Monday, June 30, 2008


While the good new is that my dizziness has dissipated, the bad news is that my aggravation tolerance threshold has been met- and exceeded.

You know, it's bad enough being ridiculously annoyed at a child. You feel guilty because well, it's a child. But it is an infinitely worse guilt when that child is Autistic. I know he can't help it. I know I need to be tolerant, believe me, I am. I'm allowed my occasional moments of wanting to choke someone. Seriously, someone needs to cut me a break today.

Woke up dizzy and nauseous. Laid on the couch, it went away after awhile. Of course both kids were covered head to toe in poop when I got them up, and of course Jaymes had seen fit to paint his room with it. i plopped both kids in the tub, and turned around to wash the poop off my hands (as a result of scrubbing the walls with a way-too-small washcloth). I her laughter, then I hear a plopping sound. Turns out to be a bath towel, both kid's nasty jammies, and both kids outfits for the day going into the tub, courtesy of Sierra. I shouldn't have turned around. I fished everything out of the tub, and schlepped it over to the laundry room-fatal error- then returned to the bathroom. It was a wonderland of bubbles. Bubbles that smelled suspiciously like my husbands favorite (and expensive) shower gel. Sierra had bubbles in her eyes, so I rescued her and gave Jaymes the death glare. He responded by giggling and dumping in the rest of the shower gel. Despite wanting to strangle him, I couldn't help but laugh at his expression.

I still have not been able to bring myself to clean the mess up in the bathroom.

The kids played outside awhile, of course releasing the less than gifted yellow Labrador into the back yard at the same time. Echo immediately took off after the neighbor's contractor who I guess is building a new deck or sunroom. Caught the dog, tied her to the trampoline so she'd stay put. We hung out playing for an hour or so, then came back inside. The kids were hungry, but the only thing in the house at the moment is those frozen pizzas that take a good 15 minutes to cook. The kids love them, so I put one in. Jaymes sat himself at the table and started very quiety drumming his hands on the table top, gradually getting louder and louder. After a little while, the word "eat" started to be chanted. 10 minutes into cooking, both kids were banging the table and chanting "eat." 15 minutes into the cooking, I open the oven. Good deal, pizza is ready. Get it out and start cutting it up and plating it amidst the chanting and banging. Suddenly the ridiculously loud smoke detector goes off, terrifying Sierra, who starts to wail. The dog is equally terrified and proceeds to push her way between my legs and tries to walk around like that. She succeeds only in making me trip and drop the pizza. I had just swept not long before, so the pizza was fine. A little less attractive, but structurally sound. I shove the dog away, take a towel to fan the smoke out, and finally get the smoke detector to stop... But by this time Sierra was apparently traumatized. She needed cuddling, which she got, and then I put their pizza in the freezer to cool down. Both kids took this as a sign of agression and went crazy, Jaymes screaming angrily and Sierra moaning like she's being tortured.

They did eventually get to eat. Now they are in their beds, napping. Thank you, God.

I don't know if it's just PMS, but today it's the little things that are driving me batty. Things Jaymes does often that I HATE, but don't usually make me this stressed out:

Pulling my scrunchie out so i have to go put my hair up all over again
Turning off the "wireless catcher" on my computer by playing with the CD drive
Turning off my computer
Pulling the ESC key off entirely- My 4 month old $900 laptop -stranglestranglestrangle-
Taking the pepperoni out of the fridge at least once every 5 minutes
Opening my box of mac&cheese and dumping it on the floor. Now it has dog hair seasoning.
Taking every cushion off all three couches
Opening up the rat cage and letting my exceedingly pregnant doe wander out

Shall I go on? Thank goodness it's naptime, that's all I have to say right now.

A few Youtube videos...

Normally I'd write another long rambling post.. However I'm feeling really dizzy this morning for some reason. Managed to feed the horse, but couldn't clean the stall or do any of my other outdoor chores. Kids are still asleep thankfully, so I can lie here. Wish I had insurance, the whole dizziness and memory loss thing is starting to really make me nervous.

Enough of that... First video is Balto, put to Big N Rich, Live This Life. I chose it because it was the only one of that song NOT super religious. Gorgeous song, reminds me of Jaymes for whatever reason... Listen, you'll like it too.

