Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Biggest Controversy to Ever Hit the Internet

I don't even remember how it first came up, but now it seems that we're going to get a divorce over it.

At some point last night, Alex made the ridiculous claim that cats have arms.

Now, it used to be when Alex and I had these very important disputes about things of this nature, I had to turn to my blog. Now I have twitter. So it happened that I screeched, "I'm going to ask the internet!" and started furiously typing.

He might have still been talking. I vaguely remember hearing words like "hate" and "you" but I was too busy twittering:


Immediately I got the validation I so wanted. Both Lori and Kimberly almost instantly wrote back "4 legs."

Then Kimberly tweeted about a friend of hers trying to find a home for two cats in the NY/NJ area, which gave me the perfect opportunity to respond, "So that would be 8 legs worth of cats, right?"

Lori also followed up with "or whichever you think, b/c i'm on your side," which was nice, but unnecessary because logic and science had dictated that she had already made the correct choice.

Because arms? On a cat? That's absolutely ridiculous.

Which is why I was so disappointed when Navi came up with the answer "um... both." I told her that I would tell Alex that he got half a vote. (I didn't tell him though. 'Cause I'm a bitch that way.) Then, because she was actually working at a library at the time, Navi went ahead and did further research for me. She claims that the following backs up her answer:


I say that "the forelimb of a vertebrate" is clearly defined as "corresponding to an arm"—not in fact an arm, for which the first definition is "a HUMAN upper limb."

I repeat: a human upper limb. I think even Alex would be hard pressed to make a case for a cat being a human.

From there, the dissent got worse. Magpie made the outrageous claim of, "2 arms, 2 legs on a cat. in my house, anyway," followed seconds later by another tweet: "But, we haven't any cats anymore..."

Of course at this point I made the assholish comment, "Is it because you made them do chores with their arms and opposable thumbs? Oh, wait! They don't have either of those." In reality, the reason she doesn't have cats anymore is probably a lot sadder than forced window washing, which is probably why I didn't hear from her for the rest of the night and why she's probably having papers drawn up right now to blog friend divorce me.

Do you see how terrible things come out of these controversies?

Then, news came in that I'd destroyed another marriage with my controversy. Wife and Mommy twittered: "The Husband and I just disagreed...I say four legs. He says two arms two legs. Now our marriage may depend on the right answer." Fortunately, Carrie of myterrific2some has a more reasonable husband. Both members of that couple agreed: 4 legs.

Then Joeymom, who apparently has had some bad experiences with cats wrote, "Cats have four legs. Unless they are attacking you." I'd love to hear that story. If it's as good as the turkey attack, I'll laugh really hard.

KerryInMaine based her reply solely on the evidence she had observed: "It depends on the cat, of course, but all the cats I've ever met have had 4 legs, no arms." Maybe she never met Magpie's cats.

I thought the matter was all settled and then I went to bed. But like all good controversies, this one continues. I woke up this morning to this persuasive tweet from Chef Kate: "not sure if you got your answer, but legs attach to hips and arms attach to shoulder blades, so 2 legs and 2 arms"

Dammit.

I close with conflicting evidence from Kerry. Kerry had originally answered with the very correct response "4 legs," and then later, "I'm pretty sure that the term '4 legged' is always applied to cats," but when I checked my email this morning, I found this:

"When the cops arrived, and told the cat to put his arms in the air,
he complied. So maybe they do have arms."

Clearly this is far from over.

And, yes, this is pretty much the kind of thing that Alex and I chat about. It's like we're 10-year-olds. I'm glad to see that the rest of you who are tweeting on a Friday night are just as infantile as us.

So now, I turn the controversy over to you, dear blogosphere. Just remember that Alex never gave you nothin'.*


* I'm not sure I've ever given you anything either, but let's try not to remember that.


p.s. Magpie, come back!!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Day

I knew I liked this new president of ours. President Obama bitched about the snow closures the other day, just like I did all over Twitter on Tuesday night.

But then all the DC people came down on him saying that he shouldn't talk about DC like that. To this, I have to say: Grow a sense of humor, people. And also? If I was pissed that I had to take a day off of my stay at home momming to take care of my kids on a snow day, imagine how annoying it must be if you're the president and your kids keep running into the Oval Office asking if they can go play in the snow.

