Category Archives: Daily Antics

Daily Antics – You’ll see what I mean.

#1 and #2

This blog has been swirling around in my head for days and days. So, here goes nothing.

The past few months have demanded big decisions. Life changing ones. The ones that could scar a kid forever if you make the wrong one…as if having me for a mother isn’t scarring enough. 😀

Our daughter will be entering her junior year at Western Carolina. She got into the Nursing Program which is highly competitive and selective. She’s a great student and her hard work paid off. Our big decision…on-campus or off-campus. She suckered me in joining the off-campus camp which meant I kicked it into high gear to convince the dads. We found an awesome place midway between Western Carolina and Asheville. Her clinicals will be in Cullowhee, Waynesville and Asheville. We picked up the keys and began moving in this past weekend. Next week, she goes for good. She’ll continue to work in that area after she graduates and hopes to attend graduate school there to become a Nurse Anesthetist. I know it’s the best thing for her but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept the fact that she’s on to her own life now. For real this time. My role is different and ever-changing. I guess I was still in denial up to this point. I’m so proud of her but it breaks my heart at the same time. In my mind, she’s still the adorable little girl with the big hair bow and the impish grin. So, there you go. Life decision #1. Next Thursday will be one of the most difficult days of the last 20 years of being a mom…right up there with seeing her walk into the school with a backpack bigger than her as she turns to wave goodbye. Seeing her back out of the driveway for the first time as a driver alone as she waves goodbye. Seeing her close the door to apartment #9 as she waves goodbye.

As Jess moves on to the next phase of her life, so does Shane. I cannot begin to tell you how proud we are of the little man he’s become. I honestly don’t know if the winds have changed because of the outstanding therapy he’s received from those who love him as though he is their own, because of maturity, because we’ve figured out how to roll with it or a combination of it all. In any case, I am thankful to the moon and back for the good karma that’s come our way. He’s incredibly sweet, funny, loving, smart and determined. Last week, one of his teachers told me that she loves working with him because he’s like a little adult with a wicked sense of humor trapped in an 8 year old’s body. That’s a great description. We have deep conversations about things from adoption to compassion to time travel to being an alien and more. He leads the conversations and takes great delight in sharing his insights with us. Sometimes when we’re tucking him into bed, he’ll say, “Will you stay here so we can have a conversation?” And, we do. About everything and about nothing.

This school year is a whole new ballgame. Life decision #2. We’ve decided to homeschool him to a degree and enrolled him into the virtual school through the South Carolina public school system. We’ll have a therapist come to the house for several hours everyday to work with him on academics and helping him manage a new situation and all that comes with it. Transition has proven to be tough in the past. But, it is time for the next step. Big decision for us. Do we rock the boat or not? What if it’s the wrong decision for him and/or the family? Even with having to spend so much time learning to manage his behavior and anxiety, he remarkably is on grade level in everything. He’s smart as a whip and a beautiful person inside and out.

As we set up his new school room, we’ve allowed him to play a part in planning. We’ve picked out the new furniture, school supplies and décor together. We decided to go with a world traveler theme. He wants “to be like Charles and go everywhere in the world.” So, we found a giant wall mural of a map and bought green pins to mark every place we’ve been together as a family which is a decent number of places in his 8 short years of life. As we were going through postcards of some of the places we’ve been, I told him we would use a special colored pin to mark the one place he wants to go most of all. His response? “I wanna go WAY WAY back, Mommy. I wanna be a time traveler.” Where the hell do I put the pin for that one?

In the words of George McFly, “Like I’ve always told you, you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

The Power of Therapy…and Love

Every time I come to this blog and see that it’s been so long since I’ve written anything, it says several things to me. It could be that I’ve been so far into the depths of despair (read: self-pity) that I couldn’t see the light, it could mean that I’ve been lazy (highly possible) or it could mean that I’ve been basking in the light.

