Monday, February 18, 2008

Coming Clean

Saturday night, as Mandy was bathing both the two little ones - and I was in my normal habitat, that being my "base" -parked in front of the computer, surfing or playing my favorite game, Zuma, my space was rudely interrupted by Mandy, calling for me to hurry and come into the bathroom. Ok, I'm figuring she needed a hand with one of the kids or something, so I slowly rise and move the distance back to the bathroom to see what she needs.

As it turned out, she just wanted me to come and see what the grandson was doing in the tub. (No, he wasn't making any strange deposits there, thankfully!) Seems he was so thoroughly caught up in the fun of bathtime, he was dipping his face into the water and as a result, he had bubbles, hanging all over his face - forehead, nose, chin, cheeks -even his little mouth! Now, had I known it was a moment in time like that which she wanted me to see, I would have reached up, grabbed the camera and gone in there all aimed, ready to snap some great "action" photos. However, that wasn't the case as I had to turn around, go back to the living room, get the camera and then try to get Kurtis to cooperate as I tried to focus and get a couple pictures that could have been really cute (I think so anyway) had I been faster on the draw and better prepared.

But anyway, here's what I came away with:
By the time I got any pictures snapped, this was all of the bubble boy look that was left.
Here he is, squirming all over the place, as Mandy tries to dry him off and get him dressed.

Here's Maya, watching in amazement -or is it more like a state of shock - as Mandy tried to keep Kurtis from falling off her lap and getting him dry and ready for bed.
Here, he'd finally calmed down a little bit anyway and Mandy was actually able to make some headway with the whole process.

I was going to write a post and use these photos last night but then decided I'd leave that for a post for today - today, meaning Sunday. But then Sunday just didn't afford me any computer time to do a post and put these photos up, so here it is now, 4:24 a.m. on a Monday morning and I am just now getting around to writing a post - and using those photos.

I thought using those pictures of the two kids, all squeaky clean ya know, would make for a perfect backdrop for my post today.

Earlier this morning, as I was doing my blog reading (between midnight and 3 a.m. today) I came across something on one of my favorite blogs - something that was really nice to read, very complimentary to me, not just by the blogger but also by one of her regular readers and commenters to her blog but made me realize I definitely need to clear the air here!

The blogger was Molly Gras and the really nice compliments from Dave in the comments section opened my eyes really in disbelief. (By the way, Dave's blog -Rather Than Working also happens to be yet another of my favorite blogs to read -if you have never read Molly or Dave's blogs, go check them out some time for some really interesting, often humorous, takes on their lives.)

Molly apparently is laboring under the delusion that I am several things that I most definitely am not! Organized being one of them. And her calling me the "Keystone of sanity and support" for my family -well, I appreciate someone thinking that but then, if my kids happen to read her post, it would probably be weeks before they would stop laughing about me being described in those words.

Back in the days when I was still working, I was usually pretty organized - at work, anyway. At home though, that's always been a talent that totally escapes my abilities. I have never been anywhere near to being what one would call a "model housekeeper" - one never knows where things in this house might happen to be found on any given day. Take yesterday just for one fine example. I'm addicted to the Sunday crossword puzzle in the CDT - just have to be able to sit down at the table, a fresh hot cup of coffee, preferably a donut or maybe two, followed of course by a good healthy (cough, cough) dose of my cigarettes, as I sit there and struggle most Sundays to get even a few words filled in here and there. And yesterday, when I got bogged down, couldn't think of some answers, I decided it was time to haul out the big guns, my two Crossword puzzle dictionaries and the Thesaurus/Dictionary for some help. Only problem with that idea was I needed help in locating those books! Where in blazes were they anyway? I went through the bookcase, not once, but several times. Checked the shelf in the dining room thinking maybe I had stuffed them up there with my cookbooks (two shelves worth of cookbooks ya know) sometime when I was in a hurry to get them put up and out of harms way of two pair of little grubby hands that often prefer to rip and tear pages in books and magazines, as opposed to politely turning the pages. Nope! My special dictionaries weren't there either. I looked on my desk, in the storage area of the desk, the shelves along the side, the cabinet beside the desk and even in the china cupboard and small buffet in the dining room and came up empty-handed every where I searched. Where in blazes could they possibly be? I inquired of Mandy first - who was playing "Sgt. Schultz" with her "I know nawthing" routine and then, I asked the 16-year-old if she'd perchance seen them recently. She has a penchant at times for taking things and putting them in her room or carting stuff to school too and those items rarely ever resurface then either. She looked around a bit and then, after a little while, she called to me that she had found them. Where were they, I inquired and she said she'd found them in the cellar way! Now, who in bloody, blue blazes thought that would be an appropriate place to put these three books is absolutely beyond me - I know one thing for sure, I NEVER put them THERE! I'm kind of betting it was probably the son-in-law who crammed them there because he would never think to put them in the bookcase which is where they actually belong and where, most of the time, I keep them there too. He's not exactly on the friendliest of terms with any books unless they involve cars!

