Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's 9:02 a.m. Do you know where your kids are?

Does anyone remember these public service announcements from when they were kids? I think it may have been an NYC affiliate thing we saw on our boob tube in New Jersey growing up. (Along with my personal favorite, the fabric pill puppets who sang the song 'This is serious! We can make you delirious! You should have a healthy fear of us. Too much of us is dangerous.! Doctors tell the pharmacy. What the pills are that you will need.' And I can't remember the rest of the song, but seriously, it's weird enough that I remember that much from circa 1978.)

And, Ooh! I found it on Youtube:

Anyway, the fog is out. It is after 9 a.m. My children and other half are all still asleep.

So while it is lovely to have the quiet morning to myself, I cannot help but think it a wee bit of a cruel joke that I was unable to sleep past 7:30 on such a day.

*Edited to add: I received a call from my sister while posting. My Mom is in the hospital. I am very hopeful that what is going on with her means that it is treatable and that she will be okay, but with my Mom's past health history, I am not sure. She is apparently in a great deal of pain and my Father is naturally very upset. I am not yet sure if I need to fly there. Please, please spare an extra good thought, prayer, or lit candle for her. I am very worried.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Enough to Make a Mama Cry

Today when I picked M up at school, one of his classroom aides gave me this:

I waited to open it in the car. Good thing I did because apparently reading this prompted some sort of hormonal wash over me and I started crying like a freaking baby. They'd included a $10 gift card to Peet's Coffee with it. I was so crazily touched.
I'd mentioned how I'd had three teachers thank me while I was picking up trash at M's school. One of them asked who my child was and whose classroom he was in. I reluctantly gave her his first name only as I'd planned to do this anonymously (other than telling you guys, of course!). I can only assume that that teacher passed the word along...unless, of course one of you locals decided to call the school and rat me out :)

Sometimes we need little reminders in life that there are good people left in this world. Today I got one of those and I will cherish it and let it carry me through. You know...until the next wave of cynicism hits.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Oh, how I wish I was talking about the type of insurance you put down at the blackjack table at Vegas. That'd be a hell of a lot more fun to deal with than the real axis of evil: medical insurance companies. As I type this I have completed 24 minutes and 36 seconds of a delightful phone call with what might be the world's thickest representative. I think they purposely hire people who cannot spell, type or take proper call notes so that you have to call in EVERY SINGLE DAY repeating yourself over and over until you wonder if you're making it all up . They're trying to beat me in an awful game of who-will-give-in-first. It is absolutely infuriating.

My current dilemma is twofold: First, I am making sure that they process some claims for M's OT sessions that I mailed in with two other claims. The person who opened the envelope went as far as to look at the very top sheet of paper, process it, and pay me back. But they decided that was as much as they wanted to do and filed the other claims in the envelope away into the insurance abyss. Second, I am trying my very hardest to speak to the elusive supervisor I left a message with last Friday. I asked to speak with her as soon as a representative answered, explaining that I'd been calling for six months on this one particular unpaid invoice and didn't want a representative's assistance anymore, thank you very much. You would not believe just how long it took her to finally give up the goods and try to connect me to the supervisor. And then she had the gall to put me on hold for a good five minutes before telling me, 'I'm sorry, Laurie is on the other line. Would you like to leave a voicemail for her?' Uh, yeah. That'd be great. Fuck you very much.

So our friend Laurie calls me back later that afternoon. Naturally it was while I was in the school picking M up, so I was unable to answer. And I know that this will shock you all as much as it did me (not), but Laurie did not leave me a returnable phone number and told me she'd try me later. It's been six days, and again you will be surprised to learn that she has not yet called me back.

So now my hot-to-my-ear portable phone reads that I have been on this current call for thirty minutes and five seconds. I started this post soon after being put on hold (for the second time) and the representative has not yet gotten back on the line. She is doing 'research' for me. You know she's sitting by the water cooler talking to her cohorts saying, 'Yeah, I've got this lady on the phone right now who has been calling in for SIX MONTHS about the same claim. HAHAHAHA. And she wants to talk to a SUPERVISOR! HAHAHAHA. She actually thinks we have supervisors here? HAHAHAHA. Oh, by the way how are your kids, Betty? Did Simon ever have that 'procedure' you'd told me about? Do you think my hair looks good in this banana clip? I'm thinking of having my spider veins removed. Oh, gosh, it's been over 10 minutes since I put that crazy lady on hold. I should probably get back to her now!'

