xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' Yeah. Good Times.: October 2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Helpless: Autism, bullying & earthquakes

So. Remember last week or so I wrote about how I knew there was something up involving Child 1 and school? And that he refused to talk to me about it? And how he said "I don't want to talk about it" whenever I asked? And that I just knew, because I am his mother, that something was going on?

I had been assuming that it was the massive amounts of work he had to do at school, and in talking to the staff that he spends his days with, they were all really surprised to hear that he was upset at home, because he was perfectly delightful at school. He did his work, he did a great job, he was a joy to be around (true story). Jaclyn, The Inclusion Coordinator, said she had a talk with him and he said he didn't like school, there was a lot of work, the days were too long, but it was still cool. Then she asked him how things were on the yard and he said "I don't want to talk about it."

When she told me that, in her office, my exact response was: "Shit."

So I talked to his teacher who said she was going to ask the kids; talk to some "key players," if there was something going on, she would get it out of them. That was Wednesday of last week. On Thursday he was sick and stayed home. Friday morning he was in hysterical tears when we were leaving for school. He didn't want to go, which wasn't unusual, but this day he said he didn't want to be too early because he didn't want to have to be on the yard before the bell rang.


So, we went late. I dropped him off and was determined to make somebody find out what the hell was going on. On the yard I saw his teacher who said "let me get these guys in class and then we can talk," so I followed them to the classroom. Outside her door, she starts saying "well.... all of the kids who were involved confessed...." and I said "WHAT? INVOLVED? CONFESSED???????? WHAT?????" and she looks shocked and says "Jaclyn didn't call you?" and I said "NO, JACLYN DIDN'T CALL ME." she says "Jaclyn was supposed to call you," and it obviously was not a good time for her to be having that conversion in the hallway, with her kids all over the place, so I turned and practically ran towards Jaclyn's office to find out. She called after me "It's not that bad; it's like it was last year." I'm not sure what she was thinking was "bad," because whatever happened last year is BAD, as far as I'm concerned.

I find Jaclyn, who needs to finish up a phone call before she can talk to me, so I wait in the hallway for her. And I start crying. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY??? Whatever it was that happened was bad enough to make Child 1 cry about having to go back to school. SHIT. SHIT!!! SHIT!!!!!

Jaclyn comes out and seems surprised that I'm so upset. WTF, lady? Fucking tell me what happened. She says we're still trying to piece everything together but it was a lot like last year that they were asking him to repeat things, and something about making him kiss a girl's hand, and then she starts going on and on about ways we can help him be social on the yard and "are there any games in particular that he likes to play that we can have him do with the other kids?" and I'm like WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. I gotta go....

I head back to the office (hey, you know what's super fun? Walking through the hallway of your kids' school crying. Seriously. You should try it. It's awesome) and I leave a note for the Principal to call me "Re: Recent events" and I go home.

At home I get a call from a mom at the school who I know and who has a kid in Child 1's class. She's apologizing profusely, saying that she never thought it would be HER kid who would be the bully, blah blah blah... I'm like.... "I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED OR WHO WAS INVOLVED OR WHAT THE FUCK ANYTHING." She doesn't want to tell me anything because she doesn't want to get anybody in trouble, but she tells me what her kid told her he did, which was pretty much the same thing that I'd heard already. I was impressed that she'd had the balls to call me and apologize.

The day goes on and I end up getting calls from three other moms. They're all saying the same thing, about how bad they feel, about how their kid is going to have some consequences, about how sorry they are. I'm not really sure what to do with any of that information. I don't even know what happened, exactly, but everybody has a different story and either they don't want to tell me or they don't actually know any more than what they're saying. Probably the school will take some kind of action, but I have no faith in anybody who works there (except our teacher, whom I adore) to actually find out the truth. So the only way I'm going to get any answers about what actually happened is to get the kids to explain it. I've emailed all the moms who contacted me, asking them "for help" and asking them to find out for me exactly what happened.

Okay, this has been a long winded, rambling account of the last few days; I hope it made sense to you. Here's the thing now, though: I don't really care how sorry these moms are or what kind of consequences their kids now have to suffer for whatever it was they did. My concern is only about Child 1: helping him get through this whateverthefuck it is, and also helping him be able to cope with these things when they happen again.... and they will.

It kind of feels like earthquakes, this little bullying thing. There have been a number of little earthquakes here lately, and whenever it happens, I don't think "that was scary," I think "OH MY GOD it's only going to be so much worse in the future." That's what this feels like to me. Maybe whatever happened this time wasn't totally earth shattering, but it's going to happen again, and it's only going to get worse when it does. These kids are going to get older and more savvy and more mean, and Child 1 is going to be in middle school or high school, and I'm not going to know all the moms of the kids involved, and they're not going to call me and help me figure out what happened, and he's not going to talk to me about it so... is there anything I can even do???? I hate this feeling of helplessness, I need to take action. I've called an IEP meeting to "discuss ways we can help him develop coping and self-defense skills," but I don't know what else to do. I'm just waiting for the next earthquake, which will happen without any warning, and all I can do is make sure my emergency supplies are well stocked? Assuming we live through it, that is, and there's no guarantee of that.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: A Follow Up Post

Wow! I don't usually get people following up on their previous posts, but I'm really happy to get this one, because it's so fucking awesome.

