Posts Tagged ‘Mother’


I ended up wearing rainbow colors that day that I wrote about doing anything, even wearing blue. I just… I realized that supporting her meant more than wearing the blue because it’s her favorite and she asked me and she thought I’d be celebrating her. It meant so, so much more and I tried to explain why I wore a rainbow-flower skirt with a purple shirt (my own favorite color) in a way she could understand. But how do you explain that wearing blue, lighting it up blue, is a trigger event and silences Autistic Voices? That anything explaining away why it’s okay is really not okay?

And that’s what I think I did in that entry, and I wholeheartedly apologize, no qualifications.

So how did I explain to my daughter why I broke the blue promise…

Rainbows and flowers are love, and everyone loves flowers. Autism is full of wonderful colors, not just blue, and even if the flowers in my skirt were fuzzy at the edges they were far prettier than puzzle pieces all over the school walls. She nodded in agreement.

I told her that I wanted her to be able to choose from all of the colors in the rainbow when she’s making friends, when she’s thinking, when she’s getting dressed, when she’s looking outside, all just like when she’s painting or making crafts. She nodded more with each example.

I told her that an agency named Autism $peaks created the Light It Up Blue idea, and that we don’t like all of their ideas because some of their ideas include wanting to cure Autism. I asked her if she remembered hearing about that several days before, and she nodded with a Very Serious Expression on her face.

Then I explained that there are other supportive agencies that want to help her and others like her grow and be happy, and learn to be a self-advocate as she grows up and becomes a teenager and an adult.

I explained that sometimes we were going to have to have different kinds of conversations now about how some people think Autism is not a good thing and how we can change those ideas by showing them the good things and teaching them about the ideas that they don’t quite have right. That sometimes people believe things about Autism that aren’t true, but that we can help educate them. She nodded. She seemed to like the idea of being an educator instead of the student.

I explained that there would be times we would be talking about the better ideas that Mommy has read about from the good agencies so that Mommy can better understand who is a helper and who is not… and that I think she’s getting old enough to learn those things too.

She nodded her head, with a furrowed brow, and said, “Mm hmm.”

“Do you have any questions?”

“Can I still wear my blue skirt?”

“Yes. Always. You can even keep blue as your own favorite color.”

“Mm hmm. Yes.”

“Do you want to ask me more?”

“I don’t know.”

She walked away. So that was that.

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Great way of showing what I’ve been trying to say, but more succinctly. Check out this post below from Jess at Diary of a Mom.

communication | a diary of a mom.

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Happy April! What a gorgeous day today is. All of my girls are feeling well; it’s sunny and temperatures are supposed to reach 40*F; I’m finishing my first cup of coffee while wearing one of my favorite sweaters before getting ready for work.

I think it’s time to assess the things I’m grateful for, especially with Easter coming up this weekend.

Today, on April 1st 2015, I’m very grateful for:

  1. coffee
  2. very large coffee mugs
  3. like, coffee mugs that will fit three 12-oz servings of coffee to drink all at once and that’s like… oh sheesh, math… 36 oz in one mug!
  4. the fact that my family understands the importance of coffee in my life
  5. my husband
  6. my children
  7. seeing so much good in my daughters, with love reflected back to me and in everything they do
  8. my brothers
  9. all of my sisters-in-law
  10. all of my brothers-in-law
  11. my parents and my mother-in-law
  12. my very best friends, my chosen sisters
  13. the good health of my family and friends
  14. my job
  15. the fact that most days I can still function enough to go to work
  16. working toilets
  17. working heat
  18. blankets
  19. sweaters
  20. fluffy slippers
  21. my Kindle
  22. kitchen gadgets
  23. the fact that it hasn’t snowed in two whole days
  24. God answering my prayers in small ways that matter
  25. a working phone
  26. working clothes washer and dryer
  27. payday
  28. my invisible internet friends
  29. oh my gosh, my CATS of course
  30. and how did I not put chocolate on this list by now?
  31. and Girl Scout cookies?
  32. God, there’s something wrong with me today. I also forgot hot showers
  33. and paper towels
  34. and freshly washed warm bath towels
  35. being able to bake with my daughters
  36. family being appreciate (usually) of my cooking)
  37. a (kind of) working (kind of) reliable car
  38. getting X-Finity over frontier because frontier sucks donkey balls, let’s face it
  39. DVR
  40. oh my gosh, why isn’t my hairdresser further up this list? clearly great haircuts from my awesome stylist ought to be further up this list. Last but not least, saved the best for last, and all that, right?