And at 33 minutes, 10 seconds she has finally returned. She has located the other claims I was calling about. (the ones I was told they had in fact received last Friday) Funny thing was that she couldn't locate them after the first 10-minute hold she put me on for 'research.'

I am now at 34 minutes 57 seconds and she just asked me 'Is it okay if I put you on hold again for another couple of minutes.' I am not making this up, people. You're getting this live, as it is occurring. Is anyone else as appalled as I am? I am thinking that I must remember to remind this woman of the original intent of my call: to speak with the supervisor. She naturally wasn't available, which is why I had this genius look into the processing of those other claims while I had a live human on the line. I could totally see myself forgetting to remind her to leave the message for Laurie that I really, really, really need to talk to her.

Alright. I am now at 41 minutes and 33 seconds. Still on hold. Can't. Freaking. Believe. This.

And I do this about once a week. Because I have lots of free time on my hands, dontcha know.

That expatriate job the other half has coveted in Europe with my resistence is starting to look better and better.

at 43 minutes and 25 seconds I will not make you suffer this torture with me any longer. Wish me luck.

*Edit: I finally ended the call at 47 minutes, 58 seconds. I remembered to ask about Laurie again. Genius said she'd be sure to send her an email to call me. Gee, thanks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If they chewed up everything, what would you do?

Three pairs of flip flops. One pair of crocs. Tubing to a $250 post-surgical cooling system on loan from a neighbor. Countless children's toys (drum sticks, books, boxes of pretend food). A tube of toothpaste (which fortunately was not pierced enough to eat). My other half's business cards.
A hippity hop. A car window visor. Manny Bear's hand. Monkey's hand. Drink straws. An eyeglass cleaning cloth.

You thought I was talking about one of my dogs, didn't you?

No, I was talking about M.

Today is one of those days where I am reminded of how much I hate autism. These things weren't all chewed on in one day, fortunately, but today's chewing was so incessant that I lost it *a tiny bit more* than days past.

Give me my kid back!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Short and Sweet

And so is this post...because I think I got a little verbose (one of my favorite words) the last two days.

M's first day of kindergarten was today. Aside from a minor hiccup (read: temper tantrum) we got into the classroom relatively unscathed. He was so happy when he saw the kids, the desks and all the toys, that he could barely contain his grin. He didn't look back at me, and I was able to slip out the door with no issue. As it should be!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Ahh, yes, another rant from yours truly :)
Sent to you with lots of love and concern and hopefully not too much righteousness or bitchiness.

This is a 'what the hell is wrong with people' kind of post; stemming from an event that made me wonder about some folks: Were you raised in a barn?

M has his first day of school at the new elementary school tomorrow. To prepare him for yet another new environment (the third in a year since we moved and he is no longer going to the preschool he finished out the last school year in) we wanted to take him to the school playground as much as possible to give him the lay of the land and make him feel more comfortable.

We live in an area where the schools just don't have a lot of money. We knew this coming in, but chose this coastal quality of life because of all of the other benefits that go along with the terrain. We love it here--we truly do. Our family does more things together. The weather is such that we can be outside just about any day of the year. But damn if this school (and all of the schools on the coast) isn't just horribly rundown...and overrun with litter. It sits right off of the Pacific Coast Highway and the kids get to look at the ocean anytime they step out of their classroom. Amazing, right? Well, they also get to see tons of trash that rude ass people chose to dump there simply because there isn't a trash can on the campus, and they're too lazy to take it home with them and dump it there.

