Happy Birthday, Cousin J!

Because I’m loser-ing it up here this week, I’m going to confess that I forgot my nephew’s birthday.

I know. I’m awesome. Cringe.

My apologies to his moms, who already know what a dipshit I am.

If it makes you feel any better, here’s a photo of Quinn feverishly working on J’s birthday picture.


You guys know I love you and your kids more than anything. Happy Birthday to your beautiful J.

Much love from the lamest sister/sister-in-law/aunt who ever existed.

J, your gift is in the mail. I love you! Happy 3rd Birthday!

I suck.

Happy Snippets

It’s funny (in a “she may have serious mental health problems” kind of way) that my blog is so up and down. If you see one or two of those posts like yesterday’s or the day before’s, you will almost certainly find a much happier one following almost immediately on their heels.

Maybe it’s not that I’m crazy, but maybe life is cyclical like that.

Or maybe I’m just crazy. Quinn has to get it from somewhere.

So, without further ado, my Subsequently Happy Post:

*****

Jack did so much better at school that I can’t quite contain my happiness. He lasted all day. At pick up, both his teacher and his aide told me what a good day he had. Then the principal left me a message on my cell phone tonight to let me know how well he did.

I feel really lucky to have what seems to be really good staff around Jack.

*****

Oddly though, his lunch came home entirely untouched. And there was a little cake in there. He never would have passed that up.

His lunchbox didn’t come home yesterday, so I’m wondering if he got sent to lunch with yesterday’s empty or much-depleted lunchbox. I can’t quite figure it out, and he’s absolutely no help. He agreed with everything I asked him.

All I know is that he inhaled the pizza I pulled out of the fridge for him after school.

*****

Unfortunately, because Jack has been identified as a “runner,” he is not trusted to go on the regular bus yet. This means that instead of walking a block from my house at 3:15 every day to wait for the bus, now I have to drive near the school, park, then walk to the kindergarten pick-up zone by 3 p.m. every day.

Happily, the school says they’re willing to revisit the issue before too long.

Interestingly, I think the bus is the place he would be happiest. I know they are afraid that he would get off at the wrong stop, but Sam would be sitting right next to him.

(“I want to sit next to Jack on the bus every day,” Sam said before school started. “Jack, you can decide where on the bus we sit, okay?”)

*****

Jack had his first occupational therapy session this evening. And because professionals are apparently not allowed to work with my kids unless they are the cutest women to walk the earth, Jack’s OT is a beautiful young woman with light red hair, gorgeous green eyes, and a nose ring.

I looooooooooooovvveee her.

She seems to be on top of her game too. I really liked the information she gave me, how she worked with Jack, and what she noticed about him.

*****

Sam was less thrilled that Jack got to go into the fairy tale land of OT. He just got a peek at one of the therapy rooms from the waiting area, but that was enough for him. He is intensely jealous.

In a pique of frustration he muttered, “I wish I was…autism.”

Hilarious. I was speechless.

*****

A literal and metaphorical snapshot of my kids:


Jack has his fingers in his ears to block out the tantrum that is occurring adjacent to him. Sam is absolutely devastated that he is not autistic and therefore does not get occupational therapy Jack gets something he doesn’t get. Quinn seizes the opportunity to suck up by chiming in, “I’m happy! See? I’m happy!”

*****

Welcome to Stimeyland. It might be a bumpy ride.

DCMM: The Clothes That Shall Not Be Worn

My oldest son started attending preschool six years ago. He’s now in first grade. I have two other sons following in his footsteps. Over the course of those six years, there are many things I have had to send in to school.

I’ve sent lunches, backpacks, boxes of tissues, snacks, crayons, and pretty much any other consumable a child under the age of seven could possibly need. Including about seven thousand glue sticks.

But to me, the saddest thing I get asked to send in is the bag of Clothes That Shall Not Be Worn.

These are the “in case of emergency” clothes that you have to send in on the first day of class. On that day, the Ziploc bags full of labeled clothes will be put in a box in the classroom. And there they will sit. Until, on the last day of school, they are sent home again—usually unworn.

Deciding which clothes to doom to The Bag is a tough decision. They obviously must be from the B-team, because you don’t want to waste A-list clothing. But they cannot be so downtrodden that your child is embarrassed in the event that he has to wear them.

Because, frankly, if your child is forced to wear something from The Bag, an already embarrassing event has likely occurred and you don’t want to compound it by forcing your child to wear the neon purple logo-tee and orange shorts you sent in.

