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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Babadook and Me

I am a huge movie buff. People that know me well know this about me. I'm not entirely sure why I don't write more about movies that move me, maybe I will after this. 

*This post will contain spoilers.

The Babadook.

 

It's seems like a simple horror movie plot. A single mother to a troubled son unleash a monster from a childrens book.

...but it's so much more than that. Within the first ten minutes I knew it was going to be more than a monster movie. In fact they barely show the babadook at all.

The movie is really about grief and how scary it can be to face it and get through it in one piece. In this movie the mother, Amelia, is dealing with the loss of her husband who died while driving Amelia to the hospital to give birth to their son, Samuel. Years pass and Amelia is at a breaking point where her grief is about to take over her. She has a troubled son who she can't control, you can see her struggle to contain her grief from turning into rage towards him. Day in and day out it seems like she can't catch a break, her son brings weapons to school, he breaks his cousins ribs at her birthday party, he breaks windows, he doesn't obey, he breaks his fathers things, he always says every disturbing thing that's in his mind, he wants constant attention, he isn't normal and it's taken it's toll on Amelia. There's also this sense of extreme loneliness that's felt throughout, all the bright colors are stripped from the movie. Her son, Sam, seems to never give her affection she craves from him. All the extra characters are viewed in the way Amelia would see them, selfish, unhelpful, judgmental or in the way, so you get this raw feeling of despair.


Her son finds a book called "Mister Babadook" and the monster is unleashed. The mantra of the monster is "If it's in a word or in a look, you can't get rid of the babadook". The monster eventually takes over Amelia and chaos ensues. To me, the babadook represents the anger that's inside us all, that powerful rage that with enough grief and pain is a place we can all get to.With the babadook inside Amelia she's able to let out every emotion and aggression in a scary, violent way, almost killing her son.

 

In the end her unconditional love for him prevails and she's able to confront and control the babadook and in doing so becomes a strong confident woman for her and her son. The mantra "...you can't get rid of the babadook" still applies and it still lives in their house, but they're able to live with it and contain it in a healthy way and get on with living their lives.


I cried a lot watching this movie. That doesn't ever happen when I'm watching a horror movie, but this one hit a little too close to home. I doubt there's a mother or father alive that hasn't felt what Amelia felt in the first half of the movie, grief, pain, trying to get through the day. Depression.

For me it was more. Don't get me wrong, I love my son, but this movie represents a lot of the same emotions I deal with. That craving for normalcy, feeling alone, having no one understand you, no help, no way out, listening to normal families talk about their lives and wanting to smack them. That feeling of becoming unhinged. I promise you there have been times where I feel like I'm a babadook away from going insane and this movie sadly represents the dark side of it all, and there are days where I feel as though I've come a little too close to that darkness. At the beginning Amelia is so weak, she can't keep up with anything, she's exhausted. To see her become that mama bear, to see her become that strong woman is everything I needed. The movie showed me that working through the grief and facing it head on and all the pain that comes with it is the only way to become that strong person.

I would be remiss if I didn't also mention a specific character seen throughout the movie; Amelia's elderly neighbour, Mrs. Roach. She's seen sometimes in passing, she's always nice and kind and Amelia helps her with small tasks from time to time. At the beginning of my review I talked about how you see the characters from Amelia's perspective and how rude they seem. There's a scene that I find worth mentioning where Mrs. Roach knocks on Amelia's door at night, she expresses how worried she is for her and then says "I'd do anything for you two". It's as if this movie knows me. I don't know how many times I've judged people because I believe they just don't understand me or what I'm dealing with, too many. I find myself assuming no one cares and no one wants to help and be there for me, Mrs. Roach proved Amelia's ignorance and mine.

...and Amelia, played by Essie Davis, was phenomenal. I haven't seen her in a lead role before, possibly because she does more work in Australia, but she is amazing. I wasn't watching an actress play a part, I was watching a mother struggling to survive, I got lost in her performance. She was perfect.  

