Life On The B Side

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

Is August Over Yet? August 15, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — The B Side @ 5:18 pm
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This August has been rough.  And we’re barely half way through.

There have been a lot of things causing stress, not the least of which was the moving situation.  The thing is, even as we started packing and bought school supplies, we didn’t know where we were going to live.  Our current home owner decided to sell and that left us scrambling to find somewhere new.  Should we rent again?  We know the area now and have a good idea of what we like and where we would or would not want to be.  So then, should we buy?  But it felt rushed and we didn’t want to settle.  It was difficult to find somewhere that was in our price range and that was in decent condition and that kept the boys in their current school zone.  With each day passing that we didn’t have a new place, time was moving more quickly.  I got more and more stressed out.  I laid awake at night wondering if we’d be homeless and worrying that we’d have to move to a different town and uproot the boys all over again.  I don’t handle lack of sleep well.  I’ve always been a good sleeper and I’ve always needed 8 hours to feel my best.  9 are better.

We have now found a place, in our price range, and no changes need to be made regarding the boys schooling.  Whew!

 

While that was all going on, Shaunie was preparing for a business trip.  It was looking like a real possibility that she would leave before we secured a new place to live so I would be left to do it all alone.  Adding to the fun was that there were internal issues with her travel plans which were causing her a lot of stress.

I am still left to do most of the packing by myself.

 

Then there were things like the Charlottesville protests.  I have so much I want to say about it.  I’m hurt and angry and disappointed and disgusted and scared.  I’m disappointed in a handful of people for not checking in to see how or if we were affected by the protests since they know we live in Virginia.  I’m hurt by the people who say they love me and my family but won’t say anything about the Nazi salutes or the violence that was perpetrated by those a-holes.  They had a lot to say about the black lives matter riots and about Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the anthem and in defense of police though.

I’m angry that we are dealing with this crap at all.  I live in a country where the President lashes out at people ALL THE TIME over trivial things but then when things like what happened in Charlottesville happen, he keeps his mouth shut until he can’t stand the pressure anymore so he makes a weak statement (days later) blaming “both sides” and to add insult to injury he then says:  “When I make a statement, I like to be correct. I want the facts.”  As if that’s been his M.O. so far.  I just CANNOT with him or his supporters.

I’m disgusted with people who are not white, actually defending the white supremacists – claiming “freedom of speech needs to be awarded to everyone even if you disagree with them.”   Here’s the thing though, freedom of speech does not extend to speech that incites violence or to actions that lead to the extermination of entire groups of people.  That’s common sense to me, but it also legally defined and has already been decided by the supreme court.  Nazi flags and salutes are considered hateful and inciteful.  If you are endangering people with the things you say and the actions that you hope will come out of the things you say, that’s not covered by our beloved first amendment.  And to the ones who say that people who support “black lives matter” but not “white lives matter” are hypocrites, come close and listen up:

 

#ONLYwhitelivesmatter is TOTALLY DIFFERENT from #blacklivesmatterTOO

 

The words “only” and “too” may not be in the hashtags but they are very clearly there in meaning.

I’m scared for my sons because they are cute, sweet little boys now, but every day that goes by, they are one day closer to being adult men.  Black adult men.  These same fools who went to protest waving their confederate flags and holding their hands up in Nazi salutes with torches burning are the people my sons will have to deal with.  They are neighbours and teachers and police men and loan officers and landlords and bosses and jurors and the fathers of girlfriends.  My boys don’t deserve that.

They certainly don’t deserve the silence of the very people who they will expect to have their backs and who they will turn to for support.

 

 

Thankfully, there were other moments in August as well.  Moments filled with love and laughter.   Moments of dancing and celebrating a newly wed couple.  Moments of spending time with family who are visiting from The Cayman Islands.

 

Thanks to Facebook, I reconnected with someone who, 24 years ago, (and for nearly 10 years) was one of my closest friends.  I am very happy about that.

