Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Goodbye 37 March 5, 2015

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 8:45 pm
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9pm – Thursday, March 5, 2015

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Tonight I say goodbye to being 37.  A lot has happened since my last birthday.  I got divorced and I started seeing someone new.  Someone I love got diagnosed with cancer and my little sister got engaged.  Friends of mine got promoted and fired.  Friends and family members had babies and a close friend heart-breakingly lost a baby.  I got to see my Grand Aunt and plans to see other people I love fell through.  The kids … Oh my the kids … they have been a handful and amazing and they’ve had good stretches and moments when I felt totally lost and they’ve been cute and they’ve made me laugh so very much.  They’ve struggled with school work and then social studies ended and fractions clicked.  They have fought with each other and they have looked out for each other in beautiful, touching ways.  I made up with a friend that I had fallen out with a few years ago and littler sister and I had a falling out which we are now trying to mend.  We got cable back and we gave away our pet turtle.  I cut my hair and stopped straightening it and fell in love with my curls.  I feel stronger (not physically – that, I still need to work on).  I am more comfortable with who I am and I know I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking care of my own happiness.

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It’s been a year of ups and downs; some of which I wrote about; most of which I didn’t.

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Today it snowed.  The kids were off school and I took the day off work.  We lounged around and cleaned up and ate a big breakfast and watched TV and spent 2 hours outside sledding and playing in the snow.  It was awesome!!!  It was the perfect way to close this chapter.

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I don’t usually get mushy about birthdays but I am really looking forward to what 38 has to offer.  I’m ready.  See ya tomorrow.  🙂

 

Seven And A Day – The Good Part January 15, 2015

Following the disaster that was cake cutting and presents opening, and then the relief that came from feeding the child, we did make it to Chuck E Cheese.

That part was GOOD  🙂

 

Jay is a big fan of Chuck E Cheese’s.  Or as he calls it … “Chuck E Cheese Ess”.  Get it?  He loves rides and he loves climbing and sliding.  He really loves skee ball and on this trip he discovered that he also loves air hockey.  I saw a competitive side to him that I can’t remember seeing before.  Whenever he would sink his puck on my side, he’d dance and say “oh yeah, oh yeah“.  It was cute.  He celebrated so much that he’d almost not be ready when I took the puck out and started playing again.  I’m not one of those parents who lets their kid win just because they are a kid.  Our first game came down to the wire and we were tied at 6 each with the next point deciding the winner.  I won but only because Jay accidentally scored on himself.  It was so much fun playing with him.

Jay ate about 4 slices of pizza and drank juice without ice.  He used his earned tickets to buy cotton candy which came as a shock to me.  I don’t think he’d ever had it before.  After the 1st bite I asked if he liked it and he said no.  He actually spit it out into a napkin.  I told him that I was very proud of him for trying it.  He went on to try it several more times.  Each time he let the water settle in his mouth and he looked like he was being forced to eat lizard tails but he would swallow and then take another piece. 

Ace too had a great time playing games and climbing and sliding.  He too ate lots of pizza and drank lots of juice.  All the kids enjoyed their day.  We even popped Uncle P’s Chuck E Cheese cherry.  He had never been before but I have a feeling he’ll drag Aunty Naffie back there soon.  He loved the pizza.  🙂 Ace used his tickets to buy a gun (or maybe it was a rocket) … either way he loved it and was happily running around shooting it up in the air and at people.  We were there for more than 3 hours and left without anyone losing their happy. 

 

 

After Chuck E Cheese, since Jay was now in a good mood, he was ready to check out his gifts.  He was happy with his new DVD’s and his new animals and he was especially fond of his Sumo Bumper Boppers.  If you don’t know what those are and you have children or are child-like and you like to hear your children laughing hysterically and you like to laugh at your kids or yourself and you don’t mind possibly breaking valuable things in your home or having some child at some point complain that they got hurt and you have lungs that are good for blowing up incredibly difficult and big, plastic inflatables then YOU NEED TO GET THESE.  They were a big hit with kids and adults alike.  Check out the video below.  And take my word for it that whatever they show you on the video, is not entirely accurate.  Things get WAY wilder and WAY more crazy and loud and FUN and it’s WAY worth the $20.  And that kid in the video who got knocked over and had his legs sticking up in the air?  Yeah, that was Jay more times than he was upright.

 

 

 

Seven and a Day January 14, 2015

Jays 7th birthday has come and gone.  I wish I could say the entire weekend went perfectly and that he was happy and/or content throughout but I’d be lying.  In fact, I failed him quite spectacularly the morning after his actual birthday …

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I wanted us to sing him happy birthday and for Jay to blow out his candles and open his presents and then I wanted us to go to Chuck E Cheese and play play play.  Jay (out of seemingly nowhere) got grumpy and began yelling and screaming.  He didn’t want us to sing the birthday song (which he usually does like) and he didn’t want to blow out any candles (which he usually LOVES) and he didn’t want to open any presents (which he recently has had a lot of fun doing) and he neither wanted to wear a birthday hat (which he has wanted to do in previous years) nor would he let anybody else touch his birthday hat.  I tried all kinds of tricks to get him through this part of the schedule (my schedule) but he was NOT having it.

