The Naked Truth: A double whammy of parenting sh*t

I don’t even know where to begin today.  Between forgetting to give Chick’s new school her updated immunization records (kinda required before she can be at school…) and trying to figure out what to pack Thor for lunch at school (dairy free gluten free and yummy tasting…right…) and plenty of other crapola…my mind is pretty much fried.  I’m handing out the warning that if you don’t like a little mild language, you’re not going to want to read here today.

Here’s the thing I can talk about that’s keeping me up at night…

As I’ve made no secret about, Thor’s was diagnosed last year with Aspergers Syndrome which is of course an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  We thought it was pretty mild.  We were told it was mild.  We did not have a full diagnostic testing panel done on Thor.  Not because we didn’t think it was necessary but because at the tune of 3-4k (not covered by insurance in West Chester, PA) we went with the pediatricians diagnose that was a $20 co-pay.

We’ve made the decision to get him into Cincinnati Children’s for a full Autism test. Even if the diagnoses is the same we need help with what therapies are going to work for him. Because right now, just seeing the guidance counselor at school once a week for social group…it’s not helping.

Even with an IEP…we are all struggling.  His behavior is going downhill (and maybe it’s all this other sh*t and tension that’s nothing to do with him that he’s feeling and picking up on) but the constant back-talking, impulse control problems and weeping that’s really got me concerned.  The other night, I wasn’t actually there to see it, but during the Reds game one of our favorite players was tossed for something insignificant and this caused him to start crying.

It’s just not…normal.  I don’t like that label of normal and not normal.  I don’t know what else to call it though.  Thor was allergy tested and the allergist suggested removing casein and soy and peanut butter from his diet.  We also tried cutting gluten (as is typical with Autism diets).  Do you have any idea how hard that is? (I know some of you, like Casey, follow this and get what I am talking about.)

The gluten free is simply not going to work (and the doctor didn’t specifically say gluten needed to be cut).  We are sticking with no casein, so basically a dairy-free diet.  We are already dye free (Do you know how much sh*t has dye in it?? Toothpaste, soap, vitamins…it’s not just a food thing.)  I want to do everything I can to help him be the great kid that he is (and was).  I would do anything for him.  But I am struggling mightily with all this stuff.  I don’t know what I am doing or if I am doing the right things.  He seems to be getting worse instead of better and I am worried that it’s completely my fault.

I suppose a lot of parents feel like this.  I read parenting blogs and I know we all struggle with the same basic things.  I’m starting to feel this is getting beyond what I can handle or I need some super powered parenting class on Autistic kids.  There is one class, held in NH or someplace…it’s $5,000 for one week.  I don’t get why they have to make helping kids so freaking expensive.  It’s supposed to be an amazing class.  But what good is it if the majority of people can’t f*cking afford to attend the class?

I’m super frustrated today (obviously).  Tomorrow I’ll go back to being the mild-mannered me you’re used to.  I promise.

 

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The Naked Truth: Half Truths and Polite Lies

All comments are suddenly missing and disqus.com returns an error.  I apologize!  Makes me long for blogger comments now…

It’s time again for the Naked Truth where I wax un-poetic about truthful things that are clogging up my brain.  Do you have your own truth to tell?  Feel free to let me hear it.

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“We’ll exchange addresses and the kids can be pen pals.”

How many times have any of us said words to that effect?  How many times did we actually mean it?  Are we all just saying the words other people want to hear because it’s proper or polite?

I’ve been thinking back to last June as we let a few people from school know the next day, the last day of school, was also our last day in Bonn.  There were lots of questions about where we were going and why and plenty of “it seems so sudden.”  In ways it was sudden and in others it was not.  But at the end of every conversation was the promise of keeping in touch, letting the kids write and remembering the people we once were aquainted with.

None of those things came true. 

