life on the "j" train

Taking a "busy working mom with 2 special needs kids" life one moment at a time

Cause & Effect April 7, 2017

Picture this …

Jay on his scooter, Ace on his bike, slick roads from recent rain – and the next thing you know, there is blood everywhere.  It was coming from Jays face and from Ace’s knee.

 

Now, when you are the only parent home and 2 bleeding children come running into the house and they are both screaming about the pain they are in, there is a certain amount of panic that immediately hits you.  Who do you tend to first?

 

After a quick assessment I determined that Jay needed more intense service but Ace’s injury would be more easily tempered.  So, I slapped a band aid on Ace to cover the bleeding.  (I would clean it later).  Then I turned my attention to Jay.  The poor thing had what looked like a bad gash on his upper lip and some minor ones on his chin.  I couldn’t tell if the blood in his mouth was as a result of the lip or if he had done damage to his gums as well.

 

After some careful washing and rinsing, I determined that all the blood was coming from his rapidly swelling lip.  I managed to get him cleaned up and I put some antibiotic cream on it.  It wasn’t as bad as it had initially looked.

 

But none of that is what I want to talk about.  I want to talk about how amazing Jay was throughout this ordeal.  He was clearly in a lot of pain but he tried so hard to hold it together.  When I asked him to wait one second so I could slap the bandaid on Ace, he did.  When I asked him not to touch his face with his sleeve, he moved his hand away.  When I asked him to rinse his mouth with water, he did, even though he was scared that it would cause more pain.  When I let him know that I was going to have to touch it to clean it and apply ointment, he nodded his consent.

 

When it was over, he said:  “Mom, do you know what that was?  That was cause and effect.  The cause was that Ace and I crashed and the effect was that I got bleed.”

I let him know that he was absolutely right and that I was very proud of him for being so strong.

Then we curled up in bed and cuddled for a bit.  After a while I asked him how he was feeling and he said it was getting a little less hurt but that he was ok.  He even smiled for a picture.

 

Then this morning, my sweet boy, who the internet will tell you lacks empathy due to his autism, asked Ace how he was feeling even though he, Jay, had gotten the worse injury.  Ace assured him he was fine and in turn asked Jay how his lip was.

 

Happy Friday everyone … May you all have a great, no bleeding, no lip swelling day.

 

 

Snow Flash Back September 19, 2016

*Every so often I browse through my drafts folder to see what kinds of things I’ve written but never shared.  Today I found the below which was written just about 3 years ago.  Dunno why I never published it.  This year will be the first winter that we’ve spent living anywhere other than New Jersey.  I’m a summer lover, but we do take advantage of snow when it comes.  The kids love sledding and snow man building.  For Shaunie’s last birthday we spent the day snow tubing and Jay thought it was awesome.  I don’t know what this winter will be like where we are now.  It will certainly be milder than up north.  I can’t believe I am saying this, but I hope we get to enjoy a little snow at some point.*

 

 

When we left home this morning it was cold, but dry.  10 minutes later when I was dropping Ace at school there was snow sticking to the ground.  10 minutes after that – as I was pulling into my parking lot at work – there was enough snow that cars were skidding around.

“This is a lucky day.” Ace said as he exited the car this morning.  “Lucky how?” I wanted to know.  “It’s snowing.” was his cheerful reply; then he hopped out the car and skipped down the curb towards the school entrance; face raised and tongue out so as to catch snow on his tongue.

I spent all day at work wishing for a phone call from the school to say they were closing early so I could leave work early and go home.  When it’s snowing, I like to be home.

The first time we saw any snow this season was last Sunday evening.  It wasn’t very much at all, but there it was; white stuff falling from the sky.

There are only 2 things that could get me to venture out into the snow voluntarily.

Jay and Ace.

We were all already bathed and pajama’d by the time they noticed it.  They both stood in the window quietly staring out.

I don’t think he had planned out his strategy but it worked like a charm.  Ace asked Jay if he’d like to go outside and play in the snow.  Of course Jay said yes and even threw in a “Change du clothes“.