 

In the next couple of weeks, I’ll get to do more hanging out with loved ones.  I’ll spend a few days in a state I’ve never been to before which I always appreciate.  I have to finish up my packing and then there’s middle school open house and the actual move.  We will make the drive up to New Jersey for an engagement party and to pick up the kids.  Then it’ll be September and back to school and hopefully, back to some semblance of peace and normalcy.

 

And/Both August 10, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — The B Side @ 5:41 pm
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Newsflash – A person can feel 2 seemingly opposite things AT THE SAME TIME. 

I don’t know why we have set up this world to be so black and white.  (pun not intended) 

Everything now-a-days is this OR that.  Check one box.  

Do not believe this dichotomy.  It is not the truth.

The truth is that for a great many things you can do and feel BOTH, or more than 2 even.  The magic word is AND, and it’s real.  

 

You can miss your children till your heart hurts AND still be happy that they are getting to spend time away from you.

You can be personally pro-life AND be pro-choice for other people.

You can have problems AND not broadcast them online.

You can love the summer AND the winter. 

You can be a man AND be a feminist.  

You can want your own rights protected AND want those same rights extended to others.  

You can be mad that one lunatic is trying to start a war with another lunatic AND be entertained by Usher spreading herpes to Quantasia. 

You can disagree with a law AND carry out the duties of your job as described by the law AND try to get that law changed. 

You can support the police AND want them to treat everyone fairly and justly.

You can love someone AND know they are not good for you so you walk away.

You can have mixed race heritage AND recognize your privilege AND sympathize with the pain that half of your identity experiences.  

You can wish if your child/sister/uncle was straight AND support them and their marriage and their rights. 

You can want smaller government/less entitlements AND understand that there needs to be room for compassion.

You can love your Church AND want there to be separation between the Church and the State. 

You can not understand something AND understand that your lack of understanding doesn’t mean it is invalid. 

You can disagree with someone AND fight for their right to have that opinion. 

You can love and be a proud citizen of two different countries.  

You can enjoy gangster rap AND country AND pop AND jazz AND rock AND show tunes AND swing AND motown AND classical. 

You can want your loved one to keep fighting and to let nature takes its course AND understand them wanting to die with dignity at a time and place of their choosing. 

Your grief and worries and need for help can be totally valid AND you can be fully aware that there are people who have it worse than you. 

You can be a non-smoker AND actually like the smell of cigarettes.

You can love your country and its flag and its anthem and all the success it offers you AND harmlessly protest. 

You can be a good football player/actor/student/accountant/doctor/painter AND be socially conscious. 

You can love something or someone so deeply that it hurts you to see them not being their best AND so you try to change certain aspects of how they are.  

 

 

 

As far as I’m concerned … Here are some of the things you cannot do and get my backing:

 

Say you love your children but show no interest in anything they do.

Make broad negative claims about an entire group and then say “except you” to the one person you know who is a member of that group.

Want to lose weight but keep eating the same things you ate to get fat while not increasing your physical activity.

Say you are pro-“life” but show no regard for the lives once they are born.

Use words like “pacific” when you mean to say “specific” and not get laughed at.  

Abuse your power without expecting people to resist. 

Be transgender and want to be treated with respect but then go on Ellen’s show and say you don’t believe in marriage equality because you’re a traditionalist.  

Arrogantly tell parents they are wrong and that they should breast feed only or co-sleep or limit screen time or not vaccinate (etc) and expect them to listen to you – Especially if you have no children. 

Say you are not racist but forbid your daughter from dating a black man.  

Call yourself a good person if you are a provoking, racist, mean-spirited jerk online. 

Take food into a bathroom without it being gross.

Expect your children to do as you say and not as you do.  (They are watching and learning)

Blame other people for all your problems. 

Be a hairdresser but have a bad hair day everyday.

Take take take without giving. 

Treat people as though they are beneath you because you make more money than they do and still consider yourself a Christian.

Complain about being broke but everyday you’re at the mall shopping. 

Protect a child molester through your silence and carry no responsibility when he molests another.  

Excuse away rampant poor behavior with “that’s just how she is” or “he didn’t mean it that way” or “but you kind of brought it on yourself when you …”

Rehabilitate a pedophile/rapist/serial killer.

