Party of Five

WARNING:  I got into some graphic detail about human bodily fluids in this post.

There was a pain in my left underarm last Saturday, I was mildly concerned about it but too busy to care.  It was gone by the time I woke up the next morning so I forgot all about it.  My cycle had ended two days before that so I figured it was related.  I got a surprise later on that day, I had what looked like a dark brown discharge.  I recognized it as the discharge at the end of my period, only I had just had it.

After a few days I searched the internet (the best place to go if you want to be misinformed and then fear that you’re dying) and saw some posts on a parenting forum that described the bleeding as normal right before mothers found out they were pregnant.  This wasn’t the case with me though, I mean I’ve already been pregnant twice before so I would know what the indicators are, right?  Later that day my husband bought me a pregnancy test.  I knew it was going to be negative, until it wasn’t.

As the urine soaked up through the “stick” I looked at the window.  The horizontal line was creeping toward the middle of the window and I thought I saw a trace of a vertical line.  What?  My only instinct in that moment was to close my eyes and wait three seconds, when I opened up my eyes the hazy vertical line was now almost solid blue against the horizontal line.  I set it down on the toilet roll holder, washed my hands and walked out of the bathroom.  The box said I had to give it three minutes for an accurate result, and that’s exactly what I was going to do.

Needless to say, three minutes later that plus sign was still there.  I still can’t understand what exactly washed over me in that moment.  I think I was too terrified to be happy because my husband and I will be officially outnumbered in less than a year.

Initially, it didn’t go over so well with my husband.  It took him a couple of days to grasp what was about to happen.  I took a couple more tests from different brands and they all confirmed what the first had said.

I feel like I climbed a mountain only to see the rest of it reached into the clouds.  I was worried when we found out we were pregnant with Baby A but this is different.  This is surreal to me.  It’s still too early to know anything other than implantation is complete, the oxidized spotting and cramping have stopped.  The placenta is forming in my womb and my uterus is getting ready for expansion.  Here we go.

It’s Not Personal

I work for a government contractor in a building with no windows.  It took some getting used to at first but I have resorted to getting my daily dose of Vitamin D on the walk to my car.  It’s a good job though, I can’t complain.

About a year ago my manager approached me and asked if I wanted to be a supervisor.  She wanted to do an “in-house” promotion but was told by her supervision that she would have to post a job opening internal to the company.  When the time came, I submitted my resumé and was called back for an interview.  Half of our team interviewed for the same position.  A month later we still hadn’t heard anything from HR.

While we were waiting, people started to talk.  In particular, one person was going around saying that if I got the job he would never work for me.  I’m not sure where this stemmed from, I hadn’t had any interaction with this person outside of a professional conversation in the years I worked there.  By the time this got back to me I had received and signed my offer letter.

He was visibly furious after my manager made the announcement at our team meeting the following Monday.  This person is not very well liked in the team so when he began saying that he was doing us a favor by staying, my manager heard about it fairly quickly.  The icing on the cake was she made me his direct supervisor.  I kept it professional but I knew he would try to retaliate at some point.

After the new year there was a clear shift in his attitude.  It was reflecting on his monthly metrics.  Out of 155 hours of production we are required to maintain month to month, he clocked in six.  One digit.  He did better the following two months but once again he fell down to thirty hours.  What really put him under the spotlight were his timekeeping violations.

He has repeatedly ignored my emails for status updates on work we have a hard deadline on and constantly trying to undermine me.  This week he did not show up to work on time and I sent him a text asking him if he would be in.  He replied that his meeting with the “drafter” for his new house ran long and that he would be in.  After months of trying to work with him, my manager decided to have a sit down with him to discuss his behavior.

I hope it has gotten through to him that he is not as indispensable as he thinks he is.  Then again, his actions have put him in his current situation.  My point:  this person is about to lose their job and for what?  Because he doesn’t agree with a decision someone else made?  His blatant disdain for me?  I have no issues with my other subordinates, I am as professional with them as I am with everyone else.  It’s not personal, it’s just business.

Health

Our anniversary was a couple of weeks ago and I think we got through the first year fairly unscathed.  We were able to get a baby sitter for a few hours and went to see a movie.  This is a big deal for us.  We don’t really trust anyone with our kids and we haven’t been to a movie in over a year, I’d guess closer to two.

We decided to treat ourselves to a nice theater where we could have reserved seating, dinner and a movie.  I ordered a Dr. Pepper and popcorn because it was a special occasion.  Right before the movie started I ordered a turkey burger.  This was a two and a half hour movie so I wanted to be sure I didn’t get the munchies halfway through.  It was acceptable as far as turkey burgers go.

