Friday, September 24, 2010

More Important than Soccer

If your house is anything like my house its a constant struggle to get the kids to stop bickering and start appreciating each other. I know some squabbling is normal with siblings (I have a sister after all) but the last few weeks of the summer was nothing but fighting and tattling. It was driving me crazy!

Now that everyone is back in school - and mixing with non-family members - the arguing has settled down some but like every parent knows...never let your guard down! Its for that reason that I have spent the last week talking to the kids about appreciation, what it means and how you show it to the people around you. I even gave them examples of how to show appreciation (being helpful, giving hugs, having a good attitude).

I was certain that these morning pep talks were going in one ear and out the other until this afternoon. Usually when I drop Crafty and Mischief off at school after lunch she runs for the swings and he quickly joins the soccer game. Today they hopped out of the van as usual and started to run to their usual spots when all of a sudden Mischief stopped dead in his tracks. He turned to see where Crafty was and then he started running after her.

Honestly, I thought he was going to chase her around to bug her or something but when he caught her he just gave her a hug and then ran off to join his friends. She stood there for a moment and watched him run down the field. She was probably just as stunned and pleased as I was.

As I watched her join her friends (smiling just a little brighter) I said my own prayer of appreciation for this life I have.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spreading the Word

One of the challenges with having a kid with extra needs is deciding who and when to tell. Since his diagnosis four years ago, we have been very open about Dude and his Asperger's. At his previous school we openly discussed it with teachers, parents and students. We've always felt that information leads to understanding and that really, its no big deal.

With our move to a new town and Dude's transition to middle school we had to decide who and when to tell all over again. Dude's greatest wish is to be just like everyone else, a normal kid. I told him that there's no such thing as a normal kid...just ask their mother! I get what he means so together we decided that we'd tell the school but beyond that it was up to him.

Everything was moving along well, things at school we're good and he was making friends in the neighborhood. Things we're great until Friday. One of the things Dude has trouble with is reading facial expressions and body language, he often mistakes joking around, accidents or passive movements as acts of aggression towards him. At his previous school the kids knew to clarify their intention if Dude reacted badly and things would quickly simmer down. Not so here.

At last recess on Friday Dude had an interaction with another student that didn't go well. Dude, in his words "over reacted" and then felt dumb for causing a scene. We discussed his options for repairing the friendship and he decided it was time to 'spread the word.'

Last night he brought home an 'All About Me' poster he was making for social studies. His teacher had given them all a large piece of paper with a variety of questions about who they are and what they like. At the bottom of Dude's page he wrote in huge letters 'I have Asperger's...ask me about it!'

When he showed it to me he asked, "Think that'll do it, you know, spread the word?"

Yep Dude. I think that'll do it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

So it Begins...

It was a bizarre thing this morning...we were all up and ready to leave for school a half hour before we needed to. That's not normal for us. Usually our morning routine looks like a cross between a fire drill and that old game show Super Market Sweep. There is usually running and yelling and frantic searches for shoes and backpacks and jackets. Not this morning.

We were all up and ready to go with time to spare. I had time to read with Mischief while Dude played Lego quietly in his room and Crafty puttered around with her dolls. I was just about to call for the kids to get their things together when an ear splitting scream shattered our quiet revere.

I hopped off the couch and raced downstairs. It was Crafty and she was in the bathroom. In that instant a thousand thoughts raced through my head. Did she hurt herself? Did she see a spider? Was she just testing her vocal range? Through the door I asked her if she was OK. Slowly she opened the door, sobbing. I did a quick visible sweep of her limbs...all there and seemingly unharmed. Then I looked up. There's the problem.

Crafty's normally pony tailed, clipped and hair banded hair was a chaotic nest of random barrettes and ribbon. Between her hiccuped sobs she says, "I'm having a bad hair day."

So it begins...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Okay...maybe that's a little overly dramatic. How about Unwanted?

Mischief is my baby, my Little Buddy. For the past three years (since Crafty started school) we have been like the Two Amigos, like Cheech & Chong (without the pot) like Toopy and Binoo...we were a team. We shopped, ran errands, hung out at the library and thrifted together. Our days were filled with silly chatter, cuddles and crazy antics. It was hectic, draining, crazy, wonderful, hilarious and over too quick. It was bliss.

This year Mischief is in grade one. He's a big guy. He has decided there is no hand holding, that he can walk himself from the van into the school. He doesn't need me to pick him up at the grade one doors, he'll find me. Yep, he's a big guy. He goes to school all day, has home reading and today, for the first time, is staying at school for lunch. This is the event he has been waiting for. This is the sign of true big guyedness...he is packing a lunch and staying for the long haul.

He was so excited this morning that he could hardly sit still long enough to eat his breakfast. He rushed through brushing his teeth and getting dressed and was standing at the door, lunch bag in hand, fifteen minutes before we had to leave. The whole drive to school he was chatting about how great staying at school all day was going to be and about how cool it was going to be to eat lunch with his new pals.

I barely stopped the van in the drop off loop before he was out of his seat and jumping out of the van. With a quick wave he ran off to join his friends. That's it. Toopy ran off and left Binoo without a second glance. I must admit, I got a little teary as I drove out of the loop. I'm glad he's independent and supremely confident but couldn't the little beggar at least fake a little apprehension for my sake?