This time last year was incredibly challenging for Shane. We were still dealing with massive meltdowns and major defiance. I’m not talking temper tantrums like most parents of typical children experience. I’m talking holes in the wall, name calling, etc…Verucca Salt on steroids. It’s not pretty. And, although it has little to do with parenting skills and a lot to do with PDD-NOS and ADHD, it just feels like the lack of parenting skills is what’s put you in that place to begin with. It’s not. I’m slowly getting that. The behavior at school was extreme. Sure, some of the incidents were funny looking back like the time he pulled the fire alarm and the fire department came. Then, there was the time he pulled the fire extinguisher off the wall and attempted to activate it. Not funny were the broken window, the hitting, kicking and name calling. Everyone was struggling but the one struggling the most was Shane…and believe me when I say that few things are as painful as watching your kid in a downward spiral and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it other than what you’re doing. I cried daily…most days more than once and many times cried myself to sleep waking with my eyes glued shut (not pretty, trust me). I wasn’t crying so much for me…but for him.

Although I’m an atheist, I’m convinced there are angels on Earth. Virtual strangers who are put here to add beauty to us all. Cyzner Institute is full of them. But, there’s one in particular who has made a difference. He came to us in the form of a big teddy bear of a guy in argyle sweater vests, nice shoes, a shiny head and talent beyond belief. He was such a stark contrast to the rest of the staff that I wondered how he would fit in much like my little monkey boy. Dr. Lisa and the staff introduced him to Shane and he accepted the challenge for one-on-one therapy with him. And, his name happens to be Shane, too…Mr. Shane. From the moment I met him, I felt a sense of relief. I don’t know why. Maybe his aura looked yellow to me. But, from the beginning I knew that he “got” Shane, understood and appreciated him. I could tell that he loved him right away. And, I could tell that it was his mission to see Shane succeed. He once told me that he’s Shane’s conscience…the angel on one shoulder, devil on the other. So, it’s with that angel that we’ve seen the power of therapy and love. He has embraced the wonderful things about Shane and somehow managed to handle the challenges with poise and grace. But, most importantly to teach Shane to handle the challenges on his own giving him strength, control and independence. He is the Creative Director at Cyzner and is an incredibly talented singer, dancer, musician, artist. He sees Shane’s creativity and imagination and figured out how to use it and nurse it to help Shane succeed.  It doesn’t hurt that he likes Rocky Horror Picture Show and has the sense of humor that matches our family. Although he spends a lot of time with Shane, I can also see the impact he’s had on other kids there. Priceless!

Sitting back now and thinking about it all, I think I haven’t blogged in so long because I’ve been basking in the light. I realize there’s still plenty of tunnel left but Shane is off of all medication for ADHD and is only on a low dose of medication for seizures and migraines and Omega supplements. Doctor’s visits are nearly null. Any meltdowns or “issues” are over in minutes and are manageable. We can see ALL the beauty in our boy…he’s compassionate, loving, caring, empathetic with everyone around him, helpful, sweet as molasses, has an infectious laugh, sloppy kisses and a wicked sense of humor (he still gives anaconda hugs to strangers which is a little scary but there are worse things). I will be honest with you and say that there are times when I still feel sad for the challenges in his life and ours…but the joy in our lives far outweighs the sadness. Keep flying, monkey! Mommy, Daddy, Mr. Shane and all the angels are behind you…and are as proud as proud can be.

Check out https://www.facebook.com/ShaneElks?fref=ts

Hello, Old Friend…

Wow! I use blogging/sharing as therapy. Since I haven’t done it since January, that might explain my need for, well, therapy! In the online sense (and real life, too), my absence means that I’m caught dead square in the middle of a massive shit storm and am living in survival mode. There is a popular saying…what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Well, I can honestly say that I’m already fairly strong so the universe can stop trying to kill me now. No matter how many times I feel like the universe is giving me a big “*$%^ YOU,” I have to keep marching. I guess when things are out of your hands, you have no option other than to put on your big girl panties and keep moving forward.

The past six months or so have been a huge struggle for Shane and our family. Just when we feel like he’s making huge strides in many areas, there are others that creep up and send him tumbling backwards. As a mom, nothing breaks your heart more than seeing your kid be unsuccessful in simple things most parents take for granted like playing with the neighbor’s kids, going to the mall, going to Times Square specifically to go to Toys R Us and not being able to go to the third floor where all the super heroes are because he’s deathly afraid of glass floors, high ceilings, stairs and escalators. Talk about feeling totally defeated for a little boy to talk about something so much and be so excited then not be able to do it. I would probably throw myself on the floor and kick and scream, too.

