cold...unreal, really, and held it. "Remember I got you a cross from the Vatican?" And she weakly fidgeted where a necklace would be. Crap. How is this a help? "Well, we go to church now. The boys, too. They know Jesus." Crap. Where am I going with this? How is this helping? How is this closure? "I am praying for your health. Angels." I pause. Shit. My mom kept mentioning them in my ear and here I had had verbal angel diarrhea. I sent a quick prayer to God, silently in my head. Then I worried because I thought a curse word and thought angels were a dumb thing to say. Was that blasphemy? I trudged on. "Jesus's warmth is hugging you. Umm..because...I pray for you to feel better. The angels...umm...my kids have them. We all have angels. And Jesus." I am sweating. My nanny smiles and I wonder if she can even hear or understand what I am saying, especially cause my verbal diarrhea is confusing even me, and I am feeling guilty about associating angels with diarrhea. Then I think about how angel diarrrhea would be like diamonds or something and shit! Last words to your nanny! C'mon! Wait is she smiling because I am making a complete idiot of myself? mother.

I dug a whole and have to gracefully pull myself out. "Right, Josh?" I say, pulling at my toddler. "You like baby Jesus right? Baby Jesus?" And my uncle interrupts me and gently takes her hand. "Let us take you to bed" he says, and I stand and move to the side, secretly letting a tear slide down my cheek. mother.

This is why I don't do disaster recovery. I suck under pressure and death is far too foreign to me. mother.

postscript, as of early Friday morning upon finishing this post, she has been admitted to the emergency room, no further details. I hope that whenever she passes, be it today or years from now, that she goes without pain, only peace and a smile on her face. I wish I had got to know her better, we really only developed a bond in the past few years, as some senility set in, so I never really got to know her. But at least I knew her and know her and love her.

Monday, September 22, 2014

breaking the law sippy cup edition

All before my first kiss, period, school dance...all before middle school, I had done the following (to become their own blog posts someday)... 1. Got married. To my cousin. 2. Drank alcohol and skinny dipped (and learned a lesson about peeing in the woods) 3. Told a lady to take her top off 4. Dropped the f*** bomb. Bad words? Huh? 5. Used power tools and weapons. Unsupervised. 6. Gambled. And won money! 7. Lost friends due to use of explosives. Legally of course. 8. Got high. 9. Totalled a golf cart because I shouldn't be trusted with things that move. 10. I ran from the cops. They ended up at my home anyways and my parents were surprised they wanted me. 11. I was the schoolyard bully. I might fit in girl's size/age 8 clothes but my puny 12 year old self struck fear in the eyes of boys. Yes, boys.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

the first years are the formative years

I often hear about "early intervention" for special needs kids, and how the early years are formative. As a teacher, I know the importance of early intervention and would kind of silently judge parents who ignored such advice, that is, until I joined their ranks in a way.

I have a son with many small issues, "holes" in his growth and development, as his speech teacher says. And since every mom is her own worst critic, I blame myself for it all. Man...I gave him his vaccinations without questioning? He drank some formula! He eats foods with Red #40! I coddled him too much! TV is rotting his brain! Crap, I forgot to read him a book for an entire week! I yelled at him when he pinched me!

But then, other times, I know who to blame. Times like today make the blame very evident. The System. The System is to blame.

At age one and a half, I knew something was up. The numerous infections, near non existant appetite, head banging, lack of words or signs, the clingyness... so I asked around and everyone said, call the regional center, they are the only ones who can help. So I did. I spent my entire prep period calling different numbers at the center, trying to get a human, leaving voice mails and emails, pleading for direction. One number even said something like, we are over burdened so expect us to get back to you in a few months. In. A. Few. Months. I was pissed. I waited and waited, 5 months, until I got an email, saying they were returning my email so hey call this number (the same few month wait number). I hesitated, for obvious reason.

Meanwhile, my mother found out about a program at the school down the street. I went the very next day, and the next and the next, until I found someone who could help. My son attended a speech class there, and then was told he was too young, and would need to go to the regional center. I refused to take that for an answer, so I did my research and found out he did qualify at the school. So I waited two months for an IEP. Or whatever they call it at his age.

By then, he qualified for the school service and attended two classes until heeeeey it is almost summer and so um..class is cancelled till late September. Again, I was quite mad. I found out they offer in home services and demanded them.

The services didnt target anything specific. It was just a very nice lady who did developmental games like puzzles. I dont think it helped him one bit, but I didnt want to lose whatever services I could get. Summer vacation breaks meant my son was maybe seen 6 times. But luckily the services continued into the school year (occasionally) since he did not qualify for classes or targeted assistance because the school kept changing things.

I looked into private therapy, but it was an hour away and took 3 months to get the consultation authorized. I had a special needs toddler and a newborn, so I was not thrilled about an hour drive. I, meanwhile, looked into seeing a new ENT (maybe one who did more than flash a light in my son's ear and suggest a third operation after two that did no good), and a chiropractor to fill the "what the hell, cant hurt him" quota.

I found, after a few weeks, I had to go out of network for the ENT, and gladly searched for THE most perfect ENT and found him. I called my son's doctor, processed some forms, same with insurance, and the doctor, called back insurance and.....oh...we don't accept that ENT. Here is a list of who to try. So I pick choice number two and....yep you guessed ot, same rigamarole, same result. After they said both doctors qualified. Then insurance tells me they won't authorize any ENT except his current one, at which point mama bear came out. Growl. I got a supervisor who agreed to help and....guess what? She said oh I dont see a single ENT. In your entire state. (Of over 30 million people.
) I flip the f*ck out and magically she finds one doctor. I call and make the soonest appointment...5 months ahead.

Then that ENT says they cant take my insurance, except they tell me this the day of the appointment. I beg and plead and they say they will try and work it out.

Meanwhile, my son sees a chiropractor who does thirty seconds of massage twice a month and I think, this is hogwash, but I will do it anyways. Anything for my son. A few weeks in, I get a call that my insurance is denying services. I start to cry and.....a miracle happens. The receptionist whispers, ok....the chiropractor wants to help your son. Pay us in cash, your co pay you once had, shh..... so...I do. And by God, it seems his infections disappeared. Total miracle, and enough good news to keep me going, pursuing his other issues.

So I go to see the ENT right after his infections had cleared (murphy's law) and another little miracle. Or really, what should be standard practices. He checks my sons ears. And then, his nose! And throat!  And performs a basic speech and hearing test. He asks about teething, milestones, sleep patterns. Wow! An ENT that, well, does E, N, and T stuff! He notices my son has enlarged but not infected tonsils. I thank the doctor for such thorough work and sadlly bid adieu, since I am unable to afford his help again. I report to my son's regular ENT about the tonsils and am told, oh, we never did look in his throat because you had reported ear problems. I spurt out, ENT means more than just E! And she says, make an appt with the pediatrician to get a referral to me to have me look at the tonsils and notate this in his record. I hang up. And give up.

Meanwhile,we see an audiologist. Four times. The first says he has a 30db hearing loss and sends us for more testing. The second time, my son wont sit still or wear headphones so we dont get a result. Ditto for the third attempt. The fourth ends in....confusion, as he didnt respond to certain hertz or waves or something and showed some issues but yet its not of concern and his hearing is fine....you know...cause fine means not hearing stuff.

I get him an IEP for when he turns 3, in home services end at this point. Then his paperwork is lost so he doesnt get speech class for three months. Then, with two months of school left with school holidays, furlough, speech teacher days off....he goes to class twice. And then it is summer break.

I get a referral to a nutritionist and it was kind of insulting. My son eats only a handful of foods and barely eats those (four bites of sausage for an entire meal, and two spoons of cereal for snack, is worthy of bragging to relatives about). She shows me a food pyramid and some Obama healthy eating website and that is all. Like I am a total incompetent human being who hasnt a clue about food.

The school year has begun and we have had one speech class, luckily it actually seems kind of targeted!  I asked about screening for ASD and SPD which the district legally must offer through an OT. Except our district has denied legal services to 50 students; most in the preschool program. I call my favorite regional center and actually get a human who says, if he is over three, we only serve those with ASD or other severe, diagnoses disability (ie Downs Syndrome). Since I cant even get a diagnosis, he cant get services there.

So I call his doctor but our network doesnt have any  OTs or really any pediatric specialist of any sort. So I research and find a place two hours away and call them. I leave a voice mail, they return my call 2 weeks later but I miss it. I return their call (yay voice mail), twice, and it has been a week. I am still waiting.

