Coping

Usually I deal with things by not dealing with things. I don’t do it on purpose and usually don’t realize I’m doing it, but I’ve done it for as long as I can remember. The problem is, well, the problem. The problem doesn’t go away. It doesn’t magically get better or disappear just because my head is in the sand. There are things that just hurt too much to look at, but does not looking hurt worse? Maybe. Probably.

I knew something was not quite how it should be when I had Buddy. No one else seemed to notice, so I stopped asking for other people’s opinion. When I’d say “Shouldn’t he be talking more? Or so that we can understand him?” my mother would remind me of her cousin who didn’t talk until she turned 3. Every problem that I saw, there was a family story, on one side or the other, of someone doing the same thing. My mother, husband, mother-in-law, all of them were trying to help. They honestly didn’t want me to worry, and thought it was a passing issue. Each issue was explainable. Except. Except they weren’t, not really. Yeah, it could just be that Buddy has a Southern accent. Sure, the not sleeping could be from too much noise. Yes, I probably worry too much because I wanted this baby so very badly. And I could always find reasons why he wasn’t exactly tracking on the What To Expect time line. I mean, of course he can’t pick up something pea sized. When would he be around something that small?

Buddy was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and ADHD when he was 6 but it was a kind of place holder diagnosis. No one told me what that meant or that he was on the Autism spectrum. Everyone around me said, “Oh, he can’t be Autistic! He’s so engaged, and affectionate!’ Even the schools assured me that he wasn’t. Until one person finally looked at the paperwork and evaluated him again. Turns out she had a grandson with Aspberger’s  and recognized many of the symptoms in Buddy. So, yeah, PDD-NOS. After 5 years of people convincing me that it couldn’t be autism, it turns out that yes, it can.

I’ve heard people talk about mourning their expectations and grieving over the loss of normalcy, but it never clicked for me. I couldn’t relate, maybe because I was in diagnosis limbo. I’ve seen families I know with special needs kids that have it so much worse. How could I mourn when I have two healthy children?  Sure Buddy has problems, but try comparing that to the family whose son has frequent seizures even after radical brain surgery.  When I read Mir’s post about grief it opened something in me. As I read, something cracked. Tears started flowing and I suddenly realized that, yes, that IS what grief looks like. That’s what I’ve been feeling. I always thought I was just stressed, upset, overreacting, something, but not grieving. Mourning didn’t even occur to me. Now I feel like a weight has been lifted. Yes, this is grief. And it is okay to grieve what isn’t and what won’t be. That doesn’t mean that I’m not thankful for what is.

So now I’m rethinking my ostrich position. I don’t know what would be changed if I had pulled my head out of the sand years ago. But I do know this, being an ostrich didn’t help. Now I have my head out of the sand and I’m trying to keep it that way. It won’t be easy and the temptation is always there. What I don’t know can hurt me, and by extension everyone that I have a responsibility to can be hurt by it also.

Girly and fierce

Are you sitting down? Because this may shock you so much that you should be. Sitting, that is. I’m sick. I KNOW! It’s shocking. I’ve been coughing and hacking, sneezing and snorting for a whole month now. Although, in all fairness, I think everyone else in the world is also. So. I finally have a picture that captures my daughter’s personality so well that it has to be shared. Ready?

packed-and-ready

This is Anguirus. A fierce monster from Godzilla, and Beanie loves the Godzilla movies. Anguirus is wearing glasses because “she doesn’t see very good.” She has Barbie size bottles of perfume, nail polish and other essentials packed in her traveling bag because she and her dolphin friend are going to Hawaii. You can’t see it, but there is another purse hanging from the spikes on her tail and there is a flower stuck between the spikes on her back. This is not an isolated incident. Many rough and tumble creatures have made their way to Beanie, only to be draped in pink and sweetness. Sometimes they act sweet while they’re dressed up, but mostly they still kick butt.  And that is my girl child summed up. I am thankful every day for her, just like she is. Pretty, sweet, draped in fluff and pink sparkles, and willing and able to hand anyone their rear on a platter.

Mud Creature

Mud creature with her trusty hound

I’ve discovered the real reason that mud started to be used in spa treatments. Not because it makes your skin smooth or magically glowing. Nope. It was a purely defensive move. Try to keep a kid out of mud. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What’s that? It hasn’t rained so there can’t be any mud? Au contraire. All you need is a kid and dirt. It just appears. About one minute later it just happens to cover the child’s entire body. Beanie usually follows that with a song about making mud.