We’re in the process of building a stronger support team than we’ve had in the past to help Shane navigate the world. We’ve added a developmental pediatrician (priceless), a developmental neurologist (pure craziness…think Dr. House with a great bedside manner), a pediatric psychiatrist and a vision therapist (new and yet to be determined). We have a referral to a new pediatric neurologist and an appointment with a geneticist in November…all in an effort to do everything we can. With a well-integrated, invested team in place, I feel more hopeful about the future than ever and am excited to hear their recommendations and plans moving forward. I don’t know how to express my gratitude to each and every one of them for taking the time to get to know and love Shane and being able to see him for the loving, sweet, thoughtful, funny little man he is. The staff at Cyzner has be invaluable and I am so thankful for their guidance, patience and dedication to Shane and our family.

One thing I’ve learned in the last seven years is that sometimes you blame yourself for everything. At least, I do. What could I have done differently? Did I do something wrong? I’ve cried a lot and taken a lot of time to reflect on life…what could’ve been, what is. There is something I know and I’m taking the risk of ticking off a lot of people, but I’m going to say it, anyway. I have friends who have children with special needs of varying degrees and we’ve discussed it so I’m not alone when I say this. When navigating the slippery slope we’re climbing, we often encounter people who might offer “help.” There are two things that, as a mom of a child with special needs, I do not want to hear. Please do not say that God gives “special children to special people.” I am no more “special” than my neighbor, friends or family. What kind of god would create “special” children who have to struggle daily with any disability? Or anyone else who suffers with pain or illness? Not a very nice one. I understand that there are many religious philosophies and I get that some people have to believe that there’s more to life than this, that there’s a better life beyond this one and will believe regardless of anyone says. They have to believe for various reasons…afraid of death, fear of having no purpose, not believing in yourself and your own strength. Do what you need to do to feel better, but please don’t tell me you’ll pray for me. Because you know what? It’s easy to go to bed at night, clasp your hands, say a prayer (for those in need and your favorite football team), then get a peaceful night’s sleep. But, one pair of working hands does more good than a million clasped in prayer.

I was raised in the south in a Baptist church. I was baptized and wholeheartedly believed what I was taught. With exposure to different people and cultures, I realized that the world was not full of God-fearing Christians and that there were so many different philosophies. I always considered myself to be spiritual but in recent years, I’ve called myself an atheist. But now I know that I’m not an atheist. I’m a humanist. There, I said it…MY NAME IS JANET AND I’M NOT A REPUBLICAN, LIBERAL (that’s pushing it), DEMOCRAT (although I do think donkeys are cute), A CHRISTIAN OR AN ATHEIST. I AM A HUMANIST.

hu·man·ist

/ˈhyumənɪst or  [hyoo-muh-nist or, often, yoo-]/noun

1. a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.

Stay calm, carry on and listen to this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TQAjXSD1PY

My Name is Janet and I am an Elf

It is said that time flies when you’re having fun. I guess that can explain the extended period of time with no blog. While most of my recent activities can be described as fun, I paid a high price for others (that’ll blog will come later).

I haven’t had a “real” job in over 15 years. I’m a real estate broker and a photographer but work at both on my own terms. I was in one of those “I’m not contributing anything to society and my family” moods so I set out on a mission. I can honestly say that I’m one of those people who can set my mind to doing something and most of the time, it all falls into place beautifully. After applying online to many jobs with no response and discouraged, I simply posted on Facebook that I really “just wanted to be a photographer for Santa” mostly being sarcastic more than anything. I couldn’t find a job…It’s not like I wanted to be a rocket scientist. But, with Facebook and the flap of a butterfly’s wing, the wheels began to turn.

In a million years, I never would’ve imagined that being an elf for Santa could be so rewarding and such a pain in the ass at the same time. In theory, it sounded like a blast. I figured I would have to show up for a few hours each week, work with the jolly old elf and his helpers, take pictures of adorable children and be thrust smack dab in the middle of the merriest frickin’ time of the year. At the interview, I was offered the position of Set Manager which would create a whole new reality and convinced myself that it would fulfill some of the emptiness I was feeling of not contributing, blah, blah, blah. Besides, I have an extensive background in management. I could do it (insert cheers and marching band)!

