Toe, clearly stunned by his own brilliance
Yay to Toe! Booooooooooo to me.
As I was saying to some of my most uncompromising friends yesterday, I had a "terrible mother moment" in which I shocked even myself. My little brainiac, Toe, was receiving an award--his third this year--for his academic excellence (reading, science and now math), and I had a brief inward groan of, "oh no, another awards ceremony!" I know, it's awful.
I have no defense except to say that I was in pain level 9, which is just less than childbirth, and makes me extremely intolerant and squirmy. And then there was immediate regret and self-reproval, followed by a whole lotta hugga-kissin' of my beautiful, brilliant boy. Also cake--not just any cake--but a Toe-specific request for "mommy's white cake with the cherries on top." That last part nearly put me in my grave, but that is motherhood. A deathmarch through paradise.
Call on Jesus and forgive?
So, congratulations to my firstborn son, a favorite of mine among miracles!
Toe, looking to exit, stage left
Toe burdens lil bro Roo with his love
The lads' sibling relationship is changing and maturing so much lately. We're calling this current time the "love thy brother" age.
Here are some recently overheard remarks in the BS Haus to flesh out that image for you:
Toe: Roo, you can't be a pretty little girl! Put down my purse!
Roo: Dat's my Pokemon love ball, Tove! Give it me'r! Give it me'r! I can't don't want thanks for sharing!
Toe: Mommy, Reuben bonked my penis blanket*!
Toe: Mommy, Reuben poked my bee-bo*!
Toe: Mommy, Reuben is sitting on me and making my feet circle*!
Toe: Mommy, Reuben is pulling on my foot-fingers*!
Roo: Here, Tove, dat's for you, dat's for me and dat's for me and dat's for me...
There are also the daily flying ninja asassin wars with tot-sized golf clubs, Squinkie theft, fruit leather tug-o-wars, and what I can only describe as "butt budging" (this involves an aggressive shoving of one another's hind quarters in order to jockey for the spot closest to Mommy on the couch). Occasionally Roo will forcefully remove a loose tooth from his brother's mouth and Toe will pin Roo down and commence what he announces is "Naughty Reuben spankenbutt time!"
So far, so good though. No one's called the authorities. And, according to Hub (fairly close in age to his own brother, and survivor of his own childhood bro-mance), I have this reassurance: "Unless blood or hammers are involved, it's best to just let them be."
Hence I say, love on, my brothers, love on.
*Let your imagination run wild. Or, for a complete English-Toe/Toe-English Interpretive Phrasebook, email email@example.com.
Germans, masters of realism, have two words for Easter: "Ostern" and "Hasenfest" (Easter and Rabbit Fest). That's some telling it like it is right there.
At any rate, whether you are spending your weekend at a mock trial for Jesus, painting the town (and eggs) pastel, or serving up a big family ham dinner to celebrate the "in your face, Old Testament!" new covenant of JC, I wish you joy and peace. And a little bit of bunnies.
Back on Monday! Happy Easter!
It is a lesser-known fact that Italians were extremely popular on the prairie
Roo's favorite day of the week by far is "Frontier Tuesday." Manic Monday is over, we're not yet tired from the Hump Day climb. Thundering Thursday is when everything gets so overwhelming, loud, backlogged and behind schedule we just spend most of the day running hither and yon and praying for TGIF. Saturday is always a work day for Mommy and Sunday is for Jesus (and laundry). But Tuesday, that's all about the hearth and home.
I buy our groceries on Wednesday, so by Tuesday there's nothing left in this house of greedy boys but hot mustard and some croutons. Tuesday is when everything is done from scratch, when I organize and simmer and defrost and bake (and one of Roo's greatest passions in life is the carbohydrate). The house smells good, the dogs sprawl out under the stove hoping to catch a spill. Daddy is on duty and spends one-on-one time with Roo. He teaches him special Daddy things, like how to say "mazel tov!" every time Mommy comes out of the bathroom and how to strap a lighted spelunking helmet on a beagle. Mostly--mostly-- the computer is off, and we read a lot more cutting-edge literature while the bread rises.
Sometimes, I admit, it's a lot of work going without some of the more common conveniences like store-bought bread and a devoted personal assistant. And it's not like I have to wash the clothes by beating them on the rocks down on Plum Creek (although, if you've seen my basement, you know it is very close to a dark, dripping fungiform-filled grotto). But I wouldn't want my lads to grow up any other way.
