Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I cry each and every time I see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium . . . but not why you would think. Yes, it's sad that Mr. Magorium is "leaving," but I cry mostly when Mahoney is trying her best to find her "sparkle." You know, the small thing inside reflective of something larger. I've always been quite embarrassed that I inexplicably start weeping while watching a kids movie but I think I've figured out why. Mahoney is convinced that she cannot run the store in Mr. Magorium's absence because, as she says, "You're magic! . . . and I'm not." But, all along, it's been the toy store that is magic and Mr. Magorium's belief in it's magic that has made it so. When Mahoney doubts herself, she's doubting that the store can be itself with her and, she's right.  Who wants to perform for someone who doesn't think they can do it? It is not until she gains confidence in her ability to believe that the store comes alive: and she is sparkling. Don't we all go through this from time to time? "I can't do this." "These shoes are too big to fill." "This job is too tremendous." Since we have moved, I have felt like Alice in the White Rabbit's house. Somehow, I got in here, but I just don't fit and going out the same way I came in is not an option-- I have to change or stay cramped. Today, I was told by a person who's supposed to help our family with my son's disability, that if I have the means to, I should move back home and let Joe go to med school alone, because there's little help here. In tears, I sent a text to someone I respect much more than that lady: "I feel like I have to choose between Michael getting help or keeping our family together." To which she so sagely replied, "Your family is what helps him be successful...you're not wrecking his future by being there, you're ensuring his success and happiness." And so, it is up to us. Stevie Wonder may not have had children in mind when he sang, "For Once in My Life" but it is my song to my children:
For once in my life I have someone who needs me
Someone I've needed so long
For once, unafraid, I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I'll be strong
For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of
Long before I knew
Someone warm like you
Would make my dreams come true
For once in my life I won't let sorrow hurt me
Not like it's hurt me before
For once, I know I have something I know won't desert me
I'm not alone anymore
For once I can say, that is mine, you can't take it
As long as I know I have love, I can make it
For once in my life, I have someone who needs me
And so, finding my "sparkle" means that I find I am strong enough to keep my family together. It means that I am hopeful enough to believe they will be successful in my care. So, instead of trying to play someone else's symphony with my life, here is to the composition of "Kati's 1st".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gym Faux Pas

Admittedly, I went to the gym looking a hot mess tonight. Okay, so no one but white college students dress for the gym (I've seen a girl in I'm-too-cool-to-care pink galoshes. P.S.-If you sweat enough to make puddles, you might want to see a doctor.). But still, I looked uber-bad. So, to jazz things up a bit, I put on a matching headband (not a sweatband ala Rocky Balboa, a head band) with my husband's Nintendo graphic tee and some eyeliner AND mascara. (Stop snickering) I tell you all this because I make the effort. I also follow the gym rules. When I arrive at the gym, though I'm a total gum whore, I spit mine out, because no gum allowed. I don't stay on a machine more than 30 minutes if someone is waiting. 'Cause that's the rule. I also don't talk on my cell phone. This brings me to who I like to refer to as Drama Mama. I spotted her cell phone growing out of her ear right away. "RULE BROKEN! RULE BROKEN!" "Oh shoosh, Kati. What are you? The elliptical warden? Lighten up." Then, I see it, an outer-thigh tattoo in full color. This girl's trouble. And so it begins. This chick proceeds to scream into her phone. It'd be cool if she were using positive-screaming (you know, like if she were just loud), "OHMAGOD BECKY! NO WAY!" But no. She's having a full-on argument with...somebody. I catch, "jealousy" and "I don't want to talk about it anymore," and I think, "Then hang the F up or take it outside." Really, if I can hear it over The Prodigy, it's loud. The bruiser on the elliptical next to her stops and moves to a different one. Really? Because I come here to get away from screaming. I didn't catch the unsuspecting girl who took the open spot next to her, "Oh! Teehee! Look, there's one open!" Oops. Doe's about to be rammed by Mac trucks couldn't look as tricked. Sorry. So, I wonder...was there anyone even on the phone with her? Is this a social experiment? Have we all been Punk'd? Is she really just that drama? The world may never know. Perfect revenge, though? Immortalized blog-fodder, beotch.

