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We planned the whole weekend. Y was happy with all of the plans, thankfully. We built in enough “down” time for him. Time to play video games, time to play with friends, time for sword fighting imaginary foes.

The last thing on our agenda, for Sunday night, was going to see Karate Kid! Yay! A movie we were all looking forward to seeing. Even our eldest daughter, R, wanted to come. But I made one crucial mistake. I neglected to tell Y that we were going to a different theater than we usually go to.

We all got in the car and were talking about the movie and what snacks everyone wanted to get. The theater we usually go to is about five minutes away from our house. The theater we went to last night is about 15 minutes away. It finally dawned on Y that we hadn’t arrived at “our’ theater yet and he said ” Are we going to a different theater?”.  Oops. I told him “Oh, yeah, I thought I told you that we were seeing the movie at the Tivoli. You’ve been there before.” He insisted that he hadn’t been there before and that in fact I had not told him.

His eyes got kind of misty, but he stayed quiet. We arrived at the theater. We all got out of the car. Except for Y. P had to get him out of the car. We started walking to the theater. Y said ” This theater is boring.” I said “Well, the movie won’t be boring. It’s going to be lots of fun.”. We kept walking and he kept insisting that the theater was boring.

We payed for our tickets, got in line for snacks and Y said that he wasn’t hungry. This after telling us at dinner that night that he didn’t want to eat too much pizza because he wanted to be hungry for movie snacks. But now, nope, there was no room in his tummy for one ounce of candy, let alone a whole box.

At this point, my blood was starting to boil. I tried to remain calm, but really, I had thought this evening was just gonna be fun. I wasn’t ready for the struggle of getting Y back to a place where he could enjoy himself ~ if that was even possible.

His sister was able to make him smile a few times, but when he wasn’t getting her direct attention, he was on his knees, face down on the floor. I offered him candy again. This time, not only was he not hungry, but the didn’t have the candy that he wanted. I found that very hard to believe, so I asked him what candy he wanted, that I bet they did have it. “Tootsie Rolls”, he said. Tootsie Rolls. He has NEVER had Tootsie Rolls at a movie theater. NEVER. 

I proceed to argue with him about how about this candy selection, and tried to get him to substitute another candy, but nothing but Tootsie Rolls would do.

It was finally time to get our seats. The Tivoli theater has been around since 1928. It was the second theater in the US to show talking pictures. It is not stadium seating, and Y can barely keep the seat down with his weight. I suggested that he use one of the booster chairs. Nope. He didn’t like that idea, besides, did I know this theater was boring?

When the previews came on he said, ” This theater is louder than our theater.” It actually seemed quieter to me, but I knew better than to argue that point. I tried joking with him, tried to get him to admit that maybe, just maybe there was a little room in his tummy for candy. Nope. Not hungry and if he were hungry he would want Tootsie Rolls, but this boring theater didn’t have Tootsie Rolls.

I couldn’t imagine surviving more than two hours with the seat rocking and his attitude, so I told him that if he and I left right then, Daddy could be back to the theater in time to watch the movie with everyone else. He didn’t want to stay but he didn’t want to leave either though. Sigh.

I remained quiet for a while. I was thinking that I couldn’t believe I was going through all of this stuff again. We went through this stuff with A and now with here I was again, many many years later. And really, shouldn’t I know how to deal with this by now? Shouldn’t it be old hat?

I don’t know what happened to change his mind, but he did. He finally said ” I know what candy I would like.” He and P went to get candy. They came back with a booster seat too. And he laughed many, many times during the movie.

Alls well that ends well?

pie and stuff

First, a picture of our pie.

I made the crust and the kids made the filling. It was perfect. Not too sweet and  just enough cornstarch to keep it from being runny. One of our best ever!

We had a great three-day weekend. Saturday was spent baking and at the local water park. Sunday was the Fourth, so it was time for our community picnic, local  water park (again), grilling, and then fireworks. Although during fireworks Y and E were a little more interested in throwing a ball and their glowy necklaces than the actual fireworks. They all really need to stop getting older. NOW!

 Monday we foolishly planned a walk to a couple of neighborhood parks, one of which has fountains you can run around in. As we were getting ready to go, Y said “Oh, I thought we were doing that tomorrow.” And proceeded to get very pouty, but wouldn’t admit he was pouty. All he would say was “I thought we were doing that tomorrow”. It can be very difficult to get him out of a mood like that. But yesterday we just decided to chance it. We plopped him in the wagon and once we were moving he was much better.