In the eight weeks that followed, I met many people who left a footprint on my heart. One of those people was Travis, a 33 year old autistic man with who showed up to the set an hour before opening to ask Santa for a job, $100 and a computer for his mother. With the help of Facebook friends, team members and mall employees, we were able to fulfill part of his wishes (not so much the job…yet). I met a mom whose daughter was visiting Santa for the first time in three years because her leukemia was finally in remission. We met a six year old with a chemotherapy port, bald and translucent who sat on Santa’s lap while his mom and aunt stood to the side, crying.  There was an 82 year old man who waited 30 minutes for his “girlfriend” also in her 80’s to take a picture with Santa. And, the elderly woman with her 15 year old poodle in a stroller dressed to the nines in real kid clothes, not dog clothes. She never had a daughter so the dog was her little girl.

Along the way, I met others who were a massive pain in the ass. They included the nasty Stepford wife who was pissed because I was “unprofessional” for having her kid make a funny face in his photo with Santa (a travesty!). There were many of her prototypes out and about who asked for repeated shoots because their perfectly coiffed screaming one year old was petrified of Santa and “wasn’t smiling.” (Really? Give me a damn break!) Still others who refused to buy the picture because their kid was crying. Hello! We tell kids never to talk to or take candy from strangers. Some are going to be a little freaked out when you put them on the lap of a big hairy man in a red suit doling out candy canes for bribes. Finally, there’s George Michael…I grew sick of hearing about his last Christmas.

One of the greatest gifts of all is the band of elves I had the pleasure of working with. The set team consisted primarily of kids recently out of high school and in college. There were a few middle-aged elves who would’ve been better off staying at the North Pole in the Department of Misfit Toys instead of exposing the rest of the world to their Grinchness. My supervising elves were always jolly and there to lend their priceless support and guidance.

The kids on the staff  were the best elves, prospering and growing. Most of them were eager to please and learn. I looked at it as an opportunity to teach them skills they would use for the rest of their lives. Several were painfully shy in the beginning and blossomed into bubbly, outgoing elves who were great at sales and customer service with their newfound confidence. Others used their jolliness to motivate each other and worked on perfecting their skills. They all WANTED to come to work (most of the time) and were disappointed when they weren’t on the schedule. They were the part of the experience I enjoyed and will remember the most. I hope to keep in touch with all of them as they continue their journey through life.

Overall, being a part of the Christmas magic was a rewarding experience. I learned that after 15 years of being out of the corporate world and losing a lot of confidence, I still have a little of what it takes to be “successful.” Our team ranked fourth in the nation with a 21% increase in sales over last year. I’ve been asked to manage the set again next year. If you ask me now what my answer will be, it would be no. But, a year is a long time and I will likely forget the negative aspects (much like childbirth). And, my band of elves showered me with gifts at the end of the season, gave me nicknames (mostly nice) and they all want to come back next season. They’ve vowed to blow up my phone and fill my inbox beginning in September to convince me to head the band of rogue elves that we were. That lets me know that in part, I accomplished what I set out to do…I hope I made a difference in their lives. Certainly, without them knowing, they made a huge difference in mine.

Santa and four of my favorite elves
Santa and four of my favorite elves

I’ve Run Out of Ideas

While I usually try to be funny and entertaining, the last couple of weeks have been especially difficult and full of emotions…inadequacy, anger, sadness among them. If you’re looking for a happy blog about rainbows and unicorns, you should stop reading and go elsewhere. Here’s the problem…I am a self-diagnosed perfectionistic control freak with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ADD, future member of Overeater’s Anonymous and Lazy Ass Couch Sitter Club. I feel like I’m losing my sense of humor which is probably my strongest coping mechanism. More and more often, I find myself less likely to laugh about things and more likely to cry instead. No clue why (menopause?). I have a birthday coming up which brings me closer to 50 (ouch). I have a daughter who’s is graduating in June and heading to college. I have a little boy who struggles to “make good decisions” at school and at home (no matter how hard he seems to try). Maybe those are reasons. Realizing that things are happening that are beyond my control probably doesn’t help.

