Life On The B Side

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

Uncharacteristically Calm August 23, 2016

The boys go back to school in exactly 2 weeks.  I should be freaking out.  They have special needs.  ADHD and Autism to be specific.  They need 504’s and IEP’s which means I will have to fill out lots of paperwork and attend many meetings.  We will fight over homework and I’ll get annoyed when I’m tired but still need to pack school lunches.  We will all need to wake up earlier.

We had to spend money on too many school supplies and school clothes and shoes.  Back in New Jersey they wore uniforms.  Not so in Virginia.  I love school uniforms.


In years past, I’d be writing lenghty letters to each of their teachers detailing do’s and don’ts and fyi’s and just in cases.  I shared things that worked in the past and things we had been trying over the summer and things to expect.  I begged them to please just have some patience with my boys.  Work WITH them.  Work WITH me.  I’d give them all my contact info – even though the school (and presumably they) already had it.  I needed them to understand down to their core that they could get in touch with me at any time for any reason.  I needed us to be on the same page … The page that said there was no such things as over-communicating.  I hoped to relay that I was there to help them.  I was on their side so we could all be on my sons sides.


Normally I’d be scared to send them back to school.  Heart pounding.  Not sleeping.  Not eating.  Nail biting.  Scared.

New teacher.  New expectations.  It all worried me.  Would they be alright?  Would the school work be manageable?  Would Jay tantrum and make his teachers day miserable?  Would Ace talk his teachers ear off or be seen as weird by the other kids?


The boys go back to school in exactly 2 weeks.  The supplies have been purchased.  The new clothes are folded and hung.  The book bags and lunch boxes are sitting in the corner – waiting.

The IEP and 504 meeting notices will come when they come.  No big deal.  For the most part things are already in place.


I do not have any draft letters in my documents folder.  I am not freaking out.  I am calm.

The boys have really gotten into the swing of things where school is concerned.  They understand themselves pretty well and can communicate pretty effectively on their own behalfs.  I have found that teachers generally do want the best for all their students and will do what they can (and/or need to) do for each of their students – without me asking them to.


I feel confident that I can send my loves off to school and they will be fine.  Will issues pop up?  No doubt.  Will we all handle them on a case by case basis in the appropriate way?  I do believe so.

I feel supported.  At home and at the schools.


3rd grade and 5th grade will bring unpredictable challenges.  This school year will be interesting and bumpy and we will stress out at times – But it’ll be OK.  I’m ready.  Excited even.


One Big Happy And Kinda Odd Family October 6, 2015

CC got remarried so my boys have a new step-mother.  I’m in a relationship too and it’s a matter of time before they have a second step-parent.  It’s kind of an odd thing speaking to my ex-husband about his new wife and my new partner and possible future (half) siblings for our children.  But I love that we can.  It’s not awkward or tense at all.  We both had our own step-parent relationships.  His was ok-ish but not great.  Mine was awful.   We do not want that for our boys.  We are committed to making this life as easy and as smooth and as happy for our children as possible.  Where that is concerned we are still very much on the same team.


The boys know that we frequently communicate so they can’t pin us one against the other.  They can’t get away with one thing at Moms house that Dad has forbid or vice versa.  CC and I send each other pictures if we have the boys and are doing something fun or interesting.  We are pleasant when we see each other and we don’t speak badly of each other or each others partners.  Whenever possible, we both show up for doctors appointments and parent teacher conferences and the like.

I have made it clear that CC’s wife is always welcome as well.  I will never purposely make her feel uncomfortable and I make it clear to the kids that she deserves their respect as much as CC and I do.  As far as I know, he does the same on his end.  All she has to do for my attitude towards her not to change is be good to my kids.

Don’t get me wrong … We’re not all going on vacation together any time soon.  But you know what?  I don’t think even that’s totally out of the question.

Down the line if/when there are more graduations or birthday parties or school recitals or weddings or grandchildren, I’d like all of us to be able to share in the joy together.  After all, every one of us would have played some role in getting the children to where they are and all of us will feel pride and excitement and want to share in the moment.  Whatever that moment is.  I wouldn’t want to rob CC or Emma or my person of that.

Additionally we don’t want the boys to feel like they have to choose between having a good relationship with a loving step-parent and making their other parent sad.


I understand  that none of this will guarantee a good relationship between my boys and any step-parent they get, but if it’s not good it won’t be because I made things difficult.  I believe Ace and Jay will benefit from it if CC and I can maintain this level of respect for each other.

