Tuesday, July 31, 2007
As I may have mentioned before, Jaysen and I frequently have "heart-to-heart" conversations. When he's open to these conversations, they're wonderful, and he really has quite a bit of insight to present.
Here's how our last heart-to-heart went:
"Jaysen, are you happy?"
"Jaysen, are you a happy kid?"
"Good. Because I'm really happy that you're my kid. Are you happy I'm your mom?" (I know, I know...never ask a question you don't want the answer to...)
"No? Would you rather have a different mom?"
"Oh? Who would you like to be your mom?"
(silence- this time on my end)
"And I'm Jaysen XXXX."
Now, while this probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, let me explain that what Jaysen actually said was my first name and Companion's last name. Then he identified himself with Companion's last name as well. Interesting.
As I've stated before, Companion and I are not married. I don't know if Jaysen was implying some sort of desire for that bond...is he able to do that? He's amazed me plenty of times before with things I didn't give him credit for...but I can't recall any time that marriage has come up, or the fact that our last names are different from Companion and Rylan's. It really kind of floored me.
Why aren't Companion and I married? This is the burning question I'm still getting from friends and family. Well...(sorry Companion, I know you think this is our business and not up for discussion to the masses, but, this is my blog and I can talk about it if I wanna.)
Many moons ago Companion and I did talk about it. It's no secret that I would like to get married again- but Companion doesn't see the "point" in it. First, it was a "financial issue". When I stated that it doesn't have to be this big extravaganza, it became the issue that he views marriage as nothing more than a civil union on a legally binding piece of paper, and he doesn't need that paper to validate his feelings or intentions concerning the family.
While I was pregnant with Rylan, he brought up getting married again. I have to admit that I still harbored some hurt feelings from the previous conversation. My view now was, I want to marry someone who wants to marry me, because they want that commitment and want to be a part of our lives out of love, not someone who sees no value in it, and thinks we should do it because we should probably do it. (Did that make any sense?)
Not to mention the other "benefits" of being married- cheaper insurance, beneficiaries, social security, medical decision making, etc...
Anyway, Companion said he thought we should still get married, so I told him that if he wants to do it, he should take the initiative and go down to get the paperwork and such filed (I had previously told him where he would need to go to get this done), and great- that would show me that he was willing to put forth the effort and be proactive about it.
So- I could harbor resentment and tell people the big "I told you that he didn't really want to do it"...but I don't. I'm trying to learn and grow as a person, by not setting myself up for disappointments.
So there you have it- the story in a nutshell.
Back to the original post- so what could Jaysen have meant by that comment? I know he identifies Companion as a Dad- so is he validating that identification? Is this a self-directed step in disassociating himself with Ex as a father? Is he testing the waters and just getting a feel of the blended family thing? Or, was he just trying to be funny, knowing that the first names don't go with the respective last names?
I don't know- and I'd like to say I don't care...but a part of me really does.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
5- He draws better than I do.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
That's classic. I can't meet my bills every month, I can't provide the therapies my son needs, I have 2 mortgages because my stupid house won't sell...but... I make too much. I swear- It seems like you can't get any assistance from anyone unless you're unemployed and living in a cardboard box. The truth is, I don't make crap- and without my family's help, we'd be shitouttaluck. I understand that they have to count my second house as an "asset" because it has the potential to make money, but in reality, I can't even give the damn house away! I'm paying $800+ every month, for it to sit there in hopes that someone will take it for what I owe on it. I'm not even looking for a profit at this time. Asset my ass.
I know of people who collect SSI because they're alcoholics, drug addicts, and a couple who get it because of their "phobias". My son will be potentially denied (again) because of my crappy income. Nice.
Save your cardboard boxes folks, we might be coming to a street corner near you!
Monday, July 23, 2007
We're in the "pee and poop" phase of childhood. I admit, I am grossed out at some of the things Jaysen says about it, but at the same time, I am thrilled that he has reached this milestone in the "rite of childhood".
