Ok, I'm having a hard time with the parent/child classes. I go because Elle really likes it but I fricken hate it. I can acknoledge that this is totally my own issue and my own fault. If everyone in the class is getting along great except for me then I can accept that I'm the one with the problem. But I don't know how to fix it and I don't know how to make it easier so I just have to suck it up and tough it out.
See, the thing is that I actually like a couple of the moms in the class. Some of them seem really nice. The problem in the class is not with them, it's with Adoption Guy and that fact that everyone else in the class seems to think that Adoption Guy is just as awesome as he claims to be. I don't understand this. How does everyone else hear this guy say the same things I hear him saying and not think he's a total jackass? Even the mother who a few weeks ago seemed to dislike this guy now seems to think he's the neatest thing since sliced bread.
Last week I was talking with two of the other mothers in the class about potty training. It was a nice discussion and I felt like the three of us had a nice give and take going. All of the sudden Adoption Guy swaggers, plops down in the chair next to me and says (and I swear to god this is true but I know no one will beleive me) "You know, a lot of times when kids are first adopted they get constipated from the stress. So when we adopted M she was......."
I got up and walked away. It took everything in me not to scream "You know who else gets consitpated? Every other kid in the world! It's something that happens! It's not all about the damned adoption!"
When I looked back at where I had been I was disgusted to see that pretty much every other parent in the class was now listening to this guy with looks of awe and admiration on their faces. They really cared about his constipation story! I was in shock. No one looked bored or annoyed or bothered at all. It was just me. I just don't get it.
Today during the parent discussion part of class we were talking about travling with kids. Guess what story Adoption Guy told. Yeah, how he and his wife had to take a 17 hour flight when they went to adopt their daughter. We heard every damned detail of the whole trip. What shots they had to get, what food they ate, what the hotel they stayed in was like, it just didn't stop. I know for a fact that I was openly giving this guy a "what the fuck?" face about halfway through his story but I didn't even care anymore. Come on! The topic of the day was "travling with kids" not "what Adoption Guy thought of the room service at the hotel he stayed at when he went to adopt his daughter".
So why is it just me? Why am I the only one who seems to have a problem with this guy when everyone else seems to think he's nifty neato keen? And why can't I get past it? I think that part of it might be that I'm offended on behalf of this little girl who's father likes to wave her adoption around like some kind of major award. Part of it is that I just don't like blowhards. I have to accept thought that part of it is just me and my inablity to just relax and let things go.
I need to find a way to get over it or this guy is going to ruin the whole class for me. How in the world do I do that?
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Ok, I'm having a hard time with the parent/child classes. I go because Elle really likes it but I fricken hate it. I can acknoledge that this is totally my own issue and my own fault. If everyone in the class is getting along great except for me then I can accept that I'm the one with the problem. But I don't know how to fix it and I don't know how to make it easier so I just have to suck it up and tough it out.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Let me just say that Joseph can throw one hell of a Halloween party.
Yes, the party was a big success. To wrangle eight kids we had six adults (me, Jesse, my parents and two moms who stayed during the party) and I don't think we could have managed with even one less adult. My parents did a lot of the "behind the scenes" stuff like getting games ready and cleaning up after each activity. Jesse and I ran the games and activities and the two moms jumped in whenever needed. It all went really, really well.
The kids really seemed to like the cookie decorating and the pumpkin decorating. I'm sure their parents loved having them come home with their Halloween costumes covered in glitter glue and frosting too. We got very lukcy with the weather because it ended up being such a nice day that we were able to do a lot of the games outside.
The most important thing was that Joseph seemed to really enjoy himself. I think he really got a big kick out of playing host for his very first party. He's already talking about doing it again next year. We'll see what my parents think about that idea. (Thank you again mom and dad for all that you did for the party. The food, the decorating, the dressing up, the fact that you allowed eight 7 year olds loose in your house - it all meant a lot to all of us.)
Other Halloween activites so far have included:
My dad and I taking the kids to a Halloween carnival where they ended up with (and I am not exaggertaing here) a grocery bag full of prizes.
