Last Sunday I had dinner with some of my favorite high school girl friends. That's the great thing about FB - staying in touch with people that may have been lost forever.
Anyway - one friend asked "So what are you up to - you're a writer?" And the question caught me off guard. Honestly, I've never been asked that before. My answer? "Well, I'm a secretary but I play a writer on FB." (I have a quirky sense of humor naturally but tend to make jokes when I'm uncomfortable/nervous/upset/pissed off...I make jokes a lot actually.)
But then 2 others interjected, insisting that I am in fact - a writer.
What I really am is a woman in between seasons.
At least once I week, I run Landslide by Fleetwood Mac on my ipod. And I mean RUN IT - as in, play it on repeat through out my morning commute. (If you don't know that song - get to know it. It's amazing.) But my favorite line is: Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I am like Alice - wondering, "Who in the world am I?" Somewhere between mother, student and wife; somewhere between secretary and writer - there's me. Trying to figure it all out. Trying to find my voice. Still trying to figure out who I am and who I want to be. Trying to break out of the box that I have put myself in.
Sometimes someone else needs to show you who are, before you truly see it for yourself.
This is my (very 1st) 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
Set a timer and write for 5 minutes.
Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
I can't believe it's the last Friday in February. This month has been a whirlwind - a month of ups and downs. Rejoices and rejections. There's been so much going on that I haven't had the energy to write or read. So this is my month in Fragments:
Back in November my mother's father, sister and brother were hospitalized. My aunt was out within a few days - she's a feisty old broad, that one. My grandfather (who is 89) was out after a few days too but he's not doing so great. He needs insulin shots twice a day and my mother is the one that gives it to him. She prepares his breakfast, lunch and dinner too. As for my uncle, he just got out of the hospital. He's home and my mother checks in on him too. (My mother, grandfather and uncle all live in the same building.)
And then my mom takes the train from Queens up to The Bronx 4 days a week to pick up The Boy from the bus. (I know, my mom is a saint!) Anyway - my mom is tired. And she won't say it but I know all of this is taking a toll on her. And I was trying to think of an alternative solution for after school childcare that will still allow The Boy to get his ABA therapy. I'm VERY happy to have found one. I asked one of The Boy's past teacher assistants if he'd be willing to pick up The Boy 2 days a week. Not only did he agree to do it BUT he's super excited about seeing The Boy again.
This month The Boy had two evaluations: psychological and speech. Which meant he had to miss 2 days of school. Which also meant me rearranging my work schedule for a few days. Which meant I had to take 2 buses to get to the evaluation place. Sit 2 hours through the evaluation. Answer the same questions I've been asked for the last three years. Then take a bus to the train station. Take the train into the City. Drop The Boy off at the company back up day care (a major perk that I LOVE!) and then run up 9 city blocks and 2 avenues to my office. Work for a few hours, then run back the 9 blocks and 2 avenues down to pick up The Boy from the daycare. And then...luckily both days, The Husband picked us up in the City.
Earlier this month, I was invited to this amazing lunch hosted by the Ladies Home Journal. I was pretty honored to be there - I was in the room with real writers, women that I had been reading for last the year. As a secretary, I'm used to being seen and not heard. I'm used to sitting in on meetings taking minutes, but never would I dare offer my opinion. Most of the time, I'm ignored; the higher ups just don't talk to the secretary. It's just the way the corporate world works. So to be at this table among these inspiring powerful group of women, mothers, special needs writers/advocates - was sort of intimidating. But it was one of the best experiences I've had (as a blog writer) and that post is coming soon.
Speaking of amazing experiences...I've been invited to write guest posts on a few websites. And it feels really good, to get that kind of response to my writing - it's validating. But wouldn't you know - I've had an incredibly case of writer's block. And I have these great opportunities and I'm struggling. I mean, if I write something crappy here...that's one thing. I can revise or delete. But to write something crappy for another blog - one that gets way more traffic than mine? There's no going back. It's quite a bit of pressure...
I stepped on the scale...as a result, I've been trying to exercise more. That post is sitting in my drafts. Have I lost any weight? Nope - I've been losing & gaining the same damn 3 pounds. But I have to get serious.
This time last year, I had no idea where The Boy was going to go to school. Then a school accepted him. Then we started...and it's been a roller coaster ride ever since. I probably shouldn't even be writing about it anymore but screw it. A school shouldn't retaliate if the truth is being told. Anyway - everyone is giving me the run around and I'm dizzy. One day The Boy isn't appropriate, the next day he is. And once again, I have no idea where The Boy is going to be placed in September.
And did I mention, I may be going to an Impartial Hearing in the next few weeks. Did I mention, I'm going pro se (without an attorney).
If you're a blogger, blog writer or blog reader - you have a blog you stalk. At least I do. (You know you do too.) For me, there is one blog writer that I always make time to read and comment. (And these days - it's tough to keep up.)
