The post to move the other post down the timeline…and where I’ve been.

So yeah, we’ve been busy.  To say we’re busy is an understatement really, we’ve been more like swamped, inundated, buried, flogged and trying to save a sinking ship.  Most of all though, we’ve been sick.  Have I mentioned every frigging one of us have come down with some form of disgusting illness since the kids started school?  I have???  Oh well.

I’m always amazed at just how much fluid a single human body can produce when sick.  In one child alone there was enough snot, spit, puke and shit to last me for a very long time.

A very long time.

By the numbers, and I may be missing a few illnesses, we’ve accumulated:

  • 5 cases of pneumonia
  • 1 or 2 stomach bugs
  • 1 case of strep
  • 4 common colds
  • 3 asthma attacks
  • puke, puke, puke and more puke
  • 3 steroid tapers
  • 3 visits to the hospital for x-rays
  • 7 dinners thanks to my BFF, Pappa John
  • 5 boxes of tissues
  • 11 trips to our pediatrician and asthma doc
  • 459,258 You Tube videos watched exclusively about Miinecraft

It is no joke when I say I want to tent this house and fumigate it the way they do bedbugs.  Whatever and whoever survives, gets to live.  My own form of natural selection.  Yeah, I know that sounds harsh but I’m really sick of sick.  My own neighbor has driven by, thrown food at us at a slow roll and texted to say she loves us but won’t get with-in a 100 yard radius of our house to save her soul.  I don’t blame her.

So that’s where I’ve been.  Taking care of us.  Trying to get everyone back to rights and begging the kids to wash their hands.  At one point I even asked, “Jesus H, what do you kids do, lick your friends when you’re at school?  WAIT, NOBODY ANSWER THAT!!!  I don’t want to know the answer!”

So yeah, pass the bleach, hard alcohol, brownies or candy corn but whatever you do, for God’s sake, don’t get near our house.  Just throw food at the front door as you drive by at a slow roll.  I’m a good friend like that, I won’t mind.

And then, no words.

My heart is heavy today and for as much as I’d like to say I have no words, I fear I have too many.  An autism mom tried to take her life and the life of her child.  I’d like to say I don’t know how this happened or why it happened but this one cuts too close to home, far too close to home.

I am at a loss, simply and utterly at a loss.  I don’t know how to feel really.

I know some of you know this, and I don’t really bring it up that often, but I was in a dark place once before.  It seems like a lifetime ago and in many ways it seems like I was a different person.  I was in a place so dark, so deep and so far away—looking back it seems like a lifetime ago and worlds away.

It was after the loss of our son.

Simply put, I wanted to die.  I wanted it all to go away—all the pain, all the hurt, all the heartache.  I wanted to feel nothing.

Nothing.

I wanted the edges to be dulled and the heartache to fade away.  The easiest way to feel nothing was to slip away, to cease to exist, to put an end to my everything.  To take the pain away from not only myself but those around me.  Why should they be stuck with me?  Why should they be stuck with my heartache and all my problems?  I was a burden.

My leaving would solve everything.  It would bring me peace and make everyone else happier.  They would have peace after my passing.

I really thought that, honest to God.

And I thought that because, bluntly put, I was not right in the head.  I was severely depressed and out of my ever-loving mind.  But when I was there, when I was in that deep dark place, I thought I was sane.  I thought every decision I made was lucid, clear and spot on.

Only I wasn’t sane.  I wasn’t spot on and I wasn’t lucid.  I was depressed.

And that’s the fundamental issue for me.  When a person is so deep in depression, hurt and pain, there is no rational thought.  What is irrational seems rational and bad decisions seem take hold and seem to solve problems.

I thought no one wanted to be bothered with what was going on so I wouldn’t talk about things.  I put on the perfect front, a grand coverup and like a mask, I wore it all the time.  To everyone else, I was this happy, well-rounded individual.  Sure, I’d lost my son and I was grieving but I was getting through it.  I was strong.  I had other kids to live for, a wonderful house and an incredible husband.

