Rainbow Mom

First off – sorry it’s been so long. But – I’m pregnant and the first three months were rough! So I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, writing on here and also working on my story(ies).

A few weeks ago, Nicky started to talk about getting a “rainbow mom” and I didn’t know what this meant but since he was talking about getting rid of me in exchange for another mom my reaction was usually, “yeah, go ahead then.” …see if I care…(kinda do).  I guess I get it, I was throwing up just about every day and laying around the house and just not doing much. So he would get upset and say he wanted a new mom. But it was only a few weeks ago that the “rainbow mom” debuted.

Then the other day he mentions her again and as usual, I don’t really think much of it–I mean, it’s unique for sure, my kid is quirky so we get things like this a lot. But he kept talking and then he started to talk about a picture book with a picture of “rainbow mom”. So I started flipping through children’s books in my mind but had nothing. Then he says something about it being next to the one with the large rubber ducky and it clicked.

Many moons and another lifetime ago, I had done my first color and my sister had taken a picture on the way to breakfast of how colorful I was (and mostly because we were worried they wouldn’t let me come inside and eat). That evening, I went to the movies with my boys and outside the theater there was a giant duck so I took a picture. Both pictures were posted to Instagram and therefore, both showed up in my very first Chatbook.

It was nice to finally have a mystery solved (we’re still trying to figure out what he means when he says, “I’ve got a half back!” or “I’ve got a hat back!”

Then Nicky asks if I could be a “rainbow mom” again.

I asked, “you want me to be the kind of person I was before I was a mom?”

“Yes,” he said.

I guess I was pretty awesome back then and it wouldn’t be so bad to be awesome again – even if I’ve developed a “mom voice” and bring down the heavy hand of the law from time to time.

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Partying for Partying’s Sake

Nicky has been wanting to have a party since this past summer when he read the book “Monster Party”. When I’m in the office he comes in and starts drawing on paper saying he’s making invitations.

Finally, a few days after Christmas he mentioned a party and I thought, “why not?” We have ready made party guests in the form of a bazillion cousins so not a lot of work has to go into preparation and they don’t need a lot of notice. So I decided to invite my sisters and their kids over for a pizza party.

I just made a ton of pizza dough and kept churning them out (kids can eat A LOT of pizza).

The only real work was the cake, and I took that on because I wanted to, not because I felt I needed to. I want to practice making fun cakes. After Christmas and this party I’m going on a sugar fast….starting Monday. J

Things I never thought I’d say -Part 2

Since the year is almost over I figured I would go ahead and publish this post I’ve been randomly adding things to. I’ll be honest, I forgot this list most of the year so it’s a little shorter than the real life things that have come out of my mouth since becoming a mom. But here is the list of things I remembered to write down.

  • I’m so sorry my child’s poo got on you.
  • I really just want to be able to stay in Sunday school the whole time.
  • You cannot squish people with the door.
  • Deodorant’s not for eating
  • Here, you can play with the gun. (Toy gun)
  • Don’t blow your nose on my pants.
  • You can’t knock on the baby’s head!
  • Get that out of your butt crack!
  • I can’t wait until we get a minivan
  • You can’t take other people’s moms, we’ve talked about this
  • You can’t drag your sister!
  • Don’t kiss the cat’s butt
  • Just use your shirt to wipe it
  • Don’t lick the floor

Hearing 101

Nicky had his first test today – hearing. We had his hearing tested when he was about 18 months because while he said a handful of words he wasn’t really where he should have been, also, he didn’t always seem to hear me. The test then indicated he had perfect hearing – meaning he was choosing not to hear me. And as he’s gotten older I’ve come to see that he really does choose wether or not he wants to hear me. Well–sometimes it’s because he gets hyper focused on things.

This morning we dropped off Izzy with grandma and then Nicky and I headed off on our abenchure (adventure). I thought it would be mostly fun for him. Sitting in a booth and looking for sounds but he was really nervous when we got there. Then the lady started sticking things in his ears and he was crying and I almost started crying because I told him we were going on an adventure and now he was never going to believe me again (I know he will I’m just dramatic). But then we went into the booth – which scared him at first but then she had two stuffed animals set up in opposite corners and when she hit a button one or the other would beat the drums. He excelled at this portion because he loved having the animals play the drums, which they did every time he got it right (it being looking in the direction of the sound or pointing at the card she asked him to). In fact, he was almost better behaved than me because I was the buffer between child and chair and his hair is a bit long at the moment so every time he excitedly looked this way or that his hair tickled my nose but the women told me not to react to anything so as not to affect the testing…but it tickled! I kept it together though and didn’t laugh.

The lady said that he has exceptional hearing…so it’s still true that he’s capable of hearing me – but doesn’t always listen. Oh gosh–I sound like my parents now.

