Monday, November 30, 2009

Teaser

Yeah, sure. There's no way this is going to end badly.


I'm having flashbacks to the ants already.

If you weren't around for the Great Ant Debacle of Aught Eight, you can catch up with the following links:

I, For One, Welcome Our Insect Overlords

Anthology of Interest I (scroll past the first couple of (non)interesting tidbits)

Prison Break

The Ants are Free!

Wherein Stimey Acts Even Crazier Than Usual

The main difference between these tadpoles and those ants, I think, is that tadpole corpses (or, lordy, FROG corpses) will be harder to get rid of.

I Hate That Auto-Bitch

My phone isn't working—not the iPhone, which we all know has had some issues recently as well—but my land line. It stopped working somewhere around last Tuesday or Wednesday. It would ring once and then nothing. I could still make calls, but no one could call me. Which, I'm going to be perfectly honest, has its benefits.

Then at some point it worked enough so that if you got to the phone right after it rang that first time, you could talk to whomever was calling.

"Well, just carry the phone around with you," was Alex's Mr. Fixit response when I asked if he could work on getting the thing fixed.

"Thanks a lot, asshole," might have been my response to that.

A couple of lazy days later, and Alex waited the phone into submission. It started working again. We could call, people could call us, everything was great. We don't know why, but who the hell really cares, right?

Until this morning when the phone reverted back to I-Hate-Stimey mode and stopped working. So *I* called the phone company (thanks for nothing, Alex) and ended up deep in conversation with the Autobot—you know, the computer voice that interprets your answers and tells you to fuck off and fix your own damn phone without ever having to let you talk to a human being? (Who would tell you the same thing anyway.)

And, yes, I know that the Autobots are from the Transformers and that the nice lady who recorded the messages is not from the planet Cybertron (or Hasbro-ville), but Autobot was a lot nicer than Auto-Bitch, which is what I almost went with.

I somehow managed to fuck up the first call which ended with the Autobot assuring me that I might have trouble ordering pay-per-view and that they were aware of the problem and then she hung up on me.

After I called back, stopped muttering, and very clearly started speaking, she seemed to get me a little bit better. As an aside, I wonder if they teach the speech recognition software to listen based on human speech tinged with barely concealed impatience and annoyance. Because that is the only way I have ever spoken to an Auto-Lady.

The fact that she started each of her sentences with "GREAT!" didn't help.

Basically, what she came up with was, "Your phone line is fine," "You should check your home equipment," and "Do you want me to walk you through checking your equipment step by step, dumbass?"

Naturally, being the dumbass I am, I asked for help. She told me there were four steps to check my equipment and that they were as follows:

1. "Make sure the battery unit has power." I know right where to check for this because it's the place where the incessant alarm beeping happens for seven hours when the power goes out for a long time. But I did learn that there is a "Silence Alarm" button on the thing. That would have been useful last time the power went out for a day and the dog spent several hours cringing at the beeping.

2. "You need to check your equipment. Pretend you have four phones. Unplug 1st phone, blah, blah, blah..." (Here's my question: how can I test the phone when it's unplugged? I guess I should pay more attention to Autobot.)

3. "Unplug the 2nd phone, blah, blah, blah..." (At this point I started questioning Autobot's four-point system. This seems way more like a 2.1 or a 2(b). Also, I didn't find the answer to my question after 2.0/2(a).)

4. Unplug the 3rd phone, blah, blah, blah...the problem is with the first phone."

Hmmmmm...

I think I should have paid more attention to the blah blahs. Evidently it wasn't as simple as I thought.

But because I didn't want to seem dumb in front of Autobot, I nodded, told her I didn't need anything repeated, let her log my issue, and told her I would call her back if steps 1-4 didn't work for me.

And she said, "Thanks for calling Verizon! Goodbye."

And I said goodbye.

Because I am an idiot. And she'd hung up on me even before I managed to get the word out, so basically, I was saying goodbye to an automated voice after that voice was no longer even on the line. I'm pathetic.

And you still can't call me.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Quinn's Turkey
Even the turkey seems to know Quinn put the feathers on...weirdly.



Jack's Turkey
Made of Oreos and candy corn!