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This came to my attention on Frday of last week, and I’ve been trying to write something that isn’t using profanities every other word. I’ve had about 60 drafts. [There is a new edit at the bottom of the post]

There’s a YouTube video called Autism Mom FURIOUS is over Steve Harvey’s comments – 3.26.15 – YouTube that brings attention to something despicable, something that she has every reason to be furious over. Something that I’m furious and sickened over.

Steve Harvey used his radio show as a comedy platform (as Sister Odell) to make fun of disabled adults attending Church.

I’m not being overly sensitive or too politically correct. If you were to tell me that, you’re defending his actions and diminishing the lives of disabled individuals everywhere.

I’m not infringing on anyone’s right to free speech to call out a comedian’s, or anyone else’s, behavior and speech. This may be cliche at this point, but if he has the freedom of speech to behave badly and speak in a degrading way about disabled people and laugh like a fool over his own (lack of) cleverness, then he’d better be damned sure to be ready for others to use THEIR right to free speech to call him out.

His words were like acid, caustic and issuing a damaging blow to the disability movement. It tells people in cultures where shaming and being embarrassed about their disabilities and their disabled family members that it’s appropriate and even “funny.”

It tells people that those who can’t always speak against this very same sickening attitude that the world is not even attempting to change to be more sensitive, let alone accommodating, to them.

It tells them that this hatred, being thinly veiled with so-called humor, not only exists in their own homes with family members, but likely at work with employers and co-workers, with neighbors… and out in the world in the media and with other people in the public eye that are looked up to for heaven knows why.

It tells disabled children in school that the bullies who claim they’re just joking, using humor as their mask, will be allowed to get away with it because they’re not really doing any harm. And no one will do anything until someone commits suicide; then everyone blames the child’s parents for not realizing how disturbed s/he was in his disability and why didn’t the parents get him/her the right help or realize how mentally ill they were before s/he committed suicide, when the real issue is that demeaning disabled people and making them Less Than Human is damaging.

Disabilities do not make disabled individuals Less Than Human. They… we.. are fully Human. We’re simply different. And in the words of Temple Grandin, disability (although originally from the point of view of Autism) merely means Different, Not Less.

It’s not unrealistic to expect that some things should be completely off limits as jokes. It’s more than “in poor taste.” We can take poor taste. What Steve Harvey did is cruel, bullying, and calling it comedy somehow gives it free license to say truly hurtful things and it shows exactly how he feels when he sees someone with Autism or similar disabilities that have nonverbal learning disorders and additional conditions.

Calling it comedy means that some people will repeat the so-called jokes because it’s “funny” and of course funny means that people won’t be able to conceive of the idea that it could be hurtful. They’ll repeat it because they’ll have reinforcement that attitudes such as Steve Harvey’s about disabilities and disabled individuals are acceptable and correct. You know, because we’re the ones who are humorless and touchy and overly sensitive.

Those attitudes are not acceptable. Not. Acceptable. But I suppose with Steve Harvey being who he is, I shouldn’t be surprised.

I’m disgusted and sickened. This is the sort of attitude that I feel I’m swimming upstream through chunky peanut butter to end. I’m allergic to peanuts.

No, Mr. Harvey, there’s no way you’re getting out of this with anything less than some very public reconciling to do as well as some reconciliation of the divine sort.

Share. Please. Share that link. Listen to what Steve Harvey thinks about disabled people from his talk show. Then boycott him. If you can’t do that, then write to his producers and tell them exactly what you think about his behavior. Let them know that if you were a fan, you’re not any longer. Let them know that if you hadn’t watched or listened before, there’s no chance in hell now.

More importantly: If you ever have behaved or spoken in a way that’s degrading to any individuals that have any disabilities at all, please stop. Think about the damage you’ve done and are doing if you don’t stop. You don’t know who has an invisible disability that hasn’t come out to you about it, so you don’t know who you’re harming. Be an ally instead of the villain.

#BeAnAllyNotAVillain #FlashBlogBoycottSteveHarvey #BoycottSteveHarvey

[EDIT: I really didn’t want to add what it was he said because I think if you watch that video above, she illustrates what’s wrong with what he said. But I should have included that he joke was made during his morning talk show on March 26th as his character “Sister Odell.” He has since apologized except that his apology wasn’t really an apology. It was a “y’all can’t take a joke” jab.

