Saturday, April 30, 2011


Like any boy, my son like all things vehicular.  Trains, cars, airplanes, trolleys, bicycles, hell--he'd prolly like rollerskates if he saw some.

And like many boys with Autism, he's got a few "stims" (a repetitive movement hypothesized to stimulate one or more senses).  One stim he's had since I can remember is peripheral gazing.  Basically--he brings things up to the corner of his eye and watches them go by right in his periphery.    Usually, those things are vehicular.

And lately, he's added sound effects.

Because, like other kids on the Autism Spectrum, he loves him some you-tube videos of trains. And most of those videos have sound.  And that sound, besides the "clack clack" (which he also scripts) sounds like the title of this blog.  ZZZEEEEYYOOOOWWWMMMM!

So, whether he is playing with his train tracks in his room, a car out in here in the livingroom, a straw that has suddenly become a rocket at a restaurant, or his favorite 99 cent store train in the car, his gazing now has a soundtrack.  Sometimes, a very LOUD soundtrack.

Better, I guess, than scripting the sound of ice clinking in mommy's glass...

Friday, April 29, 2011


Yesterday, i had a big headed, stubbornly NOT wanting to be born little boy with a future full of possibilities.

Today, I've got a smaller-headed, but still stubborn boy with just as many possibilities--but now neither of us know what they are.

Yesterday i had a little munchkin who ate pumpkin soup, green beans, meat and a myriad of other foods.

Today i have a child who will eat 5 things, and a much easier and equally frustrating menu plan.

Yesterday I had quiet bonding mornings with baby to breast.

Today i still miss it.

Yesterday i had a little grub who labeled everything in sight, and never asked a question.

Today i've got a kid who actually asks me what i'm doing.  constantly.

Yesterday we had playdates and mommy & me and friends at the park

Today, we don't.

Yesterday, i would watch him spin and shake his head, and worry.

Today i watch him toe-walk and peripherally gaze, and i don't.

Yesterday i had Yo Gabba Gabba and Thomas

Today i have Thomas, and even more trains.

Yesterday he closed one circle.

Today he can close 5 or more.

Yesterday we had routines.

Today we have routines.

Yesterday i had doubts.

Today, i have doubts.

Yesterday i had meltdowns.

Today i have meltdowns.

Yesterday i had questions.

Today i have questions.

Yesterday, tomorrow made up most of my day.

Today, i put both yesterday and tomorrow aside.

Because, in the end, they don't matter.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


So, every male in this house has some sort of sensory "issue"--and yes that includes the dog. Thus, i spend my day tiptoe-ing around them, trying not to be too loud, or too chewy, too babbly or too....too. And before you say--oh you poor thing--that sentence just made it sound worse than it is. Most days I clomp around the house in loud clothing, babbling on about nonsense, munching on celery and banging on pots and pans in the kitchen. They usually don't have their issues all together, (and one of them i can actually REASON with) so I only have to tiptoe around one of them at a time. (as if i REALLY take into consideration what the dog feels. HAH!) But sometimes--oh SOMETIMES--I end up with a trifecta of sensory overload, where anyone without ovaries in the house is having a BAD FUCKING DAY, and they are letting me know about it.

THIS (and the state of Democratic politics, Somali pirates, the crisis of potable water and the fact that I am 40 years old and STILL don't know what i want to be when i grow up) is why the doctor looked over her glasses at me, and told me in her Filipino accent that I have an anxiety disorder. 

yay. for. ME.

But you know what else gives me anxiety? taking pills. You ever see that scene in "As Good As It Gets" when Jack Nicholson is talking about taking pills? that's me--without the compliment to Helen Hunt and her fussy little look. I have TRIED to take pills regularly throughout my life. Let's just say it's a wonder I didn't get pregnant in college, that Ben exited my womb with an intact spine and that my bones are still in working order. I TRY. I get the friggin pill containers. I fill them up. I look at them daily, and I just forget to take my pills.

G-d help me when I am an old woman (keep yer cracks to yerself) and I have to take pills daily in order to keep myself from dying.

Look, as much as routine is important to my kid--that's how much it ISN'T important to me. It chafes. I can't do it. Yes, I know, my world would be much nicer if I could just swallow that damn B-vitamin horse pill every day and watch my pee turn bright yellow, but I have some sort of internal demon that just won't let me do it.

So when the doctor "suggested" I take some sort of pill to deal with my anxiety--after acknowledging that i have a VERY full plate (seriously--the dog can't even sit his butt down on anything that isn't carpeted), i looked at her like she was suggesting an exorcism. Me. take a pill. yeah.

But it turns out she isn't quite the quack I've made her out to be in my head. She gave me a lovely prescription for Xanax, to "take as needed"


Someone out there understands that I live life as it comes to me. Some days only need a moment in the sunshine to recharge. Others need a fifth of SOMETHING and my little pill bottle. (not that i actually condone the mixing of alcohol and anxiety pills, or anything else that might lead to me having to take more pills after my liver kicks it.) So now I can deal with it as I come to it, and not have to dive deeper into my own "issues" to take some stupid pill daily.

Now if something could just help me deal with the strange anxiety i feel when the carpet in the main room gets flipped back or "scrunched", I'd be just about perfect. After a cocktail, of course.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


So the wind picked up this morning.  I'm talking the kind of wind that makes the palm trees in front of our house look like they are gonna SNAP!  The kind of wind that redirects the air traffic to Burbank Airport directly over the house, looking like they are gonna slam into the NBC universal building.  The kind of wind that makes my kid a little...nutty.

All i can figure is that the noise, the feeling of the wind, the visual (we have a lot of trees around our place) must be a lot for him to take in.  On these days he gets super stimmy, toe walking, scripting, and the head shaking.  He doesn't shake his head much (he used to do it a lot) but I've noticed when he's on sensory overload--or visually overloaded, he shakes his head back and forth (as if to say no), but he seems happy doing it.  We called it "the beans" when he was little, so sometimes he'll add a squeaky voice saying "beans!"