My dad and I taking the kids Trick or Treating at the college where he works. Kids get to walk through the dorms and students pass out candy and ohhhh and ahhh over the costumes. Joseph's Harry Potter costume was a huge hit. Everyone thought Elle was Eeyore. Not a single person knew that she was Stitch. Also, she refused to say "Trick or treat" and instead opted for "I want some!". But both kids always remembered to say thank you.
Upcoming Halloween events include:
My parents taking the kids to a local grocery story that puts on a big Halloween party. There's trick or treating, a cookie walk (whatever the hell that is) and more.
Actual trick or treating on Halloween. My mom and I will be taking the kids to my grandmother's apartment complex. We figure it's better than wandering around our increasingly yucky neighborhood and praying that we don't stumble across a meth lab. Plus, we already have 8 million pounds of candy and at this point trick or treating on Halloween is more of a formality than anything else.
Man, when did Halloween become a two week event? I'm beat already. I better go have some candy.
Friday, October 26, 2007
After my previous post about surrogacy and money I got a couple of questions. I'll answer them here.
First off: "how do people pay for it? Where do they get the money? Are they rich or did they save up? Can you get a loan for this sort of thing?"
I don't know a whole ton about this but I do know that surrogacy can be amazingly expensive for the IPs (intended parents). On top of paying the surrogate you have to pay agency fees. There might be the additional cost of insurace if the surrogate has none or has insurance that does not cover a surrogate pregnancy. Then there's the fees for an egg and/or sperm donor (if needed). There's the cost for the reproductive specialist who creates the embryos and implants them. There are countless medical tests and procedures that have to paid for out of pocket.
Of course, not everyone has all those fees. If you know someone willing to be a surrogate then you don't have to go through an expensive agency to find one. Some people have friends or family who are willing to be a surrogate for free (or nearly free) for them. Some people won't need egg or sperm donors. Some people use a surrogate who is the spouse of someone in the military because the insurance they use covers surrogate pregnancies. (By the way, I disagree with this 100%. While I think all members of the military and their families should have free medical care I don't think that the goverment should be paying for the medical care for someone who is carrying a child for someone not in the military. It's a hell of a way to work the system and I find it almost offensive. This is not a popular point of view in the surrogacy world.)
Even if you find a way to cut costs, the whole thing is mind bogglingly expensive. I don't know how people do it. I think that in most cases IPs are kind of well off. It could be that I just have the wrong impression but know for sure that surrogacy is something that your average paycheck to paycheck family could never afford. And that's just one reason why I would never use a surrogate myself. There are more but I'll go into those another time.
Another question: "I'm just wondering how you would want to be pregnant and then know that you don't have the "reward" at the end of a new baby to love and care for. I mean, for most people being pregnant is not exactly fun. So is it just for the money or do you have other reasons?"
It's not just for the money but yes, the money is a big part of it. I wouldn't do this for free, not even for a friend or family member. It's just too much to put myself and my family through without some sort of compensation. But, as I said, it's not just for the money. As crazy as it might sound (to anyone who knows what my last pregnancy was like) I really liked being pregnant. I loved, love, love giving birth. I found it empowering and exhilerating. As soon as it was done and I had a little bit of rest I thought "Wow, I want to do that again!". Surrogacy seemed like a good way to get to go through that all again.
Maybe I'm strange but I don't think of having a newborn to care for a real "reward". I didn't like the newborn stage. I never got enough sleep and I was always stressed out and tired. Frankly, this time around I'll be glad to say that I don't have to be the one worrying about diaper changes and feedings every two hours and the umbilicl cord stump falling off.
I do get a reward though. I am thrilled to help someone build their family. I'm very excited for B and J getting to go through all the fun baby stuff. I'm happy to be a part of it all. I feel like I'm giving someone a really special gift that not just anyone would be willing or able to give.
Wow. That was really long and I haven't even gotten to my other top two questions. Stay tuned for those!
Elle has been doing the greatest thing lately. She'll "read" a book or do a puzzle and when she's done she'll look up and say "I did it! I so smart!". Or she'll put on a hat or a necklace and say "I so pretty!". She'll cuddle up and give me a hug and say "Awww, I so sweet!".
God, I wish I could bottle that. I wish I could find a way to hang on to some of that self confidence so that somewhere down the road when she needs it I'll have it right there to give to her. She's such an amazing person and I just always want her to know that.
