It’s hot in Texas, ridiculously hot. Sometimes the only relief I can offer my kids from the boredom of staying indoors is a trip to a park with a splash pad. It distracts them for a while and D has an especially good time being the water bug he is. That doesn’t mean I can let my guard down though.
On our last visit a little boy about five years old approached D. He wanted the toy my son had in his hand. D didn’t really have an interest in playing or sharing so he guarded his toy and kept running away from the boy. Frustrated, the boy told his mother that D had his toy. My anxiety went through the roof. How do I diffuse this situation and tell this boy’s mother he’s lying? Before I was able to stand up another mom spoke out and said, “No, that’s his toy. He’s been playing with it this whole time.”
Crisis averted. The mom that spoke up was cool, calm and collected. She had been watching also. Why had I not been able to muster up the same confidence as quickly as she did?
The kids continued to play and finally the little boy asked my son what his name was. D didn’t make eye contact and kept playing by himself, from the outside it looked like my son did not hear him but I knew he did. Again the boy approached, asked and did not get a response. After the fourth time he went and got his mother. If you have read my post When Other Moms Are Rude you’ll understand why I gave them their space. (Long story short: D and I were callously rejected at a park when I tried to explain he had autism and could not speak.)
She got down to her son’s eye level and told him to ask again nicely. At this point I got up and walked toward them. I told them his name and explained that he could not yet respond because he has autism. I wasn’t ready for the response I got though. Her jaw dropped and she said, “Oh! I’m so sorry! I had no idea!” I just said, “it’s ok” and walked back to my seat in the shade. Her response felt a bit much, at the most I expected an acknowledgment like “oh ok”. Instead I felt awkward because in her mind autism warranted over-sympathy. I really wanted to tell her that it’s just a word that means he learns differently than other children, but I didn’t.
Did I really have to?
When I see or meet other families with children on the spectrum I acknowledge them first with an understanding smile. It’s a silent camaraderie. If we happen to strike up a conversation – great! If not, it’s perfectly fine. We have our hands full as it is, worrying about having a coherent exchange is at the bottom of our list of priorities. We know our struggles are different but at the root of it all are our children, bound by the same diagnosis.
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.
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.