Next one is this tearjerker... I NEVER cry at things, seriously. I'd love to see this come to US radio stations, it's in Canada right now.

Now, I hate hate hate hate most rap. I'm a country girl. However, this one is awesome too. So give it a chance.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I do not understand why kids with Autism are treated so poorly by society in general. I know this is a common question, but I think that only parents of Autistic kids can fully comprehend it. Jason and I have virtually no friends. The two or three people who will associate with us only do it sporadically, and prefer not to have Jaymes around when they are. None of the other moms in the neighborhood want a thing to do with me. I'm not an unpleasant person, I generally get along with everyone. I'm quiet. Unfortunately, my son is not.

When I first met our one neighbor on the corner, she was out feeding her horse. Good common ground, as we were getting ready to buy Jaymes a horse at the time. We chatted about her fencing, her kids, etc. A few days later, Jaymes and I stopped over and he played a little while. But each time we saw this mother, Jaymes would show a little more of himself. Started out just wandering around her house, opening the fridge. Stopped him, but you could tell she was a little creeped out. She knew from day one he is Autistic, so i don't know what she was expecting anyway. I stopped him, of course, as always. It progressed to him screaming once or twice if I stopped him digging into something.... Then one day to a tantrum in her driveway as I was getting instructions on how to care for her horse, who I had agreed to watch during her vacation. That was pretty much it... She doesn't speak to me, just a wave now and then. When we walk by on our little trips down the road, she and her kids go indoors.

You know, I get it, I really do. It's awkward to watch someone's child throw himself on the driveway and beat his head and scream. I know. But he's not like that 100% of the time. Jaymes loves other kids. He sees her two year old son and wants to play... But I have to stop him because it's become evident we're not her type of people.

The only other kids on our street are older, 9 and 12 I believe... they do come play with Jaymes, which is great... But they're annoying as anything. Someone explain to me why these kids can play with the other neighbor's kids, with their awful behavior, and mine can't?

These kids, a boy and a girl, will walk right into your house. No knock, nothing. They just invite themselves in! Apparently they have done this to most of the people on the street. They've only done it once to us, thankfully we were both fully clothed, not doing anything we didn't want seen, etc... But seriously. Who lets their kids do this? Not only that, but they'll come at the kids bath time, and pound on our door. Most people will leave when their knocks go unanswered- but do these children? Nope. They will go from the front door, to the side, to the back door banging as hard as they can. For 30 minutes. Without stopping. Yelling at my dogs to make them bark. GO AWAY, DAMMIT.

I am not the mean type. I love that the kids want to play with my kids, I really do. But I like my personal space. You do not come into my home without permission. You knock once, if I don't answer, you go away. You stay the hell out of my horse pasture. If you get kicked, I'm liable. I don't have liability insurance, and I sure as heck don't have the money to cover your medical costs. True, my horse is the most well behaved old man I've ever met, but that isn't the point. You do not constantly pick up my not yet two year old daughter and dangle her upside down on the trampoline. Sierra knows to run to me when they appear.

The reality of the situation is that I need to tell the kids to cut it out. Everyone on the street has had to have that chat with them. I'm not that kind of person. I don't want to be mean, it's very uncomfortable for me. I prefer avoidance to confrontation. I also don't want to piss off their father, who is a stereotypical red neck. He's got a vicious dog chained in the back yard, they have bon fires for fun. Spare car parts in the yard...etc. I don't want to get shot. And so, I avoid it. Jaymes loves them so much, too, that I guess tolerance would be prudent.

My kids don't run wild and unsupervised around the neighborhood. They don't barge into other people's homes They don't damage property, nor do they damage gardens or harass animals. They stay on our property, under constant supervision. I expect them to behave. So why aren't my kids good enough to play with yours? Oh wait, Sierra is. She's fine, bring her over anytime. Riiight.

I'll tell you why. Because my son doesn't understand when you tell him he can't touch the electric fence because it's on. Because he doesn't understand turn taking. Because he wants to wave your broom back and forth across his face, and snuggle a big rock in your yard. Because when I stop him from something, he falls to the gound screaming and crying, until I have to physically drag him home.