I'm the Anonymous who wrote this, way back in December of last year. And I'm just here to tell you...I did it. I left the spouse. I got my own place with my disabled kid. And he lives in the same building...down the hall...yeah. Okay...not perfect. But damn well near it!!!

I get to do what I want, a lot. I get up in the morning and I can move at my own pace. It's calm and peaceful. There is no conflict, no endless litany of complaints. I have some part time work already. The caregivers who work here say it's wonderful, relaxed. The kid hasn't died as a result. As a matter of fact, she's calmer, less prone to "episodes", easier to care for. Her seizures are less dramatic, because they aren't over handled. Awesome!

We can breathe again. And people are saying to me, "It's like we are seeing the real you for the first time!" Apparently, the "real me" isn't so bad after all!

But, it was brutal to do. I don't recommend the experience. OMG, some days before the move, I thought I would just simply combust into a pile of burned out nerve endings. I took an emotional pounding. Moving day itself was hard...had to not look back...step by step...move forward. And a couple of times, the spouse came to dump on me...tell me how I fucked up his life. Yeah. Wow. BRUTAL.

But worth it. There's still a long way to go. Big problems to solve yet. But it's a lot easier now than it was and life is really good. If you, out there, are doing it too, hang on! Find someone to lean on hard when you need to...but do it. You won't regret it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guest Blogger: Brian from Both Sides of the Coin

Yay Brian! I'm sorry I wasn't able to draw pictures for this, but, um.......... huh. Also: Gracie rocks.

Gracie has discovered the wonders of hide and seek. By this, I mean, she leaves the room, smiles so big that I'm wondering how much food this little chipmunk crammed in that little mouth, and when I ask where she is she comes running and giggling loudly (okay, screaming). Great fun.

AJ, however, doesn't quite see it that way. In fact, here is the (hopefully) funny (at least to me) scenario that transpired, in conversation form. Parentheses are thoughts in head, quotes are said out loud.

Gracie: "More hideseek"

Brian: "Okay, go hide"

Gracie: (wow, what a hiding spot! right in front of the kitchen sink! He'll never find me here!)

Brian: (I'm not watching football for this?)

Brian: "Let's see, where did Gracie go? I can't find her anywhere!"

At this point, AJ randomly enters the room. He takes in the scene. Hold tight kids, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.....

Well, I think it's funny! Just checking if it works.

AJ: (Well. Daddy is being quite silly. He's asking where Gracie is when she is clearly standing right there in front of him. Why can't he see her?)

Gracie: (I am so awesome! I am so good at hiding, I don't even have to try! I can just stand here, and my hiding powers are so potent that Daddy is powerless to find me!)

Okay, so basically both of my kids are thinking I'm a complete doofus, for different reasons. When I look at it like this, this game really sucks for me.

AJ: (Well, if Daddy can't see her, even though this may be the worst hiding place known to man or beast, I'll have to show him)

AJ grabs her by the hand and brings her over to me, looking very upset and confused as to why almighty Daddy can't do this simple task. Thanks literal-thinking son!

And Gracie: I win.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Guest Blogger: Amy from The Adventures of JAMC

Next in our line of guest bloggers is Amy, who blogs at The Adventures of JAMC ! HI AMY!!

Life was good in the Johnson household. I was reading blogs important documents on the computer. The boys were playing the Wii, and Jodie was watching the Suns game. So when Jodie said, "Amy...c'mere...", in this weird, choked up sort of voice, I couldn't imagine what was wrong. I rushed to the playroom doorway where he was standing and glanced in. There, on the TV screen, was a picture of a butt.

Time out! Let's go back and look at how we got ourselves into this situation, shall we? Both boys have a habit of picking up the camera and taking random pictures. It's very common for me to find pictures of one of their stuffed animals, or of the toilet, or of a foot when I go to download my photos. One morning, when I was out doing something, Connor apparently grabbed the camera and snapped a picture of Jodie's butt as he was getting into the shower. Jodie is many things, but he is NOT a technological person. He's very technologically challenged. So he wasn't sure how to delete the picture off of the camera, and asked me to do it for him. I assured him I would when I got home...and then I promptly forgot. Fast forward to this weekend when I decided, after two months of having the Wii, that I should look and see what other features it has. I discovered you can put your camera SD card in the Wii and then have fun with your pictures. You can even make and solve puzzles of your pictures. I knew the boys would love it, so I showed them how to do it. Mason, with his very methodical mind, set out to make and solve a puzzle for every single picture on the memory card. So I left them to it. Time in!

And now, here we were, faced with a picture of Jodie's butt, larger than life. That choked up voice Jodie was using? Was a result of him trying not to laugh. Trying to be mature and let the boys know that wasn't appropriate and we needed to erase it immediately. But he just couldn't handle being mature in this situation, and therefore had to call on me. I gathered all my maturity and excellent parenting skills...and burst out laughing. I mean, I had tears rolling down my face. Jodie saying, "I thought you erased the picture!" made me laugh harder. "I-I-I forgot!," I positively howled. And when Mason clicked on the screen and turned the picture into a puzzle? I laughed so hard I almost threw up. I couldn't get mad. #1: It was too funny. #2: It was not the boys' fault at all. Besides the fact that Connor took the picture, that is. They didn't know the picture was on there. But, naturally, they discovered it.