Okay, that's out of my system. I was annoyed by the snow closure on Tuesday because, c'mon, there were two inches of snow. My grass is taller than the snow. (My neighbors' grasses are shorter than the snow, but that's another post entirely.)

But yesterday, Wednesday? I fully support that snow closure day. My kids and I walked around the corner, up a short hill, and across a street to play with friends. We almost didn't make it. The street was a fucking sheet of ice.


Quinn fell down trying to cross the road, so I went out to save him and promptly got stuck, not having the momentum to move forward or backward. I tried to move my feet, but they just skidded around and then I fell down too. Eventually I got us across the street without being hit by a car and we went sledding in my friend's backyard.


It is so a hill. (I know. When she invited me over to sled in her backyard, I was like, "But your backyard is flat, dumbass." But it turns out that there is actually a slight incline perfect for small children. And it dead ends into a fence, so there's something there to stop them. You know, all abruptly like.)

Quinn recovered from his street crossing trauma a little once we got there, but he did look a little bit like a yokel because I was only able to find one mitten for him that morning. Never fear though! Stimey is nothing if not creative. What the hell else are socks for?


After the kids tired of ice sliding, we went inside and I guest decluttered my friend L's house. We worked on her kitchen, where I helped her declutter her crafts cabinet. Excited about all things crafty, she showed me her bead stash, which her three-year-old daughter promptly dropped all over the floor.


Have you ever picked up sixteen thousand beads?

It's totally awesome. Look at L's dog, Luke. For a second he thought that he'd hit the motherlode in terms of small, brightly colored treats. I think he might have eaten a couple of them.

We finally left poor L in peace and walked home. Again, we almost didn't make it. I'd had to cancel a lunch date where I was going to meet Thrift Store Mama for the first time. I was really sad, but I think it was the right decision. I don't know that we would have made it there alive. I eventually had to put Quinn on our sled and push him home. He just couldn't maintain verticality.

Thinking I had done the lion's share of my parenting for the day, I made lunch, then I put on The Jungle Book for my kids and sat down to rest. Shortly thereafter the doorbell rang. It was Jack's other friend from up the street and her just barely four-year-old brother. They wanted to play.

I didn't.

At some point I realized that there was no parent around and I asked if their mom or dad knew they were there. The little girl told me that not only was her mom at work, but that she had pinkeye too.

I took a step back, studied the little girl's eyes and asked if her dad knew they were at my house. She cheerfully told me no.

Seems like a problem.

I made her go tell her dad where they were. By this time Sam was involved and there was no way I was going to get away with sending this little girl away. I guess it was worth it, what with all the positive social interaction that Jack got out of it.

I took this photo right before E tackled Jack in a bear hug.
Also, see how the grass is taller than the snow?

So that's our ice day right there. As I write this, I'm waiting for the two-hour school opening delay to pass, so I can finally pass my children off to the school officials who are supposed to be taking care of them on Thursdays.

Although if you have an anxiety-ridden child, a two-hour delay may make them think that they are going to school from 10:50 p.m. to 3:05 a.m. *coughSamcough* Then, once you convince him that school will start at 10:50 a.m., he will remain convinced that he has to go to school until 3 in the morning and he will be concerned that he will be too tired. (Thinking of you here too, M.)

Ironically, the roads seem to be worse today than they were on Tuesday, when school was closed. I hope it's easier to drive on the roads than to walk on them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Indulge Me, If You Will

I don't know what it is, but I love all things zombie.


At least they supply good advice. (Zombies freeze in cold climates.)


Those responsible for warning us of the end of civilization as we know it are, as of yet, still uncaught. They are presumably driving north from Austin, Texas.


I imagine George Romero is laughing somewhere.

Wordless Wednesday: Cold


More Wordless Wednesday.

*****

Also, if you are so inclined to do such a thing, I've been nominated by the beautiful and alluring Jessica of A Parent in Silver Spring for the Scholastic Mom Blog Awards. If you are so inclined, I wouldn't be totally averse to you nominating me also. Or, nominate Jessica, or your own favorite mom blogger!

Wisdom from Jessica, via twitter: "Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go EVERYWHERE." I love her more every day.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's a Shovel Day!