So- here is a cat with a hat, peeing and pooping. I don't know why the poo has legs.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"ASLRMPZ is not a word."
"Yes it is a word!" (laughing)
"Then what does it mean?"
"Something to eat." (more laughing)
"Oh? Is it good or nucky?"
"What does it taste like?"
"Where do you buy it?"
"At the st...Target."
"How much does it cost?"
"One hundred fifty bazillionblarpzalalala"(jibberish)
He won the game because he defended his word. He actually made a case for it- something he has never done, and I might add, that I was mighty proud. It was amazing to watch his mind working to come up with all of those answers on the spot, and finding it hilarious that he was keeping the flow going (I think he amazed himself a bit too).
So, if anyone is at Target and you see an ASLRMPZ on sale, could you please pick some up for me? Apparently, my kid likes it.
I wonder if it qualifies as a vegetable?
Friday, July 20, 2007
Jaysen was upset that he couldn't watch his video, and took his aggression out on Moppi. Poor Moppi- she always seems to get the brunt of the physical lashings. Which concerns me, as Jaysen hasn't had any major physical outbursts since starting the med- except with Moppi. I know my mom can be intense, and she really doesn't understand the internal workings of Jaysen, but it still concerns me that he is relying on aggression to express his frustration.
Last night, Jaysen wanted to watch TV. I reminded him that the electricity was out. He said "Oh, okay. Let's go basement and play computer." I explained that the computer didn't work either. He looked at the stove (no clock), looked at the microwave (no display), looked in the fridge (no light), and declared "this house is broken!" (He was so serious, that I had to stifle my laughter while suggesting we play a game.)
We played a game called "If...Then..." (awesome game for developing lateral thinking and expressive language skills, as well as social situations), had pizza for dinner, lit some candles, did our bedtime routine, and went to bed.
Ugh...no air...hot...stop touching me...ugh...move over...I'm sleeping in my own bed if you're insisting on the comforter...yuck, your hair's wet...you don't need long jamma pants...still hot...can't sleep...why are you so sweaty?...I'll get you some water...scootch by the wall, it's cooler...it's too hot for covers...close your eyes before sweat drips in them and turns them orange...Jaysen...oh...you're asleep.
Okay- so I did get to move back to my own bed before I melted into a sloppy pool of grouchiness.
Still no power today- Companion is taking the kids to McDonald's to play. Maybe they'll go to the library after. Jaysen loves the library, and Rylan loves to be read to. Why is it that all the "story times" are during the day while people are at work? All of the stinkin' programs at our library are always on a Tuesday or Thursday at 10am or something equally as crappy for working parents. Fine. I don't need your stinkin' story time. I can read to my own kids- Hooked on Phonics worked for me.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The trip was pretty good. The first night at the hotel, Jaysen was trying to figure out his surroundings.
"We live here?"
"No, we don't live here. We're staying here for vacation."
"Because we don't have all of our stuff."
(points to suitcases) "There's stuff. And here's my bed."
"But that's not all of our stuff. Like our stove, microwave, food..."
"Oh. We live here or live at home?"
"We live at home. We live here for vacation, then we go home."
The second night, Jaysen wanted to go home. He was pretty upset, crying and pleading to leave. I tried talking to him. I told him that tomorrow we were going to the beach, and it would be really cool. I tried bribing him. Nothing worked. I asked him why he wanted to go home...nothing. Then I asked him what did he want to do at home? After some back-and-forth...
"I want to run out to the mailbox, get the mail, and run in the house."
Aha. He missed his routine. In all the newness of our vacation, he needed to cling to something familiar. Why that particular routine? I don't know- but I went down to the lobby, briefly explained the situation, and the girl helped me write a "letter", put it in an envelope, and put it in their mailbox.
When I returned to the room, I told Jaysen they had a mailbox in the lobby. His eyes widened, and he clapped his hands. We went to the lobby to retrieve our mail. It worked for about a minute, but then Jaysen declared it was "bad mail", and started sobbing again. Oh well- it was the best I could do under the circumstances. I sat with Jaysen on the bed, and scratched his back until he fell asleep.
