Tuesday, March 31, 2009

All About Niko

We went to Quinn's baby blessing this weekend, and it was spectacular. The best part, for me, was being in a place where our kids could run around and play together, and we weren't judged. People said hi to our kids, ruffled their hair, and weren't fazed by Niko's unusual actions. It was held at at a family business, not a restaurant, not a house with breakable things. Everybody was friends and family. Do you know how that feels? It feels like heaven.

We received Niko's school pictures yesterday, and I nearly cried. He looks so happy. He looks the way that I see him at home, not the way that he is when he's panicking in public. I can't wait to post it for you. This is my son. This is what I see. This is what most of you don't.

I talked to his teacher today. I asked her if she thought he exhibited signs of autism. She was very careful about what she said, because she couldn't diagnose or anything like that. I said, "I realize you can't say very much, but in your opinion, with the behaviors that you've seen, do you think I should maybe take him to the doctor for a reevaluation?" She said that it was funny I'd bring that up, because just two weeks ago somebody else had asked her the same question about Niko. It's tricky, because Niko has Williams. Any unusual behavior has always been attributed to that. But is there more? I used to keep up on all of the Williams Moms blogs, and then I couldn't anymore. They didn't seem to apply to my son anymore. Their kids were making sounds and talking and engaging. Mine? Definite verbal loss. Niko would rather be by himself than with anybody else. Watching the dryer spin. Listening to the dishwasher. Pushing the buttons on the clock.

So I made an appointment with a new pediatrician, and we'll see how it goes. We'll test him, and I'm actually pretty certain that he's on the autistic spectrum somewhere. The words "dual disability" are just...difficult words to keep down. At the same time, it will be a new set of resources, and we'll know what to expect.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My First Sewing Project

Nina's dress!

Ten Minutes Worth of Stuff! Go go go!

I have exactly ten minutes before I need to hop in the shower, (writer's group tonight! Yay!) so here we go!

1. My parents came down, and it was absolutely lovely. We had a really, really good time. The kids just reveled in the attention.

2. I actually won something! Seriously, you guys know my awful luck, so this was extra sweet. I won a super cute ring from Jasmin at Frog Princess Designs. It's so adorable, and it really made my day. You can see her stuff at http://frogprincessdesigns.blogspot.com/. There's a lot of whimsy there.

3. I think that Niko has autism, along with Williams Syndrome. It's an idea that has been niggling at me for a while, but I was reading a newspaper article a few days ago that hit me like a cement truck. It talked about how Autism is often characterised by losing the sounds that they used to make. Niko's babbling? His "Grudge" sound? Mamama, bababa, it's all gone. Nothing. He cries, and sometimes says "Ah," but not like he used to, not at all. I maybe hear something out of him five times a day. It's heartbreaking. So I'm switching pediatricians from The Children's Doctor From Hell to somebody that my friend recommends, and we'll do some more testing. Or it could be after effects from his abusive teacher, I don't know. Anyway, wish us luck.

4. I have a new poem up at http://www.abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com/. Remember months ago when I withdrew some poems from a magazine that I thought was defunct, and they wrote me saying, "Why did you do that?" The answer was "Because I'm so green at this, auuughhhh!" and they forgave me and wanted to run my poem anyway. So go see it, if you want to! :)

5. I am having the best time making some things for the crafting meme. I had a few horror writers comment, and it's especially fun to make them gifts. They have a little more....bite. >:)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guess What I Did Today?

I celebrated St. Patrick's Day by scouting shamrocks for The Big Bag of Luck Giveaway on this site: http://carriedawayteam.blogspot.com/2009/03/big-bag-of-luck-giveaway.html. It was fun, soothing, and delightfully frivolous! I about died when I came across WolfBait's store...these bags are made out of the most adorable fabrics ever. I think that I'm going to spend some of my birthday moolah there.

Tomorrow I plan to start cutting out my Day of the Dead purse that I'm making. (Hence looking at bag sites, yes? I was googling patterns. Yay, Google!) I'll post a picture when it's finished, provided that it doesn't look too heinous. Then I'm going to start on a skirt. I could really get into this sewing thing.

Tonight I had my writer's group meeting, and I was so incredibly scattered that it was almost embarrassing. Oh well! It happens, and I did my best. You can't ask for more than that. It was a strange day...as you can see, since it's two in the morning and I'm tapping it up on the computer. :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Meme That You'll Really Enjoy!

I saw this on Rachel's blog and pounced on it, eyes wide, teeth bared, claws out. Because who doesn't want something lovely made for them? With Rachel, everything is lovely. She touches something and it turns into glitter and butterflies. You might think that I'm kidding, but everybody that knows her knows that I speak the truth. The things that I make? Have a tendency toward bat wings. So here are the guidelines!

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some limitations:

1. You will not know what it's going to be, and there are no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. I have until December to send it to you. Anticipation is part of the game, isn't it? Of course it is.

3. Most importantly, you must offer the same deal on your blog - the first 5 people to comment on your blog (or Facebook or whatever, if you don't have a blog) get something made by YOU!

4. If you already have this meme up on your blog, no problem! You can play anyway. :)

So! There you go! I may put this up on http://www.abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com/ later, which has a completely different readership than this blog. I treasure all of you, I just have to say that. It's nice to discuss life and Niko here, and agents and spellcheck there. You guys are the reason that I want to do this. I would be delighted to send you little random gifts. :)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

End Experiment (And boy, am I glad!)

