Monthly Archives: July 2012

Flashback Friday: Yesterday

Here’s an old gem from the archives.  Sometimes i just need the reminder, ya know?

April 29, 2011


Yesterday, i had a big headed, stubbornly NOT wanting to be born little boy with a future full of possibilities.
Today, I’ve got a smaller-headed, but still stubborn boy with just as many possibilities–but now neither of us know what they are.

Yesterday i had a little munchkin who ate pumpkin soup, green beans, meat and a myriad of other foods.

Today i have a child who will eat 5 things, and a much easier and equally frustrating menu plan.

Yesterday I had quiet bonding mornings with baby to breast.

Today i still miss it.

Yesterday i had a little grub who labeled everything in sight, and never asked a question.

Today i’ve got a kid who actually asks me what i’m doing.  constantly.

Yesterday we had playdates and mommy & me and friends at the park

Today, we don’t.

Yesterday, i would watch him spin and shake his head, and worry.

Today i watch him toe-walk and peripherally gaze, and i don’t.

Yesterday i had Yo Gabba Gabba and Thomas

Today i have Thomas, and even more trains.

Yesterday he closed one circle.

Today he can close 5 or more.

Yesterday we had routines.

Today we have routines.

Yesterday i had doubts.

Today, i have doubts.

Yesterday i had meltdowns.

Today i have meltdowns.

Yesterday i had questions.

Today i have questions.

Yesterday, tomorrow made up most of my day.

Today, i put both yesterday and tomorrow aside.

Because, in the end, they don’t matter.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Under Pressure

Sometimes we have to be reminded that our kids are not us.  I mean, sure, my child is adorable & funny–which he CLEARLY gets from me, amiright?–but I think that may be where the similarity ends.

FACT:  I work well under pressure.  Give me a deadline and a few hours to create something and BAM!  done!  YES!  SUCK IT TIME!  Some of my best writing has been under the “this has to be submitted tomorrow” time crunch.

It focuses me, pressure does.  It blocks out the shiny nonsense and squirrels that generally hinder me and puts me straight on my path.  In plays, I would be useless up until the final week.  Then every line was etched into my brain, every mark every cue.  ETCHED.  When working on my senior thesis–given the WHOLE SEMESTER, most of my best work?  done the night before each portion was due (there were several deadlines, to that helped)

I may have preached to my students the importance of pre-planning and preparation, but I was a hypocrite.  How many kick-ass lessons did I prepare in the wee mornings before the stumbled into my room?

Now, that isn’t to say deadlines don’t give me anxiety.  But mostly it’s an anxiety that I will not finish in time, or that my work will be sub par.  A normal anxiety, really.  No Xanax needed.

But all this I’ve described here?  Not my son.

Oh–he may show signs of this later on, but right now, for this lesson, THIS is not my son.


So, we’ve been potty training for a few years now.  And I use the term loosely, because its been more of a “how to sit on the potty and then put on a pull-up” training.  Its been an ABA goal for a year.  He does everything for potty training–EXCEPT ELIMINATE.

Now–before you “have you tried…?” me, the answer is yes.  100x YES.  underwear weekend?  check.  a million gallons of fluids and following him around with a potty chair?  check.  prizes, prizes and more prizes–check, check and FUCKING CHECK.  Where do you think these extra pounds came from?  those Reeses cups aint’ gonna eat themselves.  Naked–check.  new underwear–check.  EVERY. THING.  Sometimes a new method would give us a small victory, only to go back to drawing board the next minute.

And as much as I would LOVE to be past all this(with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns), I’ve given up being all horked up about it and am letting him do this in his time–with a good push from time to time (can someone say naked summer pool time?)

Because here’s what I have discovered:  All this pressure?  TOTALLY giving him anxiety.  And I don’t mean he’s a little nervous.  I mean ear flapping (he smacks his ears and then covers them) head shaking, crying screaming anxiety.  I have seen him try.  Hell, he’s gotten out of bed to tell me he wants to try, only to sit down and nothing happens, and he looks at me so forlorn, so upset, telling me that “it’s not working” and then bursting into heartbreaking tears.  Because I have offered some awesome treats.  and he really wants them.  But he gets so worked up…

Well, he gets so worked up that when he fails, its traumatizing.  I’m not exaggerating here.  We’ve had days when I have to retrain him to simply go BACK into the the bathroom because he jumps into a screaming meltdown if I even suggest the potty.  And then he wants NOTHING to do with potty training whatsoever.  NOTHING.

