Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Totally Random

Hmmm. There's lots of stuff going on in my life just now -- some of it so dreary I'd rather not think about it -- but plenty of it good and worthy of comment. And yet, I can't seem to rub two words together to make a sentence happen. So, as much as I hate doing it: a list. On something like it.

1. Nik and I actually had a date. Well, sort of. The occasion: our wedding anniversary. We dropped the little ones off at a friends house at 5:20, arrived at the restaurant at 5:45, sat in the bar and had a glass of wine for 15 minutes and then moved to a table for our meal. At 7pm we asked for the check then race-walked home to pick up the car and RT who was waiting impatiently to be taken to the football game and loudly complained that he was now going to be late and had tried to call us 5 times to hurry us along. By 7:45 we had the little ones back in the car and were headed home and I said to Nik: "You know that kind of nice alcohol buzz that you get from drinking a bit of wine? Well, I don't really enjoy it anymore. It makes me feel a bit impatient with myself." All residents of the house, save the teenager, were soundly asleep by 9:30.

2. A few years ago when we first tried to teach Oliver to pedal a bike I thought I had encountered the zenith of frustrating experiences. Now I know that he WAS working hard. But the hard work of trying to get his legs and feet to move in a coordinated fashion as dictated by his brain was mostly invisible to those looking on. To us it looked like he was just sitting there. I also now understand that teaching a child to pedal is nowhere near as frustrating and downright frightening as teaching him to BRAKE! I also now understand that neither Nik or I are as fast as we would like to think we are and that a 50lb boy on a bike can gather quite some speed on the slightest of inclines. And I understand that this whole experience is exhilarating enough that a 5 year old boy would want to repeat it again and again.

3. Understanding Oliver and how his autism affects him is like peeling the layers from an onion. I think I have something figured out and then I peel another layer back to reveal something even more basic and fundamental to his experience. To his personhood. For instance: I knew that Oliver's speech problems weren't just to do with the actual production of sound. Or his understanding of the meaning of words. I knew that it had to do with communication. Oliver does not understand the nature of communication. He cannot answer yes/no questions. He has been responding out of habit all along. If someone says something to him that sounds like a question he will say "yes". He has no concept of answering "no". Imagine how powerless that must leave a person feeling. But we're working on it.

4. I joined a book club. The first book, the one we are meeting tonight to discuss, was the Kite Runner. What a beautifully written book. Too bad I'm only on about page 45. I tried. I really did. The book is great and I want to read it, I do, but I didn't have time and now I feel like I did in graduate school when I never had time to do all the readings before class. I knew this would happen but I so want to believe that my life is different than it actually is.

5. I will take my boys in the dirt today. We will plant 100 daffodil bulbs. And then we'll have a picnic on the front porch with our special juice and waffles in the shape of barn yard animals and smothered with peanut butter and jam.


  1. I love this...especially number five. I will think of you this afternoon, planting your bulbs, hopeful for spring and eating waffles with peanut butter. I have a soft spot for dafodils and peanut butter. Looks like you and your boys do as well.

    It's good to hear from you again.

  2. Glad your back! You do not have to make actual sentences, I will still read it. Heck, five years decoding a non verbal child, I can crack any code!!! Too funny about the bike, I never thought about the brakes. Although, I am sure it is less funny for you. We have not even tried the bike yet. Hope your planting goes well.

  3. I hope whatever hardship ( the dreary part you are trying not to think about...sorry)you are dealing with at the moment is something that you can make better. Whatever it is, I am sorry you are dealing with it.

    Brian and I had a similar QUICK date for our anniversary this year. And as far as the alcohol buzz, I can't remember the last time I had one, but I did have a couple of sips from Brian's frozen margarita last weekend and it tasted pretty dam good. Even without the buzz.

    The bike riding? Maybe the breaking part is what has subconsciously held me back from pushing Andrew to learn to really ride his bike. He will pedal a little now, but quickly gets off. I just haven't pushed hard because I can't see me taking him anywhere that he will need to learn how to break fast. There are other things I have held back from teaching him that he should be doing now too like opening his own seat belt and opening doors.

    Andrew doesn't get yes and no questions really yet either. His way of answering yes is to repeat the word of the thing being asked and his way of saying no is to push me away. We are also "working on it". I seem to say that a lot..."we are working on it".

    There will be no book club joining for me these days. As a matter of fact I just quit a Bunco group that I met with once a month. I made up some excuse to get me out of it. But I too tend to think my life is much different than it really is. Though it has been a little more clear to me lately that I am just a loser socially these days.

    Have fun planting your bulbs. it will be so rewarding to see all those daffodils popping up this Spring.

  4. it all sounds wonderful. it does. in your telling. i love the plan of planting in the dirt with your boys. it's so beautiful and symbolic, digging under, planting things that will grow and blossom and keep on doing that endlessly.

    sending xx to you all for the good to expand and the dreary to recede and for that onion to keep on peeling back its layers.

  5. I also enjoyed the small part of the Kite Runner which I actually managed to read.

    Number five on your list sounds wonderful! Getting dirty with my boys is always very therapeutic.

  6. I'm laughing about the date. Ours sound similar except much later. Nik to bed at 7, parents send us off for late dinner but we have to be home by 10 because they can't stay up that late! LOL

    I hop the drearies get oushed away (or at least into smaller perspective?) by the joys of digging in the dirt with your boys and the promise of flowers in springtime.

    And the brakes? highly overrated when you're five, for sure. :-)

    Such a prfound realization isn't it about the powerlessness our children must feel whith their communication challenges. I know it makes me think twice with Nik and try a little harder to give him power over many things where I can. Simple things like when we are at the park ad he takes me by the hand; I will follow his lead and let it be his experience even if I really want to have him climb adn swing and such. If he wants to sit and play with the grass, that's ok, too.

  7. I will be thinking of you and your boys as I plant my own daffodil bulbs with my girls.