Sam's Turkeys
Plentiful and stubbly!



Alex's Turkey
Why, yes, he does cook!



Stimey's Turkey
And I'm thankful for him!


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Lie

Today, after he got home from school, one of the first things out of Sam's mouth was, "Is Santa Claus real?"

I casually walked him a little distance away from his brothers and asked him why he was asking.

"Some of the fifth graders on the bus were talking about it," he said.

"Do you think he's real?" I asked.

"Yes," he answered.

"Me too," I said.

And that was it. Well, except for what seems to be the seed of an elaborate plan to somehow catch Santa in the act this Christmas Eve complete with instructions to "tell Dad not to go in the living room on Christmas Eve, and you too. And I'll tell the brothers not to go in there unless they have to get to the bathroom."

I'm curious as to what he's planning. I'm worried that it may involve snares.

Part of me thinks it adorable and sweet and a sign of his impending maturity. And the other part is all "Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck." I vividly remember reading Maria's post last year about how she never started the whole Santa myth with her daughters and incredulously thinking, "You can DO that? Why didn't someone tell me that eight years ago?"

Because, honestly, I want to come clean. But I'm in too deep. The lies have stacked upon the lies and now it's not just Sam believing in Santa Claus, but it's Quinn believing in the Easter Bunny and it's Jack believing that a giant tooth called the Tooth Fairy leaves him money under his pillow when parts of his body fall out.

I wanted to be all flat-out, "No, Sam. Santa Claus is not real. We made him up because that is what the whole damn world does, and it's fun and please don't wreck it for your brothers or your classmates, and it's okay, just because we lied about that doesn't mean you can't trust us, and Santa is really more the spirit of Christmas and the embodiment of our love for you than an actual person, so really he does exist, right? But, no, he's not real."

But I didn't say that because I didn't really want to snap his little heart into sixteen pieces five minutes before I had to drag the whole family out of the house to go to Jack's speech therapy.

Anyway, before I ask to hear your stories of Santa and the devastation he wreaks on the 8- to 10-year-old set, I leave you with this awesome response to my tweet about the conversation I had with Sam:

I love twitter.

So, bring 'em on. I wanna hear your stories of The Lie and the devastation that followed. (Or is coming. Because, yeah, it's coming. You can almost feel it, huh? It's like a 500-pound reindeer lightly pressing his left front hoof on one of your shoulders and you just know the other 499 pounds are going to come down on you soon. And at an inopportune time. Oh...it's coming.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can Wii Have Fun? Yes, Wii Can!

I have been fortunate to be able to attend many blogging events in the past couple of years, but I've never been the one who gets to actually host one before. But in my new capacity as a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast with Brand About Town (see bottom of the post for disclosure), I was lucky enough to be able to host a Wii Fit Plus party for some of my good friends!

Yay, me!

I wish I could have invited each and every one of you to this party. I actually had a lot of private angst over my invite list. We ended up with a wonderful group of women from both my blogging and my non-online circles.

We met at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, where I immediately embarrassed the friends I carpooled with by taking a lot of photos of the outside of the building. Evidently, they haven't been to a lot of blogging events with me. 'Cause I'm the photo queen. On a related note, you can all go see the Flickr group for the party here.

The great thing about the gallery is that three of its walls were made of glass, so all the passersby could look in and see us being silly.


At one point I had to engage in a making-faces contest with some small children. Because I am evidently six years old.

The Brand About Town people definitely wined and dined us. I gotta say though that their green smoothies freaked me out a little bit. (And I wonder why my kids are so insane about what they eat.)

I drank one of the strawberry smoothies.
Which was by far the least scary smoothie.


Here we are learning about the new features of the Wii Fit Plus. I will not go into them here, but if you are so inclined, you are welcome to read about them in my review, which is posted on my review site.


We split up into groups to play, based on the highly scientific drawing-a-rock system.

I was "believe," as in "I believe I will make smart-alecky
comments throughout this event."


We started with yoga, which I do not normally do. Here is my friend Heather doing what I refer to as The Charlie's Angels Pose.


Here are Leticia and ALW flapping, flapping, flapping for all they're worth, trying to score points in a flying game.