And back to square one.

So, we (his therapist and I) have come to the conclusion that the pressure, the hype, the ramp-up–ALL OF IT is creating this anxiety train that is getting in the way of actual progress.  Lucky for me–his therapist is the same way–she cannot TAKE the pressure of something, but does extraordinarily well when simply left alone–she is NOT a cram-for-the-exam-the-night-before kind of gal.

So now I am back to baby steps.  Yesterday he wore his new Spiderman underwear for 30 minutes.  Today I am hoping for a little longer, but I am ok if it’s not.  I have learned how to use reinforcers to guide him, not pressure him. (I.e. he couldn’t get on the computer yesterday until he at least put on the underwear, then I let HIM dictate when that happened)

This may seem silly to those who have successfully potty trained their kid, neurotypical or non.  But I know I’m not alone in this.  There are plenty of us with kids on the spectrum (and not) who have kids much older than old frowny faces would tell you they should be trained.  Because it isn’t about this method or that–but how your kid works.  I was coming at Ben like *I* would solve the problem, and clearly that was wrong.

The pressure isn’t on him–its on me.  Well then–this should be a piece of cake then.  Let the focus begin…

Categories: Autism, parenting | 9 Comments

Damn You Autocorrect

So, my old man uses talk-to-text on his phone, because he really dislikes the itty-bitty-swipey keyboard.  It was certainly not made for meaty man-paws.

So, as we cast about desparately looking for something to do last night for our date-night, he texts his friend for suggestions.

WHat he said:

“Hey–me and my lady are hittin the town tonight.  do you know of any shows…” (you don’t need the rest–it’s boring)


“Hey–me and my labia are hittin the town tonight.  do you know of any shows…”


well, not TECHNICALLY wrong, i guess…


Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Intelligent Discourse, People!

I don’t often get political here–and technically I’m still not, although Goddess knows there will be some who jump on my shit from this post simply because they will not READ what I write, but ASSUME.  I get that–I don’t get WHY, but I get that.  But I don’t normally do this, and have been backing off of political stuff in general because of what I have been seeing.  The vitriol and violence and basic lack of respect have REALLY forced me into a survival mode of sorts.  But anyway…



What this does NOT mean:

    • I  believe anyone who votes republican is an asshole

What this DOES mean:

  • I believe in everyone getting a chance, even if that means getting a little help.
  • I believe in change–often rapid and painful.

NOW–before you threaten me with ovarian cancer or waterboarding, please look at that I said.  Do NOT place words in my mouth.  I did not use the word “change” there as code.  I have been using this term as a tag for liberalism LONG before a certain someone chose it as his campaign slogan.

Background:  I was a history teacher for 7+ years.  I taught Government for the last 3–although any self respecting teacher of history teaches always teaches government, really.    But I would often break up the political spectrum  to its simplest form as such:

  • Conservatives like to maintain the status quo, keeping things in order. They embrace tradition.
  • Liberals like to mix things up and bring about change with the times. They embrace the future.

Now, I have said nothing negative here, although there are those who would read it as such.  But here is my argument: in a society we need both a love of tradition and of the future. Peace USUALLY occurs somewhere in the middle.

Example:  if we only had a world that only embraced tradition, I wouldn’t even be able to vote.  If we had a world that only embraced the future, we might lose out on all human interaction, and life might be devalued in the name of science.

See what I’m getting at here–the middle path.  There is no clean cut easy answer.  Life at best is messy and complicated with multiple layers of understanding.  It is full of contradictions.  Says the liberal woman staying home in a traditional woman’s role.

Now take a moment to notice something–there is nothing here about republican or democrat.  OR socialist or Nazi.  As I taught the lesson, we would apply these views to the political parties along a spectrum and the students would realize they reside somewhere along that spectrum–some more right or left, most of us squarely in the middle.  We would examine our own personal ideals and then find which party best represents our own views–not have the party define for us what our views should be.

Many of my students were often shocked to find themselves identifying as Republicans. Not a shock to me, really.  I taught in underprivileged areas where the future was uncertain–hell, where the next DAY was uncertain.  Embracing what had been–what was safe and predictable can be a natural state of being in those situations.

