Posts Tagged "momfail"

A Cease-Fire… For Now

Posted by on Jun 12, 2010 | 0 comments

We’ve decided to call a cease fire in the potty war.  It’s not a truce, per se, but a break in the action until we get settled in our new home in Vancouver.

After several multi-hour standoffs -each ending in success and prizes, mind you – the war is still raging and threatening to become a disgrace on our parenting administration.  In the name of civility, and because Christine told us to, we’re backing off for now.  In truth, the battle had devolved into a power struggle, with both sides refusing to budge.  That’s no way to win.

Children love and fear change (don’t we all?), and we’re going through quite a big one here this week.  Everything we own is going into boxes, and in a matter of days we’ll be leaving our home, our city and our country behind.  Change is in the air, and my children can sense it. 

Jack has always been really good with being flexible within reason.  He can take a nap or skip one, he can miss a day of school or not.  But big change, like transitioning into a big boy bed, moving his brother into his room, or heck, moving to another country?  That sort of thing takes some getting used to.  In my own personal vendetta against the diaper, I managed to forget this very important rule in our household.

So, diapers are once again de rigeur for naps, and we’re going to enjoy our move to the best of our ability.  We’ll save the battles for another day.

Just don’t tell Jack.

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The Sick Mom

Posted by on Apr 22, 2010 | 2 comments

I had a horrible bout of vertigo which kept me in bed all day today.  Not an easy feat with three small children, but thankfully my husband is both not working today and descended from saints.   He allowed me that rarest of joys, a mom’s day in bed.  It’s just a shame I had to be ill so I couldn’t fully enjoy it.

I managed to drag myself to the kitchen at one point to beg my patron for some sustenance.  Or a bowl of cereal with strawberries.  My dear children crowded around the baby gate to catch a glimpse of their elusive mama.

“Mom!!!  Mom!!!  I need juice!!!”  pined Lennon, priorities clearly in place.

“Himom!!  Himom!! Siiiiiissssssies!!”  screeched Baby Kieran. “Sissies” (“nursies”) are his most favorite thing, and while I like to think he was missing me, I know he was just missing my anatomy.

Jack, however, was actually concerned about my well being.  “Mom?  How do you feel?  What do you feel?”

What?  A child who was inquiring about me, and not how it related to him?  I picked my jaw up off the floor and told him I just wasn’t feeling very well.

“Are you going to throw up?”

“No, baby, I’m not going to throw up.”

“Are you going to sneeze?”

“No, I’m not going to sneeze.”   He pondered this.  In Jack’s world, if you’re sick, you either throw up or you sneeze.

“I love you.”

That right there made me feel like a million bucks.  A million bucks with vertigo.

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The Lesser Evil

Posted by on Apr 21, 2010 | 1 comment

I find myself often wondering which is worse, dealing with the autistic 4-year-old child (Jack), or the neurotypical 3-year-old (Lennon).  They both have their challenges, they both have their quirks.  But which is the lesser of the two evils?  And by “evil,” I mean “my darling children whithout whom I would have no purpose.”

I decided to chart it out.  In each circumstance, which is the better outcome?

1) While out and about, Jack will occasionally take off running without regard to his whereabouts.   Lennon, if given the chance, will almost always run away, knowing exactly what he’s doing.  He also turns back frequently to make sure you’re just about to reach him before he darts off again. He will also hide and laugh hysterically.  DECISION – Jack.

2) If he gets hurt in some way, Jack will usually laugh it off (unless it’s a bad owie, then he’ll cry and come for comfort).  Lennon gets hurt 12 to 17 times a day, usually because he’s launched himself off of something or run smack into the wall (which just happened about 10 minutes ago).  The bigger the owie, the less he seems fazed by it.  However, if he gets smacked across the face by the baby, harassed by Jack (which, to be fair, usually involves some sort of physical pain), or insulted in some way that hurts his feelings, he needs lots of hugs and snuggles.  And then he’ll remind you of it constantly for the next week or three.  DECISION – Jack

3) When Jack decides to have a tantrum, which is pretty rare nowadays, it’s on an epic proportion.  There is a lot of screaming, defiance and sometimes hitting.  Time-outs work, but he needs to be monitored to make sure he doesn’t decide to leave the time-out area.  If he’s overly tired, the only thing to stop his tirade is to ignore it or put him to bed.  When Lennon has a fit, which is pretty much every day, it’s also an epic production.  As much as Lennon dreads a time-out, he’ll go and stay there until his time is up.  He gets wildly upset, but calms down to his genial self pretty quickly.  DECISION – Lennon

4) Jack can focus on one task for hours at a time, especially if it’s of his choosing.  Lennon has the attention span of a gnat, unless he’s watching “Cars.”  DECISION – draw

5) Jack has become quite a picky eater.  He doesn’t have any sort of texture aversions anymore, but he also just doesn’t eat a whole lot, unless it’s chocolate or an apple.  And if it can be cut with a knife, he’ll spend most of his meal dicing his food into tiny pieces before finally consuming it.  Lennon is not so picky.  Lennon, in fact, will eat mass quanities of whatever you put in front of him, as long as it is not grilled cheese.  Or apples with the skin on.  DECISION – Jack (he eats less, therefore saving me money at the grocery store)

This list could go on for days.  In fact, I may revisit it as the need for comparing and contrasting my children against each other arises.  It could get dicey as Kieran gets old enough to get into the equation.