Every time we played there this summer, I spent quite a bit of time telling little B not to play with various trash items littering the playground mulch. Yesterday he tried to put someone's water bottle in his mouth. I'd had it and was appalled that my kiddo was going to start school here on Monday and would have to navigate trash with every step he took in the playground. So I did something about it...I spent nearly two hours of my afternoon yesterday picking up trash at his school. I can honestly say that there was rarely a time that I took more than five paces in any direction without bending down to pick something else up. Here is a short list of the things I collected:

-My personal favorite: 16 grocery bags of dog poo. Yes, that's right...16! (I counted). And I also picked up two other piles that someone wasn't kind enough to place in the grocery bag. Seriously, people, if you take the time to pick up the poo, can't you take the time to dispose of it properly? The piles were all laying on the blacktop that separates my child's classroom from the playground. Totally freaking disgusting.

-A homemade, Coke can bong & beer cans. I expected this. There's not a lot to do here on the coast, so the teenagers end up drinking in random places and smoking lots of pot. And we all know that teenagers are generally selfish, slovenly beings so we half expect them to litter like this. Still doesn't make it right to find it in an elementary school playground, but not surprising either.

-A pair of children's boxer shorts & several socks.

-Ahhh...this one was fun...two dirty diapers. Seriously?

-Too-many-to-count plastic wrappers from juice box straws as well as the straws.

-10 bandaids. Used. Ewww.

-Someone's lunch which consisted of: corn husks from tamales, two corn cobs, organic apple sauce, a container and lid from a Gerber toddler meal and the bag they brought them there in, laying next to it all.

-A shattered beach chair. Someone actually took the time to throw it down the stairs from sidewalk on the street above the schoolyard. It must have made a neato 'bang' that delighted them for the whole night. Wait. These were probably the kids who also made the Coke can bong.

The usual suspects were also there: candy wrappers, a crazy number of ziploc bags, water bottles and soda cans, sticks from lollipops, bags from chips, etc.

Three teachers stopped to thank me for my efforts. I realized later that I neglected to take the time to thank them for what they do for our kids. Cleaning up playgrounds isn't the job of our teachers who already make a meager enough salary. And if there isn't money enough to pay for the proper maintenance person to handle it, then it should fall to members of the community. I am sad that with less than two days left before school started no one else had thought to do what I did.
And my next endeavor? I plan on going out to that playground again next week; armed with some heavy duty work gloves and a shovel, to pull up the enormous milkweeds that border both of the play areas. These milkweeds are about 2 feet x 3 feet and are full of sharp thorns that would really hurt if someone pushed you into them.

Sorry to continue my lecture from my pedestal, (but this is my blog, dammit!), but I find it utterly incomprehensible that we spend 100s of billions of dollars to rebuild a country we invaded, and yet we can't find a little bit of money to pay the salary of a maintenance guy at one of our own schools.
My kid deserves better. Your kid deserves better. Get involved. You don't have to have a lot of money to make a difference. Heck, you don't have to have any money to make a difference. Just help where help is needed. Don't turn a blind eye and hope that someone else will do it for you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Things that hurt when you're here...

1. Calling about a vacation home rental. When telling the (very nice) woman that you want a place with room for your five-year-old and almost two-year-old to roam, she says 'This house is perfect for your five-year-old to ride his bike.'

My five-year-old can't ride a bike. He can't even ride a tricycle.

2. Filling out the 'appropriate' paperwork at school for your child who though he will be considered a kindergartener is going into a special day program with other children who have special needs. The receptionist tells you 'We give out this packet to all parents of kindergarteners and don't have one specificially for M's class.'

This packet asks things like, check which of these your child can do: Tie shoes. Use the toilet unaccompanied. Write his/her name. I can't remember what else, but I did not check off any of these.

3. You see this list for back to school/meet the teacher night. All of the typical grades meet during the first week of school. The special needs class meets one night during the second week.

I want to point out that I don't fault that woman at the vacation rentals place. She obviously had no way of knowing about M's challenges. But the school...isn't that the place where kids (because of the IDEA legislation and others) are supposed to get a fair and equal education? Would it be that hard for them to make another packet for the special day kids? Can't we go to back to school night with all the other children? It's things like this that just solidify society's views that my child is different. That my child isn't doing what 'normal' kids are doing. And that hurts.

