Crazy Hair

Today was Crazy Hair Day at Quinn’s school, which was perfect because, well, Crazy Hair Day was made for Quinn.

Some kids put colors or glitter in their hair. Some shaped their hair into mohawks or wore funny wigs. The principal put her hair in several small ponytails all over her head (which was awesome, but distracting at the meeting I sat in with her today).

But Quinn? Well Quinn just made his hair a little bit EXTRA QUINN and he was good to go.

Quinn Einstein

He looked a little bit Einstein-y, which I approved of.

I will admit to teasing his hair a little bit, but I knew that it would settle into normal crazy. Quinn says that at some point during the day, he made his hair “good” again because he was tired of it being crazy. Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.

I brush that kid’s hair, like, twenty times a day. He is on a strict shampoo/conditioning regimen, but even so, there is something about his hair that rebels. It is fluffy at the same time as it is matted. It is…problematic. The back of his hair looks like this next photo no matter how many times a day I brush it.

the back of Quinn's head

I have this photo because Quinn wanted me to take it so he could see the red in the back of his hair. He is very vain, that Quinn.

That red hair is a big part of the reason why his hair is so out of control. If you say the words “haircut” in front of Quinn, he will immediately start screeching and clutch his hair and start yelling about wanting to keep the red.

(Red, Sherry. Red.) <—Sorry. Everyone but old college chum Sherry should ignore that.

See, Quinn has been getting crazy attention for his hair since he was a baby. Like, literally, he was four seconds old the first time someone commented on his hair. Consequently, he seems to think his hair is the source of all his power and refuses to have it cut.

At first I was on board with this, because I like long hair on boys (we all know that long-haired dudes are the coolest, right?), but then it got all Crazy Hair Day Is Every Day on us and I just want to take Sir Screams A Lot to get his hair cut, but now he won’t go.

I mean, really. He got home from school, I brushed his hair neatly to the side, he touched it once, and this is what happened:

Quinn's "neat" hair.

It’s shiny at least.

I don’t know if I have anything to add to this long treatise on Quinn’s hair other than HELP!, but I feel like I had to mention it, because it consumes about 38% of my mental energy at all times.

I do have one more thing to say on the subject of hair. I’ve been trying to not mention this, because it makes me seem rilly rilly shallow, but you know what I was really thankful for this Thanksgiving?

My hair. My hair used to be stick straight and then I had kids and it got curly, but weird curly and I’ve wanted to get it straightened for years, but it’s super expensive and I didn’t know if it would work and then a friend of mine found a place in my area that does Japanese hair straightening for less than it generally costs and I went and had it done and I have never been happier in my life.

My hair is like this whole other entity now that makes me so happy. People tell me my hair looks pretty and instead of being all modest and “Oh! Thanks!” I’m like, “I KNOW!! IT’S SUCH GOOD HAIR, ISN’T IT?!”

Life changing, people. Life changing.

This next photo is how my hair looks when I let it air dry. I don’t have to use a hairdryer or a flatiron or anything. I AM HAPPY ALL THE TIME NOW.

Thumbs up, Stimey!

That’s my thumb in the left corner being all, “This hair is GREAT, y’all!”

Phew. I feel better. I felt like I was keeping this big secret from you all because I hadn’t mentioned the GREAT NEW THING that had happened to me because it made me look like a narcissist, but it has entirely changed the way I feel about my head. Now I’ve told you about it and it’s done so I don’t have to mention it again. Thank you.


In less shallow, but equally self-obsessed news, I wrote “Do I Have Asperger’s?—Adult Autism Diagnosis” about my Asperger’s diagnosis over at PokitDok. I write about this regularly because I get emails and messages all the time from people looking for diagnoses and when I was looking for how-to information a few months ago, it was really hard to find. Know that if you’ve been thinking you have Asperger’s and want a formal diagnosis, you aren’t alone. And feel free to email me. :)

Dropping the Ball

I was pretty sure that I was going to get up today and go on a 7-mile run and then do some other awesome stuff and catch up on a bunch of things that I am months behind on doing and then I was going to figure out all of my Christmas shopping and then write a super funny post here.

But then I woke up sick, sent everyone to school, crawled back into bed, and slept until it was almost time to get my kids off their buses.

I’m pretty sure I have a man cold.*

So, instead of all that stuff in the first paragraph, here is a link to my newest column over at the Wheaton Patch:

We got Sam an iPod for his birthday last month and he is busy filling it up with crappy pop music, which is breaking my heart. I wrote about it over at White Knuckle Parenting this week.

* Men don’t** like it when you call their colds “man colds.”

** Alex doesn’t

Our Neurodiverse Thanksgiving

Team Stimey had a really nice weekend, full of pie (or, as I like to call it, “pah”), adorable gerbils (or, as Quinn likes to call them, “gerballs”), and a nice visit from my mother-in-law (or, as Alex likes to call her, “Mom”).

