Auld Lang Syne

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup !
and surely I’ll buy mine !
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne

I’ll buy my cup.  I might even buy you one.  Here’s to the end of a pretty fantastical year, all in all.  And my wish for me, and for you and yours is for an even better 2012.   

I hope to spend more time writing in the coming new year.  I also am resolving to get up off my lazy rear end and start exercising.  I know, this is very out of character for me.  But if I can pull off a spur of the moment decision to become a vegetarian, I can probably do this.  Probably.  I also am going to try desperately to have a better attitude.  (problem). 

But I will still hate Oprah.  She’s got a new show coming on her network this year.  So that’ll give me tons of ammunition. 

Go on, Steven Tyler. Push her. You're RIGHT there.

While I’ve got you here, “Like” my Facebook page if you haven’t already….by clicking the handy dandy link in the upper right hand corner of this page.

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I’ve spent an awful lot of time thinking this weekend.  Sunday morning, after Little B had a meltdown at church, and we had to leave, the first episode of self-pity struck.  This fell on the heels of  being told during a completely unrelated argument with a close friend that I prefer to have people wallow with me, instead of offering encouragement, and it hit me hard, right in the gut. 

Before Little B was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, and even just after, I spent hours on the internet looking for answers.  Everything I read was either very clinical, or very flowery.  The sites that listed symptoms all listed the same things, over and over, and it was very difficult to paint a picture of an actual child from those lists.  The sites that were dedicated to “awareness” or whatever had smiley happy photos of parents and kids.  It was very confusing to me.  I was lost.  I was alone.  I couldn’t understand how that laundry list of symptoms affected an actual child.  How often did it affect them?  Was it constant?  How did the parents know anything was wrong?  Where did they go for answers?  How did they get people to understand?

There’s a lot that I’ve learned since that time.  I’ve learned that there are plenty of people out there in the same boat I am.  And was.  There are people who are looking for answers about their children.  They are likely confused and feel isolated.  At the other end of the “spectrum”, there are people who feel confident that they know all there is to know about their child’s condition, how best to handle the outbursts, the meltdowns, and their own emotional reactions to them.  There are people who have come to terms with the idea that their child cannot be “fixed”, because he or she isn’t broken.  They accept that.  They are strong and determined to make their child’s life the best it can be.  They build on their strengths instead of lamenting about their weaknesses. 

But not all of us are there yet.  There’s a process to this thing, I’ve learned.  There’s confusion.  There’s pain.  There’s grief.  There’s acceptance.  There’s community.  There’s support.  There’s power in numbers. 

But there’s always fear.  There’s always uncertainty. 

I have not chosen to share this journey that my family is on with all of you because I am holding true to my tendency to “overshare”.  It’s true.  I tend to be a person that just straight up tells you what’s going on in my head.  It’s not always a pretty picture.  But it is my truth.  Sharing that with my friends and my family helps me work the kinks out.  To take my truth and meld it into what the reality is. 

No, I’ve consciously made a decision to share this journey with you because there are others like me out there.  They likely feel alone.  They likely feel like they are the only people on the planet who have challenges with their child who has this diagnosis.  They have days when they find it just too hard to accept things for what they are, and they wish for something else.  They find it very unfair that their child has to have such challenges in exchange for the benefits of their disorder, no matter how wonderful they are.   They feel guilty about these feelings.  They know that they have been given a gift.  But that doesn’t make them perfect.  But it does make them human.  Maybe reading what I’ve written in these words makes them feel better, if even for a moment. 

I’ve also consciously made the decision to share because it helps me sort things out in my head.  I told a close friend the other day that it’s so easy to forget how bad things can get.  Little B has been on medication for about 4 months now.  There are definite benefits to this.  But it’s easy to forget, when you go a whole week without a meltdown, how bad the meltdowns are.  It’s easy to think that all of a sudden he no longer has a problem with certain situations.  And then, out of nowhere, it hits.  And you think that it’s worse than it’s ever been.  But I have this blog that I can go back to any time in the past one and a half years, and see how far he’s come.  How far WE’VE come.  Together.  And it gives me a sense of hope.  And hope is everything.  Even Little B knows that. 

I can see now very clearly that one of the biggest keys to Little B’s success is whether I can control my emotional response to his meltdowns.  I know that, logically, in my head.  I have seen the power of my remaining calm, and giving him a barometer against which to measure his own emotions.  If chaos begets chaos, then there is no end to it.  But this is hard for me.  It’s very hard.  But I am trying.  And I am getting better at it.  And so is he. 