 Of course by the time we got to the park all of the equipment was scorchingly hot so we sat in the shade and ate our snacks. Then we stopped at 7-11 for slurpees and ice cream. We started loosing both Y and E about half way to the splash park. So we heeded their wishes and went home. Next time the splash park will be our first stop. 

After about an hour much needed air conditioning and vegging in front of the tv (a marathon of Cake Boss ~ not sure why we chose that. No one really likes it, but everyone watched) I suggested I take I and E to the water park, while Y stayed home to start Super Mario Galaxy 2 again. (He beat Bowser but the special level with more stars is too challenging for him. His new challenge is to see how quickly he can get to the end of the game).

So that is what we did. I swam with I for a while, as E went down all the slides. Then I’s friend showed up and I went to read my book in the sun ~ and proceeded to get sunburned for the first time this year. Ouch. I think I am trying to see how physically uncomfortable I can make myself this summer ~ first my toe (which still bothers) and now a sunburn. Good job, K!

Every year my kids and I pick black raspberries. (This is what we call them. Is there such a thing as a “black” raspberry?) from wild  bushes near our house. They ripen just in time for the Fourth of July hence the name of the pie.

We go several times a week for a couple of weeks until we have enough berries, about six to eight cups. Various configurations of kids do this with me.  Sometimes the kids go by themselves. A went with us once, but was too bothered by the thorns and the bugs and the patience needed to collect enough berries. Y doesn’t like to go either. My most enthusiastic pickers have been I and R.

This year it has just been me, I and E picking berries. And I think that I’s heart wasn’t really in it this year.

E and I went this morning. Things were good for about five minutes. Then she started saying she wasn’t a very good berry picker, cause she is “wimpy” (her word, not mine) about the thorns. And then a couple of friends and her sister showed up, headed to the park with a soccer ball.

scratches, welts and stains from berry picking

So. I picked berries for our Fourth of July black raspberry pie this morning. I’ll post a picture of the pie next week. Maybe I’ll try to post the recipe too. It is a Frankenstein’s monster kind of recipe though. The filling part is from one cook book, the crust is from another, but it is delicious and  I can’t wait to eat it!

bffs

Y and X were born one year and four days apart. Y is the older one. X is our neighbor.

 When Y was two he used to run away from X. I think X’s unpredictability scared Y.

When Y was three and X was two, they would play side by side, more than together. And of course, either I or X’s mom was always near by.

When Y was five and X was four, Y thought  X was a little silly. One year seemed like a big age difference.

This year, Y is seven and X is six. The difference doesn’t seem so big anymore. First thing after breakfast, now that it is summer, Y says “Can I go knock on X’s door?” And then they are off to play Legos, sword fighting, or any of a million little boy games that I don’t quite understand.

Y still won’t go with them (without me) to a movie, or for ice cream, but he did go with X’s mom to pick him up from camp the other day, which surprised both us mommies greatly. I love that X’s mom doesn’t stop asking though, and at the same time is completely understanding when Y says no thank you.

I am so glad that Y has such a good friend. A never did. I think it could have made such a big difference in his life.

I’m looking forward to this fall when Y and X walk together to school, both going to school full-time for the first time. I hope X’s family stays in the neighborhood for a long, long time.

One of our new favorite shows is the latest iteration of ” Dr. Who”. Tonight was such a good episode. Amy and the Doctor went back in time and met Vincent Van Gogh. It was so moving.

I can’t wait to take the kids to the Art Institute of Chicago again now that they “know” and appreciate Van Gogh.

Of course I got this song stuck in my head, but what a wonderful song to get stuck in one’s head, huh

Time to Fill

Like I said in a previous post Y,I, and E will all be going to school starting this fall. My daughter, I, started taking classes this past spring but in the fall she will be going full time. This will be a big change for them. But it will be a big change for me as well.

P and I got married a year before he graduated from college. I never did graduate. Sometime in my second year I got overwhelemed by school and just wasn’t able to finish. We had our first baby not long after he graduated. I had worked some in college ~ but not very successfully. I quit or was fired from very job I ever had.

Mothering my children was easy~ even when it was incredibly difficult ~ with A and Y  in particular. I love being a mother. I am good at it. A little quirky, but good.

