You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

I know I promised words, but coherency is simply not possible today. So I’ll continue to post filler to keep you coming back until my lobotomy, mmkay? Listen to the music over thar <– and enjoy today’s randomness.

First, a funny:

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Then a political discussion point:

Japanese woman dies searching for care

And finally a quiz game for those more geographically knowledgeable than myself (which would be everyone, since I still have to think about where Nebraska is and I’m sadly not kidding):

http://www.travelpod.com/traveler-iq

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Most of the BV gang.

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Lorelei just found out there’s no Santa.

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Fifteen minutes later..

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Donato, Matt, Linds and Mike

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Jon’s sister, Leigh-Erin, and Jack in front of my MIL’s beautiful tree.

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My current favorite mama, Jill, due in May.

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LE’s last night in town – LE, Megan, me and Dr. Annie.

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Great gene pool

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Badd-ass Brandon, Jon and Sgt. T.J. Lynch (added just b/c it will make Brandon mad. 8) )

..

Real words tomorrow, friends. I feel like it’s been years..

Merry Christmas, everyone.

I hope you are having a blessed and happy holiday.

One of the songs on the otherwise-cute cd sent home by Jack’s teachers:

This is why mommy drinks.

So I’ve got a secret I’ve been afraid to admit because.. well, I’m not sure. Maybe because I worry what my KCAP friends would think, or because my identity has evolved into The One Who Does All Things Anti-Mainstream and I feel like I should be above this. I don’t know.

But the truth is that sometimes I think that parenting might actually make me go batshit insane.

And let me clarify – I’m not at the brink. I’m not crying, I’m not sad, I’m actually very happy with my life. But after recently having two conversations with two of my wisest friends (both Saras, coincidentally), I’m getting close to admitting that I don’t know if I’m hardwired to be the kind of parent I want to be. And I certainly am not sure I wouldn’t fully be carted away if we tried to have a third right now (or ever..). And this makes me sad, because this isn’t the sort of whiny realization that parenting is hard. (I’ve had 5 years to be thrown in that pool.) No, this is a concession that my goals and abilities may not be aligned well, so it’s possible I’ll have to be realistic about the future in regards to what I want versus what I can do. We’ll have to see.

After stumbling on the research for Jack, I definitely think some of my biggest concerns are my sensory issues – specifically auditory. I just want to hide when it gets loud. AND IT’S ALWAYS LOUD HERE. The chaos that comes with small kids and stupid animals and gregarious parents is too much for me literally 100% of the time. It wears me out trying to calm my nerves all day. And yes, I know I should try meditation or quiet times. I agree completely. It’s just not always feasible – especially like today when Jon’s out of town and the kids are requesting cookies (wth?) by 6:00 am.

[And the truth is, that only goes so far. I realize not a lot of people can fully understand what I mean by sensory overload; that’s cool. Quiet time would be the mini-aspirin to combat the migraine, if I can make a comparison that is too dramatic but close enough. This is my normal, but after 30 years I’ve realized it’s not supposed to be. That’s all.]

And again, this isn’t about stress. Our life is not overly-stressful, despite what people may think. We are healthy and stable and warm and can pay the bills. That keeps me leveraged, I promise. This isn’t about having another child being physically attached to me for upwards of three years. It’s not about autism. It’s not about sleep.

This is just about the daily selflessness of parenting, and my rarely-selfless reaction to it.

I love my kids with a ferociousness I never knew I could, but I compared my whole family to leeches that suck the life out of me the other night. (Well, that was the wine talking. I promptly took it back.) I’m just being honest about the underbelly of parenting that I’m not proud of. I don’t like that sometimes I don’t like any of them. That I don’t always love feeding them 5 times a day, every day. I don’t like fighting about washing hands or hair or ears. I don’t like that Jack perserverates his sentences like a skipping record and I really don’t like Lorelei’s screeching. I don’t like that I can clean all day long (I don’t, but assuming I could) and by bedtime when I turn around Things 1 & 2 have frolicked behind me and it’s a wreck again. I see people who have their shite together, and I used to stress that I wasn’t doing something properly. But then I realized those people can be spectacularly boring, and I’d much prefer to be late on birthday cards if that means I was wrapped up in a book or something equally mind-stimulating. There are a lot of things about parenting I excel at, but there are an equal number of things I fail at, obviously. Thank God for fun/awesome/super daddy, because again, He was no dummy pairing us together.

Really I just wanted to stand up and say Hi, my name is Jen and sometimes I dream of going to Italy by myself. Sometimes. But not really. I miss my kids when I’m gone for a couple hours. At night when it’s quiet and I feel Jack breathing deeply, I imagine homeschooling and family trips and even having more hobbits to add to our shire.