I kinda understand it.  The wind has always invigorated me.  I love the feeling of being in strong winds, being whipped about.  One of the many Hebrew names for G-d--since we're not supposed to call him by name--is Elohim, which means "winds."  So maybe i am partial to the winds because they engage a certain spirituality within me.  Perhaps, my own version of "beans".

Or maybe i like a good excuse to mix up a batch of hurricanes.

For now, though, imma run around with my kid outside so we can both feel the wind on our faces.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It vexes me.  I'm deeply vexed.

Ben has this thing.  Usually when he's tired, hungry, anxious or breathing…he will ask for something, you give it and then he cries for it as if you are withholding it.

It's like a john crying through sex with a  hooker.  I don't get it. 

Just a few minutes ago he cried woefully to his father for "DVDEEEEEEEE!" to which my Old Man said--"we're already WATCHING dvds dude.  Look at the TV!"

Frankly, its making me a little batty.

I realize, it's prolly just some independence thing or what-have-you that he can't really explain at the moment, and in a few months we'll all be laughing about it--mostly because I refilled my xanax prescription.  But until then, I'm gonna lose it if I have to hear that whine again.

And on top of it, its making the dog howl.  When Benji starts his scream/tantrum/outburst/song and dance, Manny (our fierce 7lb chihuahua) will join in with his own whines and howls.  Of course, if ANYONE has the right to howl and whine in this house, it's Manny.  What with the being tempted with food, being yelled at by me, being chased/terrorized/strongly loved by the boy and being growled at by the Old Man every time Manny tries to eat whatever food he leaves on a plate on the couch without any claims of ownership (scent marking being frowned upon by she who cleans), and being taunted by a local squirrel that sits on the other side of the picture window and just twitches his tail, it’s a wonder he doesn't howl more often.

Now if you'll excuse me, the little man is in tears over a peanut butter sandwich sitting right in front of him.  And my glass is empty.

Monday, April 25, 2011


"Never make a defense or an apology until you are accused."
~ King Charles I

I feel like I've entered a new stage in accepting/understanding Ben's Autism. Or maybe it's just because I am 40 and am stubborn. But I am becoming more and more unapologetic about it.

Now--lemme 'splain a little. When I say I am unapologetic, this does NOT mean I don't apologize to people when Ben, oh, I don't know, hits their kid with a limp T-Rex silly slap or screams "Oh, the CARNAGE!!" directly into their ear at 80 decibels. And it does NOT mean that I haven't taught Ben to say "I'm sorry" to people when he is rude or hurts them in some way (even if it is a bit rote at this point, like me telling my bartender that I like my martini DRY). You catch more flies with honey, The Golden Rule, yada yada yada.

This is not the type of apology I mean. That’s just manners. I am referring to definition #2:

apology (n.) -- a defense, excuse, or justification in speech or writing, as for a cause or doctrine.

I became quite familiar with this version of apologetic in college--since I was studying religion, and it seemed I was reading one apologetic treatise after another. It took me a while to realize each religious expert was not saying "I'm sorry" (although I still think a few of them should), but was actually being their religion's cheerleader in saying "This is why we're AWESOME!"

It is the nature of humans to be defensively apologetic--to defend oneself or one's cause, even if you are not being attacked. It can be witnessing at its best and worst.

For example:

"We've found that removing dyes and preservatives from his diet have greatly improved his behavior. That doesn't work for everyone, but it sure seems to help Ben."


"What? You let them eat THAT? WE only use (insert product here) because it is the best and here are 5 articles to prove my point, and have I mentioned my child is more awesome than yours? Mostly because he's dye-free, and because I'm his mother instead of you, tramp."

I hope you know me by now kind reader, that I *try* my best to lean toward the first example. Alcohol permitting.

And as much as parenting tends to lend itself to a certain apologetic stance, parenting a child with Autism does also--maybe a little more-so.

When Ben was younger, and soon after his diagnosis, I found myself "explaining" him all the time. "Oh, that's just this thing he does." Or "Oh, he won't eat that because of this", or "Yeah, I don't know why he does that, really. But here's information I just gleaned from the five millionth book on Autism I've read."

And in doing so, I was just putting him deeper and deeper into that box checked "different."

And I refuse to do that anymore.

So, here it is. This is my kid. He does stuff. I think he's awesome. That's the most apologetic I'm gonna get.

And I'm sorry if his screaming hurts your ears. We're working on that. I find earplugs help.

Or a stiff drink.

Or both.

And he IS more awesome than your kid. And it's not because he's's because he has a mommy who loves him so unconditionally that she no longer feels any need to apologize.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Ben, luckily, likes touch.  He craves it.  Quite often he is pushing against us, cuddling, wanting to be squished or get a good back-scratch.  But mostly, he likes this(especially from his Savta):

(note the ham moment in the middle where he stops to say "cheese!" for the camera...

Friday, April 22, 2011


"I KNOW who MAKES it!" 

(one of his current scripts)

Ben is a scripter.  And in hindsight it makes sense.  I memorized TONS of words as a kid--Green Eggs and Ham, Jabberwocky,  song after song after song.  I have to say this is where Ben strays from exhibiting some of Daddy's little quirks to displaying some of mine.

in fact this little skill of mine--this memorizing--was a skill that convinced me maybe I should study medicine.  Lucky for you folks, I sucked at chemistry and anything involving math, so my…um…interesting bedside manner was not inflicted upon the general public.  Just my poor poor family.

[My idea of medical intervention:  What?  you're sick?  well that's just GREAT. *harumph* There's Advil in the bathroom.  Help yourself. and try not to puke on me.]