I also want to say here that I am not an overly p.c. person. I think we could certainly stand a kinder, gentler society, but I try hard not to take my own situation and apply it to everyone else. If you don't live this, you may not know. And I am not one to intentionally make you squirm because this isn't your life on a daily basis like it is mine. (but don't get me wrong...if you give my kid the 'he's weird' look, I'll be the first to knock you down a notch and tell you he's not weird...he has autism)

But this leads to a recent discussion on a Mom's board I am on. One mother (I believe she has a child with special needs) sent out a letter that her friend had written in protest of the new Ben Stiller movie "Tropic Thunder." You may have already heard about this. Anyhow, there is apparently a character who is 'simple,' etc. and the 'r' word is used to refer to him quite frequently. I'm not going to go into the full spiel about all this, but to say that even though I absolutely, posi-freaking-tutely do not like this word and don't think people should use it, I did not respond to this post with my own thoughts. I had totally wanted to see this movie before I learned about all this hoopla. Now I am not quite certain how I feel about viewing it and that is sort of symbolic of how I feel about people who use that word. Again, if you don't live this life, sometimes you just don't realize. I think for the most part, people who use the 'r' word don't realize just how painful that could be to someone who has a child with challenges, and I don't necessarily think they're thinking about that when they use it. I can remember being in the 8th grade and playing on the tennis team. Our coach was this wonderfully patient special education teacher named Miss Moll. We were doing drills where we had to run the lines of the tennis court and these two guys I was friends with were egging each other on as they ran. One said to the other, 'The Olympics, Scott. The Olympics!' And Scott replied, 'Yeah, maybe the special Olympics.' And we all laughed hysterically until we looked over and saw how hurt Miss Moll was that they'd said that and that we'd all laughed. We all felt horribly guilty when she gently explained why that wasn't a nice thing to joke about. This memory stuck with me way before M was born. Funny how that is.
It's the same with the short bus reference. I'm certain I made that joke as a kid at least once. But now that my kid would be one of the ones riding the short bus if we didn't drive him ourselves...well, I realize that it's a rather shitty reference.

So I guess the point of this isn't me trying to demand that you take into consideration every single word or action you use that may offend or hurt a specific group (because then, seriously, we'd be offending someone constantly), but sometimes there are some pretty obvious ones that you should take into account, you know?

And finally, let me shout out that I do not, by any means, want any of you to censor what you say to me for fear of hurting my feelings. It takes a lot to offend me, and I hope you all know that :)

*Edit to post, 8/25* Because truth is best, I felt it necessary to amend this post today after learning that we are not alone next week for back to school night as I first had thought. We share back to school night with the 4th and 5th grade classes, though (or and?) we got a big ol' * by 'special day class' and they didn't :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

This Guy... my wild man; my little helper who hands me his cup when he is finished and says 'thanks;' the one who loves shoes even though he refuses to call them anything but socks; loves to use the 'more' sign--especially when it comes to food and singing; prefers to 'walk, please' rather than ride in a stroller or be carried in my arms; always gives the dogs a few extra pieces of food (even though I tell him not to) before putting their bowls away in the pantry for me; helps me get his big brother dressed by bringing me his shoes & socks; still calls all cars 'fucks' (when he really means 'trucks'); gives you the 'leaner' hug right after he swats at you; gives giant mouth kisses when you ask for them; yells out 'airplane!' way before anyone else can hear one flying up above; places his food upon his spoon and then puts the spoon into his mouth; loves Elmo; loves his brother; loves to read; loves to dance; and is so loved and needed by his Mom.

Though his screaming makes me totally loony, (if you've heard it, you understand!), B is my buddy and the one that I hope I don't put too much pressure on to pick up the slack for his brother's needs. It is going to be an interesting journey watching the little dude grow and I hope that I don't screw him up too bad in the process. I kid...sort of.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Simple Rant

To the parent who let his or her kids ride in the VERY LAST two-seated, red car shopping cart while eating white cheddary-looking cheesy puffs and large slices of cheddar cheese (perfect for those of us with kids who can't eat gluten or dairy): Today I do not like you. It is hard enough to take two children shopping at the world's tiniest-aisled Safeway, and even more difficult when you discover that the only red car shopping carts available to you that aren't covered in cheesy puffs, their sat upon crumbs, and giant pieces of cheddar cheese are the single-seated red cars that will only fit one of your children. You can imagine the fun that transpired when trying to explain the problem and trying to decide just who would get to sit in the one-seated red car. For the record, Brooks made the bigger stink, thus getting the coveted seat (funny how that works) and Miles ended up inside of the shopping cart because walking alongside me just isn't an option.