Whether the Unknown Mami is writing about motherhood, marriage, milk or the mundane she's always exciting to read. Over the last few months, the Unknown Mami has made me laughandcry. She has inspired me to do stuff like this and this. Her girls, Put Pie and Luna Pie amaze me. Unknown Mami's husband - Unknown Papi, he's pretty cool too. And even when the Unknown Mami is Aiming Low, she's soaring high.
It's been a pleasure getting to "know" her through her writing and I hope one day our paths will cross.
And if you haven't discovered the Unknown Mami for yourself, well then...here she is ~
Intro in your own words:
Unknown Mami; otherwise known as The Most Interesting Woman in the
World. My cleavage alone has experienced more than a lesser woman’s
entire body. My sweat smells like gardenias. I may or may not be prone
What inpired you to start your blog?
2008 at the age of 37, I became a mother. Before that my life had
always involved acting in some way or another. All of a sudden I wasn't
going out on auditions, or rehearsing for plays. I felt isolated and
without a sense of community. I was used to creating on a regular basis
and then all of a sudden... nothing. I woke up one day (April 17, 2009
to be exact), my first daughter was 7 months old, and decided to start a
blog. I put a paper bag over a picture of myself and Unknown Mami was
Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks?Neither. I
live in San Francisco where coffee is abundant and the need to frequent
a "chain" is almost non-existent. If I have to choose a chain, then it
would be Peet's Coffee.
Describe your ideal day?I would get to sleep as long as I needed to.
That's it. Sleep, that's what I long for.
stranded on an unknown island with Unknown Papi, Put Pie and Luna Pie -
what 3 items would you want to make your lives easier?And why.
lighter for fire, pocket knife for all kinds of things, and a laptop
with internet access so that I could blog about the experience and look
up tutorials on how to survive on an island.
Where do you see the Unknown Mami in 10 years?
know what? I'm open to the possibilities. I don't know where Unknown
Mami will be in 10 years and I don't want to know. I'm happy just seeing
it all unfold.
There are a lot of things a gal like me could wish for.
I wish I could have a million dollars - because um, , who wouldn't want a million dollars?
I wish I could do something wild and crazy like jump out of an airplane but I'm a big ol chicken.
And I wish I could see ten years into the future.
But mostly, I wish I could ask The Boy a question and have him answer back.
I often feel that autism is like playing a game of 20 questions, except I'm playing alone. I spend most of my day, trying to figure out what The Boy wants, means or needs. I spend so much time trying to figure out what he's trying to say. And at times, wondering if I got it right.
I know I should be counting my blessings that The Boy has language. And I feel like it's selfish to wish for, want or expect more than what I have. Because he can tell me when he's hungry, thirsty or sleepy. The Boy can recite lines from movies and books. He can point and tell me exactly what toy he wants when we're out shopping.
But he can't answer a question - like what he had for lunch. Or who he played with in school. Or what was the best part of his day. And I'd like to know.
(And with the 3 recent NYC public school sex scandals - I want need to be able to ask The Boy if he's been touched inappropriately. And I need him to be able to answer correctly. It's a discussion, I'll need to have with the home based therapists - I need The Boy to be able to understand good touching and bad touching. But that's for a whole other post...)
Too often, I see parents engaged in back and forth conversation with their kids. And I want that with mine.
I would love nothing more than to come home from work, ask him about his day at school and have him answer me back.
The Boy's come such a long way since his diagnosis. I am hopeful that one day it will happen. I just wish it could happen sooner rather than later. But like everything else in our journey, the things we want most happen in their own time.
I know The Boy needs the time away - school is extremely stressful for him. Not that he's told me. I just know by the things he says the mornings he has to get ready for school.
But school breaks are also stressful for me too. I have to arrange for child care because I can't take time off work. And while I'm extremely lucky to have a great babysitter who adores The Boy. I still worry. Because lately The Boy has been really getting into EVERYTHING! I mean stuff like knives and opening windows...but that's for another blog post.
Anyway this is my pros/cons (short) list of school breaks:
I don't know about your kid, but The Boy isn't exactly the kind of kid that stays put. It's not like I can park him on a bench and ask him to "stay here" then expect him to stay. The Boy is pretty good at holding "it." But when he utters the words - I have to do pee pee. I know he means business. So on days when we're out and about and it's just me and him - using public bathrooms are tricky. But I think, I've narrowed it down to a science.
It's the kind of operation that requires speed, balance and agility. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves the ability to get in and out of a public bathroom without a meltdown, some kind of fungus or soiled pants. (Feel free to hum the Mission Impossible Theme Songto get you in the mood)
1.First of all - and I cannot stress this enough - it's all about LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION! Be aware of your surroundings. Is there a coffee house near by? I'll take a coffee place over a greasy fast food joint any day of the week. Book store bathrooms are also rather nice. Department stores, libraries, hospitals - hit or miss.
2. Immediately check to see if they have paper towels or the automated hand dryers. The Boy FREAKS out at the sight of the automated hand dryers. So if I spot one - I know to divert the attention and pray to the bathroom gods no one comes in and sets it off.
3. Don't feel guilty about using the big stall. The extra room is very much needed.
4.DO NOT utter the phrase "Don't touch anything."