It was a nice few days, largely free of barfing or leaving the house, which means it was very nearly ideal.

I’ll be back to posting more regularly in the coming days, but I wanted to tell you one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.

We were all sitting at the table—some of us eating, some of us fidgeting, some of us demolishing pieces of bread, some of us manically drinking wine, when Sam busts out with the following question for my mother-in-law:

“Grandma, do you have autism or ADHD?”

I won’t tell you what she said, but I will tell you that Sam then proceeded to go around the table listing everybody’s disability/label/identification, including one with which he has evidently diagnosed Quinn. He called Alex “the only kinda normal one here,” leading me to explain neurodiversity, and then we went on with our decidedly quirky repast.

Just another Thanksgiving in Stimeyland.

(Also, I have some words to describe Alex—”kinda normal” ain’t among them.)

I hope your weekend was lovely too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for lot of things and I was going to write about them for you today, but then Jack came home with a book of thanks and one of his pages kind of summed it all up and so I decided to let him speak for me and then I could spend time with my family instead of my laptop.

I am thankful for my family.

Also, I am thankful for you and the fact that you keep coming back here. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving! Or Thursday, if you live in not-USA. I love you all! Have a great day from all of Team Stimey!


I promise that this blog won’t turn into Gerbilland, but you’re going to have to bear with me for a second consecutive post about the gerbils. Or, if you’re Quinn writing in your “thankful book” for school, gerballs.

I am thankful for JetPack our gerball. thanks.

“I am thankful for JetPack our gerball. thanks.”

Other things in the book? Cats; our asshole dog; and plants, because they give us oxygen. His mother, WHO GAVE HIM LIFE?—didn’t make the cut.

I forgive him though, because one of the things I like best about gerbils is that I think their name is funny. Geeerrr-bullllllll. Somehow Quinn managed to make their name even better.

In case you were wondering, the gerbils are so awesome. They make me laugh really hard. They were doing a lot of sleeping and being otherwise mundane, but then I put an empty macaroni and cheese box in their tank and OH MY GOD THEY ARE DIFFERENT ANIMALS.

That box woke up the funny in them. They spent all evening yesterday romping around and chewing and they have continued to be amusing today, which is fortunate for them because I have sacrificed ten gallons of my desk space so they can entertain me. It was time for them to step up.


The hay is supposed to help them with their back teeth, but they are just using it to line the inside of their house. I guess that’s okay.

It does concern me that they look like they’re dead when they sleep. It’s because they sleep on their side all flopped over in their house with their tails lolling out the door. I don’t care for that at all. Not to mention that they don’t seem to be afraid of The Hand From The Sky like the mice were, so when I bat at their tails looking for signs of life nothing moves and then I start to panic.

It turns out that they don’t love being violently poked at.

However, when they are groggy because you’ve just woken them up, they will let you hold them and pet them.


Mouse’s maiden voyage in The Hand From The Sky

I’ve been working at getting the gerbils used to my hand before I started grabbing at them and forcing them to love me. Jetpack and I did some cuddling yesterday, but Mouse was having none of it until today.

Even Alex, who was vehemently anti-gerbil until they started being cute in front of him, wanted to cuddle.


Like, five seconds later, Mouse pooped in his hand. He’s anti-gerbil again.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to like Jetpack’s name, but I have taken to saying, “You are Jetpaaaack!” to him when he wanders around the tank. It is surprisingly fun to say. You should try it. I mean, it will probably be less fun without a real Jetpack in front of you, but you can try. Also, you have to use kind of a funny voice, but not too cartoony.

No. You’re doing it wrong. Stop. Just…stop.


You are Jetpaaaack!

Alex was worried that Mouse might feel left out, but you shouldn’t worry, because I have something I say to him too.


I say, “Hi, Mouse!”

I know. I’m working on coming up with something better.

I don’t know why it took me so long to get gerbils. They make me so happy. I, too, am thankful for the gerballs.


And no, I didn’t put gerballs on my list, which makes mine way obviously inferior, but I also wrote about some things I am thankful for over at White Knuckle Parenting.

Meet Mouse and Jetpack—or Jetpack and Mouse; It’s Hard to Tell Them Apart.

Oh, hey! Look at this. I wonder what this could be for.

empty cage

It’s familiar, but slightly different than before—and also reflecting every screen in the room.

Hmmmmm. Two boxes and a bag of lab blocks. I wonder what’s in those boxes.

mystery boxes

I wish there were audio to that photo, so you could hear all the frantic scritching and scratching that was coming from those boxes. Alex, later: “You know you just totally wrecked their world today, right?”

But what could be in there? I’ll tell you what’s NOT in there: the hairless damn rats they were selling for $14.99 each at the pet shop. So, I am a big fan of rodents, but even I am all, “So what’s the point of a hairless rat?” Let me tell you, those are some ugly motherfucking animals.