I am blessed beyond belief.  And there are days that I recognize that and am so grateful.  There are also bad days, when I have trouble seeing past the immediate emergency.  To express that weakness to you doesn’t make me a “wallower”.  It makes me human.  And I hope that it makes you feel more human too. 

I hold no ill will toward the person who said that to me.  We have a strong history, she and I.  We’ve been friends for over 20 years.  She simply can’t understand what it’s like to walk in my shoes.  What it’s like to live this journey every day.  And because I love her, I am thankful that she doesn’t have to.  


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The Elf on the Shelf

Sorry for the hiatus, Dear Readers.  I’ve been busy.  And pretty crazy.  Like crazy crazy.  The kind of crazy that no one should really be exposed to at length.  It might be catching.  

Anywhatevertheheck.  Moving on. 

You know this “Elf on the Shelf” thing?  Have you heard of it?  Do you know the story?  Let me ‘splain it to you.  That’s what I’m here for. There’s this Elf, see?  And you bring it home and you put it in a prominent location in your home, like, say, oh I don’t  know, a shelf, and you sit your children down and you tell them that Santa sent this Elf to help him out by keeping an eye on them by day, and then flying up to the North Pole to report back to Santa every night about whether or not they were “naughty” or “nice”.  Cute, right?  Don’t worry, dear reader, this is not the part where I admonish you for lying to your poor, naive children.  Quite the contrary.  I believe that lying, when done for the right reasons, and done with style, is a  parenting tool that is WIDELY underutilized and often misunderstood.  I am a proponent of this. But that’s not what this post is about.  It’s about the damn Elf.  So let’s get back to that.

I have noticed a couple of my Facebook friends’ status updates about the Elf on the Shelf…and bragging about how stealthy they’ve been, and chuckling about how they were almost caught when moving the Elf, and so forth and so on, and it struck me:  I do not have a typical family.  I know I’ve had this realization before, but it really never ceases to amaze me how ATYPICAL my family is. 

Much like you probably have a very difficult time imagining what my life must be like, I am increasingly finding it more and more difficult to imagine what YOUR lives must be like.  I mean, I can’t even imagine what I would do with myself if my kids were so calm and obedient that I could purchase a toy-like object, tell my children a fantastic, magical story about it, and then put it on a shelf and leave the room, where it would remain untouched.  I mean, really?  How does THAT work?  I suppose you people can do things like go ahead and start wrapping your gifts and putting them under your tree, and you can keep a couple of spare rolls of toilet paper in your bathrooms? (Ha! I bet you’ve been taking that one for granted.)   

They should invent another product for families like mine.  It’d be called:

This Elf comes along with a magical story, which even my children love, but not with the expectations that the children will leave it alone. In other words, it’s not a pretty little package of disappointment–a constant reminder throughout the month of December at how terrible your children behave. Why can’t the Elf watch the children for Santa while being thrown into a moving ceiling fan and smashed against the wall?  Or stuffed in a baby-doll sized back pack and shoved in the bottom of the toy box?  Or left in the yard overnight?  Or in the ice bin in the refrigerator?  (Yeah, don’t ask.) 

The answer is this:  He can.  As long as we are ALL lying to our kids, I can just make up my own story and make up my own rules, which I do all the time anyway.   For that matter, I can just appoint our tiny puppy, Zero as Santa’s secret spy.  Guess how much that little lie will cost me?  Zero dollars.   Plus, it will freak my other dog out, big time.


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I am the Pinnacle of Parenthood

Most people want you think that your life should be like a regular episode of Cosby.  Problems arise and are attended to with humor and tact, and are resolved within a thirty minute episode. 

Awww. I heart Rudy.

In his Heyday, Bill Cosby embodied what people considered to be the perfect parent.  Now that he’s out of the way, I feel like I am ready to take up the space he left. 

This morning, for example, I awoke to an unexpected thunderstorm.  This means that my morning just go complicated.  I mean, MORE complicated.  Since I don’t keep slicker suits and cutesy umbrellas with matching rain boots for each of my kids, I can’t simply send them out to the bus stop looking like the Morton Salt girl to wait for his or her bus.  It means that I have to personally transport each one of them to school. 

This sort of propaganda makes all parents feel inadequate and like there is something SEVERELY wrong with their children. Because in real life, the kids would be walking through mud and puddles and getting all their books and such wet and loving every minute of it, and arriving at school looking like they'd been playing in a pig pen all morning. Stupid Norman Rockwell inspired art.