But then another day dawns where I call Jon and threaten bodily harm to someone if he doesn’t come tag-in soon. That’s a strange disconnect, and I’ve come to realize it’s just who I am. I don’t know that I am designed to be the best mommy to a large(r) brood, and that’s ok.

There’s more to this idea of procreating (money, the environment, housing, transportation etc..), but for now I’ve been thinking about the simple quantity/quality aspect. And since this is already ridiculously long (methinks I wouldn’t have much to blog about if I had a therapist) I’ll just stop here.

Anyway, it’s always a little freeing to admit something that’s been weighing on you, so that’s nice. Especially because I’m not lying when I say right this instance Jack is sitting on Lo’s back as she’s sprawled over the Spiderman chair, and everyone is screaming.

(What’s that creed? God grant me the patience to what? Well, I don’t care. I’ll just start with that.)

Happy Thursday everyone.

I’m on a mission, get over it.

So watch this:

And then listen to the studio version with the violins so you can see just why they’re amazing.

We went to the K-State basketball game at the Sprint center last night with a group of friends. Beforehand we (and apparently 100 other people) stopped at a pub that had illogically staffed three people for the night, so we had to wait until getting to the game for overpriced food. This ended up fortuitous though, because Jon and Brandon both ordered a foot-long hotdog monstrosity with brisket and dried onions on it. I’ll assume they would suggest this conveniently-named ‘KC Dog’ if you’re ever around. Afterwards we stopped at a bar across the street where we discussed IQs while drunk sorority girls danced on tables. (Not implying there’s a correlation there or anything, just sayin’). Anyway, it was good times.

And I know this is Youtube Tuesday, but I needed to cache my pictures because I worry that I may be killing my camera, so I figured I’d post these few as a recap to make Sam jealous. I didn’t get everyone in the group (nor the guy next to us wearing the Joe Leonard jersey), and in quite a few pictures the focus was off, so luckily I have none of myself! Huzzah!

The Sprint Center

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B-rand, Ben and Phil

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Brothers Dork

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So anyone who knows me – or at least has read my thoughts on autism – knows that I have shifted wildly from my initial ideas. I mention this only because I want to acknowledge that I don’t approach this post feeling patronizing or with some sort of authority. Had this exact video come out two years ago I’m not sure what I would have thought.

Anyway, like a perverse addict, I always seem to watch/read news stories about autism, simply because, well, I just do. And most of the time it makes me grumpy, so it’s no surprise that this CNN video segment is no different.

As I was watching it I tried to step back and ask myself why I was irritated. I know the vast majority of people working in autism science have benevolent intentions. I know that I am extremely blessed that Jack is so high-functioning that my life isn’t about searching for a cure. Who knows, maybe if he hadn’t changed as much as he had, I may still think like that, so I don’t hold judgment – I have no right to and I know that.

But this video, which is supposed to be positive and filled with medically-advanced hope, made me sad. The little things in it made me sad. The word normal was used both audibly to describe the little boy (“I never would have thought he was autistic!”) and to delineate the brain scan categories. And that’s just such a negative connotation, whether you consciously realize it or not. Really, think about your first impression when I say atypical versus abnormal. There was an emotional difference, wasn’t there? I know that’s splitting hairs, but when you’re the one pigeonholed you begin to notice these things. Language is powerful.

I am fully supportive of brain scans for conservative reasons. Obviously they are remarkable. But what I’m not kosher with is the idea of routinely and/or blanket scanning all kids – during the single most important time in their neurological development – just to see if their brains look funny. And all of this so they can see if a child needs early intervention, b/c EI is the single biggest factor in “pulling these kids out of the deep, dark hole they’re in”.

I agree that EI rocks. I abhor how it’s described there.

It seems incredibly dramatic to do scans when there are other non-invasive tests to see who qualifies for EI. And to be clear, I know the video isn’t implying other tests should be replaced, I’m just saying I think it’s way overkill with the scans. It’s just unnecessary to me – but that’s probably b/c I’m not comfortable with the idea of assuming we should narrow down anything specifically about autism, when everything about it is already so miasmatic.

And this full-circles to my view that all of this autism research is a slippery slope towards eugenics. And not only eugenics, but a version that is repugnant (if that’s not redundant) in my opinion. It honestly makes my stomach hurt to think that in a creepy Orwellian kind of way, maybe in 15 (5? 2?) years I could choose to abort Jack simply because he carried that predisposition for the dreaded ‘autism’.