Reading this you'd think this wasn't a horror movie at all. It doesn't have a million jump scares, it doesn't fully show the monster, and quite honestly the monster is barely in the movie at all. We keep thinking that a scary movie is something going bump in the night, a monster that comes to get us, a murderer that's after us, ghosts, goblins, but what could be scarier that losing who we really are and becoming a monster ourselves? That, to me, is the true horror.

I give this movie... EIGHT diet cokes out of ten.



If you're wondering if you can handle this movie at all, firstly, know that it is a horror movie. Yes, it's scary, yes I had trouble sleeping, yes I've been up since 2am. If you can make it through this trailer without having nightmares you could probably watch this and be okay. Maren, you will not be able to watch this. Sarah?... maybe.





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

No and Yes

I don't have actual conversations with Milo. If he's impatient and wants something, he'll grab my hand and throw it in the direction of the object he requires. If it's the fridge, I can guess that he wants milk. If it the cupboard by the table, he wants either cereal or fruit snacks, if it's the cupboard by the microwave, he probably wants a granola bar and so on. Sometimes he's patient enough to ask for things through his iPad which has been amazing. He'll press the buttons "I want" and then spell "f-r-u-i-t S-n-a-c-k" it's pretty amazing. If there's a show he wants to watch, I put them up on his iPad and he can point to the one he wants. I had pretty much given up on him answering me by speaking. He will, but it's usually a repeat of what I'm saying 

"Milo, did you want a milk?" 

he throws my hand 

"you want this?" I point to the milk "... yes?" 

"yes!"

If I didn't say "yes" at the end of that sentence, he wouldn't have said it. That's just the way it is. 

...or is it?

Yesterday I was giving both my boys a bath and Milo started to get out, I hadn't rinsed him off yet so I said "Milo, get back into the tub". He looked right at me and said "no!" and ran away. I was so shocked that he responded independently that I let him go and instead I ran to Brett to ask if he heard what Milo said with soap running down my arms.

Later I asked him if he wanted some milk and without hesitation he said "yes". I don't know how to make you understand how huge this is for him. Independently speaking, not a repeat of what I've just said is a big big deal. It isn't me guessing. It isn't him repeating a word I've just said. It isn't him spelling something I've asked him to spell. He is, on his own, responding properly to something I've said... without prompting! 

I'm beyond proud of him.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Rant Rant Blah

I was not made for this. Motherhood. Caring for someone else and everything that comes with it. Having kids is an insane concept when you really think about it. Suddenly I have this thing growing inside me, I push it out of me, suddenly my boob is a food source, and now I have to take care of it? Insanity.

You know what the worst part of having special needs kids is? Appointments. Doctors. Evaluations. Advocating. Dealing with professionals that talk to you in a condescending way. It's like listening to someone describe how a door knob works. "You see, you place your hand, like so, around the knob and twist it clockwise until it can't turn anymore. Are you listening? Do you need to write this down? ...You'd better write this down because I know this is all very complicated. Now... you're at the point where the knob has been turned all the way and now you-watch what I do-pull... you pull the door, and sometimes you need to tug it a bit to get it to move, some of these doors are heavy, and you pull it open like so. I know this is all very hard for your feeble mind to comprehend, but there you have it. P.S. I'm smarter than you so I'm allowed to treat you like an idiot. Also... no matter how many times you come to see me I'm going to repeat everything I've just said every. single. time. Have a nice day... but not really. So look over those pamphlets and you can read about sliding doors.". It's annoying. Every time I see a doctor they treat me like it's my first time walking in there "Well lets give you all the beginner packets and go through them the entire time... because... you know, this appointment is complete BS! Remember how 3 years ago I told you nothing was wrong with your child and I treated you like a psychopath? yeah... me too. I'm so awesome."

Can you tell I'm annoyed?

I am.

I hate dealing with people. HATE. 