Naturally, all *I* was trying to do was balance my camera and my glass of wine.

It was so wonderful to see my friends. It was also wonderful to see my friends grin when the Brand About Town people gave them each a Wii Fit Plus with balance board.


Above you see Jill, me, and Leticia in the front row and ALW, Robin, Susan, Kate, Andrea, Sue, Sandie, Kimberly, Joanne, Heather, and my non-blogger buddy M in the back row. My friend E is not pictured because she had to leave early because her husband locked himself and his kids out of their house and car. E's husband? You're on notice.

Thanks to Nintendo, Brand About Town, and all my friends for coming. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Also, I'll be giving away a Wii and Wii Fit Plus with a balance board on my review blog soon! Stay tuned for that announcement!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for hosting this party. However, I also did not have to plan or pay for it. As a brand enthusiast, I am sometimes sent free things, which I review on Things. And Stuff., my review site. While my guests were each given a Wii Fit Plus with a balance board when they left the party, I walked out with a (fabulous) Wii Fit warmup jacket. (Which was promptly stolen by Jack.) My guests also each got a jacket.

(He insisted on holding a Wii remote and standing on the balance board
while I took his photo. Seriously, HE should be the brand enthusiast.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

On Peanut Butter and iPhones

So. Recycling.

A couple of you wanted some further information on my bold statement that you don't need to wash out your peanut butter jars before you recycle them. Now you should remember that I am often a little hit or miss when it comes to "facts" and "truths," so you should take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. (Or a dab of peanut butter, if you prefer.)

What happened was that I asked the guy about things like mayo jars and peanut butter jars and if I needed to clean them out. And he said, "Rinsing them out usually doesn't do a lot of good, so use a spatula to clean them." And then he told me that metal recycling gets heated to 2000 degrees when it is recycled and eliminates all traces of labels and food, so you don't have to clean those out.

So I'm going to generalize that to say that you should try to get big chunks of food out of jars, but that it's okay if a little residue is left because the recycling process should take care of it.

And remember! I am totally making this up.

(Although I did check one or two websites that seem to back me up.)

Does anyone have actual information on the subject?

*****

In other news, I am on my third iPhone in as many weeks. My original one stopped picking up wifi signals. So I took it in a couple of weeks ago and they had to give me a new one because the one I had was "unfixable."

Then, last night, one row of the keyboard stopped working in every app that uses a keyboard on my brand new iPhone. So I took it in and the guy was all, "Oh, it's probably just a loose cable. I'll go fix it." And then he came out a few minutes later to tell me that he had to give me a new one because it wasn't the cable and this phone was also unfixable.

I'm going to see how many iPhones I can go through before my warranty runs out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Tried Hard to Come Up With a Good Title About Recycling the Recycling Center Field Trip, But Nothing Worked. Clearly.

You probably don't remember this...


...but I took it when Jack's four-year-old class went on a field trip to the recycling center and Quinn missed the tour because he wouldn't wear the earplugs. Well Quinn is now in the same four-year-old class and today was the field trip to the recycling center.

Look familiar?

I'm pretty sure that Quinn has some sensory issues, and based on his consistent weirdness about things that go on or in his body, I wasn't entirely sure he was going to agree to wear the earplugs. But everybody was going in to the tour and I told him that he couldn't go in if he didn't wear the earplugs and so he popped them right in.

And then he freaked out whenever they fell out and started yelling about how loud it was. But I was wearing earplugs, so the screaming was totally not a problem for me.

Anyway, I was really proud of him. I spend so much time trying to reasonably explain things to Sam and Jack, both of whom don't respond well to reason (although Sam is getting better), so I was completely thrown by a kid who heard: If not A, then not B and accepted that he wanted B, so he would do A.

I'm really glad he did, because *I* think the recycling center is the coolest. Although rumor has it that it was smelly. But I have a cold, so I couldn't tell.

In this next photo, Quinn was pointing out that there was glass down below. He seemed pretty proud of himself for locating it.