About an hour into the movie I noticed my left heel was starting to go numb, I chose to ignore it because I didn’t want to un-recline my seat.  After 15 minutes it became unbearable and I felt the same happening to my right heel.  My circulation was strained.  It was there in the middle of a movie theater that I realized the extra work that I was putting on my heart.  I could visualize it struggling to pump blood to my extremities.

I know my body will not hold up for much longer if I don’t take action now.

It doesn’t help that what’s constantly glamorized is women giving birth and fitting into their pre-baby clothes a week later.  That wasn’t a direct Kate Middleton reference, but if the stiletto fits.  As if I’m the only woman in the world who isn’t on speaking terms with her abs.  Between the stretch marks and loose skin, we may never meet again.

Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every step of the journey that led me here but it’s time to find a way back.  Not necessarily back to what I used to weigh or look like before I had my children but somewhere sustainable.

The point is, I have to get this weight off of me.  I need to find time to get healthy again soon.  It won’t be easy, but admitting there is a problem is half the battle, right?

Balancing Act

How does everyone do it?

I feel I always see moms have it all together, all the time. Not one hair out of place on their heads or their children, not even the need to raise their voice above a whisper. Meanwhile, I’m the banshee chasing both my kids everywhere.

I don’t wear makeup, I can’t figure out how to apply it without looking like I gave myself a black eye — so I wash and go, but still and yet I manage to look completely disheveled or mid-frenzy.  In short, sub-par to the other moms I encounter.

D has a classmate who’s mom always has a perfectly made up face and hairstyle to match. I keep my awe to myself for fear of coming off as inappropriate, but seriously how does she even get out of the house? My stress levels rise to the red zone when we take more than 20 minutes to leave the house. (Basically every day.)

This isn’t exclusive to me either. Today I walked into my house to find both my kids covered in red marker. I haven’t found the original red Sharpie they used but I suspect they managed to use up all the ink so I’m not that worried about it.

Our house is usually in a phase of disarray but it’s not for lack of trying. We are in the process of hiring, dare I say, a maid. We both work full time on opposite schedules and barely high five in the mornings when we see each other.

In recent months I’ve been promoted and that comes with added responsibilities, which translates to more time at the office.  What is interesting to me is I took the job because I thought it would help better provide for my children, the downside is I see them less.  What was the actual gain here?  Is it worth it?

My hope is to give my children the best childhood I can while also teaching them important values and morals.  For example, how do you teach the importance of financial stability without promoting greed?  Parenting is probably the hardest human trial we willingly enter.

When Other Moms Are Rude

About a year ago I was at the park with D.  Summer in Texas can be brutal so we like to play as early in the day as we can or early evenings.  I remember it was a Sunday morning because it was our best chance at having the park to ourselves.

There was another mom there with her son who looked to be around the same age as D.  At this point, my son was still very non-verbal.  He could not independently say hello or goodbye.  Eventually, our two kids met and her son addressed mine and asked his name.

After the third time he asked I knelt down to his level and gently explained to the little boy that my son could not speak.  I looked up at his mother and she didn’t have an expression on her face.  I know parents are uncomfortable with strangers speaking to their children so I said to her, “he is non-verbal and has autism so we are still practicing with hellos.”

She yanked her son by the arm and left without ever acknowledging our presence.  I will never know what went on in her head, and quite frankly, I don’t care.  What an incredibly rude thing to do.

I was hurt of course.  I am no stranger to rejection but this was different.  This was another parent openly displaying their disgust for my child.  How could she see my son as an affront?

She was dressed in black leggings, a peach racerback shirt, a blue drawstring sack, aviator shades, her hair was tied back and she was wearing a headband.  Regular suburban mom, right?  I feel like this was the parent version of Mean Girls.

Autism awareness is important and so is acceptance.  Yes, we have come very far in a decade but there is still work that needs to be done so our kids have a fair shot in this world.  After all, our children will inherit the Earth.

Stay positive and spread joy.

Worst Early Childhood Services Provider

D is only three and we have already gone through our fair share of providers.

We were steered toward an Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) evaluation after our insurance decided they would not cover D’s speech or ABA therapy.  At his initial evaluation, the providers determined that D qualified for services.  D was assigned a provider and we were happy that he was getting the help he needed.

At first, the provider would strictly come to our home and demonstrate therapy techniques for us to practice.  She would come by once a week and we were seeing progress on D’s end.  Finally, she suggested that she visit the daycare so she could coach his teachers there.  After coming to our home for 2 months we felt comfortable she would provide services at his daycare.

About three months later we began to see some regression in D.  This is not uncommon in children with ASD so we convinced ourselves this was a normal part of the process.  I emailed her to ask about his progress and she sent me a “progress note” of her latest visit.  It looked like everything was running smoothly.