When we left Nicky asked if we could come back tomorrow. That’s the true sign that he warmed up to everything.

The next testing is in January, and honestly I don’t know what to expect but they did well distracting him last time so hopefully they’ll do it again and hopefully Nicky will have fun.

It’s Official – I’m a Pageant Mom

So update on the pageant: Nicky participated! It may have helped that I said there would be a cookie feast for everyone who sings. It could also be because, even though he doesn’t sing, he’s had preparation and is fine to stand there.

He was the cutest little sheep. And I liked that he didn’t sing, made it humorous and entertaining. After the pageant they had the reception which was basically a cookie feast as I described. I even gave Nicky some punch but he said it was “too hot”. I took a sip, I think it was the bubbliness of the soda. Which I get – it’s why I don’t drink soda. They had Santa there and Nicky even sat on his lap and didn’t cry! In fact, as he was being helped on to Santa’s lap he already started to tell him what he wanted for Christmas (a puzzle like mommy’s). All-in-all it was a very good day.

To be or not to be

About a month ago I received an ominous email from Nicky’s preschool teacher requesting a meeting between her, the preschool director and me. My anxiety kicked in immediately, it was about 9 o’clock at night and the butterflies went crazy and something invisible squeezed my heart. I’ve always been the rule follower, doing my best to do things exactly as I’m expected to do. So this meeting, doubtless about something my son had done, left me feeling like I failed in some way. And its ambiguity was worse. Something wasn’t done right and they weren’t even going to give me a heads up so I could prepare myself.

Even when I got a little more detail (they’ve noticed some red flags, one being his anger) the following week my mind was filled with worse case scenarios.

The morning of my meeting, I was getting Nicky ready for school and he was fighting with me as I tried to get him dressed. He grabbed my arm and bit me! I don’t really remember my exact reaction but I know there was some crying in there. I took him to school and waited for my meeting.

The director and his teacher sat with me in a room and they went through behavioral issues they’ve noticed and a few “red flags” they’ve also noticed. They never did say what the “red flags” indicated but I’m assuming being on the autism spectrum. They mentioned his anger and difficulty transitioning from one activity to the next and asked me if I noticed any of this at home. I don’t know if it’s because I actually had to say something or if that bite from the morning was still at the front of my mind but I told them I have noticed the anger and wondered if it was normal and then I just started crying. I had spent all morning telling myself not to cry and I made it through most of the meeting not doing it and then there I was. Because they were telling me that my son’s behavior isn’t typical and I don’t know if it upset me just at face value–my son isn’t normal; or if it upset me because I felt like it was my fault, I had somehow failed my son, or even that I failed to notice the red flags myself before this meeting.

My nephew has autism, very high functioning, but I looked for all the little telltale signs he displayed from birth through 3 years, I read every email and article on babycenter about early warning signs and if I noticed one or two I comforted myself with the fact that he didn’t have the minimum number they stated before you should worry. But it’s been at the back of my mind for his whole short life.

They wanted me to have him evaluated by the county and so I arranged for that to happen. The week of the evaluation things had been good, he hadn’t been fighting me about going to school, I couldn’t remember the last time I snapped at him. We ended up meeting with four ladies (I was under the impression it would be one person but it made sense to have the others there, speech and behavioral people). I sat at a small table and talked to them while Nicky played with a graduate student. So while we talked, these women also observed. Nicky was at the top of his game that morning, he seems to like girls who are between 13 and 22 so I think the graduate student was his kind of girl. He made eye contact with her, played calmly, told her stories, etc. so the women said they didn’t think he had any cognitive issues but they would like to observe him at school for the behavioral issues they weren’t able to observe.

When we went to leave, I realized how scared I was to tell him we had to go and to have him meltdown when honestly, that would have been the best place for it. These women are there to help but all I could think about was how embarrassing and difficult it would be if he melted down and whether they would observe and say, “well your approach is all wrong, no wonder your child behaves that way.” Because they just said the issue wasn’t anything cognitive so that must mean I’m doing something wrong, right?

They set up a time to observe him at school and afterwards called me to move forward with some testing. First they’ll test his hearing, and in January they’ll do the real testing. The lady said he’s a real puzzle so she wants to test to ensure he doesn’t fall through the cracks – which makes sense. But it’s still hard. And I really don’t know which I’d prefer, for this to be a phase he’s going through or for there to be an issue. Because if it’s an issue/disability it lasts a lifetime; if it’s a phase it’s probably because I’m doing something wrong.

The Christmas pageant is today and the other day the preschool director said Nicky may just sit with me during the pageant (I guess that will be decided at some point today) because he doesn’t seem to want to participate. And I know this is stupid or shallow or something but I’ve been looking forward to this all year- but I know what a disaster it will be because my kid isn’t the type to actually sing and follow directions in front of an audience and I always have these expectations that we’ll have these cute experiences, normal experiences, and I’m always sad when they don’t work out.