Be proud of your book smarts but be unwilling to learn something from someone with less letters behind their name than you.

Want me to suddenly become a morning person or to stop singing or to gain a green thumb. 

Tell your friends all the problems you have in your marriage then expect them not to hold it against your spouse.  

Think you have it all figured out. 

 

 

*Clearly this list is not exhaustive*

 

 

 

Broadening Our Circles August 3, 2017

Truth be told I was kinda nervous about moving to Virginia.  Having lived in the shadow of New York City (diversity central) for such a long time, I had heard many people talk about how bad things were in “The South” where race relations or any sort of non-conformity is concerned.  We’re a pretty non-conforming family.

(black, gay, immigrant, differently abled.)

 

We haven’t had a negative experience.

 

On back to school night (last year), we went to Jays school and introduced ourselves.

Hi, I’m Jays Mom.

Hi, I’m Jays Mom too.  

His teacher quickly registered what we were saying and with a big smile, she shook our hands and introduced herself and instantly began telling us what she had already learned about Jay and asked if there was anything else we’d like to tell her that would make her more effective as his teacher.

The same was true of Ace’s school and every baby sitter we interviewed.

No-one has cared about the make up of our family.

 

We went to a Kids Fun Day thing and a bunch of teenagers, under the supervision of an older gentleman, were running an area where kids could practice shooting lollipop targets with a pellet gun.  They looked, stereotypically redneck.  (I don’t mean this to be offensive, I just don’t have a better word.  If there is one, I’m all ears.)

If I were to believe the hype, I’d have expected these kids to be less than cordial to our little rag tag crew.  They could not have been nicer, or more patient, or more helpful with their gun using lesson and they shared Ace’s excitement when he kept hitting target after target.  The older gentleman, with his heavy southern drawl, long white beard and suspenders came over to us and chit chatted about our prior gun experience and our shared love of coffee and was sympathetic to Jay who was complaining about being hot.  He then invited Ace to join his 4H group.

 

Our town is somewhat diverse.  There are a fair amount of minorities to be found and quite a bit of mixed families but we do not make up the highest percentage – As opposed to the NJ town we moved from.  When the kids started making friends in the neighbourhood I was a little anxious about how they would be treated once all our “otherness” was exposed.  One afternoon Ace came inside complaining that there had been some drama with the kids and he was done playing with them.  My initial reaction was to wonder if it had anything to do with him having 2 moms.  The boy who was apparently the ring leader in the drama is blond haired and blue eyed and instead of going to the local elementary school (which is excellent) he goes to a Catholic school.  I jumped to all kinds of conclusions about what kind of beliefs his family has.

Turns out it was nothing (normal kid arguments which were squashed the next day) and the little blond haired, blue eyed boy is actually Hispanic and his family couldn’t care any less about our marriage.  I’ve hung out with the mom at the pool while our boys played and she offered her nieces babysitting services and her husband works for a very inclusive company that supports all sorts of human rights campaigns.

 

At my job, there is less diversity than at home, but the acceptance of and respect for everyone is evident.  It’s preached and practiced.  Just like everyone else, I have pictures of my family displayed on my wall.  No-one has bat an eye.  Not even 45’s supporters, of which there are a few.

 

I am glad I didn’t allow my own preconceived ideas to hold us back.  From moving, from being open, from talking to people who are completely different from anyone I’d ever spoken with before.

 

My friend Unabi is Muslim and the sweetest, kindest, most community service minded guy ever.  My friend Robbo is a frat boy and the least likely to force a drunk girl into sex.  I know a former convict who now has a steady job and is raising his orphaned niece.  I know tattooed, pierced, bike riding, hard rocking sweethearts and I even have a coworker from West Virginia who is not married to his cousin and has all his teeth.  I am a mixed race country girl from Jamaica who spent time as a child learning how to make lace and who has never rolled a joint.

Everyone makes assumptions about other people.  Every one has biases.  They can be based on a variety of things – What people are wearing, or what religion they practice, or what job they have.  We base these assumptions on what we’ve heard from other people and from what we’ve seen in the media and experiences we’ve had.   We make sweeping decisions about a persons entire life or thought process based on one small thing we may know about them.

