Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Years Wish for all Those Parents with Kids on the Spectrum

May all your breakthroughs be in the therapy rooms and not out of the diapers...
May all their tantrums be at home and at times when you can devote your full attention to them...
May you have many more restful nights than sleepless nights...
May your IEP's all go AOK...
May the therapies you have chosen be the ones they need most...
May the insurance companies say, "aw heck, give em 120 instead of 60 visits"...
May all your relationships whether the storm...
May your families stick with you the way mine have...
May your friends understand 1/10th of what you're going through...
May your school system find the time, the place and the money...
May your state and federal governments give a damn...
May your love far outweigh the need for patience...
May you find time....
May you find peace...

God bless and God Help Us in 2008!!!!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The 12 days BEFORE Christmas

I won't parody the song, but I'd like to go over the madness that occurs in our house to pull of that magical children's carnage known as Christmas. I have my Nightmare Before Christmas sweatshirt that I try to wear at least twice in December...because at least twice that many days in December...are.

Crawling through the attic on hands and knees, I actually asked for carpenters kneepads for next year. Three pieces of the artificial tree, two boxes of lights, two boxes of decorations and a whole buncha outdoor stuff that I REFUSED to set up this year. We had a security guard watching the attic stairs so no wandering eyes should appear (because guess what ELSE is lurking up there for Xmas?) or to prevent the daredevil Grace deciding to jump from the third or forth step.
Finding the time, location and privacy to accomplish the 'covering of the festival centerpieces' is also a challenge. Note that because of the belief of certain rotund annual nocturnal aviators, we must converse in the most erudite fashion possible. Note that those with younger children who try this... be warned, it's like speaking pig-latin, they catch on... our oldest now has quite a vocabulary! Anyway, we have it down to two sessions now, one when they were all in school and, hopefully Xmas Eve day when I take the two most aware and believing of the I have to find a place for Jason and Liv to go while Aly watches Grace and Lin uses her skills to finish the job.
Linda has this THING about keeping it financially even between the five somewhat. She even makes attempts at quantity and godhelpus, VOLUME. Think video games and you'll know why the cubic foot parity is an impossibility.
The culmination, the crescendo of this gift symphony is Xmas Eve. OK first, lets get the DYFS (NJ Child Abuse admin for those out of state) business out of the way...we DO drug our children on Christmas Eve. Double dose of melatonin or some Benedryl and they ain't even gonna remember the sugar plums dancing in their heads! In our defense, they are soooo hopped up on adrenaline that this just helps them to fall asleep before 2 am.

And now a holiday treat...A Visit From Saint Amabilis (who I found is the patron saint to prevent mental illness!)

Twas the night before Xmas and all round the house,
Lin and I are both lurking as quiet as a mouse.
The stockings and tree are in an inopportune spot,
we go from attic to basement hoping not to get caught.
Imagine 10 gifts times 5, you get the impression,
but to live the whole evening is beyond comprehension.
Since the path to the tree goes right past the boys room,
to pass them 99 times would surely spell doom
So 'round about the house the pair of us trek
From attic, to bedroom, out front door to back deck
The parcels are piled out by sliding doors of glass
And now comes the greatest pain in the neck
The door must be opened and the parcels on the ground,
must magically go under the tree sans a sound.
So here are the pair of us like burglars under cover
Waiting for a child to wake up and discover
But so far in 12 years we have ne'er been caught
In truth now 40% of our kids' silence has been bought.

We'll get through the presents, on to the stockings with care
Which'll be so laden, they'll not hang, they'll just lay there
Once we are done, complete and in bed,
we don't feel like parents, but two kids instead.
Because once again and for just two mortals mear,
We've pulled off the magic for yet one more year.
And you'll hear me exclaim as I turn out the light,
Merry Christmas to all, let them sleep through the night!

NEXT: The Biblical Christmas Wrapping Paper Flood...

Saturday, December 08, 2007


OK, I got approval to tell this story from my mom in law...God bless her....

She was having a rough time of it today. She was shopping today, which was a bad move to begin with. She was looking for a rake and first went to Kmart. She got past the obligatory Santa collecting for the Salvation Army, fought through the throngs and came up empty handed, rakes had been moved out to make room for more Xmas decorations. Fought her way back out of the store and bought something just to justify the trip. She got hit at the register for a donation to something. She then headed to Home Depot. She went past another Xmas collection agent at the door and got her rake; checkout again asked for a donation. Next on to a cosmetics store Harmons, you guessed it, another bell ringer at the door.

Finally, she had to go to the local supermarket, Pathmark to pick up a few things. Enter our poor hapless victim: a teenager with a Santa hat. "Hi, would you like to donate for terminally ill children?" In a scene that would have made Scrooge shake his head she said:

"No, I don't want to donate to terminally ill children, I'd rather donate to my daughter's two autistic children! Celebrities will help out those kids that are dying...NOBODY's helping the autistic kids!"

Poor girl will probably be psychologically scarred for life; she stammered as my mother in law went by. At least she now has an indelible story to tell in her old age. My MIL, shaken with guilt, needed 45 minutes on the phone to be talked down from the " this the future that WILL be?" eternal damnation ledge. Please have pity, she's under a lot of stress...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Feeding an Army

I had another one of those 'Woody' moments today. Remember the movie Toy Story near the end when Woody and Buzz were trying to get on the moving van, their RC car ran out of batteries, then they realized the rocket was still on Buzz's back. Woody lights the rocket, then says "I just lit a rocket....rockets EXPLODE!"

I'm about 4 years after completely lighting the rocket, but making dinner today and grabbing a package with 7 huge pork chops, (probably the largest package in the supermarket without a 'party size' sticker), I realized that this was just barely enough to feed the family. Since both girls are on a gluten free casein free diet, we rarely all eat the same things. It's usually two separate meals: one for the 'large' family, the other the special diet for the two. Having two on the GF/CF diet does lend itself to some economies of scale; I really feel for many who only have one on the diet...the waste of some of these very expensive products is not advisable. Case and point for the aforementioned chops...shake and bake for the 'family', say 2.99, that covers 5 people for 2 meals. GF/CF coating...3.69...designed for one meal maybe 5 chops. So we split it to get the most, so it's only twice as expensive instead of 4X.

The realization also had hit me that these kids are growing, up...I'm just growing horizontally at this point. We went through an entire package of hot dogs at lunch today and Linda didn't even indulge in them. Two boys will inevitably turn 13 and begin devouring more and more of our house; Aly already eats like an adult; Grace and Liv will eventually grow out of toddler and kid size portions in the next 2-3 years. I just realized, I have to get my Costco membership renewed...

Even on the most mundane of shopping trips, Linda clears a cart easily; if she's on a roll; Aly goes with her and they are inventing new ways to cram and push two carts. Pretty soon, we're going to have to employ one of the boys to push the 'bulky cart'.

So next time you are stuck in line at the supermarket behind 'those people with three carts' think of us and be patient, you'll probably be enjoying your dessert before these people will even have their car unpacked!