Tales of a Play-date Dropout

You might know me as "that mom".

Major Life Changes

I’ve been feeling a lot better lately; not 100%, but better. I don’t know why, because nothing has changed, but I’m not going to question it. I do think that maybe it’s due to getting better sleep, drinking more coffee, and generally turning my attitude from caring a lot about everything to not giving a shit.

This happens to me from time to time; I will get so wrapped up in caring about everything and everyone that I absolutely drown in feelings and end up miserable. I do not know why this happens, but it has been happening more often lately. Back in the day, I could go months without getting sucked into the cycle. Now, it’s literally weeks or sometimes even days before I get over it. I can’t live like this!

I have decided to make a few major life changes, and I am starting with purging. I am having a HUGE yard sale this weekend and I am getting rid of everything I haven’t touched in at least a year (unless it is an heirloom or extremely sentimental, etc). I have literally hundreds of pieces of baby clothes to get rid of, toys, furniture, and all kinds of household items that I just don’t care about anymore. So hey! If you’re in the Columbus, Ohio area, stop on by! Hahaha!

The likelihood of me getting another house is very very slim. I have bad credit, I haven’t worked in over five years, and I have kids and pets. I can’t buy and it’s going to be hard to find someone to rent to me. So at this point, I am just saving and saving and saving, so that I can at least offer two or three months in advance, in the hopes that having money will make someone more likely to rent to me.

The major change that will be life altering should not come as a surprise: I’m going to be moving. I’m not 100% sure on how far, but the options are Cleveland or Jacksonville, FL. I hate hot weather, but I have an opportunity to go down there and I just might take it. Nothing will be happening until the end of the school year anyway, so I have awhile to decide. I’m excited though, and can’t wait for the changes to start happening.

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Prisoner

I love my sons and I love my job. Nothing is better than getting to play with kids and cuddle a baby all day! But I am a prisoner in my own home. I am a prisoner in my own life. I might as well be writing this from prison. The only difference is that they actually get to interact with other adults on a daily basis, whereas I am stuck with all children under five 24/7.

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I am very lonely. It has become physically painful. I’ve never had much depression, but lately everything is horrible. Everything makes me cry. I can’t be happy about hardly anything. Last weekend I threw a small birthday party for my best friend; after everyone left, I basically just sat on the couch and bawled my eyes out. Yesterday we had JI’s birthday party, which was huge with lots of festivities and people, tons of gifts, food, and lots of fun. I went to bed early, I slept for a long time with a few interruptions, and then my bio mom left this afternoon. Now I want to cry again. Tomorrow it’s back to the grind, trying to make kids listen to me and cleaning up bodily fluids.

wp-1468790378293.jpgWhat is my problem? Nothing is wrong in my life. The stress of dealing with Poke and going through this divorce isn’t that bad. It’s mostly annoying. My income is good right now. My health is fine. My kids are healthy. My family is fine. Nothing is WRONG. This can’t all be caused by loneliness, can it?

I was dating a guy for about three weeks when he suddenly disappeared. He literally texted me that he wanted to come over and I never heard from him again. That former marine who I have been talking to off and on all year randomly contacts me every six weeks or so. I lost a good friend over a guy who lied to me and lied to her. I hardly get to see my best friend because she has a boyfriend now and only wants to spend time with him. Even when we do hang out, he comes along and they leave early. I like him, I like to hang out with him, but I miss my best friend.

wp-1468790431696.jpgI truly feel like I am completely alone. I have lots of friends online, but what kind of life is that, living online only? There’s no guarantee that they care about me. I know some of them do, but others, who knows. Guys online tell me how beautiful I am, they want to send me dick pics, they call me “baby” and other lovely pet names. How do I know I’m not one in a long line of girls? I don’t. So it’s hard for me to be completely open when talking to these guys online. I don’t know what to do anymore. I don’t have the option of joining any kind of groups because I don’t have anyone to watch my kids. I do have a babysitter, but she is young and I don’t want to keep her out late… pshh, as if I have any dates anyway. Yeah right. I guess I’m just feeling like a big fat loser right now, and everything that is happening keeps reinforcing those feelings. Are there any good books on how to simply live with loneliness?

