Posts Tagged "insanity"

I Don't Know How, Mama

Posted by on Sep 18, 2010 | 0 comments

We are finally at the end of our long summer’s journey, which means Jack has started school.  And not just any school, kindergarten.  Full day kindergarten.  Big Boy School.

In case that wasn’t enough change and excitement, we have also decided that Jack (and all of our children) will be attending a French immersion school.  Canada, a bilingual country, offers children the option of attending school in French, starting either in kindergarten (early immersion) or grade 6 (late immersion).   Just as the name suggests, the children are immersed in French.  No English until at least grade 3.  Deep end all the way.

Why pile on the added stress of a foreign environment to an already new situation?  Why not?  Jack is a smart kid who needs to be stimulated constantly.  He’s certainly getting that at his school.  And while he frequently tells us, “I dont know how to learn how to speak French,” he’s learning.  He greets his teacher with a hearty “bonjour!” in the morning.  Of course his accent needs some polish, so it sounds more like “bojur.”  We love it.  We make him say it all the time.  Someday he’ll get his pronounciation down, but until then hearing him speak French is as sweet as hearing my almost 2-year-old try to say, well, pretty much anything.

Jack loves school, and it shows.  The special education program here is a breeze compared to the United States, and while he’s still going through the referral process, he has full support to help him be as mainstream as possible.  He is settling in, and is excited each morning to get back to school.

I’m guessing the school day is taxing for Jack.  It’s a much longer day than he’s used to, in a completely different language.  How do I know it’s taxing?  When Jack is done focusing on something, he lets loose.  Like crazy, unbridled, nonstop motion loose.  This is the cyclone I have dealt with each day upon his return from the halls of education.  While I celebrate the fact that he’s loving school and it’s clearly exhausting his mind, his body is exhausting me. 

As I’ve pointed out before, autism is contagious, and every afternoon now I have three small stimulation-seekers wreaking havok on my home and my mental stability.  The other day, a rainy afternoon when I couldn’t send them outside and they were quite literally bouncing off the walls, I broke.

“Jack, you have to relax!”

“I don’t know how, mama.”

Truer words were never spoken.  In a few weeks, life will even out again as it always does.  In the meantime, if you need me in the afternoons, I’ll be the one hiding under the stairs.

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Tell Me A Story

Posted by on Aug 1, 2010 | 3 comments

I’d love to come here and say we’ve moved and everything went swimmingly.  We arrived in Canada, found my husband a job and a place to live immediately, moved in and the kids are just grand.

Not exactly.  Ok, not at all.

My husband does indeed have a new job, but it didn’t happen immediately.  A month into our odyssey we’re also still living in my brother-in-law’s basement, and it’s time to move on.  We have amazing family who have gone above and beyond for us, but the bottom line is we have seven (yes, 7) children age six and under living in one home.  It’s a 24-hour preschool.

The boys have taken it in stride, but Jack’s patience is starting to wear thin.  He needs his own place and his own space and his own things.  He needs his alone time.  So do I.

It’ll happen soon, I know.  In the meantime, though, it’s a minute-to-minute situation.  I’m using all of my patience and skills to keep my boys happy and my Jack together. 

I know you usually come here for a laugh or two, but this time I’m asking that of you.  Please, tell me a story.  Make me laugh. I could use a good giggle to get me going again.

I promise to get back to your regularly scheduled jocularity tomorrow.

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A Boys Life (typo intended)

Posted by on May 25, 2010 | 4 comments

I have three boys, ages 4 1/2, 3 and 17 months.  I could end this post right there and leave more than a few of you with knowing laughter.  I feel like I should include the general populace, though, so I’ll continue.

Life with three boys is not the life I had envisioned.  My entire life I dreamed of being a mother, and I always assumed I would have at least one girl.  Boy/s, too, but always a girl.  As it turns out, my younger brother got the girls.  Four of them.  And I have the boys. 

My older brother has two boys and a girl (now in their 20’s), and I can still recall the day he told me he had obviously been out of his mind to have two boys so close together.  Little did I know I’d have three children – boys, no less- spaced almost exactly the same as his.

I was thrilled when Jack was born.  I was tickled when Lennon was born.  When we found out we were expecting child number 3, I was once again overjoyed, but made a pact with myself:  if this child was a girl, then yay.  If this child, however, was another boy, then that would be it.  We would have an adventure with 3 boys.  No more babies, no “trying for that girl.”  And so it would be.  People still ask if we’re done, if we’re “really sure,” and I can say definitively yes.  We are on an adventure.  And boy, what a ride it is.

Girls have their own challenges.  They are particular.  They are advanced in a lot of ways, and they will break your heart into a million pieces in a million different ways.  They also require a lot of upkeep in the form of shoes and clothes and pretty pretty princess ponies or things of that ilk.  Yes, I’m generalizing, but you get the point. (And for the record, as a child I only needed the shoes and the ponies.  Ok, and the clothes.)