I always learn fascinating things at the recycling center tour. And by "always," I mean "both times I've been there" and by "fascinating," I mean "fascinating." Did you know that in Montgomery County, Maryland, you can't recycle clear plastic berry containers? And you don't have to totally scrape all the peanut butter out of the jar before you recycle it? And that you shouldn't recycle the greasy half of the pizza box?

That last one resolves a long-standing argument that Alex and I have had. Take that, Alex!

I wanted to take lots of photos of the displays there that showed different materials in different stages of their recycling journey, but I was already the person there with the most obnoxious camera and the most trigger-happy picture finger, so I didn't.

Instead you'll have to make do with this:


Also, before you all start asking—because I still get this question in the comments on the last recycling center post—here is the information on tours.

Thank You!

So, you guys are awesome. Thank you, each and every one of you, for your comments on my last post. They were not only supportive and wonderful, but many of them had very practical, specific advice. How am I so lucky that you guys frequent this little spot and interact with me? Seriously. I'm a really lucky person. Thank you.

(Also, so you know, I'm trying to respond to all of your thoughtful comments via email, but sometimes I let my email inbox go for three or four days and then it seems weird to email you back, because by that time you've probably not just forgotten your comment and my post, but who I am altogether, so then I just reread the comments and cherish them and respond in my head, which is substantially less effective than responding via email, but I'm lazy and strapped for time and I'm sorry. I do love you all very much. And, seriously, comments are like smiling little bricks of gold to me. Thank you.)

Social media is purty awesome, huh? And my readers/friends/community are the best little corner of social media. In my humble opinion anyway. (Even you lurkers. You know who you are.)

Now I have another post to publish in just a second that is my real post for today, but I sort of feel like every once in a while I need to stop and say thank you. Because you guys are a huge part of Stimeyland and I think it's important that you know that.

So.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This Could All Drive Me Into Therapy. If I Could Afford Therapy.

As much as I bitch about waiting rooms and the gajillion dollars a week we pay out in copays, I am so grateful for the therapies we're able to take Jack to.

But last winter the SLP who ran our social skills group left her practice and we lost social skills. And then a couple of weeks ago we got letters saying that our occupational therapist's practice won't be taking our insurance anymore, so as of this week we've lost OT.

So now we're down to a half hour of speech therapy a week for Jack. Period. That doesn't seem like a lot of therapy for a kid who so clearly needs it. But who can afford $90 every week for insurance-free occupational therapy? And how do you convince the school system to give it to him in school when they are absolutely convinced that his OT needs don't affect his school success?

I feel a little stressed because I think he needs more. I look at Jack and I look at a half hour of therapy TOTAL each week, and the scale is definitely unbalanced.

Our OT was amazing and folded speech skills into his sessions, which included three kids so she could work on social skills at the same time. And as far as I can tell, there just aren't any pediatric OTs in my area who take insurance.

And just as a side bitch, I drove for an hour and a half yesterday for a half hour of speech therapy because no one closer to me takes my insurance, takes new patients, or returns phone calls. (But I'm grateful for it! Please, oh, gods of therapy, don't take our SLP from us.)

It's frustrating and it's disruptive, and it pisses me off that I can't take my child to a therapist he really connects with and improves with because the insurance company is made up of assholes who won't pay the fucking OT.

Health insurance reform, anyone?

(Just as an FYI: Whenever I write these sorts of posts because I'm in a really bad mood and I'm pissed off, I get a lot of people who worry about me. I'm okay. Jack's okay. We're looking at our options now and we'll hopefully get him started on something in January. If nothing else, we'll increase his speech therapy. On an unrelated note, what kind of therapies have helped your child the most?)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Come to Think of It, Art Has Always Been Kind of a Problem

I left my kids unsupervised with some paint for a few minutes yesterday. Then I walked into the kitchen to find the following:

Quinn's idea of art:


Jack's idea of art:


This took me back to the days when Jack was in his two-year-old class at his preschool. He was a sensory seeker even back then. His teacher was a saint and regularly gave Jack's class of ten two-year-olds paint to go crazy with.

Inevitably, Jack's painting would metamorphose from brush painting to finger painting. Then the paint would edge up his arms until it covered him from finger tips to elbows. Then he would rub his hands all over his hair.