I also want her to know (and I'll share it with her sometime when she's older) is that when she was two she would fart and then say "Oh ho ho! I tooted! I so cute!".
Thursday, October 25, 2007
The number one question I get asked when people find out that I'm a surrogate is "How much are you getting paid for that?"
Sometimes I explain that I'm not getting paid, I'm getting compensated. I know it's probably splitting hairs but "compensated" sounds better to me. Sometimes I say that I can't go into those details because of my contract. Sometimes I give an average of what a surrogate might make. A couple of times I've been honest. It depends on who's asking me and why I think they're asking me. If I just think someone is being nosy and rude then I don't give any details. If I think they're asking because they're genuinely interested in the process then I give them a little more info.
I understand why people ask. It's interesting. There's a lot of misinformation out there about surrogacy though. Just a couple of days ago Lisa Ling did a report on the Oprah show saying that US surrogates can make between 60,000 and 80,000 dollars. No. That's not true. I have never heard of a surrogate making anything anywhere near that.
A first time surrogate working with an agency will make an average base fee of somewhere between 18,000 and 23,000 dollars. On top of that there are extras like fees for the embryo transfer and money for maternity clothes. A surrogate who is not working with an agency (independently matched) might make a little less on average.
So there you have it. Stay tuned because I'll also be answering my other top asked questions: 1) How does your family/husband/kids feel about this? 2) Will it be hard to give the baby up?
If there's something you've wanted to ask but you've been too shy/tactful/polite to ask it, please do so now. I'm in a sharing mood.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I don't feel like I'm really able to relate to the other parents in my and Elle's parent/child class. I'm the only person in the class who has a child older than the one enrolled in the class. I don't know if this helps to explain why all the other parents seem so uptight. They all talk about power struggles and temper tantrums and how sometimes their kids just drive them crazy. I feel like I never have anything to contribute to these conversations. When it's my turn to talk I almost always end up saying things like "I really don't have a problem with any of that stuff."
I know it makes me seem like I think I'm a superior parent but that's really not the way it is. It's just that when it comes to tantrums and power struggles I just try not to sweat the small stuff. Today in class we were talking about power struggles again and when it was my turn to talk I said "I try to avoid even getting into power struggles all together. If Elle's mad at me because I put white socks on her and she wants red socks then I give in and give her what she wants. If she's mad at me because she doesn't want to be buckled in her car seat, well then, I'm a lot bigger than her and one way or another she's getting buckled into that car seat. Some things can be debated but others obviously can't."
One of the other parents looked suprised and said "But what if she gets mad at you?" Three others echoed "Yeah, what if she gets mad?" I paused for longer than I probably should have as I thought "Are they for real? That cannot be a serious question can it?" Finally I slowly responded with "Um ..... Then she gets mad at me." It was all I could do to keep from adding "Duh!" at the end.
Maybe it's just me but I don't consider it my job to keep my kids from getting mad at me. I mean, of course I don't want them to be mad at me and I would love it if they were happy all the time but that just ain't gonna happen. I have to accept that sometimes I'm going to piss them off. I don't think you can be a very effective parent if you're walking around afriad that you might make your child mad.
I don't think it's such a bad thing for Elle to be mad at me once in a while. She's learning her own mind and figuring out how to assert herself. Hopefully she's learning that sometimes she'll be able to get what she wants and sometimes she'll have to go along with what someone else says. And if I'm being totally honest I have to admit that I find Elle's temper tantrums a little bit cute. Her little face gets red and her little back arches and she does her best to squeeze out a tear or two. I find it adorable.
What do you think? Do you have to keep your child happy all the time? Can power struggles ever be "won" or have you already lost by just getting into them? What in the hell is up with the goofy ideas some of the other parents in the class have?
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Joseph will be hosting his very first party on Saturday. He's never had a birthday party with friends before partly because his birthday is during the summer and it's harder to get ahold of the kids he would like to invite and partly because the whole idea of a party makes him kind of anxious. So now we're taking away the pressure of it being a birthday party and we're throwing a Halloween party instead. Joseph is very excited.