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I was annoyed.

I had spent time carefully picking out a cake and getting him presents that I thought he’d love and going to multiple stores to get him his annual fancy birthday hat that I was sure he’d wear for the rest of the month; like he did last year and the year before that.

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At first I gave him stern Deenie.  I told him in my no nonsense voice to cut it out and that he wasn’t being nice and that we were all there to give him a happy day but he was ruining it.

It didn’t take me long to recognize his behavior as a cry for help.  This is how he gets when he’s hungry.  I knew that all I needed to do was feed him and then he could enjoy the cake and the presents.  But there was nothing in the house at that moment that he would eat.  Plus we were going to Chuck E Cheese soon and they have pizza.  Pizza that he would eat.  We just needed to get through THIS part.  It could have taken us 10 or 15 minutes but with the mood he was in, it dragged on for at least 30 minutes.  And with each passing minute, the situation deteriorated.  Thank God everyone else who was there stayed calm and were willing to do anything to make Jay happy; including telling his Mom to let it go and to just come back to this stuff later.

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I should have listened and left all the cake and presents stuff until the evening.  But at that point I was too frustrated and frazzled to think straight.

I forced my boy – in all his misery – to sit at the table and even though I agreed to not singing the birthday song, I made him blow out candles and I made him open presents.  It was NOT fun for anyone involved. I’m not proud of myself in this.  I forged ahead determined to have what I had imagined the day would look like.  I took pictures and tried to make the entire thing appear joyful even though it clearly had ceased being so.  When Jay got upset, I got upset with him for getting upset and then I got embarrassed at myself.

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After the presents were angrily ripped open and Jay threw them to the floor declaring that he didn’t want them without really looking to see what they were and after there was a mess of cake on the table and on the floor because Jay had butchered his piece and then another, and I was now hot and sweaty and annoyed and aggravated and ready to call off Chuck E Cheese and just go sit in a corner somewhere, and after I had people telling me to calm down and that we’d still have fun and that once he ate he’d be alright and that the day wasn’t ruined, we piled into the car and drove to a nearby bakery that sells beef patties.  Jay ate one and immediately he began to calm down.  It was like magic.  It made me feel like such a terrible person.

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All the yelling and the crying and the screaming and the throwing and the anger and frustration could have been avoided.

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When I look at the pictures I feel so mad at myself and so sorry for my son.  He was trying to hold it together and he told me over and over what he wanted and what he didn’t want.  It was hard for him and I made it harder.  I didn’t have the heart to show anyone the pictures from the cake cutting/presents opening fiasco.  Not even the ones that – if you didn’t know better – look like Jay was having a great time.  Looking at them highlight to me that even though I’ve learned this lesson before, I still have a ways to go and sometimes you have to be taught things more than once before they finally stick.

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People sometimes tell me how lucky my boys are to have me and how great I am with them and how patient I am  and how they don’t know how I do it etc etc etc.  I appreciate the comments and there are moments when I do feel like I’m doing some things right but those times definitely do not tell our entire story.  Sometimes I get it so completely wrong.  And it’s concretely apparent that it affects Jay because days later he will bring up my mis-steps and in those moments all I can do is hug him and apologize and tell him that I will try to be better.

 

Only For Select Company September 4, 2014

Ace got to open one of his birthday presents before heading off to school.  It was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles watch.

 

Now, if I said what I’m going to say next anywhere else I’d be viewed as an awful person and a terrible mom, but I know you’ll understand.

 

Jay took one look at Ace’s watch and asked for one also.  I told him that he couldn’t get one because it was Ace’s birthday present.  Not satisfied with that, Jay tapped his wrist and said “Me.  This one.  Jay want Ninja Turtles watch too.”  Again I told him that there wasn’t one for him since today was Ace’s special day.  I asked him to go brush his teeth.  He unhappily stomped off to go brush his teeth.

 

He was sad and acted rudely with the stomping off but I felt a spark of delight at his reaction.

 

When he was done with the teeth brushing he came and asked if he could get a cupcake.  I had to give him the bad news that he couldn’t get a cupcake either since they were for Ace’s classmates.

 

No cupcake for Jay.  Just cupcake for Ace school.”  He said matter-of-factly.

I told him he could have cake later at home.

He then looked Ace in the face and said “I not say Happy Birthday” … and with that he left the room.