Prior to my consciousness about the rain and the hellish morning that awaited me, the wiley rain managed to soothe me back to sleep each of the 3 times that my alarm went off and I hit “snooze”.  So, Big E was late.  Luckily, so was over half of the student population, so he was saved from potential detention.  (Not unlike like last week, on his birthday, when he was about 10 minutes late, but when we drove up, all of the kids were outside for what appeared to be a fire drill.  “Hey, it’s YOUR day, baby!” I chimed as he got out of the car.)  After dropping him off this morning, I raced back home in the pouring rain to hurriedly get ready so that I could leave with the other three kids and get Teen C to school by her 8:00 a.m. bell.  We made it BYTHISMUCH.  I found myself in the little kids’ car line, instead of with my hair fixed and makeup on, with my hair barely blown dry and with my makeup in the trunk of my car along with my lunch and my shoes.  Also, I was the mediator in the most ridiculous argument between Little A and Little B, whereby A was trying to tell me that she LOVED the snack I put in her bag, chocolate muffins, like 100%.  B was steadfast in his position that 100% was not being used correctly in a sentence.  A was countering with the argument that she was trying to convey her feeling that she enjoyed the chocolate muffin very very much.  B explained that she should simply say that as opposed to assigning a percentage of ‘like’ to it when she’s not comparing it to anything.  I was involved only as a verifier of facts.  And to make a complete ass out of myself.  You tell me:

A:  “MOM!  I love love love these chocolate muffins!  Because they are MUFFINS, that are CHOCOLATE!  I love you so much, you’re the greatest mom EVER!  I love them a whole lot!  Like 100 %!”

B:  “Don’t say it like that.  100% doesn’t even exist the way you are saying it.”

A:  “Yes it does!  Because I’m saying that I love them a WHOLE LOT!”

B:   “Then you should just SAY that you love them a WHOLE LOT!  Right Mom?”

Z:  “Um.  Yes?”

A:  “NO!  Mom!  100% DOES EXIST!  Right?”

Z:  “Um.  Yes?”

B:  “No!  Mom!  You only say 100% when you are talking about other stuff, like numbers and stuff and when you are saying that one thing is better than something else, right?”

Z:  “Um.  I don’t know.  I really don’t even know what’s going on right now.”

A:  “No, B!  You can say 100% whenever you want to say 100%!”

B:  “Don’t say my name, A.”

A:  “But……….B.”

B:  “DON’T.  SAY.  MY.  NAME!”

A:   “But.  Uh.  B?”


Z:  “B.  Calm down.  It’s not that big of a…”

A:  “B.”


Z:  “B!”

A:  “B.”


This argument ended right at the car line stop where the teachers open the door, where I’m sure all 4 of them, along with the on-duty security officer, heard me yell as the door was being opened:   “A!  STOP SAYING B’S NAME!”

And that, Dear Readers, is why I consider myself to be the Pinnacle of Parenthood.  People will surely one day look to me for advice, as I am surely the utmost authority on the in’s and out’s…the do’s and don’ts, if you will, of being a mother. 

One day soon, I’ll have to tell you the story about how Little A’s new favorite word is “nuts” and how I thought it was sort of funny because I thought that she was referring to the nuts that squirrels like to gather but she used it in a way that made it sound like she was referring to testicles.  I actually smiled about it.  The very next day, she told me that she kicked a boy at the Y in the nuts, but he didn’t tell on her because they are best friends.  But I can’t really get into that right now, because I’m super busy being a bang-up parent at the moment, and developing my submission for the “Best Parent” contest. 

I have SO got this...


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No Respect

I never really liked Rodney Dangerfield’s sense of humor.  He wasn’t funny to me.  But the more I think about my life as a mom lately, the more I can relate to his “No Respect” tagline.  And maybe now I get why he wasn’t funny.  He was depressed because he didn’t get any respect.  And that’s  hardly funny.  Well, okay, maybe it is. 