 Meanwhile, I find out there are OTs closer to home but I get to do the same referral process I did with the ENT plus an initial rec letter from his speech therapist. Two weeks later, she pens the letter. Four days later, the pediatrician still has yet to recieve the fax because the number which two of their receptionists provided me to fax to, apparently doesnt exist. And our home fax machine is broken and no where in town has a fax. I have to haul my two kids down in 110 degree weather to hand deliver the letter, an hour away, or wait two weeks for the therapist to re-fax it because she is on vacation. Then, the pediatrician must authorize an out of network referral and they get to choose the OT. This can take months. They may not even authorize it. If they do, it may only be a consultation, not even an evaluation. The OT might have stupid hours and rules, like the therapist I tried to get who only worked M-Th, 8-1, no kids allowed. (My town lacks any infant care, and my husband cant take off work to watch the kiddos until 3pm or a Friday).

Yesterday, I thought about writing this but was depressed because my son is almost four and his speech is "maybe at 24 months" and he needs "major intervention". No sh*t. At least someone has recognized this, but I feel he would be more advanced or skilled had someone other thsn myself given a crap two years ago. It saddened me to hear his speech therapist breathe a sigh of relief that we wont start kindergarten for two years, because he is that "behind". It made me question what growth I have seen in him. It made me doubt myself.

So the whole early intervention spiel? It is crap.2 If you see a frazzled mom with a special needs kid and you think, man that kid needs therapy, special ed, etc, perhaps this mom is like me. Perhaps she wanted to help her child, asap, to the best of her ability. And perhaps she has been trying to get the help her child deserves, for two years and counting. So smile, offer to help in any way, praise her for her efforts, offer a shoulder to cry on (or lots of wine!) When the red tape and hoops become unbearable.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

small town living

I went to a homeopathic business, and the owner was not there but her co worker wanted to know how I had heard of their business. I explained her daughter and I are friends from high school, and also my son's chiropractor had recommended her business, and oh she also goes to my church and lives in my neighborhood. This reminded me of last week at church, when the AV team was out of sync because they had a fill-in helping out, none other than my son's chiropractor.
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Then I open my email and read the newsletter for the women's group I belong to. My mom's former co-worker, who built a home for my husband and I, who is also a school board member, is running for election again and speaking at the group luncheon, as is a friend of mine from high school who got the idea because he knew I had thought of running but didn't wish to run against my home builder. Was that one long, crappy, run-on sentence, or a foggy stream of conscious? Anyway....
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Then I run to the post office right before closing and someone is taking forever to mail a package and hey.....I know her! She is the mom of a good friend of mine's from high school. We go to their home for New Years. Her son, my friend, was also friends with my husband in college and at his first post college job. My husband and I had the same mutual good friend and yet it took us five years to meet each other. As my friend's mom leaves (and we briefly chat), the post master locks the door. I think, hmm, it is a few minutes until five, lady. Then she runs over and pounds on the window. Penny the hobo (who I have written about before, she offered to babysit) was outside trying to get naked. The postmaster decided locking in the fully dressed patrons while Penny hobbled away (she only has one leg) was best for all.
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Man...small town life is unique!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

time to cheer and jeer

I was glad summer vacation ended this week, because my preschooler cango back to getting speech services with the SLP (Speech-Language Pathologist). He had come so far since May! Sure he still was far from talking like every other three and a half year old, but he had a "language explosion", going from under 100 words to....a lot. Again, not what he should have, which is why he is still in speech, but a noticeable growth. Yippee!
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He has a new SLP, one who will actually give targeted instruction and homework (what a concept!) So I began our meeting all happy. And then.....
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Comments along the line of, "he speaks in garbled jargon" made me, well, feel defeated. I told the SLP that I understand most of his jargon. Sure, top-uh-hee-oo means "take me here" but hello, topuhheoo isn't jargon to me. Its words, dammit, he just can't pronounce for shit. So she says, "yes he really needs help pronouncing words. And he really needs focused language instruction and intervention". (No shit, I think, that's why we are here. But....but...yes he needs that but crap....you say it all seriously). Yep.she again focused on his need for INTENSIVE help. I felt elated and crushed all at once. Finally, after TWO YEARS of trying to get him help,someone realizes he,gasp, needshelp cause he isquite "behind"! Yay! And yet - boo hoo. I feel his recent growth is now an un-noticeable droo in the bucket, like...a needle in a huge haystack of "he's behind" hay. Like my recent praising of his growth was overdone and not....worth it.
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So then I bring up some other concerns his pediatrician, ENT,previous SLP, etc just brushed aside as "a stage" "what toddlers do". Again, I was left elated and defeated. The SLP listened and said,"whoa he really needs an OT (ocupational therapist). Finally someone realizes he needs MORE help!  But OMG he needs more help. It took over 6 months to let him see an ENT. It took 6 months (or...8?) To get him even evaluated for speech. Now he needs an OT? Must I wait till he is freaking in college before he sees an OT? I call his pediatrician (conveniently on vacation) and am told there aren't any OTs in the medical network so it will cost $45 to see one. And that the SLP must compose a letter stating his need (since he's new, this takes time so she can get to know my son). Then the pediatrician has to ok the letter and pass it on to the medical network. Then therty must ok it. Then insurance must ok it. Then the network chooses an OT for me. Being there was ONE entire ENT in all of freaking California, will I be referred to an OT in New Jersey?anyways, then the OT must ok it and tell the insurance. Then I can call and make an appointment, and due to a critical shortage of doctors and OTs, that can take 6 months.....if all the prereqs were met without trouble, otherwise I must start again from the very very beginning. Then! You know, when he gets his first visit in college.....it costs $45 a visit but they will probably be all, come twice a week!oh and sorry you can't bring your infant with you, just the 3 year old. Since my area is literally devoid of child care, I will find someone for $30 hour to care for my infant. But the OT is likely an hour or more drive away. So once I finally get help, its $45 plus gas ($15) plus babysitter ($90). $150 a visit. I WILL  anything to help my son but $150 each time is pretty damned crazy, right? Sigh.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Migraines

"OMG I have a migraine" said the Facebook status, or "yeah I'm not in the mood to chat on the phone, I have a migraine", she said. And I felt stabby. Migraine my ass.

 Ok, no two are exactly alike (so maybe the examples above were "real" migraine sufferers), but they're similar enough. And in my case, every migraine I've had is bad enough that I wouldn't pick up the phone or type a Facebook status. So I feel a little twinge of rage when people complain of having a migraine, because it's like, if it's a migraine like I get, you do everything to not do anything.

Usually, they start with an "aura", but the type of aura can vary. Sometimes, it's taste. Suddenly, foods taste "off", like plastic, or too bland, or like soil. Other times, it's vision. I don't get squiggles in my vision or hallucinations or even tunnel vision, but it's like the lighting isn't right.

Recently, I went through - nope- am still going through a fun filled migraine swarm. One had the visual aura. I was in church and it was like the light was too dim and the words too small. I struggled to read the Bible. And then as we prayed and I closed my eyes, all I could think was, yikes it is so so so bright! Ouch! so bright and my eyes are closed! Another had a new aura for me, temperature issues. I was freezing (it was 70 in the house, warm to me normally) and I put on a sweater. I took a bath in water so hot it was probably dangerous, but I still had goosebumps while soaking in the near-boiling water. I went to bed under a winter blanket. And then the next morning, it was still 70 degrees and I had ice cream for breakfast I was so hot.

But I don't always get the aura.

Once, the migraine just hit BAM like that. I was teaching a class full of children and had to run out, split second, without warning. That's illegal, you know, leaving children unattended like that, but I didn't have time to call for a substitute. I merely dashed out doors, grimacing in pain, and vomited like mad. I often vomit because the pain gets that bad. That specific migraine was the worst one I ever ever had. It hurt so much I cried but it hurt to cry. The pain was off-the-charts bad.

It's like labor (as in, giving birth). In your head.

I should know. I gave birth twice, and once, without any drugs or intervention or anything. It was...ouch. I remember when I was in triage and the nurse said, "oh I guess you really are in labor, 7cm dilation!" and I had a big contraction, I almost vomited and thought wow, this feels like a migraine in my uterus!

Anyways....Other ones are less painful, but still painful enough. Not cluster or sinus headache painful, nope, more painful, although I've had those headaches too and they suck. But migraines are worse.

I don't always get the aura, so I don't get any warning system. Sometimes, they strike at night and so I sleep through the easier parts and wake up miserable.

