Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Shorts on the Ground

"Call yourself a cool cat, lookin' like a fool, walkin' downtown with your pants on the ground." - General Larry Platt

Today, I stepped into my black swim shorts (and my amazing Cacique swim top) and shot a quick glance at the mirror. Hmph! “I must be losing some weight,” I thought. My shorts seemed a tad loose. Oh well. Off to the Y I went.

I stepped into the pool. Ahh…the water embraced me. I love water. It speaks to my soul. I started around the lazy river but something seemed…wrong. I pulled my shorts up. I straightened my top and made sure it was pulled down snug. Yep…everything was covered. I kept walking, but the current seemed to be dragging my drawers behind me. I pulled my shorts up to my boobs. There. That should fix it.

Nope. I was flowing fabric like Stevie Nicks. What the crap? I gathered the legs of my shorts up like a Victorian lady hiking her skirt and wandered over to my dear husband. I explained my dilemma, but having always been of the opinion that his 250-pound wife should be swimming in a bikini instead of shorts, he was not sympathetic.  I tied my shorts up in knots high on each thigh and went about my swimming.

When I stepped out of the pool and progressed to the hot tub, I became distinctly aware that my arse was now sagging. My drawers, tied in knots in the front, had drooped down to the backs of my knees like a saggy diaper. Once again, I gathered my flowing, sagging fabric and went about my business.

At home, blessedly away from the peering, judging eyes of fellow Y swimmers who were bright enough to wear workout PANTS with their swim tops, I held up my ‘shorts’ for inspection.  Holy horrors! They were SEE-THROUGH! I’m talking transparent see-through. And they had stretched from my boobs (still graciously held in that fabulous Cacique top near the top of my chest where they are supposed to be, but aren’t) to below my knees! And I had been wearing them in PUBLIC!

I believe they are magic shorts. Start with a 1x, apply chlorine and voila! Super-size shorts! I could fit me and the Big Dog in these shorts. And he is a very big dog.

Now where am I going to find swim shorts to fit me in September? Screw you, lycra swim shorts. And chlorine too. Hmph.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Pain of Perseveration

“If at first you don’t succeed, perseverate.” – Aspie’s favorite quote

The amazing thing about Asperger Syndrome, is that to the untrained eye, the Aspergian may not initially appear to have any sort of syndrome at all. I often hear things strangers say. Things like:  “Oh, he looks normal.”  Or “he doesn’t look autistic to me.” My general thought is always “you don’t live with this kid.” Furthermore, what does Asperger Syndrome look like? It kind of looks like this-

First of all, he PERSEVERATES. Second, he can’t let go of a subject he is interested in. Third, he really digs in and perseverates on things that he obsesses about. Fourth, he goes on and on at length about his perseverations. Are you getting the idea? Do you want to beat your head into a wall yet?

His main interest right now, besides the opposite sex, is Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards and anime clubs. He trades, collects, arranges, shuffles, rearranges, displays, talks about, demonstrates, and duels with his cards. He carries them in an old milk crate that he pilfered. That’s another thing about Aspergians. What is theirs is theirs. What is yours is theirs. It’s all theirs if they like it. It is somewhat reminiscent of raising a toddler. A 16-year old toddler. I wonder if Ariel from the Little Mermaid had Asperger Syndrome?

He has the cards sorted into plastic sleeves in 3-ring binders and he uses his card decks to duel other boys with similar perseverating tendencies. Sometimes they duel in the library. Sometimes it is at the school-sponsored anime club. Sometimes it is in our living room. Sometimes, I think he duels himself, like some bizarre form of solitaire.