The serious “let’s see if this will work for us” idea of sending the kids to school has been brewing since last fall. The decision was finally made this past spring. Since we made the decision most of my thoughts have been centered on making this work for the kids. On what we need to do to prepare them for this big change. But lately, my thoughts have also been about me. Wow, I’m going to have a lot of free time on my hands. What am I going to do with myself?

I will be walking Y to school and picking him up in the afternoon (for as long as he still wants me to that is), but that still leaves many hours in the day to fill. I would love to get back into knitting, quilting and crocheting. Maybe even really stock my abandoned etsy shop.

We live within walking distance of many things in our village (which has worked so well for me, since I do not drive). A few restaurants, the grocery store, many parks and a couple of lakes and… the library. Hmm. The library. I could see myself working at the library. I could really see myself working at the library. I wouldn’t have to drive to get there, everyone who works there is nice and kind of quirky too. I really think that maybe I could make that work.

So I decided that this fall I will start by volunteering at the library. They have a few different needs that need to be filled and that sounds like a great way to start.

But then I started doing even more thinking. What if I went back to school and got a Library and Information Technology degree? Then I would be even more appealing to the library. So that is what I am going to do with my time. I am going to volunteer at the library a few days a week and I am going to go back to school with the goals of getting my degree and eventually getting a job at our local library.

Changes for me are stressful. And so far nothing PRACTICALLY has changed. The kids aren’t in school yet. I haven’t started volunteering yet. I haven’t begun school. But I have started a blog. And I think it is related to all this other stuff. But I do believe I am ready to try some changes. I know there will be stress and I will probably want to quit at some point. But y’know, deep deep down? I don’t think I will.

At the Pool with E

You have to be ten to go to the pool in our community alone. It is part of our Home Owners Association, very close to our house. In the twenty-three years that I have been a parent, this is the first summer that I haven’t had to juggle children who want to go to the pool vs children who do not want to go to the pool.

 I’ll let you guess which of my five children consistently did not want to go to the pool. Yep. A and Y, my aspie and my quirky. And truthfully, as much as I loved swimming as a child, once I was past a certain age, I hated going to the pool. I hated changing, looking for a towel, walking to the pool, thinking about the weather ~ was it warm enough, too windy, was it going to rain. It was just too much… too much something!

But now, the only child I have under ten is Y and he hates the pool (especially this year when he is not allowed in the kiddie pool any longer). At least this pool. He loves the water park in our town. But not for swimming. He loves the bucket that dumps gallons of water on his head. Thankfully I also I, my sixteen year old daughter, who loves Y with a passion and does not mind watching him for a couple of hours.

So the other day, E and I were able to go to the pool together. And it was so nice. I only had to be responsible for finding MY pass and MY towel. I didn’t have to deal with Y’s pouting or bribe him with candy from the vending machine.  Y would always want to leave before E, leading to the dilemma of what child to please/disappoint. Of course, Y’s displeasure is so much more difficult to deal with than E’s, Y usually got his way. (Not always. I try to balance it. But it is difficult. And sadly,E understands my dilemma.)

At the pool with E. We swam – well, as much as I am able to right now. My toe is still bothering me, so I can’t really kick with my left foot. We talked, we lay in the sun and we had candy from the vending machine. Then all of her friends showed up, but we had a good time while it lasted.

We decided to go to the movies for Father’s Day today. The problem was too many movie choices. Shrek 4. Toy Story 3. Karate Kid redux. Iron Man 2. Normally our kids would be happy to see any of those. But today we had a problem. Prince of Persia. Y has been wanting to see that movie since he saw the trailers on tv months ago.

But P really wanted to see Karate Kid and it was Father’s Day. We told I and E. Great, they said. Then we told Y. His face fell. He said he didn’t want to see that movie, it looked too boring. ” No way”, we reassured him. It will be just as funny (Jackie Chan!) and have just as much action as the original that he loved. ” It looks boring”, Y said again, this time from underneath the dining room table.

P and I and looked at each other. We knew this was one of those instances where there is no reasoning or debating with Y. For him, it was unthinkable to see any other movie before he saw Prince of Persia. It just could not be done.

So we all saw Prince of Persia and it was surprisingly good. It had a bit of a time travel theme to it which I love. Lots of fighting and action which my daughter I, loves, and some super cool bad guys which E loves (ever since she was very little she has rooted for the bad guys in movies. Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” was her first love).

Y was enthralled! It was a pretty long movie but he sat through the whole thing without asking for more candy (unheard of!) and he would occasionally lean over and tell me about why something just happened, in case I hadn’t understood. ;o) When we got home he told me that it was his favorite movie ever, even more than Star Wars. And that is saying something.