Now I'm at this point where we need to do evaluations with Abbott. Yeah. Him too. He's seen a speech therapist that was the biggest cow to me and had less than zero desire to help me. "I don't understand... he can say so many words, but he doesn't use them in context!? WHAT?! I've never seen anything like this, it's impossible!!" okay... I'm over exaggerating a little, but she seriously acted like this was the most absurd thing she'd seen in her many years. She was slowly describing every type of child she'd seen and I was so close to telling her "Stop. I really don't, at all, care about anything you're saying. So... if you can shut the hell up that would be fantastic, thank you. I'll be on my way. I'm going to go key your car now. See ya! P.S. I just farted... I'll just shut this door, buh-bye". But I never say anything because I'm a giant coward, I just nod my head until it's over. To me it seems obvious that the people who are having a hard time with there kids shouldn't have to jump through a million hoops to get help. I'm drowning. I'm losing it. I don't shower that much anymore, I've stopped wearing make-up and I'm literally, at this moment, wearing an adult sized onesie with wolverine all over it. Why do I have to fight so much??

Yes... it's the comfiest thing I've ever owned. My wolverine onesie. Wanna see it?


This is how dreams die...and people say I'm so brave and awesome. Now you all know the truth. I'm as sad as they come.

Conclusion: Stop making me work to help my children. 

Wow that picture is bad. Like really really bad. Eye opening. Ugh. Am I really pressing send? 

Well, okay. Here we go.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How Embarrassing.

We've all had them. Moments in our lives that we wish didn't exist. Sometimes people witness them, sometimes they're hidden deep deep down where we won't let anyone find them. They bring us shame that cause us to wonder "am I crazy?" and sometimes, when we're at parties, we have temporary insanity and divulge some of these moments. 

Today I was thinking about some past embarrassing moments in my life and thought... why not blog about it?

So here it is. My top embarrassing moments. How do you know there's my actual top moments? You don't, but still... all very embarrassing:

1. I used to watch my brother play video games. I wanted his approval really badly, so I'd do anything to please him (one time I watched him take apart his computer and put it back together...for fun) so I'd watch him play endless video games. One of those games was Final Fantasy 7. It's a great game. Very popular and famous series. When my brother played it I was around 12? 13 years old? There's a villain  in the game called "Sephiroth". Ready for the embarrassing moment?

...I had a crush on him.

Yeah.

A video game character.

That's right...

No, he isn't a real person.

Someone, with a lot of talent, drew him.

HE'S A DRAWING!!

Wanna see his picture? Of course you do. 



OOoooo So sexy! He even has his own theme song! Somethings wrong with me, right? I promise I don't have a crush on him anymore... ... :) Don't read into that smile, I really don't... ;)

2. I peed the bed. This isn't really news for the people that know me well. I peed the bed until I was 13 years old. Doctors told my mom that I was an extremely heavy sleeper, and I just couldn't hold it. It was difficult to deal with growing up. Sleep overs were extra embarrassing, I had to wear a giant diaper. One time I shared a bed with a good friend and peed all over both of us, she was so nice about it and even said "maybe it was me". I wanted to die I was so embarrassed. But this isn't the thing I'm talking about. I get that it was just a phase I went through, and I couldn't really help it. My real embarrassing moment? I peed the bed when I was newly married. Yup. I was either 20 or 21, but I was sleeping next to Brett, had a dream about peeing in the toilet and...well... you can guess the rest.

Oh, and I had my period.

Oh, and Brett helped me clean it up.

Well, Brett cleaned up most of it...

...while I cried of embarrassment.

PHEW! I'm glad that's finally out. Now Brett has nothing on me!

3. Two smaller ones that I think happens to a lot of people (I hope). Maren once walked in on me full on dancing and singing my heart out in front of the mirror to N'SYNC, I think I was around 16 years old? Brett has walked in on me having an out loud conversation with myself in front of a mirror... hand gestures and everything. That was a moment that I realized not everyone does this.

4. I have one that's really long to explain, but I'll just say that it involved a large group of people playing the newly wed type game and one of my answers was "Vigorous Fellatio". DON'T LOOK THAT UP! ...it means oral sex, phew, that could've been embarrassing for you. This is in my top 5 most embarrassing moments. Oddly the question was "what was your spouses most embarrassing moment" I put it down as an inside joke that doesn't involve us, but no one else knew that, and I inadvertently created his real "most embarrassing moment" that very night by putting down that answer and reading it in front of everyone. I even had a friend ask me what I was thinking when I wrote that, I think it was his most embarrassing moment too. I wanted to make people laugh, but I went way too far.