Ben will memorize the dialogue from any movie he likes to watch (repeatedly), and book that suits his fancy and a few songs--mostly from school as he cannot seem to tolerate anyone of US singing. (the Old Man and I CAN carry a tune--rather well, thank you.  Ben just isn't a fan)  So throughout my day, I'm always hearing snippets that may or may not make much sense:

"monkey tried to be a vegetable, but it was too corny"

"No!  No!  My son!  I've lost my son!"

"They make a great team."

"does he mope?  does he moan?  does he sulk? does he sigh?"

"Oh, the carnage!"

That last one is interesting.  One of the DVDs he LOVES to watch and requests daily is the DVD the Old Man put together of all his first year videos that we took.  Yes, daily I get to look at the two false alarm hospital trips, the sleepy-frowny face of one who hasn't slept in days, and the absolute GINORMITY of my cans during those breastfeeding days.  yay me.

There is one scene (I tried to upload it but it has been deemed IMPOSSIBLE by every electronic device int his house) where the Old Man has set up a series of stacked blocks so that Ben can crawl through and knock them down--an 8mo favorite activity.  he sets the camera at the floor level so that "benzilla" can destroy the city, all the while narrating "oh, the carnage!  The Humanity!"  (yeah, we're fans of the hindenburg film footage.  what of it?)

This is the one script that he uses appropriately.  When things fall, when cars crash, when dinosaurs attack, the cry of shock and awe can be heard throughout the house.

At least he didn't pick up me yelling at the dog:  "Manny!Quit humping the baby!"

And since I couldn't upload the ONE video I wanted to upload today, here's a random one when his head was huge and he was cuter than all get out:  

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I have stated before that I am a bit of a recluse.  Reticent.  Reserved--well, in public at least.  I'm not the most social of animals its true.  Some asshat once compared me to an anemone and only people  willing to risk my sting could get in.  Although, this was in a bar, and I think he was just telling me this to rub up against me.  And  it turned out this anemone had a hidden barracuda, and kicked that clownfish to the curb.

Its just that…well…I don't like people.  I find them annoying 90% of the time.  What with their jabbering on about nonsense like weather and traffic and the price of gas,  and  wanting to exchange small-talk, and half of them having no concept of personal space--physical or otherwise.  I don't like 'em.  Me and Jonathan Swift--we're like this *holds up crossed fingers*  Friggin Lilliputians.

So, you can imagine the whole "park scene" isn't really mine.   I once discussed that scene here.  And in some ways, Ben's Autism has served me in this.  He isn't social, so I don’t' really have to be.  Or when he is his version of social, the parents of his victims usually DON'T want to talk to me.  Nor I them, honestly.

But yesterday, at this torture chamber of sand and swingsets, I found a woman wanting DESPERATELY to make eye-contact with me.  She had a cute little munchkin, just getting the whole walking thing down, and she hovered over him like an LAPD helicopter over our house on a Friday night.  (hope my lack of sleep meant you caught your man, AirPigs™ ) Having served my sentence at the swings, I pushed Ben toward the climbing/sliding/bone breaker so that I could sit down  and exhibit this neighborhood's version of poor parenting. 

Anywhoosers, My kid was coming down  the slide while the previously mentioned larval form was standing at the bottom of said slide, so I granted her 2 seconds of eye contact to give her the silent nod/head's up you're kid's about to eat it signal so she could rescue him in time.  Which she did like any sober attentive parent.

And I went back to my taciturn indifference. (yeah--I've been watching Pride and Predjudice again.  sue me)  So, I can still feel her eyes boring into to me, with the crunchy/hippie smile plastered on her face as if she wants to share the joys of parenting such a beautiful, intelligent, all-natural child with me.  You may, kind reader, already guess my feelings on this possible scenario.

However, my kid, at this point did something kinda cool for him--he looked at the small grub, smiled and actually LEANED OVER to LOOK HIM IN THE EYE and said "baby". 


So I gave him some verbal praise for making "good eye contact!"  and clapped for him and did my little mom sideline cheer.  After which my kid took off to try to break his leg on another apparatus.

And the need for eye contact from this yoga-pants model stopped.  All non-verbal requests for communion had ceased.  She grabbed her child and headed in the opposite direction, keeping one eye on Ben, lest he turn into a 7-headed hydra and try to defeat her little hercules.

(sorry to tell you lady, your kid looks like he'll make a great red-shirt.  Just sayin')

She, no doubt having done all her research while her pupae was still in its cocoon, knew the secret code words I had just uttered, and realized at that point that my child was not. like. her. child.

Lucky for me (and for her consciousness and facial structure)  a friend of hers arrived within the next few minutes and they proceeded to have a FASCINATING and just loud enough conversation about how horrible a parent her sister is while their little arthropods proceeded to eat sand.  No doubt she had been bursting earlier to tell SOMEONE about how her sister lets her kids eat too much sugar, and *shudder* WATCH TELEVISION.  FOR 30 MINUTES.  EACH. NIGHT!  Gods preserve us, it's a wonder she didn't call CPS right then and there.

I should say, I hadn't strayed from my spot near this unfortunate and loud conversation until it looked like Ben was gonna attempt the climbing wall, and as I had no desire to visit the ER, I decided a ground rescue was in order.

And wouldn't you know it, that conversation, which had been at a decibel that even the parking lot could hear previously, was suddenly hushed, and upon curious glance to see if they had been set upon by zombies, i found both sets of eyes were upon me.  Now, no doubt they were discussing their latest bikini wax, or the fact that her husband made a sexual request she just wasn't comfortable with, and both had just HAPPENED to look up at my stellar gymnastics at removing my little lemur from an apparatus from which he did not know how to exit. 