Just last night, I had a dream where I went to the ER with a migraine and they gave me some medication and released me. And then it came back and the new doctor came to see me in the waiting room and asked the other waiting patients, "who has had a migraine before?" and a few raised their hands. "ok then, whose migraine went away?" and the same hands went up. "Ok then, ma'am, your migraine will go away so....go home." I was livid because she hadn't treated me. And then, in real life, I woke up.

The room was dark except for the slit of light by the window which was razor-sharp and bright. MY mind felt like it was thinking twenty different thoughts, and full of white noise, kind of like when you  have a dangerously high fever. As if there were twenty different people mulling in your ear while a lawnmower buzzed and something hummed. My husband opened the door and it was as loud as a gunshot. I exhaled and focused myself...."advil. water. migraine." I feebly mumbled. I wasn't able to get out of bed on my own to get anything. I had found a comfy spot where the light was only flood-light bright. I closed my eyes and it felt like I was twisting in a circle to the right as everything else in my field of vision twisted left, except, since my eyes were closed, there was no field of vision. It felt like when you are nearly blackout drunk (yeah.....bad college memories) and everything spins, you think uh oh,  right before.....you remember nothing more.

The first advil allowed me the ability to walk to the restroom, although it was as much as a struggle as it was (here comes my labor analogy again) when I tried to walk to the restroom not ten minutes after giving birth. I felt like I was some elderly invalid in a walker, except, I lacked the walker. Suddenly, I knew what was going to happen. I leaned down over the toilet and heaved. Nothing. I drank some water and, as expected, vomited. A few times. My body shook in shivers and I tried to whimper in pain and exhaustion. I took another advil (this one stayed down) and sipped a few sips of coffee (caffeine supposedly can help migraines) and went back to lay in my comfy spot, when I realized, wait...is it....residing? Is my migraine over?

Except...rarely is the migraine truly over. After the labor-in-my-head, vice grips tightening, sirens wailing, ratchet is click click clicking (each click more painful) pain of the migraine comes the postdrome.

The postdrome is better than the migraine, yes. It doesn't hurt to touch things. The blanket on my toes doesn't feel like it weighs a thousand pounds and is made of broken glass. A nightlight isn't like a spot  light and a whisper isn't a scream. Thank God. But, sudden movement makes me dizzy and brings back the ratchet click click pain momentarily, along with that dizzy-weakness you get if you stand up too fast and your blood pressure goes wonky. Sudden changes in sound or light (someone turns on a light, the radio, whatever) does the same thing, but I can at least tolerate dim lights and quiet sounds. Heck, I can even tolerate normal level sounds and light if I ease my way into it, like a dimmer switch. With postdrome, I feel as dizzy as the worst hangover, as dizzy as when you spin in circles too many times. I feel exhausted (except I'm a weirdo who cannot nap if I tried. I can only nap if severely ill, like pleurisy or severe dysentery) so I kinda just lay there, lacking energy.

Postdrome also gives me mind fog. Not just the occasional brain fart but like....a dangerous brain fog. This most recent migraine of mine, my husband took away my car keys. No joke. He felt I would be a danger to myself and others if I tried to drive, and know what?  He's right. I don't think I'd pass the police drunk driving test. I have difficulty forming sentences or making decisions. It's aggravating cause I know I have a brain, a pretty smart one, but it's taken hostage by the postdrome.

So again for those posting "omg i have a migraine" on social media, maybe you do but I want to call bullshit. Sure, I posted "ugh migraine" today on Facebook so am I a hypocrite? Hardly....I posted it after the migraine, while stuck in postdrome. Maybe these folks also post after the fact/in postdrome or maybe in the aura stage. But don't bitch about the severe pain. Because if you can actually open your eyes (ouch, bright!), move your body (ouch, touch hurts), get to the computer/phone (whoa, dizzy), and compose a typed or spoken sentence about your pain (while your head is in the last moments of labor) then wow, you're Superman.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

no, I didn't eat those eggs you meticuously, lovingly made for me.

As my son has another screaming,, thrashing, banging things hour long tantrum....I feel...anxiety to say the least. A few days ago, I was filled with a similar anxiety but for the funkiest reason. Synasthesia. Some people cam smell colors or whqtever, which is what synasthesia "is", but aside from thinking "whoa, trippy", I wasn't 100% convinced it existed, but thought it would be neat to have. Wrong. I realized I have synasthesia but where emotions have a taste. No joke. So my husband lovingly prepared breakfast, scrambled organic eggs with slices of artisan salami and mozarella mixed in. How lovely and "umami" and gourmet right? What a nice husband! Well my lovely husand was disappointed when, an hour later, he came out to see my plate of eggs untouched. It so happens, synasthesia got in the way. I couodnt quite exlain it to him as he'd think I was nuts. But come to find out, anxiety tastes like eggs mixed with mozarella and salami. The second I took a bite, my whole being flooded with extreme anxiety. So, not "getting" it, I took another bite as my husband carried his plate to his office to eat and work. The anxiety increased. I paused, fed a bite to my kiddos, had a sip of coffee which washed away the taste. The eggs had a pleasant taste in a way, so I took a small experimental nibble and bam! The coffee had rinsed away my anxiety and the nibble of eggs brought it flooding back. I went to swish my mouth with mouthwash, scotch, chocolate milk, potato chips, all to try and overpower any hint of "anxiety eggs". And so I thought, hmm...this just has to be nuts. But I recall hating brocolli as a kid because it reminded me of being sick, so plain brocolli (as in, steamed and unadorned, how it was served to me as a kid, or, raw brocolli) still tastes like the feeling of being sick to me. So it must be synasthesia.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

blabbing

Sometimes I blab and blog just to...blog, really. I feel compelled to blab on about nothing so here goes!
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My 1 year old baby can walk!!! And the weirdest of all? So my 3 year old learned to walk at 13 months. He was creeping along the furniture and I thought hmm...I should film this, and...I film him creep and creep and holy crap he just walked two steps! So fast forward to my 12 month old. I'm rocking out to Matisyahu, while my 3 year old begs for "Queen song" (Bohemian Rhapsody his favorite song) and my 1 year old is bopping his head and hutt...omg so cute! I grab the camera, press record and...dammit! He stops dancing! But I keep filimg, trying to goad him into dancing. The song winds down and I go to click stop and....what a coincidence, he walks three steps. His first steps ever. On camera. Holy moly.
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So I was explaining the handicap symbol to my older son, who with potty traning, is obsessed with potty triangle. Quick diversion- potty triangle refers to me teaching him shapes. Oh look, on the bathroom door is a woman's dress oh wow it is a triangle! So...since triangles are his favorite shape, and he is far too excited...err..obsessed...with his ability to control his bladder, its all about the potty triangle. Shopping at Target? Mommy must take him as we walk in. Then daddy. About to walk out? Repeat! Walking towards the bookstore? Double the potty triangle! Anyways...so some "potty triangles" feature the handicap symbol which he inquired about. I explained it shows that the place is friends an good helpers with those who can't walk, hear, or see very well. So....fast forward to last week's grocery trip. We finish everything and wheel the cart...past the handicapped parking spaces. So he reaches past the cart, towards the parking spot and says out loud "sorry you're broken".
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Sorry you're broken. Freakin' awesome kid. He's my little empath.
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So as blogged previously, I almost ran for school board. I mentioned to the journalist how I hooe to get out in the community. Its true...I wqnt to! But I'm a socialization/clubs/social crap failure. So I am trying....trying...church. I like my church so far, I really do (yay me!) And I even joined a women's Bible study group this week. Ok...if you're a different religion or none at all, please don't shut your ears. I couldnt care less what you believe. Well ok I care in that "cool for you" way but I won't ever pressure you to believe in my way of things. Anyways...I will attened whenever my uber busy husband can wqtch the kiddos. Most people there were old. Just like with joining a local womens club of all blue hairs, I kinda stixk out except there are three "young'uns" but blue hairs are the majority. One lady is 79 ad I swear she looks 60 if that. No joke. I want her youthful secrets! And another, Evelyn, warmed up to me and is just the sweetest. I also went to a local pregnancy advocacy center and hope to voluneer except, no kids allowed. I can't find anyone but some ciggarette smoking lady (nuh uh) to watch my baby. Unless I want to pay $39 an hour for baby care while I volunteer for free. Sorry, no. When I can only find teqchin jobs for $9-19 an hour and it requires 6 years of college and you, a high school grad, want $30 an hour....f*** off. Anyways...my point (do I have one?) Is that I hooe to find a way to volunteer. The place has been on my mind for a year. I can't get them oit of my head. I may sound all..weirdo..but I'm being led to volunteer there. I can't explain it. My husband supports it but is kinda like wtf...but yeah. I don't even know how I will find time to volunteer or what I will do to help, but I will find out somehow, rigth?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