I don’t think we can help that.  It’s natural.  Human nature.  What we can do though is be cognizant of our biases and check ourselves.  We can actively choose, even though it’s hard, to give people a chance.  We can make the first step and offer the first olive branch.

(Not R. Kelly, I’m not giving him the benefit of the doubt with the latest claims.  I’m biased against him and I’m ok with that.  He’s guilty.)

 

Anyway, I don’t know why I felt the need to write this now.  I’m  just feeling like there is so much anger and hatred and hurt feelings in the world and if we just stopped for a minute and actually got to know each other, a lot of that would disintegrate.  Everyone has a story and none of us are on the same journey so we won’t reach the same places at the same times.

 

When we were in Jamaica earlier this year, my Aunt was telling us that after working in England for a few years, she was in her classroom one day and it hit her that … ‘all my students look the same‘.  She told us that she needed to get out of that environment and that’s what partly  prompted her to move back to Jamaica.

I know it’s not as easy as telling people to just move to a different town or country or just get a different job.

I do however, think we could all do a better job of broadening our circles in some way.  We can stop insulating ourselves and actually get to know people who have different beliefs than us and who grew up in a different place than us and who look different than us.  We can encourage our kids to include kids who have different abilities or interests than them.   We can share our own stories and hopefully it will help to change some of the ways our race/denomination/nationality/orientation are thought of.  It can be as simple as inviting someone out to dinner and choosing a cuisine you’ve not had before.  It’s opening your own (metaphorical) door and also saying “yes” when someone tries to let you in.

 

Don’t go opening your literal doors to a whole bunch of strangers – That’s just not smart.

Peace and blessings all!

 

The Good (?) Part About Moving July 26, 2017

Filed under: ADHD,Autism,Family,Special Needs Kids — The B Side @ 11:22 am
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If there is a good part about moving, it’s this:  Finding lost treasures as you sort through, throw away, pack up.

 

I was actually going to get Ace’s birth certificate (to renew his passport) when I saw a plastic bag overflowing with papers.

Well, I thought, I might as well go through this mess and get rid of whatever junk I can.  There’s no point in bringing it to the new place.

I got to work – And along with a trash can full of stuff that I threw away, I also found a CD of pictures from my bestie’s wedding.  They’re about to celebrate their 14th anniversary so:  a) Pictures on disc were a thing back then and b) I was skinny and there are pictures of me in a bikini in which I don’t look half bad (if I do say so myself).

 

I found lots of evaluation paperwork and school reports from when Jay was 4 to 6 years old.  Back then, he was still getting “N” – Not Yet Mastered – in areas like “Writes Recognizable Letters” and “Counts from 1 – 20” and “Names Shapes” and “Identifies Body Parts”.

There were also communication logs from one of his stints in a social skills therapy group.

 

Jay was calm upon coming to the office but resists being guided.  He has begun to follow my finger pointing.”  Oct 2, 2012

Jay is very easily distracted and has difficulty regulating and getting into engagement.  He responds to his inner sensations and not outside relationships.  He is now tolerating spinning on the board and being pushed on the swing a lot better.  He did some cutting and played with putty.”  Oct 9, 2012

 

Oh sweet boy, you’ve worked so hard and I am so impressed with where you are today.  You had to learn how to tolerate spinning and swinging?  Now you beg us to take you to the “big amusement park” so you can get on the big roller coaster.  I can’t wait to see what 4th grade will bring.  I’m not nervous at all.  Just excited.  Amazing right?

 

Then there were the folders from Ace’s 1st and 2nd grade classrooms with his work in them.

In first grade, the kids were encouraged to keep a diary and write down at least one thing each day.

 

Oct 12, 2012My babae brin a pumpkin.

(I have no idea who babae is.  Wish I did.)

Oct 15, 2012why can we have a outside lunch or an art lunch. Why!

Oct 18, 1012I,m gowen to korf my pumpkin.

Jan 15, 2013I have a Bumbol Bee Transformr. I have a lagow areplan.