Now I had 2 very excited little boys asking me to get their snow boots and gloves out.  Before I realized what was happening, we were headed outside.  I don’t even think they ever officially asked me if it was OK to go.

We went for a walk and were out for about 20 minutes.  The boys kicked up the snow and they turned their faces up.  Ace licked some snow off a hedge and when I said “eww” he reminded me that it was alright because it’s not like any dog could have peed up there and it wasn’t yellow.  (That boy makes me laugh)

I guess our winter is officially underway and I can only assume that we will spend a lot of time outside playing in snow – and this Warm Blooded Island Gal will love every second of it.

 

They’re Back September 8, 2016

 

They’re back home – And this mama is happy.   We are back to making grilled cheese sandwiches and to giving good night kisses.  We are back to chore lists and finding fallen ice on the floor in front of the fridge.  We are back to laughing in the evening as Shaunee drags both boys, at the same time, across the carpet as they lay on their tummies, much to their delight.  We are back to hanging out and talking about moles and birthmarks, the krill that blue whales eat or how much it would hurt to get stitches.  The boys are back to demonstrating their karate moves (neither one takes karate) and back to Jay complaining about the amount of toothpaste Ace uses.

Jay, I think, is happy to be back in his own bed.  Every night so far, he’s fallen asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Ace, is up to his usual antics of getting out of bed for more hugs and kisses, or to get water or to show us his dance moves.

 

Some things never change.

 

It’s amazing how much can change in a month.  Jay is now interested in having a healthier diet.  I have witnessed him eating carrots, a banana and watermelon.  He asked for an apple to go in his lunch box.  I hear he also eats oranges, peanut butter sandwiches and yogurt.  He drinks regular white milk now (in addition to what he used to drink; strawberry milk).  He tasted a pretzel and declared at dinner, “The next protein I am going to try is fish.”

When I spoke to CC and tried to give him credit for this change, he said it was all thanks to his wife Emma.  I do appreciate her ability to get Jay to turn this page.

 

Ace is 10 now.  He got Legos and more Legos and more Legos.  He’s in Lego heaven.   We got him an ice-cream cake because he used to like it but apparently no longer does.  His size 10 pants are short and his size 3 shoes are tight.

 

~*~

 

They’re back at school – And one kid wanted summer vacation to drag on forever while the other couldn’t get out the door and to his classroom fast enough.   We are back to filling out tons of paperwork and sending in money for trips and *gasp* graduation gowns.

Jay came home after his first day saying it was good and telling us about the new fish tank in the resource room.  Ace left his homework at school.

 

Some things never change.

 

It’s amazing how much can change from one school year to the next.

Jay is now in a general education class all day.  He has 2 teachers and goes back and forth between 2 classrooms.  One teacher does math and the sciences while the other does language and social studies and the like.  It’s a totally new set up for him.

Ace is still kind of the new kid in school but he’s not the newest kid in school.  There was 1 new boy in his class this year and they have apparently been leaning on each other and have formed a quick friendship.  I am happy about that.

We are looking into clubs and activities for both.  Possibly 4H and the gardening club for Jay and Navy Cadets and track or swimming for Ace.  We will see.

 

Stay tuned to see how this new school year plays out and what else will change; Inasmuch as many things will stay the same.

 

 

 

The Brotherhood June 3, 2014

Lord have mercy on me they fight. They fight over the dumbest things. Whose turn is it to put the strawberry powder in the milk. Whose turn is it to feed the cat or the fish or the turtle. How long will I let one play with the others ones toy before I return it to the rightful owner. Who should get which blanket. Who should get into the car first. Who should hold the Cheetos. Who cleaned up more than whom. The blue bean bag or the green been bag. The list is endless. ENDLESS!!!

 

It wears me down and I find myself doing that angry whisper several times a day. The one where you want to yell but you are trying really hard not to. Sometimes I give them time to sort it out themselves but they never do. It always escalates and turns into pushing and hitting and kicking. Then I have no choice but to intervene.