I did take the card and erase the picture immediately after that. We had a talk about not taking pictures of inappropriate things. I put the cameras up where they can't reach for now because I know my boys. I would not be surprised if they decided to test the limits. And then we'll have family over and they'll ask if anyone wants to do a puzzle with them. And you KNOW which picture they'll choose.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I like dogs, it's their humans I can't stand

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program of guest bloggers to bring you... something I actually wrote!!! We will resume our normal guest blogging schedule tomorrow..... unless I can actually write something again. But don't hold your breath....

I have this lovely garden in my front yard, and I have a lovely gardener who comes by every now and then and helps me take care of it. I live in a lovely neighborhood, full of families, and many of these families have lovely dogs. As a result of the juxtaposition of living in a neighborhood full of dogs and having a lovely garden, my front yard is constantly full of dog shit. For the most part I don't notice it, because I don't actually do the weeding out there, but sometimes it gets so bad that 1. The whole front of my house smells like dog shit, literally and 2. There are fucking flies. Everywhere. Shit eating flies. FLIES. THAT. EAT. SHIT.

Actual pictures from the front of my house

So, I see people walking their dogs around the hood, while carrying little plastic bags; pretending to be good neighbors, although usually I see that these bags are empty. If they see you standing there watching them, they will pick up their dog's shit, put it into their little plastic bag and throw it away. Most of the time, however, they're not being watched. Which means they let their dogs shit in your plants and then they just fucking walk away.

They see me gardnin'.... they be hatin'

I don't blame dogs, dogs are cool, I like dogs. Pretty much every client I have has a dog and when I go to their office their dogs sit at my feet and lick my toes. I'm cool with dogs; they're just doing their dog thing. Dogs need to shit and dogs don't have toilets, they have no choice but to use our gardens and lawns and bushes to do their doggy bidness. I get that. It's not the dogs' fault. It's their humans' faults. Their humans who put them on leashes and walk them around the neighborhood and let them shit in my plants and then just fucking leave it there; as if it's not at all their responsibility because the shit is no longer inside their dog, it's now in the middle of my salvia leucantha and therefore no longer their problem.

I fucking hate these people. I want to set up a camera in my front yard so I can catch them on videotape, scoop up the shit, bring it back to their house and leave in their fucking garden. Yeah, that's not going to happen, I know. Instead, I figure I'll purchase or make a sign or a statue or a symbol of some sort. I came up with a few options and I can't figure out which one I like best. Which one do you guys think I should use?

1. These are little statues I see in other people's gardens. They're cute, yes, but way too subtle for me

2. Here is another one I found online. I like this one because you can actually see the poop emerging from the asshole

3. I figure, though, if I'm going to put a little ceramic or cast iron statue in my yard, it should be more interesting than that.

4. I kind of like that one, actually. But maybe a sign, instead of a statue? Easier to see? Makes a stronger point?

5. This is the sign my lovely gardener emailed me. She's such a nice person.

6. Not me, though! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

7. Okay, that's too mean. After all, like I said, I do like dogs, as long as I don't have to live with one, in my house with me, and it's the people I really want to kill, so.... yeah....
8. This is actually the one that's been rattling around in my head for a while now. Seriously.

Hub's idea is to make little flags that say "shit" and instead of removing the fecal matter, you stick a little flag into each piece that they leave behind. It would make quite the visual statement.

What do you guys think? Any suggestions? Probably.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Guest Blogger: Andrea from Maybe It's Just Me

Today's guest blogger is my friend Andrea, who blogs at Maybe It's Just Me. YAY!

It was another one of those days where I lost a husband, but gained a third child. If I had remembered to put the terror alert scale on the front door indicating that we were already at code orange, perhaps the evening might've gone better. I was in the kitchen, assuming my "gosh I hate this time of day" dinner making pose.

One would think that might be warning enough to tread lightly.

The husband merrily walked in from his productive, feel-good day at the office, bursting with love for his family. Then he opened his mouth: "Do you know what your daughter said to me this morning when I dropped her off at school?" I don't remember what exactly my guess was, but matching his enthusiasm, I assumed it was something adorable for an eleven year old. Wrong. The correct answer was "nothing". I tried to reassure my husband (and end the conversation) that I generally am the one to say good-bye first when I drop off our girl and the neighbor girl at middle school.

All set? Nope, what else? He said he did say good-bye. Okey-dokey. The girl child speaks up from the couch, and says that she didn't hear him. And, cue the mother snapping...my rant went something along the lines of: that being obnoxious, and whether you hear someone say good-bye to you or not, you say good-bye to them, and that she could just carry her violin on the crowded bus in the morning because nobody here was interested in driving her. I am not sure what the husband child's original intent was, but things were pretty quiet.

In my current state of floundering to keep up with how I need to adjust my parenting as the kids get older, I kept playing the scenario over in my mind. My son (who is a real boy) would never come to me with such drivel about his sister, as he would have called her out on her attitude right on the spot. If he did come to me with such a tale, I might've questioned why he didn't address it promptly, or possibly even inquired as to why he was being a tattle tale. I will even dare to say that the words "get over yourselves" would probably pass my lips.