Mar 13, 2013I am gowing to get a bowinaroo.   I am going to the srkis.

June 20, 2013I can welcome new neighbors by saiding hellow.  I will might discover that they frendly.

 

Then on the first day of second grade there was this letter.

Dear 2nd Grade teacher,

Hi I am Ace.

I am exsidid.

I am looking forward to have fun.

What dos 2nd grade look like.

 

Love,

Ace

 

Now he’s about to start middle school and in case anyone was wondering, his spelling has come a LONG way 🙂

 

Moving is a pain in the butt, but going through all these papers was actually fun.

 

Sneak Peak July 18, 2017

We’ve had a teenager staying with us for a couple of weeks now and let me just say that it was a shake up.

 

First of all, she’s a “she” which is quite different from having 2 “he’s”.   Hers is a world of making matching tie-dye bandanas with her best friend and taking selfies showing off her various hair styles.  It’s a world of nail polish and emoji’s and the mall.

 

She’s 14 so she’s not a kid, but she’s also not an adult.  It’s a fine line to walk for both her and us.

Even though she’s on vacation, we are still who we are so she has chores and the tutor who comes (yes, even during the summer) to work with our boys has been helping her also.

 

We monitor social media posts to make sure they are age appropriate and try to find the sweet spot between outfits that are cute and trendy but not too “grown”.  We still have to tell her to clean up her room – all while talking about crushes and suicide and drugs and abortions and STD’s*.

One minute we are in the throws of peer pressure to smoke and the next thing you know we are painting toe nails and singing songs from High School Musical and drinking strawberry milk.

 

Being a teenager hasn’t changed.  When she writes, she decorates her pages with hearts and the dots over her i’s are big circles (to look cute).

Yet, teenagers nowadays are living a totally different existence than the one I lived.  It’s scary.  They have too much access to things they are not mentally equipped to handle.  There is so much pressure to be raunchy.  Thanks to the few who have turned bad publicity into lucrative careers, things that my friends and I would have thought were scandalous have become “goals”.

 

Her time with us is coming to an end.  I will miss her a lot and I’m sure the boys will too.  It’s been a joy seeing her have fun and experience new things.

We’ve laughed a lot.  In addition to Fun Land and the river, we’ve played board games and Uno and been to a water park.  Shaunie and I were even able to go on a mid-week date since we had a babysitter.  She’s been VERY tolerant of Ace and all his talking and she’s been completely unphased by Jay and his moods.  Her and the boys have developed a relationship where they trust her and love hanging out with her while they watch TV, but they fight over who has to sit in the middle seat in the car.

The 3 of them ganged up on Shaunie to tease her about being scared to go down the big slide and they really get a kick out of it any time her and I make fun of each other.

 

Having 3 kids means more.  More fun and more laughs and more hugs and more “I love you’s”, but also more money and more mess and more tiredness.  Kudos to you guys who have 3 or more kids.  It’s a JOB.

Taking it all into consideration though, she’d be welcome back at any time.

 

We are on the cusp of having full time teenagers and I can only imagine what things will be like when my boys get to be the age she is now.  Based on what we saw over the past 2 weeks with regards to the topics of conversation, I’d love to think that it is far away but the fact is that it is less than 3 years away.

Having her has been …. eye-opening, and interesting, and scary, and helpful, and heart stopping, and a breath of fresh air, and tiring, and a treat.

 

 

 

*We are Aunts so I think that makes it easier for her to open up to us about certain things than with her mom and yes, we tell the mom everything that we think is even remotely concerning.
 

Life On The B Side July 10, 2017

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to change the name of my blog.  (I don’t think I can change the actual website link name … Well, I think I can but I have some logistical questions so I’m waiting until I can get my techy friend Robbo to come help a sistah out.)

In the mean time though, I can change the name that appears as my header so that’s what I’ve done.

 

All those years ago when I first began blogging, I was consumed with autism.   I ate, breathed, and dreamed ABA, self-contained, sib shops, sensory integration, adaptive technology, theory of mind, floor time, social stories, insurance coverage, equine therapy, fine motor skills, chelation, gluten free … you name it.  It was ALL I Googled about.  Autism was the ONE subject matter on all the blogs I followed.