But they also found out that their “political” views did not always encompass one party–because that is what life is like.  There isn’t the “Dawn party”–and if some of you knew what was going on inside my head, you’d be thankful.  And some of you’d be “fuck yeah!” But most of you would say, “hmm, I agree with this but not that.”

My goal was usually to get them thinking about where they stand.  That is all.  I was not trying to recruit young liberals.  I was not trying to brainwash young republicans.  I would try with all my might to conceal my own views.  Successful? Hardly.  But what I WOULD share were my internal conflicts to show that as an adult, it STILL isn’t crystal clear.  that every issue required examination and thought.

And when a student would express hyperbolic language clearly entrenched in one camp or another–I would call them out on it.  as a class we would discuss and examine, to try and establish that there is no one right answer.  Other than respect one another and try not to hurt people.  (and if that view makes me some sort of boogeyman–then I will jump out of closets every night to defend it)

So,  imagine my dismay,  my horror at what I see on the news, on Facebook, on my city streets when it comes to the presidential race, healthcare, immigration, etc etc.  Is it honest and intelligent discourse?  Not what I’ve seen.

You know what I’ve seen?

  • name calling
  • threats of violence
  • outright LIES masked as news or truth
  • threats of violence
  • extreme polarization

Please notice something.  I did NOT say which side is perpetrating what.  Nor am I going to.  Because THAT argument would just add to the polarization, and I refuse to be a part of it.

See, here’s the thing.  I have beliefs.  Beliefs that you may not agree with.  Just as you have beliefs that I may not even begin to fathom.  But AT NO POINT do I want to claim you have less intelligence as me, or that I hope some horrible wasting disease falls upon you simply because of that belief. I may question why you think that way, and even engage in lively debate.  At no point in that debate though, would I imply that I have a weapon and would use it.  Do you see what I’m getting at here?

And maybe what I find important doesn’t even register to you.  I’m sorry–that DOESN’T make me a moron.  It makes me human.  Issues like women’s health and abortion are first and foremost on my plate.  Gay marriage rights are right behind that.  Because that’s what I find important.  Immigration issues and taxes are further down my list.  This doesn’t make me unamerican.  On the contrary.  Most people in this country vote based on the issue that is first and foremost in their mind.  But threatening me with violence or wishing disease upon me because of the issues on which I base my political decisions ISN’T intelligent discourse–it’s simply name-calling because my thought processes are not the same as yours.  How is that any different from religious intolerance? (another topic I am LOATHE to discuss)

Call me an ape.  Call me misguided.  Tell me that you don’t think I have examined the issues fully.  Hell, HATE me and everything I stand for.  But do NOT threaten to rape, kill or maim.  And yes–those are threats I have seen based simply on verbal discourse.  And do NOT tell me, “well the [other side] said the same thing.”  SO?  We are not 12 and tit for tat is for children.  Meeting threats of violence with more threats of violence is immature and ridiculous.

I get that people are angry–that unemployment is a serious issue.  That people feel like their world is coming apart.  And I get how that makes people want to lash out at others.  But here’s the thing.  Government isn’t “us” against “them”–it’s simply “us”.  The power of those in government comes from us.  And the more divided we are–the more power they can grab.  The less we are unable to have respectful and intelligent discourse, the more those in power can manipulate us for their own uses.

So.  Don’t waste my time telling me that Democrats are as bad as Republicans, or that the president is leading us on a path toward Socialism.  And don’t inundate me with the idiocy of the actions of the the tea party, or the war on women, or how Bush led us here in the first place.  As an intelligent, informed and capable adult, you will pardon me if I make these decisions MYSELF.  Based on what I believe and find to be important in my life.  I will not engage in hyperbolic language and fear mongering.  And if that makes me a coward, “unwilling to defend” myself, then paint me yellow, because I will be DAMNED if I am going to jump into an argument with someone simply because they are outraged at my personal choices.

Because you know what else I believe?  That if you act rationally and with intelligence, and refuse to engage an uncompromising fool shouting nonsense, eventually the intelligent rational argument will win. Does that make me naive?  Maybe.  But it’s MY belief, and I really don’t care what a name-calling bully has to say about it.

ps.  GODS will I be happy when this election cycle is over…

Categories: Snark | 17 Comments