Duplicity

Can you believe that these two pictures are of the same person? I have read that we all have a little bit of a split-personality disorder (See: French Women Don't Get Fat). We have the Narcissus side of us: in love with his own reflection he values beauty so highly. And, we have the Pantagruel side: a giant who is found to have an entire world in his mouth. I would agree with Ms. Guiliano with some slight alterations of my own. I have always imagined a squat Italian mother in my noggin versus a Sophia Loren look-alike (minus those huge eyebrows). Remember "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Remember the mother? "You hungry?" "No ma'am, I just ate." "Oh...I make you something." This is the woman in my head. (This is also my real life mother.) This is the woman that says, "Just have a snack. It's been a tough day, right? The last thing you need to be doing is counting those calories. Raviolis make it all better." And, sadly, they do. For a little bit. But just as my eyes are glazing over from the carb-rush, in steps Sophia's cousin, Bitchia. "I can't believe you ate ALL that. Didn't we agree? Didn't we say we were going to get these last 10lbs off of you? How can we when you "tuck in" every time you're upset? You really need a better emotional outlet than food." And, so it goes. They argue back and forth for my attention. The point Ms. Guiliano makes is that we must fuse the two: we must have a balance of both the giantess and the waif. In my go-hard-or-go-home-gulp-your-beer-American-all-or-nothing mentality, this is a very difficult concept to grasp.  Last night, when Joe arrived home, he took my workout clothes out of the dresser and said, "Do I have to dress you or are you going to the gym like that, 'cause you're getting out of the house one way or another and don't come back 'til I put the kids to bed." Yes sir. I was so down from being with the kids tantruming the insanity all day long, though, I didn't want to go anywhere, especially the college gym. I drove around the parking lot even thinking, "No one will know if I just don't go inside." But, that's not how I roll. So, after I sweat my arse off, I felt amazing. No kidding. No Cosmo magazine bull$hit, I felt better. I felt better than I would have if I had unloaded on a Stoeffer's lasagna.
It was recently brought to my attention that though people have joked about me becoming a "trophy wife" in order to be presentable to Joe's colleagues, that is a highly subjective term. Yes, we all want to look good but no one looks good when they're surly 'cause they can't eat a piece of wedding cake. So, it is the balance between this duplicity that I seek. (And, answers to my stress that don't involve buttercream frosting. They're out there.)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Superman Spit Curl


My sister made the comment the other day that my son has a Superman curl down his forehead. We both mused a bit and then said, "Because he is." My son is Superman. I've compiled a list of comparisons:
  • There's the curl-- we've established that.
  • Both are roguishly handsome.
  • Both run around in their underwear.
  • Both don't say much, except for what's most important, like, "I'm here to fight for truth, justice, and the American way," and "Mama, I want kisses."
  • Both don't really understand their environment, but they learn to adapt to it. Perhaps, somewhere, there's an Planet Autism my son is really prince of?
  • My son has kryptonite, too. It's called "S-U-G-A-R."
My son is a Super man, Spandex or not.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Let's Recap Shall We?

Yet again, yesterday was a tough-y. But, I believe it was the immortal Bill Cosby (Yes, I said immortal, so what? STFU!) who said, "Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it." Too true. Too true, Bill. So, I approach  a subject that some might find offensive or "touchy" (mental illness) with irreverence sometimes and humor because, well, I'm living with it in the next bedroom. He's in my backseat. I'm the one who "bows up" at Ikea at some ugly bitch who won't stop staring at him 'cause he's going apeshit 'cause (like a good Mommy) I won't let him eat off of other people's tables, "Can I help you?"  Just know that lil tidbits and rantings whatnots will be thrown into my blogs here and there. (If you want more info, I'm open to questions.) Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, here is the recap of the fly on the wall view of my day yesterday.

We begin the day in a rush. Our doctor's appointment is at 8am. HURRYKIDSGETUP!GETDRESSED! I get them up, get them in the car, there is much screaming (me) and much crying (them). Neither helps. We're still late. I call the office. They don't pick up. Hmmm. People around here are sooo inefficient. Goooosh....oops. Our appointment isn't 'til 9am. Rats. "Sooo...you guys wanna go to McDonalds?" Dar. We wait. The appointment goes well, surprisingly. Perhaps we're rounding the bend on this whole crazy hellofaweek thing? I'll take them to the park!

"Michael? You wanna swing" (His favorite thing to do EVER is swing. Forever.) "No." He sits in the shade at a picnic table. 'Can't say I blame him. It's 10am and it's a milliondy degrees. Melissa takes off to go find friends. Well, these friends take off, to, like, the woods. No kidding. Where the HELL are these kids' parents and haven't they ever heard of "stranger danger"? Soon enough, I can't see my kid and I'm screaming for her. She comes back and I tell her to stay in my sights. Whining ensues. "Stay where I can see you or we leave." More whining. "Sit here and I'm going to tell you a story about a boy named Adam..." It's time. It's time to tell her the story of Adam Walsh. My sister told me this story when I was three and it made me stick to my parents, damn it. Perhaps we watch too much TV but people are fucking crazy and my daughter was too hell-bent on making friends to not know that. Some portion of fear is healthy. Now that I've introduced my child to the idea of mortality, we leave the park. Tra la la! Pizza anyone?

