Monday, February 17, 2014

Bitter Gratitude

I've been pretty bitter lately. 

I am tired of trying to be grateful. 

For the little things.  Like my kids' health.  Or a roof over our heads. 

Have you SEEN Andrew's smile lately? 

That was the day that started it all, 3 weeks ago Sunday. 

When Damon texted that Andrew had been in an accident and they were at the hospital but he was fine, I did not think, oh so great that he is fine.  I thought, fucking shit, what the fuck are you going to throw at me now?

When I briefly forgot that he had texted that Andrew was fine and I thought, oh my god, I might lose this kid, just for a moment, I was not sad and hopeful and repentant, I was angry and defiant.

It was the first prayer I have said in over four years. 

And it went something like this:  God damn fucking shit.  I swear to fucking God, I hate you,  If you do this shit to me, if you take away that child, I am going to fucking hate you for the rest of my life, you fucking goddamn fucking arrogant shitty fucker of a fuck fuck God.


I am beginning to see why He might not be listening to me!

I was not grateful that Andrew was fine, that he didn't have lasting brain damage, and all those other things that you always are supposed to say when a kid gets hurt fairly badly.  I was pissed he lost his permanent molar and was incapacitated for a week, the second week of high school, missing try outs and sign ons to new clubs,  What a royal pain in the ass, God, thanks.

I'm pretty tired of being grateful for a car I never liked.  I didn't WANT those effin electric doors that open on their own.  I hate them.  I am tired of trying to appreciate the home that is too small, too boxy and too, too, NOT MY HOME.  I am tired of being grateful for things I have worked really effin hard for.  I am tired of working so hard and getting no help.

I am tired of trying to show gratitude I don't feel.

So that I really surprised myself last Thursday morning at the first, no MAYBE second, thought I had when I got rear ended by that ute on the way home from school dropoff.

The first though was, no kidding.  I mean, lay it on me.  What else ya got?

But the really close second was, oh thank god I left Ian at home with Ryan this morning.

Was that really gratitude?!

I was also grateful for something else I can't recall.  No, not that Ryan wasn't hurt when her horse reared up and lashed out at her when she asked her to back up while I wasn't home.  No, not that Andrew won't need orthodontics for a few years yet after all.

OH yeah.  That Queensland has just instituted a new dental health plan that provides $1000 for dental health every two years to eligible kids.  And Andrew's dental work will come up to $1200.  (For initial work.  Temporarily,  But see, I am still grateful for small things.)

Two things I have been truly grateful for without forcing it or faking it. 

Then just tonight I had another.  Ian has been vomiting since last night.  (No, I DO NOT make this shit up.  I don't have to!)  He passed out just as I was about to start the 5:45 Monday night dance route.  This route begins at 2:30 when I pick up the twins from school in Kurwongbah and drive them to dance at 4:00 in Narangba. 

I HAD SEVEN MINUTES TO SIT STILL AND DO NOTHING because the dance instructor, and friend, and now saviour, is able to pick Andrew up at school with her boys.  WHAT AN AMAZING GIFT!  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.  It saves be about half an hour in the car on an afternoon that continues as follows:

4:00-5:30 - boys all dance while Ian and I play outside.  Except today where I run back home (only ten minutes one way and not one minute shorter because THERE ARE SPEED TRAPS IN NARANGBA) since I have left Ian with Ryan since 2:30 because he is sick.

Oh.  I am pretty grateful they haven't sent me a ticket for going 64 kilometres in a 60 four weeks ago too.  That's two and a half miles over the speed limit but the light went off.  In thanks, I have slowed down those 4 kms.  Showing that those exorbitant penalties really do work. 

AND I am grateful the computer didn't just lose all my work when it shut down. 

5:30.  Pick up twins and drop them off at home.  Ask them to strip, shower, dress and read on their own before turning on TV.  Oh...and can they watch Ian who has fallen asleep on the coach  Because...

5:45.  Drive Ryan to bellydance in Petrie .  Get her there half an hour early with her sketchpad, water and mobile phone because there is no way to get her there at 6:45 when her class starts and be back in Narangba at

6:30 to pick up Andrew from dance.  (He has an hour extra because he is on The Crew!)

6:35.  Receive phone call from Aidan saying that Ian has just thrown up.  Am actually fairly grateful I am only ten minutes away (and Aidan and Matthew knew how to contact me in an emergency) and drive home ready to clean up puke.

Only to find - and this is  beautiful - that AIDAN AND MATTHEW MANAGED TO HAVE IAN VOMIT INTO A BUCKET!!!

This is not only gratitude.  This is love. 

I am not grateful that Damon leaves work at 7:15 to pick up Ryan from dance at 8:00.  He works six days a week.  I am not grateful that he has a job.  Let's not even go there.  I am not grateful to be here - I am HAPPY to be here.  I am not grateful for my old, faded clothes, for the crappy food or that we have a credit card they keep raising the limits on.  Or two crappy cars.  And healthy kids.

Fuck that.

But I am grateful that my two 7 year olds know how to have the 2 year old vomit into a bucket.  That they were all showered and in their pajamas when I came home and had read aloud to each other for ten minutes as requested.  That Andrew can watch Ian.  That Ryan bathed with him earlier today when he was so hot and miserable.  That the boys can set the table and get themselves tacos.

This is stuff that I have done. 

I am tired of being grateful for shit I deserve better than.

I have done all this with help from no one, while shit fell apart all around me and each year just got worse and worse.

So bring it on.