Because she would be a giant douchebag if she took that moment to talk to her friend about my kid.

And while I am a self-proclaimed misanthrope, I don't ACTUALLY believe the worst of them.  I like to think that people will rise to their inner good naturally.

But perhaps you will not begrudge me my inner reluctance at befriending these asshats.  No, I prefer to be taciturn, and read great literature, and talk smack about people anonymously. 

If you need me, I'll be hanging out in my anemone...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quees quees?

This is how Ben says please.

he also says "quay" for play.  And don't get me wrong, he can say his "P" just fine, for things like pop, puppy, poop and pumpernickel.  Not that you would understand him if he said pumpernickel, but it definitely has a P sound.

But please has ever been with the "qu" sound.  And usually in twos.  "more milk quees quees?"  And actually, when i prompt him to say please, either with a look or the classic "say what?"  "what do you saaaay?", i get a  "quay more milk quees quees?"  I think it's because i started him on "please" by getting him to ask to play games or toys.

So for now, it's our cute little secret language, one of which he seems quite proud:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I know, i know.  He's 4.5.  It's time.

Like i haven't tried.

We've done the three day miracle, the every 15 minutes, the do a little dance, cloth pull-ups, being naked outside  (during summer of course), long pointless discussions that gain only blank gazes or crying and controlling all liquids to try and time this bitch.

Nothing.  Nada.  Bupkis.

Occasionally he'll freak me out and tell me he's wet (3x) or actually ask to go potty (2x) or, no, that's it.  He has sat on the potty and farted once or twice--which made for a good giggle, but no poopy.


Yes, I know.  he has AUtism.  It may take him longer.  I get that.  Doesn't mean i have to like it.

(at this point i will stop and say how absolutely BLESSED we have been that he shows no interest in his so that we haven't had to deal with any of the horror stories i've read from other moms, Autie and typical alike.  Thank you G-d .  THANK. YOU.)

And yes, i know, he get's tremendous support from his teachers at school, and is about to start ABA therapy, and i have hopes that we'll at least have the basics down by kindergarten.  But having gone through a couple trials of underwear-wearing, "see, that's what WET feels like", forgive me if it seems like it's never going to happen.

(and yes, i realize it WILL happen.)

Now all this comes to mind because we just got a new respite worker (YAY) who is also a mom of two boys with Autism.  (um--wow?  I can barely deal with my own kid)  Anyway, when we all first met, she was shocked--SHOCKED---that Ben was still in pull-ups.  Both of her boys, she proudly announced, were potty-trained by 4.  And then she proceeded to tell me what i have to do (as if i've been living in ignorant bliss--yeah lady.  like i'd never thought of or tried ANY of the things you mentioned)

(that being said, she is a great caregiver, playing with and challenging Ben in wonderful ways.  And i know when we attempt serious potty training again, she will be behind me 100%.)

I don't want to be that mom--the one obsessed with poopy and peepee.  But i am.  And i am excited more than you know that ABA will start soon.  If anything, maybe they will give me the 1 method i HAVEN'T tried.

Unless its' the "mommy will drink less if you make a peepee in the potty method."  I ain't flyin' with that nonsense.  I'll invest in Huggies stock instead...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Open and Shut

So, one of the little "quirks" that can be associated with Autism, OCD and/or SPD is the need for order. A place for everything and everthing in its place.  OR ELSE.

 In Ben's case, it is the need for all doors to be closed.  This includes all gates, doors, windows, flaps and porthole, hatch and any other door-like aperture.

Now, this can come in handy when you're dealing with muffin-headed mommy and her absent-minded distractions (aka, leaving cabinet doors open after she sees something shiny--or remembers the 547 things she has to do that day)  I can always trust that my little man, when he's making his "kitchen rounds" will close those doors for me.  Or notify me if one is open that is out of his reach.  Its his attempt to control his environment, and it makes things a tad tidier in the process (or at least hides it behind a closed door)

There's no chance the front door would be left open on accident, but it's also difficult to leave it open on purpose--perchance on a lovely spring day when the birds are chirping and the bees are buzzing and the beautiful southern CA sun is shining.  NO!  It. Must. Be. CLOSED.

(luckily, he will accept it open if we put up a kiddy gate across the entrance.)

And his little habit has come in handy during those times of the year when i am trying to economize the heating or cooling bill--mainly, shutting doors around the house so that our massive open floor plan living room is a livable temperature--and if not then we can retreat to one of those closed off rooms that has the perfect temperature.  (to whomever designed this house--the mid-century modern floor to ceiling picture windows are great for the view, but crappy on the power bill!)

There are times, though, when his quirk can get in the way.

  • trying to shut other people's car doors or trunks--and screaming when i pull him away
  • when i try to be polite and hold a door open for someone
  • going into businesses that leave the door propped open for whatever reason
  • exiting ANY ride at Disneyland
  • leaving a cabinet door open for cleaning purposes or to remove something from the back
  • walking away from my laptop and coming back to find it closed and asleep

I suppose this could manifest into something far more annoying, but for now it seems harmless.

And you know what they say, when one door opens, Ben will be right there to close it for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

No! No! NO!

This is Ben's new mantra. yay for me.

kids with Autism develop a little slower than others, so it turns out all the joyous things typical kids go through in their 2's & 3's are currently entering Ben's repertoire.  awesome.

A recent conversation:

mommy:  Do you want something to drink?
Ben: (screaming)  NOoooooooo!  Goodbye mama!  goodbye mama!
Mommy:   (grumbling) ok.  nothing to drink then.  (leaves the room)
Ben:  More milk?  Milk, mama?
Mommy:  (sigh) Ok.  Let's get some milk.  Grab a cup.
Ben:  NOOOOOOOO!  (crying and incoherent screaming)
Mommy:  WE can't drink the milk without a cup.
Mommy:  Ok then.  When you decide what you want, come and get me. (leaves the room)
Ben:  *sniffle* (rummages around in the "cup drawer", grabs a cup and the milk and walks out to the living room)  More milk, mama?

aaaaaaand Scene!

