Archive for December, 2008

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , on December 17, 2008 by Ms. Ex

Overheard at bedtime tonight:

E:  Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells,

It’s not much fun to ride and walk a sleigh tonight


Me:  hahahahhaaaahahahhahahah

E:  Why are you laughing?

Me:  Because you are soooooooo cute.

E:  Oh.             Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle bells…


Tower of Babbles

Posted in Autism, Motherhood with tags , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2008 by Ms. Ex

My sixteen month old baby B has started babbling!

Doesn’t sound much like news, does it?  But he goes around laughing and talking all the time, and even repeats back to me the words I say to him.  While looking me in the eye.

My four year old E never did these things.  At some point, his trajectory changed.  He did not imitate me, not even my facial expressions, not even as a baby when it should be reflexive.  Except, he did say ‘tractor’ for a short time.  And here  I thought my daughter’s first word was telling.  (Did you say, ‘tattoo’??)

Instead of talking, E walked at ten months.  He conquered steps at twelve.  When he was this creepy, walking baby (you know what I mean – a cute little baby head  should not be on top of a biped.  It’s weird.), he would push a doll stroller around our driveway, rain or shine, heat or cold.  That’s what he wanted to do.  I would read and watch him, or do dishes and look out the window at him, and there he would be.  Pushing. A stroller.  In circles.

My oldest child is twelve years older than the next one, so I hardly rememberbed what it was like to have a baby.  With E, I looked up developmental milestones, and noted that he was way ahead with gross motor skills.  As for the other things, well…we can chalk that up to eccentricity, right?  It’s not as if he doesn’t have a wealth of familial sources.

Then along comes baby B.  Sweet.  Happy.  Smiley!  Baby B.  He sleeps.  He nurses.  Not like a meth head or junkie, but like an infant.  Who can quit whenever he wants.  Really. And round about one year old, I noticed some strange sounds coming from his mouth.  Sounds very much like the ones I was making, with inflection to match.  Now, a few months later, he is a regular chatterbox.  His enunciation could stand improvement, but he talks up a storm! It is a completely different world than it was with E.  It’s fun, we laugh, we interact.  We communicate.

E is considered only mildly autistic and highly functional.  He does talk now, but only to people he knows well, and he doesn’t make much eye contact.  The thing is, he is so high functioning, we might never have pursued any help.  He might never have been given tools to reach his true potential.  People told me all the time, “Oh, boys talk later than girls, you’ll see.  Just wait.”  But something in me knew.  It was more than being late to things  (which he got from me, just so you know),  it was a different path altogether.

So, along with just not taking people’s advice, don’t let them persuade you that you are wrong.  We mothers (especially).  We grew these children inside of us! We released them into the world, provide their nourishment and love and everything they need. If something is niggling at you, or you see something in your little one that concerns you – ask someone about it.  Do research.  And you keep asking the questions until you get an answer you feel confident about.

You must do what will work for each one and for your family as a whole.  And follow your gut.  We are the ones who know our babies and know when something is different or wrong.  And also, when things are just right.

The Life I’ve Created

Posted in Motherhood with tags , , , , , , on December 12, 2008 by Ms. Ex

In the middle of the night, when two of my three children cry for me and cling to me, full of need and unable to sleep, I sometimes say, “Shut up!”  I have yelled at them to go to sleep. I have left them crying so I can go to another room and kick things and scream in frustration and exhaustion. I am just so tired.

I have to wonder if I did something to them to create these sleep issues. Do I feed them well? Do they get enough play time and attention during the day? Are there needs I don’t understand that they can’t vocalize?  Sometimes I think maybe my milk supply is gone, that the baby is hungry, so I panic and feed him snacks at two a.m. The four year old wakes at least once to go to the bathroom no matter how vigilant I am about limiting water near bedtime. I’m sure other people have the same problems. Do they realize the havoc that sleep deprivation can cause?

The guilt from my outbursts follows me and causes me shame and grief.  And I don’t have answers.  I commented once on another blog that, “My feeling is it is almost always best to err on the side of mercy and love. There are many parenting ‘mistakes’ that can be ameliorated by lots and lots of love, and the feelings of security it can bring.”

I do believe that.  I also believe that I sometimes need some mercy and love myself.

The Dog Ate My Homework (for Melissa)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2008 by Ms. Ex

Well, okay.  It wasn’t actually my homework.  It was a card I wrote for an exceptional friend, a handwritten, beautiful card, that I was so excited about mailing and having her receive.  I thought the postman had taken it away, but then I found the envelope, muddy and chewed, beside the front porch.

She saw the card lying on my kitchen counter when she came over to craft one night.  I wondered when I saw her looking if she suspected it was for her.  I think she might need a pick-me-up today, so I am going to take this opportunity to shower her with public praise.

She means more to me than any woman ever has.  She is truthful with me, and I allow it, even when it hurts.  This might not seem remarkable, but trust me – it is.  There is nothing I cannot tell her; she will continue to love me even when she knows I’m behaving wretchedly.  I know.  I have tested it.

We share the same temperament, the same fears and ambitions, and we hate all the same people, although perhaps that should remain between us.  We have watched each other grow from very young new moms into women with dreams separate from our children.  With the ability to sometimes see ourselves, or at least each other, clearly, instead of through the lens of motherhood.

Friendship is not clouded with the same entanglements that romantic relationships are.  In friendship we have the opportunity to be ourselves, unfettered by the mystery of someone of the opposite sex.  For whatever anyone says, we are definitely different.

Everyone should have someone like her.  If you are normally (as I am) a private person, prone to obfuscation and selective sharing, I encourage you to find one friend with whom you can truly be yourself.   You never know.  The life she saves may be your own.

Alphabet Soup

Posted in Mental Stability with tags , , , , , , on December 8, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I am afflicted.  I suffer from an assortment of letters that include: ACDBPODDD. In no particular order. I’m sure if I was feeling attentive or ambitious I could cobble together a word from all those letters, but I think there are too many disorders and not enough vowels.  If I include those maladies belonging to my children, well then. Now we’re getting somewhere.  ASDADHD and, for good measure, Tourette’s syndrome.  I am not particularly fond of advertising my children’s issues, but from the anonymity of them internets I feel fairly safe in discussing them.

The reason I bring them up at all is that a friend,  in response to my observation of the brain being capable of going haywire in so very many ways, said he is surprised it isn’t even worse.  That the brain is so complex, a multitude of little things in it could go awry…and usually don’t!    So when viewed from that stance – that things could be much worse – my family’s alphabetic quirkiness seems just a tiny bit easier to bear.

Wild Kingdom

Posted in Poetry, Writing with tags , , , on December 6, 2008 by Ms. Ex

I sit typing and

a giant moth flies by me, the wind of her wings

going just past my ear

like a breath

to light

on the dirty fixture above.

A cricket sings in the next room while

lady bugs amass on the streaky, smeary window.

Tendrils of ivy

poke through the 100 year old gaps in this house,

easing in to gradually steal away my walls.

Until I will look down at my feet and see lush green

a verdant sponge around me.

As I type,

a bird will come and

sit on my shoulder digging his delicate, dry, sharp feet into my thin skin.

He will eat crackers from my mouth, the way

my writer friends’ parrot  did.

I type, and the keys become beetles,

wriggling beneath my fingertips,

trying to evade being made into words.

The children, who used to come in to dust me now and again,

have long given up

and retired to their rooms.

They hear the singing, the walls falling, the cracker nibbling

and the clackety-click of the keyboard beetles,

and they know

Mom is Writing.