They're not snow days around here. For some reason, when my kids see snow, they immediately want to find a shovel (or the plastic hoe they improvised with for a while today) and scrape snow off of every raised surface they can find.

It's a little hit or miss right now, but when they're teenagers, it's going to be awesome.

Sam, whilst shoveling the patio table:


Quinn, just prior to shoveling the slide with his ass:


Jack, shoveling angel-shaped images onto the lawn:


Okay, so it's not all shoveling all the time. But, really, Sam's first response to the snow was, "I want a shovel! We have shovels in the garage!" And then they spent an hour or so shoveling the backyard grass. It happens every time it snows.

Then our neighbors popped in, and Sam and his 5-year-old buddy shoveled our front sidewalk. Sam's judgment isn't completely developed yet though; I looked up at one point and saw him shoveling a path into the street. I had to put the hammer down on him for that one. Then they started shoveling our neighbor's driveway, which...nice, but what about my driveway?

*****

Gratuitous photo of the dog, who was maybe happier to see snow than anyone.


*****

Oh, and two more snow related things:

1. I don't get why the school district has to cancel school because it's softly snowing.

2. Now that it's snowed once, I'm done. I'm happy to welcome spring and shorts and t-shirt weather. I'm done with winter.

3. 2(a). Thank you for letting me post photos of my kids in the snow. I have to do that at least once a year. I'm done now. Except for maybe tomorrow.

4. 2(b). Tomorrow better not be a snow day. I can't take another day of my children cooped up in my home. They've been home since Saturday and I'm ready to send 'em back to school.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Marvelous Monday, Terrible Tuesday

Jack used to have therapies three afternoons a week. He went to his social skills group on Monday, speech therapy on Tuesday, and occupational therapy on Wednesday. His social skills group (hereafter referred to as "group" because it's easier) and speech are at the same office, which is, incidentally, a gajillion miles away.

We recently were able to move Jack's speech therapy over to Mondays before group, so now Mondays are a really long day for Jack, but all the little dudes get to have more time not being dragged places.

There's another benefit too. See, on Tuesdays I was the mom who always told the other moms that we didn't need anything from the vending machine, but whose kids would attack the bags of Doritos the other children brought back from the vending machines. I was also the mom of the kid who would come out of his speech session and immediately grab any unheld bags of snacks and start eating. And spilling.

On Mondays, none of the other parent go to the vending machines. (So I'm allowed to starve my children in peace, thank you very much.) There seem to be fewer people in the waiting room, and there are definitely fewer siblings, making for a much calmer waiting time.

I think most of the problem was that on Tuesdays, the people there all had kids who had been in the same social skills group for months. Their waiting room culture was well established. I was the bumbling newcomer.

On Mondays, I fit in better. Instead of being the free-loading snack-stealer, I'm the witty mom who charms everyone by shouting out, "It's a speech therapy miracle!" after the whole waiting room worked together to find Sam white out and a pencil so he could fix his math homework.

Seriously.

It was charming at the time. I know it sounds a little buffoonish now.

Oh, jeez.

Am I the buffoonish mom who embarrasses everyone by screaming about miracles on Mondays?

Maybe I need the social skills group.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Insanaerobics (Updated)

Do any of your children suddenly, inexplicably fall in love with an item, centering their irrational little worlds around it for a day or two or a week, and take it to the looniest possible extreme until, with no warning, they suddenly couldn't care less and they're on to the next insane thing?

Does that make sense? Okay, an example.

Say your smallest and most insane child, let's call him...oh, I don't know...Quinn, watches you empty out a toy box. While you are putting away the things that used to be in the toy box, this child, this fictional "Quinn" decides he wants to do a normal toddler thing like play in the toy box.


Then, when you move it into the living room on its way to a new location in the house, he spends pretty much the rest of the day in it.

Then, at night, he refuses to go to sleep, crying, crying, crying, and asking, asking, asking, "Can I sleep in the box?!" until you give in and this lunatic situation occurs:


And then the next day he forgets that the box ever existed, even though you keep forgetting to move it to the basement.

You're not familiar with this type of behavior? Well how about another example? This time we'll use...oh, say, a youngster named Qbert.

