Parenting Is Hard

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Here we go again. I missed Friday's post. Of course, I didn't have anything important or valuable to say and I had company in from out of town, so maybe it was for the best. As for tonight, I just finished up some work left over from today. I may have mentioned I am covering for a colleague when she goes out on maternity leave in four weeks? Well, her waters broke yesterday, so her leave started today. And although I am not really ready, I am going to do my best, which of course means working harder for a while to catch up. I would so much rather be writing. And before I go off on a tangent... This is supposed to be a mommy-ish post, so here goes.

Tonight I had to face a hard truth. I had to fill out a membership form for my little boy to start Lego club on Tuesday nights. Lego club is at the Sensory Centre and held for children with a disability. Tonight, for the first time, I had to admit-- if only on paper-- that my son has a disability. Although we have not been given a firm diagnosis, the team of doctors, psychologists, etc. in charge of assessing him has confirmed that he has Sensory Processing Disorder, something that deep down I already knew. They also keep referring to his symptoms and the challenges we are facing as being 'common in Autism Spectrum Disorder'. They haven't come right out and said my son is autistic, but I think again it's something we already know.

The last few months have been the hardest I think I have ever faced. He doesn't understand or even notice that he is different. In fact, most of the other children in his class don't notice it either. Their parents do, though. We have had a few months of what can only be called bullying at the hands of a few of these parents. They tell their kids not to play with him because he 'isn't right' or say that he is 'naughty and will always be naughty because he can't change'. One real gem has even referred to him-- to her son--as' that f'ing boy'. TO HER SON! The kid came in and told my son this--word for word-- and he didn't bother to censor it as I have here. What is wrong with people?!

So, needless to say, all of these kids are coming to school telling my already emotionally fragile six-year-old what their moms say about him. This has resulted in him being sad and telling me how worthless he is because 'so-and-so's mom says so'. Honest to God, it is all I can do not to go in and give these women a piece of my mind and then some. Imagine grown women-- thirty years old plus-- bullying a six-year-old in this way. If I wasn't a lady...

I can honestly say, I never teased or picked on a disabled person. Not even when I was a child. Maybe because I was bullied as a child. But I have to be honest and say that before I became the mother of a special needs child I looked at other special needs moms with pity. Pity that I really don't want to be looked at with now. I used to look at those women and wonder how the hell they got through the day. Now I look at myself in the mirror at the end of the night and wonder how the hell I made it.

Even still, it did not really hit me that my child has a 'disability' until tonight when I had to check 'ASD' on the Sensory Centre membership form. I wonder, if having a disability makes my son different, does it make me different, too? I sure feel different. I don't think most mothers go through the same daily stresses that I do. I swear, every time some chipper, not-a-hair-out-of-place, size 6 mom says to me 'well, parenting IS hard, you know' I want to kill her.

Yes, I knew parenting was going to be hard. I know now that my 22 month old won't sleep through most nights and that I have to be prepared to go to work full-time on three hours sleep. I also know that kids have tantrums. But for years I thought that surely parenting shouldn't be as hard as I was finding it. Surely I must have been doing something wrong to make things difficult on myself. Or if not, maybe I just wasn't up to the challenge. It was almost a relief when the doctor told me that he was on the autism spectrum. I could finally believe that I wasn't just the world's worst mom; that instead I just had a particularly challenging child. Parenting for me WAS harder than it could have been.

These first six years have been the hardest of my life, and not ones I would necessarily want to repeat, but now that we are getting some support I have hope that the next six will go a little more smoothly So here's to all of the mom's out there finding parenting a little harder than they expected. Whether you are the parent of a special needs child or not. Know this-- You are not alone. You are not a crappy mom! Just keep doing your best. Your best will be THE best for your child.

Quality, Not Quantity

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

As per the norm, reality has reared his ugly head. My real job, and the part-time stuff I do to make a bit extra each month, will be demanding more of my time for the next few months, maybe more. In an effort to not go back to posting useless drivel or stressed-out whinges, I have decided to only concentrate on posting on Monday and Friday. If I have time on a Wednesday I'll post, but only if I can make it something worth posting. I will be posting here and on my 'work-related' blogs only, cutting back even further to focus on quality, not quantity.

Monday will continue to be more mommy/family posts and I will alternate between fun and fiction on Friday. I hope this 'break' will mean that my posts will be more valuable and entertaining and that I will begin to grow my audience. So, with that I have to go get some paid work done so I will have time to work on my WIP later. See you all on Friday!

Spiders, Snakes, & Irrational Fears

Monday, 17 February 2014

Charlotte's Web

 I am raising a girl.

I mean a really, girly girl. But it's not just bows and Barbie or Minnie Mouse and baby dolls; it's the ability to cry and pout on cue (God help us). And lately I find it is also an absolute fear of snakes and spiders.

At Christmas, my parents got Hunter series one and two of 'Deadly 60'. For those of you without little boys, it's a show that does top 10's of the animal kingdom (top 10 fiercest, top 10 deadliest, top 10 fastest...). Of course, as you would expect of a show aimed at boys, at least one snake and one spider features in each top 10. In addition to this, we got him a remote control tarantula. He wanted a real one. I considered it, 
but Dad said 'not just no, but hell no!'. 