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Parenting my Autistic Child

I had planned to post a few times a week now that summer vacation has started, but then, as always, time got away from me. It’s good though, being busy. I lost three of my clients and gained two, but I only had a week off in between, so everything I planned to do with only three kids had to be altered to involve five kids – two of whom are autistic. I’ll manage though, because I have no other choice. I just keep working and saving my money for the inevitable day when the house gets taken away.

Today I want to talk about parenting an autistic child. As I mentioned in my last post, itwp-1465917157645.jpg amazes me how many levels/severities/etc of autism I’ve encountered. My friend has two autistic kids and they’re different from each other, JI is different from them, and kids I’ve met in therapy/meetings/classes are different from them and each other. For me, that is the most frustrating part of being an autism parent. Yes, our kids all share certain traits, but even those traits aren’t necessarily addressed in the same way from child to child. I think that is one of the reasons why this past school year was so difficult.

I know exactly how to parent JI. We went through our rough patches, horrific patches, sad and frustrating patches. Now I know what I’m doing, how to handle his meltdowns, tantrums, fears, etc. Obviously I can’t predict everything or solve every problem, but I am really REALLY wp-1465917063884.jpgfucking amazing when it comes to parenting my child. It is so upsetting and frustrating when teachers or family members want to do things that I know will cause problems. It is absolutely infuriating when they refuse to follow my suggestions or directions. I understand that the educators’ job is to push JI, to teach him how to behave in certain situations, and that they are the experts at their job. It hurts me when he gets in trouble at school just for being himself, for doing things he can’t yet control, like lashing out physically. They say it’s not true, but I know he was labelled “The Bad Kid” in his class last year. I could tell by the way they talked about him, the way they dealt with him, the punishments and discipline he received.

If JI doesn’t want to do something, there are consequences. I utilize the amazing and wonderful 1-2-3 Magic system, and it works if you are committed to it – not gonna lie, it fails if you fail at keeping strong! You must use the system the right way, every time. With JI, there is no negotiating, there are no “threats”, just warning and then consequence. If he does something absolutely deplorable, such as intentionally injure someone, then he does get a more severe consequence. Unlike school, however, he does have the option to earn his things back. I make sure to recognize when he’s done something great, so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being “bad” all the time. I have to admit though, I have lost my shit on him more than once, because I’m a human being. It gets to be a lot, caring for five or six kids for 10 hours a day, and rarely having a moment alone from children. JI and I had a blow up the other day where I just lost it and yelled “Why does everything have to be a fight with you?!” and proceeded to list all the things he fought with me about that day. Not my best parenting moment by far, but I think it actually made him realize that sometimes it is easier to just go with the flow rather than resist so much. A huge part of his diagnosis was the rigidity, and it is by far our biggest obstacle to typical childhood.

I am hoping that kindergarten will be a new fresh start. JI says he hates school because hewp-1465916954013.jpg hates friends and hates to learn. I reminded him that he is learning every day, by asking questions, watching videos, helping me do things around the house, etc. He said that I
should just teach him at home! Well, homeschooling would be amazing if I didn’t have four or five other kids here to deal with, and if I could actually find a way to get JI to socialize in groups of peers. I guess we’ll just keep praying that the kindergarten plan works out.

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The Journey Continues

Back in September we got the provisional diagnosis of Autism for JI. Since that time he went through more evaluations and observations, and earlier this month we received the official diagnosis of ASD level II + Unspecified impulse control & conduct disorder.

School this year was, to put it mildly, horrible. The year started off great, then got really really bad, then it was okay, and then it was just nothing. We agreed to end his school year early because he was basically just sleeping at school every day, and the thing they needed to do with him, socialization, wasn’t being accomplished at all. He only missed nine days, so I don’t care, and the daily fighting was getting to be too much every morning. He’s not even going to participate in the “graduation” because merely mentioning it sends him into a panic. No thank you. I’m so ready for summer and preparing for a new start at a new school.

Because we have the official diagnosis, it was added to his IEP and now we can get the exact services and therapies we need for him. When he starts kindergarten in the fall, he will spend some of the school day in a resource room and some of the day with the NT kids in the regular classroom. He will receive behavioural and speech therapy regularly, and occupational therapy as needed.