 

People tell me this is normal. People who either have brothers of their own or who have multiple sons. I have no clue. I grew up as an only child. I had my own everything. My friends and neighbours and cousins were girls. We didn’t fight. We played with My Little Pony and we climbed trees and we swung and we made fake pies out of mud and ketchup. We re-enacted Michael Jackson music videos. We formed a neighbourhood club that raised money for community service projects and we made pom poms out of plastic bags. We were those kinds of kids. We didn’t play games called “kill brother” and we didn’t try to throw each other off furniture or down the stairs.

 

And then …

 

Then they play. And they hug. And they love.

 

It is my favourite thing ever. To see them together laughing and coming up with plans and sharing and cooperating. It happens everywhere. At the pool, at the park, on the couch, in bed … It’s superb. Sometimes Ace leads the activity and Jay follows. Sometimes Jay is the one taking charge and Ace lets him. They build forts and they play tag and they dive for goggles and they script TV show and movie lines. It’s so much fun for me to see and hear them. I’m always trying to catch it on video or camera. Sometimes I feel guilty because it feels like I’m spying on a sacred  bond and special moment in their lives. Something I will never understand. I try not to intrude and break their spell but it’s like a drug to me. I can’t keep away.

Sometimes when we are out Ace gets a little bossy but it’s his way of protecting his brother. Even though I am there, Ace will tell Jay what he can and cannot do. It’s so cute. Ace also translates for Jay. It’s like he thinks he’s the only one who speaks Jays language. I have to tell him that I get it. There’s no need for him to translate for me. But it makes me smile.

Jay is definitely not a follower.  As a general rule, he does his own thing and makes up his own mind but he looks up to and trusts Ace. That in and of itself is big and I hope that as Ace gets older, he realizes that it’s not to be taken lightly.  While Ace will jump into new things head first, Jay is more cautious and likes to wait and see and make sure first. I have noticed though that if Ace tells Jay that something is ok, he believes him. He wouldn’t choose it, but if Ace wants to go on what looks like a big, scary roller coaster, Jay will try it too. If Ace wants to jump into the deep end, Jay will jump too. If Ace wants to climb on rocks or roll down a grassy hill or walk barefoot, well, Jay’s climbing and rolling and walking right along with him. For no other reason than he trusts his big brothers judgment and he wants to do what his big brother is doing. Even though it looks a little intimidating, if Ace says it’s fun to go under the mushroom water fall then it must be. The only thing Jay sticks to his cautious ways with is trying new foods. He’s not eating a hot dog no matter how good Ace says it tastes.

 

I wish they would be the happy, playing, getting-along brothers all the time and there would be no fighting ever but until that day comes, I will keep playing my role of peace-maker and chief-toy-negotiator and injury-preventer. I will also keep taking pictures and videos like a creepy stalker.

 

Oh and if anyone wants a turtle, just say the word. You can have ours for free. No-one will fight you over that.

 

Boys Pool Mushroom

 

A Kind Of Sleepover May 14, 2014

My sons share a bedroom and in that bedroom they sleep in bunk beds. Ace on the top and Jay on the bottom.

 

I was lounging in bed watching TV and writing a post about a hard day at the store when I heard a loud crash. It didn’t sound like a kid had fallen of a bed and there’s really nothing on a dresser or wall that could have fallen but something had fallen from somewhere and it was loud.

 

I ran to the kids room where I saw a big plastic hot-wheels cars case on the floor where it had not been a few minutes earlier.

Ace’s head popped up when I entered the room and he launched into:

Hi Mom, I’m sorry I dropped it but I was making room for Jay. I asked him if he wanted to come and sleep in my bed with me kind of like a sleep over and he said yes.”

 

Sure enough, there Jay was … In Ace’s bed, under a bundle of blankets and pillows. His head peeked out and he was wearing a smile.

I climbed up on the ladder, kissed each one on his head and went back to my own room.