Boys, however, are a breed of their own.  Boys with sisters aren’t fully in their own element, but boys with brothers?  Stand back, it’s on.  And a family of all boys?  Well, let me tell you from my vast four and a half years of experience, it’s something to behold.  My boys are the sweetest children I’ve ever met.  They are also just a little evil.  Maybe it’s because they can melt my heart while simultaneously ruining my favorite Christmas ornaments.  Maybe it’s because they destroy everything I hold dear, including my ability to remain angry.  They constantly amaze me.   And they constantly remind me to expect the unexpected.

I see photos of my friends’ children’s bedrooms with pretty beds and little play tables and bookshelves and things hanging on the walls.  I come back to reality thinking of what my children would do to those rooms.  Currently my two older boys live in a bedroom furnished with two toddler mattresses on the floor, a paper lamp hanging from the ceiling (whose days are numbered), and a couple of pieces of Jack’s artwork that are hung just out of reach.  For now.  They have no curtains anymore.  They have no bookshelves.  They have no toy bins that can be stood on without collapsing (thank you, IKEA).  Their carpet bears the markings of what trouble two small boys can get into in the span of an hour of unsupervised “nap time” (their closet is the only storage in the apartment, and it is usually locked… unless someone forgets).  It is splattered with paint and crayon and organic substances that make me glad on a daily basis we don’t have to pay to replace the carpeting in this apartment.

I used to wonder if we were the only ones who had to move all of the toys into our cramped living room.  If we had the only children living in a barren cell with only their blankets and trains to soothe them at night.  If our walls, covered from floor to 4-year-old height (and a tall one, at that) with crayon and chalk murals, were the shame of the playground.  Of course, none of this is true.  Although late night viewings of Sh*t My Kids Ruined definitely soothes my soul. 

I also wonder how big a role autism plays in this scenario.  If Jack were a neurotypical child, would we be able to have bookshelves?  Would I be able to give them the bunk beds I’ve been dreaming of without the fear of them flying through the air from the highest point?  Would I not constantly live in fear of them breaking their bedroom window with a sippy cup (again)?

I’ll never know.  And yet, somehow I do know.  I had brothers.  My older brother is seven years my senior, so my main memories of him from childhood were stories my mother told me.  Stories about writing his name on things with bodily fluids.  I also get stories from him about my nephews, who while angelic, were also quite destructive.  I have witnessed for myself the holes in the walls, the broken bedroom doors, the tables sawed into with innocent “toy” saws. 

I witnessed my younger brother’s antics firsthand.  A room filled with creatures from the local pond (I vividly recall my cat chasing baby frogs down the hallway).  My dollhouse vandalized and my poor dolls defiled.  And yes, I watched him leap from his second-story bedroom window to the ground below.   He was fearless, and had a glint in his eye that said “stand back world, I’m here to conquer you.”  And he did.  He jumped any and everything with his bike, and later, his skateboard.  He set things on fire, usually in his bedroom.  And after he promised my mother he would not go skydiving, he did it anyway, and told her about it afterward.  He was, and is, all boy.  A boy who is now raising four girls.  Karma usually has the last laugh.

I see the same glint in each of my boys’ eyes in varying degrees.  Jack has it, but it is measured.  He needs to feel out his surroundings before he masters them.  He also has my innate ability to question authority.  His favorite new thing is to do something “bad” on purpose, then look me in the eye and ask, “are you sad?”  Hm. 

Jack figured it out

Lennon is all my younger brother, with my lack of grace.  He is my trailblazer, showing Jack the way.  He goes down the slides face first, scales the rock walls with ease.   He is often the one I catch literally flying off the couch.  He also falls down or trips or runs into things approximately 17 times a day.  I’m hoping he gains some focus before he joins the X-Games, as I’m certain he will. 

Lennon doing it his way

Kieran is still a wild card, but is already displaying a blend of Lennon’s adventurousness with Jack’s acumen.  Baby gates that still keep Lennon contained (albeit mentally more than physically) mean nothing to Kieran.  He scales every surface he can, and if he can’t, he pulls toys and chairs around to serve his purpose.  He plays on the dining room table regularly, because honestly, it’s just easier than spending my day pulling him off of it.  It’s just a matter of time before he surpasses his brothers in giving me heart palpatations, I’m sure.

Just a matter of time

 

I am a mother of three boys.  One has autism, which may or may not enhance the situation.  I’m guessing it would have been a wild ride anyway.

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Let's Go

Posted by on May 6, 2010 | 0 comments

I’m having a hard day.  Lennon is snuffly and cranky.  Kieran is needy.  Jack is in limbo at school, since his BI (Behavioral Interventionist, or Special Friend as Jack calls him) left last week to continue graduate school, and his behavior has been erratic.  And by erratic, I mean whoa nelly, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

So today is testing my patience.  I have a headache.  I gave the children pancakes for lunch. I am thisclose to nap time.  All I have to do is put on diapers, make some paper airplanes, tuck in the children (who will get up the minute I close the door anyway), and go lie down with the baby.  I have finally convinced Jack that even if he is not tired, he “needs his quiet time.”  And mama does, too. 

There is screaming.  Some joyful, mostly angry.  It is brain-piercing.

Then, in the middle of it all, Jack sings out.  “Hey, ho – let’s go!!”

How am I supposed to stay frustrated when the kid busts forth with The Ramones?

Ruined a perfectly bad day.

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