5. Fart Themed Moments: Met a bunch of new friends for the first time and farted... it was stinky. Newly engaged to Brett, I was playing a game with his family and laughed so hard I farted... it was stinky. One that I'm kind of proud of (a little off topic) I've been told I have the stinkiest farts a few people have ever smelled (Brett's one of the people that's told me that. He's gagged once before). Back on track, I think the most embarrassing fart moment, that's happened multiple times, is farting during a silent moment in front of a stranger and pretending it didn't happen. We both know it happened, we both know it was me, we both are dealing with the stinky consequences.

6. Finding out that peeing in the shower isn't normal for girls. I was at a friends house with a couple of couples. We were playing a game and I left to go to the bathroom. When I came back I entered a conversation about peeing in the shower. One of the husbands said "All guys pee in the shower" and before I had a chance to listen anymore I blurted out "I pee in the shower all the time". Silence followed. What I missed was the conversation beforehand that involved all the wives exclaiming how gross they thought it was, and they wished their husbands would quit this nasty practice. 

I learned that day that I am not a lady.

I also blow my nose in the shower too... just putting that out there.

7. Pooped and peed during labor. Brett had to sit down because he was going to pass out. He said it was from the blood, but I later figured out that it was because he was so grossed out by seeing me poo.

...My sister-in-law was there too. She knows me real well now.

8. Wedding night. Yup. I'm going there. We enter our hotel room and I yell for Brett to help me take off my wedding dress. "I need to poo!!!". What was meant to be a very sexy moment turned into me rushing to the bathroom and plugging the toilet instantly. Yeah. I plugged the toilet on my wedding night.  Poor Brett. It was the first sign that he'd married down and I'd married way way up.

9. I, with my sisters and friends, threw giant Twilight parties. The embarrassment and shame is too real. I was taken in by all the sexual excitement that vampires bring. I WAS A SHEEP!! Now that the honeymoon has faded I realize that Twilight blows chunks, but those pictures and memories will never fade.




10. How mockingjay should have ended. My first year in Cleveland was a lonely time. I've never been so bored or crafty. My sisters asked me to make another "how it should have ended" video. I'd done another short one about Little Women that I was proud of. They were going to have a Mockingjay book club party back in Canada, so I thought I would contribute. I think most of my embarrassment is how not put together it is. Oh... and Brett put it on the internet and it got over 3000 views. When I found out about that, I took it down instantly. It was too much to have it out there. It was just... sad. It was that real genuine embarrassment that kills our confidence.


There you have it. Other than all these insane moments I'm a completely perfect specimen. I will accept all and any embarrassing moments in the comments below. Go nuts!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Now I Know My

I get asked a lot why Milo is obsessed with Television. He tends to watch the same shows, and if he's on my phone, he'll rewind certain segments and listen to them over and over. Ask anyone who has been on a road trip with Milo and they will verify this.

Every person with Autism is different but something that a lot of the people on the spectrum crave is order and repetition. Milo hates chaos. People? Chaotic. Unpredictable. You never know what you're going to get when a child runs up to you. Cinderella, on the other hand, is very predictable...because we've all seen it about a million times and it's never changed on us.

Milo doesn't really speak independently right now, but when he's watching a show he loves, his language explodes. It's repetitive, but it's there. Just the other day I heard him say "What have we here Banzai? mmmmmm I don't know Shenzi" from the Lion King. I can hold a ball up to his face, ask him what it is and I get nothing, but turn on a disney movie and I get "Oh I just can't wait to be king!"

My favorite is bedtime. We've started dedicating 15-30 minutes to singing because of how well Milo does with Music. I can now ask him what song he'd like to sing and he'll tell me! "Twinkle twinkle" "Ten in the bed" "ABC" "Head Shoulders knees and toes" "BINGO". Sometimes he'll sing along, sometimes I'll pause at the end of a sentence and Milo will sing the last word. Last night we were tucking Milo in bed and he sang the entire alphabet and even sang "Now I know my ABC's, next time won't you sing with me".