So that is my rant for the day. Simple really. If your kid eats a bunch of crap in the red car shopping carts, please be kind and clean it up so that the next person is able to do her shopping in relative peace.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by frazzled Mommy. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Driving On Empty & Other Harsh Metaphors In My Life

So today I was reading Gwendomama's post about her really awesome outing with her two children to a local, organic strawberry field where you frolic about with the ocean right freaking across the street, while your children create beautiful memories of picking gigantic, ripe, red, juicy strawberries for which to make a be-yoo-tiful cake with later on. It sounded incredible, so I thought I'd copy her and take my two children today for a similar experience.

Uh...not so much.

When I got to the farm--which isn't close to much of anything--I realized that my yellow, you're-about-to-run-out-of-gas-you-moron light was on. I looked at my handy dandy trip computer that you only get if you're cool and have a minivan like me and saw that I had 14 miles to go. I hooked up the handy dandy GPS to find the nearest station and saw one that was 7.2 miles away through the very windy streets of Bonny Doon (I probably went right by your house while cursing, G!) only to find that about four miles into this journey the GPS suddenly switched to saying that I still had 11 miles to go to the station, which was now a big problem since I was down to 9 miles left on the handy dandy trip computer. Shit, right?
What was even cooler was that these windy roads have no shoulders for one to pull over onto in case of one running out of gas. So my curses turned to little prayers, and I guess God read my post from the other day because lo and behold I made it. I haven't played the see-how-far-on-empty game like that since high school. And let me tell you it's a hell of a lot less fun when you have your two children in the car. But yeah, I couldn't help but thinking that this was just a teensy tiny bit ironic a situation to find myself in given my recent state of zero motivation or energy to do much of anything. There's more to it, but I won't bore you with that here.

So to make a long post longer, here are the other 'harsh' metaphors I have come to realize plague me multiple times a day:

1. My antique cuckoo clock. My Dad bought this for his parents when he was in the navy and visiting Germany in the 1950s. I got it when my Grandma died. I'm totally sentimental and really enjoy having it in working condition, hanging in my office. But damn if it doesn't validate my feeling of partial craziness these days every 15 minutes. Which leads me to the last thing...

2. My cell phone. For some odd reason I programmed the Gnarls Barkley song 'Crazy' as my ringtone. Today I decided I need to change that. Immediately. Any suggestions?

P.S. I'd show you photos of my lovely strawberry outing, but it is 1990 in my world and I only had a disposable camera with me. Check out Gwendomama for what I'd hoped for :)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beauty School Dropout

I did this to my child two days ago:

No, I was not drunk. Yes, he did move a wee bit when I cut. No, I do not think this looks good. Yes, I promise to take him to a professional next time. No, I did not do this just so I'd have something funny to blog about.

*Thought I'd leave you with something a little lighter today. I'm pretty sure my God post freaked half of you out-ha!*

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I don't think God is listening.

I know, I know...heavy title for a post, eh? Well, this is what is on my mind, so I'm going to write about it!
A little background...I was raised in a fairly strict Catholic family. We went to church every Sunday. We went to C.C.D. classes for what felt like an eternity. I was never as religious as my parents, but it was admittedly a nice constant in my life. However, when faced with being able to make my own choices about religion, I realized that for me, I was more spiritual than religious; and I didn't feel the need to go to a place to connect in that way. I also felt that there were a lot of hypocrisies in religion that I just couldn't jive with and so I have half-joked that nature was my church instead. This has caused a few unfortunate riffs with my father, though it has also validated my concerns that some people of a religious nature are in fact too rigid in their beliefs to accept differing opinions. I'd like to think that Jesus wouldn't have liked that too much.

Anyway, now that I have children, I totally get the need to have more faith in my life. Having a child with special needs makes me get it even more. I think that most of us need to have the reassurance of knowing there is a higher power in the universe who we can seek comfort or hope from, even if it is just through having a conversation in your head before you go to sleep each night.