He invited nine kids and eight (including three girls!) are coming. Thank goodness we're doing this at my parents house. I think that many kids at one time in our place would probably give me a nervous breakdown. We're going to be decorating pumpkins, playing games, decorating giant sugar cookies and giving out prizes for costumes. I think it will be a lot of fun. I know Joseph's looking forward to it.
The only dilemma I have is what in the heck kind of costume I can wear to this thing. Somehow I don't think the kids will appreciate what I had originally been planning to be - The Woman With the Every-Expanding Ass. Help me out here people. What can I dress up as for this party? Keep in mind that it has to be relatively inexpensive and must accommodate my glorious midsection.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
.....don't blog anything at all.
Good advice but it leaves me with not much of anything at all to say. I don't know if it's pregnancy hormones or what but man, am I ever moody these days. Every time I sit down to blog all that comes out is "Augh! I hate everyone! Everything is stupid! My back hurts! I hate Avon ladies!" and on and on and on.
I suppose that entry after entry of that might be somewhat therapeutic but it might make everyone who reads this blog (including those people who know me in real life) dislike me intensely. Since I'm already feeling fat and cranky I don't think I need to add "unlovable" to the list.
But I really do hate Avon laides.
Friday, October 19, 2007
I was being a total wench to Jesse this afternoon for no reason at all. He came home to watch the kids while I went to the chiropractor and I did nothing but snarl and snap at him. Then I broke his razor. That part was an accident but I didn't really feel bad about it or apologize or anything.
When he left to go back to work I started to feel bad about the way I acted so I tried to call him. He didn't answer his cell phone when I called and that's my number one pet peeve. I hate when I cannot get ahold of him. Every time I dialed and he didn't answer I got more and more annoyed.
Now I'm sitting here totally pissed off and thinking I should probably stop trying to call him because if I do get ahold of him I'm just going to start bitching him out again.
Don't I sound like a fun person to be around today?
I don't have anything to say really. I'm really only updating because if I don't it apparently makes some people think I've died. Unfortunately all I really have going on in my life right now is some lower back pain and an increasingly bad mood. Jesse and I are going out to a fancy-shmancy dinner with my dad tonight so I'm hopeful that will help to break me out of my funk. We'll see.
Posted by Jen at 8:13 AM
Monday, October 15, 2007
When you were a kid did your mother ever say to you "Always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident."? Mine never did.
That's why yesterday when I got dressed I thought nothing of putting on my oldest, rattiest pair of underwear.
It's funny then isn't it, that as I climbed into the ambulance last night after our car was rear-ended at a stop light my first thought was "Oh no! Everyone is going to see my grundgy underwear!"
Long story short, everyone is ok. Jesse is ok, the kids are ok, the baby is ok, the car is ok, the 21 year old that hit us probably learned a valuable lesson about not paying so much attention to your car radio when you're pulling up to a stoplight, I have a pinched nerve in my lower back that a couple of days of rest and painkillers should take care of and despite being seen on the labor and delivery floor and the emergancy room, not s single person saw my ratty underwear. And now they're in the trash.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
This is a simple quiz, just one question: You and your spouse are having a tough time getting the kids to bed one night. It's turning into an hour and half long process. There are tears, raised voices, kicks, and shrieks. And that's just from the seven year old. At one point you go to get yout two year old yet another healthy snack since she seems to be acting hungry. You heave a mighty sigh on your way out of the kitchen. You wife smiles at you and says "It'll be ok" in her best encoureging voice. The proper response is to:
a) Say nothing. There's no time for small talk.
b) Smile back on your way out of the room.
c) Stop and say "Thanks, I needed to hear that. It's really been a rough night."
d) Roll your eyes and (in a louder than nessecary voice) say "I can sigh if I want to!" then storm out of the room.
Answer key: a, b or c would be acceptable. d is what Jesse did. Color me annoyed.
Friday, October 12, 2007
My babies are growing up. How does this happen? I remember the day Joseph came to our house like it was yesterday. And I remember the day Elle was born like it was .... this morning. And then I blinked and they grew up.
Elle turned two yesterday. I can't even wrap my head around that. I can so clearly remember waking up the night before she was born and thinking "Is that a contraction? I think that's a contraction. A real contraction!" I was so excited that I was going to be able to meet my little girl and now she's here and she's more amazing than I ever would have dreamed she could be. She's soft and girly, feisty and rough n' tumble, sassy and sweet. My funny little monkey.
