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Monday, January 4, 2016

Twice The Fun

Abbott poop smears now.

so there's that.

There were a few times where Brett and I weren't sure if he was smearing or if it was an accident. Last night we became sure. It was everywhere.

I had come to terms with Milo's poop smearing. It doesn't even make me mad anymore. I just go numb and go to work. I have all the methods down and I've worked it out so it's really easy to clean.

Last night cleaning up Abbott's poop smeared mess undid all of that. I cried while scraping the poop off the floor. I even screamed at one point. Something I haven't done, over poop, in years.

Awesome.

I'm so excited for this next chapter. Cleaning twice as much poo.

wonderful.

Can't wait.

All I've ever wanted in life.

Best thing that's ever happened to me.

Maybe this time around it'll be easier to overcome to darkness that comes with cleaning poo. It took me years with Milo... maybe only months with Abbott? I hope so. Most of all I hope this is a short short phase for Abbott. We are still in the midst of potty training him and he's very afraid to poo in the toilet. Maybe once he starts doing that the smearing will go away.

I can only dream. 




Thursday, December 10, 2015

80 Percent

80%

That's the number of marriages that will fail when you add a child with a disability into the mix. 

Yup. Just let that number sink in for a minute.

It's a daunting number. Every parent who has a special needs child knows this stat and has most certainly wondered if they would make the cut. I get it. Marriage is difficult as is, then you add children into it and it becomes increasingly more difficult, you add a special needs child and it can be impossible at times. 

Milo is severely autistic. Abbott is probably also autistic, we're working on getting him evaluated, either way he falls into the special needs realm. So, naturally, Brett and I fall into the category of "Parents with a child with disabilities". Have I thought about my marriage with Brett failing over this one stat? Yes. We're tired a lot. We don't really sleep all that well because Milo doesn't sleep all that well. You all know what it's like when you've had a bad nights sleep, we've all had them; it's hard to function the next day, you're more irritable, you don't get that many things done, you slack a little more. That's me and Brett... everyday. 

We're coming close to our 10 year anniversary at the end of this month. It doesn't seem that long as I type the number, but I'm at a point where I almost can't remember life without him. We've been through a great deal together, we've had some pretty great moments together and some pretty terrible ones too, and I can safely say that no one knows me as well as he does. 

I'm in no position to say that I'm perfect and that's why I'm still married. I don't know why all those people got divorced and I don't have some hidden secret to a successful marriage, I'm sure if I wrote a book on it there would be five chapters dedicated to what shows to watch on Netflix and the best snacks to pair them with (A little bit of Futurama pairs perfectly with a bowl of fruit loops, it brings a good sense of fun to the whole night. I always love a good Doctor Who with my bag of Mesquite BBQ Dutch Crunch potato chips, brings out the adventurous side in me. If you're looking for a more romantic setting, try a frothy Sleepless in Seattle with a moist batch of BBQ wings). My other chapters would probably be about how to negotiate who cleans up the kids mess, it would be heavily laden with manipulation tactics no doubt. People divorce for many reasons and it's not any of my business to judge them for it, it could easily be me in a few years. What I want to say is screw that stat. Screw it. Life is life and I'm tired of worrying about the "what if's" in this world. I love Brett. He's my best friend. I can count on him (minus with car keys... he's useless with his car keys). I can trust him. I can be me around him. He makes me happy. He makes me laugh harder than anyone else. I have a blast with him. I've opened up to him about my greatest fears and worries. I love him. Are we going to get a divorce in the future? I don't know, maybe we will. This is one of those times that I- as a huge control freak- need to just stop and smell the roses.

I'm not going to worry or care about that stupid number. I'm going to do the best I can for me, and Brett is the best thing for me. 

As a side note I'd love to suggest the popcorn being best paired with a light action movie like Die Hard or Bloodsport. 

...hmmm... maybe I WILL write a book one day.

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? ...no 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 "...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.