But is anyone really listening? Because I don't really think they are. I mean, I live a good life. I don't steal. I haven't killed anyone. I do charitable deeds in my community. I am kind to others. And yet when I talk to that higher power and beg and plead to please help my little guy, I haven't felt like I've gotten anything in return. Are we just waiting to hit the autism lottery later on? Is he going to have this breakthrough beyond my wildest imagination when I least expect it? Am I being horribly selfish for wishing for some betterment for my fortunate family when there are so many people in this world who have it so much worse than we do? And if I am being selfish...what's the criteria for getting a little assistance from the big guy? (or girl) I'd like to get a better understanding of how to qualify.

As I lay in bed last night I was unable to stop the tears from falling. It is impossible to not be worried about what the future may hold for M. I try to be optimistic. I try to believe that he can do anything he sets his mind to. But the reality is that he may not. I've said that to a few people and I think some of them think I am horrible for uttering something other than positive affirmations. Those who know me best know that I have trouble being anything but honest. I am an open book of emotions and thoughts, and sometimes I have the tendency to lay a little too much out on the table. (gee...kind of like I'm doing in this blog entry, hmmm?? haha)
But this is the only way I know to live.

I hope that someday I am able to write that there is a God and he (or she) has blessed my little boy with abilities beyond my wildest dreams. And for now, I guess I'll just have to hold onto a tiny bit of faith that that can happen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Alright, Party People!

It's roll call day. That means that you have to get yourself a google account (if you don't already have one) and sign the comments section to let me know you're reading!
Don't be shy! Come out, come out wherever you are!

Because seriously...aside from the free therapy I get from this thing, the other reason I'm doing it is to connect with you guys in this crazy world of work, marriage and child-rearing that leaves us with so little time to talk like we used to do. And if you've joined us from another blog, I'd love to know that too!

Don't make me type with more !!, people!! Because I'll do it, you know!!! we go...I'll start...

My name is Debbie. I'm married with two kids and five pets and I live in El Granada, CA.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

You know you're almost 35 when...'re at a bar with your husband, surrounded by a bunch of 20-something young lads and *maybe* three women, and yet you manage to only get hit on by the very drunk 70+ year old named Ray who wants you to dance with him to one of said lads very poor rendition of some mosh pit song that you are currently too old to even recognize. Ray proceeds to tell you three times how he was in the navy and is drinking a black russian, and would you like one too? Even though you keep politely declining and seemingly half-interestedly respond, 'Oh, I'm sure the navy was very exciting,' he still does not leave for a full 10 minutes, during which time your husband has mysteriously disappeared and is no where in sight to help. (In fairness to myself, I must add here that none of these young lads were worth a damn. I mean seriously, how many COOL 20-something-year old guys actually enjoy singing karaoke?) sort of feel bad for the 70+ year old old man who hit on you and have a very serious conversation with yourself in your head about how you hope you are not hanging out at a karaoke bar with people 50 years younger than you when you are his age.

...during the same evening you drink three vodka tonics (okay, maybe *four* since that third one was a double tall) and you can barely keep your eyes open during the next day's tour of the amazing Hearst Castle and keep telling your other half to please stop talking as you are trying to 'rest your eyes' as he is driving.

...the two wineries you taste at after the Hearst Castle tour set you right for a couple of hours, though you're back to barely keeping your eyes open as soon as you try to go out for dinner.

...even though your children are being well cared for at home and you have two whole days with no one screaming at you to do as you please with your other half, you still feel inclined to go to sleep at 11 pm on the second night. (please reference third entry above) find a 2 inch long 'crazy hair' coming out of your chest after you've just had a full body massage. (And this isn't the first time you've found one of those. Yeah. I just said that on a public blog) actually really missed your kids and are looking forward to going home to see them.'re right back where you started within 24 hours; wondering when you'll get your next break.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Five Years & Two Days Ago My Baby Boy Was Born

So I missed my 'today is my boy's birthday' moment...but it's been a busy week and I've been a wee bit under the weather. But regardless, I wanted to shout out to those three readers out there that 'HOLY SHIT, I HAVE A FIVE YEAR OLD CHILD!'