But these clothes cannot be super nice, because there is nothing sadder than getting The Bag back to find that your child has outgrown the adorable jeans and polo shirt Grandma sent them for Christmas.

Weather is a concern too. I’m sure some parents remember to change the clothes from shorts to pants and back to shorts as the seasons change, but I am not one of these people. I tend to go for a loose sweatpant/t-shirt combo.

But those sweatpants? They are almost always the reject sweatpants whose pockets pop inside out no matter what I do. That’s sure-fire B-team clothing right there.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

See photos of Jean’s kids in their A-list clothing at Stimeyland. And go to her decluttering blog, The Junk Pyramid, to see the B-team clothes that get thrown out.

Not the First Day I Was Hoping For

Yeah, I was worried about Jack’s first day of school. I was worried that he’d be nervous. I’d was worried that he wouldn’t listen to his teacher. I was even a little worried that he’d tell his class, “Shut up, you fucking monkeys.”

But I still thought he’d make it through the day.

Originally I didn’t want to send him to kindergarten this year. I was afraid he wouldn’t be able to hack it. I wondered if he shouldn’t be placed in a general education classroom, even with supports.

I tortured myself over whether to send him or keep him in preschool for an extra year. Virtually every single person in a position of authority told me he’d do great. Virtually every single person in a position of authority questioned me for questioning whether to send him. Virtually every single person in a position of authority didn’t understand why I said he needed as many supports as he did. Virtually every single person in a position of authority has been telling me I’m wrong about how much help he needs.

But they convinced me—or I convinced myself—that he would be okay. That he was ready for kindergarten. That he would struggle, but that he wouldn’t fail.

I expected to walk to the bus stop today at 3:15 and pick Jack and Sam up. I expected to not get much information about what their days were like. I expected to hear yes and no answers to my eager questions as they ate the chocolate chip cookies Quinn and I made for them.

I didn’t expect to get a phone call from the principal forty-five minutes before school dismissed.

“Jack’s had ups and downs today,” he said, in the kindest of tones. “He’s taking a little break with me in the office right now, but he’s had some problems. He also tried to run a couple of times. We’re a little worried about putting him on the bus.”

He continued; he told me that everything was fine. He told me that there are always a couple of runners. He told me Jack was okay. He suggested that I come get Jack and that we could talk while I was there. He was beyond nice.

I was beyond upset. I was completely heartbroken.

Jack was fine when I picked him up. The principal suggested that we switch things around and leave him in his general ed class in the morning and put him in the special education learning center in the afternoon. He gave me tissues to wipe my tears.

*****

I know this was only the first day and that all kids have trouble adjusting to kindergarten. I know that it will probably get easier for him. I know that it will probably get easier for me.

I know that even if it turns out that he can’t do it, that we will find somewhere for him to be. We’ll find a program that will work for Jack, be it the one he’s in now or a different one.

I know the principal and the staff at his school are willing to work with us and are nicer than I could have hoped for.

I know it’s a long road and that this is just one step.

But it’s just that this is my Jack. And I’m protective of my Jack. And I’m a little raw today.

Cross your fingers (and toes) for him for tomorrow.

*****

Thank you so much to all of you who extended your kindness to me this afternoon. Thank you to H & S, whom I abandoned at playgroup. Thank you to L, for your kind phone call and email. Thank you to my sister, for your thoughtful virtual flowers. Thank you to Alex, for not listening to me when I said you didn’t have to come home early. Thank you to everyone who tweeted back to me. Thank you in advance to you, my community, for the support I know you will give me. All of you mean a lot.

I Have Butterflies

I’ve been sort of avoiding worrying about my guys starting school tomorrow. And by “my guys,” I mostly mean Jack. I’m sure we’ll have some bumps with Sam, but I’m not too worried.

I’m scared shitless about Jack.

Today was their school’s open house. All the kids found out who their teachers are and visited their classrooms. Everyone was so nice. Both Sam and Jack’s teachers are so adorable it almost hurts, and Jack’s support team came by to introduce themselves and to ask how they can best help him.

Jack did great, although he got a little overwhelmed after being dragged around the chaotic school for a couple hours. And he panicked a little bit when he thought I was leaving him.

But he says he’s excited for tomorrow. And he explored his classroom and knows his teacher’s name, and knows what bus he’s supposed to come home on.


He says when he sees kids in his class that he’ll say, “Hi. I’m Jack. Wanna play?”

And his support team knows he’s sneaky and a wanderer. I made sure to tell them that because I don’t want to find the kid wandering around on the main street as I drive by.