To understand this example, you'll have to know that Qbert and his brothers use toothbrushes shaped like crayons that have little suction cups on their ends. Like these:


Qbert's mom may have been dumb enough to buy several extras of these toothbrushes in front of Qbert. Qbert, having been assigned the yellow toothbrush, will first decide that the toothbrushes in the package (two to a container) are very exciting, and take it to preschool with him, where he will show every adult and child he finds that he has TOOTHBRUSHES! IN A PACKAGE! ONE IS DARK BLUE AND ONE IS LIGHT BLUE!

Oh, and by the way, Qbert will never again agree to hold a yellow toothbrush. He will insist on using a light blue toothbrush. Qbert's mom will completely fold agree to his demand request.

Regardless, Qber— you know what? Fuck this. QUINN will scale the walls of the bathroom to locate the hidden packages of toothbrushes in their various cabinets. He will take them out of their packages and triumphantly bring them into me well after bedtime, excitedly proclaiming, "I took these out! That's great, right?!"

Jackass.

And so on. Seriously, I was going to continue this story through the episodes tonight when he found other toothbrushes and demanded more praise for flagrantly disobeying me again, but I think you get the point.

Edited to Add: THIS!!!

Evidently Quinn was busy after bedtime.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Social Media Has Quite Literally Changed My Life

You probably all know how much I love blogging and how much the community I have found online means to me. I know that many of you feel the same way. But I honestly have reached a point where I cannot imagine what my life would be like now had I not found social media when I did. I am absolutely sure that it would be extremely different than it is now.

I started thinking about this while attending Hands on Kirtsy DC, which was presented by Laurie from Kirtsy and Amie, a.k.a. MammaLoves. The evening was great. Laurie and Amie talked about Kirtsy, Twitter, and Flickr, and the social networking possibilities that lay within them.

Jessica, who writes the amazing DC-area resource A Parent in Silver Spring, drove me and Kim from Passion and Art to the Metro where we braved night-before-inauguration public transportation to travel to Rosslyn and our social media friends—old and new. Among some others, Sarah, Devra, Robin, Joanne, and Laurie were there.

My original reason for going was because I adore Amie, and I was hoping to get some time to hang out with her and my other blogging buddies. What I got was some food for thought. (And shut in a Metro train door, but that's because I tried—successfully, mind you—to board a packed train at Metro Center at midnight the night before President Obama took office.)

My main avenues of social media are the blogs I write for and Twitter. I've recently started using StumbleUpon, and after Laurie's presentation, I'm going to hop on board Kirtsy too, because it's a cool thing.

Some of the people at the Hands on Kirtsy event were pretty new to social media, so those of us who had been involved longer were talking about what it had meant to us. Blogging takes a beating in the larger media. The most sure-fire way to get laughed at seems to be to tell people that you blog. But I am here to tell you that both my life and my family's life—more specifically, Jack's life—wouldn't be at the level it is now without it.

You probably know that I started blogging at about the same time I started thinking that Jack might be autistic. I started exploring the online autism world where some of the first special needs blogs I read were by MOM-NOS and JoeyMom. Autism Hub and the bloggers there gave me a lot of insight into the positive things that could come out of Jack's autism. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and angry that we had been hit with autism, I started to explore ways to work with it.

I did also find a lot of scary infighting among the autism community, and it scared and confused the everloving hell out of me, but even that was informative.

The way I look at Jack and his autism is directly related to those early days of poking around in the social networking world of blogging.

Then I entered the world not just of autism, but special education and how to deal with school districts. Again, I got support from the network I'd started to build, but better than that, I also got advice. All of my readers gave me much-needed support, but some of them gave me very specific advice. That advice gave me a starting point to learn and educate myself about the issues. I don't know that I would have been able to advocate in the manner that I have without that advice.

There have been times that I haven't felt confident in my knowledge, and all of you reassured me. There have been times that I have been destroyed by something that happened at school and you all pulled me together. There was a memorable experience when I didn't want to blog about the incident, but did put out a tweet on Twitter that began something like, "Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuckerson," and I had several of my online friends immediately check in to see what was going on and if I were okay.

Even though I shed many tears on days like that, kind messages and thoughts from my social media friends kept me from feeling all alone.