Little B had a doctor’s appointment yesterday with his psychologist.  We talked for a long time about how well Little B is doing at school.  When asked how he was doing at home, Little B excitedly answered, “Great!”  “Yes,” I agreed, “you have been doing pretty great…but do you want to tell the doctor what you are having a hard time NOT doing?  Like about staying in the back yard and not climbing fences?”  “No.  I don’t want to talk about that.”  “Do you want me to tell the doctor for you?”  “No.”  The doctor happily changed the subject to talk about how Little B thought that I would feel if Little A climbed a fence and ‘disappeared’ for a while.  “She would be worried, and mad, and sad.”  “I think you’re right.  Because she loves and cares about her, right?”  “Yes.”  “Well, do you think your mom loves and cares about you?”  “Yes.”  “Well, do you think that she might worry about what could happen to you if you climbed the fence and she couldn’t find you?”  “No.  Just like she wouldn’t care if my big brother did it.  Because we are boys, and we need to climb stuff.”  Little B went on and on about what all boys could do, and how his big brother could do all of those things.  Except he didn’t know how to cook.  The doctor tried desperately to get Little B back on track, and said, “Well, maybe your mom should teach your big brother how to cook…but let’s…”  Little B cut right in and said, “No, I think my dad should teach him.  My mom doesn’t really cook.  She just burns stuff sometimes.” 

Awkward moment of silence.

Thanks for throwing me under the bus there, buddy.

I picked up Tween C yesterday after work, and she excitedly told me about a birthday party she got invited to.  We had the standard when/where conversation, and she read over the invitation.  “Hey, what does RSVP mean, anyway?”  “It means that they want you to call and confirm if you are coming, so that they can plan ahead.  “Oh, okay.  I’ll call her later and tell her I’m coming.”  “No, I’ll call her mom and tell her you can come, give me the invitation.”  “Um.  No.  I’ll call.  You’ll forget, and then they won’t know I’m coming.”  “I will not!  Put it in my purse!”  “Mom.  Seriously?  You will totally forget.”  I just looked at her.  “Okay, fine.  You can call.  But I’ll hold on to this, and tomorrow when it’s time for you to call, I’ll bring you the invitation and watch you call her.” 

Seriously?  Well, okay, yeah, you’re probably right anyway.

Tomorrow is Big E’s 17th birthday.  He celebrated the last morning as a 16 year old by missing the bus.  While driving him to school this morning, I said, “Awww…it’s your last day to be 16…” and reached over to touch his head.  He “snapped” and grabbed my hand just before it reached his head, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “What are you doing? Don’t touch me.”  “I was just going to rub your 16 year old head…but whatever.”  “There’s no reason for you to touch me.  Like, really.”

Way to spoil a tender mother/son moment, E.  And also, paranoid much? Are the voices in your head warning you that I’m out to get you or something?

Luckily, I am aware of my self-worth as a mother because I read stories about people who truly truly suck at parenthood.  I am going to start telling these stories to my kids.  As a matter of fact, I am going to rent “Mommy Dearest” this weekend and make every last one of them sit down and watch it with me.   That’ll earn me some respect, right?  RIGHT?!

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Crazy Person Update

Yeah.  I’m still crazy. 


It’s possible that I’m even crazier.  Maybe. 

I don’t know why I let all this stuff get to me.  It’s not like it’s not the constant ingredients of my life, just mixed up in different doses depending on the current circumstances.  Right now, Little B is the sugar [FIRST REPORT CARD:  ALL A’S.  YAYYYY!];  Big E is the horseradish [Seriously, kid?  Seriously?], Little A is the spice [I like bumper cars!]; and Teen C is the binding agent that keeps it all together.  I’m no cook, but I’m assuming that makes her an egg or something.  She should take that as a compliment, but if she read this, she’d say that I’m mean.  Let me explain:

Teen C’s working on a paper for school, an autobiography about her long 13 year old life.  Chapter One was her family history, which was sort of a bust.  I told her all the stories about my grandparents that I knew, and then I told her to email Zohrmom for more stories.  Of course, she waited until the last minute and Zohrmom’s initial response was “All the stories I know are not appropriate for Junior High School.”  Teen C put this as a direct quote in her paper.  So now, her teacher probably thinks that my entire family is made up of prostitutes, drug dealers and heathens.  Of course, my mother thought of some stuff she could have used a day or two later, but by that time, the visual had already been drawn for the teacher, the damage had been done.  I doubt whatever story my mother remembered could’ve helped that.  The next chapter which she is now working on is about her birth and her life as an infant.  She’s got a list of specific (and by specific I mean SPE-CIFIC) questions.  Last night, she started asking them of me.

“What did you do to prepare for my birth?”

“Um.  I had a baby shower, I think.  No, wait, I didn’t have a shower.  But I set your room up and stuff.”


“What?  What do you want me to say?”

“I meant EMOTIONALLY.  How did you prepare for the birth of your first daughter EMOTIONALLY?”

“Most pregnant women are emotional, C, so I’m sure I was too.”