The issue is not so much the cards, or the dueling, or the anime clubs. It is the incessant talking about the cards and the dueling and the card clubs! Observe a typical conversation in our house:

Aspie: I got a blue-eyed dragon. It has 3 billion attack points.
Me: Yes, very cool.
A: Do you want to see my red-winged monstrous gnome?
M: No, son…I’m working on something.
A: It has even more attack points than all the other cards in my super deck.
M: Mmm…I see.
A: Can I go to Jim Bob’s and trade cards?
M: No, son…we will be doing chores soon and dinner.
A: Do you think I could do a fundraiser at the church for anime club?
M: No, son…you are not in anime club this year until your grades improve, remember?
A: Oh, yeah. Can I go to Jim Bob’s to trade cards?
M: No, son. What did I say?
A: You said we are doing chores soon and dinner, but I need to see if he has a white-tailed high-flying     drone.
M: You can’t go there today.
A: Can I have something to eat?
M: No, we’ll be having dinner soon and we are starting chores and you’ve already had a snack.
A: Ok. I’m going to call Jo Belle and ask her if I can use the church for the dinner.
M: What dinner?
A: The fundraiser for anime club.
M: YOU ARE NOT IN ANIME CLUB. You have to improve your grades first.
A: I have a D in math.
M: Exactly. You have to have at least a C.
A: Ok. Can I go to Jim Bob’s?
M: NO. YOU CANNOT GO TO JIM BOB’S. We are going to start chores soon and then have dinner!!
A: But I have to go because tomorrow is anime club at the library and if I don’t have a yellow-nosed ripple-backed sprite I won’t be able to duel John George.
M: You cannot go to Jim Bob’s right now.
A: Mom, you know what would be good for the treasure chest (for chore rewards)?
M: (through gritted teeth) What??
A: Super duper, premium, debt-inducing Yu-Gi-Oh card packs.
M: Son, you need to go find something to do. I don’t want to talk about this anymore. I’m working on something.
A brief pause…
A: Mom?
A: Do you think we should serve spaghetti at the fundraiser for anime club?
M: BLEEP Son, you are driving me up a BLEEP wall! You are not BLEEP in BLEEP anime club because your BLEEP grades are not good. I know you heard me!! BLEEP Would you please BLEEP BLEEP go find something to do?! BLEEP…BLEEP…BLEEEEEEEEEP.
Brief silence…
A: Well…I have to have the fundraiser next week.
M: BLEEEEEP (closing my computer) BLEEEP (leaving the room) BLEEP BLEEP BLEEP
A: Mom?
M: (Shutting bedroom door, still mumbling) BLEEEEP, I need chocolate.    

Sunday, August 14, 2011

She's Walking on Sunshine...and Don't it Feel Good!

"When you jump for joy, beware no one moves the ground from beneath your feet." - Stanislaw Lec

Today, is a day of celebration. It has been one year since Skiffy...well, became a SCFE. Original saga here. One whole year since the text message I will never forget- "you have to come in i hurt my leg." One year since the scary scene at the skating rink and the heart-wrenching ambulance ride to the hospital. One year since the doc said "we can be cautiously optimistic, but she may lose that hip." It has been one amazing year.

The strength I have seen in my girl this year has truly amazed me. And worried me. And...let's be honest, scared the ever living shit plum out of me. Knowing in my heart and soul that one simple fall could knock the pins loose and destroy her hip forever, I watched as she hopped up on one leg on top of chairs, wrestled with siblings and friends, stomped in anger, and barreled down ramps doing 120 mph in her wheelchair like Evel Knievel. I saw her develop stretch marks on her arms from building muscle so fast because she would not tolerate going to middle school in a wheelchair. I watched her struggle to carve out her identity as she entered middle school in a wheelchair with what she called an old person's injury.

Most of all, I watched her recover and heal. I watched her learn to walk again. I watched as she came to terms with her injury. Best of all, I saw her strength and determination. She is as strong as an oak. You can't break her. Wound her? Well, yes. Hell, she wounds herself. On a regular basis. Should have named her Skiffy Grace. But break her? No. She is tough as nails. Supergirl.

The good doctor has cleared her to do everything but wrestle and play football. Mmm hmm. That will be her first goal. I give it a week. She can't wait to jump out of an airplane. She wants to go climb a rock wall as soon as possible. For now, she will have to be content with spinning her color guard flag with the marching band in high school. And I shall watch her strut with joy. And she will call me creepy. And I can live with that.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Special Kind of Tired

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Yeah, I know…my blog has been neglected. A lot has happened that I should have blogged about. Wailer turned a year older and celebrated with the party of the Gods…a CHOCOLATE party. It was divine. Chocolate flowed from a fountain, 10 pounds of chocolate to be precise. And there were birthday guests too- several giggling, chocolate-filled little girls who had no intention of ever sleeping. Ever. The house was on estrogen overload. Poor Big Dog.