small town talk

Sometimes its good to live in a small town, but other times, because its so small, there is no anominity. So I was considering running for school board. A local women's organization to which I am a member, said whenever I run, they will support and help me. I contacted a current board member (who also built our home and taught alongside my mother...yep, total small town kinda story)  and realized it is his position up for election this year. Since we always seem to pass one another on the roads (always waving hello), meet in community forums, and chat on facebook...I was thinking, I do not want to run against him. Also, we have many similar ideas towards education. So he is an ally and asset.
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So I message him that I may not run. I don't wish to run against him since we share ideas. It seems counterproductive. And then the phone rings. The local mewspaper journalist has heard via facebook I am running. So I let her know I have rescinded, (actually I never began the process, merely spoke about it to the board member and a local women's organization) and explain I don't wish to run against this current board member because we have many similar ideas and I love his ideas and actions
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 She mmm-hmms in that way that said "whoa lady....you like the radical guy's idea? Hello
Journalistic goldmine, here's the crazy lady".  So I'm biting my nails, waiting for this week's newspaper because she may be a sensationalist journalist (who isn't?) But she does her homework. My comment will be overblown and ooit of context, painting me as wishy washy (she thought of running and then didn't...do you want her making decisions for your children?) And aligning with the "avant garde, outside of the box current board member...hmmm...what is their connection? Is there a scandal?" I'm waiting for every facebook post, public forum comment, heck maybe this blog, to suddenly be divulged to the entire town in permanent ink. Back will pop up the scandal when I ran for board once before and the post office, instead of holding our mail while we non-permanently lived out of district boundaries (primary home being w/in boundaries, legally) decided oooops to transfer our mail as "moved", without my knowledge, making me a law-breaking politician. Sigh. Sometimes a small town has its drawbacks and voila here it is. I hate when this happens...flashbacks to "want a good time call...(imsert my phone number)" was written on the bathroom stall in high school
 The panic of gossip and lack of privacy, my entire safety net being blown up and thrown around town for all to see. My heart is racing as I scrutinize my every past move. What is darkest comes to the light and even brays can be painted black to attract the eyes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

the eyes have it

All 45 pounds of me, skin and bones, awkwardly stood with a bat in my hands and tears fogging up my coke bottle glasses and staining my hand-me-down 1970s pioneer-style blouse, as time stood still. I'd had it. I was the scrawniest in all of second grade, had the ugliest clothes, thickest glasses, and worst sports skills on earth. I was a social outcast, having a breakdown in p.e. class. Again. I couldn't fix nature, but I had to fix my situation somehow, if I were to survive second grade.
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I strutted into the opthamologist's with a glimmer in my eye, a regular customer, the receptionist grabbed a sticker to pass to me at the blurry end of the appointment. I hopped into the sleek black chair and wiggled my chin onto the chin plate. I was ready for this. The lights dimmed and up ahead flashed an image. "You know the drill" said the doctor, and I took in a deep breath. I blinked, wiggled my toes, and knew it was now or never. "E" I exclaimed, as the doctor motioned to go on. "F. P." I said matter of factly. My mom's lips tightened and the doctor asked me to try, just try, the next line. In my head, I heard claps, cheers, tears of joy from my mother and an entire imaginary audience. I exhaled. "T. O. Z." The doctor's face rose up, in a smile I think. "The exercises are working! Fantastic! Do you see the next line." I nodded slowly and readjusted the chin piece. "L. P. E. D. And the next line, umm...." I blinked, squinted my right eye and flinched -wrong eye- and proceeded to squint the left, twice for good measure. "P. E. Ummm.... (dramatic pause) C? And F. And....oooh....no, not an O. Its....umm....looks like...a D maybe". And I sat back against the ciair, away from the black eye piece. "Yeah it was a D" I confirmed with my now uncovered good eye.

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I did it! I had fooled them! I had perfect vision! No more coke bottle glasses! I might even gain some grace and ability on the hall field, what with my new-found vision and all. I'd become the cool kid and finally stop all the taunting. I'd- "well it looks like perhaps some miracle happened as her vision is really improved in the bad eye. Maybe somthing went wrong. Why is her vision so good? Hmmm?" The doctor asked, eyeing me. "Well regardless, we need to still fit her for glasses. 20/60 is hardly perfect. So, dear, you do need new glasses and I'd like to test you eyes once more before ordering the lenses. We have a new computerized test. Its the newest thing. Very accurate. So, miss," he said, nodding towards my mother, "make an appointment asap for her. See you soon" he called to me, with a wink.
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I was devastated, my evil plan foiled. Sure, I had memorized half the vision chart to feign better vision, but even if my "miracle vision" were real, id still be a four-eyed freak. And now, they had a computer test, something guaranteed to never be outsmarted by an eight year old. Drats.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Red Sky at Morning, Sailors Take Warning

He was a charmer, a fast-talker with a magnetic personality and genuine twinkle in his eyes, with a mysterious, dark and brooding quality that felt like a secret whispered in the playground, a wrapped gift beneath the tree asking, what might lie inside.  Sure, he wasn't much of a looker (not displeasing, either), but everyone wanted to know him.

She was a sweet girl, a bit naive, swept off her feet in an instant, a simple but pretty girl whose gentle eyes, soft curves, suggestive posture brought him to his knees and invaded his every thought.

They knew little of one another but for their carnal yearnings, things they kept secret as they were the religious sort and Jesus was always watching. They married just weeks after meeting and she soon swelled with child.

*****

He became quicksilver, hot-tempered, then soft and sweet, like a wounded animal. The couple rarely spoke nowadays, she busy with a toddling infant and another on the way, he busy with work. It was ok, she told herself, he pays the bills, gives me my precious babies, and never hits. She curled her hair, splurged on short dresses and provocative heels in hopes to coax him back to the nest, just to sit at the lonely dining table and tell herself, it's good. A cherub faced baby, a man who brings home the bacon and goes to church on Sundays. She was happy, she told herself. She might not have what she wanted, but she had what she needed.

They kept their worlds separate, and he worked odd jobs here and there, nothing permanent but always a job to be had. A good pair of hands were always in need. Often he'd travel a day away, to his gloomy home city, a port city full of tenements and docks and always work to be done. His family engaged in schemes to eek out a meager living in the endless pursuit for more, as the darker parts of town took on any worker, no questions asked and none answered - those that kept in the shadows and worked mindlessly to the bone got paid.

He liked best the people of the shadows, real authentic people that patiently awaited his stories and promises, his charming tongue and wit were used as a precaution, protection, as needed.

The shadow people were always too sallow or swarthy, with awkward gaits, wild eyes, sickly yet determined countenance, yet forgettable enough to be forgotten, replaced. A sad lot from some other sadder shore, they'd be salves and servants if only someone took enough notice of them to even treat them as such. holed up in dirty tenements, they formed a strange camaraderie, loyal to the bone but suspicious and guarded, their bond as tight as steel but forgotten quickly as one left and another faceless industrial servant took his place.

His family had managed a monopoly of sorts, always laboring and managing extra cash with favors and odd jobs. They were clever enough to stay put in such a restless gypsy town, but dull and foreign enough to never make it out of the shadows. Their conniving ways made them a sort of royal family of paupers, a place of power among the powerless subcultures.

This very such life was ever present, and popped up in whispers often. One morning at sunrise, clouds pink elsewhere but grey and sooty among the docks, he and his brothers gathered beneath the damp, skeletal hulls of behemoth ships and cooked up a scheme with "someone so-and-so-knows", somewhere on a new shore, the land of opportunity. The chance and gamble of a lifetime, ripe with danger and riches, a sham job cloaking an underground network of opportunity. Besides, someone over there owed him a big favor, and he'd get it, and work using his strong hands and crafty mind in a boom town. They could become kings of a new city, with their own row house and car, the American Dream, as long as they managed the shadow world.


This prospect was life-changing, renewing, and filled him with excitement, His mind going at lightning speed, he drew up a plan to tell the wife. As the train wound through the country and approached the city, small farmhouses rising to large city building, so built his story until it was grand.

