24 February 2012

No Use Crying

It's all fun and games until something upsets the apple cart, so to speak.

Single parenting is not easy, nor is it complicated.  The hardest part, for me, besides having to do absolutely everything- every day, is the logistics of getting the boys to their various appointments and activities, all at the same time.  It's not rocket science, though, all it takes is for me to swallow my pride and ask for help.  Thanks to supportive friends, we work it out.

What throws me off my game is anything that goes wrong.  One little thing that adds extra work to my day can really knock me off track.

Today I really did feel like crying over spilt milk.  Here's what happened...
Dwight poured himself a glass of milk this morning.  He had a few sips and then put it in the fridge.  Yes, I've told him not to do this what feels like a thousand times.  I reminded him two days ago.  He is 11 years old, though, so my expectations only reach so high.  In his mind, thanks to our philosophy of minimizing waste, he was doing the right thing.

Tonight, during the tiresome, yet necessary task of making dinner for the boys, I knocked the glass of milk over- in the fridge.  Insert exasperated sigh here...

My initial instinct was to yell, growl, find someone else to clean it up.  Facts are facts, however annoying, it was my fault and no one else would, or should, clean it up.  So, slightly dramatically, I admit, I cleaned it up.  Bounty paper towels are a staple in our house for a reason.  Spills happen.  In the end of the day, it truly isn't worth crying or yelling over spilt milk.

It's just a bit of a mess.  No one was hurt.  The fridge was due for a little cleaning anyway.  I soaked up the milk, sprayed it down with a water/white vinegar solution and wiped it again.  A half roll of Bounty in the trash and the job was done.  I poured myself a drink, sat down and watched my boys calmly watching The Amazing Race. 

After 14+ months at this job of single parenting, I'm happy to say that that I am still not a yeller.  It's not always easy and is a big relief to know.  An incident like the refrigerator milk spill is a cliche reminder.  It really isn't worth crying/yelling over spilt milk.  Only a handful of things warrant a parent yelling.  It's a hard habit to break, but the kids REALLY appreciate it and actually listen better when parents don't yell.

We are 75% finished with this deployment.  I can almost see the end of the road where I know Horatio will be home and it won't be as much of a struggle to keep my patience in tact.   When Horatio is home, he often helps with the milk spills or pours the drink.  For that, I am thankful.

21 February 2012

Writing Contest

Staying connected during deployment can be a challenge, so when MilitaryBases.com ran a writing contest called, "you're the expert," I knew this would be a great topic.

Turned out I was right because they chose my piece as the 1st prize winner!

Thank you MilitaryBases.com


16 February 2012

Another Day in Autism Land

The laws in Autism Land are different from the laws in Neurotypical Land and anyone with a kid who earned the family the right to live in A.L. can tell you this is true.  Sometimes the A.L. laws contradict the N.T. laws but in the end of the day, no matter how the N.T. world feels about it, the A.L. laws take precedent.

Sometimes you just have to cancel a dentist appointment. 

Is it considered illness, a legitimate reason for cancellation, when the reason, summed up, is Autism?

I've had dentist appointments for all four boys on the calendar for 6 months.  The office assistant called on Tuesday to confirm said appointments.  All was well, so I said we'd see her there, 9:00 Thursday morning.

Well, then Autism roared it's kooky head.

Zack has a week full of long term assignments (some past due), meetings for high school preparation, and tests.  He entered the house last night in a fog of frustration.  On top of it all, the school bus keeps getting more crowded and he never gets a seat to himself.  This probably sounds silly to anyone not affected by the sensory storm of Autism, but in our world, sitting smooshed against someone, other than family or a close friend, on a small bus seat, would be like having your seat-mate lick your cheek.  Really.  It's hard to understand, but kids with sensory integration disorder can feel "creepy crawly," crowded and confused, when strangers get too close.  At the end of a chaotic middle school day, Zack just wants his space and there's nothing I can do about it except understand how it ends his day with a boot kick to the brain. 

So, as we meandered carefully through the maze of homework, dinner and de-stressing, I mentioned that he could sleep in the next morning because he and his brothers had a dentist appointment.  You'd have thought I told him he had four more science projects and he'd have to sit with not one, but two, kids on the bus. 

It was an utter meltdown. 

Sometimes you just have to cancel a dentist appointment. 

It's a judgement call.  I hope the dentist office assistant understands, but it's the right call.  Taking Zack to the dentist today would have been bad for everyone.  Taking an already wound up sensory confused, frustrated kid with autism, to a place where they strap a paper bib to his chest, touch his face and stick their fingers in his mouth, would not have ended well for anyone. 

I'm the mom.  I have to try to make my boy's world as inviting as possible.  I try to help him avoid hostile environments of all kinds and to him, today, the dentist office would have been a battlefield, so I sent him off to school. 

Who'd have ever thought that middle school would be the lesser of two evils???