Well, I’ll show you the book that I took with me, with the page featuring the illustration of genitals dogeared so I wouldn’t accidentally end up with a boy/girl pair.

Gerbils! Finally!


Incidentally, it’s like that book was written for me. It had chapters on photographing your gerbil and how to force them to participate in crafts, like paper snowflake creation.

Without further ado, meet Mouse (on the left) and Jetpack (on the right).

Mouse and Jetpack

They’re both off-white, but one is gray off-white and one is brown off-white. If you ever get them mixed up, I will be extremely offended.

Alex was probably right about me wrecking their lives. I think they were a little traumatized by their move from the heavily populated tank at the pet store to the plush, but lonelier digs in Stimeyland. They’re currently huddled together in a house, refusing to come out.

I think you all know why Mouse is named Mouse. I thought it was funny. Actually, Jack independently came up with the name Mouse as well. As did at least one other friend of mine. So, it’s funny, but maybe not super original. Still, that’s his name.

Jetpack, however, was never going to be called Jetpack. Then, after I brought him home, and he and Mouse were frantically running around the tank destroying the neat setup that I had created for them, he climbed up on top of the little running wheel…

Jetpack, pre-flight


…and then did this:

Blast off!

This is maybe the luckiest photo I ever took. I don’t even care that it’s blurry.

And then he did it again.

After that, it was either name him Jetpack or Dipshit, and it’s easier to explain Jetpack to my kids’ teachers when these animals inevitably show up in school essays.

I’m giving the two of them a couple of days to acclimate to their new home before I start cuddling with them. They seem like they’ll be good pets, although I’m a little disappointed by their almost pathological many hours of trauma-sleeping. They should get used to the fact that they are here to entertain me, not sleep.

Rest up, gerbils, it’s getting close to snowflake season.

Welcome to the newest denizens of Stimeyland!





May they live long and prosper.

Gala Blocked*

I was supposed to go to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network gala tonight. I tend to be a chronic panic canceler, so even though I had a lot of my usual anxiety about attending, I was determined to go.

SPOILER ALERT: I didn’t make it and I’m pretty upset about it.

I knew I was going to be late because I had an appointment that ended at 6 and the gala started at 6. I figured that I would be in DC, parked, and up at the gala by 7 though. I was okay with that. Fashionably late and all that, right?

SPOILER ALERT: Uggggggghhhhhhhh!!!!!!

I was not in the best mood to start off with because the appointment was with our family therapist and we were talking about some stuff that is not that big of a deal but that was emotional. Then I ran into a tremendous amount of traffic and I got angrier and more frustrated every time the same guy running on the sidewalk passed my car.

Regardless, I was still moving forward and by about 6:50 or so, I started to get confident that I would be at the gala by 7:15 or so. There was a fire engine approaching behind me, so I pulled over to let it pass because I am a good citizen.

It then stopped DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME, disgorged its firefighters, and stopped in the middle of the street. As the minutes passed, I started to consider parking and walking.

SPOILER ALERT: I was still too far away so I tweeted this picture instead to complain about what was keeping me from the gala. Note the parked cars on the right and the iron railing on the left.

SPOILER ALERT TO THE SPOILER ALERT: I wasn’t tweeting while driving. My car was actually in park at the time.


No escape.

You may notice that the GPS in the bottom right claims that I would arrive at 7:08. LIES. It had already told me that I was going to be there at 6:34. The closest I got to the gala location happened at 7:38.

Once the fire engine finally pulled away I tried to keep going to the gala. Normally I would have thrown in the towel, but I knew that I was headed to a kind room, so I keep trying. But then there was more traffic and then I missed a turn, which left me in more traffic, and I was getting closer and closer to a total meltdown, so finally, after the gala was already more than half over and I hadn’t even reached the location, let alone found a place to park, I took a sharp right, set my GPS for home, and bailed.

Basically what I did was take a two and a half hour, incredibly frustrating trip downtown and back without getting out of my car.

I kind of feel that I should have kept going and gone in. I know the good people in the room would have made me feel better, but I just couldn’t.

It was a really draining experience with the lesson that I should not be a good citizen ever again.

All of that is to say that I am really upset that I wasn’t able to go, and not in the mood to write a post (SPOILER ALERT: You actually did write a post, dumbass.) and I’m just going to give you links to other stuff I wrote.

If you’re in the mood for one of my PokitDok articles on autism, go check out After Your Child’s Autism Diagnosis.

If you’re in the mood for a White Knuckle Parenting column, read about my Clothes Conundrum and how my children are ridiculously hard to dress.

If you’re in the same mood as I am, go to bed and come back to check those links in the morning.

 * I’m not sure I used that correctly.