I swear, his teacher had to wash his hair every single day. And she did it with a smile and a laugh—after she would take him through the three-year-old class to show of his self-painting art skillz.

Ah, memories. Good ones.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Old (Like Mid-30s Old) Friends

So I don't really publicize that I'm from Utah, even though I grew up there and lived there for 18 years. Not so much because growing up in Utah wasn't good for me, because it was fine, but growing up in Utah is not always good for non-Mormons.

The reason I don't really publicize it is because there are a lot of perceptions and there is a lot of baggage that goes along with the statement, "I grew up in Utah."

The first question you get is, "Are you Mormon?" The second one, of course, is, "Do you ski?" ("No," and, "I used to before I decided that all the...gear took too much energy.").

But a big reason I had a pretty good time growing up is because in high school I had a great group of friends.

Last weekend I flew to Utah to hang out with a bunch of them. I've drawn their pictures for this post (which is why it took me a week to put it up) because I'm not sure that they want their photos on my blog. C, I'm sorry that you're blurry. I did yours first and it was too small and I had to enlarge it, and... Well. You're blurry. Sorry. Also, I'm sorry that I don't know anyone's eye color.

We met in Salt Lake City before we drove down to St. George, Utah, to play and relax for the weekend. Not everyone could go to St. George, so we had dinner and ice cream and talked and talked and talked with those that were stuck in the city for the weekend.

The next day we drove down (with no kids) to St. George, which is about a four-hour drive, into a land of 70-degree weather and red rocks. And shopping. And restaurants.

We did a lot of eating and talking and shopping and eating and talking and someone jokingly suggested horseback riding, but very few of us were enthusiastic, so we might have done some more shopping, or maybe we went somewhere to eat, but I'm pretty sure that we talked.

And we drank a couple thousand ounces of Diet Coke.

I'd been a little nervous before going out to see everyone, because the last time I saw any of them was more than seven years ago. And a couple of them I hadn't seen for well over 15 years. Happily though, everything just fell into place. Everyone was wonderful. They were just as fun as I remember from high school, just older.

We have 26 children between the seven of us (most of my high school friends ARE Mormon, after all). Thirteen of the kids come from two families. Some of those kids share names with each other. There is more than one Jack and more than one Sam, but still only one Q-Ball. One friend just bought her first house all by herself. Two of them own hot tubs. Several of us have obnoxious pets. Some of us work outside of the home; some of us don't.

Some of us are willing to say "bl0w job" in front of a four-year-old (NOT me this time, thank you very much). Some of us aren't.

Some of us are in favor of health care reform, some of us are not, and some of us (me) refused to talk about it at all because some of us (me) were afraid of irreparable damage to friendships (mine).

All of us have had good times and hard times over the past couple of decades, but seem to be hanging in there.

I have to say that my driving tour of Salt Lake kind of blew me away. A lot has changed, including the house I spent most of my growing up years in. A lot I'd forgotten until I drove past it. And some of it seems the same as it ever was. It was weird though, I tell ya.

I've been meaning to get out to Utah for a long time to hang out with these people, but things kept getting in the way, as they do. C mentioned that someone told her after high school that even though we all said we would stay friends, that it would never really happen. I have to say, I don't think we're doing too badly. Thank you, C, for forcing all of us to find a weekend to play. I will remember and be grateful for that weekend for a long time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two Sides of Quinn

Okay. So, you know how photo companies come into schools and take photos of all the kids and then they select the best one to send home in hopes that you will buy it?

For instance, this awesomely adorable photo of my very handsome Quinn that was taken a few weeks ago:


But they don't want you to just buy the one photo. They want you to be so in love with the cuteness of what they send home that you will also buy the second best photo, often taken in front of a different—and far more cheesy—background.

So they will find the second best photo and send that one home too. Such as this second best photo of Quinn:

Clicking the photo to enlarge it is kind of totally worth it.

Are you okay? Have you stopped laughing? Because I laughed for about 45 minutes. I love that there just was not a second best image.

But the photo companies know that most parents won't necessarily order both poses, so they include one fancy sheet with both poses on it so that parents can just buy that and have both photos.