Where have the years gone, for real? Can he really be five already? Bless this sweet little soul of fiveness...he had quite the birthday extravaganza with a special, impromptu visit from his 'Mama,' Grandma T from Plano. We were thrilled to see his interest in the tower of presents he awoke to, all wrapped up in 'Cars' wrapping paper. He kept looking at those gifts on the dining table saying 'Hudson? Hudson?' (as in Doc Hudson) And he actually helped a little in the unwrapping process, which was a thrill to see.
Later in the day we drove down to Felton (south of Santa Cruz) to Roaring Camp where we rode an old-timey steam engine train up into the redwoods. He loved it! We got home and had birthday cake and Happy Birthday singing. (M's favorite thing, though he'd prefer to say it, "Appo boatday.") And you know what? Gluten-free, casein-free chocolate cake doesn't have to be really gross, and it fact it tasted pretty good, though I admit my frosting skills left a little to be desired. We still have not witnessed the long awaited candle blowout, but when we finally do, let me tell you there will be tears shed! (Parents of children with special needs can relate to the fact that you learn to not take the seemingly simplest of abilities for granted. It is one of the gifts of this journey we are given)
Then, the following day, it was like birthday celebrating all over again as we joined the other half at Great America for an afternoon of rides. M was in hog heaven going round and round on whatever you put him on. It was like a sensory system smorgasbord! (Does that word remind anyone of else of Miss Piggy? I haven't the slightest idea why it did me. Perhaps it was the fact that smorgasbords of my youth were of the South Carolina variety where a giant pig was roasted. Hmmm? Points to ponder...)

Uh, okay...I got a little off track there with the Miss Piggy thing. Sorry about that.

So all in all, I think M really got it a bit more this year, which was wonderful to witness. It is a hard to explain to others how it feels to have a child who is supposed to be of the age to enter kindergarten yet you can't actually guage what they can and cannot understand. But M gives us little glimpses into his insight on occasion that we cherish, analzye and sometimes break our hearts over. For example, the night before his birthday, the other half again reminded him that the next day would be his big day, etc., etc. To which M looked at him and said, 'Then where are all my friends, Cory?' Cory is M's very best friend in the whole wide world, but he also lives back in Texas. You can imagine how heartbreaking it was to hear him say this. And yet, as much as this made me wish that my little boy had a million Corys here who I could invite over for a birthday party, hearing that he'd said this also made me somewhat happy because it means that cognitively he is growing and starting to understand the world in which he lives. There is a light in there. We just have to continue to try and figure out how to make it burn brighter. And with that, I raise a glass in toast to my little boy, my monkey man, my firstborn. To are loved so very much. Happy birthday, little man.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Day in the Life.

No touch! Sit on your bottom! No standing on the table! Get your hands out of your mouth! Did you poop? Are you ready for a nap? Don't hit the dog! The dogs don't need anymore food!
Where are your brother's glasses? It's not polite to touch someone else's food. I can't understand you when you whine. Stop screaming at me! No more tv! No, you may not watch Ratatouille! Daddy would not be happy about that! Please, please don't yell at me! Books are not food! Mommy needs a time out! B, do you want a time out? Glass will break if you play with it! Don't sit on the dishwasher door! Too close to the tv! B, back up! M, quit touching your penis. Most kids would be happy that their mother took them to the park! No, you may not have another nana--dinner is almost ready. Eat your dinner. Drink your water. Don't touch your poo when I'm changing your diaper. The phone book is not a toy! This is the LAST story!

Goodnight! I love you! Scream, scream, whine, whine...and then...silence :)

*By the way, B is only 10 months old in this photo. I so wish it was kosher to post the video I took tonight of him feeding the dogs while wearing nothing more than his tennis shoes! Classic blackmail!

Monday, August 4, 2008

My, what beautiful babies you have, Angelina Jolie!

So here I am in the land of the 'blistless' (go look it up--it's blog slang, which I suppose I am now officially geeky enough to use), and I can't think of what to blog about today. Ahh, humility at its finest, no? I mean, if I didn't have something witty or profound to write about, why then am I wasting your valuable time typing up meaningless crap? Oh,'re procrastinating or trying to kill some time too, aren't you? So THAT'S why you're here! haha.