I never told anyone my deep dark secret—that I wanted to go.  I didn’t tell them because I thought I was doing them a favor.  I thought they would be better off without me.

I’m telling you all this…honestly, I don’t know why I’m sharing this.  I guess because when a person gets pushed so far, for so long, they don’t know what to do.  Their world falls apart and the sanity slips.  They put up deflectors and act the way you expect them to, all the while falling apart on the inside.

The body and mind react and the person you thought you were no longer is there.  It’s gone, replaced by someone else who is in need of help but is no longer even aware of that.  The lines between reality become blurred and out of focus.  When you’re in that state, sanity becomes something fleeting, something you desperately try to hold on to but wind up falling short.  Sometimes you wind up falling over the very cliff you’re so desperately holding on to.

And in that state you can’t make rational decisions.  You think you can, but you can’t.

You can’t even ask for help because you don’t think you need it.

Do you see how this can go horribly wrong?

I know having children with additional needs puts additional stressors on our lives but  I won’t put the blame there.  I won’t.  And I guess that’s where I’m falling short, I don’t know where to put the blame and I don’t even know if there is anyone to blame.  And I think that’s what’s bothering me, I want someone, hell something, to blame.

We need to look at maybe why this happened before casting a stone, unless of course, you live in a glass house.  It’s easy to judge, to jump to conclusions and to pass blame.  I’m not saying what happened is OK, I won’t go there.  I’ve lost the ability to focus on this one.

Everything about this is broken.  The system is broken, our community is broken and a family will never be the same.

And I am at a loss.  I’m spent and saddened beyond belief.

And with that, I have no more words.

And now…school.

So I had to take a break from things because as Summer was winding down my kids were amping up.  There is something about knowing school is going to start that just sets them off.  It makes them nervous, anxious and all kinds of bitchy.  And that’s just the kids, I was awful too.

It took everything I had just to stay sane those last few days.  We didn’t do any back to school shopping, we didn’t go to the store and we didn’t even go to Tae Kwon Do.  We stayed around the house trying to forget school was coming and enjoy the last little bit of time we had.

There’s something about the end of Summer that gets me down.  See, I’m a warm weather kind of girl.  I don’t like the snow, the cold and the shorter days do bad things to me.  Even the promise of Christmas pales when I know all my kids are going to be puking, coughing or puking and coughing.

I don’t like seeing the kids get stressed and worried about school.  It tells me just how much pressure going to school really puts on them.  They were just getting settled into Summer and already it’s time for it to end.

So yeah, I wanted to spend those last few days with them.  Breaking up fights, separating kids and allocating them to corners and throwing a pool noodle in the garbage because, “I will not tell you three not to hit each other with this damn thing again!  It goes in the trash!”  That parenting decision, while liberating and freeing, didn’t go over as well as I had planned.

All that being said, I miss what we had this summer.  I miss it already.

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Because I know.  I know what the school year holds.

All homework struggles, the social mishaps and the misunderstandings.  The dealings with school, putting out fires and having to have the right peanut butter on the right bread, cut the right way for lunch.  All the stress and anxiety of just having to get up and being “on” all day.  I get it.  I know why they are upset and I don’t like it.  I don’t like it for them.

Lizzy has been up late, not being able to sleep.  She’s been getting up early too, she’s been just a mess.  I finally got out of her, in the midst of some sobs and tears, a faint whisper, “Mommy, I don’t want to go back because I don’t want people to call me stupid.  I don’t want to be stupid.”

When your daughter says something like that it’s a kick in the gut.  Except the gut is connected to the heart and that’s where it hurts.

So my heart hurts a little bit.

I lied, my heart hurts a lot.

Other kids don’t know why she can’t read, they only know she can’t.  She’s been marked as different, and unlike Alex, she is painfully aware of their cruel intentions.  Dyslexia means she’s different and she’s fully aware of it.