We have learned the hard way with A that you really have to choose your battles. This day would not have ended so pleasantly when A was Y’s age. We would not have understood his intractability. It is amazing to encounter the same problems so many years later but to have them resolved so much more peacefully. If we had only understood…

My only dilemma now is, what movie should we see next, now that Prince of Persia is out of the way?

Changing schools

We have been homeschooling since we took A out of kindergarten in the early 90’s. He wasn’t thriving. In fact, he seemed very sad and I would say depressed. He stopped playing with R, he would never tell us anything about his day. He was having trouble with his fine motor skills – tying his shoes, handwriting – typical of Autism Spectrum Disorders, but we didn’t know that at the time. All he wanted to do was watch tv.

Homeschooling was relatively “new” as a thing that people other than the ultra religious did. We got a lot of questions. “Why are you homeschooling when you have a perfectly good elementary school right down the street?”  “What about socialization?” ” Are you teachers?” And on and on and on. But it worked for us and our three kids for a very long time.

When my fourth(E) was old enough to start  kindergarten I think my gut was telling me that for her school would be the right thing. She would do well, maybe even thrive. I didn’t listen to my gut, though. I listened to my heart and my heart was not ready to send any of my children to school. Y had just been born that past spring; we were committed to homeschooling ~ well, unschooling to be honest. It really becomes a lifestyle as well.  And my husband (P) didn’t share my gut feeling.

Fast forward seven years (ha! this is a novel already!) and Y had friends in the neighborhood (something A never had). All his friends go to the local elementary school and he was getting very curious and  had the thought “why don’t I go to school?” We told him he did go to school- homeschool. But he didn’t see that as equal. We started talking about what it might be like to go to school. Y is VERY attached to me. Unless he is with his friends or his siblings he really does not like to be away from me. We even still have issues with bedtime. So for him to say “I want to got to school with my friends” was astonishing.

My husband and I talked. We talked to the school. We talked to Y and our other children. We visited the school. He did great. He was uncomfortable, but he did it and it convinced him that he does indeed want to go to school this fall.

So for the first time in about 18 years my kids will be going to the school. I am excited to equip them with all of their school supplies. I will be excited to see their projects and art work and to help them with their homework. We will face challenges but I  know the school will be there to help us through them. I will miss my kids tremendously. But I know we are doing the right thing. After all, we have a perfectly good elementary school right down the street.

Emboldened

An astonishingly amazing thing has happened tonight. I received my first comment on my blog! Whoa! I am out there and someone saw me!

 Now, I really did have every intention of writing another post tomorrow. And the next day and the next… but you know what they say about intentions. The comment I received emboldened me to keep on taking steps, to see where they lead.

I’m  going to have to figure out how to tell my stories, and my stories are intertwined with my children’s stories, without feeling like I have given away too much of myself (or invaded my children’s privacy).

*                                                                                                                       

My oldest son (A) was officially diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome three years ago. There had been indications of differences all of his childhood. However, he was so similiar to me that we really just thought he was a “difficult” child, just as I had been a “difficult” child.

 My youngest son (Y) is so much like us we thought he must have Asperger’s as well. We took him for an evaluation this spring and the most the neurologist would say is that he is “quirky”. And to be fair, we have seen a fair amount of changes in his behavior just in the past few months. I think it can be traced back to our decision to send him to school( We have homeschooled our kids since we took our oldest out of kindergarten). Believe me, this was not a decision made lightly or hastily. It has been a thought in the back of my mind since my fourth child (E, almost 11) was old enough for kindergarten.

Ahh. I see that this is a long subject. And I am getting tired. And I don’t want to write a novel every time. So, I will continue this story tomorrow.

*

 A  few thoughts. Pictures. I love pictures on blogs. In fact I usually don’t read blogs that don’t have pictures. Names vs Initials on blogs. I usually don’t like it when blogs use initials instead of names. And here I am, doing two of the things I usually don’t like about blogs. But I haven’t decided about how much information is too much, so until I decide, I will err on the side of less information.

To include a picture without giving away too much information ;o), here is a picture of a giraffe from our trip to Reid Park Zoo:Even my “quirky” seven-year old didn’t get bored or tired. It only takes about an hour and half to see the whole zoo and even in the Arizona heat the animals were all so active. Best zoo we’ve ever been to, including the National Zoo and San Diego Zoo.