Joseph is another one. Yikes. Sometimes I forget he's getting older because he always seems to stay the same size. Then he goes and does something that reminds me he's not a baby any more either.
The other day we were in the car and Joseph started talking to us about some girls at school he likes. He told us there's one little girl in class that he loves (because she's smart) but that he can't talk to. He explained "When you talk to a girl in school then everyone in your class will know that you love her and that's embarrassing." (I thought that was a pretty astute observation for a kid who so often misses the finer points of social interaction.) He said he sometimes tries to talk to her after school but then her brother is always with her. I suggested that he just try saying hi to her sometime in the hallway, that that would probably be ok. That led to this conversation:
Joseph: It's hard to talk to girls when you love them.
Me: Yeah, that can be hard.
Joseph: Kayla told me to stop telling her that I love her all the time.
Me: Oh, um. Yeah, it's ok to have those nice feelings about someone but sometimes people aren't comfortable hear stuff like that.
Joseph: (long pause) How do you know when a girl wants to hear "I love you"?
Crap. I didn't think I would have to have this conversation with him for anther 20 years or so.
Joseph also told me that he loves a little girl who he always sees at our family functions. He told me "I do everything I can think of to make her fall in love with me to." When I asked him what he did he said "Things like making sure that my hair is laying flat on my head when she's around so that I'll look handsome. And sometimes when I see her I just hide behind a post so that she won't see me." I'm baffled by how she's managed to resist his charms so far.
Sigh. He's too young to be having all these girl problems. I'm too young for him to be having all these girl problems.
Isn't there some way that I can just keep my kids little for just a little while longer?
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I don't like know-it-alls. Well, let me clarify that. I don't like certain kinds of know-it-alls. I don't mind people that really do know it all and have interesting things to say. I don't mind know-it-alls like myself who sit back and quietly think "I know more about this than anyone here but I also know enough to know that not everyone wants to hear every single thing that pops into my head". The know-it-alls I can't stand are the ones who think they know it all and when they sense that they're around someone who knows less than them it makes them feel all puffed up and important. I've found though that if you give this type of know-it-all enough rope they will almost always hang themselves.
One of the dads in the parent/child class Elle and I go to is one of these obnoxious know-it-all types. He seems to consider himself the expert on all things relating to adoption. His daughter is adopted and that seems to be all he wants to talk about. I heard him bring it up 7 times in the first hour of class. And no, I am not exaggerating at all. It makes me a little uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong. I think adoption is wonderful and it's ok to talk about it. But when it becomes more about the adoption and less about the child, it makes me very uneasy. A lot of people that we have known for a while don't even know that Joseph is adopted. It's not because we hide it but because we don't relate everything about him back to the fact that he's adopted.
This guy though...... I don't know. I feel like he's showing off. He seems more interested in filling everyone in on all the aspects of raising an adopted child than he is actually raising his child. Today his daughter had a poopy diaper for nearly an hour and he never even noticed. He was too busy blathering to anyone who would listen (or rather, anyone who found themselves unable to escape). Finally another mother and I clued him in to the fact that his kid needed to be changed by making a big show of checking our own kids diapers right in front of him and saying lots of things like "Uh-oh! I think someone is poopy!"
During parent discussion time we were talking about mealtime difficulties. Mr Adoption decided to fill the group in on how feeding an adopted child is different than feeding any other child. He said "One thing that anyone involved with adoption will tell you is to always eat with your children. Every expert we talked to has said that it doesn't matter if you adopt your child when they're 10 days or 10 years old. You never let them eat alone. Eating together is a good way bond so if you have an adopted child you always eat with them, even at snack times. That's just how it is with an adopted child."
I tried to disguise the look of disgust on my face and I turned to him and said "I've never heard that. I have a son who's adopted and I've never once heard or read that we should eat with him every time he eats. I think we're pretty bonded even though he sometimes eats snacks on his own."