Alex is a mix of excitement and joy but I know by this time next week it will feel like we’ve been in fourth grade for twelve years already, and that excitement will be replaced with exhaustion and confusion.

We’ve met with both teachers and have explained what’s been going on.  And now I have to have faith they understand, that they get it and they can help me, help them.

Right now, I’m happy with the fact the kids are happy.  They came out of school and when I asked Alex how it went, I got, “It was great!  Mrs Andrews teaches exactly how I thought she would!” And he beamed a bright smile and threw his backpack in my direction.

Lizzy said it was really cool, she was glad her teacher gave them a few little gifts for being in her second grade class.  I got a smile, a hug and she whispered, “I missed you today.”

And I was happy with that.

As an update, Alex was home sick the third day of school.  I’ve been up for the last few days with him and Gracie was up since 4:00 because apparently Alex is a giver and Gracie is now sick.

As a further update, every last person in this fucking house came down sick.  I’ve been out a good two weeks and three, yes three rounds of antibiotics later, I’m just now starting to feel better.  Alex was out almost a week and a half of school.  We put him on steroids and breathing treatments and even that had to be increased as he wasn’t improving.

So, sharing for the win!

Someone swing by and give me a coffee and a giant spray bottle of lysol, would you?  I’m germ free now, promise.

And we now talk about Sparring Camp and Ryan Gosling…

So we used to do this thing with Ryan Gosling ages ago…  A bunch of Special Needs bloggers would all link up and share the same image of Ryan and add our own twist to that same image.  Well, I’m happy to say it’s back.  Sunday, over at Adventures in Extreme Parenthood is hosting it again this year and it’s all kinds of funny.  Go click on that Ryan in a box and see.  Just pee first or you’ll be changing your underwear, I swear.

Adventures in Extreme Parenthood

Our summer is winding down and it’s not going without a fight.  Literally.  The kids have been killing each other at the pool, in the house and just about any other place they can get their grubby hands on each other.  I’ve been at my wits end trying to keep them separated and I have to tell you, part of me is ready to give up.  Would it be wrong to just let them fight and clobber each other and see who comes out alive?

You wouldn’t do that?  Fine, whatever.

The kids have been in a Tae Kwon Do Sparring Camp for the past few weeks.

Sparring Camp.

I’ll just let that sink in.  My kids, with no gross or fine motor skills to speak of, are enrolled in a class where they are being taught to beat the crap out of each other.  They are being taught to respectfully beat the crap out of each other.  The very same kids who have been trying to kill each other all summer long.

AWESOME.

When I asked my husband if he thought things would be OK, he simply said, “Well they have gear on, right?”

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Look at all the gear.

Right….what could possibly go wrong?  I had visions of the kids wrestling each other in a death match, pinning each other to the ground, the one begging to breathe, all the while the other kids are screaming, banging on the mats, chanting, “PIN HER! PIN HER!”

I asked our instructor if he allows siblings to fight each other and his response was immediate, and in a thick asian accent, “Ahhhh, no.  Siblings too serious, hurt each other too much.  No, they fight others.”  That was not as reassuring as I though it would be.

Have I mentioned the kids were enrolled in a Nun-chuck Camp and a Sword Fighting Camp as well?   Clearly my husband wants the kids to kill each other and we’ll just parent the survivors.  We’re practicing our own kind of natural selection.  Thinning our herd, if you would.

So my kids have been in Sparring Camp.   I’ve been watching them try and kick and kill their opponents.  I’ve watched them get hit, nailed, drilled and each and every time they get back up.  Sometimes they run away but they always get back up.  I think I’ve lost seven pounds in nervous energy.

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They’ve been coming home and doing crescent kicks, forty-five degree kicks, blocking each other and even walking around the house with their mouth guards in.  They’re teaching the three year old all sorts of moves to play on me when I’m not paying attention.