I packed their backpacks and lunches tonight. I’ve never done this before, but I wrote cheesy notes and put them on sticky notes in their lunch boxes.

Tomorrow morning we’ll all get in the car and drive the mile and a half to school. I’ll help Jack to his line-up area and Alex will walk Sam and his giant bags of school supplies to his line-up area. I’ll take photos and watch Jack and Sam disappear into the school year.

And then I’ll go home and wait. My heart will be vulnerable.

And I’ll hope that when the bus comes at 3:30, that both Sam and Jack will be on it. And that they’ll be happy. And that they’ll want to go back for 179 more days.

The Sins of My Children

I think it was about 5:10 when I called Alex at work.

“Alex, I just wanted to let you know that I’m not making dinner for your kids. If you’d like them to eat, I suggest that you come home early enough to make something for them.”

I was at the end of my rope. I’d been whined at, ignored by, and forced to clean their hidden, petrified, under-bed banana peels one too many times. I was done for the day.

Some of their sins were due to exhaustion. Quinn fell down and hurt himself then alternated between yelling at me and hugging me for 15 minutes. (“You’re mean; I don’t like you! I love you! You’re the meanest!” [kiss!])

Some of their sins were due to them (at least one of them) being six and apparently going through practice for puberty. Sam is working on a mean scowl and cannot go along with any plan without throwing a fit in the process. And God forbid I change the plan in the middle. That is grounds for up to an hour of tantrums. (If any of you have six-year-olds, I’d like to hear from you that they’re all kind of jerks. Please? I’m really hoping it’s a phase that he’ll grow out of. Immediately.)

Some of their sins I can blame on myself and the movie Madagascar. Just like the lemur king, Jack has starting saying, “Shut up.” Today (in front of company), he followed “shut up” with: “you fucking monkey.” Nice. I did some work convincing him that, “Shush, you silly monkey,” was a better solution. I hope it sticks.

Some of their sins were cumulative. I did a deep clean of their room today. You should be able to see some of the fruits of my labor over the next few days at The Junk Pyramid. The more annoyed I am, the more things I get rid of, it seems. I say this was cumulative, because I hadn’t made Sam crawl under the bed to clean it out for quite some time. All I’m going to say is, if you think American cheese is gross when it’s fresh, wait until it’s been under a bed for a couple of weeks.

I think it’s about time for school to start. We’re all going a little stir crazy. Fortunately, I only have to wait three more days.

DCMM: Summer, I Hardly Knew Thee…

Way back in April, I wrote about how I knew summer was coming (ice cream trucks). Since I wrote that post, school ended, children graduated from various classes, four weeks of preschool camp flashed by, I semi-successfully ran my own camp at my house, went to BlogHer, and went to Wisconsin for two weeks with my family.

That all happened in, like, a second.

And now I think summer is coming to a close. Following are some of the clues that have led me to that conclusion.

* Whereas in May I loved our sand table, now I loathe it. I can’t wait to put it back in the garage. In May, June, and July, you could hear me chastising my children to “Keep the sand in the sand table! Don’t pour that sand out! STOP that IMMEDIATELY! WE’RE GOING INSIDE IF YOU DON’T STOP THAT RIGHT! NOW!” Now I secretly hope that they’ll toss bucketfuls of sand on the ground because once that sand is gone, I can put the sand table away. After all, it’s too late in the season to start a new bag.

* It’s not always warm enough anymore to pull out the wading pool. Which I am also itching to put back in the garage, by the way. (I crave change.)

* We ran out of mosquito repellent.

* Even though I am still probably the only person who wears long pants every day, I feel slightly less ridiculous for doing so. (I wear long pants most days due to psoriasis and pudgy thighs.)

* I’m starting to think I might have delayed too long in using the gift certificate for a pedicure my husband bought for me for Mothers Day. September is still sandal weather, right?

* I’m soon going to have to face the fact that my children don’t have any shoes other than sandals that fit their feet.

* I had to go to two stores,  with two lists totaling 39 items, and spend $80 yesterday to buy school supplies (Clorox wipes? Really?) so my two older sons can attend public school.

* I can almost taste the time to myself that I’m going to get once my kids are in school again.

* I’m feeling like a jerk for telling what feels like dozens of people that we would totally hang out and have a ton of playdates and wading pool parties this summer. Sorry guys. But I swear, we’ll have a ton of fall playdates. (Hangs head in shame.)

* I have found myself saying, “Summer went by really fast this year!” over and over.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Feel free to browse through Jean’s archives at Stimeyland to see what she really spent her summer doing.