So why was I taking a stance on behalf of a grown man? Why did I feel like my parenting skills were coming under attack, letting embarrassment get the best of me, by the person equally responsible for her parenting? No, seriously, why? After biting back tears through most of dinner, along with the urge to throw a fork at the forehead of the child I didn't birth, I still had to broker some sort of truce between them. None of the three of them spoke until I gave the all clear sign. Would you like to hazard a guess at what that sign looked like in my head?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Blogger: Jim from blogginglily

Thank you, everybody, who offered a guest post for me. Now my blog won't be blank! YAY!!! My first victim contributor is Jim, my new pal who blogs at Blogging Lily and can be found on Twitter at blogginglily. YAY!!

Heavy Petting

We used to take Lily for O.T. on the weekends. It got to be too much, juggling OT/PT and speech there and at school, and wrap, but for a while it was almost a nice break to drop her off someplace where they "got her" and go sit down for a cup of coffee, read the paper, or a book, then go pick her up. My wife and I would arm wrestle for it and sometimes she’d let me win.

One Saturday, I had finished my caffe americano (god it makes me self-conscious to order a caffe amaricano. . . but you can't just order "coffee. . . just a fucking normal goddamn coffee, you pretentious bitch" at Starbucks or they get all offended), closed my copy of Wicked, unbent my stiffening legs and exited Starbucks. I tossed my paper cup, complete with protective corrogated paper grip, in the garbage and went to my car.

What the hell were all those people doing in the parking lot? It's a fucking strip mall for godsake. I drove along the strip of stores on the way to pick Lily up and saw. . .a make-shift petting zoo! SWEET! She'll love that, I thought.

I was right too. At least sorta. . . it was still a bad idea. I picked up my angel and drove back toward the petting zoo. I found a parking spot and retrieved my daughter from her car seat.

HEY! It was the Easter Bunny, or at least somebody wearing a bunny outfit. All six feet of sparkly-vested, smiling Furrie! I suppose that’s as good a petting zoo mascot as any. Lily was entranced.

"BUGGY!" she shrieked.

"Yeah, baby, it's the Easter Bunny," I translated. We'll go check him out when the line dies down a little," I assured her.

There was a woman with a polaroid handing out free pictures of the bashful children standing with the Bunny. We made our way past her to the far side of the petting zoo. I figured we'd save the bunny for our climactic exit.

"Gerger Buggy!" she shrilled, happily.

"I know, baby, it's the Easter Bunny, we're going to see him in just a minute, okay?" I reassured, "Look, there's a llama!" I pointed to the chocolate brown llama. He was fuzzy and exotic looking. She didn't follow my finger.

"GERGER BUGGY!" she said, sounding frantic. Daddy was taking her further and further from the Easter Bunny.

"In a minute, baby, let's pet the animals."

"BUGGY! I wan' BUGGY!" she struggled in my arms. I put her down and she immediately tore off toward the Easter Bunny.

Christ! I gathered her up in my arms and went, at last, to see the Bunny. Fortune favored me, no children were in line. I put her down on the ground like a child places an already spinning remote control car. . . her little wheels were churning in an attempt to walk across the air to get at the bunny. When her little black mary janes hit the asphalt there was an audible squeal and the smell of burnt rubber as she layed tracks to reach him.

"GERGER BUGGY!" She welcomed him. She approached slowly but confidently. He knelt to greet her and she touched his vest, turning to smile happily at me. "Gerger buggy," she told me. And I nodded agreement. She turned back to the bunny and touched his fuzzy arms. The woman was kneeling now, attempting to get a picture of my daughter with the Easter Bunny.

"Lily," I said. She was intent upon investigating the bunny and had no time for daddy. "Lily!" I repeated.

"Lillllllly," the woman holding the polaroid sang. Lily turned from the bunny to look curiously at the new voice and the woman, blessed with the reflexes of a jungle cat, caught the picture before Lily returned to the subject of her affection.

The woman handed me the picture and I took it and thanked her. She smiled.

I joined my daughter. Children were starting to queue behind us. She was not easily persuaded to leave the bunny behind. I dug in her bag for fruit snacks. I bought myself about 45 seconds of peace, provided I didn't attempt to pick her up and move her further than 5 feet from the bunny. But it did at least allow the other kids to greet the bunny.

Fruit snacks exhausted. . . I scooped her up and told her to tell the Bunny "bye bye". That was when all hell broke loose.

She had no interest in ponies or llamas, goats or chickens. She wanted the fucking Gerger Buggy. My attempts at "redirecting" her were . . . "not effective". There was slapping and biting.

I'm glad I did it though looking back at it. The first three to five minutes of the car ride home were not pleasant, but she settled down, and we relived the glory of her meeting with the bunny. She spoke about him happily.
"Gerger buggy," she sighed.

"Yeah, baby, you got to see the Easter Bunny!" I replied.

When we got home I scanned the polaroid and printed out another picture. Then I gave Lily the polaroid and she held it to her chest. She tore spindled and mutilated it in accordance with her unique nature. Then she gave it to me to hold, as she does with ALL her most precious possessions. I draped her blankets over my shoulder, and transferred Barney from one hand to the other so I could hold the picture.

Lily likes furries.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's good to have friends you can trust

The other day I arrived at Child 2's friend's house to drop him off for a pre-arranged playdate so that I could go to work. C2's buddy is his BFF from preschool and his mom and I have become good friends over the years.

We arrived at their house at 11:30 and I had to be at work at 12:00. The front door was wide open so we just walked in and wandered all over their (large) house looking for somebody. We eventually found the kids in the back room playing Wii.