 

It made me happy that he was mad about not getting gifts.  It made me happy that we could have a conversation about it even though he was angry.  I’m glad that he showed signs of … what? … Jealousy?  It made me happy to see him get a little bratty because Ace was getting things and he was not.

For years, special events and gifts and celebrations meant nothing to Jay.  Or seemed to mean nothing.  It’s so exciting to see him getting into these things now.

 

I love that he’s understanding so much more and that his ability to communicate has grown as much as it has.  Sometimes it can make life difficult because when he is determined about something he is damn freaking determined – But I’d take that over the Jay we had a couple of years ago who appeared to just be going along for the ride.

 

I remember the days when Jays Christmas presents sat in a pile on the floor.  Unopened and un-paid-attention-to.  I remember the Easters and the Halloweens where we were just holding on for dear life trying to get through the egg hunts and the pumpkin picking.  I remember the birthdays that we didn’t bother to get him a cake or a candle or sing the happy birthday song because he told us he didn’t like it.  I remember wanting so badly for him to show some interest in and excitement about special occasions and now that he does – I can’t help but be happy about it – Even if his interest in Ace’s presents leaves him a bit peeved at me.

This would be a great time for him to ask for a pony.  Right now, I would get him almost anything he wants for Christmas or his next birthday (which are back to back).   Shh, don’t tell him I said that.

 

Ace had a very happy day.  Overall he and Jay got on well – I don’t think there was any yelling or fighting all day!!!  School “was awesome” according to him.  He got to pick out his own toy at the store with his own money and then we came home to balloons and more gifts and a cake.  Ace got cards in the mail [thanks Grandma and Aunty Naffie] and even received a package via UPS which made him feel very special [thanks Aunty J and Uncle P ].  He was in such a good mood he even volunteered to let his little brother open one of his presents so he could share in the fun.  It was very sweet.  They spent happy time with their Dad and both boys went to bed feeling good about the day they had had.  Mummy went to bed feeling good about the day they had had also.

 

The 8 Freak Out September 2, 2014

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Life on the Jay train,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 4:36 pm
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I see it all the time.  Every parent-blogger talks about how great their kid is and how they can’t believe how big their kid has gotten and how proud they are and how the time is going by too quickly.  They talk about hopes and dreams and concerns for their child.

 

Ace turns 8 tomorrow and I’m freaking out.  I didn’t mean to freak out.  I didn’t even have a post planned to acknowledge his birthday.  Not because it’s not worth commemorating and not because he’s not great or funny or smart.  Not because I don’t have hopes and dreams for him.  Definitely not because I’m not proud.  But those things don’t need to be said.  We all know them to be true.

 

I don’t even know exactly why I’m freaking out.  This feeling has caught me completely off guard.  I thought I was ok.  But now it just feels like we’re on the cusp of something.  He’s still my baby.  But I recently spent some time with a 10 year old boy and that kid is not a baby.  He’s a little man.  Age 10 is only 2 years away and … helloooo … the time goes by too quickly.  2 years is like 3 episodes of Luther or something.

 

So yeah, my Ace is turning 8 tomorrow and it’s hitting me hard.  He’s such a sweet, tender, sensitive soul and it scares me that he’ll have to deal with the real world but it’s breathing down our necks.

 

Wish me luck with getting through tomorrow.  I will be the one plastering on a smile to stave off the tears and basking in Ace’s excitement.  It’s good that tomorrow is the 1st day of school for him.  That will give me something else to think about and distract myself with so as not to focus on how my perfect little baby boy is turning into a man right in front of me.

 

Oh crap!  Tomorrow is the 1st day of school.  3rd Grade.  I’m not ready.  There are still supplies to sort through and uniforms to iron and yes, even a summer reading project to finalize.  Crap crap crap!

 

Tonight, once all the school stuff is taken care of and the boys are in bed, I will be baking and wrapping presents and putting the finishing touches on 24 goody bags.  Then hopefully I will be too tired to stay awake all night fretting about what lies ahead for the birthday boy and trying to figure out how to slow down the hands of time.

 

 

He’s 6 Ya’ll January 10, 2014

It’s Jay’s 6th birthday today and as such, I felt the need to look at pictures from past birthdays and lament the fact that my boys are growing up so quickly marvel at how much the boys have grown and remind myself of how we’ve marked each of Jays birthdays to date.

 

Just 5 years ago, he was this …

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All roly poly yummyness with crazy hair.  He spent his 1st birthday smearing his face with icing and playing more with the balloons than with any of the real gifts.

 

4 years ago, at age 2, he was all about Thomas the Tank Engine; thanks to his older brother.  We didn’t do much but we made the most of the day.  If my memory serves me right, Ace was more excited about the cake and most of the presents than Jay was.  The only thing Jay cared about that day were the new Thomas & Friends bath toys that I had used as cake toppers.