His chase of wealth, developed in the subterfuge of the shipyards, was genius. Dangerous, but genius. The brothers, kings of a new land. Sure, the mob was nothing to take lightly but he was an unsuspecting filthy Irishman, brought in to work the factories, someone the people choose to ignore and forget, so he was the perfect man for the job. He could persuade people to give the clothes off their back, and so adept as to escape the law, the perfect man to do their dirty work from thousands of miles away. But...it was factory work, a guaranteed job and home in a boom town, he'd tell his wife. With a fabricated uncle to sponsor them, he had it made.

She had to buy it. He'd won her over before.

Naivete is grand, and so he and his brothers sailed to the new land, with her permission, to get things settled. She waited by the window for a letter every day, and finally it came. The ticket aboard the Cunard Ship, this "uncle" sponsor in New York, and even some cash to buy a new outfit for her and the kids to wear for their journey.

They sailed over the cold Atlantic, landing in New York, with an address scribbled on butcher paper. A well-dressed wife and children, they disembarked with panic and wonder in their eyes. Never had they seen such a large city, never had they heard words like these, a hustle and bustle going on around them as they felt lost in a jungle. She kindly asked a police man for directions, and off they went.

The "Uncle" was a "long lost relative" a man in some nebulous entertainment business, something about professional boxing or comedy, she wasn't quite sure. His thick accent and fast talking made it all jumbled, thrashing around her head like the waves below the ship. He welcomed them into his home, a dark labyrinth of a place, a small apartment in a huge nest of apartment buildings starved for light. They felt hidden and secret here, and he left them alone for three days with only crackers and soup to eat. She wasn't sure how to get ahold of her husband, or this "Uncle", the family legal but like refugees, to be stowed away and forgotten. She cried as she held her children close for warmth, the loud strange noises of the city, the stench of trash and soot, and the feeling of despair were ever present.
(co.fastrackteaching.com)


Finally, the Uncle came back, with a telegram and envelope of money. They were to leave right then, aboard a train for a large city two days away. There, on Clover Street, would be her smiling husband, a nice white row house, and brand new Ford fresh off the line that her husband had supposedly hand-crafted. The sun shone over the city, bringing new light and hope, as they left for the final leg of their journey to the promised land.


But what is darkest always comes to the light.



The story continues..... http://disorderlywanderlustblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/everyone-knew.html

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

An awakening

I recently have gone through some sort of awakening, except its not some pretty sunrise type but more a "red sky in morning, sailors take warning" kind of awakening.

I have started to reflect back on my childhood, now that I'm a mother. Okay, I'm a little late to the party as I've been a mother for three years, but I'm just catching on.

There's always been something I couldn't put my finger on, that I barely detected as a child and that felt like bottled up rage as I entered motherhood three years ago. I couldn't label, categorize, or identify this uneasy pit in my stomach feeling, but come three years later- today- I can no longer ignore it.

I grew up with  "non-traditional" parents, who themselves are beginning an awakening to the fact they were exactly that- non-traditional.

I grew up in every semblance a normal girl in a normal family. I mean, my mom had her MA degree. We owned our home and cars, and we went to art museums and on yearly vacations. We'd been on two Caribbean cruises, I knew a smattering of French, and my family watched only PBS and CNN. Our spare time was filled with books, art, rock-hounding, and re-creations (as in Renaissance Fairs, Pioneer re-enactments, etc). I went to college. I had food on the table, a roof over my head, and clothing on my back.

Normal, right?

But under the seams, nearly undetectable even to me, were some worn, jagged, off-kilter threads.

My parents both came from families you don't hear about in Leave it to Beaver. Alcoholism, gangs, divorces, domestic violence, extreme poverty, homelessness, mental illness. So I must credit them for really, truly, doing their best in raising me. They went above and beyond.

But is that ever enough?

I, too, ended up experiencing the generational cycle of dysfunctional families. My dad didn't work, and never attended a school awards assembly, father-daughter dance, or other "normal" thing. Friends had to call to announce they were coming over, and couldn't knock on the door, so I had to go greet them a home away and bring them to the door. Someone once OD'ed in our yard during a party, I thought it was cool to help my dad explode gunpowder in the yard, in an attempt to show my friends how cool he and I were, which needless to say, drove me into the friendless zone... a zone my dad enjoyed, being an "Aspie".

The patterns of their childhood came to haunt them, and my parents separated for a while. My mom said she was in "survival mode" and didn't really take care of me. Before that, my dad admits he was too 'loaded" to really "be there" .My mom said it hit me pretty hard. I even ended up peeing myself. Apparently, I was a mess.

I wonder how these things, in my formative yet forgotten years, affect me now. I'm slowly trying to unravel this mystery.

I look at my own kids, wondering where I'm going wrong. But I feel so guilty, because I'm just beginning to realize how my own childhood had some damaging "wrongs", so I can't yet identify good from bad, right from wrong. I refuse to continue generational things handed to me, but I'm not even sure what baggage I might be carrying.

I don't want to damage my children.

I want to heal, forgive, and love, and pass on those skills to my children - without the baggage I am being crushed by.

I can do it. Somehow. Right?

Saturday, June 14, 2014

just be happy

Mental illness is an illness, but often it gets blown off or even ridiculed. Imagine if people with diabetes or heart disease were told to just get over it. And yet, people with mental illness are told this far too often.

I'm here to admit with some shame (although I should not feel ashamed) that I suffer from dysthymia, a version of depression. And I cannot tell you how many times people -good friends and family even- tell me to just get over it already. I've been told to just stop being so miserable, as if it is my choice. I even had someone close to me recently ask, "well, whatcha sad about? Nothing much? Then why are you depressed?" As if depression can only be triggered by a stressful or, well, depressing event. I was told to just "think of what you're grateful for and you will be cured". As if it were that easy.

Nowi certainly am aware of thepower of suggestion and thought. So sure, I did think of what I'm grateful for. And sure it put me in a better frame of mind, but I was still depressed. Sure, events can trigger depression and I can account for that, but again, you can have depression or other mental illness for no tangle reason. I know "thinking happy thoughts" can help distract my mind temporarily, but the mind does a dark snowball of macabre thoughts effect where the badness judt blossoms and becomes a thousand ton runaway train full of venemous fire breathing dragons.

If you know someone who is depressed, please don't treat it like a passing mood. It is a real disease. Talk to your friend and let them know you are there for them. You will listen to them cry at two in the morning if need be. You will offer hugs. A quiet restful and serene place to relax. Their favorite cookie and a nice book to read. A walk in the park to try and enjoy the beauty of nature and distract themselves for just a moment. Realize that while that person has some control over their moods, they cannot just cheer up and move on. Again, it is called mental illness because it is an actual illness many suffer with, in silence, for fear of ridicule or rejection. Be that gentle little firefly of light in their dark world.

Friday, May 30, 2014

the historian

meh...probably my great uncle, big deal.....


I'm the family historian, and I cherish some items in my collection; photos of Sacramento in 1910, French postcards and letters from WWI, my grandpa's kindergarten drawings. When my mom handed me a manila envelope yesterday "with some pictures or something from Grandma", I was eager to see them, but also thought, meh, probably copies of photos I already had. I sat in the car, casually opening the envelope, and glanced at a photo and thought, hmm, must be my adopted grand uncle's photos. Big whoop.

And then, I turned the thumbnail sized print over.

 Buchenwald, June 1945, it said.

Buchenwald.

My hands trembled and my breath stopped. Buchenwald. An original,in my hands.I was stunned, speechless, in awe. There aren't words in our language to describe the feelings I had.

 I'd read a lot about the Holocaust as a teen, trying to wrap my head around genocide, etching horrors in my mind so that I could never let history repeat itself. When a Holocaust survivor visited my school, it still seemed incomprehensible. When I visited Mauthausen in college, it still seemed unreal. Fresh white snow covered the ruins and memorial, the memorial statues somehow belonged in a garden. The ruins didn't register well in my mind that those walls witnessed mass atrocities, that the old farmhouses nearby knew. It was to surreal. So when suddenly I held a piece of history in my hands, the world shrank. history became the present, and my heart swelled in pain and joy, for the lives lost, and for the joy of liberation.

These picture are worth more than a thousand words and i sure wish i knew all they had to say.

"wall where executions occured" June 45'.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

silent sundays

"Whoever checks their cell phone first, pays the bill" pshaw...that's child's play. In an effort to truly relax and disconnect, my family does just that - disconnects. Every Sunday, we shut off our cells, tablets, laptops, and sometimes even the television or land line phone. For a full 24 hours.