I will sometimes buy this sheet just to get the second pose. Often the juxtaposition of the two photos is really cute.

Or not.


I just can't stop laughing over the fact that these two photos were the absolute two best.

*****

If you like funny school photos and you haven't been around here forever, check out this hilarious school photo of Sam from May 2008.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What Was on the Top Bunk

Jack & the slave child
By jack

I know. I'm confused too. For a lot of reasons.

This was only the front of what appears to be a book. The following pages don't make much more sense.




I'm starting to wonder if I overlooked what he was really talking about (like, say, the butcher knife stashed under his pillow), but I think this was the only thing up there.

Go ahead. Interpret away.

I dare you.

What Just Happened

Jack: "Mom, I love you."

Jack: "Don't look on the top bunk."

Me: "Should I be worried?"

Jack: "Yes."

Me: "What is on the top bunk?"

Jack, covering my mouth: "Don't talk about it."

(He's watching me type this right now.)

Jack, reading what I'm typing: "So, be silent. POW!"

Jack: giggle, giggle, giggle...

Hmmm. I think I need to go look on the top bunk.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Love Me Some Mountains!


I am shocked to tell you that I haven't written a word for an entire week. Mostly it was because I was revisiting my youth in Utah with some old high school buddies. I have a post planned about that, but I wanted to say hi and let you know that I missed you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Don't Lie to Your Kids

Back when Jack was burping all the time, one of my commenters told me about when she was little and burped in front of her mom all the time. Her mom told her if she didn't stop, she'd have to take her to the doctor to have her burper disconnected.

I laughed and moved on.

But then, a few days later, after hours of continual burping and being trapped in the car with all of my kids, I snapped and told Jack that if he kept burping, I was going to have to take him to the doctor and get him deburped.

I know. It was wrong. I regretted it instantly. Fortunately, karma was prepared to teach me a lesson.

Jack wanted to be deburped.

It all finally came to a head tonight when I told Jack that we couldn't deburp him.


Now about that Santa Claus thing...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

DCMM: The Past Vs. The Present

This weekend I am headed to my home state of Utah, where I haven't been in more than a decade, to see some old high school friends, most of whom I haven't seen for more than fifteen years. We're going to hang out, hot tub, watch silly movies, and talk, talk, talk.

I'm not sure what to expect. I'm excited, but also slightly terrified. All of these women still hang out together fairly regularly, except for me. I feel like I'm getting ready to walk through some sort of social anxiety-inducing temporal wormhole to my past.

I'm still the same person I was in high school, but—no. Check that. I am in few ways the same person I was in high school. That Jean, whom I will refer to as "Past Jean," is in some very real ways a different entity entirely.

Past Jean was almost cripplingly shy, except with her close friends. She managed to disguise it (mostly), and often covered it with being outspokenly different—an easy feat for a liberal, non-Mormon growing up in Utah. Present Jean is on some fantastic anxiety medication and sort of doesn't give a shit what anyone thinks of her. (But, oh lord, please don't be mean to me in the comments. Sniff.)

Past Jean hadn't found herself yet, but she was pretty sure she knew all the answers. Present Jean is well aware that she doesn't know a damn thing, but she has a pretty good sense of who she is.
Past Jean had beautiful, straight hair. Being pregnant with three kids somehow completely wrecked Present Jean's hair, leaving her with a semi-curly, wild mop. Past Jean was also thinner. Present Jean is extremely bitter about both of these things.

There were a lot of things that Past Jean wanted, didn't want, and expected from her future self. That future self, who—stay with me here—is Present Jean, has turned out to be almost entirely different from what Past Jean imagined.

See, Past Jean was very deep and was going to major in philosophy and think very important thoughts. Slightly Less Past Jean realized after a course in logic and one on major philosophers that perhaps she was not so deep and, in fact, was majorly shallow and needed to focus on something a little less muddled instead.


There were no children or husbands in Past Jean's imagination. They were not something she wanted at all. Present Jean thinks that Past Jean might have been reacting against Utah culture just a teensy bit when she made these sweeping proclamations. Of course, Present Jean is swimming in kids, but still only has one husband.