It started out on Facebook as,

“To everyone, please accept my sincere apologies. It was not my intent to hurt anyone.”

He should have stopped there. That would have been perfect.

He continued with:

“Sister Odell is a made up character, she is not real and my intent was not directed at any other real person. And most certainly was not directed at anyone you know. Again my apologies. The problem with comedy is ALL subjects can offend someone. Please forgive me if you were. DON’T TRIP HE AIN’T THRU WITH ME YET.”

Apology? Do you see what he did there? Exactly what I said he’d do. He excused his behavior. He blamed those offended in the disability community, for being offended that he said offensive things he should have never said. Under the claim that it wasn’t really him but the character he was playing.

When you apologize to anyone you’ve offended, you simply apologize and you don’t qualify the behavior. You don’t excuse the behavior. You don’t turn it around and blame the massive group of people you offended for being rightly offended.

This was a non-apology.

How does one exactly blame the fictitious character that one writes and plays? It’s not MY fault, it’s Sister Odell’s fault for making fun of someone that doesn’t actually exist.

No, it doesn’t work that way. It can’t.

Those “jokes” only barely thinly mask a very real opinion. He wasn’t being sarcastic in the jokes, using them to describe a behavior about disability bigots that he was disgusted with. He was the one making fun of disabled individuals. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t directed at a specific individual… that makes it even worse because now we also know what his stereotype of a disabled person looks like. They’re all intellectually disabled, unable to speak, unable to control themselves and their bodies, unable to control the sounds coming out of their mouths, looking foolish.

This is what such “comedy” perpetuates. That a thin mask of hate of disabled people and their disabilities, and hatred their audacity to be disabled in public, can be called comedy and therefore not be considered hate speech or discrimination. No, if it’s comedy, it couldn’t possibly be a mask of hate and discrimination.

What saddens me is that there are people commenting on his pages that they are or know someone close to them (like a son or daughter) who is disabled, and not only are they not bothered but they found it funny too. They want him to continue, and they support him and believed an apology was not necessary. That anyone offended had no reason to be offended and basically, we’re all party poopers without a sense of humor.

That’s what couching hatred of disabled people in humor perpetuates. Not acceptance, not a desire to learn more, not even tolerance.]

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Cottingly Fairy topped with Christmas hats because Gracie loves fairies

Cottingly Fairy topped with Christmas hats because Gracie loves fairies

This morning it’s very clear that the vacation “routine” (or lack thereof) is getting to my Sweet Girl.

It’s always difficult for her when she’s out of the school routine even though she would almost always rather be home.  This time is more difficult because I’ve been sick since the middle of the night on Christmas.  At least it waited, right?

She’s testing her sisters’ patience this morning, so all of the girls are going back and forth between having some fun at her expense (she thinks) and trying to teach her life lessons.  In the life lessons they go back and forth between taking a hard tack and being gentle.  No matter the angle they take, they get the same result: Sweet Girl isn’t appreciative of their efforts.

Darling Girl finally simply said, “G when we make you mad no matter what even when we aren’t trying, you just have to ignore us.”

Sweet Girl: “No I do not.”

Darling Girl: “G, you just have to learn to ignore us.”

Sweet Girl, clearly disgusted and incredulous: “That is not something you can ‘just LEARN!’ You can not ‘learn’ to ignore! That is hard!”

Darling Girl: “I don’t know what to tell you.  You just have to.”

Sweet Girl: “Brat!”

Now the trick will be getting her to allow me to get her to do some sensory activities.  She hasn’t been receptive so far.  I got a kick in a shins and a swat toward the face for my efforts several minutes ago.

It’s time to go re-teach the sisters that when their sister is on the verge of a meltdown, you back away.  It’s the whole Burning Building comparison.  If a building is on fire, would you run into it? No, you move away from the burning building and don’t add to the “fire” of sensory overload.  You likely won’t teach her anything, because it will just burn up.  Wait until the fire is out and the foundation is visible again, and you can see that the “fire” was simply in one area of the house and it’s been put out. .

But you know, the sisters really are so good about teaching her.  They’re amazing teachers for her, and she pays exceptional attention to them.They can teach her better about some subjects than I can, because they have more credibility to her and she’s very emotionally attached to them.