The vomit bucket is ready. 

And the kids know how to use it.

I Want HER God!

There's a theory in some shamanistic cultures that autistic individuals are closer to the spirit world.  These are the folks they train to become shamans and make contact with the spirit world.

All I can say is that Ryan either has a different god than I do (picking one would be good I guess!) or else a better channel in to that god. 

All I know is that the next time I need intercession, I might be going directly to her.  Sorry, churches - all of you - I got a better connection through my daughter.

"I don't want to do long distance education.  I don't want to go online.  I hate long distance education.  Why can't I just work with you again like we did last year?"

This from Ryan because we had a friend over Friday and had some catch up to do over the weekend.  Also because Ryan has some Executive Function problems and organisational difficulties and can spend a HUGE amount of time on wasted effort that doesn't help her complete the task at hand.  Because she has learned helplessness when the school in Germany made it impossible for her to achieve and then the schools in Queensland made it too easy!  And because last year she was spoiled as hell and had a mother struggling to put together a personalised educational program tailored to her interests and speed and adaptable to our other daily activities.

Uh uh.  Said mother is NOT going there again.

This year she has to learn European history and the feudal system, take basketball, AND do chemistry. And she has to finish the assignments on time and take tests.  Even if she finds it stupid and boring and she just hates it hates it hates it.

She, by the way, is doing amazingly well in all her academics, maths included, because she has quiet time at home alone to do it and she CAN do it at her own pace.

She loves the school.  Long distance education is amazing for both of us. 

She is just mad she has to work now.

Well, whoever she put in a word to certainly was listening.

On Saturday morning, to Ryan's great delight, we were denied online access to the school website.  No lessons.  No emails.  Nada.

Mum, unfortunately thinks ahead, and has most of the lessons in paper printouts.

By Sunday, however, Ryan was pretty used to skipping over parts she was supposed to do online and just improvising with the two of us.  This was pretty good; almost what she'd asked for again.

But Monday - today - the school responded at 7:30 am.  The problem was that our local high school had Ryan on their lists and so we lost permission for BSDE.  NO.  SHE MOST DEFINITELY DOES NOT GO THERE. AND NEVER WILL!

So they sent us a temporary link for Ryan to use to login to classes.

Then they informed us that pipes had burst in the school building in Brisbane, two floors were flooded and some classes would be cancelled anyway.

Ryan was cheerier,

Until I informed her all four of her classes were still on.  (Hey, maybe there is a god out there on MY side too?!  Let's face it, they are toying with us, these beings.)

And then - bang - the entire virtual classroom system went down and NO ONE could log into classes today.  At all.

I can envision the battle raging on Mount Olympus..

We spent the day doing English on our own and then maths.  Ryan got to peruse some horse magazines and help me with Ian while she got ready for dance class.  We made muffins.  It was a busy, but self-paced kind of home school day.

Exactly what Ryan had been going for!

Church of Ryan.  I'm her biggest believer!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Virtual Classroom Reality

Does anyone else find it strange that there is a chat room within Ryan's virtual classrooms?

Does this mean it's okay to talk to each other about Mine Craft and gaming instead of listening to the teacher?

It IS a supervised chat room and you CAN use it to communicate with the teacher.  For kids like Ryan who hesitate to speak.  Or kids (like Robert!) who like to draw attention to themselves.  Um.  Are all the kids on long distance education also on the autistic spectrum?!  There's an awful lot of boys with an awful lot of computer skills on there.  And atrocious spelling.

Oh dear.  Eye gess sp wont mater in the future.  Smily fase.  Punktiatin mark!

There are also smiley faces, checks and crosses and raised hands as a way to answer questions.  As well as sad faces and confused looking faces.

You can also text or type onto the white board.  Or scribble in various colours.

Which leaves you plenty of time to chat with your friend while the teacher reads the white board, answers questions asked verbally through the speakers, and counts the number of raised hands and smiley faces. 

I don't know if they have a sleeping face but they do have a bar that tells the teacher you have left the conversation.

This is allowed now?

Funny enough, all of these distractions are less disturbing to Ryan than the spit balls and teacher baiting and stupidity that went on in a real classroom.

But yes, I do worry that she is missing out on the vital skill of taping a hand written note to the bottom of the desk for her friend to find next period.

Not to mention handwriting itself.


And this is what has happened to me on Monday morning.  In the dentist's office.  After being informed that my 11 year old has lost his permanent incisor permanently in a scooter accident at the skateboard park. 

And the cost of repair. 

With Damon starting a new job next week.

With a three month internship that pays next to nothing.

And a horse that needs a trailer.

And a trailer that would need a truck to pull it.

And Matthew wants piano lessons.

And a piano.

Soccer season started.

And dance.

Four kids dance.

Well, five really, but nobody is charging Ian to join in.


Then I had to pick up Aidan from school with a belly ache. 

Matthew's eye swelled up later in the afternoon.

The only thing worse than realising you have all the symptoms of high-functioning autism and that you are having a meltdown is that the universe doesn't stop throwing shit at you once you DO meltdown.

Although...Catherine.  Thanks.  Fiona.  Renee.  Dee. 

Shit.  I have friends who love me anyway.

I can melt.  And they will catch me.  Thanks again.

My Life as a False Thinking Dilemma! Mark Hutten Again

Oh.  This is me.

Don't you hate it when you try to inform yourself about your child and the profile comes back fitting your own life to a T?

Traits of High-Functioning Autism: Mark Hutten

I haven't been posting but Mark Hutten is!