What else has happened? Hmm…oh yeah! More broken bones! Rough Stuff broke a toe. I know…not major, but it was enough to result in yet one more visit to urgent care and one more visit to the orthopedic specialist and one more stupid blue protective shoe. I swear Skiffy and Rough Stuff are in a competition to see who can self-destruct first.

So where was I? Oh yes, the blog. Neglect. Irresponsibility. Self-doubt. Frustration. Blah.

Well, in honesty people…suck it.  You see, I’ve been tired. Hella tired. A real special kind of tired. This semester of school is killing me. Seriously. Killing me. One tedious assignment at a time. I am so tired I could sleep standing  up. I’m so tired I could…well let me tell you how tired I was yesterday.

Yesterday, I got out of bed tired to the point of tears. And nausea. I showered, put on makeup and proceeded to take Skiffy to physical therapy. Of course, because Skiffy and I LIVE at physical therapy. I came home from therapy with enough time to work on homework for an hour before the next appointment but I couldn’t quit yawning so I wasn’t very productive at finding the answer to the very important, life-altering question about Lindblom’s theory of mutual adjustment. (Sorry, world of public administration…I have failed you.) I was about to leave for the next therapy appointment and to drop Skiffy off for color guard practice and to drop myself off for class, also known as four-hour-lecture-about-really-boring-public-administration-policies, when I decided I should go freshen up.

Freshen up? Did she just say that? Why yes, yes I did. Do people still do that? Why yes, yes they do. You know that feeling when you are just flippin’ exhausted and your makeup looks all icky and your eyes are sagging and your fat cheeks are drooping and your hair is flat and you just feel disgusting? NO? Then you don’t have a herd of kids. That moment requires some vain attempt to freshen up and look alive.

Anyhoo, I blotted my makeup, applied more blush, and added deodorant. But that didn’t really fix the situation. I decided I needed a less frumpy shirt. Then I decided my distressed capris looked a little too distressed and I would feel better in jeans. Then I had to decide what shoes to wear. I tried on the oh-so-comfy, but frumpy, brown Skecher’s sandal, and the so much cuter black, beaded flip flop. I decided the comfy, but frumpy, brown sandals were perfect.

So, I’m driving down the road just cruising along chillaxing to Bob Marley when I approach the traffic circle and it happens. As I press on the brake, something feels off kilter. Something is not right. Something is just…ahh shit. I wiggle my toes and press them into my shoes. Sure as shit, the toes on my left foot press into the soft comfy footbed of my brown sandal and the toes on my right foot press against the hard, flat bottom of my beaded flip flop. “Filth and foul and filth filth foul...we have to go back home” I screeched.

Now, like any well developed, responsible grown person, I laid blame on the nearest human being I could find. “SKIFFY, HOW COULD YOU LET ME LEAVE HOME LIKE THAT?!” Like any witty, smart ass teenager she said “because you’re 37 years old, Mother. I thought you knew how to dress yourself.”
Sigh. Actually, I didn’t sigh. I mumbled something in my head that should never be repeated.

I am that kind of tired, folks. Too tired to think straight. Too tired to function. Too tired to dress myself. A real special kind of tired.               

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I Love to Watch Her Strut

All walking is discovery. On foot we take the time to see things whole. –Hal Borland

Alright, I confess. I love to watch my daughter’s butt while she walks. It is…amazing…and intoxicating. It is so absolutely perfect. As she walks her hips tilt gently from side to side. One foot is planted in front of the other and her wonderful, healthy body moves purposely forward. I just can’t get enough of it.

