Mar 7, 2013

The KID Party

My kids birthdays are only a few days apart. 

I do their own thing for each of them, and so there is that crazy week each year otherwise known as...


It's very fun,


it's EXTREMELY exhausting.  

This year, for the first time ever, I finally gave in and let Girlie invite some FRIENDS FROM SCHOOL.  

Normally these parties are just family, and a great excuse for me to have many cocktails.  

But like I said, this year I decided I'd be more fun.  More accommodating. 

And unlike all the other organized parents out there, I had the party at our HOUSE.


It was so cool:  we had all these super trendy decorations everywhere based on these extremely popular, ghoulish dolls for girls.  

There were lots of pink balloons, streamers, and hanging ghoulish decor.  I put out a fruit tray, popped corn and baked (baked, not fried! Hooray!) chips for snacks.  Dinner was hot dogs and carrot cake with pale purple icing.  

But the best freaking part were the ridiculous little paper fashion top hats/fascinator thingies.  I'm not sure if I made The Man buy those for Girlie, or for ME.  


I'm not a big STRUCTURE/ORGANIZATION/PARTY GAMES kind of girl.  I'm more of a ROLL WITH IT AND LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS kind of person.

So, I figured little girls would have fun eating snacks, dancing to obnoxious dance music,


That's supposed to be a picture that shows every single toy the kid has in her room out and on the floor.  I didn't do a very good job.  I don't know if you can quite picture it.  It was probably worse than THIS:

Whatever.  It's a party.  I expected this, right?  After all, I invited the kids over to the HOUSE.  



I made the mistake of going upstairs to check on the girls and got sucked into a black hole of tedium, from which there was ALMOST no escape.  I was bombarded by little girls complaining that the elastic on their little top hats had come off, by girls wanting me to do up the velcro on the princess dress they'd crammed over their own clothes, little girls fighting over who had which doll first, when are we going to open presents?  When are we going to play games?  Can you help me get this dress on this doll?  My hat is broken can you fix it?  I need a NEW hat.  She's not playing with me!  Excuse me, can I wear these shoes?  Excuse me can you help me do THIS UP?  EXCUSE ME?  EXCUUUUUSE ME?!?

I got the hell out of there as quickly as I could.  

And speaking of "excuse me"...

The little girls were cute!  And SUPER polite!  Aw! Isn't that nice?

Okay kid--stop being so freaking polite.  You don't have to ask me before you touch EVERYTHING.  IT'S A PARTY.  

Heh heh...cute kid.  Very polite.  Incessantly polite.  Very tiny kid.  Ridiculously tiny voice.  

Oh my god...don't let them find me...

more dancing...

cake, presents, a group of super burnt-out little girls watching a dvd at the end...

And then FINALLY, blissfully, it was time for everyone to go home!  


Girlie was super crazy BURNT. OUT.  

Hm...maybe next year we'll go back to the family party.  

Mar 1, 2013

My Son Has Autism

My nine year old son has Autism.

I love him to pieces.

He looks like you and I.  He can read and write, and converse perfectly well.  He's got good coordination, and unlike his poor sister, almost NEVER hurts himself.

He's funny and smart and has a good sense of humour, but even though I don't notice it so much anymore, I guess he's still pretty different from the other kids.

When he was a little guy, he used to put his toys in long lines.  He'd never play with them, he'd just line them up.  I thought he was being ARtistic...

See that? He's telling me he wrote one big long sentence, and it says that he's "THREE YEARS OLD."

He also did this with his garbage trucks and cars.  Jack didn't care about toys when he was little, so if there actually WAS a toy that caught his interest, everyone went nuts to buy it for him, and he had LOTS.

Sure, there was other stuff.  Like, apparently if you ask a little neurotypical kid if they want a cookie, they say "yes," but if you ask a little buddy on the Autism Spectrum, they say yes by echoing your question back at you.

This is called "echolalia."

But I didn't know any of this back then.  He was my first kid!  Sure, he had a bad temper.  Sure, he was really fussy and had to be on the go all the time, except when he was watching Baby Einstein.  Sure, he'd have MASSIVE melt-downs, but he was a TODDLER after all, and we all know the "TERRIBLE TWO'S" don't end when a kid turns three!