Past Jean believed that if it was too loud, you were too old. Present Jean is way too fucking old.

Past Jean would never have written about herself in the third person.

Past Jean wasn't completely sure she liked herself. Present Jean is well aware of her faults and flaws, but knows she's kind of an all right sort of person.

I know that my friends' past and presents will likely be extremely different as well. We have all been shaped by our experiences in the 18 years (holy crow, I'm ancient) since we graduated from high school. I just hope that our Present Selves get along as well as our Past Selves did.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post.

Present Jean blogs about her life in a way Past Jean could never have imagined at Stimeyland. She also maintains an autism events information site for Montgomery County at AutMont.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

They're Never Going to Let Me Forget

In case you missed this...


Here is Quinn's artist's rendition of the event:


Remember when I was so happy that he was starting to draw?

I take it all back.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sibling Responsibility

I've always thought that Jack is so lucky to have two such wonderful brothers. As a very shy young person myself, I know how important it is to have a sibling to help you out. I have vivid memories of my sister being asked to hang out with me during elementary school recess because she had friends and I didn't.

However, no matter how glad I am that Jack has Sam and Quinn to help and teach him, it also pains me a little bit to give them the extra responsibility of helping to take care of him.

Most of what I ask them to do are things kids would already do for neurotypical siblings. For instance, Sam paves the way for Jack with teachers, he helps Jack make friends by being such a social butterfly, and he helps Jack get to the morning school line-up spot.

I send them away from the car every morning and Sam encourages Jack to come with him. Sometimes they hold hands. Someone from Jack's school told me that Sam walks Jack to his line, makes sure he's facing the right direction, and then goes off to his own line. I'm a little bit afraid of the day that Jack refuses and Sam doesn't know what to do. I hope when that day comes that there is an adult nearby to help. Because I don't want to have put Sam in that position.

Although as the older brother, Sam does most of the leading and the helping, even Quinn seems to understand that Jack needs a little bit of extra help.

For instance, today at the bus stop. I'd taken my dog with me and she was freaking out because there was another dog with the temerity to be merely a block away from her. I'm seriously on the verge of getting the dog stuffed and using her as a coffee table, but that's another post entirely.

While I was dealing with the dog, Jack (who'd already gotten off of his bus, which arrives earlier than Sam's) and Quinn took off. Now, the bus stop is only a block and a half from home and my kids don't have to cross streets to get there, but I don't let them run off until I'm also on my way back home. And they usually don't. Sometimes as soon as Sam gets off the bus, Jack and Quinn will take off running for home. But today, they took off while my attention was on the dog not choking herself with her own collar.

Once I had the dog calmed down, I looked around and didn't see them. I knew where they would have gone, but I don't like them being out of my sight around the corner. Plus I couldn't go track them down without abandoning Sam, whose bus was due any second.

Then I saw them. Jack was running, and Quinn was trying to tackle him. Quinn knew they shouldn't be leaving the bus stop and he was trying to stop Jack. I shouted for them to come back and Jack kept going, with Quinn holding on to his sweatshirt, vainly trying to drag him back.

Fortunately Sam's bus arrived and the group at the bus stop pointed him toward me, halfway down the block. We started walking home with Jack and Quinn still ahead of us, Quinn still trying to stop Jack.

It all ended at the house before ours, where Quinn fell and scraped his stomach in the driveway. Jack obliviously ran home, where he was summarily put in timeout and then got a pretty stringent lecture about staying at the bus stop.

I still firmly believe that having an autistic brother is a wonderful thing for Sam and Quinn. And I still firmly believe that Jack is a wonderful brother and gives as much back to Sam and Quinn as they give to him.

But some days I feel a little sad for the extra responsibility my eight- and four-year-old have.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Force Was Strong at My House

This post is mainly for my mother.

A long time ago (you know, Saturday), in a galaxy far, far away (a.k.a. Maryland)...

Two Jedis faced off against Darth Vader.


Or you can refer to them as Charlie's Angels in Space.


This is quite possibly my favorite photo in the history of time.


Gadzooks! An ally for Jack!

But in the end, all enjoyed the spoils of war.




I hope you all had as fun and chocolatey of a Halloween as we did.