It’s not that I fault people for it, after all I didn’t write either, I didn’t even have the addresses to write.  But how many times do we say things like this without another thought?  Everyone does it.  I’ll say these words once again at the end of the month, and I wonder if I will make them true.  It’s more for the kids sake than mine.  Knowing we wouldn’t be staying here from the day we moved, I didn’t go out of my way to make more than casual aquiantances.  The only person who I consistently have talked through over the years is M, my best friend from middle/high school.  We chat via Facebook, an occasional email or card, and we used to have lunch when I’d go home to visit my parents. (She has since moved out of state)

So throwing out the “we’ll write” phrase of politeness won’t faze me.  But I do wonder if it’s right to say it.  My kids hear that.  Am I sending the wrong message to them by telling a half truth or a polite lie?  What have you done or said in this situation?  Is being polite more important than being honest?  How do we let kids know the difference between polite lies and bad ones?

Do you see your name listed below?  Then that means you won a copy of  Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas!  Please email me with your full name and address to collect your prize!  bloggingmamaandrea {at} gmail {dot} com

Charlotte
Teri
Captain Dumbass
The Blue Zoo
Inthehammockblog

The Naked Truth: What I had to learn

The winners of the Dork Diaries giveaway are: Mrs. Bear, Christin, Colleen, Donna and Sarah Billington! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who stopped by to enter. I’ll be having a giveaway with CSN in the next two weeks and coming in mid January a new book – Wish Stealers. Thor and I are reading this one together and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

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I thought it was time for another go at The Naked Truth.  Previous editions can be found here. Today’s truth is coming to an end on Tuesday.  As of 4:20 pm Dec. 15th, I will no longer be playing the role of Single Mom.  For the newbies, no I’m not getting married, I already am married.  My husband and I will just finally be living on the same continent again.

The past six months have taught me a lot about myself and my kids.  We are more resilient than I thought.  Way back in May, while we all still were living in Germany, Cycling Papa and I had to make a decision.  I could remain in Germany with the kids and wait until February when his contract officially ended and we could all move together.  Or I could take the kids and move to Philadelphia alone.

It wasn’t an easy decision as much as I was missing the one place that had been home for ten years.  For the good of my kids, both of whom need extra support, we decided to make the move early, get the kids in school and not move mid-year.  CP packed up and moved in with a work colleague.  And now he’s finally packing up and moving here.

It’s going to be an adjustment.  I have my routines, my way of doing things.  When he would visit once a month things shifted into a chaotic existence for a week and then once he was safely back at the airport we readjusted ourselves.  Things would slip back into our new normal.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m happy that my world is about to get a seismic shift.

The one thing I’ve learned most is that I can be a single mom.  If I had to do this, then I could.  Not that I ever want to.  It’s hard being the person who does everything.  From bills, to cooking, to cleaning, to full-time kid care; there aren’t any breaks for a single parent.  You are the Go To person 24/7.  And that is exhausting.

It is also rewarding.  I think I’ve grown closer to my kids (despite my less than stellar temper sometimes).  We know each other better and they see that I’m not just the discipline parent but I am also the fun parent.  I can take them out to eat by myself.  I can take them into the city on my own and we can all survive the experience. 

In the past six months we’ve seen dinosaurs, explored a ‘southern’ event, had many a movie night, attended a cranberry festival, gone to the shore and had a wonderful time.  We’ve also had tears, screaming, a few slammed doors, time-outs and plenty of back-talking.

I’m coming out the other side of all of it knowing that if I had to, I could handle being a single mom.  Who knows what the next six months will hold?  We may have to do this again if CP gets a job out of state, a distinct possibility at this point.  Whatever happens, I know that I will survive it and my kids will survive it and somehow it will all work out.

Kudos to any of you who take on the role of Single Parent.  I’ve been in your shoes, and I don’t know how you do it.

The Naked Truth : Leave Out All The Rest

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It’s Thursday and Thursdays seem to make me open up the truth bottle and start talking. Feel free to join in. If you want your own bottle of truth snag the code, let me know and I’ll link you up.

I dreamed I was missing, you were so scared
But no one would listen, ’cause no one else cared
After my dreaming, I woke with this fear
What am I leaving when I’m done here?

The past week I’ve heard some news that’s going to change someone else’s life. Praying came to mind and believe me when I say I did pray for you.