This conversation, happens more times a day than i can count--not all about milk, mind.  Just insert whatever it is he wants to do, and that's the Ben/Mommy interaction.   It's a good thing i know my lines.

NOOOOO!  am i allowed to scream too?

And before you offer unsolicited advice commiserate, let me tell you kind reader, that i have recognized that this is his "i wanna do it" phase, and i am very pleased we have hit it, because it means that he is continuing to grow and develop.  I just wish it came with some noise cancelling headphones and an extra liter of rum.

He has lately also taken to a little more violence--hitting and kicking and the occasional head-butt.  awesome. So, of course he's hearing NO!  from us a little more as well.

It made me think of the people to whom I'd like to scream no! :

  • Anyone who sends us an envelope with the words "total due"
  • the creepy bagger at Ralph's that just skeeves me out with his intense eye-contact
  • Badwig McMantits down the street who hollers at people to slow down, even if you're driving the speed limit
  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • the makers of Elephun and Play-doh  and any noisy fuckin' toy that doesn't have an off button!
  • Weight Watchers
  • Mommy & Me 
  • and lastly, the jackass who didn't know where they were driving this morning on Camarillo and was going 20 miles and hour with 5 people behind her and sporadic stopping.

You know, I would feel immensely better if i could just shout NO! at people.  No wonder Ben does it.

Friday, April 15, 2011


I had to wait a while to hear that one.  And i'm not alone in that.  Some of my peers still haven't heard it.

I waited to have a kid.  And it turned out that kid has Autism. And while he is talking now, it took time, and work, and chocolate to make it happen.

And its not to say i hear "mama"  all the time.  It's still more of a label than an address.  "that's mama's drink" or "mama's in the kitchen"  but occasionally i get "mama, i need help!" (his favorite phrase lately--and btw, he usually doesn't need help, he just wants someone to do something for him)

But if you had asked me 10 years ago, i would have told you that i never planned or wanted to hear it.  I was gonna be this snarky old lady with a bunch of dogs and a bad attitude yellin' at kids to get off my lawn.

But i wasn't married to that idea--just figured nothing else was really possible.

And now im in charge of an Old Man, a dog and a kid and a daily load of laundry.  And while i may bitch about it, it ain't so bad.  Especially when a certain little hand reaches for mine, or demands "family hugs!"  It's not such a bad label--mama.  At least until he learns to whine it.

and i've still got time to yell at kids, even if i don't have a lawn...

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I don't consider myself a comedian.  I was never the class clown.  In all honesty, i consider myself a fairly serious person. I mean, not Puritan, Cotton Mather kind-of serious, but i do find myself in moral contemplation from time to time.  And lots of the time i am angry too.  About the government and Autism and the prevelence of cabbage in my CSA haul.

But it turns out i make people laugh.  alot.  People actually want to hear the crazy shit rolling around in my head.  For some reason my wild ramblings end up being funny, even though i'm just ranting about one thing or another.  I mean, don't get me wrong, i'm not ready for stand-up or something, but I'm not sure i could write a purely serious piece.  Even in my teaching days, i was called upon by my prinicpal to represent the school at various meetings (as we were a "failing" school) to discuss the school's situation--with a little "levity".  That was MY job.

I suppose it's a good thing--levity does lighten the heart.  It can put people at ease and help them to accept their situation.  For an Autism mom, or just being politically liberal, i think it's a vital and daily necessity.  To know that it'll be ok.  Maybe not at this precise moment, but eventually he'll stop screaming at me and the world will go back to caring for one another.  maybe.

Until then...the man who makes me laugh MY ass off...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I started blogging about a year ago, and it was the best decision i ever made.  Not only do i get to release the demons in my head to spread their malice and mischief upon the world, but I've also met some really great people.

And since i just spent an hour in an intake meeting for an ABA clinic, I've got the creativity of a rutabaga right now.  so imma just give a shout out to some of the other Autie bloggers  i stalk follow and a reason or 5 why you should too.

Big Daddy at Big Daddy Autism
     the first "funny" autie blog i cam across,  and really my gateway drug to the snarky world of hilarious autism parents i now call friends.  Always good to hear a daddy's perspective, and his son, Griffin sounds like the second most awesome kid around--after Benji, of course.

     A funny lady who actually writes for other people and not just her blog.  I fell in love with her blog when she wrote a piece about the ugly trashy Xmas tree her town put up, and i knew she was one to follow.  That and she talks to me on Twitter.

Heather at The A Word
     An honest approach to autism parenting, and a sweet kid to boot.  There is no beating around the bush with this lady, and i love it!

Amanda at  Life is A Spectrum
   another of my "firsts" on the humor/autie blog trail.  She's got a great outlook on life and sounds like the nicest person you would ever meet.  And she laughs at herself, which is a certain ticket to sanity in my book

     I've just recently found SRMM, and love every word.  example, today's post is entitled Sometimes Autism Sucks Big Hairy Monkey Balls.  I mean, how do you NOT read that?  love love love!

And lastly, my long lost sister Jillsmo at Yeah.  Good Times.  This drunk stalker funny gal and threat to the local duck community seems to have the same internal dialogue as yours truly, except hers has a Grateful Dead soundtrack, and mine is more Dave Matthew's Band.  Still, we both cuss a lot and like booze, and often tell Autism to go to hell. And she lets people vent over on her page when they don't want their usual readers to know what they're really thinking.  We both represent the Westside i guess, and i think she'd have my back if i wanna start a gang war.

