Sunday, December 11, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
As I was reminiscing, I remember when I was younger with my family ever expanding, my parents built a room in the basement for my sister and I to share. Feeling all alone down there and in the dark, I remember making a quick dash from the stairs to the safety of our bedroom, worried about what could happen that late at night in those 15 feet of space between those two places. Even having my sister sleeping across the room, I would lay awake, straining to hear any noise of life upstair, trying to block out the strange creaks and groans that a house seemingly makes only at night. Most nights, my dad would be in his workshop down the hall, and though I'm sure it drove my mom nuts that he spent so much time down there, it was relief for me. Once that table saw started up, I would be able to relax and fall asleep. To this day, the smell of sawdust and the sound of a table saw is a favourite of mine.
We moved to Chilliwack when I was a teen where we built a room for my 2 sisters and I to share. I sure missed the sounds of the workshop, but we had our own stereo then and fell asleep every night to the soundtrack of "The Last of the Mohicans". Even then, being in the same room with two sisters, I would wake up scared in the middle of the night and try to make noises to wake them up, hoping to be invited to share their bed with them, which never happened. For some reason I never felt able to just crawl in their bed on my own accord.
At 18 I remember waking up in the night and being too terrified to move or call out as I watched a shadow creep across the room, seemingly to "get me". Even once I was married, I was so thankful for the neighbours dog (and I hate dogs) which made me feel safer, as Matt was gone alot of evenings. To this day, I have to have a curtain open or a nightlight on, or I will freak out if I wake up during the night, and when we are camping and it's pitch black, I have to sleep with a flashlight turned on the entire night.
All these memories have resurfaced now that I have to teach my own children how to handle their fears. This last year, they were terrified to go upstairs alone, and as much as it drove us CRAZY, I could also understand it, because I remember going down hallways and being so scared to look into dark corners or dark doorways, or even to close a door and see what might behind it or in a closet. I would picture a scary or ugly face and was so worried that when I looked in those dark places, I would suddenly see that horrible face there, even though I knew how ridiculous it was.
Now with my own children, I put my laundry on when they go to sleep so they can hear noise. I leave nightlights on and the bathroom light. I put music on a sleep timer for them and let the light from the cd player act as a nightlight for them. I promise to check on them in a little while to see if they are ok. And most recently, I will occasionally make myself busy upstairs for a half hour so that my sons can fall asleep more easily. This being said, I don't accept any crap from them at bedtimes, complains, fake injuries and random requests are ignored. Discipline is given and privileges are taken away if these things and my patience with them and their fears are abused.
I only share these things with you all because I think alot of people don't understand childrens' fears of the dark. You can't rationalize fear away, you can't force or discipline it away. I think you can just give them ways to cope with and handle it until they grow up to use self control and their brain is developed enough that they are able rationalize themselves through the moment. So happy bedtimes to you, and don't ever lock me in the dark or I will attack you like an animal and probably bite your face off!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
This day, I let him walk as slowly as he wanted, spin as many circles as he wanted and dawdle the time away, glad I'd had to park a ways away from the school. His cumbersome jacket hitting the ground got a few whines, but that was it, so as we left I I rolled down my window and turned the cold air on. Not a complaint from him. So I roll my window down the rest of the way and rearrange the vents to shoot at him. Still he chatted away without a complaint. We were almost home now. I drove slower and cranked the air up all the way. Still not a peep about being cold. Fine, I will use the power of suggestion.
"Aren't you cold yet?"
"Nope! Not even a little bit!"
Curses! My plan has completely failed! I have lost my battle! Noooooooo! "What?!!" I exclaim. "I have to see this - I'm going to check your hands when we get back!"
He's giggling now, and willingly lets me check his hands once we park. Sure enough they are mildly cool, but not one bit cold. I do not know how he did it, but he won. Maybe I won't bother arguing with him about the coat anymore. I have conceded defeat - what's the point in arguing when he's right! *sigh* I feel the judging stares coming my way!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The other day, I faced the inevitable. You can only put it off for so long before it creeps up on you, and I managed a stint of close to three months. The big ‘ol grocery trip. Not the quick one that takes only 15 minutes and $35. No, the “I need to clean out my fridge and van and check the bank account and clip my Superstore coupon for my $300 to $400 of groceries that we’re lacking due to my 3 month procrastination.”
So on this special occasion, I decided to spice things up a little. Life was feeling a little slow, a little stale. I thought we could use a change. And why not? There were an extra few dollars in the account…I’ll splurge a little. Try something new. And not take an hour hemming and hawing over what was the best deal, etc., etc. So I quickly scanned the items in my current aisle, checking out prices. $19.99 for 29 rolls. Double rolls. Hmmm….$14.99 for 16 rolls…nah…$19.98 for my regular 36 pack of individually packed rolls. Ok, time to take the plunge. Yes, the nagging thoughts still ran through my head…”do you use more if it’s thinner, or less if it’s thicker? Will it equal out in the end? Should I go by the number of squares on the roll, by the foot amount, the roll number per package…?” Nope, this was splurge time. I grabbed that Charmin toilet paper, threw it in my cart and didn’t look back.