But you know something? It's been worse. It can be worse. You have never seen the worst Jaymes can get.

Know something else? Jaymes isn't a spoiled brat. He's not getting away with everything. He's not neglected, or ignored. He's not a bully, nor is he doing anything in a mean spirited way.

He has Autism. My child is what he is, and the most any of us can do is work to try and make it easier for him to function in a world that cannot, or will not, bend to accomodate his needs.

Grandma visits Jaymes

Why is it that grandmothers feel the need to stuff my kids with sugary stuff and then leave? As far as I can recall, as a child I didn't even get soda. I used to have to sneak sips of my mom's Diet Coke and risk getting in major trouble if caught. She must have changed somehow, over the years, because every time she comes over (or we come to her) she's got candy.

Today, for instance, both kids had just been taken out of the tub, fresh and clean and sweet smelling. Grandma pulls up, with a giant bag of candy. Oh joy. Rock candy, lollipops, those unicorn horn lollipop things, candy necklaces, ringpops. Ok, so I admit it, I ate a couple ring pops. Mmmm.

Immediatly Jaymes is handed a unicorn horn pop that must be 3 feet long. Does he lick it? Nooooo. Does he slurp it? Noooo. Does he suck on it? Nooooo.

He bites it and ferociously devours it in it's entirety in less than five minutes. WTF?

Sierra comes out a minute later, with my husband. She's still damp from her bath, and so cute and clean. She sees Jaymes with candy and gives me that look accompanied by her little grunty "eh?"

Grandma goes and gets her a ring pop. Jaymes sees ring pop and throws the stick of his unicorn pop, pieces still clinging in places, into a pile of horse manure. Did I mention we were out in the dirty, grassy pasture?

So Jaymes has realized that Sierra got something different, and it's gbot more candy on it than his spent unicorn pop. Ants are crawling on the unicorn pop by now. Upon realizing the ring pop in question was meant for Sierra, Jaymes grabs his nasty unicorn pop and tries to lick it, to everyone's horror. I took it away from him, starting an all out tantrum. Flat on his back in the pasture, legs and arms flailing, drool runnning down his cheeks, eyes teary. The neighbor allll the way down the road looks our direction, he's that loud. Lovely. Grandma takes off to go get Jaymes another candy, because he needs one. Jaymes is seen prancing (yes, prancing, I'll try and get video of it one day) from the direction of her car, a candy necklace wrapped around his wrist. It's a slightly flamboyant combination- the prancing boy adorned with a rainbow colored bracelet. That's my boy. Soon as the kids have ingested the appropriate amount of candy, grandma hops in her car and drives off, joking about the sugar-high both kids are about to experience.

On the plus side, she gave me a thing of blackberries that I had finished before she finished backing out of my driveway. MMM.

Jaymes and the yard sale

Yesterday we had the neighborhood yard sale... By Neighborhood, I mean 3 people, myself included. It would seem that despite the fact that I was only selling junk, mostly, I made a lot more than anyone else. The one family made $15, another $40. I made $80. I attribute this mainly to the fact that we were selling a few good items: Brand new printer/copier/scanner in the box that's $55 at Walmart right now... The laptop Jaymes spilled juice on that only needed $75 of repairs to work again, the nice TV Jason tossed in the laundry room after he went Flat Screen... The rest was a ton of baby junk, books and videos (who watches videos, anyway?), my old bike with blown tires... And a mountain of baby clothes, half with tags still attached.

Since Jason worked yesterday, it was entirely up to me to set up and handle the yard sale. How convenient that the sale ended just an hour prior to the end of his work day, huh? So I was up at 5am, got my horse chores done, the pasture clean and water bucket filled, skinny old horse fed.... Took about 2 hours to do all that and set out the sale stuff. Of course we're the only ones without nifty fold out tables. Blankets work for me.

Around 8:15 I asked one of the neighbors to watch the stuff for me so I could go inside and get the kids up and about. I'm pleased to say that i do believe I may have broken the record for fastest diapering/dressing/breakfast cooking/and out the door. Go me. 5 minutes later we were out in the yard, having a picnic while a vanload of Mexicans dug through our stuff. One little kid snuck off with one of Jason's video game guides without paying, but I figured if he wanted it so bad that he couldn't pay a dollar for it, he may as well have it. Probably doesn't have much to call his own anyway.