Most of the time her sisters can calm her down without using sensory tools so I have to give them major credit for that.  She doesn’t want to be upset with them, and she doesn’t want to hurt them.  When things like this morning happen she comes away from it feeling like a bad sister.  In fact, yesterday she accidentally-on-purpose-but-really-accidentally ruined something Darling Girl had set up.  It could easily be redone with some patience, but the look of hurt and annoyance on Darling Girl’s face made it clear to Sweet Girl that she had done something wrong even though Darling Girl had told her that it was all right.

Sweet Girl: “I feel like I must be a bad sister.”

Darling Girl: “No, G, you’re not.”

Sweet Girl: “I feel like I must be always doing the bad thing.  I am a bad sister.”

Darling Girl: “No, G, you’re not.”

Sweet Girl: “But… I feel like I always hurting my sister! I not acting like loving my sister!”

Darling Girl: “G, I know you love me.  I love you.”

Mom: “Awww, girls, why don’t you hug and make up?”

Darling Girl: “Mommy, I’m just not ready to hug G yet.  She did upset me.  G, you need to help me fix this.”

Sweet Girl sniffling: “Okay.”

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I left work late today.  While I was waiting for the car to warm up, I called home to find out everyone had eaten already except my Sweet Girl. She wasn’t interested in anything in the house.  She was probably detoxing after going back to school from two days home sick.  This morning was especially difficult because she didn’t want to go back to school.  She’s ready for a vacation, but she just had to get through today and now tomorrow.  I know it’s hard for her and I always feel like a mean, abusive taskmaster for forcing her to endure the few days leading up to a vacation. I feel worse when I send her to school with sniffles too and she insists she’s dying, but her sisters do the same. No fever? No puking? No lethargy? School it is.

In spite of a dramatic morning, we did get invested in the morning routine and then when the bus came a couple of minutes before I was expecting it this morning, and I didn’t see it Darling Girl did see it.  Suddenly, she shouts and grabs her backpack and starts to race out the door shouting,

“THE BUS! I WILL BE LATE! I CAN NOT BE LATE!”

I don’t know if it was the fear of truancy or she really did want to go to school after all, but it was like her butt was on fire.

I did have a productive conversation with her while I cooked supper last night, though.  She was distressed at having to go to school today and kept insisting she wanted to stay sick and would make herself sick if the germs were really gone.  I kept thinking how it was ironic, somehow, that THAT was the long conversation my often-non-verbal daughter was choosing to have.  Since she was chatty, albeit in a foul mood, I took advantage of it.

It’s not really school or her teachers she hates.  She loves her teacher and her friends.  She enjoys most of the subjects.

What frustrates her is that the day is not full of playing.  The work is hard.

I told her yes! it’s fourth grade! and each grade will get harder because she’s moving up levels with her hard work.

Worse than hard work and homework is the sensory overload.  It smells different than home.  It sounds different than home.  It’s louder than home.  There are people sounds.  Breathing sounds.  Echoes.  The lights are too brights.  The smells at lunch mix in a gross way.  There are eating sounds at lunch.  There’s shouting and screaming in the hallways.  It’s too cold and windy at recess.  People have eyes and use them to look at her.  She has to keep her coat on so that certain things don’t touch her arms in the wrong way.

And even harder than all of THAT? Is having to hold it all together at school and pretend that everything is all right.  Not wanting to seem different than the other children she refuses to ask for sensory breaks but will accept them when the teacher or her para offer them.

After she unloaded all of this burden last night, she was clearly much more relaxed.  This morning we had round two of that conversation, and I made sure she knew I would tell her teacher about it in the morning e-mail.  That eased her mind, and could be another reason why she willingly got on the bus.

The Mister said that when she got home, she was happy and went to her room.  She didn’t even notice that I wasn’t home.  I’m always the one who gets her off the bus.  She didn’t come down to eat, so on my way home from my late day, I stopped at Subway for the two of us.  She actually ate a fully stuffed Blackforest ham sub.  She’s now sitting and watching My Little Pony with her Daddy and chatting cheerfully about the show and history of Ponies and the types of  Ponies.  I’m grinning ear to ear, because it’s a beautiful sight.