The strangest thing about autism is how it is SO different from one child to another. Sure, there are certain signs and symptoms that are shared by all kids on the spectrum, but even those are not always the same. Just because I can parent my autistic child doesn’t mean that I could parent your autistic child. Maybe it would be easier, maybe it would be harder. There are so many differences!

Personally, I have very few problems with JI,  likely because I suspect I am on the spectrum myself (a therapist suggested this years ago, and I definitely fit a lot of the traits) and also because I understand what it is like to be a “weirdo”. All my life my mom told me how weird I am, friends and strangers have called me weird, and I always feel weird. I get why he can’t or won’t do certain things, eat certain things, etc. I know how to talk to him to get him to behave and comprehend what is happening. I’m excited for kindergarten and a new school with all new teachers, if only because I feel that his pre-K had their mind made up about him being the bad kid, the troublemaker. I hope that a whole new environment will mean a good fresh start!

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In the Thick of It

It’s been a long time since I posted, and I don’t even know exactly where to begin. The last I left you, I was concentrating on the Year of Me. Well, that has been nearly impossible to accomplish. Poke finally got a job, and now he refuses to take the boys on a regular basis. I have to haggle and negotiate with him every week. So yeah, he is giving me a little bit of child support, but he’s not seeing the kids. This continues to be a no-win situation for everyone except Poke. Typical.

I wish we could move forward with the divorce; unfortunately that is impossible right now thanks to the house having gone into foreclosure. Obviously my Go-Fund me didn’t work, Poke blew his 401k, and I don’t have $8k just lying around. For now we will just live for free until they force us out, but in the meantime we are going to try and file for bankruptcy to see if there is a way we can somehow save the house so that the boys and I don’t have to move and so I can keep my business. That means no divorce until after the bankruptcy is done.

As for the “doing things for myself”, I have been …meh… with that. I slacked off on my diet really badly, but I am trying to adhere via a different route. Instead of completely cutting out all meats, I am cutting out red meat and pork, and sticking to chicken and seafood. A low-purine diet allows for some chicken/seafood, so it’s not even really “breaking the rules”. It’s kind of weird actually, I used to never crave chicken or seafood, and now I do! I have completely lost my taste for beef and pork, except Phillys… I love Phillys… But I digress. Because I’ve been trying to stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, I have gotten back to more creative cooking. I juiced once. It was gross. I’m going to try again now that the weather is warmer and there is more fresh quality produce available. I have done some spiralizing, and actually got rid of 90% of my pasta. I want to do a low-carb thing, just because eating a lot of carbs makes me feel gross, but it’s hard to do on a low-purine diet because I’m supposed to eat 6-11 servings per day. Apparently carbs absorb uric acid, which is one of the goals of this diet. Ugh.

I tried getting into dating, and I still really want to date… Unfortunately it seems that the quality of man just isn’t there anymore. I’ve talked to probably a hundred guys, and I’ve had ONE date. They want sex only. They’re not interested in a girl with kids. They send unwanted dick pics. If I refuse to meet them RIGHT NOW for “a date” (aka sex), they call me names. They plan a date with me, and then never show or I never hear from them after we make a plan. I was talking to a guy for a couple months and I thought it was going somewhere, then he stopped talking to me and I found out he chose someone else over me. I was talking to another guy, he came over and hung out one night, then ghosted. A few weeks later he got ahold of me, apologized, and came over again. When he was leaving, he said “I’ll see you later tonight” and I’ve never heard from him again. The only guy who is consistent is that Marine I told you guys about, JK. At least I know what to expect (or not) from him. Friends have told me to try Match, because I was meeting all the winners on Plenty of Fish, but I don’t know. I feel like paying to meet someone online is the lowest of the low, and I just don’t think I’ve reached that level of pathetic yet.

When I was thinking I might be dating more often, I went ahead and updated my wardrobe a bit. I haven’t lost any weight, but I’m not trying, so that’s fine. I am comfortable with my body for the first time in a long time, and I think it’s because I joined a BBW group on Facebook. There are dudes in there who are legitimately attracted to chicks like me, and that’s amazing. All my life I’ve been taught that no man will be into a fat girl, but I guess it’s not actually true.