He was fine the next day. And he did have a blast at the beach, despite the sub-zero water temperature. I buried him in the sand, like we did when we were kids- he loved it. I kept piling the sand higher, and soon he was covered up to his neck! What a great sensory experience too- that may have been the calmest he'd been the whole trip.
Rylan didn't seem as thrilled with the beach experience, but eventually warmed up to the idea of being in the pool.
Jaysen truly amazed me with his resilience during many times of indecision, and the walking around everywhere. That kid did a lot of walking! I could tell he was tired because he was dragging his feet, but he just followed along and only asked me to carry him twice. We went to a concert in the park one night. Afterwards, I asked Jaysen if he wanted to go back to the hotel, or go for a walk. He wanted to go for a walk, so we went down to see the boats. He walked me up and down every dock, reading the names of the boats as we passed them. He liked the big sailboats best.
And the bridge! Jaysen loved to watch the bridge going up to let the sailboats through. He thought that was great. He even tolerated the loud warning bells.
The highlights for me would have to be spending time with my family at the same place I vacationed with my family as a kid. But ask Jaysen, and he'll tell you it was the swimming, and the orange sherbet ice cream.
Friday, July 13, 2007
He says that the term "single mom" implies someone parenting alone, and since he's here, I'm not doing it alone.
I never said I was parenting alone. I'm not trying to imply that I am. I just mentioned to someone that I was a single mom. Which in the superficial sense is true...
Am I married? No- so that makes me single.
Which box do I check on my taxes? Single.
Doctor's records? Single.
(actually, the latter two I check divorced... but for purposes of this example- you get the idea.)
Surveys? Single again.
So, it pretty much seems that I can defend my single status on the superficial level. Now, the lines get fuzzy when we explore the deeper realm of actual parenting. Again, for purposes of example only, I am leaving Rylan out of this. By the way, Companion is a superriffic dad to Rylan, but the original conversation came up before Rylan was even born. Sorry Ry', but out you go!
Okay, let's analyze.
For all intensive purposes, Companion does a great job as a father figure to Jaysen. He plays with him. He is aware of his quirks. At times, he thinks of him "just because" (he just came across a type of chess game that he wants to get Jaysen, he brings him souvenirs, etc).
Which are all awesomely wonderful things. But...
(now keep in mind I'm talking about the majority of the time)
Who makes dinner every night? Mom.
Who does bath time? Mom.
Who makes the phone calls regarding family business? Mom.
Who manages the bills? Mom.
Who does therapy appointments? Mom.
Who attends school meetings? Mom.
Who is involved with the IEP process? Mom.
Who corresponds with the I-Team about reports? Mom.
Who advocates for Jaysen on a pretty damn-near-daily basis? Mom.
Who is trying to find grants for Jaysen? Mom.
Who is dealing with SSI? Mom.
Who is dealing with all of the stuff involving the LP house? Mom.
Who lays in bed with Jaysen every night so he can fall asleep? Mom.
Who still researches Autism and parenting strategies to try? Mom.
Who takes the time to try and understand what's going on with Jaysen? Mom.
So yes, I am comfortable in referring to myself as a single mom.
Now don't get the wrong idea here, people-
Companion is great. He's the cleaner, the babysitter, the fun one, the mom fill-in, and a whole lot of other things. I'm just making a point that when it comes to the tough things with Jaysen, it's me, and yes- I am doing that pretty much solo. And I'm okay with that. Jaysen's my son. As his mom, it is my duty and desire to make sure he has the best resources I can give him. He's not Companion's son, so there's no real reason he should have to do any of the list above.
I am not trying to make Companion look bad in any way, because he's not. I'm merely explaining my choice to call myself a single mom.
Keep in mind, too, that all of this first came up before Rylan was born. Companion is an awesome dad to Rylan. He doesn't consider himself a dad to Jaysen though- which can be disheartening, because Jaysen considers Companion a dad to him. But people have to be comfortable with their own parental boundaries.