'gluten-free shortcakes' on the frontier was not just smack talk for cowpies
the last of the frozen summer strawberries--the deathnail in the coffin of winter
a palate cleanser for all these carbs-what Hub likes to call 'Larvae on a Log'
Everybody's so busy these days. And, duh, yes, I know I haven't written for my blog in a whole week, (although that doesn't mean I haven't written for any blog, because, yes I am cheating on you with blogs who pay me in dollars, not just love). I'm sorry, beloveds. My devotion to you is authentic and priceless, but toilet paper costs shekels. Besides, you don't want to read here what I write about there: hunger, water contamination, poverty, sickness, debate over the qualifications for what makes an American penis. Hey, wait--that is all stuff I write about here! (Well, mostly).
Not today though.
I was just starting my morning routine, preparing our ritual Saturday morning cinnamon rolls for the menfolk, when I realized I was also visiting with an old friend. No, not hallucinating (though I have been up since 2 a.m., earning shekels BTW, and am only semi-concious), but reminiscing through the use of my friend's exceptional recipe.
Oh Terry, I read your blog. It's so funny! Add recipes! I can't believe you are a master chef and culinary instructor now. Remember when I had you to a dinner party about 4 zillion years ago? You barely ate a thing because, as you said back then, you "lived on Tab."
In a crazy, over-scheduled world I know we have advnaced ways to keep in touch: text, Twitter, Facebook, email, blogging, Skype...
But a lot of times, I have to say, I prefer food. When I pull out a yellowed and crackling old recipe card written in my Grandma's hand, she is there with me as I make the soup. When I wonder what's up with my friend Amy (who is, compared to me, busy X 10), I may visit her blog and see what homegrown whole food healthy concoction she's brewing up in her kitchen now. The notes in the margins of my mom's cookbooks speak to me. Making the sourdough starter just the way my dad taught me in his farm kitchen brings his presence into my home and warms it up with memories.
And there you are, talking to me in my kitchen, and you didn't have to do a think
Toe makes instant BFFs with St. Paul Water Utlity guy, 'Joe'
Spring is here, which means more time out and about in the world for us, and it means time for a rapid rise in the incidence of what I call "the joes." No no, you don't even have to ask. See, that's what I'm here for. Silly!
It's a myth that all kids on the autism spectrum are socially reserved and unresponsive. Some are, of course--just like some non-ASD kids may be severely introverted. What's really typical is that a child with autism seems often to have a greatly exaggerated expression of his own social nature, coupled with an inability to always grasp how and when to rein that natural bent in with strangers. If he's shy, he's painfully shy (and doesn't give a rat's tiny that he hasn't answered your question, you weirdo!). If he's affectionate and demonstrative, you're going get some hugga-lovin' whether you want it or not. If he's chatty and outgoing, he's probably gonna talk the ear off every stray dog, bank teller, street Mormon and joe bus driver you encounter. You got it--this last quality would be a case of "the joes."
Joes don't have to be human, as here in the case of 'Doh,' the stray dog joe
The joes are an extra challenge for us, since it's hard to teach appropriate stranger fear and social boundaries when you have both the joes and an active Christian belief of loving acceptance at work. In our family, we embrace Christ's teaching that each person is as valuable and worthy of social hospitality as another--despite what appearances and social biases may try to make us believe. Yes, we speak kindly to gangsters on the street. We chat with buddhist monks on the corner about the weather and have given rides to stranded homeless people who really smell. We've taken a hispanic family around to look at Christmas lights with us because it was cold and they had no car. We aren't sure if that's what they really wanted to do since they spoke no English, but everyone seemed cheerful and jolly to be in the warm car with us anyway.
Once on a walk with the boys, a young man (whose pants were hanging in such as way as to allow for him to recieve a colonoscopy at any moment) asked me for some change. I didn't have any (who takes change on a walk?), though Toe immediately piped in and offered to take the man home to get some change from his "jar of monies." The young man reacted by rubbing Toe's head and saying, "Naw, you save it, son. You listen to your momma too!"
Yes, a ganster blessing, right there on the street.
Toe's joes can rub off a little on Roo, too, which is an added issue. Roo, who normally casts the typical leary kid eye of scepticism over any stranger he may see before even thinking of talking to them (and makes sure to watch Mommy or Daddy's actions for the cue on what to do), can get caught up in the fun of the joes. When your big brother runs up to a woman at Target and starts raving about how much he likes her pink shirt, let's face it--that is the perfect opportunity to poke around in her cart and say "Whatcha got here? Oh...cheese! I have some of dat cheese, please?" Roo has a case of what I'd say were the joe jrs, and they typically manifest in requests for food.