"Hey, guys, where's your mom?" I asked.

They were way too wrapped up in Legend of Zelda to be able to take any time to answer my question with anything other than "Idunno" so I sat down on the couch with Child 2 and waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Since we had walked around the house when we first got there, I assumed she was in the bathroom and I didn't want to go and find her. Nobody likes to be interrupted when they're in the bathroom AmIRight?????

At 5 minutes to 12:00 I had no choice but to just get up and leave. I made her boys look at me while I told them to tell their mom to call me (they didn't, though) and I just left, leaving Child 2 there. I knew she was somewhere in the house and I felt perfectly fine leaving him with his buddies playing Wii.

After work I stopped by on my way home just to make sure it was okay with her that I'd just left him there. It was, of course, and we both thought it was funny and cool at the same time that we had enough trust in each other that I could have just left my kid in her living room without really knowing where she was.

But the best part of this story? It turned out that she hadn't been in the bathroom, after all.

She was upstairs in her bedroom.... reading my blog.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: An Amazing Mom Warrior

Oooh, 2 Dive Bar posts in one weekend? Fancy.

Recently my family has been blindsided by meddling, uneducated ignorance. When you are parenting a child with Autism, life is rough at time, and there are numerous blessings to be found everywhere, but that blog I don’t need to make anonymous, this is for me and the mommies who have been there.

C.P.S. (Child Protective Services) - If you just shuddered, you get it. You do your best every day to fight for your children, to be the best you can be and you think you will never have them knock on your door. You know you love your children, and they have food, clothes, warm beds, so much more than many children have. But when your son can’t defend himself or his family, when uneducated people overhear drama from your day and spin it into an attack, the world turns on its axis.

I have no need to rehash details, I do have something to say to the asshat who chose to stoop to such low levels as calling C.P.S. and not being an ADULT and just venting their frustrations to my husband, whom they were upset with over work drama. GROW A SET OF BALLS. It does not take a big person to make a phone call and make up lies about someone you have NEVER even met. I am a fucking amazing mom. I love my children with every fiber of my being, and I will go to the ends of the Earth for them.

My family has so many hoops to jump through to help our son function daily in a world that does not understand him, your meddling is unsolicited to say the least. If you were so concerned genuinely about my family, how about you ask us what you can do to be of help to us.

Oh wait, you don’t actually give a fuck, you just want to hurt my husband because you are inadequate in your own life?

Great job, you have hurt my husband, bravo. Here is the thing though, he is aching for his family. Do you know the horrible effect stress has on a family living with Autism? You don’t? Then what fucking authority do you have to pull things from your ass for personal gain? How are you feeling about yourself now? Pretty cool huh? You caused a young child with Autism to spin into regression. In case you didn’t know (and I am guessing you didn’t) regression means that with some assholes false report to CPS, a young boy can lose MONTHS of very hard earned progress. Congrats again to you. Should we get you a Bozo button? (BTW, When you file a false claim about someone you don’t know and fake concern about a child, it helps to know the correct NAME of said child.)

Here is the kicker. To your efforts at destroying my family, you fail. We will become stronger, better and wiser from all of this. I am going to take your pile of shit and turn it into fertilizer, going to use it to make my family grow stronger. Sorry for your luck, the loser here is you and you alone. You may have caused so much pain and heartache for us, but we won’t let some insignificant, ignorant person knock us down. We will teach our kids to never, ever be the kind of person you are. A Bully.

CPS is closing the case, we are moving forward. I hope you enjoy your lonely existence, as I foresee a long, lonely life for someone of your moral “standards.” In case you are wondering, I not only wept for my family, I cried for the children in this world who are in need of intervention and people just look the other way. Statistics show that for every ONE child that is removed from an abusive home, SEVENTEEN are removed from non-abusive homes with loving, caring, & capable families. Who knows how many children need help, yet vindictive asshats like you waste the time of already overworked social workers. Bravo.

In closing, Fuck You.

- An AMAZING Mom Warrior

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Dive Bar Welcomes: Amber

Hi Amber! Amber is unladylike, and she displays unladylike behavior... is all I'm saying. What? Is that vague? WHATEVER.

There’s a song on the radio at the moment that talks about a man, laid off from his last job, looking for work.

I got a strong back, steel toes
I rarely call in sick, a good truck
What I don't know I catch on real quick
I work weekends, if I have to, nights and holidays

I work sunup to sundown
Ain't too proud to sweep the floors
The bank has started callin'
And the wolves are at my door

Perhaps I’m cynical. Perhaps I’m jaded. Whatever the case, when this song comes on I can’t help but feel… angry. I realize that most people’s hearts felt a tug when they read the lyrics, but not me.

The thing is, I work in recruiting. When I tell people that I tend to get the same response:

“Oh, there’s a lot of good people looking for jobs right now.”
“So many hard workers are willing to do anything to get their foot in the door.”
“I bet you have people lining up for a job!”

True, there is no lack of candidates. But good candidates? Few and far between. People don’t want to work hard; they don’t want to work weekends; they don’t want to sweep the floors. What they want is a handout. A good paying job where they can sit and do… nothing.

Right, cynical. Jaded. But I’ve seen it too many times. And people will tell you that they want nights, weekends, whatever you’re offering… and as soon as they start that first day, everything changes.