I found the attorney I worked with on Jack's most recent IEP through a blog and twitter friend, Jodi. Without Jodi and the lawyer she helped me find, Jack might not be getting the support he needs at school. Without the specific advice and support I have gotten from all of you, Jack would not be getting the support he needs at school.

And now, I am embarking on a professional tangent that has arisen nearly directly from things and attitudes I have learned from my online social network. I'll be working with that attorney to professionally advocate for other parents who need help with their special education problems. The more I think about this opportunity (this opportunity that is closer than two degrees of separation from social media), the more excited I am.

I can't wait to do the research and training I need to do in order to do this kind of work. I can't wait to not just do work, but do work that really helps people. This work, this opportunity, has sprung forth from a path that would not have been laid without social media.

So next time someone laughs at you for blogging or makes fun of twitter, or the next time someone tells you that a friend you've only met online isn't a "real" friend, or the next time someone comments that you're wasting your time because you're not making money on your site, remember that social media matters. In a very, very real way, social media matters.

******

I know for a fact that I am not the only one whose life has literally been changed by blogging, twittering, and online networking. Do you have a story about how online social media has had a literal impact on your life? Let me know in the comments or write your own post on it and give me the link. If enough of you are interested, I'll put together a summary post sometime next week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Today Was a Good Day for America

Congratulations, President Obama.

That sounds good, doesn't it?

The idea for the following images of hope for the future was shamelessly stolen from Jordan.





Obamicon yourself.

Monday, January 19, 2009

DCMM: Top 10 Reasons I'm Not Going Anywhere Near Washington, DC, on Inauguration Day

10. I have three small children, who will be too short to see anything if I were to drag them down to the Mall. And too whiny. I'm not all that interested in listening to, "I'm bored. Where is Barack Obama? I can't seeeeeee!" for several hours.

9.Weather reports for Tuesday in DC mention words like "frostbite" and "hypothermia." And even though the 9 a.m. temperature is forecast to be a balmy 23 degrees, the words underneath that number on the website I visited say, "feels like 11 degrees."

8. Even if I went all the way to DC, I would probably still end up watching the inauguration on TV—just the JumboTron version.

7. It would cost me an arm and a leg to get my family to the inauguration. And that's if I could get them to stand in line long enough to pay a vendor a gajillion dollars for a pretzel and a bottle of water.

6. If you are going anywhere near the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route or Capitol grounds, you're not allowed to take things like umbrellas, thermoses, backpacks, or strollers. (Or guns, fireworks, and mace, but those are things I don't carry anyway.) Evidently things such as coolers, strollers, and backpacks will be allowed at the National Mall.

5. The Metro, which would be how I would get to DC from uncrowded suburban Maryland, will be packed. Parking lots will be closed, lines will be long. Train cars will be stuffed full. Because everyone will be bundled up in every piece of warm clothing they own, there will be a lot of sweat.

4. Getting home on the Metro will take hours and hours and hours. Some escalators won't be running so that riders aren't shoved onto platforms that can't accomodate them. It's one thing to be on a packed train on the way to an exciting event. It's quite another to be on a packed train on the way home from such an event. It is far less fun.

3. Inauguration Day will be "the largest temporary restroom event in the history of the United States." Yeah. I'm not going anywhere near that situation. Because check this math: up to 2 million people > 5,000 port-a-potties.

2. At least two of my kids are runners. I don't want to end up on the news because I'm the Lady Who Lost Her Kids on Inauguration Day.

1. I have my own front row seat to history. My TV is going to be on all day. My kids and I are going to celebrate from our own warm, comfy vantage point. We're going to listen to every word Barack Obama says. And we are going to experience history in our own way.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Jean blogs at Stimeyland. You can also follow her on Twitter. And you'd better believe she'll be a-twittering away on Tuesday!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Martin!

As far as autism-inspired obsessions go, I suppose Martin Luther King is a good topic to love. You should have seen Jack's face yesterday when he saw a commercial that featured a drawing of MLK. His face lit up and he shouted, "It's Martin! I saw Martin!"

Martin is Jack's new best friend.

Jack is really interested in King and his birthday, so we celebrated MLK Day today with cake and some activities.

We started by watching King's "I Have a Dream" speech on CNN. I think it gets more incredible every time I watch it.