I haven't yet had a conversation with my son, but through music we're able to connect with him. He's our conductor. He'll touch our lips when he wants us to start and he waves his arms around to the beat of the music. He looks into our eyes and you can tell when he's enjoying it because he'll get this coy half smile on his lips. 

Like This:



I can't wait to see where he goes with his life. Brett and I are desperately trying to find something that will be his thing for life. a year ago I bought him paint brushes to see if he would take to painting, before that we bought a keyboard to see if he'd love playing the piano. Just the other day Brett ordered a snare drum because Milo is obsessed with beats. I've always wanted to be a drummer, so this one I'm trying not to hold too tightly too, but it would be AWESOME if he took to it. 

For now it's singing ABC's, and jumping off the couch to the beat of "itsy bitsy spider". This kid is pretty cool. 

side note: You know who else loves order and repetition? ME! Please let the summer end so I can have some semblance of order in my house.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Is He A Wanderer?

We've thought a lot about getting Milo an assistant dog. I've even gone as far as filling out the insane paper work, but never sent it out because I wasn't sure I was ready to have a dog.

These dogs are amazing too. They're trained specifically for autistic children, and more specifically for MY autistic child. The dog would be with Milo at all times, eating with him, sleeping with him, going to school with him, everything. They would help to calm him down if he needed it, they help with sleep tremendously, if we're out and about, Milo would be tethered to the dog and he would be trained to stop him from escaping... and the big one:

If Milo were to ever run away, the dog would be trained to find him.

I never went through with it. I was always worried it would be too much for me to handle having another thing to take care of. I didn't think I had it in me.

I might now.

Yesterday Milo was missing for approximately 30 minutes. Brett and I were going to go on a date and I went to pick up dinner for the kids, when I came back Brett was jumping in our bed with Abbott, he said that Abbott became really upset when I left so he had been in our bedroom the entire time. He hadn't seen Milo in a while, but we were sure he was in the basement. I got dinner set up for the kids and called both of them, Abbott came running in and sat at the table. I called for Milo again and again. Brett went downstairs to get him, I checked his bedroom, he wasn't in either place. We went through the rest of the house and Brett checked the backyard. Our slider door was open, so we knew he had been there.

"is he there?" I asked

"no, check the basement again" Brett said.

This is when I began to panic a little. All parents know the feeling. You don't know where your kid is, your heart starts to beat a little harder and your eyes start darting everywhere, your breath begins to pick up a bit. Usually at this point you find your kid and all is well.

We couldn't find him. I began to yell his name to make sure he could hear me. "MILOOO"... nothing.

Brett then said he would start driving around. I went to go turn on my phone. As I was waiting I went in the backyard and yelled his name one more time "MIIILLLOOOOOO" ... I paused for 10 seconds, waiting to see anything, hear anything.

The day before Brett caught Milo half way up our chain link fence, he was having a lot of trouble with it, so it wasn't a worry for us at the time, but I knew in that moment that Milo had definitely gone out the backyard and climbed the fence.

I instantly started looking in neighbours backyards. He'd done that before when he was about 3. Nothing. He wasn't anywhere. At this point I knew I needed to call the police, I didn't want to take any chances. The number one cause of death for children on the autism spectrum is drowning. I'd heard endless stories of kids wandering away and finding a pool and drowning. I dialed the police and began explaining what had happened

"How old is he?"

"5"

"what was he wearing?"

"He might actually be naked, or in his boxers, I can't remember what color" my voice began to shake.

"how tall is he?"

"uhhhh... I don't know I don't know!"

"it's okay, you're doing great. How tall are you?"

"I'm 5'5 and he goes up to about my breast I think?"

"okay, so he's about 4 feet. He's Caucasian?"

"yes"

"Any defining characteristics?"

"He's severely autistic and non-verbal. He probably wouldn't come to you if you called his name, but he might. On his right- no wait, on his left eye he has part of his iris missing, almost like a bite has been taken out of it, does that make sense?"

"yes. How will he respond to police?"

"what do you mean?"