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In 2011, Jay spent his birthday in a very funky mood.  We had planned a party for him at my Moms house.  His cousins, Uncles, Aunts and Grandmas were there and there were decorations and a fancy cake.  Jay wanted no part of any of it.  The whole thing was pretty miserable until he opened his Jack-In-The-Box gift.  Man oh man, he loved that Jack-In-The-Box.   He and Ace played with it A LOT (!!!) and it made him burst out laughing every single time the monkey popped out.

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Don’t let the Sponge Bob cake from the previous year fool you.  Up to 2 years ago we were still very much into Thomas.  But that’s right around when his love of animals started to emerge.  For his 4th birthday we kept it fairly low-key and spent a couple of hours at an indoor petting zoo.  Just us and my sister.  Jay also got to spend a night/day with Nanas.  Compared to his 3rd birthday, it was a much better way to spend a day.  The tide in my thinking was starting to turn.

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Last year we really toned it down.  Instead of doing what I would have wanted or what we thought would match up with what we’ve done for Ace or what would make for good pictures, we focused on what would make Jay the most happy.  That meant, no cake, no decorations, no nothing.  Just a regular day at school and then happy time spent playing with his brother, a box of skittles and a pack of alphabet cards from the dollar store.

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Now here we are.  My baby is a full fledged 6 year old.  Later today, I will join him in his class to celebrate his birthday with Doritos and balloons.  That’s what he likes.  At home in the evening, he will unwrap the yo-yo that he asked for.  This brings me nothing but happiness.  Gone are the feelings of longing for what he “should” be like at any given age.  He’s an amazing kid right here and now today and he shows me the meaning of patience and tenacity and joy every single day.

I fall in love with him every single day.

 

My sweet love, my wish today and forever is for you to be happy and to be kind and to live in a world where people are kind to you.  I want you to feel loved and to be proud of who you are.  I don’t ever want you to doubt the gift that you are to this world and to our family and to me.

 

It’s Someone’s Birthday January 10, 2012

Today is Jay’s birthday!

He’s now 4 years old.

Even though he’s numerically 4, and looks like an average 4 year old, he’s not REALLY 4.  Know what I mean?

Just yesterday, we got the official report from his last OT evaluation and it ever so clearly pointed out all his “impairments”.  There were some areas in which they listed him as “intact” but for most of the tested categories, he is “impaired“.  They give him a fine motor and behaviour developmental age of between 15 months and 30 months.  It’s always so hard to read those reports.  They always come at a time when you are not actively thinking about your childs delays as if to say “What are you doing? You’re trying to forget that your kid isn’t normal aren’t you?  Well, stop it.  He is not OK.”  They did say in the report that “Jay is a part of a loving and supportive family and the prognosis for improvement with OT therapy is good.”

Bitter-Sweet.

Even without getting that evaluation yesterday, Jay’s birthdays are always bitter-sweet for me.

 

His birthdays:

Make me think of milestones.  So many were delayed.  So many are still to be achieved.

Make it harder to ignore the differences between him and typically aging children.  The gap gets wider with each passing year.  The days go by way too fast and don’t allow him the time he needs to catch up.

Mean he’s further away from baby and closer to adulthood.  What will that mean for him?  For us?  I try not to think about the future.  It’s a scary place.

 

But this isn’t a sad post.  There’s way more happy thoughts in my head than not.  Jay’s birthday:

Is celebrated.  (All the birthdays in our house are celebrated)

Means presents and cake.

Means spending time with family and friends.  (And if we can’t spend time with them we get to hear from them. )

Gives me an excuse to reminisce on the day he was actually born and think about how giddily anxious I was to meet him.

Allows me to be extra mushy and wax poetic about how much pleasure he’s brought to my life without people wanting to gag.

Reminds me of how far we’ve come and that even though it seems like we’ve been together for a long time but it’s only been 4 years and yet I can barely remember my life before or imagine my life without him.

Is a picture day.  Glorious pictures of Jay smiling and playing.  Family pictures.  Pictures galore.  (CC, I’m talking to you)

Means he’s bigger, stronger, louder, smarter, more independent, calmer, happier than he was a year ago.

Means he gets to be treated SPECIAL, in an important way, not in a special ed, he has an IEP way.

Means looking forward to what new things he’ll accomplish before his next birthday.

 

This weekend, his birthday will mean going to an indoor petting zoo, which I’m sure he’ll love.  On this, my sons 4th birthday, I want to wish him all the happiness that life has to offer.  I want him to know that I love him and I am so grateful for the blessings he has brought to my life.  They are too numerous to count.  I want him to know that he has taught me so much and without a doubt, has made me a better person.  I wish for him to always be surrounded by people who will treat him well and see his abilities and not his challenges.  My biggest wish for him is that he FEELS the love that we have for him and KNOWS that he will never walk alone.