Well, I feel better when I try to do the necessary things. I'd like to say that things zip along more easily that way, or that it's all miracles and butterflies and rainbows, but that isn't the case. I simply feel better. I feel like I'm making an effort, and maybe that's all that matters. I also learned that I'm definitely not doing this alone. We're all high fiving each other as we zip by in our separate rollercoasters. You guys are awesome!

We had Stake Conference today, which meant sitting for two hours on folding chairs with the kids. Niko headbonked everybody! His sister, the guy sitting in front of us, the chairs, our knees, our legs. At one point I had him on my lap (to restrain him, mostly) and he headbutted me so hard in the jaw that my vision blurred. I set him down on the chair next to me and had this moment of overwhelming sorrow. I thought, "What am I doing here? I'm not learning a thing. Everybody is judging us. Niko's out of control." I wanted to stand up and leave. Everything is a struggle. Everything is a fight. Sometimes I just get tired of fighting.

I drive myself crazy sometimes. The other night I said to Luke, "If this was the Holocaust, Niko would be taken away. Do you ever think of things like that?"

He doesn't. But I do. I can't seem to help it.

And then I pulled myself together. Sure, we have to make certain concessions for Niko, but we deserve to be out and about. He is a wonderful, beautiful boy, and he most certainly wasn't the only child misbehaving in there! Let it go. Let it go. As everybody has been telling me, be gentle. Have mercy.

Go home and kick some Katamari Damacy butt!

I bought a sewing machine with my writing contest money. Woo! I made Nina a dress, and...I can only get better. I'll post a picture later. Come read my story! www.abrokenlaptop.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Experiment, Day Three. Work and Play?

Holy smokes! What happened to my life?!

Monday was a day of optimism. "I can do this! I can get a handle on everything. Life will be beautiful, to wit, to woo!"

I said my morning prayers. I got Niko ready, brushed his teeth, kissed his head, and loaded him on the bus. I worked out with Nina underfoot. I started to clean the house. Wait! Play! I need to play! I will, I swear. After I do this. After I do this. After I do...I'm not feeling so well.

Tuesday. My kids are under the weather. Luke came home early, sick. I cleaned. Prayers. Niko, school. Quick but efficient workout. I have eleven pieces to read and critique. I did five. Off to my writer's group, hooray! My head's exploding.

Today is Wednesday. My kids are sick. My husband is sick. I...am sick. Everything is taking me 20 times longer than it should. Do I even know what balance is? Are there really 24 hours in a day? I don't believe it. Perhaps this is an off-week. But then, we've all been sick off and on for the last two months, so maybe this is how it's going to be for the rest of my life. I'm not accomplishing what I want. I was hoping that I would learn to prioritize. I was hoping that suddenly I would realize, "Oh, x, y, and z should totally be at the top of my list!" I expected everything else to settle to the bottom. And scheduling in play should decrease my stress, right? Right?!

Oh, Self, I'm laughing heartily at you. You're so sweet and so naive. But even though this experiment is going down in flames, I'm going to keep trying. I'm learning some things, and that's what experimenting is all about, isn't it?

I'm learning that I don't have any concept of balance. None whatsoever. I'm also learning that you can't divide it neatly into increments, and some things refuse to be defined.

I'm a mom. That's what I do, and it's work. It's also play, but I'd say most of it is work. There's laundry so the kids have clean clothes. There's meals so that they can be strong. There's bath time and nail clipping and disciplining. You can't tell me that disciplining isn't work.

There's also the lap cuddling and soothing. There's putting shoes on, and walks, and kisses. That's play, although 20 seconds ago I was disciplining. (Work.)

What about writing? Is it work or play? I enjoy it (sometimes) and it's hard (sometimes). Does that make it work and play? Researching markets is work. Writing forums are play. Unless it's something necessary, and then it's work. Unless I'm enjoying it, and it's play. Dig?

This is forcing me to look at my life, and it's been a while since I have done that. I still can't decide if my sadness is from what I'm filling my life with, or if it's something that I'm not filling my life with. It might be living in this horrible town. It might be coming from within. Maybe it's genetic. Maybe it's economic.

The best thing, though, is this realization: when I'm down, I struggle to break the surface. I'm very, very proud of that. I'm not the type of person to give up.

So the experiment marches on.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The Experiment

I’m conducting an experiment that might be interesting. I have an amazing husband, two fabulous kids, security, and the assurance that I am loved. Which means that I should be happy, right?

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong! Things seem to be harder than ever, and I can’t exactly place why. There’s no crisis, but there is the day-to-day grind. This grind is grinding me down. It’s taking off my sheen. So this is what I’ve decided to do.

I've heard that we need balance in our lives. Eight hours of sleep, eight hours of work, and eight hours of play. I look at that and think, “Pshaw. That was a different time. Things were more simple.” But do you know what? It’s something that I’m going to take a look at.

The experiment is two-fold: First I’m going to try to adhere to the 8-8-8 rule as much as possible. Of course, it most likely won’t be completely feasible, but I’ll do the best that I can. Work has taken over everything else, lately, and all work and no play makes M a dull girl. The second half of the experiment will consist of doing the things that I know I need to do every day. I need to exercise. I need to eat lunch. I need to spend some time outside and I need to ground myself spiritually. Right now I’m doing some of those things, or one of those things, or none at all. Can I fit all of the basics into my day if I trim out the excess work? Can "play" take up eight hours? Let's find out, shall we?

I started yesterday, so anybody interesting in joining is welcome! Maybe we can discuss it later.