What’s to blame? Unemployment, for one. A person gets laid off, applies for unemployment, and suddenly they can sit at home and collect a check. It’s only a little less than and entry level job pays, so why put in the effort when you can get it for free? Don’t get me wrong – I know there are people out there who will work long, hard hours – people like the one in the song. I’ve seen them; I’ve hired them. But when push comes to shove and you have a choice of a back-breaking day of work or a check from Uncle Sam, most people choose the latter.

So, where are the people with strong backs, steel toes? Where are the people who rarely call in sick? Nights and weekends? You don’t see too many people jumping at that job offer. And if you are… give me a call.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Insanity, cont'd

So, remember when I wrote about how all these kids and cats loved me so much that they were all smothering me practically to death? Well, you may have noticed that I talked about 3 cats and only 1 kid who were doing this. There's a reason for that, but I saved it for a separate post.

It's funny because of all the small creatures who live in my house, the only one of them that I wouldn't mind smothering me would be Child 1, except he practically never comes near me any more. Oh, he'll ask for food, and he'll ask for help getting Child 2 to leave him alone, but he never "hangs out" with me, and he never spends extended periods of time in the same room as me. He spends time with Child 2, in the mancave, playing Mario Kart, but otherwise he's usually in his room by himself drawing or something.

It's frustrating. I'm very frustrated. I can see in his face that something is going on in his head, but I can't for the life of me figure out what it is or how to get him to tell me what it is. I know he doesn't like school, I know he doesn't like doing homework, I know that the workload in 4th grade has massively increased over last year, so I can only assume that these are the things that are bothering him, but I don't know for sure and I feel so shitty about it. I've talked to everybody at school and nobody has any clue.

I ask him what's going on and he always says "nothing." I sit with him and ask him what he's doing and how he's feeling, and he says "please leave me alone now" (one of the first skills he learned in ABA: to verbalize when he wants to be alone. Great job?) I stop him and make him look me in the eye and promise me that he's okay, and he does, but I know it's not true. I know he's feeling bad, because I look at his beautiful face and I can tell. I'm his mother and I know something is going on. He has red circles under his eyes and he's constantly pretending to be sick so that he doesn't have to go to school. I want to know what it is. I want to know!! I can't help him feel better if I don't know why he's feeling bad. I feel awful, and helpless, and frustrated, and sad; most of the time.

I don't know what to do. Any suggestions? :(

UPDATE: I've talked to everybody at the school and they're all totally perplexed by this because, they say, at school he's perfectly fine. He's happy, he's compliant, he does the work, he does a great job, all is well. Then WTF????????? We're going to have him talk to the school psychologist and see if she can get anything. I'm totally at a loss and I feel like a total failure. I'm a shitty mom, I can't even get my kid to tell me why he's falling apart emotionally. I suck. I feel like shit. FUCK!!!!!!

I am going insane! Moreso.


OH MY GOD. I think I'm going to lose the last shred of sanity I've been desperately clinging to. 4 cats, 2 kids and never a moment to myself. Every time I sit down at my desk and try to write something, a fucking cat comes and sits on my keyboard. (Pro tip: You can crash your computer by having Chrome open an infinite number of new tabs).  I have at least 3 unfinished posts in my drafts folder that I want to finish, but they're very cerebral and require a lot of quiet time and contemplation; I can't whip them out quickly, but I never have enough alone time at my computer to make that happen. Right now I'm desperately trying to write this as fast as I possibly can before she realizes I'm no longer in the room where the laundry is (at least she's slow).

And then when I try to get up and go do something else because she's driving me nuts at my desk? She follows me, and sits on that, too. Whatever it is. And this has been during the day, when the kids are at school, and I haven't been working. I actually do have some work to do right now, but I can't fucking get anything done with a goddamn CAT on my keyboard all the time. It's making me fucking crazy. And I don't even like cats.

And then when the kids get home it's just that much worse. There is no room in this house that I can escape to because somebody will either come and find me or there's already somebody in there. The other day, I was trying to make dinner and I'm in the kitchen, and there's Cat #1, standing there yelling at me. I give him food and snacks, but he doesn't want that, I don't know what the fuck he wants; he wants to fucking kill me, is what he wants, because whenever I try to walk he circles around my ankles and tries to trip me. Or, he'll suddenly appear behind me as I'm taking a step and I practically break my neck trying not to break his. One of these days, cat......

So, I got really frustrated with trying to get stuff done in the kitchen, and I give up for a little while and sit down at my desk and try to do something... anything. Help me, Twitter! Immediately there's Cat #2 on my keyboard. I throw her off but she's a fucking cat boomerang and immediately comes right back. But hey, I've got a laptop, I can move this fucker anywhere, right? So I grab it up and take it upstairs to the bedroom where... you guessed it... there's Cat #3 on the bed, waiting for me. This one doesn't like to sleep on computers, she likes to sleep on people. It's difficult to type when there's a cat on your hands. Can you believe that??

So, okay, fuck this... I grab up my laptop again and I head downstairs to the TV room... where Child 2 is. I sit on the couch next to him and he immediately wraps himself around my arm and holds onto my hand. Awwww.... right? Yeah. Whatever. I can't do anything that way, either!! But now that I'm in the room, I also can't get back up and go back into the kitchen to continue making dinner, because now he's hanging onto my arm and won't let me go.