So, I suppose my official title would be: divorced-but in a relationship-cohabitant-primary caregiver-with assistance? Or: unmarried-not obligated girlfriend-living in sin-gene donating-parent? Well, until they come up with a lot more "boxes" or I get married, I'm content just being a single mom.
I don't think Jaysen's figured out what's going on quite yet. He's never been to a beach, so in my efforts to try and explain it to him, I found myself comparing it to Goo Lagoon from Spongebob. As far as Jaysen is concerned, we're going to Goo Lagoon.
Onto other things...
I never did find out what "reminds" Jaysen. Last night I tried to have a heart-to-heart with him- he seemed open to it at first until I brought up Dr.K's office.
"Jaysen, remember when you said 'it reminds me' when Moppi asked you about Dr.K?"
"What did you mean?"
"Jaysen, what does 'it reminds me' mean?"
"Sweetie, does going to Dr.K remind you of something bad?"
"Does it remind you of something sad?"
(long pause) "Okay, you don't talk to me. I talk to you."
"Okay. You can talk to me. I'm listening."
"No, you don't talk. I talking to you."
(pause) "So...how was work, Mommy?"
And that was the end of that. Hmm...seems my Squee has been honing his skills of "changing the topic to avoid confrontation". Which is definitely a good skill to have. I think of it as a higher order thinking skill, and I am glad that he is processing that. Still got me nowhere though.
For everyone out there that is mortified at my not pressuring Jaysen to answer me...relax. Every time we have been to Dr.K, I have been with him. Nothing fishy, disgusting, or morbid has ever happened. He just doesn't connect with her for some reason. Personally, I think it's because she has a thick accent, doesn't talk directly to him most of the time, and isn't overly friendly- but that doesn't make her a bad doc. Jaysen responds the best to over the top, highly animated, gushy-gushy, lavish-me-with-attention people. I am looking into another doc, but it's not the most pressing thing on my list right now. She listens to me and explains things that I don't understand, and she has done an excellent job with Jaysen's med management. I like her, but eventually I would like to find someone that we both like.
Wow- really got off on a tangent there. Anyway, I still don't know what "reminds" him, but we're going on vacation, so hopefully he'll have all kinds of new and awesome "reminds" to come.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Usually, Jaysen is pretty fun, playful, and at ease once he's familiar with a person/situation. Moppi had to take him to this appointment because I couldn't get off from work, and she reported that Jaysen was unusually quiet, he wouldn't answer when the doctor talked to him, only answering questions in a meek voice when Moppi asked them.
Once the appointment was over (med review, so it was a really short appointment) and they were back in the car, Moppi asked him why he didn't like going to see Dr.K.
He paused before he said... "It reminds me."
That's all Moppi was able to get out of him. It reminds him? That sent chills down my spine. What does that mean? What does it remind him of? Did he mean that he remembers being there and he doesn't like going because it's boring? Does he mean that going there reminds him that he's different? Or does it mean something more complex like going there reminds him of how he used to be (out-of-control and full of anxiety) before the meds?
I feel bittersweet that he could be processing his differences. I know it's a great thing for him to possibly be processing, but no parent wants their child to feel ostracized, like they don't belong, or are inferior in some way. I am constantly trying to show Jaysen how awesome he is, and trying to build a foundation of positive self esteem. I think he knows that with me, but I wonder if he's internalizing other people's reactions- whether it be interactions with adults or teasing from his peers.
"It reminds me."
I know he's making an incredibly powerful statement, I just have to figure out what's beneath it.
Monday, July 9, 2007
So, we get home from the vet, Gacy on Dollface's lap, wrapped in a baby blanket and placed lovingly in an attractive box with a beveled lid.
I went into the house and take Jaysen aside. I explained that Gacy died (I couldn't bring myself to use the word "dead" for some reason). I waited for his reaction. He didn't give me much to go on. I told Jaysen that it would be nice if we drew some pictures for Gacy, and collected some things that he might like.
Should he be a part of the burial? Should I let him see Gacy?