Insane? Yes, I know. But, you see…when Skiffy broke her hip in August, 2010, I gave up all hope that she would ever walk without a limp. I just held onto hope that she would be able to keep her own hip and not undergo a complete hip replacement at the ripe old age of thirteen.  For six months, I didn’t actually see her walk. I saw her hop, crawl, and swing from crutches, but I never saw her actually put both feet on the ground and walk. Then slowly, she learned to limp along with two feet and two crutches, then one crutch, and finally no crutches for short distances. But even in the end of March it remained to be seen whether she would have a limp.

Now it is May. She has no limp. She walks perfectly. It reminds me of when she took her first steps as a baby. I just can’t get enough of it. I step behind her every chance I get and just admire that limp-less walk. Today, I saw her run. I actually laughed out loud with joy. It was absolutely fabulous.  

She calls me a creeper.

And I can live with that.  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tales of Woe and Chocolate

"What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate." - Katherine Hepburn

As·pie Mo·ment  temporary breakdown induced by a child with Asperger’s syndrome; moment of insanity temporarily cured by consuming mass amounts of chocolate

Okay, okay…an aspie moment isn’t really about the mother, but ingesting chocolate can increase a mother’s ability to cope. What is an aspie moment? It may be the breakdown a person with Asperger’s syndrome has when they are too overwhelmed and their sensory integration systems are short circuiting. It may be the meltdown that comes when an aspie wants what they want the moment they want it…but they don’t get it. Or, it may just be one of those ‘uh…alrighty then’ kind of moments that you witness an aspie having.

This last one, you just have to experience to understand. Last week in a restaurant, I saw my aspie pick up a glass to move it across the table. He stopped, mid-move, lifted another glass, and clanged the two together. He listened intently to the sound and then returned to dipping his fries in a bath of honey mustard (the 2nd bowl of honey mustard he had asked the waiter for).  I immediately thought to myself “uh…alrighty then.” If you know an aspie, you have probably witnessed many such moments. You may even witness such moments among strangers and think to yourself “I wonder if they are on the spectrum?”

Anyhoo, this week I’ve witnessed aspie moments of the worst kind.  Sixteen year-old Aspie has been breaking down to the point of tears over relatively minor crises: the trash being too heavy, the lawn mower blade needing sharpening, pizza from the refrigerator being cold. He is overwhelmed by the situation and quickly resorts to whining and finally to tears and storming off to his room. Several tearful fits finally led to a mildly aggressive outburst.

Now Big Dog and I get to play the very un-amusing game of Guess-the-Problem. It could be the new medication we’re trying. Or it could be the end-of-quarter change of school schedule. Or it could be that he is interested in a girl and hasn’t resolved asking her out yet. Or it could be that he asked her out and got rejected. Or it could be that his senior-year friends are graduating. Or…

And so the game goes. We may never find the answer. Aspie doesn’t really know either. Although he is graced with exceptional language abilities, he doesn’t have the ability to articulate what is bothering him. Whatever it is, it activates the very primal fight-or-flight syndrome. Sometimes he fights. Sometimes he flees. Sometimes he just stands there and cries. It is frustrating and exhausting for all involved.

As a mother, I generally lose the game. I can never figure out what the problem is and I end up losing my patience when he won’t comply with chores, or meal plans, or schedules. In the end, he goes to bed overwhelmed and frustrated, and I turn to chocolate. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

Nothing is as frustrating as arguing with someone who knows what he's talking about. -Sam Ewing

Tonight my children had the following argument while walking through a crowded Wal-Mart:

Little Bean: Ewww!! Bras!
Rough Stuff: Mom wears a bra!
Me: Thank you. Very nice. 
Little Bean: She does not! MOM NEVER WEARS A BRA!
Me: (mumbling) Fabulous. Please stop. 
Rough Stuff: She does too!
Me: Yes, mommy wears a bra. Enough now. 
Little Bean: DOES NOT. Mom has NEVER worn a bra.
Me: ENOUGH! Hush!
Rough Stuff: She does too. Remember? They're so big I can stick my WHOLE head a helmet!
Wal-Mart employee: (Giggling without shame) Kids are so funny!
Me: Yes. Hysterical. 
Little Bean: (mortified) That was your bra??

Yep. Everybody is a comedian.