Now, there are no doubt others whom i have left off and who will no doubt feel hurt and dejected that i left them off the list.  Did i mention the hour of intake i just got back from?  These losers were lucky to get a mention before my brain exploded.  for everyone else, i point you to the side bar with the "autie blogs that i dig" on the left hand.  Yeah.  scroll down.  a little more.  just a skosh--THERE.  click on some of them too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


O! beware, my lord, of jealousy;
It is the green-eyed monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.
~William Shakespeare, Othello

Yeah, i'll admit it.  I'm jealous.

The grass is always greener, yada yada yada.  But sometimes, looking at other parents at the park or the mall, i get a little green-eyed.

I see parents ask their kids questions--kids ben's age or younger, and the child will answer them.  with a coherent answer.  Answers to questions like, what do you want to be for Halloween, or what kind of birthday party do you want?

or, what did you do at school today?

I'm jealous of parents who can reason with their kids, argue and use psychology.  What?  you don't like green beans?  i hear Brobie likes green beans?  I guess i'll have to tell him you don't...

I'm jealous of parents whose kids are in soccer, t-ball, basketball, karate and dance.  That it is a non-issue for them to enroll them wherever and generally watch them have a good time.

I'm jealous of parents who can actually make plans and keep to them, and not have to make game-day decisions on a daily basis.

And then my kid will walk up to me, for no reason, and lean into me, and smile, and tell me "hugs make happy"

and i tell myself those other parents can go fuck themselves.  Because nothing is cuter than that, and their little cross-eyed freaks will never be this adorable. 
('cause i'm a little petty like that)

and i give him a hug, and we go outside to blow bubbles.

Eat it, jealousy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interests and Interactions

I’m a person of many interests—a renaissance person if you will.  I take a great interest in science and literature, the arts and the practical side of life.  I equally embrace technology and tradition.  But that is me—trying to find a hybrid life of the old and new.  It’s the middle path that gets the best traffic, I find.  I’ll give the Buddha that one.

So one day I may be reading Jane Eyre and creating linen sprays with my essential oils, after I teach my son the joys of rolling a ball about.  And the next day I’m letting a machine make my bread, while I use a vacuum cleaner to keep the dust bunnies at bay while my son watches U-tube domino videos.  I bore easily, so I’ve gotta have a myriad of things to keep my interest, else I get into mischief…

My son, on the other hand has single solitary interests.  There is no mixing, no hybrid, no crossover.  Trains.  Marble Machines.  Duplo.  Play-doh.  Blocks.  Dinosaurs.  I’ve tried on a number of occasions to mix toys, but with very little or violently opposed success.  No, mommy.  Dragons do not belong on the Thomas railroad.  That’s silly.  No!  Cars do not drive through the blocks. Play-doh is played with on the table only!  (ok, that last one is mine—but I hate finding that stuff all over—or worse, in the dog’s poop.)

One of the characteristics of Autism is being rigid.  Not physically, but in habit.  Routines followed to the letter.  Without question.

Now, there was a time my boy didn’t really know how to play, and he’s come a long way in using his imagination and playing with stuff “appropriately”—first time the therapist used that word, I thought she was crazy.  Seriously—the science behind play is mind-boggling. 

Now he has little conversations with his little people or Thomas—sometimes scripted, sometimes not.  Or I hear scene descriptions going on during a car chase.  And sometimes, SOMETIMES, I see different toys interacting.  That dragon eventually caused a derailment on the Sodor Railroad, and the phrase “oh the carnage!” (which he picked up from daddy). 

Small steps.  Teeny tiny baby steps.  And the next thing you know there will be marble machines built over the railroad that is controlled by dinosaurs and robots.  But no Play doh!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blog Gems--parenting

This blog gem is about parenting and our adventures... so here's a lil sumsum about my feelings about being a parent of an early bird, and how Louis CK is my hero.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


On a whim, i took the boy toe Disney yesterday. Weather was good--that "storm" never showed up (as i internally predicted) and while it was a little chilly, it was a good time to be had by all.  We even made it over to California Adventure, which i'd never been to. (and frankly, meh)  Anywho--here are just some of the pics--i think someone had a good time..

Friday, April 8, 2011

Goodnight Autism

and ode to my so's favorite book, which we read at least three time a week--more if i didn't insist on something different...

In the Great Green Room
there was an abacus
and Thomas, blue and Percy, green
and a picture of...

the most perfect build of a marble machine

And there were twelve lined up trains between yogurt stains

and a big red trolley
carrying a stuffed Wall-e

and a sit and spin
that will mix him like gin

A PB&J cut in fourths twice a day

And a tired drunk blogger who is typing away.

Goodnight Room

goodnight cars that go zoom!

Goodnight trains and yogurt stains.

Goodnight Thomas, Goodnight Percy,

Finally some silence, Lord have mercy.

Goodnight trolley
Goodnight Wall-e

Goodnight sit and spin
Hello liter of Gin

goodnight PB&J
goodnight crying to get your way

And goodnight to the drunk blogger,
blathering away.

Goodnight screaming,
Hello drugs,

And goodnight to the boy who gives the best kisses and hugs.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Life is a Four Letter Word" --Lenny Bruce

It has been suggested by those who peruse my blog that I have, lets say, a rather…interesting way of explaining myself. An adult way. A rated R or PG-13 manner that suggests that I am quite familiar with the works of George Carlin and Lenny Bruce.

And they would be correct in their observations.

Yes, yes, i know, it doesn't seem to speak well of one's vocabulary or training. There are myriad biblical quotes to strike fear in he whose "mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud" (Psalms 10:7), or perhaps "As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones." (109:18), for "because of swearing the land mourneth." (Jeremiah 23:10). Then again, the Torah also says to stone the damned queers and any child of yours who is disobedient, so perhaps another source?