So if you’re asking me, I want you to know

When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest

Is there a place where the sun lives and shines? I haven’t seen the sun today and I don’t know if I’ll see it tomomorrow but I hope you are seeing it wherever you are. It isn’t me you will remember but I will remember you.

Leave out all the rest, don’t be afraid
I’ve taken my beating, I’ve shared what I made
I’m strong on this surface, not all the way through
I’ve never been perfect, but neither have you

There is no right way to be strong. You are strong in your own ways. Even beaten down you’ve gotten back up and trust me when I say no one is perfect. Not even you.

Forgetting all the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

Everything has changed. Everything will change. Everything is always changing. There’s no way to stop ‘change’. It doesn’t matter what we talk about or who we are talking to because change will continue whether we want it to or not. There’s no stopping it.

When my time comes, forget the wrong that I’ve done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
Don’t resent me, and when you’re feeling empty
Keep me in your memory, leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

This past week I’ve been affected by changes that are happening to other people and a few of my own. When I hear about illness, defeat, sadness and even joy I can’t help but bring it into myself and let it roll around inside. I may not want it to but I can’t stop it. Death, illness, defeat and joy. It’s all inside and I pray for all of you who are experiencing these things and much more.

Forgetting all the hurt inside you’ve learned to hide so well
Pretending someone else can come and save me from myself
I can’t be who you are

I can’t be who you are

You may never know I think of you and your struggles and I am hardly an example of someone who prays on a regular basis but this week my friends I prayed for you. I offered up whatever I could in the hope that maybe somehow my unknown prayer reached you and gave you comfort.

I can’t be who you are

I can never be you and I can never know who you really are but all the same I hope there are many more days in your future for me to find out.

*lyrics from Linkin Park – Leave Out All the Rest

Have you entered my Punkin Chunkin t-shirt giveaway? Go here for the details! Winner will be announced Monday.

Day Two of The Naked Truth : The Drinks are on Me

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Ah truth, they say it sets you free but me, I’m not entirely sure about that. I think it depends on the kind of truth you tell. My truth today is embarrassing. I always said “I’m not dumb enough to fall for that!”

But it seems I was.

Here’s how it happened. For nearly a year I’ve had this manuscript, all 86000 words of it, floating around on my computer. I’ve edited and cut and written and scratched and changed a lot of things about it. I even conned my sister into reading it. She was highly complementary and what I said then sis, still holds: When this damn thing gets published you get the dedication.

Actually I don’t think I used damn but you get the idea.

Let me say that it’s been rejected. Three times. Two agents never read more than 5 pages and one never read anything but my (admittedly sucky) query letter. I was told it wasn’t the right ‘thing’ for them. One agent did me a wonderful favor by sending a handwritten note with helpful suggestions; I’ve mentioned that before.

So when I sent it one last time after a few months of letting it languish in its little folder on my computer imagine my shock and excitement when someone asked to see more.

They wanted to see the entire manuscript. Eagerly (and here’s mistake number two, see if you can figure out number one) I sent it off after spending 12 hours editing it for any typos and correcting this ‘ to “ this. Since I wrote it on a German keyboard the required “ was missing from all the dialogue. You think that’s fun to fix?

Not so much. But fix it I did. 12 hours of fixing and final editing and I am not making that up. When you’re talking about that many words it takes a long time to make sure every single one of them is thoroughly polished.

The response came sooner than the ten days. This ‘agency’ (and I use that term soooo loosely!) said they wanted to represent my manuscript and sent me a contract. What writer wouldn’t absolutely freak out that after only the fourth submission they had an agent. I (again stupidly) signed the contract, waited for their countersign and prepared to if not make it rich at least be able to afford the expensive mac n cheese.

And here’s where I was royally duped and I have no one to blame but myself.

Ask yourself, How does publishing work? Do I pay them or do they pay me?

Yep, they pay me. But this agency asked me to get a critique, which in itself isn’t super unusual as legitimate critiques exist. They could recommend a good agency (themselves) and it wouldn’t be very expensive using their client discount.