My kids were a little baffled, but we talked about why he was saying what he was saying and what it meant. I figure that as long as they are continually exposed to things like this, it doesn't matter that they understand it all the first time.

Then Sam asked me if I was black.

We moved on to coloring the pictures I downloaded off the internet yesterday.


I was a little bit sad that no one wanted to color my favorite page:


Apparently my kids like their civil rights leaders less adorable than I do. Sam very patiently colored in every part of his non-adorable, but very stately picture.


Jack and Quinn worked equally hard, but in a different way. Jack's is on the top, Quinn's on the bottom:


Jack started coloring with his chosen black Sharpie, which is his writing implement of choice for everything. Sam took one look at what Jack was doing and said, "Jack! What they mean by 'black' is that they have brown skin!"

Following coloring, we sang happy birthday to Martin and ate some cake. All three kids helped blow out the candles.


I decided to see what my guys had absorbed from school, what I told them, CNN, and, you know, the coloring sheets.

Quinn was evidently at someone else's party because his response was, "I don't know. I like to draw one and two and three and four." I'm letting him get away with it this year because he's three, but next year he'd better have some wise words about racial equality.

Jack had paid attention. He told us that King "gave speeches with books and won a peace medal." Nice work, Jack.

Sam wins the award for most complete summary: "He was a great man and he went all around the country doing speeches. And he had a hotel, but one time when he stepped out, he died, because someone shot him."

Sam wants to know if we can have a Martin Luther King, Jr. party every year. I think we can. But I'm not sure I want to teach my kids about the concept of civil disobedience for a while. That would only lead to revolution in Stimeyland.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

One Conversation About Three Things

Quinn and I attended the birthday party of one of his classmates today. There were games, friends, snacks, goody bags, and a piƱata. A few hours later in the car, Alex asked Quinn how the party was.

Quinn, without missing a beat: "It was great. Candy fell on my head."

*****

Listening to us talk about the birthday party, Jack asked, "Do I have a party?" I answered that he didn't. He followed up with, "Does Martin?" I asked if Martin was in his class at school.

He said, "No. Martin Luther King."

So now we're having a birthday party for Martin on Monday. I'm serving cake.

Jack spontaneously said, "I want to give speeches." (Which, gah!? You might realize that this is an amazing want for Jack to express.)

Then, Alex: "What did Martin Luther King give speeches about?"

Jack: "His dreams."

Yes, he did, Jack.

*****

Then Sam piped up with, "Do you know what is special about Barack Obama?"

Stimey: "Is it that he's the first African-American president?"

Sam: "He's the first black president! C'mon! You should have thought of that!"

Then this amazing conversation concluded with some wise words from Sam: "Being different is great!"

I'm going to hold him to that.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seeing Jack

Alternatively titled: "Oh My God, How Cute Was Jack as a Toddler?!?!"

I've spent so much time thinking about Jack and when he might have first exhibited signs of his autism. I find it so difficult to remember when he did what and whether it was a sign of his autism. Part of that is because time has muddied the water and it's hard for me to see all the way back.

Part of it is also that I had three children in the space of three and a half years (Jack being the middle), so there was a good chance that I was doing a little sleepwalking during the first few of Jack's years.

I remember specific things. I remember that he always would play happily by himself, amusing himself with his toys, instead of needing my attention all the time. I remember that he didn't try to show things to us; he didn't seem to need to share experiences. I remember that he didn't point, and when he finally started to, it was with his thumb.

I also remember some beautiful eye contact, super cuddles, and giggly tickling.

Today I was going through some old photos. When I was looking at photos from Jack's early toddlerhood, I kept trying to remember if we had suspected the Jack in the picture of being autistic. I know all the dates of when we had him evaluated and when we got him diagnosed, but I look at early photos and wonder if that Jack's mom had started to wonder about how quiet he was.

Now, when I look at the photos, I see things in very young Jack that I see in five-year-old Jack. I see things that very young Jack's mom didn't see.

I see an intense and prolonged interest in certain toys, books, and pictures that extended past what other kids his age had.


I see awkward finger postures that have gotten more obvious to me as he's aged.