They both stayed in that top bunk and slept all night.

 

It’s never easy to write about the meltdowns, but it was made easier that night because I knew I had this post waiting in the wings.

The “sleep over” that the boys had was just what I needed in that moment to feel better about the relationship that they have.

 

Pot. Kettle. Black. November 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — the jay train @ 8:00 pm
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I’m in my room hiding. No, not hiding, taking a breather. That sounds better. 

I hear Jay yelling to me from the living room. 

“Moooommm, Ace isn’t sharing.”

I smile but make no move to intervene.  After all, I’m hiding remember? 

A second later, Ace comes bursting through the door …

“Mom, Jay is trying to tattle on me.”

 

 

 

 

There Are Definite Advantages To Having An Older Brother February 13, 2012

Filed under: Life on the Jay train — the jay train @ 10:36 am
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Well, at least for me, there’s a definite advantage to Jay having an older brother.  It helps me to be a less fearful parent.

 

I’m a big believer in fairness.  I like balance.  I think both kids should get the same amount of Christmas gifts and they should have equal amounts of pictures on the wall.  If 1 gets a snack the other should too and if 1 gets to pick a show to watch on TV then the other gets to pick the next one.  If 1 gets invited to a party, the other should get to do something fun too.  You get the idea.

(The only time I stray from this is when shopping for clothes.  Ace gets more new clothes since I’m also a big believer in hand-me-downs and I don’t have anyone to hand Jay’s new clothes down to)

 

So far, it’s typically Ace that gets all the party/hang out invites.  He’s the friendly one.  The one we’re ALWAYS sure will have a good time.  The one who is in his glee if he’s out-and-about instead of being home.

Jay.  Well.  He isn’t quite as predictable.

 

But because I have my need to keep things fair, this weekend even though the plan was for CC to take Ace to an indoor germ factory play room with a friend and his nephew, it didn’t sit well with me that Jay should have to stay home.

Now, Jay would have been perfectly OK with staying home.  I don’t have any reason to think he would feel slighted.  He certainly wouldn’t know that he was missing out.  But I knew and I didn’t like it, so we all piled into the car and we all went.

 

I don’t need to tell you how much Ace enjoyed the day there. He LOVED everything about the place. He ran and jumped and climbed and played for hours with a big grin on his face.

What I do need to tell you is that Jay jumped right into the fun.  Literally.  He jumped into the ball pit. Even though there were other children there.

Something he never would have done 6 months ago.

Before jumping in, he left his Thomas toy and his horse hand puppet (new fave toy) in his jacket pocket and had both hands free.

I’ve never seen him go anywhere or do anything “toy-less”.

He climbed up the rope ladder thing and went down the slide.  On his own.

Something he never would have done 8 months ago.

He went on a merry-go-round and a caterpillar train ride.

Things he would never have done 1 year ago.

He imitated the other children’s play.  (Followed things they did like stand on the edge of the ball pit and jump in and going down the slide on his tummy)

He initiated play with both me and CC.  (Actually said “mummy come” and waited for us at the bottom of the slide so we could slide down and knock him over)

He moved easily from activity to activity and was willing to try new things just by me saying “come Jay, look at this.”

 

This is not the same kid we had last summer.  Not even close.  I know this for a fact because we went to this same germ factory play place last summer and it was a completely different experience.

I’ve written before that sometimes I am afraid to take Jay out.  I get nervous before we even leave the house about what it’s going to be like.  It doesn’t always end well.  Sometimes I head back home thinking “why did you even bother?”  But this weekend, there was no denying that we did the right thing by involving him in the outing.  An outing that never would have happened had we not planned on taking Ace out for some fun.

If not for Ace, I can honestly say that Jay would spend a lot more time at home and would be exposed to a lot less so for that I am so incredibly glad that he has an older, outgoing, friendly, energetic brother.

They do fight.  My 2 boys.  But ultimately, I think they are both lucky to have each other and I’m a better parent to each of them because of what I learn from the other or want to provide for the other.