Divorce is not easy.  I’m in no way trying to make light of it.  The last couple of years have had some really rough patches.  Making the decision to introduce new people into your childs life is not easy.  I’m certainly no expert, but I do think that there’s a righter way and a wronger way to do it.  Sooooo, welcome to our  wild, loud, messy, busy, kinda odd, mixed up family Emma.  Let’s all do this right.


Do Over May 7, 2015

Ever have one of those evenings?

The kind of evening where you made a to-do list and you were checking items off and feeling pleased with yourself.

The kind of evening that started off ok and somewhere along the line things went awry.

The kind of evening where you knew you wouldn’t get to everything so you chose what seemed to be the most important and focused on those – But it wasn’t enough to leave you feeling good.

The kind of evening where you felt aggravated because you will never NOT have a to-do list with things left undone and it all just felt too much.

The kind of evening where the thought of taking a shower left you exhausted.

The kind of evening that you spent every moment counting down to bed time and wishing away the minutes and hours instead of enjoying what’s beautiful and amazing right in front of you.


You ever feel alone in the struggle?

You ever just want things to be easier?

You ever think that if you just had a maid to pick things up off the floor and a nanny who would make sure the kids always brushed their teeth properly and a tutor who understood the homework questions and a chef who made Jamaican food as well as the same exact pizza as Papa Johns, and a couch that couldn’t get stained and uniforms that didn’t rip and a freaking dishwasher that would fix all your problems?


You ever have one of those days?

The kind of day that you spend all day feeling guilty about your behavior and thoughts from the evening before.

The kind of day where the sun is out and you feel refreshed and the knowledge that it’s a new day is invigorating.

The kind of work day that drags and drags because you’re itching to get home to your children.

The kind of day where more things get added to your already long list of things to accomplish but somehow you don’t feel as crappy about it as the evening before.

The kind of day where you see a sign that says “IT IS WHAT IT IS” and you consider buying it but you don’t because those words sound defeated not hopeful.

The kind of day where you buy a sign that says “IF YOU’RE NOT BAREFOOT YOU’RE OVER DRESSED”.

The kind of day that follows the kind of evening that needed a big ol’ do over, so at 5 pm, you give yourself a pep talk and you un-slouch your shoulders and take a deep breath and hold your head up and go home determined to have that damn do over.



*Note: This was written a few days ago. The do-over was a big success.  I even managed to do some dusting. Dusting!*


$1 Pouch and Purple Juice May 14, 2013

Filed under: Life on the Jay train — The B Side @ 12:05 pm
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Mothers Day 2013 has come and gone.  I didn’t get any flowers or candy or jewelry.  I didn’t get breakfast in bed or taken out to dinner.  In fact, I woke up to find that we were all out of coffee.  *The Horror!*


What woke me up was Ace jumping on me asking me if he could make his milk himself.  I said no and rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.  More sleep was not to be had though because the kid is persistent.

“For real mom, I can do it myself.  I’m big now.  I won’t spill it.  I promise.  Oh, and good morning Mom. Can I do it, pleeeaassseee?”

Despite his pleading I stuck with my original answer and dragged my butt out of bed and warmed up 2 cups of milk.  I knew it wouldn’t be long before kid # 2 was up.


We decided to go to McDonalds for breakfast.  I didn’t feel like cooking and we were all out of coffee.   Ace had his favourite breakfast of pancakes.  Jay looked out the window and yelled with glee every time a bird flew by.  I don’t need to tell you what I had.  Let’s just say it was hot and came with cream and sugar.


Later in the day we went to Target.  I loves me some Targae.  I go in planning to buy bread and come out an hour later with all sorts of goodies that I didn’t know I needed.  I found a cute make-up pouch (which I have been needing) in the $1 section right at the front door.  Boo yah!  We made our way up and down the aisles with Ace asking for every toy and candy and me touching all the clothes and throw pillows and saying “aww” at all the baby stuff.  Jay asked for “purple juice” which I found out means Grape flavoured Capri Sun.


We discovered a new park and play ground near our home that has a Merry Go Round.  Oh the excitement!


Ace taught me the meaning of the word spooktified.  It’s a real word.  Just ask Shaggy from Scooby Doo.


Ace told me he was hungry.  I suggested he take a bath and then we’d eat dinner.  He said “But what if I starve to death in there?”  It was hilarious.