For about two years, a couple of years back, I used to write small articles mainly about local history type things for a very small, local monthly newsletter publication here. I used to joke too that the editor/publisher and I got along together very well because we were both very disorganized and also, we both practice procrastination -heavily! We were pretty much "neck and neck" on the disorganization thing and she had me maybe by a nose on the procrastination.

The other thing Molly mentioned - "keystone of sanity and support" - well anyone here who knows me well - my kids especially, but also my friends and neighbors -will probably line up to tell you stories about me and my not being totally sane, not by a long shot! One year, I was so jammed up with working two jobs, getting slammed too with extra hours at the one place so that I was working 80-90 hours a week for close to two months after Christmas that year that I hadn't gotten the time to take the Christmas tree down by the end of February. I left it sit a while longer (it's artificial so no danger there of it creating a big mess with pine needles or anything like that.) Finally, by the time Easter rolled around and the tree was still standing, all trimmed, my older daughter offered Mandy $20 if she would de-frock the tree and take it down. Mandy refused her generous offer and I decided if she wasn't interested in taking it down for money, I sure as hell wasn't going to be doing it then for free. I left the tree up that entire year and come Christmas, told everyone about how much time and stress I'd saved myself too by doing that! Along about July or August of that year, older daughter and my grandson Alex - who was about 3, maybe 4 years old then, were here one Sunday and Alex had very politely whispered a question to his mother about why did Grammy still have a Christmas tree up and decorated and Carrie told him "Just don't ask, Alex, don't ask. Somethings are best not to question here." And he accepted that it was just one of Grammy J's weird little ways.

I'm also the person who ran a 1979 Chevette for 117,000 miles before getting the oil changed on it. I thought my brother-in-law, who is also a very good mechanic by trade, was going to smack me when he found out the car had run that long without an oil change. But really, I had explained to him, I have the oil checked every time I get gas and it uses maybe a quart of oil every 1,000 to 1,500 miles so isn't that then in essence changing the oil every 3,000 to 4,500 miles? Well, that logic worked for me and apparently it worked out ok for that car too as it had around 142,000 miles, give or take, when I sold it to some guy who ran it for a work car, then passed it on to his son for a school car and all he ever did to it was put in a new battery!

Now Dave labors under the impression too that I am "bubbly" -they both also seem to think I have lots of energy. Nope, not me, not the last time I checked anyway! Ok, that might have been me 25 years ago, even 10-15 years ago but certainly isn't me today! Since having had three major surgeries in the past 4 plus years, along with I think 5, maybe 6 colonoscopy procedures (which by the way the prep for those puppies is much, much worse than the procedure!), and having had two herniated discs, along with an overabundance of arthritis in my ankles and knees, radiation residue in my lower back too, I move anything but quickly these days! I hibernate most of the time too in my house - even in the summertime. A little exercise, I know, wouldn't be a bad idea to perhaps help shave a pound or two off my frame but my back and legs cringe at the thought of walking that much! I'm going to try to get out and walk more this spring, summer and fall though. That's what I'm telling myself now but wait till next November or December and ask me how well that game plan went too, will ya?

And, I'm going to go out on a limb here this morning and confess to something else too. This is something that might aggravate some folks perhaps - those who also have children or family members who are autistic. I'm going to be gut level honest here and tell you that although I love, cherish and adore both my two little grandchildren (Maya and Kurtis) and I accept Maya's diagnosis of autism and the possibility that Kurtis may too be diagnosed as autistic as well, that doesn't mean I don't wish they didn't have it or that they weren't that way!

Lately, several bloggers I read who have children who are autistic have posted that it is wrong to wish for things like that and in doing so, they seem to think it diminishes the autistic person, takes away from the love of them for who they are and in that respect, I beg to disagree.

Can anyone tell me -honestly speak out -if you have a child who is autistic - or a grandchild or niece, nephew, cousin, whatever - and say that you wouldn't rather they didn't have to cope with the issues autism can bring? Don't we all wish for the very best possible for our family? That doesn't mean children or adults who are autistic aren't fantastic individuals -people we love and hold very close to our hearts. That doesn't mean that we would trade them in ya know, like a used car for a better model. But does it mean we have to take the facts of autism and just accept that it is probably going to make for a much more difficult road for the child who has that to hoe, than for children who are "normal" -as if we really all can agree too as to what normal means? I love Maya, with every fiber of my being and will do anything I can to help her learn, to function better now, and in the future, yes indeed - and the same applies to her brother just as it does for my older grandson, Alex, who has none of these issues to deal with.