So, like the title says, I feel like I am really in the thick of it right now. Some horrible shit is behind me, and there is more horrible shit to come. I cry nearly every day. I had actually gotten back to drinking nearly every night, at least 3-4 nights a week, but as of this Sunday I am stopping that and going back to only drinking on the weekend. As great as the sleep was after a bottle of wine, the sleeping pills accomplish almost the same greatness with zero calories or health risks. I have tried so hard to remove all the negative from my life, including a current sabbatical from Facebook. I had to take a break from all the bullshit. I’ll go back on in a week or so, check things out, and if I’m feeling any toxicity radiating from there, I’m going to be out again. It’s just not worth it.

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The Year of Me

2015 was a shit year all around for many people that I know, including myself. 2016 hasn’t started out so great, but I am optimistic. One of my best friends told me to make this year the “Year of Me”, and that is what I am doing. It hasn’t been easy by any means, and I keep encountering toxic people and situations that try to hold me down. I will prevail!

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This year I am doing things that I have always wanted to do, naysayers be damned. I am focusing on straight up ignoring the haters; they only hate because they hate themselves. I am living my life for myself and my children, and not doing it according to anyone else’s rules or ideals. I’ve had enough of feeling bad because of other people’s expectations. There’s the old saying that I cannot control other people, I can only control my reactions to them. Well, I know for a fact that toxic people thrive on reactions, and I’m not going to do it anymore!

I thought about making a sort of bucket list, but really I’ve already got a good sense of what I do and do not want to happen this year. So far I have eliminated two soul-sucking relationships from my life, cut ties with all but two people related to the mothers’ group, come to terms with my horrible marriage and the fact that it wasn’t my fault and he will fthisnever change, and stopped trying to cling to this guy who clearly only had one objective in his mind. I’ve taken charge of my life. I bought myself all new Batman t-shirts because mine didn’t fit anymore, and I finally threw away or donated all the clothes that don’t fit. I joined a hot sauces of the month club. I am doing pretty well sticking to my low-purine diet, which is basically a vegetarian diet. I plan on getting more into juicing, just because it seems interesting to me, and I really want to get back to creative cooking. I am focusing on making JI the best kid he can be, not despite but in conjunction with the autism. I am teaching Squeaks to sign and speak, and I want to learn ASL fluently. I’ve been updating my Instagram on a daily basis and getting lots of followers!

I can’t do this stuff with people barking their negativity at me.

You can speak your mind, but not on my time!

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Shake It Off

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The Knife in my Back

At the beginning of February, the mothers’ group I belonged to did something amazing for me – they collected $300 and tons and tons of groceries, including personal care items and diapers, for me and my sons. I was shocked and beyond grateful. Nobody had ever done something so nice on such a grand scale before. Yes, I’ve had donations given and friends and family have helped me with bills. On the day these women delivered, my house was literally full, from kitchen to living room, with stuff. I thanked them in our Facebook group over and over for the next several days. I couldn’t believe it happened to me. I used the money to catch up on the utility bills, and with the little bit that was left over, I went out to karaoke one night.

Fast forward about three weeks, and I’m kicked out of the group because two of the three admins have decided that I lied about something menial. Despite giving them proof that I didn’t, they don’t care, and they ban me. I’m shocked. Most of the members are shocked as well, and then I find out that this girl went on a rampage that week that I took off from society and banned a whole bunch of members. So, I didn’t feel so bad. Clearly they are the ones with the problems, and not me. I know I did nothing wrong, and I’m an adult, and I don’t need to prove it to them.

Fast forward another two weeks, and I’ve received my tax return. I paid back my parents, paid the bills current and up through May, gave Poke some money, bought myself a few items of clothing, and got myself a couple of tattoos I’ve been wanting for a very long time. I still have almost 20% of my tax return still sitting in the bank. But here’s what happened: It’s now been about five weeks since those women donated their hard-earned money to my cause, yet someone got wind that I got those tattoos, and they decided that instead of using my own money, I must have used their money to pay for them, to get drunk, and to hire a maid. It doesn’t matter that if I hadn’t gotten that $300 at the beginning of February, I wouldn’t have had electric or gas heat for March, it doesn’t matter that $300 wouldn’t even cover all those things they said I bought, and it doesn’t matter that charity is supposed to be done out of the kindness of your heart without restrictions and expectations.