Adoption guy backpedaled like crazy and claimed that's just what his family did and not every child needed that even though just 30 seconds ago he had claimed that exactly. I don't think he thought there were any other parents there with adopted children. (And why would he? I hadn't mentioned it 50 times at that point.) He probably thought it was safe to play the all knowing adoption expert because no one would be able to refute what he was saying. I also think I probably came across a little rude but I was just grossed out by listening to this guy and his weird adoption fixation.
After the class one of the other mothers and I were talking and she said she was glad I said something. It seems that she and a couple of other people in the class are sick of this guy too. We agreed that if one of us noticed the other getting cornered by the guy we would try and help each other out. It's nice to have someone like-minded in the class with me. It's nice to know that not everyone thinks this guy is the bees knees. Just knowing that I'm not alone in my dislike of him makes him a little easier to bear.
But he's still a dope.
Edited to add: Just to be clear, if this guy really thinks that siting with his daughter every time a bite of food goes into her mouth will help them be more bonded than more power to him. I think it's kind of a goofy theory but it doesn't bother me at all that that is what he believes. What bothered me was the way he said it. "Everyone who knows anything knows that this is the way it is and if you don't eat with your child every time they eat then they will grow up to hate you and adoption adoption adoption adoption and my daughter is adopted!"
Monday, October 08, 2007
I'm 20 weeks pregnant today. That's crazy. Part of me feels like I've been pregnant forever. I think it's because I've been involved with the process of trying to get this pregnancy going forever. Part of me feels like I just got pregnant yesterday. I'm only just now starting to feel pregnant. When I look down I can see a definite baby belly and now I can feel the baby move all the time. Every time I eat he starts moving all over the place. Elle always moved a lot. She stretched out, turned around and got the hiccups a lot. This kid kicks. Hard. It's a very different sensation than I ever felt with Elle. It's kind of neat but it does make me worry about how it's going to feel when he's got a little more weight on him.
Here's a meal idea for those times when you find yourself having to feed a pregnant woman: Melt shredded cheese on a piece of bread in the microwave. Slather on ketchup. Add another piece of bread to complete the sandwich. Repeat those stepc because just one of these yummy melted cheese and ketchup sandwiches is not going to be enough. In fact, just thinking about it right now makes me hungry. I've got to go now and ...... eat something .... healthy. Yeah, healthy. That's the ticket.
Saturday, October 06, 2007
A story on the MSN homepage: "It's in the bag: Pick the perfect purse for your body type"
Great, not only do I have to worry about my jeans making my butt look fat and my fat butt making my butt look fat but now I have to worry about my purse making my butt look fat. Don't we already have enough to worry about? Women (and by "women" I mean "women other than me" because I don't give a flip about any of this stuff) already have to be sure that their purse matches their shoes and their outfits and their hair and the season. When picking out my last purse I also had the added criteria of it being a) big enough to hold all my regular crap plus a diaper and a box of finsens and about 12 pounds of change b) reasonably cute c) on sale for less than $20. Do we really need to worry about making sure that we have the right purse for our body type? Does anyone really care about that? Really?
Speaking of big butts ....... my derriere is growing larger by the day. Do you ever see those pregnant women who look totally normal except for the fact that it looks like they have half a beach ball attached to their tummy? Yeah, I'm not one of those women. In fact, when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Elle my mom said "You don't look pregnant. You just look ..... fat."
I don't carry pregnancy in my tummy like a normal person. Everything on me widens and grows and expands. I've noticed that I've started running into things. I misjudge how much space I have and I bump into doorways, chairs, display racks and small children. Poor Joseph has probably taken more hip bumps and butt checks to the head in the last month than anyone should in their entire life.
Thinking about my growing backside is making me depressed. I'm going to go have some ice cream. I wonder if there's a purse with a little freezer inside it so you can carry ice cream around. Now that would be the right purse for my body type.
Friday, October 05, 2007
My mom told me once that when I was at the age where I had started school and my brother had not he would always look forward to me coming home so that he could ask me what I had for lunch that day. Every day when I came home he would run to me and say "What did you have for lunch today?" and I, being the loving older sister would yell "Augh! Stop asking me that all the time!"
God, what a little bitch. Why didn't I just tell him what I had for lunch? Was it really so much to ask?