Whatever. This is a complicated issue. And this isn’t a rant, really. It’s just that the further along we go, the more I am deeply uncomfortable with the negativity permeating the whole world of autism. I’ve said these things before, but I’ll probably say them again, because this idea of being different, not disabled, needs to be kept in the back of everyone’s minds. I know it’s easy to get lost in politically correct minutiae, but this isn’t a bleeding-heart cause d’jour to me like it’s become in the entertainment business. This is a snowball that is going in a frightening direction and it involves my kid.

That little boy shown was a happy, intelligent, fully functioning kid. So why was he the example when the whole premise of the video was jubilation that we’re closer to a cure?

What does he need cured?

First, we need to have a moment of silence for Dan Fogelberg. DO NOT tease me if you think he was lame. His music is part of a collection that was intrinsic to my childhood and intertwined with my memories. This is my favorite song, “Same Old Lang Syne”:

And, for the second time in a week, I had plans to write about some thoughts I’ve been rolling around, but in pure irony I need to step away from this portal to the outside world and go find a train, feed second breakfasts and switch laundry.

I’m sorry I’ve been sort of cluttered and disjointed lately.

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I can not stop laughing at this poor kid’s face.

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(Thanks to Beth for the idea.)

When I took Jack to school we were stopped for a funeral procession I’ve decided was a local officer (based on a news story) who lost a battle to cancer.

It was amazing. There were easily two dozen motorcycle police at the beginning, and after the regular cars, more than 60 squad cars from different nearby cities came by single file, with lights flashing. I think there were actually a lot more than that, but I lost count. We sat there for 15 minutes, and it was by far the longest procession I’ve ever seen.

I would have done anything for my camera to have been in my purse so I could have taken a picture of the squad cars coming down the hill; you could see flashing lights for miles.

It was awe-inspiring.

I hate the bloated ego that is Roger Clemens. I should hate Andy Pettitte (or Sosa, Giambi, Mac, whomever) equally, but I seem to save my ire for assholes like Clemens (and Bonds). Unabashedly arrogant and greedy, he thinks his game truly makes him better – than everyone – it’s always seemed.

And since Bonds is finally publicly astericked, I now patiently wait for Clemens.

I realize I’m not a big enough fan to merit outrage. I know too many guys whose opinions deserve to carry much more weight than mine. But my biggest complaint of MLB has *always* been the open disparity (payrolls, gate receipts, even park size) that everyone seems to accept. And when the powered-athleticism that is the dirty push behind the steroid use is so rampant that even our hometown Christian hero Sweeney is rumored to have partaken, I have total disgust for the whole game.

My views are not original. I just don’t have the life-long romanticism that others have and so I feel no shame wanting that man to give back all of his Cy Youngs and the stupid orange Hummer. I’d be ok with a total dissolution of baseball as we know it.

IT’S NOT WORKING.

Regardless, first potty dookies MUST be recorded for time immemorial.

So exciting and yet so bittersweet for me..

[[ETA: Too many people were searching for and clicking on the picture that was here, so I took it down. 3/1/08]]

In other news, we’ve been elfed. Everyone I know on the planet has done one, and I think they’re cute enough, but I don’t have the patience to wait for it to load half the time, so I didn’t have the energy to try and create one. The best reason to click and wait for this one though is b/c Lindsey accidentally put my face on the boy elf and her boyfriend Mike’s on the girl elf. I’ll let you insert appropriate jokes here if you wish.

And lastly I have a question for all my female friends out there (unless the guys know and are comfortable enough in their manhood to answer the question). We have a wedding this weekend and I want to wear a cute dress I’ve worn to all the weddings recently, but it’s obviously too freaking cold for it by itself. I have a nice coat, but the dress is sleeveless – don’t I need a wrap or shrug or something? Also, if I remember correctly, my heels need to be closed-toe, right?

Sigh. Sometimes being a girl is such a PITA. Good thing my calves are looking GREAT from all my elephant panic at the gym, right? 😀

Thanks again for the rescues yesterday, friends. It’s nice to feel loved. As Sam would say: Smooches all around.

Jon’s traveling, we have no school, we can’t go anywhere and we’ve read everything they want to read – again and again. We’ve played trains and we’ve watched Blues Clues. We got a package from a cousin that won’t stop making noise and I hate it already. Lorelei’s running around in a dipe but wants slippers because her feet are cold. Jack is crazy-hyper because he knows today’s different and he wants to go somewhere. Lots of noise here, people. NOISE.

Someone please interact with me. Call me, email me, start a comments conversation. Please. I’m serious. Let’s discuss something.

I’ll start: What song(s) would you want played at your funeral?

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