"would he be too scared?"

"no. not at all. He'd probably try to run away though"

"okay. Jenny, you're doing good. I sent the information out and a police officer will call you. Right now you need to go back in the house and search it thoroughly, okay? He might be hiding"

At this point I was crying "okay okay. I will. Thank you"

"you're doing fine. The officer will call you soon."

I was outside at this point and Brett came back empty handed. At that moment I thought he might be at the school, he misses school so much, maybe he got all the way there. "Check the school" I called to Brett, he nodded and sped away.

I said goodbye to the police and I hung up and began to search the house again. For about 10 minutes there was nothing. I was searching everywhere knowing that Milo wasn't there. I came back to the kitchen to see Abbott had finished his meal and was halfway through Milos. The phone rang. It was the officer and he told me he was on his way from Didsbury, a town about 20 minutes away. I described Milo and he laughed a little "We just got a call 2 minutes before yours that a little boy was playing in a park without clothes. I'm sure it's him." I began to finally breath at that moment. I got a bing from my phone and saw that it was Brett trying to call me. The officer said he'd check it out and call me back. I hung up and called Brett back.

"I found him. He was naked in the park by the school, we're coming home" I could hear Milo in the background making noises.

"Thank Goodness. I'll call the police back. Bye" I finally sat down and took a couple of breaths.

I called them back and let them know, I described Milo a lot more so he'd be in their system if it ever happened again. Brett walked Milo in the house, he was laughing and covered in sand. I didn't care, I went to him and hugged him so hard. I gave him kisses over and over and told him I loved him. I told him I was sorry school was over and that we could go to the park tomorrow and play.

It was terrifying. I don't think I've ever been so scared. I began to think about how he got there. How he walked the 5 minutes all the way to his school and how he'd have to cross a busy street to get there. I thought about the person that called the police and wondered why they didn't wait with my child for us to get there. I thought about all the horrible outcomes and decided that it might be a good idea to get that dog now.

I remembered one of the questions on the application for the assistant dog "Is your child a wanderer?"... now I can say 100% yes. Yes he wanders, he runs, he escapes.

(Brett took this photo when he found him)



Today I followed Milo around the backyard and saw him instantly begin the climb the fence, which confirmed our fears. Now there's more and more restrictions that I hate placing on him.


Monday, June 22, 2015

It's Been A While...

Hi There, 

I haven't been complaining writing for a while. Posting pictures of photography sessions doesn't really count, does it? Not really what my blog is about, but it's my blog so get off my back! The truth is I feel stuck right now. Has that ever happened to you? There's something you enjoy doing, but you just don't feel inspired by it for a while... maybe nothing of value, or what you think is of value, comes to your mind. That's what's been going on with me. I know I'm writing now, but it's still going on. I have an idea of what I want to accomplish, or multiple possibilities and lots of motivation, but the desire or love for these potential things just isn't there. 

Stuck. 

So I'm sorry I haven't been around. I really do want to write a book and post it chapter by chapter here. Maybe it would just be a short story, who knows, but nothing is coming to me. Which is weird for me, because usually I have too many thoughts and ideas to contain them. 

Any ways. I got a lot of hate from my disclaimer posts, and it... hurt. I got a lot of love too, but we all tend to focus on the negative, am I right? But it left me in this place. This stuck place of wondering what I want for myself, what I want to accomplish, what I want to do with myself, what it's all worth to me. I didn't really second guess before, and now? ... stuck. 

I want to do what I want to do. Now I'm realizing that I can make mistakes and I need to realize that it will happen and I need to be okay with it. I need to not let it stop me from the next thing, and it has. Let me tell you... I have watched a LOT of T.V.... insane amounts. More than usual. Not the fun kind of binging, where you meet up with friends and have a Lord Of The Rings marathon. It's the kind that makes you feel gross after. It's like when you feel better after you clean, but you hate getting started. I don't want to clean!!! But I know it's what I need to do to get out of this rut. 

BOO CLEANING. 

I'll just re-watch Buffy The Vampire Slayer and THEN get started... I promise!

P.S. No one stop by! I'm a disaster!