I can tell you, it isn't easy. I keep nervously wanting to check my cell for texts, or see who liked what on Facebook. I want to google what to do with leftover chicken, check the weather, and email a friend. It is seriously an addiction. For 24 hours, I resist temptation and unplug.

 My first Silent Sunday was the best day ever. We drove to Santa Monica, without even planning a thing.  Sadly, this meant we stayed maybe all of twenty minutes after far too long of a drive because I didn't bring sunscreen, hats, or umbrellas and I really can burn (and stay red, never tan) in well under am hour. I watched my oldest son splash in the waves with my his and while the youngest and I played in sand - his first experience with sand or the beach.

We didn't turn on the land line until we got home around two, my mother in law was irate that we had ignored her for Mother's Day. We drove to see her and she forgave us, and we enjoyed a simple dinner together and watched my kiddos play.

The strange thing is, once I "plug back in", I find it all so....pointless and boring. I scroll through hundreds of Facebook posts that seem as dull as a math textbook, my email is lackluster, few if anyone texted me, and I realize how little I missed.

Friday, May 23, 2014

sail away


Has someone ever told you something so jaw droppingly honest and brutal that it stuns you? I did, Let me get back to you on that.

I feel like I am about to set sail into uncharted, dangerous waters and my life is on the line. My tin foil hat of craziness on, I'm telling myself sure...I can do this.

I have been a stay at home mom for most of the past three and a half years and I fully admit I'm awful at it. My husband has said that while he knows I tried to be a homemaker, I am a horrendous homemaker and I hate cleaning and cooking and wiping butts and singing Barney songs. I look at pinterest and even at other mothers as if they are an alien species I may never understand.

I wanna be like this  F*** some
parts of feminism (a bit of my college
self just died)  as I do wanna be
an awesome, sexy, got my s*** together
housewife.
I recently applied to a bunch of jobs and after so many months of unemployment and lost hopes, I got a job offer! I found the perfect babysitter and everything. And yet, I was hesitant to tell anyone. When it came to signing paperwork, I found myself subconsciously finding everything wrong, every loophole, every negative scenario. So when it came to starting work today, I got up and did the dishes and planned out my hardware store shopping list.

This. This is what I will change. For the sake of
the blurry child shown.
That's right, I jumped ship and decided I will become one kick-ass stay at home mom. My home will no longer look like an episode of Hoarders meets schizophrenia. I will have a daily plan and schedule and will cut down our grocery bill by 25-50%. I will cook all meals, scrub the floor clean, bounce a cranky baby on my knee, fold laundry, shine up the baseboard, all with pride. I will do it right and.enjoy it. Lord help me cause that's the only way this will happen and if I fail, this household will literally fall apart. The world is on my shoulders and I don't know what the fuck to do. This deer in the headlights is going to do the impossible. And fast.

"So you wanna be a better housewife? It is your job. Would you hire you for the job? Think about it."
And I was left speechless but destined to change. If I were any bit crafty, I'd needlepoint that and hang it on my (needs to be clean) wall.





Monday, May 19, 2014

french toast bread pudding

Its bread pudding bordering on french toast. I used 4 "bolillo rolls" from Sams Club that had gone stale. A yeast/dinner roll would work, enough to cover a standard pyrex baking dish in teo layers (once the bread is cubed ofcourse. I like 1" cubes but get lazy and tear the bread) Makesure the bread isquite dried out. Mix 1.5 c heavy cream, 2 c whole milk, 1 shot/1oz whisky (optional) 1f. Cinnamon, 1t vanilla extract, one "shake" from a nutmeg shaker, 1/4 t almond extract, 3/4c tamped downbrown sugar (I used light brown its what I had) 2 tbsp butter pinch salt....warm in a saucepan till sugar dissolves, do not boil! Grab rsisins however much you want. Add to a bowl with the bread cubes, pour half the milky mixture over it, let sit 15 min. While the rest off the mix cools a bit. To remaining liquid, add 4 eggs plusone yolk. Mixvery very well. Por over goopy bread, sit 5-10 min. In greased pyrexadd the bread goop, cook at 350 for 40-50 min untilset inside and golden on top. Mix in saucepan 2 tbspbutter melted, add 1/4 c half and half, 1/4tvanilla extract, pinch salt, tammped down 1/2 c brown sugar.cook over medium stirring until it gets bubbly/foamy and thickens, about 5 min...stir constzntly. Pour over bread pudding, let cool a bit, enjoy. You can also add pecans on top.

Monday, May 12, 2014

maple bananas

This recipe Is versatile, and can be made into a puree for babies my original intention) or chunky as a fruit topping fr granola, Muesli, ice cream, or yogurt.
3-4 bananas, sliced lengthwise Pinch of cinnamon Maple syrup (enough to drizzle the bananas) Butter for greasing

Preheat Oven to 350° and use butter to grease some parchment paper. (Foil or simply a greased pan can work in a pinch but may end in sticky disaster) Alternate ingredients to add can include a bit of orange peel, grated ginger, diced apples and pears, diced carrot.

Place sliced banana on greased parchment-lined baking dish. Sprinkle banana with cinnamon and drizzle with real maple syrup. You can add the optional ingredients as well. Bake at 350° and check at ten minutes..depending on all factors such as fruit ripeness, quality of oven convection, etc the process can take 10-30 minutes You want the fruit to be mushy, and the mushiness depends on your desire....very mushy for babies, less mushy for adults, and you don't want the maple syrup or fruit to burn.

Once cooked, let cool to room temperature. You can puree with water for infants, or spoon over yogurt/ice cream/granola/muesli for children and adults.

The photo isn't the prettiest but it shows the bananas Before cooking....and when I tried foil instead of parchment, silly me.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

"pot roast" for food-haters

I love Cooking and eating and sharing good recipes with friends. So...I have decided to do a little twist and share a bad recipe. Not fried Crab brains, grilled horse tongue, or any other gross food I have had, but just a regular old recipe gone awry. I welcome readers to share their own recipes of doom!

With all due respect to my mother, here is her recipe for pot roast which is probably single-handedly why I never ever ate beef as a child.

Get a tri-tip or any pot-roast type beef, whatever is on sale. You need enough to fit into whatever pot you are cooking in. See? Its one of those old recipes without exact amounts.
Add the tiniest bit of garlic salt to the roast ..maybe a teaspoon? And heat up a cast iron pan. Brown the outside of the roast...you may need to add some canola oil if your iron isn't well seasoned/greased from use.
Toss the roast in a tall pot. Cover it with water. Add a pinch ...as in less than a teaspoon of salt...my mother prides herself in never salting food. Add a pinch of pepper while you are at it.
Chop a yellow onion into about 1 1/2" chunks. Chop a few unpeeled red potatoes into 1 1/2 - 2" chunks. If you are feeling peppy, throw in a sliced carrot. Set aside/refrigerate, they do not go in the soup just yet. But, if you wish to go really crazy, add a single bay leaf.

Boil it, covered, stirring occasionally. Skim some fat off. Boil some more. This isn't a one hour or 30 minute meal. This takes time. About an hour before its ready, but well boiled to death, add the veggies.

It should not be a thick gravy type pot roast. Whatever you do, do not add flour/make a roux. Do not pour off the broth in attempt to make New England boiled dinner. It should be about as brothy (is that a term?) As chicken soup, just with big chunks of stuff. Do not serve with bread because this is too soupy to dunk your bread. Just serve as is, and imagine you are my father who actually loves this stuff.

Friday, May 2, 2014

300 yards

Less than 300 yards could have changed my life.

I live in a tinder box, I mean national forest full of dying trees. Ten years ago, we had a fire that destroyed an area larger than Detroit in less than a week. Hundreds of homes were lost. So when you see fire, your heart skips a few beats.

The smoke was behind the trees across the street, and I didn't hear any fire engines. I was the first to report the fire. My husband drove over with a fire extinguisher and came back in a hurry. "Total madness. Pack. Now. We need to leave" he yelled. So we packed clothing, two large dogs, two angry cats, and two young children in record time. As we pulled away, a parade of fire trucks passed us by. A mile away, we could look back and saw a huge glowing area that was our neighborhood. I don't have words for what I was feeling or thinking. As I saw the trees light up and the fire crown, I knew from history that it meant nothing good. The Santa Ana winds whipped at gusts of up to 60mph, fanning the flames and sucking all humidity away.

We left town and frantically checked the internet, fire logs, scanner traffic until we heard that the flames had died down and all we had to worry about were embers. Exhausted, we made our way back home, not sure if we had a home.