Okay...back to the meaningless crap...

I just got my long-awaited People magazine in the mail and there, smiling before me, are the heavenly couple themselves; she in virginal white, with perfectly applied, minimalistic makeup and recently-waxed brows. He with his messily coifed hair, slightly rugged goatee and also dressed in white. And the precious wee ones we've all been waiting to see. Oh, and then lets go ahead and put a little insert at the top right of the cover of Shiloh to up the 'AWWW!' factor.
These people make cute freakin' babies. Let's admit it.
I've decided to go on this journey with you, my two faithful readers. So let's open to page 52 together, shall we?
Okay, first we've got a larger version of the cover. Turn page, please.
Now we have Shiloh, Angie (because we're cool like that) and the wee ones. Shiloh has a shirt on that says 'George.' I'm sure this is some iconic, more-expensive-than-my-diamond-earrings baby brand that I don't know about, but I find it pretty interesting that a couple who surely does not support the right would dress their daughter in a shirt that touts our President's first name. Someone with more fashion knowledge than me care to enlighten me on this one?
Onto the next page, please. We've got the two little peas on this spread sleeping peacefully with their perfectly pouty lips and Shakespearean-collared white gowns. Sweet.
Oh, crap. I turned the page to the family shot, minus Maddox's head. Apparently baby Shiloh is laying on him, but I'm pretty sure this is more of a symbolic move signifying Maddox's lost place on the totem pole now that two more children have been born. Because, seriously, who can take care of this many children? Oh, wait...Brad and Angelina, that's who. Nevermind.
*Special Note: Pax has sweet hair. It's kind of dirtyish looking, chin length with a trendy blond stripe in the bangs. Do you think he said, 'Mummy & Daddy, please take me to the hair salon to have a highlight put in my bangs?' No. Of course he didn't.

Oh, gah! There's more...NINE freaking more pages to be exact. At least they finally show Maddox's head a little later on. (complete with blue faux hawk--really??)
And there's Zahara. Seriously, this little girl made out like a champ in the looks department and then won the adoption equivalent to the lottery by being chosen by Angelina (I mean Angie) to be her daughter. Lucky little girl, that one.

I've got nothing else today, people. I am sincerely wishing for a bit more sleep tonight so that I can once again regale you with more witty stories of poo or Target bookshelves. I'm sure you can hardly wait.

Over and out...

Friday, August 1, 2008

You should buy this wine!

I just went to the K&L Wine Merchants site and bought my first-ever case of wine!
Yesterday at Ye Ole Safeway I purchased a bottle of 2005 Carmel Road Pinot Noir since it was listed at the 'club member' price of $14.99; down from $21.99. I was so proud of my purchase since the other half always tells me you can't get a decent pinot for under $25. He was skeptical, but he and our out of town guest loved it!
I went online to get an image of the bottle for the blog and found that K&L (in Redwood City, for those of you local; though for you out-of-towners they have an awesome wine club) had it on special for $12.98. Mama ordered herself 12 of the remaining 26 bottles they have in stock, so you better get in there for the rest before I go buy them.
If you like a spicier pinot noir like I do, this is a really good choice. I still can't believe it is only $12.98!
I think wine is the only thing I am going to be able to (reasonably) intelligently post about today. After several bottles of wine and a late bedtime (for me because I'm lame), the other half had to wake up at 4:15 in the a.m. to get ready to take his friend to the airport. After cursing the clomp-clomping of his feet above me, damn if he didn't wake up B. He was kind enough (insert snarky eye roll here) to bring B into bed with me before he left. One poop (him, not me), two nose blows (me, not him), and one really effingly annoying dying phone battery upstairs that kept beeping every minute (why do those things always go off in the middle of the night?), the other half was already home from a very long trip down to the SJC airport and we had JUST started to doze off. Luckily we were able to get the littlest dude to fall back asleep for another two hours despite him telling us 'NO!' when we asked if he was ready to go back to bed. I guess the pleading from two people who *may have* still smelled of a winery finally wore him out.

Coffee, anyone?