“I can’t get no satisfaction”
I think that my kids are all singing this tune LOUD and clear. That is what I hear when J is slamming doors, O is screaming and yelling because he can’t find his favorite yellow shorts and too tight short sleeved t-shirt that I put away, and Emil is throwing food, slapping and hitting. They are all so unsatisfied. Makes me feel so inadequate. I am a full-time mom/housewife. I clearly have issues trying to keep the house clean, kids fed, clothed, bathed. And, my kids are falling apart, each one mad at me in their own way. I try not to take things personally, but how do I separate my existence from some relative happiness level?
I’m losing my sense of humor about all of this and that makes me sad. I rewarded myself yesterday by buying myself a very fuzzy pair of light pink crocs. I am wearing them throughout this mad morning and every time I look at my feet I smile because I know that I did that for me. The rest of me is caught up in the chaos. Again I am being a reactive parent and I have no control. Need to regain my position at the helm. There is currently no skipper on this ship and we are listing as a result. We need a Gilligan.
On the bright side I re-read a previous post when we first received O’s diagnosis and I wrote how apprehensive I was to enter the autism community. I have been gingerly side stepping into this arena. I have met with a few friends of friends who have children with autism who have been in this for years. What a truly amazing, resilient, real group of people. I feel hopeful again. The way that these people have embraced autism into their lives and made the best out of what could be a negative situation. All of these amazing parents who have had to readjust their expectations for their families again and again, but rolled with the punches and can laugh, from the bottom of their souls, belly laugh about life and how fun, how silly, how serious, how treacherous, how sad, and unpredictable it all is. I have also been able to hear more about families who are close to us and who have had struggles with their kids, who are not autistic, but indeed have tremendous challenges. There are some seriously brave parents out there that I have learned a great deal from in the past two months. I am sincerely grateful for you, for opening your hearts and your lives to us. We are richer for it in so many amazing ways.
Speaking of getting richer, all of the doctors, hospitals, therapists, schools, childcare centers, labs, radiologists, and now dentists, in our lives are all benefitting monetarily from our bout of unfortunate luck these past few months. I spent half of our trip to the dentist yesterday worrying if my son was going to have a front tooth and the other half worrying about how much this was going to cost. If this had happened a year ago when we didn’t have dental insurance because we were self employed, I can’t even imagine how much this would have set us back. Fortunately, it seems as if we have far better dental insurance than I had anticipated. Thank goodness.
J’s school has a 3 day break for conferences this week so he and his buddies took in a round of airsoft guns. Not coming from a family of any boys, the rough housing, gun toting thing isn’t something that comes to me easily. I am working on trying to give them space to be boys. They are inherently different and have different outlets than girls do, I think. I have been lenient with the airsoft gun thing as all of his friends are playing, they are great kids, and I know that some of their friends’ parents are as reluctant and as protective as I am. I told him that I wanted he and his friends to discuss the rules for their game before they started. Sure not still if that happened or not. What I do know is that I get a call during the one hour that I decided to turn my phone off in recent history to the effect of ‘J has chipped his tooth playing airsoft guns’. Okay, that can’t be good so I went over there right away to find that not only did he ‘chip’ his tooth, but more than half of it was shattered, he had a fat lip, and a bruised tongue. It caught me off guard because I didn’t know who to call. The dentist? The doctor? When I walked into the room where he and his buddies were you could have heard a pin drop. I think that they think that I was going to get mad. I think that they were relieved to hear me say that it was an accident and accidents happen. After thinking about this for a day, I would say that still rings true but perhaps we need to establish some guidelines for airsoft gun wars. Like, no shooting at your friends faces at close range might be a start;) Not really sure of what the details surrounding the shattering of the tooth are, but the fact that no one will really say tells me that they all feel a little bit guilty. Which is good. They are also very loyal to their friends which really shows integrity. I love these boys but sometimes what I would consider common sense reasoning doesn’t come to easily to them. To me, when you take a shower, you don’t repeatedly leave your wet towel on the floor of your room, but hey, what do I know? The closer that they get to the magical age of 13, the more I am baffled. Can’t imagine what ages 14, 15, 16, and on are going to bring.
So, after getting home from the dentist, I went to pick up O. His teacher told me that he had been complaining that the inside of his mouth hurt him. The smile that I had on my face with anticipation to see my little O was immediately replaced with an, ‘Oh, God, what now?’ look. I said, ‘lets see if he has any bumps on his hands’…sure enough, bumps! Victim number 2 to come down with Hand Foot Mouth Disease this week. As my sister, M, told me on the phone this morning, it’s almost a new month. That’s right, and I am looking very forward to November. I am not digging the chaos that has infiltrated our lives. I seem to do okay with it and manage to not let it defeat me, but come on, enough is enough.
I am humbled and terribly saddened by the story of a young 12 year old whose blog I was following. A friend of mine told me of what a lovely blog this very courageous mom, who was a friend of hers, was keeping of her son’s battle with cancer. I became a silent follower and said prayer after prayer for this boy and his family. It caught me tremendously off guard when he passed away. I guess that because his mother’s constant hope and raw determination and incredible writing, I didn’t understand just how ill this sweet, well-loved boy had fallen. It makes me step back and be a little bit gentler, a lot more gracious, and hug my children a little more tighter than I did before.
Over the course of the day writing this blog entry, I have gone from completely overwhelmed with every child acting out in a very ‘them-like’ way, to trying to gain some perspective. I established early on in the day that I would not be changing out of my pajamas nor would I be doing anything fruitful, nor would I be leaving this house. I have accomplished nothing, had an 18 month old who was inconsolable, pulling on my pant leg to be picked up, put down, not knowing what he wants, most of the day. And, most importantly, I am now caught up on Top Chef. Jennifer definitely is crumbling under pressure and needs to reengage! Pull it together, Jennifer.
I forgot to mention that on Tuesday my mom offered to get O on his bus as I volunteer to do lunch service at Villa every other Tuesday (mostly to see who these girls are who are entering my son’s life…). Not only did she try and see him off on the bus, but she took the bus with him, met Sandy the bus driver, attended the entire day at View Ridge Elementary, and then continue to ride the bus home. WOW, what a grandma. What a truly blessed boy O is to have such a grandma. I think that it was a great opportunity for him to share his school world with her. Lucky, Lucky, Lucky!