We did. Three homes were destroyed, less than 300 yards from my home. I feel awful for the residents who lost their homes.

It happened in a matter of seconds. Had my husband not looked out the window, we would not have known about the fire until the engines roared past, fifteen minutes later. Had the fierce winds blown a different direction, the fire would have gone our direction and we may not have known it until it was too late, because the flames were hiding behind bushy trees over 100 feet high.

Here you can see the smoke, I took this photo while on hold with 9-1-1. Then, the flames a mile away as we had already evacuated.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dodging death

How many times did I dodge death as a child? I must wonder.....

My hippy parents (whom claim they aren't hippies, if you've met them, you are" LOL" right now) saved animals. We had foxes, crocodiles, owls, coyote, skunks, snakes, angry goats and crazy boosters, a full bred wolf.....and probably enough spiders to make the movie Arachnophobia cry. Ok....so we didn't actually have spiders as pets (hey Suzie wanna see my thirty deadly spiders in the terrarium?) But they were...ours.

I've never seen my parents kill a spider, and we get black widows like no other. My dad's been bit three times. I never even knew what a widow looked like until college and I was like oh...those...pshaw, it's the larger than a quarter wolf spiders I spotted daily in the tub that I noticed. Dusty messy widow webs? Oh those things that inhabited every corner, knick knack, or notch in the knotty pine walls? No one noticed. Not even me.

And the mice....my parents refused to even trap those, so hanta virus threatened in the attic and cupboards. Just wipe up the poo, my mom said, even poo on plates or clothing or anything.

And snakes. Aside from our pets, I personally can attest to three barely-misses of rattlesnake attacks on my personal body. Ever seen that show on that learning channel about rescuing and air-lifting victims of rattlers in So Cal? Yeah...those snakes are luckily what hadn't killed me.

Oh. And my parents collected antiques and rusty salvaged art and guess what? I'm allergic to tetanus shots. And penicillin.

And I'm here to tell you I survived, and why I hesitate taking my two curious boys to Grandma's.

Monday, April 14, 2014

popular parts

My umm...lady parts are popular this week. So I couldnt find my sole paor of pajama bottoms, a common tragedy, and I had a feeling they were in my husband's office (my dresser drawers are in there). I was in a shirt and nothing else, running around in a frantic search when I dash into his officce. He's on the phone and I say "ummyoure not on skype are you, cause I'm missing pants". Except, see, I said it kinda out loud. As in, whatever CEO he was talking to heard me. Luckily he wasn't on skype. Then today I am squatting down cleaning stuff and somehow lose my balance squatting and fall. Allarently a metal folding chair is within my falling reach. The metal leg lands right on my lady parts. I fell full-force onto the metal pole leg. I have a pitch black swollen bruise and I walk bow-legged due to the pain. Its a total freak accident only I would get into.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

broken fences broken lives

I recently travelled through El Paso, Texas, a town that reminds me of Vegas without the casinos. Its dusty, full of ghetto strip malls and broken promises. But...it is more than that. A quick look into the city's history tells me the borders of New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico have changed boundaries many times. As I looked at the brightly lit border fence from my hotel window, scaring the landscape like the Great Wall, I couldn't help but think how the citizens of Ciudad Juarez, just feet away, must feel. To look at a place I might find less than appealing as a beacon of hope, a place with less violence and poverty. Separated by a tightly guarded and ugly wall. Families separated, like the Berlin Wall, all because eugenicists wanted to eradicate the darker, feeble minded stock from the United States.

We left El Paso and entered the desolate expanse of West Texas, almost as empty as Alaska....no gas for a hundred miles. Coyotes (people, not canines) help illegal persons cross the border and often leave them to die, the elements and vast expanses taking their lives.

We gassed up in Fort Hancock, a homeless-looking man asked if we would kindly buy him something to eat. I was fascinated by the changing borders of the area, the culture (something like 75% of El Paso people speak Spanish as their primary language) and the history, that I had googled the few outposts of West Texas. I found out that Fort Hancock featured a gap in the border fence, often unmanned, and before the border patrol road block. I guess it was kind of an unwritten acceptance to allow a piece of open border and exchange. Somehow, the violence of Juarez rarely spilled the border, the open fence being kind of a peaceful spot, considering. I then found out the Mexican towns nearest Fort Hancock were far more deadly than Juarez; in one month in 2010, the area (with about 18,000 people) had 45 recorded murders. The scene looked just like No Country for Old Men, but the man didn't seem quite as scary.


The man asking for a meal really strikes me as the poster child for the entire situation. If a picture could speak a thousand words....he wears a military green trenchcoat, wrinkled and dusty. He huddles inside it, the thin, worn fabric not much against the howlin dust storm and near freezing temperatures. His pants are not a discernable color, his boots worn. I can't tell if he is hispanic or white; he looks like a photo from the Dust Bowl or from the coal mining children, full of blemishes and days old dirt. His wrinkles cut deep, his skin leathery. His accent is a mesh of Mexican and American, like I often hear in California. He stands out yet blends into the dusty worn down buildings, cracked asphalt, scraggly trees and tumbleweeds bending in the wind. This is a rough yet poetic time and place. This man is destitute, somehow victim of the changing borders, open and closed fences, policy, corruption, hope, dreams, and violence that plays a unique tune for the area. I don't know his story, but yet it still resonates with me, so much that I am wanting to paint the scene Isaw, to forever etch his story, whatever it is, in history. So here is my sketch, it is a mereetch) to say, you, whoever you are, are important. Your struggles are real and unique yet far too common. I don't know the solution, or even the story, but I remember you. 


< a href="http://yeahwrite.me/challenge-155/"><img src="http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/challenge155.png"></a>

Sunday, March 23, 2014

steer, deer, and....

So my husband had to travel to Texas and last minute, he says, hey wanna go? Last minute as in, the kids' bedtime is in 8 hours,dog boarding is an hour away and closes in 5 hours, and the need shots first, and oh we need a rental car because what noise did ours just make, and the kids' mobile video system just broke and we need dinner and the laundry is dirty and omg breathe. We rather uneventfully leave and traverse a good portion of the desert southwest, and lay our heads to rest in El Paso, Texas at mearly midnight. I barely sleep, hyped up from the drive, plus my usual insomnia and an unfound fear I'm going to get shot because are those huge ball park type lights within ball throwing distance the border with beyond super deadly Ciuidad Juarez? Yes! Anyways...I wake after maybe two hours sleep, put my son's shoes on backwards, my moby on backwards, and my throat is on fire from all the dust storms. Yee haw. Welcome to El Paso, where I feel like I'm hungover and in Vegas. Really, it reminds me of Vegas minus you know, Vegas...slot machines and stuff. To quote the guy we met in the elevator, supernatural. We trek across Texas, prettier than I would expect (but pretty doesn't come to mind) and even more sparsely populated than expected. We encounter a border patrol stop, and unlike California where they show signs of illegal families running across the freeway lanes cause umm..that's probably realistic (I've never even had to slow in the patrol crossing) here they mean business, everyone stops and their car gets a once around by a dog who, I must giggle, excitedly snifffed the rear of every car. Too many hours later we end up in Fredericksburg, its like shangrila, like a step back into a 1950s quaint downtown with a main street and clean, quaint brick buildings...meets...Germamy...meets the Portlandia show. There are bier hauses all around. It really had that quaint main street americana feeling. Outside of it, Texas Hill Country abounds. I get far too excited over horses and cows, sheep, goats, ostriches, peach orchards and omg is that a wildflower farm? Full of....bluebonnets, my favorite flower? And look, a herd of wild deer. And a deer processing shack (no bambis were harmed in the herd I saw). And wait? Tuscany of Texas? Wineries! Art galleries! Grass Fed beef, quaint cafes, fresh peach pies, farmers markets, deer hunting stores, and mansions on acreage. Seriously where else on earth can you sipfine wine, eat an organic burger, browse an art gallery, hunt and gut a deer, and pick wildflowers all in one block? This place is awesome! And housing and food and gas and everything is chesper! I'm convinced there's a catch. After midnighg the gremlin come out. Or zombies.no,zombies with pet gremlims.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ouch