I see him staring into space in a manner that I now recognize as his being deep in his own thoughts, or overwhelmed, or both.


I see him seeking tactile stimulation in a way that many parents would consider inappropriate.


I see bits of his autism peeking out of the corners of these photos. But I also wonder how important seeing those bits is. I think that maybe it is more important to see my beautiful, loving, autistic, adorable little guy.


Because is there anything more important than that?

Cross posted at Trusera.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Resolution and How I'm Kicking the Shit Out of It

Keep in mind that I considered the new year to have begun on Monday, January 5.

My resolution this year is to participate in some sort of exercise activity every day. I know that's completely unreasonable, but it's way more doable than previous years where I decided that on January 1st I would morph into a fiscally responsible, properly eating, steadily exercising, perfect parent. I decided to take it down a notch.

Actually I had to take it up a notch from last year when I didn't have any resolutions, based on the abject failure of the years before. Then I listened to a story on NPR about how people who make resolutions are guaranteed to lose 20 pounds by January 15, and I decided to sign on.

Or maybe it said that about half of the people who make resolutions are successful. Or something. I don't know. I wasn't paying that much attention because I was driving through the McDonald's drive-thru at the time.

Regardless, I decided to make a reasonable, quantifiable resolution: exercise every day. That exercise can be as simple as playing tetherball with my kids or as strenuous as running a half marathon, something I'm hoping to work up to—if not in the first half of 2009, then definitely in the second half.

Y'all know I'm starting by hula hooping my way to fitness with my Wii and Wii Fit. Alex and I have tennis grudge matches in our TV room late at night. The other day I fell over an ottoman reaching for a particularly swift return by Alex. I also bought My Fitness Coach for the Wii, and the sadistic animatronic trainer is kicking my ass five days a week. (Well, three times so far, but the new year only started five days ago—according to my fuzzy math, at least.)

This is all well and good, but you know that my post can't be all smiles and sunshine, right? Stimey has to bitch about something, right? Hell, yeah, she does.

We all know that the Wii Fit has already called me fat and humiliates me daily by calculating my BMI and then dramatically changing the thin Mii figure into a chubby Stimey, but the other day it also insulted me in terms of my marriage.

It asked me how Alex's posture was looking. And when I said I didn't know, it told me this:


Really, Wii?! Since when did you take Alex's side? Is this because he's better at Wii tennis than I am? And you know, if you'd mentioned this on a week that Alex didn't get home from work at 10 p.m. every night, I might have been more sympathetic.

As it was, it took everything I had to not throw my remote at the TV. Thank God for those little wrist straps.

And then, to cross even further into odd-things-your-workout-equipment-cares-about territory, it asked this:


Okaaaaaay.

And I don't even know what the stupid Wii is talking about because here is actual photographic evidence of Alex and I paying attention to each other.


And if I could make a Mii dog, you'd better believe I'd be staring it down right now.

On a side note (see how I did that), we used to have a rottweiler who badly wanted to be dominant over me. That's a scary battle to try to win. But win I did. Our current dog Cassidy also tried to wage that battle with the rottweiler. She did not win. But she was a total jerkapotamous while trying to upset the dog hierarchy.

On even more of a side note, did you know that if you add "apotamous" to almost any word, it's really funny? Dogapotamous. Carapatomous. Alexapotamous. Hippopotamous.

Where was I?

Oh, right, the Wiiapotamous. And the resolutionapotamous.

Okay, it doesn't work for four-syllable words.

I'm sure I'll have setbacks in my exercise every day plan, but I'm okay with that. I'm not going to let it defeat me. 2009 is going to be The Year That Stimey Got Fit Again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mother of the Year, Part IV

We all know that Sam rocks the casbah. He's such a good kid. Even after being home two days this week, he was all studied up enough to get ten out of ten on his spelling test.

I couldn't even remember to write him a note to excuse his absence.

I had to scrawl it on scrap paper as I was approaching the school for drop off. (This isn't even the mother of the year stuff yet. I'm just setting the stage for how Sam is such a good kid, you'd have to be a terrible monster to let him down.)

I spent the morning with Quinn at preschool and was feeling pretty darn proud of myself at 3:15 for having managed to get him to nap after school even though he hadn't fallen asleep in the car. (He generally doesn't nap unless he falls asleep in the car. Then I can carry him anywhere.)