Also, all those years ago, my boy was obsessed with trains.  Thomas the Tank Engine to be exact.  We spent hundreds of dollars and hundreds of hours on Thomas.  I hated the expense more than the time.  Some of the songs are actually pretty good and I enjoyed the Hero Movie.  And no matter how mature I am, remembering how it sounded when my toddlers said “Percy” will never not be funny.

 

The name Life On The J Train made perfect sense – At the time.

 

Things have changed.

Now our lives do not revolve around autism anymore.  It’s still obviously a huge part of all our experiences, (will always be), but it’s not all consuming, all the time.

Now I write about many different topics.  Now I follow bloggers who write about many different topics.  Now, Ace is as much a part of my blog as Jay ever was.  Just like we all have, my blog has evolved.

Life has undoubtedly turned out to be vastly different than I thought it would be.  Vastly worse in some ways, yes, but also vastly better and easier in others.

 

I have chosen my new name as way of acknowledging my “Holland”.

(In case you are not familiar with it … “Welcome to Holland” is an essay about having a child with a disability which uses a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that first becomes disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland and then contentment at the happy events which they experience instead.)

 

What I once thought would be an outlet for doom and gloom and despair has turned into what I hope my boys will see as a gift.  I hope they see my growth and understand the dark moments.  I hope they enjoy having all this info about their lives at their finger tips.  While other people may not be able to fully see the beauty in our lives, I have come to treasure all our experiences.  Because of everything we’ve been through, I love harder and appreciate on a deeper level.  I am better and stronger and braver.

I have LOVED The Jay Train.  Truly.  Starting this blog is one of my favourite things I have ever done – ever.  But I’m ready to move on to The B Side.

 

If you are like me and were a child in the 80’s (or earlier) then you know all about A sides and B sides on a cassette tape.  For you young’uns … The A-side usually featured the songs that the artist thought were the good ones.  The ones they hoped would receive radio airplay and become hits.  The B-side (or “flip-side”) had the songs that were considered to be more fluff and less substance .  The thing is though, there are many B side songs that out performed expectations and became hits.

 

Unchained Melody, I Will Survive, Save The Last Dance For Me, We Will Rock You  – Yup, all B side songs.  All huge hits that no-one saw coming.

 

This new header takes into consideration the totality that is my life … my writing … my experiences.  The things I never could have predicted.  It is to symbolize that while there probably is some garbage, amazing goodness can come out of what people assume will be something bad or mediocre.

 

Now tease your hair, think about your favourite Molly Ringwald movie and grab a pencil cause it’s highly likely that I’ll unravel at times.

 

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Mind Reading July 5, 2017

I saw a thing online – It asked the question:

 

Whose mind would you like to be able to read?

Your partner, your child or your parent.

 

Right away, Shaunie said she’d want to know what happens in my head.

I’m glad she can’t – lol

 

I didn’t immediately know my answer.

I very quickly ruled out parent.  That left partner and child.  Who hasn’t at some point wondered WTF their partner was thinking?  But my first thought was “Definitely my child; specifically Jay.”

I mean, that was my wish for such a long time.  I dreamed about it and wrote about it and cried about it.  I wanted to know my baby.  I wanted to know what he liked and how he felt and what scared him.

 

When Jay was 4 years old I took my boys to the park.  It had a little fenced-in playground.  Other parents found spots on benches and sat while their kids ran around laughing and sliding and playing tag.  I walked around – this way and that – Always making sure that I could see my boys and that they could see me.  We weren’t at the point yet where I was comfortable not having them in my eye sight.  They were too fragile.  Ace with his over the top energy and Jay with his poor communication and frequent tantrums.

As I was leaning against the fence, Jay ran over to where I was standing and started staring up into a tree just on the other side.  Of course my eyes followed his gaze where I noticed the squirrel that had captured his attention.  He stood there for a while.  Then he said “out.”  It happened so quickly and so out of the blue that I wasn’t sure I had heard it correctly.  He had never said out before.  Up to that point, his entire vocabulary consisted of 2 words.  Had he even said it at all or was it in my head?  I looked around to see if anyone else had heard him because if they had, surely they would have made a big deal out of it.  Nothing.  Kids were still running and laughing and climbing.  Parents were still sitting.