My daughter and I are very close. We have a great relationship. One that I wish I had with my mother. Jessica has professed that I’m her best friend (although I think her boyfriend has weasled his way into that spot Smile with tongue out). The realization that she will be leaving home soon is really hitting me hard. It seems like only yesterday that she was dressing up the cat and pushing her around in a stroller or marrying our golden retriever. I’m not ready for the next stage of life and our relationship with her living 3 1/2 hours away. I’d be lying if I said I was ready. I think it’s going to take a long time for me to be ready. I can’t even hear someone ask her about college without welling up in tears (she looks at me everytime waiting for waterworks). But, I know that we have done a good job raising her. She’s a great kid. She’s beautiful inside and out, smart and ambitious. I’m prouder than anybody has a right to be. She’s going to be okay.

Shaney has been struggling at home and at school for a while now. He’s decided that he’s pretty much the “decider” in most things being asked of him. He’s as stubborn as a mule. At school, he sometimes refuses to do his work, stands up in the chairs, turns his desk over, cries, but what gets him into the most trouble there is potty mouth. He insists on yelling out BUTT and STUPID. I’m sure there are others (like the special word he called out when the teacher asked for words beginning with “F”). His teacher came up with the idea of putting tally marks on the white board in class to show him how many times he said inappropriate words to make him more aware. This week, we decided that I would give him two coins each morning. He would be allowed five tallies before having to surrender a coin. If he got into the car at the end of the day and kept one coin, we would do something extra-special. The first day he got in the car with both coins! YAY (computer time)! The second day, two coins! YAY (small toy and DS)! The third day one coin! YEEHAW (computer time and Happy Meal)! The fourth day…no coins! BOO (nothing electronic :/)! No coins would mean that the child stubbornly used ten potty words in a six hour period. To be honest with you, I don’t care if he says BUTT. I’m not particularly fond of STUPID. And STUPID ASS is definitely not cool. But, since there are only three boys in his class who pick up each other’s bad habits and feed off of each other’s energy, I get it.

Last night when I was trying to tuck Shane into bed, he refused to clear his bed of the mountain of toys, pick a book out for us to read and just stop being a jerk, in general. After I asked several times (okay, told him several times), I got no help. So, I said I could not read a story and sing lullabies if he didn’t get ready. That brought the onslaught of tears and a temper tantrum. Once he settled down, I sat on the bed and said, “I’m sorry you’re sad and upset. I’m trying to help you. What can I do to help?” From this adult trapped in a little boy’s body, I hear, “I DON’T KNOW, JANET! I’VE RUN OUT OF IDEAS!” That made me cry…and laugh, he laughed. Maybe, just maybe, my sense of humor is still here. It might be under a layer or two, but it’s there. I think it’s going to be okay.  I’M going to be okay.

You’re Not My Friend!

When you’re a parent, there are days when there isn’t enough wine, chocolate, beer, Xanax in the house to help you not pull every hair out of your head. Days when no matter how hard you try to be patient, nothing works and you turn into a raging lunatic (well, I do, anyway). Days when I am way too hard on myself for not being the perfect parent (whatever the hell that is) which results in crying and feeling worthless. And, when you have a kid who is defiant and has a difficult time with changes, transition and lack of routine, it makes spring break seem like a vacation to Hell.

Several days this week, Shane has had multiple meltdowns and temper tantrums. Let’s brush your teeth and hair…NO! Time to take your medicine…NO! AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME! Time for lunch…I DON’T WANT TO EAT. IF I DON’T WANT TO, I DON’T HAVE TO! Let’s go see a movie…I’M NOT GOING TO SEE A MOVIE! We’re going to the museum…I DON’T WANT TO GO TO THE MUSEUM TO SEE THE STARS! Let’s go to Carowinds…I’M NOT RIDING ANYTHING EXCEPT THE SNOOPY MOON, NOT EVEN THE CAROUSEL (he wasn’t lying about that). So, I bargain, praise, bribe, provide positive reinforcement, take away privileges, send him to “the chair” to think while screaming and kicking the wall (him, not me). These are all the methods we’ve been taught to do. And, what’s funny is that Shane’s right. How do you make a six year old get out of “the chair” to finish a task because I’m on a schedule when he’s bound and determined to sit there because it’s not HIS idea to get up? Truth is, I can’t “MAKE HIM IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO.”  And, so it goes…I’M NOT YOU’RE FRIEND! I’M GONNA SAY BAD WORDS! I DON’T WANNA STAY HERE WITH YOU!