My enthusiasm for my parenting awesomeness in getting Quinn to sleep was not tempered by the fact that I also napped. I still thought I was awesome.

And then I went to pick my children up from the bus and saw kids getting off the bus waving certificates and I remembered that Sam's Wall of Fame ceremony was today and I not only completely forgot about it, but I slept through it.

After I gave everyone a snack, I sat down in front of Sam and told him I was sorry for not being there. He asked me why I wasn't there and I had to tell him that I forgot and I was really sorry.

And then he said this:

"When I was eating, I thought, 'Hmmm, Mom's not here,' and then when I was throwing my trash away, I looked around and thought, 'Hmmm, I was right.'"

And then he shrugged and moved on. And I died a little inside.

Please, feel free to celebrate my awesomeness any way you would like.

******

Part I, Part II, and Part III. Part III is a doozy.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Get Ready For Some Cute

But first, the not cute.

Jesus Christ, I think I liked photos of me taken with my old, less crystal clear camera more.

This is me, looking at the cute.

And this is the cute:


Last fall sometime (September? October?) there was a book fair at Jack's school. The one thing he wanted to buy was a Build a Book Kit.

We thought it was a little weird because he doesn't consistently like to draw, or at least he didn't until recently. We offered all kinds of other options to see if he wanted something else, but he insisted he wanted the Build a Book Kit. And he insisted that the book be about a cat.

We bought it for him and then never found a time to work on it with him. I would remember about it at inopportune times and then forget about it when it was a good time to work on it. And if you've ever read Stimeyland, you might be aware that Jack is the kind of kid that (a) has to be in the mood to work on something, and (b) will never just pipe up and say, "Hey, I want to work on that Build a Book Kit you bought me four months ago." Sam would. Jack would not.

So when I asked Jack if he wanted to work on it, and he said yes, I was really happy. Partly to work on an activity with Jack, but mostly just to get the goddamn thing done so it wasn't hanging over my head anymore.

When Jack is interested in something, he will work on it diligently and steadfastly until it is done. He was interested in this.

See how diligent and steadfast?

He made up the whole story by himself. I helped him spell some of the words, but he came up with the story and the pictures and design all by himself. I'm pretty proud of him. And really: the cute, the cute, oh my God, the cute.

I now present My Cat, written by 100 and illustrated by 1 [with commentary by Stimey]

Don't let the pseudonyms fool you;
"100" and "1" are both Jack.

On to Chapter 1.

"There is only one chapter," said Jack. And it goes like this:

"Chapter 1
123 the cat was hiding
under my bed"

If you've not been to my house, you wouldn't know this, but that is actually a pretty accurate rendition of Jack's bunk bed and dresser. See the cat under the bed? Jack laughed when he drew that.

Next page:

"1 day my cat
gose [goes] out the door!"

Jack initially left off the ending punctuation. I asked him if he wanted to add a period. Apparently it is exclamation point worthy.

I think the next page might be my favorite because of the drawing. Again, Jack laughed when he drew it.

"he went
Back in"

Apparently not exclamation point worthy.

Then Jack finally made use of the piles of foam pieces and glue and googly eyes that were provided with the kit. He made this picture, then pointed at the dog and said, "It looks like her!" (Or maybe "him." His pronouns aren't the best.)

The circles with the googly eyes are "shooters."
I don't know, don't ask me.
I just hope our real dog isn't armed.

The last page is a little confusing. Jack did finish using the entire bag of googly eyes because, you know, googly eyes are cool. I think he might have said that he (the tall figure) and the dog (that's his/her leg to the right there) were playing a target game.

Jack carefully drew a dog next to the hand and then scribbled it out before drawing the dog leg. He said, "The dog is disappearing then I had to buy him again."

Every book needs an author photo, so...


And then, because he hadn't melted my heart enough, and impressed me by working straight through for a good half hour or so, he wrote me a note.


"Dear Mom I ♥ you ♥ me

Remember a couple days ago when I said that you and your support solidify me? This turns me back into goo. But the good kind of goo.

*****

The quote that made up the title for my last post came from the Simpsons episode when Lisa gets high from drinking Duff Gardens river water.