But I worry about how other children will perceive Maya once she leaves the more insulated area of the preschool program she attends now and starts attending public schools. Perhaps by then, she will have learned enough about how to socialize with other children better and she won't be dealt the hand of having other children ostracize her, pick on her for her quirky ways or some such. Children -and adults as well - can be very cruel about dealing with others who don't operate exactly the way they expect or want them to do ya know and I would hate to see Maya crushed in any way like that. Certainly, I would much rather she not have to deal with that aspect of life. Who in their right mind would? But because I wish she would never have to encounter that type of issue - because of her autism - does that mean I don't love and accept her fully?

Perhaps I am wrong to feel this way but I don't honestly believe anyone who says they wouldn't change their child -to be free of the autism or special needs a child may have -is being fully honest then either. The same person would still be there in the body - just better able to work through the growing up process and be able to function better, easier too perhaps, then as an adult.

Feel free to disagree but show me in no uncertain terms that you wouldn't change certain behaviors if you could, that you wouldn't be relieved not just for yourself but for the autistic child (or adult) if the meltdowns didn't occur, if head-banging was no longer a concern or communication was better, speech came along in the more normal time frame, potty training wasn't an issue in a child who is 6, 10 or even a teenager? Those are just a few, barely scratching the surface, of things that can and often do affect someone who is autistic. They also affect people with many other special needs too, but that still doesn't make them undeserving of being loved and accepted but it also still doesn't mean if someone wishes their loved one could NOT have to contend with those things, in addition to life in general, that it is wrong to wish things were different.

Time to "come clean" is my theory on that.

It's no different than wishing for a better paying job, a better home, nicer, easier way of life or even getting a winning lottery ticket, is it?


Skittles said...

The best snapshots are those we hold in our memory. :)

Dianne said...

I love what skittles said!

and I have always thought of you as "supportive" - can't comment on the "sanity" part - I don't relate to sanity.

Sandi McBride said...

My cousin was autistic and often mumbled to herself. If you asked her who she was talking to she always replied "I'm talking to someone with sense". That has stuck with me for years. I've tried and tried to think of anyone perfect enough to "wish things different" far, no go
I love the pictures...Bubble Boy is fantastic!

Dave said...

Your post proves my point.

RuneE said...

Bathing small children teaches you at least one thing - water is wet!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. Wishing things were different, easier or better for a child does not diminish the love you have for them. I have a son with minor issues, in comparison to what many deal with. But his issues have caused him more stress than any child should have to deal with in school, lack of self esteem, lack of confidence. He is a fantastic kid and he will do fine in life once he figures out his niche, but in the meantime, it's hard to watch him struggle and it's impossible to wish sometimes that the problems didn't exist. It's because of that extreme love that you wish for better for your children.

Travis said...

Nobody wants bad things to happen to family, especially children. Accepting a diagnosis doesn't mean you didn't wish it had never happened.

I don't think there is anything wrong with your feelings. You want them to be healthy and happy, and you want to protect them from bad things. That's what parents and grandparents do.


SnoopMurph said...

I loved your post and it is very honest and from the heart. I can only speak for myself and yes, if I could subtract autism from my son's life, there is no question that I would. Acceptance can be a difficult thing for ourselves and others around us. Sometimes I can accept the autism, but I will wonder and wonder how it came to us overnight and one day, I hope there will be an answer.

That all being said, I love my boy to the moon and back a million times and if nothing else, he is teaching us to be gracious about the littlest parts of life that we overlook and take for granted.

Already, another four-year-old commented to his mom about how Connor isn't a baby, but he doesn't talk and what's wrong that he doesn't talk. She told me up front and you can feel your heart snapping and you wonder how difficult the road is going to be for him and how much easier it would have been without autism-that is just human. A family member asked me tonight if my son was cured yet and probably soon, he'll be just fine. Sigh.

Thanks for posting and I hope it is read and appreciated.

Vic, the Cariboo Ponderer said...

Cute pics of the grandkids. I appreciate your comments on autism and differentness as we perceive it. Thanks

Misty Dawn said...

I too agree with and love what Skittles said!

You are fabulous, my friend - I hope you realize that!

molly gras said...

For several days now, I've not been able to construct a decent, clear-headed, finely articulated way of re-confirming the complimentary opinion I have of you ~ someone who can express as much love and affection--as you do--for your family as well as for SO MANY people you have never met deserves all the Golden Rule-inspired praise heaped upon you!

Continue to spread the love and all that good will, girl! :)