I was never bullied as a child, and I’ve always been thankful. I had plenty of fodder for which to be bullied, but it never happened. Unfortunately, this left me unprepared for adult life. These women are bullying me hardcore. For almost three days straight they sent me private messages on Facebook, texted me, commented on posts in another mothers’ group and tagged me, and even went so far as to attack me in a public forum on a subject completely unrelated to the situation. It is disgusting. Many, and I mean almost all, of these women claim to be Christians. They talk about loving God and praising Jesus, then turn around and call me a cunt. It’s been incredibly hard on me, even getting to the point where I thought about committing suicide just to get some relief from the emotional pain they were causing me.

Luckily I have real friends I can count on, and when I reached out to them they were there to help me and keep me from going to the dark place. I was able to recover in a matter of hours. I wasn’t going to say anything, but I did, and I’m so glad. They made me realize that there is something seriously wrong with those girls, and that they must truly hate their lives if they need to sit around all day and think about me and my situation. I mean, in the end, I know they’ll never believe me because people would much rather believe the bad than the good. But I know in my heart that I did the right thing, and that’s all that matters.

I wonder what Jesus would think of your behaviour.

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Cave

I have decided to temporarily remove myself from society. Life has gotten to be far too stressful and hurtful, and I have not-so-suddenly found myself surrounded by far too many toxic people and situations. This is not to say that everyone in my life is bad for me; quite the contrary. I have a lot of good friends who help me through the day on a regular basis. The problem is just that though – my friends constantly have to help me through the day. I need to get my life to the point where I don’t need help just to be alive, where I don’t need reassurance just to exist. Let me make it perfectly clear, too, that I’m not suicidal. I want to live, I just don’t want to live like this.

I’ve already gone off Facebook, so if you follow my page, don’t worry, I’ll be back shortly. I hardly use Twitter, so that’s basically going to stay the same. I think that by focusing on myself and the boys, I’ll be able to actually work on this blog more, update my Instagram, which makes me happy because I love sharing, spend more time on Pinterest, which is really relaxing and inspiring for me, and hopefully be able to “get back to me” or whatever the cliche is. I just know that after the deaths of two of my good friends, a huge ridiculous argument with two people I thought knew me better than to have said argument, and the continuing harassment from my former daycare client, I had to go. It was all getting to be too much. I dreaded the phone ringing, I feared opening emails and private messages on Facebook, I even winced when I would get more than one text in a row. I was afraid to live my own life because I didn’t want to feel the next hurtful thing that someone would say or do to me. I can’t exist like that. I just cannot.

You may say, “Well, Kel-Bell, you’re still online, you’re still going out in public, you’re still posting, how are you removed from society?” I will answer this: I get to control those things. On Pinterest and Instagram, I get to choose what I look at and what people see much easier than on Facebook and in “real life”. When I go out in public, which I have done once since making this decision, I don’t look at anyone, I don’t seek out contact, I go do what I have to do and be done with it. Being off Facebook eliminates 90% of the problem, because even though I share all my business on there, and I do so knowing that I leave myself open to criticism and rejection and all kinds of negativity, I usually don’t get anything negative from my friends – it all comes from other places. For example, my former daycare client has taken to messaging all the people who left reviews on my business page, and she reported me to Facebook for a plethora of untrue things, making the simple act of logging in a five minute process. In order to connect with my friends, I have to read their personal stories and dramas, which is not a problem, except for when I can’t even handle my own. Leaving Facebook gives me space in my head to not think about things, and right now that’s exactly what I need.

I wish I could go live in a cave for a month. I wouldn’t even take the boys; I’d let them keep living life normally. I need to be secluded in a dark, quiet place, somewhere I can rest and recharge, so that I can be for once the good mother and friend I am supposed to be.

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Heavy Heart

A dear friend of mine, whom I’ve known for over thirty years, has passed away. He had been in a coma for the past eighteen years after a horrible car accident. This song always reminded me of him.

“Adrian”
– Jewel

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