Fast forward to throwing it up the stairs into the living room in a hurry to pick Kiefer up from school.
Fast forward to Kiefer arriving home from school and running upstairs ahead of me. He now enters the room. A beam of light shines down from heaven, illuminating the glorified name brand toilet paper.
“MOM!!!!” A shriek. “MOM! THANK YOU!!!! YOU BOUGHT THE SOFT KIND!” “This feels good on your bum you know!” “I can’t believe it! You bought it!”
It must be noted. Advertisement Does work.
And with that, Keyon, eager to participate in all the excitement, proceeds to rip open the package and distribute each roll all over the living room.
Kiefer immediately grabs a piece off the roll and runs upstairs. A moment later I hear him yelling, “IT’S SO SOFT ON MY BUM! It doesn’t even HURT!”
My apologies son. I didn’t realize it was so tragic before.
He runs back downstairs. “You got to feel this Mom! Just TRY it!”
“Kiefer, don’t you dare pull down my pants.”
His response was to drop his drawers right there on my couch and demonstrate the awesome power of softness on his little tushie, while I, now losing my cool at that moment, having my floor covered in toilet paper and a tainted piece of toilet paper that I just knew was going to be cast away in his excitement, pulled out my stern don’tmesswithmom voice.
“Don’t you Dare put that used piece of toilet paper on my couch.”
Then, not wanting to ruin this spectacular moment for him, and hoping to get my floor cleaned even just a little, cheerfully suggest, “Hey! Why don’t you bring some upstairs into the bathrooms for you to use later!” I’ve never had a suggestion be greeted with that much enthusiasm!
Fast forward to later.
I discover that apparently to Kiefer, in order to justify putting new toilet paper in a bathroom, you must first dispose of the old paper in quick and efficient manner. So when I went upstairs, I was greeted with giant piles of toilet paper all over the bathroom floors and had the new roll placed with much care on the counter, ready to burst with softness, waiting for the next user.
And so, for the next few days, I had a lovely mound of toilet paper, all unrolled and ready for ease of use. It also must be said, Anea discovered the new toilet paper and seems to like how easily it rolls off.
And thus ends the tale of the toilet paper. Come to my house, use my bathroom. Kiefer just may ask you about your toilet paper experience there.
Enjoy it while it lasts, my children! For it has created too much work for me to repeat again!
Friday, May 20, 2011
All three kids packed in the van and we’re off to the high school to pick up a special boy I’ve known for 13 years, since he was 3. Someone we consider part of our family and that the boys have known since the day they were born, who , to honour the family’s privacy (not that they would mind either way) I will refer to as “Marvin” in borrowing of one of his moms’ many nicknames for him, “Messy Marvin”.
I hop out at the high school and after bugging him until he finally gives me a hello, we load him and his things into the van where we continue the rest of our conversation.
“How was school today”
“Yes, how was school?”
“Oh yes, you went on the bus. What did you do at school?”
“Yes, but what did you do AT school?”
“School. Gym!” Even if he has not had gym that day, he will respond “gym” because that’s what he’s done every day, that’s what gets him out of answering any more questions, and because that’s his favourite class in school. I believe that in his mind, even if he didn’t have gym, he thinks he should’ve, which therefore makes it worth mentioning, which is why I let it slide, every time.
He’s excited today! We’re in for a fun afternoon! As we pull out of the school parking lot he twists his hands in the air above his head, jerking his body back and forth in a dance all his own, letting out a few jibber jabber noises and high pitched “eeeeeee’s”.
“Oooooh, you had a good day today, didn’t you! Did you have a good walk?” It was sunny and I saw his T.A. come back with him from outside, so I know they would’ve taken him for a walk, just as I know he hears me, even though he gives no acknowledgment. Our conversations are based on a lot of assumptions.
“Did you have a good walk Marvin? Say ‘yes, I had a good walk’”.
He complies quietly and continues his dance.
I noticed Kiefer watching our exchange quite closely. It’s been alot quieter than normal in the back seat. Normally the boys would be going crazy right now with Marvin being this animated! They love to run around the house waving their hands in the air and yelling “eeeeeeeeee!”, or collapse into fits of giggles at how funny Marvin is, or ask me “supper, supper, supper, supper, supper, supper, supper?”, just like Marvin does. To them, he is the funniest teenager they have ever met!
So why the silence now?
Finally I hear Kiefer quietly ask, “Mom, Marvin’s not like us, is he?” I felt my eyes immediately start to fill up with tears. It could have been an over-tired-up-half-the-night-with-baby reaction, but when did my baby boy grow up? Did I miss it? In that quick moment, he seemed older than his 5 year.
A long pause. “That’s right Kiefer, he’s different than us.” How do you explain autism to a 5 and 3 year old? How do you make it simple enough, yet answer enough questions that they don’t ask 100 more?
So I taught them the word “autism”. How Marvin’s brain is a little different than ours. How his body sometimes doesn’t listen to his brain or will tell him different things than ours would. How different things excite him than excite the boys. Like wind. Flashing lights. Noises. I taught them that even though Marvin acts different, he’s still the same as they are. We talked about things that excite the boys – swimming, new toys, going to the park…
“And what do you do when you’re excited?” I asked.