5. Let your kid go first. While they're going, start gathering paper for yourself. Remember - every second counts. (I usually tuck the paper in my bra strap or under my chin.)
6. Start unzipping/pulling down. You have to be ready to go as soon as your kid is done.
7. When your kid is finished, switch places. At this point, you'll have to hold the kids hand while you go. You can either prompt them to pull up their pants or use your free hand to pull them up.
8.Once you're finished, adjust your clothes with one hand - remember, the other one is still holding on to your kid.
9. Provide a warning before you flush.
10. Wash hands with soap and water. If there are no paper towels and you are unclear whether or not the automated dryers will freak out your kid - it's perfectly okay to wipe your just washed wet hands on your favorite jeans. (Well, I guess it's not really okay but it's a small price to pay.)
Does any of this sound familiar? How do you navigate public bathrooms with your kid?
I dislike Valentine's Day VD for several reasons. Not only is it overrated and expensive but it perpetuates unrealistic notions of romance. Don't even get me started on all the VD cliches. I mean, shouldn't you show/tell your loved ones you care every day not just today. Anyway...I digress. This post has absolutely nothing to do with autism. Today I just needed to keep it light.
So ladies & gents, if you're having a sucky Valentine's - feel free to blame these guys:
Daddy Warbucks: Disgustingly wealthy, single and he adopts an orphan. He sings and dances and marries his secretary! Not only did Daddy Warbucks ruin any girl with daddy issues, but also gave false hope to the single secretary looking for love.
Mike Brady: What is it about the single dad? He's an architect who remarries a woman with 3 kids. Not only that, but Carol is a stay at home and they have a housekeeper. Mike never complains about anything. Ever. And in my Brady Bunch watching years, he never turned on the television to watch any kind of sport.
Danny Zuko (Grease): The blue eyed bad boy. With that voice and those moves. Any girl would gladly haul all her cookies all the way to the beach for this guy. Danny abandons the T-Birds and is willing to do anything to get his Sandy back.
Tristan (Legends of the Fall): Um...it's Brad Pitt. Need I say more?
Gilbert (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?): Johnny Depp. Again. Need I say more? Me thinks not.
Hawkeye (The Last of the Mohicans): When Hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis) tells Cora (Madeline Stowe) "You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you. No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you." And he's all sweaty, chest heaving with passion and she's all damsel in distress tough girl and with that music playing in the background...soooo dramatic.
Johnny Castle (Dirty Dancing): Another bad ass who can dance. Seriously? And that whole lake scene, lifting Baby up...then telling her dad off. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
Noah (The Notebook): "If you're a bird I'm a bird." Aside from the fact that Noah is incredibly charming. He builds a freaking HOUSE! How can anyone not fall for Ryan Gosling. But if you're not a fan of Ryan, I guarantee you will be after you see what Sunday Stillwell's did with him. He can Hey Girl me anytime ;)
Edward/Jacob: (Twilight) All of it. The books, the movies. The lines thrown around by these 2 have ruined Valentine's Day for millions. I mean, really? Who can top -"No measure of time will be long enough. But let's start with forever." Who says this kind of sappy crap? (I still swoon whenever he says it. I watched Breaking Dawn twice this weekend. Don't judge me.)
But I gotta tell you, none of these guys can hold a candle to my guy.
Yesterday, The Husband was off from work and sent me an unexpected text. "I know how you like it."
And then he sent this picture with it:
And for me, there's nothing sexier than a man who knows what to do with a mop. I swooned...
This is actually 90 pieces, I had already filled a cup cake holder with 10 pieces.
Today we concentrated on the number 100. It was inspired by a class project to celebrate the 100th day of school this Tuesday. And I wanted to do something a little creative (and cheap).
Since the beginning of the school year, we've gone through lots of crayons. (Seriously, there are crayons everywhere in our apartment.) And we had a 100 pieces of broken crayons. So last night The Boy and I peeled off the paper (though he's done a good job of doing that himself over the last few months).
Now a while back someone told me she did this with her kids and suggested I try it with The Boy. And I kind of laughed. Because (a) I'm not artsy craftsy and (b) I don't really bake. (Yes, I realize, this doesn't really count as baking.) Anyway - I've seen lots of other bloggy moms do it. So...I figured why not.
And it was pretty cool! Wanna know how I did it? Well, I went to a bunch of different blog mom sites and it's all the same. But since the Unknown Mamiis one of my favorite mommy blog writers - go HERE to see how she did it. I didn't have the cool tray she has and when I pulled them out of the oven, I swirled the liquidy crayon mixture around with a takeout chopstick. (Some sites, suggested toothpicks - I just don't keep toothpicks around. So I improvised).
I'm not sure if this is the kind of project The Boy's teacher had in mind. So I'm sending in a backup project...just in case. Check out the video below. Today I heard The Boy count to 100! Something I wasn't sure he could do. (Don't worry - I started recording 80.) But he was so proud when he finished and that smile is priceless! (After he colored the numbered squares, he cut them out and glued them on another sheet of paper.)