$89 later I had a signed contract and a critique in progress which would take about three weeks to complete. The following week (four days after I had the option of cancelling the contract) I got the urge to Google Mr. McScammy which I had failed to do previously (mistake numebr 12,927). It turns out he’s extremely well known!

He’s well known for stealing people’s money, securities fraud and smashing people’s dreams into oblivion. As I read more and more at the great site Writers Beware the sicker I became, the farther my stomach fell and the more I wanted to curl up in a ball under the coffee table.

I am supposed to be smarter than this. I am supposed to be Smarter Than THIS!

But I wasn’t. I got duped and scammed and robbed of $89 but that isn’t even the part that stings the most. The worst part is losing the confidence this false representation gave me. The confidence of know that I had finally made a small foothold into this insane world of publishing.

It’s been a week plus now and I climbed back out from under the table, the contract has been terminated (in writing by us both) and I’ve dusted off that manuscript and my low lying pride and sent it back out into the world for another chance. This time with bona fide legitimate agents. Whether it’s a yes or another polite no remains to be seen. I do know one thing, I hope I am never stupid enough to fall for another scam like this. For everyone else they’ve duped (and the list is very long my friends) I hope we get our day in court, our money back and that no one else suffers from falsified dreams.

I can only hope.

*I received rejection number four on this project only moments ago. Right I’m pretty much feeling like the kicked puppy on the street corner you don’t want to look at. Abandonment of writing altogether seems imminent.

Because I am in contact with the Attorney General in Florida where a suit is being brought against this person I am unable to reveal the name of the agency or agent in question. But use your imagination and Google away, it’s not hard to find.

To find out if you are dealing with a legitimate publish or agent you can visit this site Literary Agent Research, scroll to the bottom of the page. Simply register for free to see if they are reputable. You can also make inquires in the forums at Absolute Write.

The Naked Truth : In case of emergency break glass

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Does anyone know where I can get one of these little emergency things? How about an EASY button?

Because lately I’m feeling like one more thing is definitely going to send me over the edge of sanity. With last month’s fest of houseguests, H1N1 (or the equivalent), doctor related crap, the great scam and annoying neighbor dogs I’m pretty much out of any ideas on how to reach normal again. It feels never-ending.

I tend to think of myself as pretty laid back and easy going. About once a month I completely lose it and do a freak out and then everything goes back to normal. I’ve had several freak outs lately and let me say, I’m not feeling like things are back to normal.

Last week I said I felt like I wasn’t sharing things in enough depth. Maybe doing so would help. Well here you go.

I’m sharing.

Thing One:
Chick is starting preschool after Thanksgiving and that is a blessing for sure. Because it means she’ll be out of the house 4 days a week interacting with other kids. It’s a special preschool run by our county for children with development issues. As I’ve said before Chick has a speech issue which is tied into being developmentally behind for her age. This school will give her the speech therapy and the extra skills she needs to bring her back up to speed with other 3 year olds.

And they will even help her learn to use the potty.

Did I get a Gold Star school or what?

The only real issue is it starts at 8:30 and is 20 minutes from our house. Thor has to catch the bus at 8:40, school starts at 9. Have I mentioned that traffic around here is nothing short of nightmarish especially during the rush hours?

I don’t exactly know how I’m going to pull this one off but in order to get 4 delicious hours to myself four days a week I’m sure I can manage something.

Thing Two:
When I did the Autism walk I told you all that I’d share why Autism was important to me. It is important because Thor is being evaluated for an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). We are awaiting evaluation through a study at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP) which is being conducted by the Center for Autism Research (CAR). As much as I don’t want Thor to have this I also want him to so we can move on and get the extra support he needs. I simply want an answer for the extra ‘things’ that make Thor who he is. I want him to excell in life and I can’t do that in the best way until I know what that way is. I wrote more on this over at The Literary Side The Challenges of Autism some time ago. I’ll cut and paste it below (It originally posted in May).