Despite Ace’s impending starvation, the kids took an hour-long bath where they got water on everything but their bodies I think.  Whatever.  It was an hour of me not yelling at them to “stop the fighting” and I was able to update my Facebook status in peace.


I took a rack thingy of hooks that CC had hanging over his dresser and moved it to my side of the room and re-purposed it.  That means I organized all my chains and bangles on it and they are now on display in a place that will make them more likely to get worn.


Jay accidentally whacked me in the head with his umbrella and then said “Mummy hurt.  I’m sorry Mummy.”  Then he kissed it better.  Yeah, HUGE!!!  Are the experts still using “no empathy” as a sign of autism?  They really should stop.


Jay quietly sat and listened to multiple stories being read to him by his i-Pad.  Again … HUGE!!!


As I was stealing   putting to better use, CC’s hook rack, the movie Little Women was playing on the TV.  I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoyed watching it so much that at 8pm when it was done I watched the movie that came on next.  Anne of Green Gables.  I’m hoping that next week Sunday they show Polyanna and Heidi.

So that was my Mothers Day.  It was just another day but it was spent with my 2 lovies and it was just great!


Questions January 22, 2012

Recently, there’s been a trend on “youtube” where people are making videos with  titles like “things Americans ask (different types of people)“.  I’ve watched the ones on what they ask Indians and West Indians.

I think it’s meant to show that Americans are rude, insensitive or ignorant.  If you want to see one of the videos click here.

In the videos some of the questions they (Americans) ask are:

What’s the deal with the dot on your forehead?”

Do you know Russell Peters? He’s a funny Indian.”

Do all your movies have singing and dancing?”

Sooo, do you guys live in huts?”

I have a friend from the islands, do you know him?”

Can you say something?  Say water. hahaha.”


I am a little surprised that in this day and age, some people would ask questions like those.  Some of them seem really silly.  Stupid even.  I’d think that by now, everyone knows that not all Caribbean Islanders know each other.  Some people are probably trying (and failing) to be funny but the sad truth is that some people don’t know, and if they don’t know, isn’t it better that they ask the questions so that people can educate them?  Instead of getting mad, I’ve always tried to answer questions like those as openly as possible.  I’ve personally been asked if all Jamaicans smoke weed and if I went to the beach everyday when I was growing up.  I’ve had people ask if they can touch my hair.  I’ve been laughed at for the way I pronounce things and then asked what language we speak in Jamaica.  (It’s English by the way).  1 co-worker of mine tried to convince me that Trinidad was in Africa. (It’s not)  The people who are trying to be outrageous or to ruffle your feathers will just feel dumb when they see that you are answering them seriously.


I’d like to think that all the people who I’ve had these kinds of conversations with are a little better of for it.  Either because they learned something or because they see how ridiculous they sound and don’t ask those questions again.  It’s kind of like shutting down someone who is teasing you by not getting offended by what they’re saying.  Suddenly it’s not so much fun to tease you anymore.  At least, that’s what I hope.


I work in a very diverse office and I am very interested in learning about other peoples cultures/religions/traditions.  I asked a Hindu co-worker to explain to me why they worship cows and I asked a Muslim co-worker what would he do if he was in a place where the only food available was non-Halal meat.  I wasn’t trying to be rude or insensitive.  I genuinely wanted to know and now I do.  I think in general, most people are happy to talk about their cultures and experiences if they think the curiosity is coming from a positive place.


I had written a post about a guy at Dunkin Donuts passing judgments on Jay and CC.  In it, I said that instead of giving us their opinions on our parenting skills, people should just keep their mouths shut.  My cousin Michelle said she’d rather they ask questions.  You know what?  I agree with her. Don’t keep your mouth shut.  Ask a question instead of making a wrong assumption.

I read a blog post by someone the other day and in it they listed questions that people should NOT ask of a Special Needs Mom.  I respect her view and I get why she feels the way she does but I am of a different opinion.  Questions, no matter how embarrassing or silly or invasive they may seem, open the door for dialogue and education.

I really believe that the more we share, the less scary and taboo things will be.  The more we learn, the less likely we are to jump to inaccurate conclusions.  So I welcome questions.  Ask away. I’ll answer.  Just keep in mind that I can’t speak for all Jamaicans or all Autism Moms or whatever else I am, I can only answer from my experience.

I didn’t start my blog for that reason but if opening up my life can help to spread knowledge and understanding then that’s a giant cherry on the top.  And please, don’t be offended when I ask you questions.  I just want to get to know you better.