George Washington called it a "foolish and wicked practice"--a phrase which would have been really funny to hear him spit out of his lipless, denture-filled mouth. Jefferson, not much of an orator, but having a way with words, probably loved to cuss!

Here are a few more:

“Profanity is the weapon of the witless.”

“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak - probably both.”

“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”

In response, allow me to say...


(I love old-man cussing. I find it carries the most weight, and/or comedic "Get off my damn lawn!" effect.)

Let me instead turn to American author and expert in the art of cussing...Mark Twain.

"When it comes down to pure ornamental cursing, the native American is gifted above the sons of men."
- Roughing It

"Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."
- Mark Twain, a Biography

"If I cannot swear in heaven I shall not stay there."
- Notebook, 1898

Yes, i get it. Swearing is not very creative. Sure, it can be a crutch--and it can be clumsily used in the poorest of circumstances by dullards who wrap their ignorant nuggets of shared wisdom in ignorance and hate. 

But, as Twain so eloquently put it, some circumstances demand it. It's just that I find my circumstances tend to be...frequent.

Do I lack the vocabulary? Hardly. Do I lack the creativity? Please. Do I lack respect for other folks' aural conservatism? Well....

Look, like any person with good home training, I know when it is appropriate and when it isn't. I don't cuss in front of my Rabbi nor my kid's teacher. I wish I could say the same about my kid...

My husband takes me to task on this--although truth be told, he's got a potty mouth as well. And I suppose, in one aspect, Autism has helped us in this regard. Ben's speech continues to develop slowly. I mean, he does jabber away endlessly at times, with scripting and echolalia, but he doesn't always retain what is said unless it is repeated. And in this instance, that's a damn good thing.

Although yesterday I had a scary moment. I had a mini-tantrum of my own because I kept repeatedly dropping a toy I was trying to awkwardly pick up off the floor, and I burst out with a resounding "dammit!" (mild on my scale of cursing power) For a good ten minutes, Ben went around the house saying "dammit!" over and over. And i thought, "Oh, imma catch hell when daddy gets home," even though it was kinda cute. Luckily though, that mantra he soon replaced with a script from Bee Movie. Damn, that was close!

I've known people on one end of the parental philosophy wagon train who wouldn't dream of cursing themselves, let alone cuss in front of a kid. And I've known the opposite end--parents who are just themselves, and who have the most foul-mouthed little kids (hilarious, but foul-mouthed). We've actually taken to apologizing to Ben when we curse in front of him, as it's not fair to teach him words he cannot use without rebuke.

So, like many things in life, I strive to find the middle ground. I won't curse in front of my probation officer (teehee, j/k), but i might colorfully question another driver's ancestry if they cut me off in traffic. And my car window may or may not be down at the time.

[aside-->colorful--if it is so wrong to cuss, why such a loverly word to describe it? I like colorful language. It's like rainbows just pour off my tongue.], mom. I'm not gonna stop cussing. And no, honey, I won't always be successful in keeping my language clean in front of Ben. 
But I do promise to try to keep a sense of humor in this sometimes overwhelming world, and to teach Ben the lesson that language, like everything else in life, is a fluid and often hilarious thing.

And that sometimes, cussing is the most appropriate way to phrase something. Like how I love to fucking cuss, dammit!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Or the day shit just didn't work out right.

When I had originally set up my alphabet post ideas, I had E tagged for elevators and escalators.  Like most kids with Autism, my kid loves 'em. He's not super obsessed with them (yet) but he loves him a good button to push.  I had planned to spend a few paragraphs delighting in this strange fascination with moving boxes and stairs with some sort of analogy of being transported to a new place in life and development.  It would have been lovely, I'm sure.  But that's not what this post is going to be about.

Sunday was a bad day for Ben.  I mean a BAD. DAY.  He's been having some anxiety problems lately--his usual cycle of anxiety and frustration usually in response to growing, constipation or the cancelling of the Kennedy miniseries.  I get it.  We try to work with him. Usually a trip to the park or mall or just somewhere OUT OF THE HOUSE helps him burn a little energy and some of his stimming energy.

So, after a morning of whining, screaming, throwing scissors at my blade-paranoid husband and a general need for a STFU button, I declared that we would go to the park post-haste.  So we piled into the hybrid (thank god i made THAT purchase 4 years ago!) and peeled out to the park. Where there was much swinging (his other obsession) sliding, sand sifting and general mayhem.  It was good.  Mama got to rest her tootsies for a moment while the Old Man took on slide duties.  And then the weather turned brisk and sans sweater, I called an end to all park frivolities.

And like most toddlers,  little man didn't want to go. And in an effort to get him to listen and follow instructions, we let him bawl it out a bit.  Which didn't work and we had to haul him out of the sand pit anyway--only now he was crying AND being manhandled.  Awesome.

And in my sheer brilliance, I decided that we should continue with our original plan to go to the grocery.  How awesome am I?

It started out ok.  I parked on the lower level ("thru tunnel" according to Ben) to appease him, and so that he could ride the elevator.  Had you asked anyone else, they would have said, yeah!  that's a great idea.

And it was, until we were 10 feet away.

Before we were at the "sidewalk" and out of harms way--I forgot to mention that i call this particular parking lot "lose your mind lot" because people forget all propriety and their California Driving manual rules.  Anyway, before we stepped up to the curb that would somehow shelter us from inevitable Shriner-like driving patterns, Ben began to pull away from me and  like anyone with a conscience, I wouldn't let go.  In classic mommy mode, I stepped us up onto the sidewalk and got down to his level, trying to tell him that he had to hold my hand until we were safe.  THEN I would let him go to push the elevator button--the only goddamn thing he really wanted to do.  He didn't hear a word, pulled and bawled, and then I let him go.

But as he approached the elevators, one of them opened, negating the button-pushing.  And Ben lost it.