“Jump up and down!” they tell me. “Clap!”
“Flap my arms!” Keyon yells.
“That’s right,” I said, “and what does Marvin do when he’s excited?”
“Go EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and wave his hands!”
I think they got it. Though they are the same as Marvin, their brains tell them to do different things than his does. That kids with autism are made a little bit different than we. That though they may want to say something, their mouth won’t always let them. How their bodies feel things different than ours do. Like how wind gets Marvin so excited, it’s like he wants to fly with his hands and yell “eeeeeee” with excitement.
And as they sat in silence to contemplate these things, Marvin danced away.
Keyon couldn’t contain it anymore and let a giggle escape.
Kiefer cried out defensively, “Don’t laugh Keyon, he’s just different.”
Some more silence.
Another giggle escaped. The innocence of a 3 year old who’s eyes only see Marvin as a funny teenager.
“Don’t laugh! His brain is just different than ours, Keyon.” Kiefer tries to explain again.
Tears again. A little overtired, a little bit of sorrow at seeing a little of my 5 year olds’ innocence disappear, mixed in with a little bit of pride of my boy defending someone who needs defending.
I will explain to them later the difference between laughing with Marvin and having fun, or laughing at someone and making fun of them. For now, I will just hold this strange moment of pride and sorrow and let it be.
I watch Kiefer try his best to engage in conversation with Marvin. “How was your day?” “What did you do?” “What’s your favourite class?” “What food do you like?” And when Marvin responded “Pizza!”
I watched Kiefer’s delight as he exclaimed “PIZZA!!! That’s the same as me Mom! We like the same food!”
A proud moment to realize that at least some of what I said had sunk in. A proud moment to see my boy show such compassion and consideration.
A strange moment of pride and sorrow indeed.
This was a day from last month, but I was reminded of it again as "Marvin" was over again today and Kiefer asked if we could take him outside "so he can feel the wind".
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Another blog post written back in the fall, which I forgot to actually post!
Scooping up the crying babe from the bassinet, we stagger towards the door. In my haze of sleep, I walk smack into the edge of the door, back up, rev my engine and attempt to get through again, like a bumper car repeatedly hitting the same obstacle, knowing that eventually, it will make it’s way through. After several more attempts, we finally make it through the door, into her room, and settle down in the rocker where she stops screaming. Through the haze of sleep and with my head drooping on and off, I stuff Winnie-the-Pooh beneath her and my arm so she doesn’t fall while she nurses. Finally, a use for all parents’ worse nightmares – those stupid stuffed animals. That useless toy that takes up precious space, the reason my kids needed a bigger bed, that annoying slobbered on animal that comes to “lick” you in the face and you just want to slug it across the room, then jump on it, and throw a temper tantrum fit for a 2 year old…
With that thought I jerk awake to kiss my little girls sweet head, only to realize she’s still nursing and nowhere near the vicinity of my kiss. Time to change the diaper and wake us both up – we’re nearing the danger zone of sleeping in the rocker. At least when changing a girl while half asleep, you don’t have to keep an eye on shooting geysers that always seem to strike when you least expect it – unlike changing a boy’s, whose aim seems immaculate for a dim lit room.
Back in our chair, I pick up my latest magazine. I have a whole stack of them now – finishing one every few nights, soaking up every single word, every single article, inspecting every single picture. I’m not normally this attentive to magazines, and since I have all the time in the world at 2 a.m., I pause to wonder why…Ah yes – it dates back to that one specific time, during the last few weeks to my 7 months of nauseas hell (which is 150 stories for another time), where I learned about my pathetic amount of/lack of knowledge of ANYthing, while attempting to make conversation with my brothers’ cool and young girlfriend. 22 is young, right? Well, I was definitely NOT cool and not young. I had nothing to talk about, nothing to offer, nothing to share that would interest anyone - unless it was the latest ways to waste your money on remedies for morning sickness that don’t work, or the best position for puking, or the latest stupid & mindless games on facebook that could distract you from misery.
So now, here I was, soaking up every little piece of information I possibly could. Reveling at the stories of other people, what they have done, how they have done it, their photos, their experiences…for instance, did you know that there was a breast cancer survivor 5 years ago who started a mobile mammogram unit, who went door to door providing breast health awareness and tools to perform breast self examinations and to provide these services to low income and uninsured woman at low or no cost? http://www.flbreasthealth.com/index.html Amazing! Stories of women who do something with the pain they’ve been given! And at 2 a.m. I think to myself, well, I probably won’t get breast cancer…since I’d be too miserable and whiney to be an inspiration to others
And with that thought, I decided I should start a blog. Afterall, no one can beat 2 a.m. musings like THAT! Then, as I wonder if maybe I should save all these magazines to re-read at a time where I’m not so sleep deprived that I’d be lucky to remember a word I read once morning comes, I notice my new daughter has finished and fallen asleep, and a wrap that bunny up tight like a burrito and head off to bed, where I will be woken again in a few hours for some more early morning musings.