Catching up

It has been a rough winter – I think I’ve mentioned that – so darned cold that the urge to hibernate is very strong. Good thing I went gluten free…I’d probably be in a sugar coma by now.

Smashwords is coming along, I’ve put up my books that had already been on amazon, and have been transcribing, editing, and putting up other stories in “episodes” that are there, and not on amazon. I’ve realized that I should never again write longhand, because while it *is* fun to scribble in a notebook and look erudite – I really have a hard time typing from my handwriting. Sad face, ha ha….

It’s snowing pretty well right now, a change from what we’ve had so far this winter: brief snow squalls, bone chilling cold, and then random warmer days with pouring rain. If I complain about the heat this coming summer, someone please thump me…but today’s weather is coming from a “warmer” place, and won’t be followed by the so-called polar vortex afterwards. Thank goodness.

Life is draining at the moment, too. If you have read any prior posts, you might have picked up that our one son is autistic. He had a rough summer with his sleep getting all out of whack, and things were feeling very hard – on him especially, because I could sense (agonizingly) that something was wrong, but I didn’t know for sure what or how to help. After a while, it seemed that it might be as simple as him getting another hour or so a night – and we started melatonin.

Now, I did and do think hard on the ethics of medicating a child, much less doing so without really knowing if he likes the idea – but I’ve told him a few times that it’s to help him get better sleep (and his pediatrician who has been with him since birth is the one who suggested it) – and I think sleep is something he likes (don’t we all? that feeling of lounging in the bed drowsily, especially), and notably, the behavioral issues that had been surfacing have dwindled back down to a baseline of nearly zero.

That was important – he is a kid who has always been very cheerful, very positive, very lovey – and we were seeing a shift into territory that just didn’t match who he is. We also did a sleep study, and man, he charmed the pants off the nurse – and was way more patient with the probes and tape and goo than most adults would have been, let alone a “neurotypical” peer. He had stuff all over his head, and didn’t blink an eye – would not have been the case when he was little, I think – whereas I, sleeping on a foldout lounger tossed and turned, and was a wreck the next day. Zombie mommy.

He’s also been a lot more sick this fall/winter, as has his brother. We had cut out the use of chemical cleaners several years ago, and use 7th Generation stuff – and most years, they have had one cold each – this year, the respiratory gremlin is on our case. It keeps coming back – I think I may have run through a case of mild pneumonia back in November (no, really, I was still running…lots of inhaler usage).

And now? Now is spent trying to keep both kids positive, when it’s been too cold to be outside – they never want to do homework – older kid doesn’t want to go to school – SpEd teacher is having too many personal issues to do her job well, I guess – and in the middle, I’m trying to write, market, read Rapid Prompting Method teaching, read to them, do all the household stuff, run, keep my DH from losing his mind in the winter murk (every year, I tell him, this happens every year…), and then try to keep my own head right.

But see…even though it’s daunting, and there are never enough hours in the day, I still am trying my damndest to keep going. “Just keep swimming” – that sort of thing. It’s lonely at times, but that might not ever change, so I’ve got to be ok with me. I’m not ever going to give up – not on trying, not on being a dippy idealist, not on loving people, not on hope for the future. NOT going to happen.

Don’t you give up either. And if you need a high five, or a hug, let me know.

What we’re reading now:

Forge – Laurie Halse Anderson (with my pre-teen)

Matilda – Roald Dahl (with the goofy 8 yr old)

A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley (me, in 5 minute bursts)

Developing Communication for Autism Using the Rapid Prompting Method – Soma Mukhopadhyay

Write, Publish, Repeat – Johnny B. Truant & Sean Platt

Santa’s watching….

I bet he trained the NSA on techniques….

We did the Santa video with our kids last week, and I put in parameters for our younger kid to be “on the fence” of naughty/nice. Our older one as well, since I knew doing otherwise would blow up in my face like an overfertilized watermelon. But child the younger was so distraught and worked up over it. Panic ensued, and we had to talk him down off the ledge, because I could see the temptation to just say, “Screw it, I’m goin’ down in flames!!!” written all over his tongue. Actually, he may have truly said something to that effect.

Instead, we promised to check back in, and went over a list of stuff he could work on. His teacher last year did that on a monthly basis – let each kid pick something to work on, like handwriting, patience, raising hand before talking – and they’d get a reward if they managed to do it the whole month. Think about it – that’s about 20 days – the period experts claim it takes for new habits to get established. Pretty smart, that teacher.

I’m not that smart. I keep forgetting that there is a way to establish new routes and to extract the bad. Otherwise, I would have “called” on Santa a month ago. But maybe we’ll try that heading into the new year. Younger the kid is a very persistent and passionate child – note that I’m trying to use the positive outlook on those traits (we all know what their negatives look like). But I keep at him, trying to shape and polish him, as I tell him in the words of Louis CK, “I’m not raising you to be a kid the rest of your life.” It’s true.

We don’t want to have them grow up to behave as they do when they are 2, 6, or 13. We pound them into molds of our shaping to form them into adults. We screw up along the way, as do they, but the determination is to see them be happy, successful in whatever shape that takes, and to have a sense of doing right, as opposed to wrong. One need only watch a handful of episodes of Intervention to see what can go so horribly wrong. It isn’t a mistake that half the families involved end up doing some kind of therapy/rehab so that they can STOP the destructive patterns.

But let’s face it. Parenting is terrifying. You can do all the best things for your kid, and he’ll still grow up into whatever kind of person he is determined to be. You can be neglectful and hateful and produce a caring prodigy (though it’s obviously not the majority of the outcome for those cases). You can lavish attention and find your child moving across the planet to get away from you. It’s hard. Really hard.

But I’ll tell you what not to do, because I’ve seen it, and it’s ugly

– humiliate your kid in front of others, even family

– fail to respect that there is a sentient human brain in that small head that is fully capable of judging you and your actions

– fail to respect your child, period

– be completely erratic in behavior and discipline

– never tell your child that you love him/her

Just plain ugly. Had a massive example of that whole thing play out in front of us this weekend, and I’m still having trouble with it.

On the other end of parenting, I’m reading Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan – and I really admire her parents who, divorced and not precisely on speaking terms, managed to cobble together a truce in order to fight for their daughter’s life. In addition to that, there’s a textbook-style volume waiting for me to pierce the mysteries of Rapid Prompting Method , in order to see whether I can make sense of it and start to help my son get another handle on a way to communicate to us. It feels like I’m waiting for a semester to start with that one, but there’s no prof, just online forums. We can’t swing the course yet, so I’m hoping that the book will click and make sense….

Anyone have any big reading plans or projects for the holiday break?