Usually I try to curtail the mud fun because I am a big meanie who is only interested in no fun activities. But every once in a while, when the moon is just right or Mercury is in retrograde, I give in. I turn the sweet little curly headed thing loose and announce that she may play in the mud. 2 seconds later there is a mud beast chorteling in my yard. And now, we have a dog to add to the mix. So the mud beast has a helper in the war against bare skin. I stay as far away as possible, because ewww.

I did notice one thing, though. After she is drug inside and hosed off, doesn’t her skin look lovely? So soft and glowing. Hm, believe I’ll go put on a mud mask now.

Ruprecht

Having just returned from a trip to an event that was basically a family reunion on speed, I have only one thing to say.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, Oklahoma!!

Milestones

Some of the milestones that your children go through are obvious and forseeable. Walking, talking, first day of school. They’re all things that can be wrenching. As a parent you’re so excited for them and yet… It’s so hard to watch them get older and further away from that sweet little being that you first fell in love with. Starting Kindergarten was hard for Beanie because she had never been away from family for any real length of time. No preschool and no non-relative babysitters meant that separation was a big deal for her. And for me. I barely held it together. But now that she has a whole school year under her belt, she’s a big girl. And I’ve come to terms with my baby being a big girl. Or at least I thought I had. Now she’s started correcting her speech when she mangles it. Probably is no longer “plobly”. I was suddenly tossed back to when Buddy started saying “computer” instead of “mempooter.” I know they’re supposed to grow up and change. I just don’t know if I want them to.

Blargh!

I am frequently sick, or just generally under the weather. It’s one of those little charming things about me. I had mono twice in the 80s and missed months of school. Now most people only get it once, and even then it doesn’t affect them much. But because I like to be unique and different, I then proceeded to have it twice in the 90s. Did you know that you can be in contact with mono and never catch it if your immune system is in good shape? And on the flip side of that, you can be a carrier after having it and poor slobs who are ripe for viruses can catch it from you years later? Did you also know that sometimes the glands under your jaw and on your neck can stay enlarged even years and years after recuperating from mono? This explains why my sister in law called me “Mono Mary” for years after learning that she had mono.

Which is why the most surprising thing about Buddy coming down with MRSA was that I didn’t have it first. After an initial bout with the wrong antibiotic he finally found relief when we started the correct course of antibiotics. This was an awful affliction and it just broke my heart. He had a boil on the inside of his elbow. He had a boil on his nose. And the worst was the row of boils on both sides of his trunk, from chest to waist. He had about 5 on the left and 6 on the right. And no matter what the advice you find about boils says, you really do have to drain them. But if you do it wrong (ie: too soon, when the skin is closed over it) the infection will just spread under the skin. I tried to wait, tried to avoid draining them myself, and then the one on the inside of his elbow started having red streaks.

At which point, I got very cool and calm as I gathered the supplies and sterilized the needle. I drained the boil efficiently, without a single qualm, holding down the squirming, strong (holy cow that kid is a force!), 9 yr old boy by myself, since Hubby was at the store. Buddy kept up his end of the deal by yelling “Ow! Ow! I’m injured!!” only 20 times instead of the thousand he clearly wanted to. After medicating/bandaging his arm, I comforted Buddy, reassured Beanie that I wasn’t killing her brother, and calm was restored to the house. Of course, then I went absolutely bug shit and shaky.

Fast forward a few months, when the innocuous bump on my back by the waist has become a MRSA abscess covering a quarter of my back. The surgeon did a wonderful job of numbing the area before making an incision and assuring that it would stay open to drain by putting a rubber-band thing in the incision. (Which if he hadn’t shown it to me, I would have suspected of being covered in spikes.) Then came the wonders of having the bandage changed.

All I know is, I would have felt so much better if I could have just yelled “Ow! Ow! I’m injured!”

Wooo!

So one of my very favorite bloggers had a raffle for people that donated to a worthy cause. I was glad to have the opportunity to help Heather and am prayerfully (is that a word?) following her ordeal. Since I never win anything, I was very surprised to see my name in the list of winners. But I have to admit that I’m more excited about the fact that I won something from my other very favorite blogger. Unfortunately, since I included the name of my blog, people might actually visit. And I haven’t been exactly prolific. So if you’re here, hi. I may actually post at some point and it will be, well not phenomenal, but maybe interesting. Certainly after a summer with both kids chipping away at my sanity. In fact, by end of summer, my posts will probably be like an awful accident where you just can’t look away.

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