They've been so good today, we're going to Sam's for lunch! Nowhere else can you feed 3 people for well under $7! We walk in and you can feel the temperature start to rise with Michael. I can sense that he's about the blow. I don't know why. See, he can talk, but it's only really to request things. Like, he wants this $30 National Geographic DVD set they have there. He can say, "Mommy, I want movie!?" and point to the DVD section. But, he can't tell me, "Mommy, the lights hurt my eyes," or, "Mommy, I have a killer migraine and just being in this place is driving me crazy. Can we please just go home?" And, he doesn't do things like typical children do. Like, if the lights hurt typical children, they'd cover their eyes. Not Michael. He had inner ear infections so frequently and we had no idea that he lost hearing and parts of his ear drum. Most children would "tug at their ears." Not autistic children. So, when we walk into SAM's and he starts to go ape$hit, I have no idea why, but after a week of dealing with him tantruming over E-VERY-THING, I could really care less. And it makes me think....where did the saying "ape$hit" come from? It must have come from someone SO upset that if they could $hit on cue and reach into their pants and throw it at the offending person, they would. Like a monkey. At that exact moment, I look up and see some self-righteous old fuckt@rd eating a parfait. I'm just about the reach into my panties for ....and then I realize it's not worth it. These are new and I ate corn last night.

I'm driving home with Michael kicking my seat and thinking how stupid it was to engage in an experiment with Joe to give up all alcohol 'til his White Coat Ceremony in August to see if our bellies shrink. I wonder: is alcohol the reason our children are still alive today?

I'm starving and I'm bent on something cheesy. WHY don't they have drive-thru pizza places? Will the pies not fit through the windows? Dunno. I settle on Taco Bell and making myself as happy as I can. Kick your heart out kid. Wear yourself down 'cause I'm listening to Queen and I'm getting carbs. I WILL be happy today! I don't know if it's the rhythm of the car movement or the dulcet tones of Freddy Mercury (that always does it for me) or the hypnotic MSG that keeps us all coming back to Taco Bell against our will, but it worked. The afternoon wasn't perfect, but it was better.

And, as my 5 year old jumped on the bed singing, "Biiiicycle! Biiiicycle!" I sighed. Kids: 12,874 Parents: 1

YES!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Boycott Big Red

I just arrived home from an Autism Support Group Meeting. That's right. A meeting of parents with special needs (who, I am proud to say, the majority were ordering adult beverages) who need each other's support and guidance. Since we're new to the area, the group "leader" of sorts sat next to me and was answering a few questions for me. I was taking notes. Since we just arrived, we don't know about babysitters yet and so had the kids with us. Though other people had their kids with them, I know there is a limited amount of time with my son. The clock was ticking. Get in, get out. Get food to go. Take notes on the fly. See, to give you a quick run-down on just one aspect of Autism, there are those children on the spectrum who can sit with their video games for hours and then there are those, like my son, who are constantly on to the next thing we can do. And, if it's not productive, he's done. Let's move on is his thought process.

"Wait? You got me my pizza first so I wouldn't scream bloody murder 'cause I was hungry and they sat two tables of 23 at the same time? Well, I'm full and I don't like to color OR play tic-tac-toe so you better think of something for me to do or we're out of here be-otch! You're still hungry? Wah wah. Suck it up and eat on styrofoam."

Soooo.... Back to Joe and I trying to keep Michael from eating off of other's people's tables ("Why do you need a to-go box? I'll take care of it for you. Well, the cheese, anyway.") while trying to just get the names and websites of programs for our son, and up comes who I like to refer to as Big Red. You see her crimson sweater before you see her scarlett hair (not a good pairing). At first I think she's kneeling between the host and I just to say hi (in fact, this is what she implies she's doing). Hostess tells her to take the empty seat next to her and politely introduces her to me, my husband, and my children, which she sluffs off. I wait while she launches into story after story after story about how horrible her new therapist is and how far advanced her son is and how they don't need her yadda yadda. Ahem. Why are you here, then? So, anyway. Michael, by this time, has resorted to politely signing and saying, "All done," meaning he is friggin' OVER this place and I have only gotten a water, which I have had to ask for 13,274 times and a BITE of a bread stick that Michael then took from me, looked at, smooshed, and then handed back to me. Excellent.