Ben, if you're reading this, and if it makes you feel any better (because I'm sure you're still wounded all these years later) I seem to remember eating a lot of pizza, mashed potatoes, soyburgers and corn with black flecks in it.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Here's a tip that's great for the whole family. Let's say you're a guy seeking a casual sexual encounter for you and your wife. Don't go posting an ad on Cragislist where everyone in the whole world can see it. Everyone. Everyone including your cousins wife who already thought you were sleazy and gross and nasty and now has a way of proving it to everyone. You may especially want to heed this advice if you look like a drowned rat on a three day meth binge.
WARNING: This link is NSFW. Do not click it if there are children, elderly people, small pets, houseplants or tropical fish in the room.
A while ago I found myself reading several blogs by parents who had children like Joseph. Extraordinary children who were facing some difficulties in school and social settings. Some of these parents readily embraced the fact that their children were living on the autism spectrum. Others did not. I found myself bouncing between the two schools of thought.
Some days I was angry when I thought about being told that Joseph had Aspergers. I didn't want to accept that his differences were there and I didn't want to accept that those differences might put a lable on him. I didn't want him to have Aspergers and I didn't want everyone looking at him a certain way and expecting certain things out of him because he of it.
Some days I was ok with the whole thing. Not most days though. Most days I still thought things like "There's nothing wrong with him at all! He's not out of order! The system is out of order! Who cares if he's different! Different is better and everyone one just needs to accept it!"
Right now I feel like I'm in a pretty healthy place as far as dealing with and accepting Aspergers goes. A while back I was talking to someone about Elle and I was saying how different it is raising her, "a neurotypical child" than it is raising Joseph. All of the sudden it just hit me. Elle is neurotypical. Joseph is not. And that's ok.
It's ok that he has Aspergers. It's ok that he does things differently and feels things differently and acts differently. I don't have to change that. I don't have to fix that and I don't have to hide that. But I do have to accept it. And I have to accept that as much as I would like for the rest of the world to get in tune with Joseph it's not going to happen. And Joseph is never going to get in tune with the rest of the world. Because he has Aspergers. And that's ok.
Aspergers is not a bad word. Knowing what my son has going on with him and putting a name to it doesn't have to be scary. The way I see it is this: A diagnosis doesn't change anything about Joseph. It's just a tool to help me help him. It's a stupid sounding word that has helped me to get Joseph extra help at school when he needs it. It's a cue that lets other adults who work with him know that they might need to adjust the way they deal with him. It was a stepping off point for me when it came to learning about how to deal with his melt-downs and sensitivities.
Aspergers is not a bad word. A lot of the things that go along with it can be reframed as real positives for a child. Denying that is exsists deosn't make it go away, it just keeps you from dealing with the truth. The good truth and the not so good truth.
So I've been pulling away from some of the blogs that I used to find a lot of comfort in. I get tired of hearing them repeat over and over "My child doesn't have Aspergers and I won't listen to anyone who says he does. He's just special and he's going to change the world."
I much prefer to read about the lives of people like me. People who say "My child has Aspergers and I'm glad I know that he does. He's special and smart and yes, someday he's going to change the world. And it won't be in spite of the Aspergers. It might just be because of it."
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Elle and I had our first day of parent/child school today. Every Wednesday for the next 19 weeks we'll go to "school" for 2 hours in the morning. Elle really seemed to enjoy herself. I think her favorite part was snack time. All the parents sat in a circle for discussion time and all the kids sat at a table and had crackers and watermelon. She really got a kick out of having snack with the other kids. She kept standing up and calling "Mama! I have snack! I eating! Fun! Mama! I have lunch!" It was very cute.
Even cuter though was when she came running over after snack to check in with me. She hugged me and said "Hi sweetie!" Awwwwww. Couldn't you just eat her up.
Of course classes like this do have their drawbacks. Everything like this that I've ever done with one of my kids seems to have at least one stupid parent in it. This appears that it will continue that streak. I had to bite my tounge a couple times during discussion when some of the other parents were asking things like "My kid will only eat a bite of dinner and then they'll ask for dessert. I always give it to her. Should I do that?" I don't want to seem like a know-it-all but come on! Logic! Common sense! Those things go a long way in parenting!