They are working together as a collective, like the Borg, to break me.  In some ways I’m happy they’re working together but on the whole, I’m not as impressed as I should be.

My kids are taking what they are learning in Sparring Camp and using it against me.  Clearly this is not how I intended things to work out.

At one point I thought of making a cage fighting setup in the garage and letting them go for it, they were so full on.  Let them kill each other in the ultimate cage fight.  It would be epic.  I’d bury the dead one in the hosta bed and move on.  Natural selection at its finest.

It’s been THAT bad.

And get this….

They even have a sparring setup in Minecraft and they kill each other in there.  In Minecraft.  It’s like they combined two evils and made the ultimate cage fight/sparring match, in Minecraft.  I’m impressed and horrified at the same time.

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So yeah, that’s been my summer.  How’s yours?

When the load lightens, the spirit lifts.

For as much as I’ve been complaining and making noise about summer vacation, I have  a little secret…..I like summer.

I like having my kids home.  I like the heat and I like sleeping in late.  Let me rephrase that.  I like the thought of sleeping in late.  In reality, we get up earlier in the summer because the sun is up at like 6:03 AM.  At 6:04 AM I have all three kids in my bed, begging to play Minecraft.

I like knowing we don’t have to rush through breakfast and figure out who’s gym day it is.  We don’t have to hurry and remember to brush teeth, comb hair and OMG, where’s my lunch???

I like not having to sit through that damn car line and remembering, as we crawl to the drop-off point, if the kids have everything, wondering if the right one is wearing gym shoes, socks and did they get their damn lunches?

I like not having to hide from the librarian for that book and not going into school every day for whatever reason.  I know the kids like it too.

Not having the stressors of school hanging over our heads is huge.  I like that the kids are not having to worry about school.  It’s nice to know they have some time to unwind and just be.

To just be kids.  To get into trouble, drive me insane and to generally get on each others nerves.  That’s what brothers and sisters do, right?

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“All three of you stop playing with each other.”  And then they walked away.

Because the thing with summer is that it’s time to unwind.  We’ve stopped going to therapies for a bit and we’re taking a bit of a break.  There comes a point where you have to be happy with where you are, and where the kids are.  I can’t keep making the kids to go to places they don’t really want to go.

Because what does that say about me if I insist?  That I’m not happy with my kids, as they are?

I don’t want my children to think I’m not happy with them or happy with who they are becoming.  Granted, there are times when I want to kill them but I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about sending the message that we don’t like who they are.  That we don’t like them, for them.  I don’t ever want my kids to think, for one second, I’m not proud or happy with who they are, as they are.

Managing all our lives becomes a balancing act.

We want our kids to be prepared for the world so we send them to ABA, OT, PT, SPEECH, social skill groups and anything else we can think of that will help.  We do all these things to get them ready to be in the world.  At a certain point we have to be careful that we aren’t making them do so much, or asking too much of them, so the message goes from one of preparing them for the world, to a message of you’re not good enough for the world.

And there in lies the balancing act.  And it’s a hard one to get right.

So for right now we’re taking a break.  I’m letting the kids be kids.  Letting them do what makes them happy and letting them have some time to just be.  We’re ordering pizza, staying up late and watching some movies they’ve never seen before.  We’re playing Monopoly and Minecraft and always going back to Minecraft.

In Minecraft the kids are dropping TNT in traps, killing each other and laughing.  And we’re working on that.  We’re learning to work with each other and laugh at the right times and at the right things.  I have to tell you though, it doe suck big donkey balls when your kid blows you up in Minecraft.

We’re pushing the envelope, just in different ways.

We may not play all the “right” games and do all the cool things but we’re doing what makes us happy.

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“God Damn it, wait for your mother!!!’

And in coming to the decision, that we need to lighten the load, that has made me happy.  Or as happy as I can be when they are trying to kill each other with pool noodles or Minecraft TNT.