In the meantime, I’m going to go out on a limb and say my child with autism is easier to handle on a daily basis than my neurotypical 3-year-old.  I know what to expect with Jack, and his playbook is pretty simple.  Lennon is a wild card.   Sometimes I just don’t have the energy for that. 

Good thing they’re both cute.

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Splitting Hairs

Posted by on Apr 8, 2010 | 4 comments

Splitting Hairs

Like most moms on a budget, I decided I could handle the task of cutting my kids’ hair.  They have curly hair, how hard could it be?

For one, I have no idea how to cut hair.

Secondly, the children who require grooming have two completely different heads of hair.  Lennon has baby-fine, thin curly hair that is often straight, making him look like a small Nick Nolte on a bad day.   Jack has a thick head of unruly curls that are sometimes not curls, and are often chunks that stick out in a chaotic jumble.

And of course, running a not-so-distand third, there is the tiny little fact that Jack is a tad sensitive about people messing with his head.

First, a bit of history.  Jack got his first haircut at 22 months, after I looked at him one day and saw a tiny Leif Garrett looking back at me (for those of you not as ancient as myself, think a male Farrah Fawcett).

This hair was made for dancin’.

Something needed to be done.  At that point in time, I had more sense (and only one toddler and a 5-month-old), and left it to a professional.  We also didn’t know that Jack was anything but “rambunctious.”   He made it through that experience with the cutest cut ever, and I was convinced we’d use that hairdresser again and again and again.

Professional hair. It only looks easy.

I mean come on, wouldn’t you?  That’s a cute kid right there.

Of course we hadn’t taken him to a real salon, mind you.  We went to one of those “kiddie salon and play place” posh joints in Beverly Hills, where the stylist was actually from a real salon and just needed some extra cash or owed someone a large favor.  She was awesome.  She also quit soon after our visit, and the establishment stopped offering toddler haircuts.

So I did what any mom would do after losing her favorite stylist, I let the child’s hair grow.  And grow.  And grow. Until I finally decided on a whim one night that I could certainly remember what the haircut looked like (I have photos!!), and it just couldn’t be that hard to replicate.  I put Jack in his high chair in front of a movie, and commenced the “styling.”  Did I mention I do not, in fact, know how to cut hair?  I felt obligated to document the hatchet job.

Mama is not a professional hairdresser. Obviously.

That’s just the back.  The front was a mess of cowlicks and too-short spots.  I comforted myself with the knowledge that moms throughout the ages have achieved this level of ineptitude, and many children lived to tell the tale.

I once again vowed to leave the hairdressing to the professionals.  And once again, Jack’s hair grew.  A lot.  Like a whole lot.  I let it grow for a whole year.

Surfer dude.

I know, I know.  He looks awesome in those photos.  A rockin little surfer dude.  And if it looked like that all of the time, he’d always have that hair.  But that was fresh out of the bath, and within an hour it had once again achieved Farrah-ness.  What you also can’t see is the child has enough hair on his head to stuff several pillows and still be too big.  In a Los Angeles summer, that’s a hot head of hair.

At this point Jack was 3, and we knew all about his autism and his serious aversion to all things concerning his head.  I did my homework and found a kids’ salon in the Valley who specialized in dealing with sensory-sensitive children and made an appointment.  I made an appointment for Lennon, too, who would be getting his very first haircut.

Not. happy.

He was not amused.

The stylist took over an hour and a half to cut his hair, and did a servicable job.  They had videos, toys and trains, and she explained everything to him as she worked.  She showed him the scissors, used the buzzer on Daddy first (Jack still wouldn’t have any part of it), and let him play with the water spritzer.  But the salon is an hour from our home, and I wasn’t all that excited about the cut.  Lennon could go with his Daddy to the local SuperCuts and be just fine, and I decided, once again, that I could attack Jack’s mop on my own.

I was smart about it, at least.  I started by just trimming when it got unruly, bribing him with cookies for a snip here and there.  I cut it dry, and didn’t even bother with the spray bottle of water that invoked a screeching fit by its very presence.  As we both got more used to the idea, I got braver.  I let his hair grow longer, and cut more style into it.  I even started cutting Lennon’s hair.  I love his curls, and the SuperCuts folks always buzz his head.  I trim around the bottom and he looks like a cute little frat boy.  I give him ice cream or a popsicle, and he’s happy.

Jack always agrees to the haircut, after haggling for a proper bribe, then bails about halfway through the process.  He’s ok with me cutting the top and sides, but cannot stand when I get near the nape of his neck.  Coincidentally, that’s where the bulk of his hair is.  I end up having to beg him to come back to the chair, adding more treats to the bribe, and even then he rarely lets me finish in one sitting.  Quite often I’m snipping and shaping here and there for a week.

I know I’m saving money with Lennon’s hair, but I’m not sure about Jack’s.  I actually think I’m spending more on bribes than I would to drive the hour and pay someone to do it for me in one sitting.

Nowadays I take a perverse pride in the occasional chunk I cut out of Jack’s hair.  I know how hard won the right to get near him with scissors was.  And how many popsicles it took to do it.

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What have you done to your child’s hair?  How do you get your ASD child’s hair done?

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