And then that gets the pity party started because I wonder if that’s the rest of my life. Will I always hope for these seemingly normal experiences only to be disappointed when they don’t happen?

I don’t mean to have the pity parties, but I’m trying to process and to figure out how I feel because really I only know that I’m sad and scared and I couldn’t definitely tell you why. And I think the worst part is waiting, waiting to know if there is or isn’t something. Waiting to know how I should proceed with how I teach and interact with him.

And another thing, because it’s on my mind…his teacher always brings him to the car at pick up after school and on some days she says he’s “overstimulated”, because he’s crying and doesn’t want to go home. I get really bothered by that – it’s like a super nice way to say, “there’s something wrong with your kid”. At least that’s how I take it. He’s my kid, I expect him to not want to go to school and then a few hours later to not want to leave, I know how he gets. You don’t have to explain to me why he’s upset. It just–it makes me angry. And I know I shouldn’t be because his teacher is the sweetest person but there’s a little voice in the back of mind that thinks, “they don’t want him here”. And I know that’s not true, I’ve seen them with him and I know they love him, but it pops up just the same.

Anyway, I just needed to vent because I don’t have any answers or any solutions or an action plan and I won’t until at least January and it’s driving me crazy. The worst is – what if there’s nothing and they got me all worked up over nothing?

Tricks, Treats and Cheeseburgers

Just in time for Thanksgiving – our Halloween story.

I have always loved Halloween but ever since getting married it hasn’t been the same. There are no Halloween parties to dress up for, no dances, etc. so all that remained was passing out candy. What a weird thing Halloween is! You send your kids out to beg the neighbors for free candy. I’m not the type of person who can gush over a store-bought princess costume, or any costume for that matter because even if I really like it I feel like I’m being fake. So I can’t open the door and say in a higher-than-normal-for-me pitch, “oh what a cute princess/dinosaur/storm-trooper/witch you are!” For me, passing out candy is like working a customer service job without any training. They knock on the door and I open it and wait…because aren’t they supposed to say “trick or treat” and then I gush and pass out candy? They came to me, shouldn’t they start the convo/process? And then I think to myself, “Jessica-they’re just kids.” And then I give them candy and end up saying “thank you” even though they didn’t do anything for me. Also- I always feel like I’m giving out an inadequate amount of candy and I want to say, “sorry it’s not much” but they’re going to a bunch of house so I need to get over that. Anyway – that’s the way it’s been for four years or so.

But this year, Nicky helped me pass out candy and it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had passing out candy. I even let him stay up until 8 o’clock because he was having so much fun. And unlike how I felt myself, I offered on-the-job training to him. His first trick-or-treater was a young girl from down the street who had given him candy when we were their first trick-or-treater. I told Nicky to put the candy in her pumpkin just like she did for him. So he reached into her pumpkin and took candy out! I grabbed it from him and put it back in and added a big handful of our candy to hers. But after a few more people he got the hang of it. We went to sit on the porch at one point and hang out until more people came, he yelled into the darkness, “Hey! I want to give you candy!” And when he would see flashlights approach our driveway he would shake with excitement and say, “here they come!”

As for his first trick-or-treating experience. He didn’t seem so sure about what to do at first but he understood immediately that people were putting candy into his pumpkin. Once he fully understood the process he’d run ahead of me to the next house and ring the doorbell. And it nearly broke my heart when he’d ring a doorbell and no one was home. We had three houses in a row where no one was there and as we walked up the driveway of the fourth house, Nicky saw the owner of the home set up a chair and sit down in front of his porch with a bowl of candy and he said, “maybe he’s home!” Which made me laugh.

This year Nicky was a cheeseburger. He announced on Monday morning that he wanted to be a carrot, which quickly changed to a hot dog. I started to look up costumes on Pinterest and asked if he wanted ketchup and a bun and he declared he did not want either. Then he didn’t want to be a hot dog, he wanted to be a cheeseburger. I said, “are you sure you’re not just hungry?” But cheeseburger it was. We had our friend, Miss Sierra, staying with us for the week and she made his costume that same day.

I once said he was a hamburger and he yelled, “No! I’m a cheeseburger!” So…don’t make that mistake.

Izzy ended up wearing Nicky’s monkey costume – that he wore when he was five months old. She’s 17 months and the legs were a bit high water on her but other than that fit fine and she loved being in it. When I took off the monkey foot she whined and held out her bare foot for me to put it back on.

I’ve got the Halloween spirit back…I may even dress up next year.

5-month old Nicky (left), 17-month-old Izzy (right)

5-mo