“Omigod.  Okay.  Whatever.  What would my name have been had I been a boy?”

“Um.  I don’t know.  I’ll have to look in your baby book.  Go to the next question.”

“Okay.  How did you announce my birth?”

“Well, a birth announcement ran in the paper.”

“Really?  You ran an article in the paper about me?!” 

“Yeah.  Totally.”  (I neglected to mention that this sort of just happens somehow, and that I didn’t really have to do anything.)

“Wow.  Okay.  Next:  What was my first word?”

“Um.  I’ll have to look in your baby book.  Next?”

“Mom!  You don’t know what my first word was?!”

“C.  It’s been 13 years.  I’m sure it’s in your baby book!”

“Do you even know where my baby book IS?!”

”     . . .     ”


So, I was told that I’m a terrible mother and that I should feel really really bad about that.  I did, too, for a second. 

I hope I can find that damn baby book. 

A wise woman once said that you know you have a lot of kids when you stop writing every detail of every thing in every blank in their baby books.  My response was that you know you have a lot of kids when the last two don’t even HAVE baby books.  I know, I should be ashamed.  But life has been too hectic for such frivolities.  I think self-degrading blog posts about their childhood is the gift that keeps on giving.  It’s a living, breathing memoir.  And also it  doubles as free therapy for crazy mamas like me. 

"Who Let Mom Have Caffeine?"

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Crazy Person Alert

Lately, I feel like a crazy person.  My kids are all over the place and I spend half of my time trying desperately to calm myself down so I can squelch the urge to choke them.  I know that you know that I tend to exaggerate things, but I’m totally serious about this.  They are MAKING ME NUTS.

Okay. No. Really? When I googled "Kids are making me nuts" this is the picture I got. Google: Fail. This is not nuts. This is a small headache. Acid indigestion, maybe. But not "NUTS".

 Big E “ran away to home” this past weekend.  He abruptly left  Ya Ya’s house in anger on foot, sans shoes…with no cell phone or wallet, and when an hour or so passed and he didn’t return, we began searching for him. 

After nearly 5 hours of desperate searching and turning up nothing, we drove home, slowly, looking both ways and trying to see if maybe he was walking toward home.  We had to drive through some pretty scary neighborhoods.  I held in my tears because I knew that it would upset Teen C, who was already very upset and worried.  We saw nothing.  I put the kids to bed, and Zohrhubby went back out to drive another route.  And at 11 p.m., he walked in my back door. 

From the route I can only surmise that he took, I think he walked about 15 miles.  He had huge holes in his tar-black socks and he was exhausted.  So was I, along with everyone who loves and cares about our family.  I was overwhelmed with emotions.  Anger, fear, frustration, sadness and physical PAIN.  I wanted to impart a little bit of that last emotion to him, but I figured walking all that way in his socked feet through cracktown in the middle of the night was punishment enough.  I let it alone, and alerted the authorities of his return.  We went to bed, but sleep wouldn’t come for a long time.  I’ve had a little trouble sleeping ever since. 

You guys know about Big E.  I’ve written enough in these virtual pages for you to get the jist.  He’s a less-than-enthusiastic-participant in life in general.  This was obviously a cry for help.  But what sort of help, exactly, do you think he’s crying out for?  Because I haven’t a clue.  When I try to talk to him about it, he shuts down again.  

Dumb, stupid, ridiculous.  Parenthood is just dumb. 

Just when you think you’ve sort of maybe got things figured out (and let’s be clear here, Zohrstruly has NEVER claimed to have any such thing “figured out”) everything goes all berzerko on you and you end up sitting on your butt in the back yard looking up at the night sky and asking, “What the HELL was THAT ABOUT?” and waiting endlessly for an answer that never comes.

On top of all of that complete and total dysfunction, Little B’s new medication is starting to “wear off”.  If I had any doubts about the medicine working, I don’t have them anymore.  School is once again a mini-nightmare every day, and every evening and morning is filled with fights, screaming, crying, stomping, and utter defiance.  But I’m trying not to be so temperamental.  Just kidding.  The kids’ craziness is amplified by the distance around the sun since the meds have stopped working.  Luckily, we have an appointment tomorrow to talk to the doctor about increasing the dosage. 

Maybe I could get the doctor to write me a script for Sanity while I’m there.  I wonder what my copay is for that Tier of medication?  Probably something like my first born.  Eh.  Okay.

I’m trying to maintain some level of a sense of humor about my life.  So far, so good.  

Now we're talkin'. Nuts.

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