Joes can be ladies too, and often get invited to the house to 'play Xbox or have a tea party' by Toe
So, next time you're accosted in public by a woman and her gang of overly-friendly kids (who are perhaps rifling through your things), step back and keep your cool. Think of us and remember though we may be extreme weirdos, we are children of God too. Remember you may be someone's special joe, and maybe--maybe--you can spare a moment or a shareof your cheese. It's really up to you.
A small SPPS school holiday parable on the virtues of sharing the work...
Who will help me prepare the dough?
Not I! squealed the pigs.
Who will help me cut the cookies, bake them, frost them?
Not I! squealed the pigs.
Who will help me...oh, forget it!
I know you are considering leaving me for another blog. I would. One less flaky and more dependable. One with surveys and giveaways and fancy stuff like that. One that doesn't use the word "whores" so much. I still love you though, faithful readers. All 3 of you.
April is always a month when I feel overwhelmed by my load. Organizing for the seasonal changes, spring cleaning inside and outside the cave, Toe's 2011-2012 IEP meetings (April is renewal month for a public school autism individual education plan) and Roo's new school year registration, summer therapy program sign-up deadlines. This year has had the added baggage of increased blogification: blogging for me, blogging for the good, blogging for the man. Paperwork, work work, housework, the spiritual gravity of Lenten introspection (I know: lame way to blame Jesus!). Street hockey, popsicle-making, sidewalk chalk sessions. We are scrambling here and I feel small. I feel what we in the BS house call "squinkie."
Are you familiar with the Squinkie? The trendy fingernail-sized rubber baby animals one would perhaps call "collectible" (in the pre-K world ""collectible" means "to be hoarded, fought over with siblings, begged for incessantly and toted around everywhere one goes as if one's life depended on it")? In our house, thanks to a certain 4 year old, we've had a little experience with Squinkies. You could say Roo has a bit of a Squinkie issue.
You should know right off the bat that the signature of the Squinkie is it'strademark plastic bubble home. Even when marketed for "tea parties" or other Squinkie social event scenarios, the typical add-on toy involved is some sort of round, clear high-heat sulfone plastic prison in which the Squinkies can frolic in CDC-like isolation. Perhaps the Squinkies were designed to prepare children for the rapidly declining survivability of our environment--I just can't be sure.
At any rate, it is squinkie time here, so pity me. Have patience. Summon all those fruits of the Spirit I know you possess in your immeasurable goodness and shower me. I am squishable and minute, trying to escape my bubble the best I can.
Roo, having been raised in the ethos of animal rights, occasionally allows his Squinkies to enjoy a free-range expreience
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but we like to do a litte reading in our house. Have I told you? Have I?
With impressionable younguns around, choosing books these days can sometimes be a dicey little game. There's so much being put out there to fall into their greedy bibliophile paws. Picture books with titles like Help, Mom! Radicals Are Ruining My Country! are, yeah, pretty obvious red flags. But the adorably illustrated freebie copy of Animal Tails (handed out at the public zoo to my 4 year-old yesterday) may be--may be--a Satan's heathen re-incarnationist brainwashing tool. As a parent, you just have to, you know, keep an eye peeled.
Recently a friend of mine called to ask if I by chance happened to have an oxygen tank she could borrow when her daughter brought home Sarah Palin's America By Heart as a *prize* from her Girl Scout leader. Apparently this friend found herself unable to breathe and was near apoplexy. I didn't have the tank, but I luckily was able to help her back into her happy place using only my words (mostly words I got from a really great book I once read). Sigh. Mothers, we are doing battle in this world.
Speaking of battle. Here's a resource for your parenting arsenal in the good literature quest. "Weapons of Mass Instruction" is a website dedicated to providing anti-war/ pro-peace book ideas in all genres (a several languages)for kids. There's classics and new stuff, and you can be sure nothing there will inspire a desire for this in your child. Visit the site, and while you're there, check out our fave new book, War and Peas, by Michael Forman. It's full of evil fat greedy kings, and resourceful longsuffering peasants who use their wits and wills to overcome their thieving oppressors (just like Wisconsin!). Awesomesauce!