We drew pictures, and talked about Gacy and the good times we've had together. Jaysen asked where he was. I told him he was in a box in the back yard, and we were going to bury him. He wanted to see the box.
We went outside and knelt by his makeshift coffin. I explained that Gacy was inside of the box, because he died, and we were going to dig a hole to put the box in. Jaysen wanted to see Gacy. I told him again that Gacy was dead (there, I said it), and if he wanted to see him, he could, but that Gacy was not going to move around. He still wanted to see.
Figuring that he was put to sleep, and not ran over by a car, so there was no "gore factor", I cautiously lifted the lid, and pulled back the blanket. Jaysen just looked at him.
"Gacy is eyes closed?"
"Yes, Gacy's eyes are closed."
"No, he's not sleeping. He died, honey."
"Ooooh." (long pause) "Goodbyyyyeee Gacy."
I hate when people refer to death as "sleeping". I think it's confusing, and scary. I didn't want Jaysen to think that when he fell asleep, there was a chance Mommy would put him in a hole and bury him.
Jaysen decided he wanted to be involved. He helped dig the grave. He helped me place the box into the hole. He helped cover it back up.
Later that night...
"Mommy, where's Gacy?"
"Remember, he died. He was in the box, we dug a hole, and we buried him."
"Yeah. He died. (long pause) Like my fish."
He was processing!
"Yes, honey, Gacy died, just like your fish."
"We flush a fish inna toilet."
"Yes. We flushed the fish down the toilet. We buried Gacy."
"Ooooh. Goodbyyyeee Gacy."
I think he got it.
In hindsight, I really think I did the best job I could trying to explain the whole death and dying thing to him. Jaysen's a visual learner, so he needed to see it. It helped him understand. I don't know if he understood the whole concept, but at least he related it to his fish, and he knows the fish haven't come back.
My son also amazes me with his empathy. All the day while I was sobbing, he would touch my face and say things like, "Don't cry, Mommy. I'll make you feel better." Which of course just made me cry harder, because it touched me so much. He made sure to wipe my tears away, and when another one rolled down my cheek, he ran for a Kleenex and said "Oops, I forgot one!" He is just the most amazing gift in my life. He has absolutely been my strength these past couple of days.
So, rest in peace my sweet Gacy. We love you and will miss you dearly. And in the words of your buddy, Jaysen-
Getting ready for work, I am interrupted by Companion yelling for me to "get in here!". I can sense the fear in his voice, so I immediately bolt into the baby's room. He yelled for me again. Was he in the kitchen? Was there a fire? What the hell was happening?
I ran into the kitchen to find Gacy laying on the floor, Companion knelt beside him, saying "he just..."fell over!"
I can see that Gacy's belly is massively distended. He is breathing, but not trying to get up or anything else. His belly is growing right in front of my eyes. I call Sissy (my sister) in a panic. She tells me there is an emergency vet nearby. Take him there and she'll meet me. I wake up Dollface (my best friend who is visiting from Texas). She comes with me for support.
We enter the veterinary hospital- this is the most beautiful hospital I've ever been in. Way nicer than people-hospitals, and everyone was so compassionate and concerned. We check Gacy in while the triage nurse takes him back to the exam room.
Waiting...waiting...the nurse emerges and brings us back to the room. The doctor comes in and explains that she can't palpitate anything wrong, but his belly is extremely distended (really? I thought my kitty just had a muffin-top. He looks like he swallowed a flippin' grapefruit, lady!), he's hypothermic, and in shock. Since he didn't ingenst anything out of the ordinary, she recommended x-rays, bloodwork, and a variety of lab panels. $450. Doctor knows I'm in a financial situation, and says the most important would be the x-rays. Start there, and we'll see. I need this to sink in. Dollface and I go for a cigarette.
Doctor comes outside and explains that although it is an extremely rare condition (even rarer in cats), Gacy's stomach had flipped over itself. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. His belly was filling up with stomach gas, and he was suffering. I didn't have much time to make a decision- $3,000-$5,000 for surgery, or put him to sleep. Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod ...I am sobbing at this point.