We were also selling brownies, though almost no one bought them. Jaymes, on the other hand, ate his weight in the sticky, sugary things and was like a little rocketship all day. He never paid for the brownies, either. Fiend.

The kids were, for the most part, quite good. They sat amongst the toys for sale and played. Jaymes would occasionally get up and grab someone's hand and I'd have to run over and remove him. He spent a lot of time trying to open things that I was trying to sell, and of course dragging him away from whatever it was would incite a screaming fit that drove anyone who might have bought anything away to the other sales.

After awhile, Jaymes decided he preferred the next door neighbor's sale to ours, and sat himself down in their folding chairs and would not budge. Moments like this are awkward. The neighbor says "It's fine, he can sit here" but you can't help but wonder if she's just saying it to be nice and my letting him stay there might just be furthering the hatred most of the neighborhood already has for our family. When he started trying to take things, I hauled his little butt back to our yard, where he went off on me in a fury.

It was a hot, hot, hot day. I forgot to give Jaymes his meds that morning. All things considered, he did quite well for the chaos and insanity that yard sale day brings. I'm proud of him for keeping it together to the extent he did.

In other news... I've decided that every Sunday I will think of three goals I'd like to accomplish with Jaymes. Each day I will reflect on what we may or may not have accomplished, and by the end of the week hopefully at least one goal will be met. I'm also thinking I should make some goals for me too. After all, he's not the only one who needs to improve on things.

So... Goals.

1. Jaymes will wear his lap belt in the car (in conjunction with his safety harness, of course) without unbuckling it. We managed a whole car ride yesterday to Sonic, but it required me to bellow the word "NO" everytime he moved to unbuckle. I'd like to see him do it without such an extreme reprimand.

2. Jaymes will sit on the potty at least once daily, even if he doesn't do anything in it.

3. Jaymes will learn 3 letters of the alphabet witgh his new alphabet singing super annoying toy.

And for mommy....

1. Mommy will not yell so much
2. Mommy will take the kids for one walk a day- may not be able to do this one if it's as ridiculously hot as it has been.. But I need to anyway, I'm a bit rounder than I want to be and the kids love their walks.
3. Mommy will be more tolerant of Daddy, so the kids don't have to hear us screaming at each other.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Little Background...

Jaymes is four. Jaymes is ADORABLE. Jaymes is a pain in the rear, more so than your typical toddler. There are two reasons for this, one being the obvious: he has Autism. The other reason is that he is his mother's child. The boy is stubborn, surly, opinionated, and easily aggravated. Add to that the fact that his father (who has only met him once, mind you, and will henceforth be referred to as Stupid DNA Donor) was lacking in redeeming qualities and in any real personality.

Jaymes is wily. He knows that when we go to evaluations, he is being watched, and for whatever reason, he tends to behave like a perfect angel. he also behaves at school. I believe this is because he plans to convince the world I am insane, thus giving him access to all the cookies and candy I do not allow him to have.

Jaymes is smart. He can open most any lock, find a way to get into even the highest cabinet. He can open most packages, and delights in waiting until the supervising adult has gone into the restroom to slam the door shut and bolt to the kitchen to steal the cheese from the fridge. He knows he can get in a few bites before the hapless adult has a chance to get pants fastened, door opened, and run to the kitchen. Once caught, the cheese is handed over politely.

He used to be so good in public. It was at home we had the most trouble. In the last year that has changed, and Jaymes is pretty much the same wherever we go (assuming it's not an evaluation of some sort.)

Standing in line at Walmart? Cue the tantrum. Little old ladies gasp in horror as my child violently throws himself to the floor and beats his head, thrashes, and screams. Nope, he's not doing it because he wants candy. No, he's not being a brat. Ok, well he is, but not intentionally! No, your not-so-quiet comments about what awful parents we are don't help, lucky for you I'm spineless and won't tell you where to shove your damned prunes.