So I tried to calm him down while gawking grocers stepped by us wondering what kind of abuse was taking place, with CPS pre-dialed on their phones for safe measure.  And when the door closed i told him to push the button to light it up.  He did, only to have the other door open--which Ben was having none of.  He wanted the elevator on the RIGHT, and that was all that was acceptable.

And then the screaming began.  The blood curdling, terror ridden screams.  The kind that grab the attention of all who are near to ogle and wonder.

I believe at that point the Old MAn tried to get into the open elevator to negate the button again, but by that time it was too late.  Knowing it could only go downhill from here, I sounded the retreat and we headed toward the car.

At this point, Ben seemed calm--he actually stopped crying, and was taking deep breaths.  Ok.  A trip home, the ubiquitous pb&j and then a well deserved nap.   I'll hit the grocery later.

And then the mantra started:  "more grocery!  More Grocery!"  and it didn't stop, gentle readers, until @ a 1/2 hour AFTER we got home.

Worst. Elevator story.  Ever.

Ok, not EVER, but it was pretty fucked up.

Now, some Autie parents are sayin' "yeah?  big whoop!"--and they'd be right.  This kind of meltdown is typical and prevelent with kids with autism--and it isn't as if we hadn't been through this before.  But Ben had lulled us into complacency.  He hasn't had a meltdown like this in AGES, and, cocky, we figured it would have to be something HUGE to set him off.

And we'd be right.  Only our definition of huge and his would be vastly different.

This even may not have seemed huge to the rest of the free world, but it was HUGE just the same. So huge in fact,  Trump wanted to put his name on this elevator fiasco.

So, lesson learned.  That pesky meltdown can occur anywhere, anytime for any reason, and complacency is for the weak.

Oh, and to the old lady who tried to bring levity to the whole situation by shouting "stop beating that child!" as a gag, you can eat it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


What does he dream about, I wonder?

My guess would be numerous vehicular collisions involving robots and dinosaurs, an endless row of elevator buttons, steam engines and trying to make peanut butter sandwiches by himself.

What do i dream about?

Him playing with other kids, telling me what he's feeling, joining a baseball team, graduating high school and solving the world's global warming crisis.

(and yes, i dream of tropical beaches, endless fruity drinks, daily spa treatments and writing for a living--but this isn't about me...)

That's the thing about dreams--they aren't necessarily impossible, but sometimes they need a tweak or two.  So i wouldn't say either list is out of the question.  But they may not present as we have imagined them.  And there's nothing wrong with that.

What do YOU dream about?

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Celebrate (or the tales of the Birthday Nazi)

Today is reason to celebrate.  My own mother, in this house called Savta (Hebrew for grandma because Bubbe just didn’t set well with her), is celebrating a birthday today.  And since she lives in San Diego and I’m here in Los Angeles, I had to sing her Happy Birthday over the phone.

But only once my son was at school.

You see, he hates, HATES, the song happy birthday.  Gets violent.  Screams.  Attacks the singer kind of hate.  In a manner that made his teacher ask, “did something happen on his birthday?”

No.  In fact, his birthday is a bacchanalia of sorts for presents and general Benji spoiling.  Since he was born just a few days prior to Christmas, instead of getting the shaft where presents are concerned, he gets the lion’s share.  Lemme ‘splain.

First of all, as I stated here, we celebrate Hannukah, Christmas AND his birthday—usually in the span of a week or more, depending on when Hannukah falls. And his Savta usually works on Christmas, so she usually comes up to visit the weekend before his birthday (unless it luckily falls on a weekend) so there’s usually more than one celebration day.  With cake. 

And then there’s the fact that I feel bad he doesn’t have a “party” (because everyone leaves town @xmas) so I throw him an unbirthday party in June, complete with bouncer, party games, and of course, cake.

At none of these events do we sing that song.  We sang it once for his first birthday, which he tolerated (on video as proof) and actually watches almost everyday.  (one of his favorite DVD’s is one the Old Man made of his first year videos, and he watches it ad nauseam.)  The Old Man has a song that his family sings which Benji can tolerate (totally different tune), but other than that, no singing!  Es ist Verboten!  We’ll call him the birthday Nazi.

You vill eat your cake, und open your presents und das ist alles!

Now of course this extends to other people’s birthdays as well.  I usually have to corral him out of the room during the happy birthday singing portion (but as this usually involves opening presents, I have to anyway because he is 4 and doesn’t understand why the booty and treasure isn’t being bestowed upon HIM instead of the birthday recipient.) 

We don’t do a lot of birthday parties.

Now, this isn’t to say there is no singing in the house.  I sing all the time, the Old Man is always making up silly songs, and Benji lately have developed a habit of singing to himself and to me, as if I’m sort of Paula Abdul.  Although I suppose that makes sense—what with the loving of every song he sings, and my questionable sobriety.

Just not the birthday song.

So no, my little angel will not be singing into the phone for his Savta today.  In fact, I won’t even be mentioning that it’s her birthday to him, lest he start looking around for “presents?”  Instead, next time she comes up, he will give her a hug and a kiss, and maybe snuggle for a bit in the early morning, as they are both friggin early birds.

And he’ll eat cake.  THAT part of birthday he understands:

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Born in December of 2006. Diagnosed with Autism in March of 2010. Benefactor of free kisses, hugs, waves and loud salutations. Purveyor of train and domino videos. Terror of all Chihuahuas. Chomper of goldfish and enemy of any green vegetable. Declarer of NOM NOM NOM!

The most popular kid in class, and completely indifferent to the fact...

king of the sweater vest...

creator of sandcastles...

California baby...

Your smiles melt even the Grinchiest of hearts, and this new skill of manipulating me with sweet eyes and hugs is going to be the death of me.

B is for Benjamin, king of my heart.