Aside from the fact that I don't have that kind of money, Gacy is about 15 years old, and I didn't want to put him through all of that. He had a wonderful life and is dearly loved. He was my baby before I had babies. I told Doctor to just stop his suffering. She looked relieved, and told me that was the decision she would have made herself.
They went to prep Gacy. Dollface and I went to smoke again. When we returned, they brought Gacy into the room, with his little IV in his arm. We spent a minute with him, and Sissy volunteered to hold him (I didn't want him to sense my distress).
They let me take him home afterward. The whole drive home, I'm thinking how should I explain this to Jaysen? Would he understand? This could be a great lesson to him about death and dying, and be a valuable tool in understanding safety issues like not running into the street because you don't just get a "boo-boo" from cars. I wanted him to know that although death is a part of life, it is very real, and final.
This was going to take some thought of the best way to approach it.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I called home to check on the kids this afternoon, and she reported that everything was fine, but they were at her house because they needed a "change of pace". Okay- the reason my Mom prefers to have Jaysen at her house is because she feels she has better control over him there. She thinks that he rules my house, and if he is not on his home turf, he will be more compliant. She says it works, I say whatever. That's a whole other topic.
Anyway, I asked why they needed a change of pace- what happened? She replied, "oh nothing, Jaysen hit me a few times this morning, but he said he was sorry, so it was okay". This sends my heart plummeting into my stomach for a number of reasons. Keeping in mind that Moppi doesn't "get" Jaysen- is she doing something to promote his anxiety, causing him to lash out physically again? Or- is the physical aggression coming back for no apparent reason? If the latter is the case, we have a problem again. I am really trying to work with him on his expressive skills, in hopes of avoiding a med increase.
The thing is, he only seems to be physically aggressive with her lately. At home, we've seen frustration, and the beginnings of what would at one time have been a meltdown- but it hasn't come near the point of Ninja-in-Training in the past two months.
I hate not being home to see the whole picture. I hate having to get things second hand, and quite often the one-sided biased version of things. I don't know what to do to rectify this, considering I have to work, can't afford childcare, and my Mom doesn't listen to the advice I give her on dealing with Jaysen. He is so often misunderstood, that I feel like it's not fair to discipline him for something that may have been a misinterpretation, and he really didn't do anything wrong. Still- the fact that he is hitting again is wrong. Now I just have to figure out why we're travelling down that road again, and how I can get him back on the road to progress.
As far as my Mom- she's just going to have to realize that the road has bifurcated. Now it's up to her to make a choice. Either she is going to stay in the denial phase of loss, or she can move on and try to understand what is going on with Jaysen. Not what's going on with the kids in the ASD books, but really trying to make a connection with her grandson.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Monday, July 2, 2007
Couldn't resist passing it on.
The other day, he wanted to "see if it was a beautiful day", so we went outside. I sat on the steps of the patio, while he jumped and ran around. Sitting there, just watching him have all of this unbridled fun, made me think- it is a beautiful day indeed.
The weather here has been great, which gives us plenty of time to spend outdoors. Rylan likes the outdoors too, but is still too wee to enjoy the childhood pleasures of bounding around in the grass.
I thought of how just six months ago, there was no way I could have let him run around like that. How he would have just taken off down the street if given that sort of freedom to roam. I still do worry about not having a fenced in back yard, since Jaysen still doesn't understand the concept of "stay where I can see you". However, I think that sometimes his persistence to "see if it's a beautiful day" is a sign to me, that I need to take some time out, sit outside, and just enjoy my surroundings. Enjoy being with the boys. Enjoy what nature is offering. Just enjoy.
I think of it as Jaysen's way of regulating me. Almost like he's saying "take some time to watch me now, because I won't be a kid forever". I already can't believe that the time is passing so quickly- Jaysen will start first grade in the fall, we'll be planning Rylan's first birthday party...my gawd does time truly fly by.
So, I am making a point to be more aware of the little things in life- because in some way, every day is a beautiful day.