JUST before his third birthday, girlie came into the world.

Hoo-boy did she ever stress out her brother!  She was a baby who'd crawl up to those carefully-placed lines on the floor and pick up pieces to play with or chew on.

Or, maybe she'd crawl up to the TV, and use the TV stand to stand herself up, and that was TERRIBLE, because if she hit a button on the TV, she might create THE ANSWER, and THE ANSWER IS BAD! VERY, VERY BAD!

THE ANSWER is that staticky noise, with the snowy zig-zag screen a tv makes when it's flipped off its cable connection.

Oh, and then there were other silly things, like, I was never allowed to do a different hairdo any longer.  No ponytails!  No curly hair!  Just keep it STRAIGHT!!!

I remember that little kid climbing me like a wall one day to try to rip the elastic off my ponytail.  Was he ever distressed!

Heaven help me if we ever had to make an IMPROMPTU stop at a store.  THAT wasn't on the daily schedule!!!!


(and p.s. don't even THINK of taking a DIFFERENT route to the store if you actually get that kid into the car).

Same goes for surprise walks, or little trips ANYWHERE out of the house that are out of the norm.

He wore the same green tracksuit nearly all summer after his sister was born.

And if he liked something?  Wow, he REALLY liked it.  Like, one time he watched a Baby Einstein movie in Spanish, and he discovered he loved the Spanish word for Autumn SO MUCH, we had to draw that word over and over again for him.

Sometimes we had to do BIG OtoƱo's.  Sometimes we had to do tiny ones.  Sometimes we had to do them in rainbow colours.  Sometimes we did them in fancy letters.  You get the idea.

The boy wouldn't draw them. Oh no!  If he tried, they wouldn't look perfect and that would result in a


Then my Mom told me that we should take him to the Doctor. 'Cuz she suspected stuff.   My Mom was super smart.  She knew every obscure medical ailment known.

So, we went, and came back with a "diagnosis:"

I was sad.
I was scared.
I felt very lonely.
I wondered if it was all my fault.  Did I eat something bad while pregnant???

I felt like the kid I knew five minutes before the diagnosis was GONE.

How silly.

Well, it wasn't silly that I felt sad, and scared, and lonely.  I'm only human after all.

I had to read stuff.  I had to learn.  I read up on vitamins and Omega 3 and I had to get him into nursery school in the fall so he could 'learn from his peers.'

We were living in the Big City then.  My inlaws were there, but that was it.  No other family.  No friends.  Just me pushing the kids in the double stroller, alone all day while The Man was at work, trying to figure out how to keep my little guy ANXIETY-FREE.

And sometimes, when you're a parent, and you carry a lot of heaviness in your heart, and you live with a lot of stress, you carry a lot of heaviness in other places too.

But you know what?

Time passes!

We all learn!

We adapt!

Things change!

A lot of things get better!

We were able to move back to my home town.  I live across the STREET from my SISTER! My dad and brother are less than ten minutes away.

My little buddy is so interesting, and smart.  He KNOWS Classical music.  And he KNOWS The British Invasion.  He knows some other wacky stuff too, and seriously?  How does he know THAT?!?

And he's an INCREDIBLE artist!!!

Even though he still doesn't really know how to play with toys, and he has very MATURE interests, sometimes he's still just a goofy little kid.

And best of all:

Life is a lot better.  I have time to care about ME again.

Sure, we still have a TON of challenges that other people don't have.  Sure, we encounter LOTS of people who just don't GET IT.  Yes, we still deal with anxiety, and all those SOCIAL cues The Boy misses, and I have to fight with the school, and yeah, he still has (smaller) melt-downs,


I feel so lucky.

I love my family.

And that's LIFE.  Don't you think?

* I wrote this for all you moms and dads out there who are at that lonely, hard place right now, so maybe you'd feel a little better after reading this.

Learn.  Learn all you can.  You are your children's CHAMPION.

** Oh!  And, you should check out my son's art.

You can click

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