Until his daycare teacher asked me if he was still getting services.  I was slack-jawed.  I spoke to his teacher and the director of the daycare and they both said they had not seen D’s provider for a while.  We asked to see the sign in log for visitors and saw that the last time she signed in was the first week of April.  It was July.

One of the things I like the most about that daycare is that they take meticulous notes on who stops by.  Parents have an individual code they have to enter on a keypad and everyone else has to be buzzed in.  They also have security cameras installed in every room.  There was no way she could slip in unnoticed, sit down with my son for an hour and no one see a thing.  I was devastated.

My son had not received services for over three months.  My husband was livid and called her supervisor.  She eventually admitted to not going to see my son because she was overwhelmed and figured he would be the least impacted.  What in the actual *expletive*!

I can’t say it was all for naught though.  That was a harsh lesson in ECS providers.  This person took advantage of the fact that my son could not speak and our inexperience when their career is centered on helping children in need and their families.  I admit I have a hard time trusting that D’s providers have his best interest in mind now.

It’s sad that one person, the very first person we were exposed to, ruined our trust in people who are supposed to help our son.  We have had better luck since then, but that initial burn will stay with us.

If you are an ASD parent or family and you suspect something is not right with the services your child is receiving, please trust your gut and take action.  I should have investigated further when I saw D’s regression but a part of me did not want to believe that an adult who was supposed to be helping him was actually neglecting him.

Raising Our Biracial Kids in Suburbia

I grew up in a relatively rough neighborhood.  I realized quickly that I didn’t want to raise a family in that same environment.

After six years in the Air Force I decided I would move to Texas to finish college.  Eventually, I got a job where I met my husband.  We lived in an apartment community in a good area in town.  When we got pregnant we both decided to purchase a single family home further into the suburbs.  We wanted our child(ren) to have a big backyard and the freedom to run around at all times of the day.  I was 38 weeks pregnant when we closed on our house.

When the time came for me to go back to work we started scouting daycares.  We realized we did not live in a diverse area.  I am first generation American, my parents were Peruvian immigrants, and my husband is black.  Our kids don’t quite look like anyone else here – they have an olive tone and very thick, curly hair.

My hope for my children is that they are able to grow up without feeling like anomalies.

Though my early childhood was spent in a bad neighborhood we ended up moving to a better area when I was seven.  My parents were thrilled but I was in hell.  I was tirelessly teased by most of the kids at my school.  Almost all of it stemmed from the fact that I physically looked differently than they did.

I have been so traumatized that I am seriously considering homeschooling my kids in a couple of years.  I would have to quit my full-time job and we would probably have to move into a smaller home but I am willing to do all of this just so my kids don’t go through what I went through.  The current social climate is exacerbating my anxiety.

We have a couple of years until we have to make a firm decision but I think I already have my mind made up.

As a parent, we try our best to give our children the most opportunities to succeed.  I may just be projecting my struggles onto them which I also want to avoid.  They have so much potential and I want to instill in them that they can do anything.  I don’t really worry about Baby A because she is as headstrong a little girl as I have ever met.  It’s D who I don’t want to fail.  He is already considered different by the very nature of his diagnosis and I want to help him open as many doors as possible.

Maybe I just need to relax.

I might just be an elephant parent.

Introduction to the Jordans

We are a family of four and one of us has autism.

Our ultimate goal is acceptance and advocacy.

D is three and was diagnosed with moderate ASD (Autsim Spectrum Disorder) about a year ago.  There was a grieving process:  rationalizing, anger, crying, justifying, and denial.  The truth is I struggled with it since he was five months old because I knew then.  He would flap his hands when other babies clapped and he did not smile as much as other little ones his age.  When his daycare expressed concern I was crushed.  D would play in a corner all by himself the entire time he was there lining up the exact same toys he would gather every day.  He made no effort to socialize with his peers or his caregivers.  We (parents) had a long, difficult conversation after his pediatrician recommended we see a diagnostician, Dr. Mike Rios.

It has been a whirlwind and not always in a good way.  His vocabulary is at about 50 words, way less than the average three year old.  We are constantly guessing what he wants, needs or is trying to say.  Verbs are especially hard.  Sign language has helped some but there’s no real substitute for “Momma” which he still does not say independently.  D has so many strengths though.  His eyes are expressive when typically kids on the spectrum have poor eye contact.  You can feel his joy and bubbly personality when he locks eyes with you.  He is randomly sweet and caring toward Baby A, his sister.  They may not seem like strengths, but when you’re in this world they are.

I say all this to say thank you for taking the time to visit us.  We hope to share our journey and inspire.

The Jordans

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining us!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

post