Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Toasty Blanket For Legs.

Let me ask this question: 

Why is there a stigma on sweatpants? 

Why does it matter so much if I want to wear sweatpants all the time? I like them. They're comfortable. Sometimes they can be cute. Mostly I wear ugly ones... because they're the most comfy. They are stretchy at the waist so I don't feel the same discomfort I feel when I'm wearing jeans. Nothing is worse that putting on a freshly washed pair of jeans- struggling for life to pull them on. It's like an Olympic event getting the button clasp through that hole that seems to get smaller and further away every time I even think about trying to put them on 

"You think you're going to put me on? Alaka-ZAM! You just gained 5 pounds. Congratulations." - Jeans. 

Sweatpants are that moment you wake up first thing in the morning after the best sleep of your life where the worst thing in the world would be leaving the covers of that, already toasty, blanket. Sweatpants are my toasty blanket... for my legs. Why would anyone not want to wear that all the time?

Society is the thing that made me care about picking up my son in sweatpants. The first day of school I saw a mother in her pajamas dropping her kid off in the morning, and from that experience I learned that it's fine to wear them too the school first thing, but pick up is a different story. Pick up is a fashion show. The closest you can get to comfy clothes, during that time of day, is workout clothing. 

These are all things we as a society have defined as acceptable *shakes fist, yet again, at society*. "Sweatpants? To pick up your son? way. The tighter version, aka. Leggings, are totally fine though." Why? I have been wearing sweatpants in my house all day and 2 minutes before I step out the door I'm going to change into leggings. As soon as I get back, the first thing I'm going to do is strip down and put on my glorious toasty blanket, for my legs, on. 

"But Jenny, dressing up makes me feel good about myself". Listen here. I'm 30 now. Life, as I know it, is over. Who am I impressing? The principal? The Dads that pick up their kids? No. It's a contest between mothers. Who is the most put together? Who is the best looking? Who can rock their workout clothes the best? Jenny just walked in with toasty blankets for her legs... gross. She must be over 30. 

What game are we playing? Who are we fooling?! I know, just as well as everyone else, that the winner of the "looks most put together" contest was wearing her very own toast 5 minutes before she left her house. I just want some honesty people!

The best is when I decide to screw it and wear my sweatpants anyways and another mother had the same idea. After looking each other up and down she looks me in the eyes with a little glimmer that says "Yes. I see you, and I agree". Thank you fellow mother who has had enough. Thank you.

Based on futuristic movies we're all going to be wearing the same thing anyways! It might as well be the toastiest, melt in your mouth, with butter and jam, blankets for my legs. Won't that be a beautiful thing?
I've got tears in my eyes just thinking about it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

My Cowardly Secret

I have a secret. It's a common one, suffered by many people, probably yourself included. It's shameful and looked down upon and the people that deal with this terrible problem are the ones that end up losing in the end. 

I'm a coward. 

I have dreams and opportunities like anyone else, and because of fear I become a coward and I let them go... one after the other. I've done this multiple times throughout my life in various situations, all ending the same. Me not doing what I want to do. Me deciding that I'm not good enough, that I'm not special enough to be something great. I've taught myself that it's all or nothing. If I'm not the best, I'm the worst. This toxic way of thinking has prevented me from living for a long time. 

Just today I thought about registering for a writing class I had been thinking about for months and I purposely didn't register. I purposely thought about how inadequate I was to take the class, how I hadn't been in school in over ten years, how I don't have the best or brightest vocabulary, how my grammar needs intense improvement. I went on and on and in the end I pressed the "close" button instead of going for it. 

Is it weird that I have to remind myself to do something because it will bring me pleasure and not to do something because it will bring me success? Or the definition of what success means to me right now. I just need to change the way I define that word. Right now success means getting the best grades, winning the first place trophy, living in a big house, having the perfect body, making a lot of money. 

Today I'm changing it. From now on success means being happy, standing up for what you believe in, taking risks, being vulnerable, doing what's right, doing what you love, being kind to others, not letting my fears stop me from going for what I've always wanted, believing in myself... and loving myself. I want that kind of success.

I know it's going to be hard. I'm going to have to fight against my instincts to give up. I'm not going to. I'm going to register for the next class early this time. Maybe I'll be the best writer around, maybe I'll stink.

At least I know I'll love it.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wheels in Motion

Yesterday I put the wheels in motion into assessing Abbott for Autism. We're going the free route, so it'll likely take around a year to find out, which is fine with me because he's already getting services for his delays right now anyways and has already been accepted into the PUF program. The label at this point would just bring me clarity and answer a question I've been flip flopping about since he was born. This small action, of asking a representative to get the paperwork going, made it real. My baby might have ASD. 

I remember watching a documentary where a family had two children on the spectrum and I said "I can't imagine having multiple children on the spectrum, what must her life look like? That would be crazy" Insane. It looks insane. 

I kind of wonder if, by making this decision, I've already decided that Abbott is on the spectrum. I feel oddly sure about it right now. It all seems so clear. 

He has trouble following direction.
He doesn't play with other kids.
He has a lot of words in his vocabulary, but has trouble using them in context.
He has massive OCD, always lining up everything, organizing his toys, LOTS of lining up.
He has an amazing memory, knew his alphabet and could count to 20 when he was 2 years old.
He's a big repeater of what I say. "Abbott, did you have a good day?" "Good day".
Not a huge sense of danger, like running on the street, climbing up horrifyingly scary objects.

The biggest thing is how Milo is my only real comparison. With him being on the severe end of the spectrum it's easy to dismiss Abbott's problems because for Milo it's much worse. For example, Milo could never sit through me reading a book to him before bed, he wanted to flip the pages instantly, would scream sometimes when I would read certain sections, would grab the book and flip it to the back and scan it over and over. Abbott will sit calmly and watch me read a book to him with smiles and intent interest. Because of moments like this I would say to myself that this is proof that he doesn't have autism, but I keep forgetting one big thing. Autism is a spectrum... and Abbott could be anywhere on it. 

How do I feel about it, you ask?

I don't know anymore. When I wrote that question down just now the first thing I did was take a big sigh. It feels pretty accurate. I'm pretty tired. I hate appointments and doctors. Yesterday I was filling out double paperwork because I needed to for both my kids and it became so clear in that moment that this is my life. Double the amount of paperwork, double the appointments, double the advocacy fighting, double the desire to punch people. 

I pride myself in my abilities to read people. Yes, I'm going to be cocky about that... I think I have an ability to see people and read them in a way others can't, look at me complimenting myself. Give me a gold star. My kids suffer from the opposite problem. It's funny. It's fascinating.

It's life. 

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 " 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?" 


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.


A video game character.

That's right...

No, he isn't a real person.

Someone, with a lot of talent, drew him.


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! 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!