I'm the only parent in the class who has an older child (than the one enrolled in the class) so I'll just have to try and remember that parenting is a learning process and I didn't know it all back then either (I still don't!) and I probably asked my fair share of stupid questions once too. That will help me to not blurt out things like "Are you kidding me!?!?"
Even worse than the know-nothing parents are the know-it-alls. Specifically two stay-at-home-dads in the class who both seem to think they've learned everything there is to know about parenting. Neither of them is afraid to spout of long lectures about any petty little subject. They'll help me to. I don't want to come off like one of those guys.
So Elle and I will both learn something in school during the next 19 weeks. She'll learn how to drink out of a regular cup (she dumped hers out several time during snack time) and I'll learn to button it up sometimes.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
You know what's fun? Spending the day watching 3 kids under the age of 3. You know what's even more fun than that? Being 2 minutes into your day of babysitting and finding yourself up to your elbows in a poopy diaper with a baby screaming at you in the background and a kind of urgent sounding message being left on your answering machine. You know what's even more fun than all that? Listening to that message (after you've gotten the kids cleaned up and calmed down) and hearing the voice of the school nurse telling you to come and take your kid into the ER because they got their head cut open during a freak accident on the playground.
Thank goodness for mothers. I called mine up, she came over to watch the babies and I drove to the school to get Joseph. He had a small cut on his head that just wouldn't stop bleeding. I guess he was standing next to a little girl on the playground when she started to twirl a jumprope around. The handle swung around and hit Joseph right on the head. You know, a tiny little cut on the head can bleed a lot. The poor kid had blood on his jacket, his shirt, even on his jeans.
I took Joseph to the emergency room and 5 hours later we left with one teeny, tiny little stitch. He was so brave. I was so proud of my boy. First off, I was so proud of the way he handled the 3 hours that we had to spend in the waiting area before we even got a room. He was so good that two ladies sitting near us came over to tell me what a great kid he was. One of them even bought him a snack from the vending machine. (This made Joseph comment that from now on he's always going to be good in public so that more people will buy him treats.) Second, I was amazed at how brave he was when he got the stitch. He whimpered a little bit but he laid very still. I think he handled it better than I did. I had to look away and concentrate very hard on not passing out.
So we go home and the kids I was supposed to have been watching have been picked up. My mom leaves. End of story? No. Two hours later I'm lying on the couch, moaning in pain and breaking out into a cold sweat.
Out of nowhere I developed this massive pain in my lower right abdomen. I couldn't stand up straight or even move without making it much worse. Jesse insisted that I go the the ER. Like hell! I just spent 5 hours in that place. I was determined that I was not going in. I'll admit that I also had a fear that the pain was being caused by gas and if I went in to the ER they would take one look at me and tell me to go home and fart.
20 minutes later I'm sprawled out on the kitchen floor and crying. My mom came back over and Jesse and I went back to the fricken ER.
Long story short: I got some lovely painkillers that made me warm and happy. And a little nauseas. An unltrasound revealed that the pain didn't appear to have anything to do with the baby. We got a really neat picture of the bottom of the baby's feet. (That kid has got a massive big toe.) We found out that the baby is growing fantasticly and is actually measuring a week ahead of it's due date. A doctor with the beadside manner of an oyster told me "It's too early in your pregnancy to monitor you to see if the pain you're feeling is contractions. Even if it is contractions it's too soon to do anything about it so if you're going to lose the baby, there's nothing we can do about it." Gee doc, thanks. I beg my very nice nurse for another shot of painkillers and he gets it for me. I go home a little after 2 AM and sleep.
Today I feel just fine. No pain at all. I'm chalking it up to the fact that sometimes bodies do strange things and sometimes pregnant bodies do even stranger things. I was told to follow up with my own doc this week but he's out of town until Monday. I have an appointment with him that day anyway so I'm not going to go in and see anyone else in the meantime. I think the instructions to see my regualr doctor were kind of pass the buck tactic on thepart of the ER doctor. He couldn't find anything wrong with me (probably because it was just gas) and he decided to be all "Well, I think what's going on is .... Hey! Look over there! It's a monkey!"
Whatever. It's all good. I'm fine, Joseph is fine. That's what's important.