I panicked because he had said something.  It was one word.  But it was something and I needed him to know that I had heard him and understood him.

But Ace was still playing.  I wanted to take Jay “out” and bring him closer to the tree and his squirrel but I couldn’t leave Ace there.  By the time I grabbed Ace would the squirrel have moved on?  Would my moment have passed?

That was our life.  Always on edge, grasping at every straw and gently holding onto every  precious morsel – lest we lose it.  We could afford to lose or waste nothing.

 

 

 

Last weekend, I sent the boys to bring our garbage can around to the front of the house in preparation for Monday mornings pick up.  It’s their standard Sunday chore.  Every Sunday I have to remind them to do it.  Every Sunday they complain about doing it.

But, I have something to say” Jay quipped.

Go get the trash can first and then you can say whatever you want” I told him.

Off they went and I was there with a ready ear upon their return.

 

It didn’t hit me until Shaunie and I were talking about the online question that I had been so cavalier about Jays desire to speak to me.  My son, who I spent so much time waiting and wanting to hear any word from.  5 years ago; 3 years ago I would have told you that you were crazy if you told me this would happen.  If you had said that I wouldn’t stop the world from spinning every time Jay wanted to share his thoughts.

 

Go get the trash can first and then you can say whatever you want.

WHAT???

 

 

When our neighbour offered to take my boys to the park with her son, Jay declined saying he’d prefer to stay inside as he’d had enough time outside and was hot.  Later when he was invited to their house for dinner, he accepted.  He did, however, ask if he could bring his own snack – weary as he was that they would be serving something he didn’t like.

He’s made it clear that he wants to go to a big water park this summer and he does not see the value in learning how to ride a 2 wheeler.  He let me know that he was proud of himself for trying pink lemonade at camp and complained to his father that I take too many pictures.  He says he wants to be a policeman when he grows up and he explained to a friend that even though school is out, he still needs his rest so he doesn’t mind having the same “early” bed time.

If he’s not happy with us, he shares why.  If his feelings are hurt, he is open about it.  If he’d prefer (frozen) at home pizza over our usual Friday trip to Costco complete with Costco pizza then he lets us know.  If he’s excited or bored or nervous or thinks something is funny, we know all the details.

At bed time if he wants me to stay with him for a while and cuddle he will ask.  Conversely, if he wants alone time, he will politely say “Do you want to go now?  You can if you want.  I won’t mind.”

At the local pool, he encouraged a friend who was nervous about going on the big slide.  He has already let us know what kind of cake he wants for his next birthday (in January).  If he’s mad about ripping a page in his book or about being told he has to do a chore before he gets a snack, he will be very vocal about his displeasure.  If he thinks he’s not being treated fairly he will be the first one to speak up.

If Ace is talking and Jay interrupts, I let him know that he has to be respectful and wait his turn.  His talking, while still cherished, does not take precedence over all things.  Not anymore.

 

This is our life now.  It happened ever so slowly – Yet, I have become so accustomed to it that it would be easy to overlook.

The bottom line is this … If he likes something he will say and if he doesn’t, he will also say.  Of all the people in my house, Jay is now the one who is the most open and who is the least likely to be holding back or hiding his true thoughts.

 

He still has many challenges.  He’s still socially out of tune sometimes and reacts to things in ways atypical to other children his age.  He is still vulnerable to bullying and/or abuse, but gone is the crippling fear I used to live with that he will be bullied and/or abused and not be able to let me know.

 

So even though I’d love to understand HOW their brains work, I am inclined to agree with Shaunie that the kids deserve the privacy of their own thoughts.  And even though I’m not sure if it would make things better or worse between us, I guess I’d choose to read my partners mind.  I’m sure there are some real gems rolling around in her thought bucket.

 

 

By the way though, as their mother, I reserve the right to change my mind about all of this when they are teenagers.