Now I can go to bed, both of us stuffed, and take some Advil for my hurting, aching self.  I “get” to stay home tomorrow with Eldest Girl, who came home early with a fever today and the Worst Cold Ever.  Oh, that was a soap opera all on its own but I’ll save that for later.  The school nurse is on my shit list, suffice it to say.  The Mister said she’s been asleep since 3:30.  It’s almost 8:00.  I’ll wake her at 10:00 for Mucinex, Advil, and melatonin.  🙂  Hopefully, Darling Girl won’t have a turn at this fever thing.

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Cosmetics

Cosmetics (Photo credit: My Sight, as You See.)

I’m a working mom.

Go ahead.  Process that.  Read it again.  Roll it around in your brain for a moment.  Feel it on your tongue and say it out loud.

“Jessica is a working mom.”

On Tuesday, I started working.  After almost ten years out of the public work force, I’m getting up in the morning to shower for a job, getting in my car to travel to a job, walking into an office to a job, and sitting down at a computer to do actual work next to a phone for which I’ll actually get paid.  The best part? I get mom hours.  They’re part time which is perfect, so I work only when the girls are in school and I’m home when they’re home.  For all they know I’m home all day eating bon bons and watching soap operas and buying useless shit off of the internet.  It’s perfect for the girls and it’s perfect for my chronic pain and other concerns associated with my Fibromyalgia.  The job is being assessed right now, which will lead to a future permanent job when the assessment is done.

It’s working out so well so far.  They’re already impressed with my computer skills, writing skills, documentation skills, and phone skills.  They’re impressed that I haven’t lied on my resume.  That made me laugh when my job coach told me that.  I guess I didn’t think people really lie in real life on their resumes and that it was just a silly plot line on sitcoms.

It feels good to be back.  I was really nervous, and I still am… it’s all of the unknowns that make me nervous.  When I was working before there were never really any unknowns because I didn’t have children at the time and I’d been through it all.  I had every scenario covered and could anticipate pretty much anything.  Then I had almost two years where my wonderful mother-in-law watched my first daughter so I could work part time before my second daughter was born, and I’ve been home since then.  Now I have my three girls, and while I can go with the flow as a stay-at-home mom in spite of the ever-changing chaos, I’m nervous about how that will translate with me working.

As long as it involves coffee I think I’ll be good.  I haven’t had to show my morning face to too many people, so I have to work on my Chipper Morning Mood a little.  I also need to become more practiced with make-up again.  With the exception of special occasions and Girls’ Nights Out, I didn’t really whip out the make-up too often.

OH MY GOSH and that reminds me that the girls? Yeah, they’re in so much trouble.  You know how you build up your perfect make-up case of shadows and blushes and powders and liners over the years? You only replace what you need to replace on occasion so that you only have to spend a few dollars here and there and it’s not noticeable.  Over the summer the girls gave each other secret make-overs.  But not just that… they destroyed the make-up while they were at it, used it up, and threw away the evidence.  The little bits that they left were weird odds and ends or unusable crumbs.  I had to replace my basic make-up… thankfully I still have a lip gloss and eye shadow that I had hidden somewhere so I didn’t have to replace those colors… but just the simple basics were ALL replaced.  I hope I NEVER EVER EVER have to do that again.

  • cover up
  • base/foundation
  • eye liner
  • mascara
  • blush
  • eye shadow
  • lip color
  • plus I was out of face wash, shampoo, conditioner, and hair spray

Not only that, but the brand I used to use… the one the girls destroyed anyway… was drying my face out.  So since I did have the chance I switched brands to the brand I use for my hair now (L’Oreal… the shampoo/conditioner is Ever Creme for dry to very dry and it’s AMAZING).  I tested it out since I’m not sure on their shades, but wow… lovely, soft, light-weight, and feels good.  Maybe I should thank the girls, but holy Moses it’s better buying single items at a time.  That said, I feel pretty, oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and briiiiigt!

Ahem.

I do realize I sound like a princess right now, since most times make-up is a want versus a need.  However, it’s still true that in today’s world to be taken seriously in the work force women are expected to present themselves a certain way and very often that “way” includes make-up.  I’ll also admit that I feel better about myself and more confident in make-up… it also puts me in that more formal mode that work requires.  Plus with the type of work I’m doing and will be doing, the people I work with all wear make-up.  It’s an unspoken expectation.  I felt so out of place being dressed appropriately but having a naked face with uneven skin tone and dark circles under my eyes.  I felt like a mom playing at working.

I know that a lot of this is internal and I’m projecting, so I’ll be working on that.  But I have all the time in the world now.  Especially with getting paid!

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