At the library, playing in the little toddler corner? Let's all watch Jaymes take all the chairs so he can arrange them over and over. God forbid anyone sits in any of them, if you are in one of JAYMES' chairs, you better be ready to get up. Dare to take a chair from him or tell him no? Prepare to snatch him up and tear out of the library before his piercing screams get the family banned for life. You'd think I'd have known better than to bring Jaymes into the Library, but I'm either a slow learner or a masochist- we take him a couple times each month.

Every trip to a store or public place brings with it the dread and humiliation, and of course the homocidal thoughts aimed at the people who feel a need to pass judgement on us. My husband runs into the library now, while I sit with the screaming child. We stare straight ahead and ignore the snide remarks and staring that we get at the store. It's not fun to go out anymore, and most trips end with me wanting to throttle Jaymes.

Other parents don't get it. Of course I love Jaymes. He is my reason for being, the light of my life, the greatest gift I could ever have received. He is my life, everything I do, I do for Jaymes. But sometimes I can't stand him. I would be lying if I said there had never been a moment I wished he would just be normal. Yeah, I'm sick of being stared at. I hate going in public with him, I hate trying to hush him up and make him behave. Those things do not make me a bad parent, regardless of how bad it looks when I have to drag my bellowing toddler from the store by his wrists.

No, I won't just let him get away with it. Sometimes (I admit it) I am too tired to fight it, and i let Jaymes do whatever forbidden thing he is doing, be it stealing food off my plate, taking all the cans out of the cabinet, arranging his chairs. But the vast majority of the time, when he is fussing, it's because I'm NOT allowing him to do something that he knows he shouldn't be doing. Don't tell me to let him do it. Why am I so cruel? He's disabled, he needs to be allowed to do as he wants. NO. It's not ok, it's not acceptable, and I really don't care if you don't mind. I DO mind. Everytime he gets away with something, he's becoming more and more confused about what is and what is not allowed. In the case of my child, if you give an inch, he will take a mile. He is just that smart.

My kid drives me up the wall. But you know, when all is said and done at the end of the day, I can sit and laugh about my day of toddler wrestling, the deafening roars, the all out tantrums. The licking of the wall, the arranging of the chairs, the stealing of the pepperoni. Jaymes is my little goofball, and in hindsight all his antics make for very good (and funny) stories.

Why blog?

I've decided that rather than maintaining a journal in MS Word, I will take the time each day instead to blog online. Several factors influenced this decision, the main one being the tragedy (YES, tragedy) that occurred a couple days ago.

I use a Dell laptop, not having realized how inept Dell is at making a decent laptop at the time of purchase. One day, after surfing the net for an hour or so, my laptop (henceforth known as Ole Reliable) shut down on it's own and would not restart. It would just freeze up at the part where the little "loading bar"thing was supposed to show your boot progress and go no further.

I spent a good hour on the phone with a very patient fellow from Dell's tech support division before the issue was fully related and a solution could be figured out. I say the man was patient because he tolerated my inability to understand 85% of his portion of the conversation due to the heavy Indian accent and his incredibly fast tongue. WHY can't Dell hire people with easy-to-understand voices, who talk at a reasonable speed? In addition to the accent issue, Jaymes was bellowing at me in the background.

Once the problem was understood, we began a series of diagnostic tests that he walked me through. Took about 40 minutes, then I was informed that the only way to make Ole Reliable work again would be to wipe the harddrive. Needless to say, I chose to have a working POS dell laptop rather than a dead POS Dell laptop with all my files on it. Computer worked wonderfully after it was wiped, although during the process of removing the harddrive manually to check it's security, I lost one of those teeeeeeeeeeeny screws under the fridge. Doesn't seem to effect anything, so I guess it's not the end of the world.

Having wiped my harddrive, I lost everything that wasn't on the computer when I bought it. Firefox, Itunes, Limewire, AIM.... And more importantly, my 13 pages of journal in teeeeeeeeeeeny tiny 8 point font written in MS Word. Weeks worth of work on the non-fiction book on living with Autism that I probably wouldn't ever have done anything with. Ever publishing it wasn't a big deal. It was having it, being able to reread it and enjoy it. Poof. Gone. Bye-bye. -Sniffle-

So yes, tragedy struck, and now I don't trust my POS Dell Laptop, ironically known as Ole Reliable.