In any family hoping for a child most future parents say it doesn’t matter if the baby is a girl or boy so long as they are born healthy. Even in my own home it that was all that I had asked for. At birth my son, now 7, was a healthy baby boy, 7 pounds 12 ounces with a smattering of reddish hair and the softest blue eyes. In my own words he was perfect.

Like any child he grew up laughing and playing, always exceptionally bright he spoke his first words and immediately broke into sentences at age two. He questioned me and challenged me for answer to things he didn’t know. What is a question mark and when do we use it? How about a comma? Usual questions but unusual because they came from a four year old. My son does exceptionally well in school and his teacher has told us she highly suspects he has a photographic memory. He reads and spells on a fourth grade level, as he is about to finish first grade in June.

Exceptionally smart and yet he struggles in social situations. Relating to other children has always been a difficult for him. His father and I decided it was simply because he was so smart and didn’t care to play with children who didn’t play in the same rigidly ruled way he did. His rules or you don’t play. Type A personality shines through very clearly with my little boy. He is organized, exact and precise to the point of near frustration for me when I should do something that is out of sync with the way he wants it to be.

A range of behaviors that alerted me to a possibility that there could be other issues however, started when he turned four and half. Often he would become angry or have some repetitive behaviors. He didn’t seem to have any particular friends his age. He often preferred to play alone his teacher told us and didn’t engage his classmates. At the time we’d just completed our fifth move in his short life and this one to another country where none of us spoke the language. I attributed it to simply adjusting on his part to a new school and home, a new way of life. After all if I was stressed in making the move as an adult what had it done to my then four year old?

Progressing now into our third year abroad the behaviors and issues have compounded to a point where we can no longer ignore that there is more at hand. ADHD is one diagnosis I’ve kicked around in my head many times. OCD is another. He has been tested for neither as our preference is to have him tested by a pediatrician back home in the United States, where we hope to return within the next year.

Recently an old friend I grew up with contacted me through that amazing social medium, Facebook. In talking a mention of her child’s recent diagnosis of Aspergers had me Googling into the wee hours. I’d heard of it but I didn’t know enough about what it was. When I sat back after examining the articles and websites on this condition, one of a few falling into the frame of Autism Spectrum Disorders something clicked and I knew.

My child exhibited seven out of ten indicators for this condition. ADHD and OCD are also often found in children with Aspergers. I sat on this information for a few weeks unsure of mentioning it to my husband. Who wants to ask if it’s possible their child, extremely smart and seemingly well liked, yet not socially integrating, has a condition related to Autism?

I certainly did not want to ask that question and yet the more I read and the more I thought, I knew I had to. My husband confirmed that he’d researched the same himself and come to the realization that our seemingly perfectly healthy child exhibited too many signs of this high functioning form of Autism to be ignored.

My son is not yet diagnosed nor has any sort of evaluation been started. The preference is still to wait until we return home where we can communicate with doctors in our own language, medicine seeming to us to be far more advanced and syndromes like Aspergers are being diagnosed with a regularity. In other words we want to be where things are familiar. We know the system and the way things work and in our ideal destination to plant our roots where there are excellent children’s hospitals and services.

Saying the words “My child may have Aspergers” is not one I’ve come to easily or lightly and I will be selective with who will know the information both before evaluations, during evaluations and afterwards. It is after all a label and one I don’t want my child to have to deal with unfairly. I simply want him to be loved for who he is, a charming, sweet, brilliant little boy.

With occasional seven year old quirks.

For more information on Aspergers please visit: Aspergers Syndrome Support, Aspergers Disorder Homepage, What is Aspergers?


Answers are great. I only wish we’d get them soon.

In the end these are only some of the things that are going on at present and the rest with have to wait for the next edition of The Naked Truth.

You never know, I might even make it a weekly thing.

Do you have your own truths to tell? You can share them in the comments if you like. I’ll be sure to pass out your vice of choice afterwards.

I’m also chatting up my love of Paris so stop by here for the details One Travel Blog.

And go here for cheap air tickets!

Featured: Pier One chalkboard glass set with my own creative twist.