I was just about to turn out of the driveway of the school when I noticed a little figure running along the fence. It was Mischief. I rolled down the window as he blew me a kiss and said, "Remember I love you and I'll see you later!"


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Day Dinner Fought Back

Tonight's blog is sponsored by Boundary Trails Health Centre.

My well planned, much anticipated Aussie Meat Pie dinner turned into a two hour trip to the ER. Through a bizarre fluke accident that was in no way my fault I splattered searing hot EVOO (Rachel Ray speak for olive oil) all over the place...including halfway up my arm.

While I ran cold water over my rapidly swelling limb I read out the rest of the recipe to Mr. Awesome, who in all of his awesome splendor pitched in like a champ. I wrapped my arm in a bag of frozen peas and sat down with The Fam to enjoy this yummy yet somewhat dangerous meal.

The decision to go to the hospital came when an hour after the event my arm still felt like it was on fire and bits of skin were beginning to bubble up and turn white.

We loaded up the kids and headed out to the middle of nowhere to the hospital that our town shares with the next town over. After the clerk gets a chuckle out of my 'amateurs should stay out of the kitchen' routine I get to see the doctor. And in true small town fashion it turns out the doctor grew up in the house we now own. He spent as much time chatting about his great memories in that house as he did discussing my arm, which by the way is a first degree burn.

So that's what happened the day dinner fought back.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Settled like Wreckage after a Tornado

For the last week or so people have been asking me if we're all settled yet. I have answered honestly - no. While I have been enjoying domestic bliss for the past couple of weeks I have known that the storm was coming.

And today it came.

Today was transition day for Mischief and Crafty. Its the day when you take your offspring to school to meet the teacher, find their desks and receive enough paperwork to kill half a rain forest.

When we arrived home the kids ran inside and I stayed in the yard to pull a few weeds (I gardening?) and set up my scarecrows. When I entered the house I knew that we had suddenly settled in.

I literally could not get in the front door for all the backpacks, shoes, sweaters and papers that were trailing through the front entry, living room, dining room and kitchen. In the short twenty minutes I was outside juice boxes had exploded on the kitchen table, dress up clothes were oozing out of Mischiefs room and down the hall and a Lego battle was taking place up the basement stairs.

I stepped over the chaos and sank into the only chair in the living room, surveyed the mess and sighed.

Yes, we are now wreckage after a tornado.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Last Laugh

For the last couple of weeks Mr. Awesome has been randomly humming "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" which can only mean one thing...its back to school time. Yay!

We have survived another summer of mosquitoes, scorching temperatures and the never ending whine of "What are we doing today?" Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and we had some truly awesome times this summer but at this point in August boarding school really doesn't sound that extreme.

Ever since Dude started school (and I started school supply shopping) I have had a firm belief that teachers are sadistic beings. Maybe its their way of getting revenge for ten months of non stop kiddie chatter, snotty noses and excuses for lost homework but I think that most teachers intentionally include items on the school supply list that don't exist.

This opinion was challenged this year when I discovered that I didn't need to buy Crafty and Mischief school supplies - their teachers are buying them bulk thus reducing my back to school hunt by two thirds.

Knowing that I only had one kid to shop for I thought this year's hunt was going to be a piece of cake (store bought, not homemade...we all know where my home baking skills are at right now). A quick stop at Walmart and the list would be taken care of, right?

Wrong! There is no such thing as a metric only ruler, 10 tabbed page dividers or reinforcements just to name a few of the make-believe items on the list. I know some of these things existed when I was in school but they don't exist now. I don't know. Maybe the computer age has done away with the need to divide your binder or reinforce loose leaf.

I was about ready to concede and send Dude off to school with a standard ruler with the inches crossed out and a roll of scotch tape to solve his loose leaf dilemmas when I walked into Staples. It was like magic. There, in bins in the middle of the aisle were hundreds of metric only rulers and reinforcements.

So take that, teachers. I found everything on the list and you still have my kids for seven hours a day. Who's laughing now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Battle of the Bread

Bread and I have a long love/hate relationship. I love its warm doughy goodness...I hate its everlasting presence on my thighs. But our relationship goes deeper than that.

My grandma was THE best bread baker ever. I know, I know...everyone thinks their grandma is the best but seriously mine was. Being her granddaughter I fancied that some of that talent also flowed in my veins but its not so.

I have tried to bake bread many times over the years and my attempts are legendary. There's The Brick of '92, The Blob of '98, and The Scorcher '02 - just to name a few. Several years ago after a particularly close call with the yeast monster I called it quits. I'm a city girl and all sensible city girls leave bread baking to the experts, right?

I'm not sure what came over me, perhaps it is my new found domestic success but last night I decided to give bread another try. Not serious yeast involved bread but Banana Bread which really is more like cake. I can do cake.

I found a recipe, mixed up all the ingredients and slapped that baby in the oven. An hour later I pulled out a golden brown loaf of tasty goodness. I let it cool and then with the kids standing around, taking in my baking triumph I sliced into the steamy loaf. As the first slice dropped onto the cutting board something happened that I could never have fore casted. It oozed.

Crafty screamed and backed away from the table, Dude gagged as Mischief declared, "Your bread is pooping...or puking!"

Thanks, Kid!