There is no place in this house where I am safe from somebody who fucking loves me and wants to snuggle with me. IT IS REALLY ANNOYING.

GAAAHHH!!! SHE'S BACK!!!1qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq

P.S. My friend Tina, who blogs at Not Just Another Mother Blogger, whom I have known for years, and who I LOVE. So very very much. Has created a game. A game called Six Degrees of jillsmo. I love this game. I love this game a lot. Please go and visit her and tell her how awesome she is.....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Not like I had a choice, though

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yeah. Good Times.: The Sitcom

So, I have this friend, who I'll call Cactus Pants (because that's his name. Cactus Pants. Seriously. His parents were assholes). And yesterday, Cactus Pants wrote on my new Facebook wall, "Its only a matter of time before they approach you to make the "Yeah Good Times" sit-com."

Which got me thinking. A Yeah. Good Times. sitcom, huh? They could put cameras in my house and film every single minute of everything we do? The entire world would get a glimpse into our every day activities and see what life is really like from this end of my computer? How interesting would that be?

Well, the answer is, not very interesting at all, actually, I'm sorry to tell you. I mean, you may think that life around the Smo House is all fun and games and excitement and joy, but really... not so much. That shouldn't really stop me, though, from pitching the idea to some TV studio executives, right?? I mean... if Cactus Pants thinks it's a good idea..... When has anybody named Cactus Pants ever been wrong about this sort of thing?

So I decided to draw my life. Literally. This is my life. And I present it to you fine people in a storyboard-type format (I assume. Related: I don't know what "storyboard-type format" means), because this will be what I use when I pitch to those big time TV studio executives. (Pitch? Is that even a real word? It's starting to look weird and wrong to me. Fuck it, it's staying). Think of it as like a sneak preview into the sitcom that one day may air on, well, probably Fox, because it's the only channel shitty enough to show this kind of crap.


Seriously? How could anybody turn that down? Surely you can see how this would appeal to a wide television demographic?

Who wants to help me turn this into a screenplay?????

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Birthday Post, for Liza

Well, Liza, here is your prize for winning my birthday quiz, per your request. I know that you had asked for a birthday "story," and this is more pictures than story, but I still can't really write. Sorry. So, instead, I've resurrected an old birthday post that I posted last January. Even if I could write, though, I probably would have still done this, because it is, without question, the best birthday party I've ever been to.

Here are some pictures of Child 1's first birthday party. I don't usually show pictures of my kids but I figured since these were taken 8 years ago and he doesn't look like this anymore, it should be okay. I did, however (obviously) Photoshop fix the writing that was on the cake, because it had a frosto.

This was obviously before the major food/sensory issues that he still has today; I cannot imagine him ever again getting this messy with food.

The cake. Since this was birthday #1, it was a carrot cake, made with only organic, all natural ingredients. *snicker* He had never had anything like it before, as you will soon see.

"Do you like my hat?" "No, I do not like this party hat."

"What is this substance you have given me? It is red and sticky. I am dubious."


"I approve of your food choices, Mother. Oh, yes. I do approve."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

And we have four winners!!

Thanks to everybody who entered the giveaway, and a HUGE thanks and apologies to Marsupial Mama, who fell for my fake rules. Heh heh. Sorry about that.... (giggle). She wasn't one of my winners, but I feel bad that she went to so much trouble (seriously, there were, like, 6 tweets from her with the hashtag #WhoringForAutism) so, to make it up to her, please go to her blog right now and you'll see a big "Please vote for Autism Rocks!" which is a link that will take you to Babble's Top 25 Autism Spectrum Blogs and please vote for her!!! She's at #13 at the time I write this; let's get her to at least #12!!!!

So, I picked 4 winners out of the 36 people who entered. Again, I enlisted my partner in crime (aka Child 2) and we used our very scientific method, which you will see evidence of, below.

In the meantime, though, our winners are!!
  1. Kristin, who did not leave any information about herself so I have nothing to link to, sorry....
  2. Crissy, aka Bratmom
  3. Karen, who blogs at The Not So Simple Truth
  4. Annanonamus, my crazy Twitter pal, and blogger at Because You're a Moron (love that name)
I'm sorry I can't give one to everybody, but I didn't actually get enough to make that happen. You can still buy one, though!! Just go to the Amazon store. They're not very expensive, considering how awesome they are.

WINNERS! Please contact me at jillsmo@gmail.com with your names and addresses so that I can mail you your book. If I don't hear from you, I know how to contact you all. And I probably will! Or, I'll forget. Actually it's more likely that I'll forget so you should probably contact me.


And.... our scientific winner picking process, documented, as always.....

Names were put into a Word document and printed! In case you were wondering, yes, this was right after he came home from soccer.

Then there was cutting! Those are my hands holding the scissors, which means the boy took this picture. He took about 6 of them and this was the only one not a blurry mess.

Eyes were closed and names were picked!

The results..... ahhhhhh.....

Friday, October 14, 2011

The funniest thing I've seen all week

I have 2 things this week. Actually there were way more than 2 but I can only remember these right now. That may be the problem with writing these things when I'm drunk. Maybe. Whatever.

The first is a cartoon I found on Moms Who Drink and Swear. I asked Nikki for permission to use it and she said she stole it from somebody else. Whatever!