My son will revert to, say, age one when he is upset...he ends up forgetting all his words and signs and just cries. So yesterday, when I went into the other room real quick and heard a thud and an "ouch" from the living room, I knew it meant trouble. I came to find my sonn had fallen off the couch, normally something not deserving of an "ouch". I kissed him and snuggled up to him and whispered "shh its ok" but all he could do was cry...and say "ouch". As stated, communicating during crisis doesn't happen with him so "ouch" spoke volumes. He held his left arm and balwed, refusing to let us near it. I tried turning on tv, fedding him ice cream, giving him his favorite trains to get his mind off the pain as sometimes he gets "stuck" and needs distracting. It didn't work. The three year old didn't want ice cream. Icce cream! This meant trouble. I went to get my shoes on to go to the hospital and....he fell asleep on the couch, cradling his arm. I woke him about a half hour later, due to concern for his arm. He awoke bawling and screaming "ouch" again. We got him in the car, buckling him in meant extra hollering as I had to move the poor guy's arm. Each turn of the car meant a yelp. 45 minutes later, we got to urgent care (I reserve the ER for life-threatening or middle of the night stuff). He started to calm a bit, distracted by other toddlers and babies in the waiting room. But I knew he was suffering, as he refused to eat his goldfish crackers and refused to touch his trains. He kept his arm cradled and if I even went near it, he freaked. The slightest movement sent him yelping, and his happier moments were interrupted with whimpers of "ouch". 1.5 hours later, we finally went into a little room where we waited another ten minutes or so. The doctor touched his arm (more crying) and my son refused to tell anyone if it iwas his hand, arm, or elbow that hurt. The dr ordered xrays just in case, and brought in codeine so he'd be able to manipulate the arm for xrays. We waited another 45 Min and then suffered through xrays. I had to move his arm and twist it as he screeched in pain, thrashing, telling me "doh!" (No!). I felt so awful, causing him more pain, but I had to do it. Then we went back into the little room for a half hour, my son again having some calm moments and some moments of screaming in pain. The dr came in and....no breaks, chips, or fractures....his elbow was dislocated in a way that caused pain in the forearm and wrist. A dislocated elbow! Lemme repeat...dislocated elbow! Totally ouch-worthy! The dr then told me to hold my son up against me tightly and I grimaced in anticipation of what I knew was to come...popping his arm into place. The dr grabbed his arm (scream!) And yank! Pop! I felt a shudder ripple through his body and....the dr said "move your bad arm, buddy". He waved with his good arm. I demonstrate movin both arms. He moves his bad arm's thumb almost inperceptively. Then the fingers. The hand. The arm ever so slightly.... and the dr then taight me how to (shudder) pop his bone back in place, as (shudder) once his elbow dislocates, its much more likely to happen again. We drove home, my son finally suckin his thumb on his "bad arm", proving he was healed and doing much better. Kid injuries suck.

Friday, March 14, 2014

brain overload

Excuse my typos and crappy formatting on my nook. Once I find a cheap desk, I get an old laptop and bak! I can blog again, print things, download pictures..... Anyways. The point of this post is brain overload. Recently....I've been depressed. Yup. There. I admitted a huge secret upon the world. Its genetic, with both parents and other relatives afflicted. Isn't depression fun? Not! I ended up hav no motivation at all. For anything. Not even blogging. But I'm seein a counselor, praying, trying to get through it. I had a breakthrough. I was trying to find what makes me happy, what makes me motivated, and trying to fin a job.I thought of making children's books. I still may, little handmade onces to seel on etsy and at the street faire where my mom lives. But I have to be in the groove to do art. So my brain was swirling with cool art ideas, and then....my husband mentioned a time I was truly happy, envigorated, strong, etc. I was speaking to a school board, fighting to keep our site in existence. I had worked with disstrict officials and attorneys and was empowered by knowledge and validation and no one could get in my way. I realized a regular old teaching position might not be for me. And that I indeed often fail in those jobs and that omg that is ok. Not great or ideal but ok. Acceptable. Cause its..."me". That I do better in behind the doors, do whatever you want, challenge the status quo, leadership and brainiac positions. That's what makes me happy and successful. That staying home, depressed, might not be what's best for my kids even though I wish it were. So I'm looking for jobs I want. Not just any job but a job I want for my happiness. My depression is still there, trying to be all...depressing but I'm on a mission.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

let me in

We have a closet pole dowel thingy in the rut of the sliding door so that my 3 year old won't escape onto the deck, over 20 feet in the air. So today he demads outside time so we decide we will eat lunch outdoors, on the deck. He runs inside and plays with the pole, so we yell "stop" and he runs onto the porch. Unbeknownced (how do you spell that?) To us, the pole falls into place. We eat and we begin to get chilly as its 50 and windy and we are in tee-shirts. I go to open thedoo and SH1T!!, the poleis in place blocking the door from opening. We are 20-30 feet "in the air", as our deck is on the 2nd story on a steep slope. We can't open the sliding door. We are stuck...husband and wife. 3 year old, imfant, two dogs, and a cat..the other cat, mocking usfrom indoors. We panic and then get crafty...we could call the fire department but how will they get to us without breaking down out very thick front door? Hello, we need a front door. So we wedge a metal outdoor chair leg into the door frame-thank God for vinyl-metal combo doors. It takes a few tries to get it wedged in there. Then we grab forks and try and move the pole with thefork except when you hold a fork by your fingertips, leverage and strength kinda...suck. I consider callin the fire dept but again, broken front doors are bad and my cel works maybe 1% of the time in the boonies where I live. Finally we wedg the chair so that I can barely fit my slender wrist into the gap. We ban the fork into theright shape and finally, pop! I move the pole. It took like...a hakf hour or so of us, pets, babies...stuck on a little 6x6 deck high in the sky...but....we did it! Seriously, had that not worked we'd have been screwed!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

M.I.A.

I kinda went missing from the world of blogging. Just simplt didn't feel "bloggy". Kinda a "meh" time of life and I did some soul searching and realized where I want to go in my career. I also have been busy with a crawling baby and fnAlly talking three year old. Grr I had more to say but it floated away from my mind.

Friday, January 31, 2014

My little man

I promised I wouldn't have a "mom blog". Sure, this blog isn't much about mother hood but this post is. Oops

My little man who is now three and a big brother, is often on my mind. As every mother does, I worry that I am a terrible mother. I try my best to not have his delays and quirks worry me or cause me to think, "If only I....he wouldn't...".

I'm always on a quest to help him, especially cause it seems the red tape of health care and education do anything but. For example, I waited two months for a referral for a consultation only regarding his recurrent ear infections and glue ear. Never mind his other problems. That doctor wasn't even taking consultations so I had to do another referral. That doctor was out of network even though it said he was in. After hours on the phone, the third referral clears and the representative says oh there's no doctors in your area. I think Well sure, since I live in the sticks, but there's something like ten million people within two hours of here so there has to be a ton of doctors! Right? She says no. I lose my cookies or marbles or whatever. She does some trickery and finds ONE in the entire area. Now I have to wait three more months for an appointment. And after that, any and all treatment must be in network...even though the network solely looks in my son's ear and says "yup...infected....here have some killer antibiotic and here sign up for ear tube surgery. Again. A third time." So I will go down the same path that has failed me twice.

I am trying everything and might seem like a hypochondriac to some, as I bookmark things on autism, SPD, hearing loss, verbal apraxia, and more. Like having a label will cure him....and yet I continually seek a label to explain my sickly, language delayed, tantrum-crazy super sensitive most awesome little man ever.

I want a label so when he has a tantrum in he grocery store and kicks and cries and makes me drag him around (literally...as he loves to play dead possum), I can give onlookers some snarky retort about them gawking at a special needs child. I want a label for when people ask him how old he is (he says nothing) and then ther guess one or two (since he is super tiny and a.picky eater up barely even eats what he loves), I have an answer..."well ma'am he has XYZ but he is three and amazing don't you think?"

I most of all want a label because then I can find a cure. Better diet? Behavioral training? Medicines? More visits to the chiropractor? Surgery?

I most most most of all want to get to the bottom of all this. I never ever want to hear "he will grow out of it" or "just wait and see".

When I interact with his brother, I hate to compare the two but his brother is so so so much easier and calmer. I can do dishes while he sits in his high chair. I can go to the bathroom without a twenty minute tantrum. But does that make his little brother better or more loved? Certainly not.

My little man is overly sensitive but that also means he is so loving and kind. He loves to play with the pets and other children and kisses me when I cry. He brings diapers to his brother when he cries. He notices people's moods better than anyone and often remarks on them. For example, on Thomas and Friends, Sir Toppemhat lost his hat. Right as he did, even though Toppemhat was not yet looking sad, my son says, "hih ha, huh ha he sa" (his hat his hat he is sad) and starts signing the ASL sign for sad.

I love my special little man and that is that.