This has been the first extended break since Shane started Cyzner Institute in December. When he’s in school, the difference in his behavior is insane. He’s a different child. It’s difficult for me to tell what part is autism and what part is just being a brat at home. Obviously, the routine in the classroom helps him stay in control. This week has made me realize how fortunate we are to have the resources and benefits that are available to us. The fact that he has perfect days when he’s in school let’s me know that the therapy is working. Although we’re working with his teacher, therapists and psychologist to learn ways for us to help him manage his frustrations, this week has taught me that I still have a VERY long way to go with my education. We’re fairly new to the world of autism so are still navigating and finding more information daily to help put it all together. We are a family that’s always been spontaneous…spur of the moment movies, trips, restaurants, amusement parks, etc. I have to come to the realization that as much as I think things can be “normal” (whatever that it is) they’re not going to be. At least, not yet.

When things settle down from each instance of tantrums from a six year old amidst tears and hugs (from me and him), I hear, “I do wanna be your friend, Mommy. I love you. I wanna stay here with you forever and my whole wide life, Momma. You’re my favorite. You’re the best Mommy ever.”

And, at the end of the day when the last line of the lullabies has been sung, I whisper, “Always remember and never forget…” the sweetest, most adorable brown-eyed boy I know chimes in, “that Mommy will always love me, no matter what….even if I’m mean. Right, Momma?” Right, Shaney…no matter what. All is well in the universe. For now, anyway. There’s always tomorrow. Smile

We did figure out a way to ride in the car with the top down this week…put on goggles to block the wind and sun! 🙂

More Words of Wisdom from Shane’s Facebook

I got so ticked off today, I ripped my clothes off and threw them on the floor. That oughta show’em I mean business and teach them a thing or two about my superpowers, too.shane spidey

Went shopping for new shoes today. I asked the salesman if he had Skechers with a sparkly “S” for Shane on them. They did! Whooooo!


Had outpatient dental surgery done today. Mommy made promises to buy a toy for me when she thought I was too out of it to remember. Guess what? I wasn’t. Hello, Pop! the Pig. 😀


Every house needs a rooster that crows, runs, bangs on doors and jumps on beds first thing in the morning. It’s an honor to be the self-appointed cock of the walk in our house.shane crow

“I wanna go to You Nark for Christmas to see all the skyscrapers. But we have to stay a long time cuz it takes two days in the elevator to get to the tippy-top.”


“Even my invisible friends won’t listen to me. I told Smiley to stop snoring and he’s still doing it. I cannot sleep under these circumstances.”


Made a wish on a twinkling star tonight…I wish I had a pajama hat like Santa Claus has.shane elf

“If they make me ride rollercoasters, I’m gonna say bad words…GUTS! SHUT-UP! STUPID ASS!”


I enjoy acting like an out of control baboon in a restaurant; b) dropping my pants on the floor in the public bathroom and sing “pants on the ground”; c) running around the house in my underwear with company present (the little girl really liked that part); running around screaming outside in my underwear while watching the fireworks. Who needs a movie for entertainment? MY MOMMY NEEDS A DRINK!


“I’m half boy, half cow and half butthead.”


“I’m a butt planter. That’s someone who plants butts for tea parties.” *WTH*


“I cannot find 26 on this calendar. I CANNOT WORK UNDER THESE CONDITIONS!”

shane paper

Believe it or not, there’s still more to come…

Tell Me Again…

If you’re an adoptive parent, you’ve probably read the book, “Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis. If you haven’t, it’s a must-read. Even if you haven’t adopted, it’s a pretty cool book.

Tell me again about the night I was born.

Tell me again how you would adopt me and be my parents.

Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms.

It’s a wonderful tale about the journey of adoption all wrapped up in a fifteen minute bedtime story. With candor and wit, it reflects feelings difficult to put into words. Each time we read it, Shane puts himself into the story and pretends the book was written specifically about him and that we’re the crazy parents running through the airport. It helps him know what questions to ask about the beginning of his life.

His favorite part is “Tell me again about my first diaper change and how I didn’t like it at all.” The picture in the book is of a baby getting his diaper changed with one eye closed, mouth wide open. He loves it because of the story we told him about the first time we changed his diaper at the hotel. We were a little rusty (and had a daughter). We forgot that you need a peepee teepee when changing little boys. The minute we took his diaper off, he peed and it went right into his eye. Pretty good shot! He laughs every time we get to that page.

This is the part that he’s been really curious about lately…”Tell me again how you couldn’t grow a baby in your tummy, so another woman who was too young to take care of me was growing me.” We’ve always used the term “adopted” since the day he was born. I didn’t want him to grow up and suddenly hear on the playground that he was adopted. That would turn a beautiful thing into something with negative connotations. I don’t think he’s exactly grasped the concept, but has listened to the words in the story and is starting to put pieces together. At six years old, he’s on a mission. He reminds me of the little bird in the Dr. Seuss story, “Are You My Mother?” asking random people along the way. Not long ago, my husband introduced him to the Human Resource contact at Microsoft who helped us with the adoption benefits (which are wonderful). She said, “It’s so nice to meet you! I’ve known you since you were a little bitty baby!” His response, “Are you my birth mother?” We were talking to a random lady at Target. He said, “You have a big tummy. Are you my birth mother?” Awkward (because she didn’t look pregnant).

The fact of the matter is that I thought I was prepared for the questions. But, every time he asks, I get a huge lump in my throat, can barely swallow and answer with just enough information to satisfy his curiosity. I don’t know why I can’t find the words to elaborate. We’ve always told him that I couldn’t grow a baby in my tummy and that his birth mom was too young to take care of him (just like in the book), that he grew in our hearts rather than in my tummy, “that we couldn’t believe how something so small could make us smile so big.” That seems to pacify him until the next time a thought pops into his little mind. Each time, his questions and ponderings are more in-depth.  As the days go by, I hope the lump in my throat gets a little smaller every time we delve deeper into the story. It might take a bottle of wine…or even two.

I’m a Nocturnal Daywalker

Sleeping seems to be a challenge for a lot of kids on the autism spectrum. Shane is no different. But, his particular sleeping issues seem to stem from watching too much t.v. That’s obvious since he says he’s a nocturnal daywalker.

Being nocturnal would mean that he’s up all night participating in activities such as hunting and gathering (i.e., finding and scattering every toy in his room while gathering an impressive collection of snacks). Naturally, his evenings would also involve hours research (firing up the Kindle to engage in baking pretend cookies and climbing the walls like ninjas dodging squirrels and birds). He would need minions to assist him with leaving no trail which would come in the form of two dogs who gladly serve in order to eat the collection of crumbs left from overnight snacks.

For those who don’t know what a daywalker is, it’s not a daytime hooker. It’s a weapon of mass destruction with exceptional good looks and the ability to sparkle in the sunlight. They can also  infiltrate those of us who possess souls. There’s no doubt that Shane is a weapon of mass destruction (he can totally destroy a clean room within five minutes), he’s got the good looks going and most certainly sparkles and shines the minute he enters any room. I guess the soul possessing thing could be the way he reels in unsuspecting strangers with his charm and personality.

While I’m not completely convinced that he is a nocturnal daywalker, his story tonight offers a glimpse into his actual method of regeneration (he’s getting it from somewhere as no one without regeneration could run or talk like he does all day long). Although he’s convinced that he doesn’t sleep, he offered this insight at bedtime tonight…

“Mommy, you don’t have to tuck me in because you know that I’m a nocturnal daywalker and I don’t sleep. You can read a story and sing lullabies, though. I’m gonna turn the radio on country music even though you sing better. I’m gonna need my lamp on, too, so I can see what I’m doing. And, when I wake up in the morning, I’ll tell you about the dreams I had. And, don’t forget that I have funny dreams, Mommy.”