The second is a text I got from my husband. See, I was at Costco, and he had requested that while I was there, I get a bag of flour (he likes to make bread. :love: ) Except, the only flour they had was in 50 pounds bags, so I texted him "Sorry, I'm not getting a 50 pound bag of flour" and he responded: "Yes you are. And get a mule, too, to carry it home. Also supplies so we can pan for gold."

LOLs all around!

A short compilation post

Yesterday I was in Child 2's classroom. His teacher was talking about the world map and the directions and such. I couldn't see the board she was pointing to, and this is what I heard:

Teacher: Who can tell me what part of the world this is called?
Child who isn't mine: Is it East America?
Teacher: Good guess! But, no, that's called Europe.


And Child 1 responds: "Good one, Mama."

And this happened on Monday this week:

My hero

I feel like I owe a lot of people drawings, I just can't remember who I owe them to and what I'm supposed to be drawing. Do I owe you one? Please remind me. I'm sorry that I've forgotten, I have a shitty, shitty memory and the fact that I've forgotten has absolutely nothing to do with how much I adore you. Pinky swears!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm doing another giveaway!!

EDIT: I don't mind shipping overseas, so don't let that stop you from entering.

Undeniable proof of this book's current presence in my house


This time I have in my possession a number of copies of the newest collection of stories written by autie parents: Wit and Wisdom From the Parents of Special Needs Kids. I actually have quite a few (relatively) so I can give a bunch away.

As with any giveaway, naturally there are rules that you must follow. Each rule must be strictly adhered to or your entry will be disqualified!


1. Subscribe to this blog via Google Friend Connect
2. "Like" my new Facebook page
3. Follow me on Twitter
4. Create a reddit account and upvote everything I've ever said and submitted
5. Go through each and every post on this blog and submit them all individually to StumbleUpon
6. Go to my klout profile and give me +K in any topic that I have influence in, particularly Sarah Palin and Beyonce, because I take those the most seriously
7. Record a video of yourself dancing a jig while singing "I want the book, please!" and upload it to YouTube
8. Show up at my front door and personally ask me for a copy of the book while dancing a jig and singing "I want the book, please!" (No, you can't stay here when you're done, you have to go straight home)
9. Every time you do any of these things, you must tweet that you have done it, using the hashtag #WhoringForAutism, in order to verify yourself. Don't forget the hashtag!! Without it your entry will be disqualified.

HA HA, no... I'm just kidding, those aren't the rules. However, I did consider stopping this post right there and seeing how many of you took me seriously. No, actually, I don't have any rules. Just leave a comment here so I know you're interested; I'll probably pick some winners the same way I did last time. Because that was not only fun, but also educational and a creative learning experience for the child.

I do have one request, though, and that is that you go to Amazon and leave a (good!!) review of the book. Lynn seems to think that's important and who am I to question Lynn? Amiright??????

Update: Sat 10/15 7:15pm PST: I'm turning off comments now. I'm sorry if you were too late and missed the chance to enter, but you can always buy one!!!

I'm on BlogHer!!!

Oh, yeah, baby. You read me. BlogHer!

<---------  Now I get to put the little graphic dealie in my sidebar. I'm fairly certain this increases my blog's awesomeness by at least 52.5%


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I've taken the plunge. An evil, horrible plunge.

Help! I'm being plunged!

Yes, that's right... I've created a Facebook page. It's not a page for this blog, per se, it's a page for a fictional character named Jillsmo (they forced me to capitalize the first letter those bastards.) I've been avoiding this for months now but I guess I knew it was inevitable. I mean, you can't go anywhere on the internet anymore without being on Facebook. The other day I wanted to just sign up for an account somewhere to make a comment on a post or something, and I had to sign up using my Facebook account. I had no choice!!

Since the FB account I mostly use is my "real" name, I decided that I'd like have the option of traveling the internets as my blogging persona only. Not that there's really a huge difference, but I like to think that by keeping this one final bit of information about myself a secret that will protect me from all the crazies and trolls and weirdos that might come to my door one day. Actually, I wanted to leave a comment on Moms Who Drink and Swear because Nikki linked to my post and I got, like TWO THOUSAND visits. I'm not exaggerating!!!! TWO. FUCKING. THOUSAND. So I wanted to leave a comment and thank her, but I didn't want to use my real Facebook account and my real name. (Ironically, however, after I had created the account I then tried to connect to a site using Facebook to leave a comment with my NEW fictional character's account but I somehow did it wrong and ended up calling somebody a bitch with my REAL first and last name. I'M SO AWESOME.) Thus the new FB page was born. (Just humor me, okay?)

jillsmo and Nikki! FB BFFs 4-EVAR!!!!!!

Oh, and then Nikki asked me to draw a picture of her eating a delicious steak, which really was the least I could do, considering she got me TWO THOUSAND visits.

By the way, huge props to Eli Rose Social. They do social media consulting and I keep thinking I'm never going to need their services because I'm not trying to get sponsors or make money from this but then it seems like whenever I have a tech question, I end up at their site finding out my answer. They helped me make those neat new buttons you see over there on the left; without even realizing it!! THANKS GUYS!!

So... YAY! Now I have a new thing to worry about. GREAT. Although... the best part about this is now Klout will stop fucking harassing me to Connect With My Facebook Account. I've done it, okay klout?? Are you happy now?? HAPPY???