I'm

Fucking

Done

I interject: "Excuse me. I HATE to interrupt. Could you please e-mail me those websites we spoke about? Thanks." At this point I hope Big Red can sense the venom in my voice. And, we left. Joe got our food to go and I paid too much money for food I could have made better at home without indigestion from wanting to punch somebody in the throat. All the better to choke you with my deeaaarrrr.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life Just Isn't Fair

Here I am, grazing 30 years of age, and I'm finally coming to terms with a very simple fact: life isn't fair. I have this revelation, nay, this epiphany, in the shower when the crushing force of my To Do list bullet-points like buckshot through my brain. "The gym? Again? Awe crap. But I went twice last week." "Yes Kati, people do tend to have success when they continue to go." This is the conversation I have...with myself. "Walmart? I have to take my children to Walmart? This is gonna be great. That thing the therapist told us to get is probably in the toy section and the kids are going to want whatever they see. Sigh. Avarice is the infection of childhood. Walmart is the bane of my existence."

Spoiler alert! Walmart really was that bad. Cat's have catnip and it makes them crazy in a good way. I am convinced Walmart pumps pheromones throughout their stores that make children crazy. The gym, however, was not that bad. I was not looking forward to it at all. In fact, I was seriously down by the time Joe got home to relieve me. But, I decided to try out the theory that if you work out when you're  depressed, you'll feel better, though I thought it was bull$hit. I really did feel better. I wasn't ready to sing in a grassy meadow like Julie Andrews or anything, but I wasn't ready to put a shotgun in my mouth, either. (Get a [dark] sense of humor, people.)

Anyway, if there is one thing I will instill in my children that Americans usually do not, it is that life is not fair. Americans are usually brought up to believe that we are all created equal. Hint: THAT's Bullshit. Tell that one to my son. This is a blog, not an autism forum, but words fail me to underscore the lack of caring on the part of people who SHOULD be caring in this neck of the woods (and we are very very deep in the woods, mind, you. I hear banjoes).

But...as a family, this is where we are for two more years and no, life isn't fair. And, there are no perfect situations. You can make a good situation or a bad situation out of anything and this situation has potential. I remember reading about Julia Childe in her "My Life in France" book and thinking how very brave she was and how I would have stayed in the house all day and would have become a shut in, too scared of mis-pronouncing something.  Think about it: this woman was a million feet tall, boisterous, knew not one word of French, spoke it horribly, couldn't cook, had no tallents and was now married to a military man so had no job. In theory, she would not fit in with the Parisians. But she made her way. She took a passion and she became herself. Who the hell am I?

Good question.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Theory of Masochism vs. Masturbation

I am proud to say, I have conquered some fears recently. I made crepes for the first time and, though riddled with heart palpitations over what people might think of the "old lady" at the college gym, I bit the bullet and went anyway. Sweating my arse off on the third floor elliptical, I was able to view the entire gym from my lofty perch ("You all look like little ants from up here!") and I made some observences.
  • Let's get the cattiness out straightaway... Here's a tip, girls: trying to force last night's keg into postage stamp size shorts is NOT cute. Nor is tanorexia and having teeth so white you can see through them (like skim milk).
  • Apparently, Saturday is the day when the elderly come out to play. This made me feel so much better about not having "JUICY" stitched across my a$$.
  • Just when you think you're hot $hit for not dieing after 45 minutes, some girl has to use all her body weight on one lever of the ellipitcal to change directions. F-you, Barbie.
  • Just when you're about to say, "F-you, Barbie," you catch a glimpse of an overweight version of your ellipitcal partner running, purple faced on the track. Maybe Barbie was once there? Judge not.
  • Observe the females: they constantly look around, look others up and down, watching to see who is looking at them. They are analyzing and comparing themselves to others. And, they are not amused.  Now observe the males: they are not looking around. They are looking at...themselves. They are checking themselves out in the mirrors, or watching the muscle they are currently lifting with or unabasedly looking themselves up and down. And, they are enjoying themselves. This leads me to a theory. Working out for women is fueled by self-hate; it's masochism. Girls, we're punishing ourselves for the ghosts of crepes past. Working out for men is self-love; it's masturbation. So, why not either be a little more "manly" in our approach to daily life?
  • I'm thinking about Bedazzling "30-BFD!" on my shorts. (Bootylicious won't fit anymore.)