As always, in the days of life with Shane, I remain totally clueless and confused about the state of my child’s being. All I know is that when I go to his room before I turn in, I step over every toy on the floor, pick up the snack paper, put the Kindle on the table, turn off his lamp and radio. And, one kiss reminds me that there’s nothing more beautiful than a sleeping child. If I’m lucky, as I’m walking out of his room, I hear the sound of laughter coming from the dreams he’s having undoubtedly as he’s sleeping and isn’t nocturnal, after all.

Real Statuses from Shane’s Facebook, Part 2

  • “I don’t want a hamburger, Mom! I don’t eat animals! I’ll have chicken, instead.”
  • When I read my sight words, this is how it goes, “the, is, can, go, I, to, like…I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE!”
  • It’s not a good idea for boys to sit on the toilet like a girl to pee but the rocket effect does give Mommy something to yell about early in the morning. Off to school to add a little life to my classroom.
  • I’m a multi-tasker. Ten minutes drying my hair while trying to fit my entire fist into my mouth. Take it from me…hair drying is much easier.
  • “Taking care of a stelekin (skeleton) is really hard work. Their legs break off all the time. Right, stelekin?” Right, Shaney.
  • “Daddy is Mommy’s husband cuz she gives him good hugs and kisses. Mommy is Daddy’s wife cuz he gives her good hugs and kisses. I’m the son so I give good hugs and kisses. Jessica is the sister, but she’s a teenager and gives fake hugs and kisses.”
  • “I DON’T WANNA GO TO YOU NARK CITY! The elevators in the skyscrapers go too slow!”

394382_2722810983296_1047728879_32936246_1433618675_n

“A boy is truth with dirt on its face, beauty with a cut on its finger, wisdom with bubble gum in its hair and the hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.”  Author: Unknown

It Ain’t a Coin!

 

Previous entry: August 18, 2007

OK, I’ve come to the conclusion that little boys are nasty. I now understand why the moms on television are always checking their little monsters’ pockets. And as each day goes by, the old adage that boys are different than girls is reinforced.

Today, Shane was rolling around on the floor with our dog. Reesey tolerates Shane tugging on his ears and pulling his fur every which way. He’s a really good dog for a pound puppy or for any puppy for that matter. He’s primarily an inside dog, but living on a ranch gives him plenty of space to roam. One of his favorite activities is rolling in manure, but I digress.

Back to Shane…after rolling around on the floor with Reesey, he jumps up on the couch to sit next to me. I think, “Oh, how sweet. My mama’s boy sure does love me.” I notice, though, that he has something in his hand. It’s obviously a very special treasure judging by the extra-tight grip. Being the child of a magician, I automatically think it’s a coin he’s found and hold my hand out for him to give it to me. “NO! NO!” After serious coaxing, I convinced him to at least show me what he’d found. Well, let me tell you, it wasn’t a coin. It had legs! About eight of them, in fact. It was the fattest, juiciest, grayest tick I’ve ever seen (that’s saying a lot since I grew up in the backwoods of Louisiana)! It was so fat, in fact, that it had almost outgrown its legs and probably couldn’t even crawl if it tried. Convincing Shane to give it to me was no easy task. It took bribery…with raisins. He was perfectly content with the trade when I pointed out that the raisins resembled his tick.

This story brings to mind an old joke I heard as a child. I’m horrible at telling jokes, but here goes:

Mama’s in the house. Her boys are playing outside under the house of all places. Mama yells to the boys, “Hey! What ya’ll doin’ down under dere?” They say, “Eatin’ raisins.” Knowin’ good and well that she didn’t give them no raisins, her curiosity is peaked. “Where ya’ll get dem raisins?,” she yells. Little voices from under the house…”Off this here dawg!”

Two valuable lessons were learned that day. One, to check Reesey for ticks when he comes inside from rolling in the manure. More importantly, I learned to make sure it’s raisins that Shane finds on the floor to eat.

As Charles Dickens wrote, “A boy’s story is the best that is ever told.” I’m happy to have a boy who, without a doubt, will provide much material for a good story.