I first noticed Scarlett was afraid of spiders because every time Hunter so much as turned the tarantula on she screamed and cried in terror. Soon after I noticed that anytime a spider or snake came on TV (and as you can imagine, we have watched both series one and two about a billion times since Christmas), she also went into hysterical screaming/crying. It has gotten so bad that she even points at the black embroidered spider on his Spiderman onesie and clings to me sobbing. 

What I can't figure out is why she is so afraid? I wouldn't say I love spiders, but I'm not really afraid of them per se. I have been known to live with a few, I just like to know where they are. I wasn't terribly fond of the big brown one that showed up snuggled up under my pillow one night, and I am certainly not looking for more bed buddies or otherwise, but still I don't tend to run screaming when I see one. In fact, I tend to react to spiders better than Dad does. Maybe that's where she gets her fear 
(see previous mention of a pet tarantula) :-).

Likewise, I am not really scared of snakes either. I can pet them and hold them. I even once had a pet grass snake. He was so little and green and cute. Again, I'm not putting up the 'vacancy' sign and taking them in for the winter, but still I don't scream or cry at the sight of a snake. They were fairly common in my back yard when I lived near the dismal swamp. Sadly, those were also rattlesnakes and copperheads, 
so not really the type you want to cozy up to.

So where did my little miss, who is only 21 months and hasn't really been exposed to real-life examples of either snakes or spiders, get such a strong fear of them? At what age do children develop irrational fears? And by 'irrational', I mean fears which have no known background or cause. I mean I could see it if she had been bit by either or even seen a real live snake. Where did she learn that they were to be feared?

Have any of you noticed unusual or irrational fears in your children or 
maybe did you develop some of your own early in life?

Great Romantic Gestures

Saturday, 15 February 2014

This post was meant for yesterday, but my Valentine's turned into a long day followed by a longer night of trying to cook while cuddling and toddler with a tummy ache and keeping a six year old entertained. 
All the while my Valentine worked late. Again. 

Now, don't get me wrong. He didn't completely bypass the holiday. He did take me to lunch on Thursday since we were miraculously child-free and in the same place at once. Valentine's Day, itself, just wasn't really any different from any other day of the week. I started the day at work, listening to a co-worker lament over only receiving one red rose when she was certain she deserved twelve. Oh to be young and clueless. Of course, when I was her age I was probably still attending Jack Daniels and chocolate parties on Valentine's Day where you could be in a relationship, but were not allowed to be happy about it-- out of respect for my sorority sisters who were single. I was rather late in settling down, after all.

Her disappointment and my complete lack of romance on 'the big day', got me thinking. With so many different types of love out there-- young love, new love, married-with-kids love, etc.--, what exactly qualifies as a great romantic gesture? Is it a dozen roses? The chance to have dinner cooked while you watch your favorite TV show (as some sad sap requested in a Valentine's post in some newspaper, a picture of which has been making the rounds on Facebook)? Or can it be as simple as my only request-- help cleaning the kitchen (which I got a bit of tonight)?

I remember when it was a dozen roses (although I secretly preferred the mystery of one). And then when it became a more heartfelt gift-- something he really had to think about and know me well to choose. Nowadays with a full-time job and two kids, I will settle for a little extra help around the house and a few precious moments alone to write. But really, I don't find that 'settling' at all. I would have been pleased with flowers or chocolates, but these days romance looks a little different to me. My desires have grown from items to ideals. I prefer quality time over commercial offerings.

I couldn't offer him a gift either with money being so tight. While my hubby worked over 12 hours to build up overtime to help pay off our credit card debt, I carried on doing what I needed to do. I was Mommy first and foremost. I'm sure a number of people my age have missed a gift here or there thanks to financial woes, too. And in the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that important, is it?

This Valentine's Day I got something very unexpected. I got the relief and luxury of knowing that our love doesn't have to be measured in red roses. It could be, but I'm not sure even the Parisian flower market could handle such an order. In fact, our love doesn't have to be measured at all. It just is. And it is strong. Stronger today than back when he was still wooing me with flowers. I don't need a bouquet. All I need is love. 
And that I have in abundance.

'In Your Eyes' by Peter Gabriel
Our song from our movie :-)

No Fun Today

Friday, 7 February 2014

I am on a bit of a downer today. It would appear that once again fate/the UK has decided to show me just how much I do not belong here. Rather than whine about it here, I am going to go to bed with a book. Maybe the one I am working on,  more likely someone else's as an escape. And cuddle the cat .

I wish all a great weekend. Please pray mine gets better.

Defining Myself

Monday, 3 February 2014

In the past few months, I have been thinking a lot about who I actually am. And maybe more importantly, who I want to be. It seems strange to be finding myself, or trying to at least, this late in life,  but then I never have been one to play by the rules.

Today I realised that the only thing I really like about my job is that it pays me. It isn't where I want to be in five years. Hell, I'm not sure it's where I want to be this time next year. Unfortunately,  I need the money. I know that I should be grateful to even have a job. I am,  really. I have flexibility, which is awesome since I have the kids to think of. I also have a great line manager who is sympathetic to my needs.

Still, I want more. I have always heard 'dress for the job you want,  not the job you have'. Recently,  I've taken that to heart. I have re - vamped my wardrobe and started to take more time for hair and makeup. Now I am wondering if there is more to it.

It might be time to take it a bit further.  Act like I already have my dream job. Surround myself with people who have similar goals. And do whatever it takes to get to where I want to be.  So, off I go!

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