The Most “Wonderful” Time of the Year

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Bah Humbug.

I haven’t felt Christmas-y since 2013. In 2014 I was incredibly pregnant with Squeaks, in 2015 Poke and I had been split up for five months and I was dealing with JI’s behaviour, and this year we don’t have our own home and I don’t have any money to buy new presents for the boys or gifts for anyone else. It sucks. I’m so happy to not be homeless, and I am so happy that I have Squishy in our lives. I got a job and I’m only part time for now, but I am happy to be employed.  Overall, things are fine. Nothing is terrible.

I feel terrible though. JI keeps asking why we haven’t decorated, why there is no tree, why we have no lights. He wants to know if he is going to get a lot of boxes on Christmas morning. This is the second year he has been interested in Christmas, and I feel like I am going to fail him. I know that it is not all about the gifts, but when I have practically nothing to give but some old hand-me-down playsets, I feel like a bad mother.

In addition to feeling badly about not having enough things for the boys, I feel bad for just not being in holiday spirit. I have been trying very hard, but things have been rough around here lately, and I just don’t have it in me to be jolly. I am tired and stressed all the time. I have $40 to last me two weeks. I have no idea when my first paycheck will come. I feel like I am hovering over an abyss that could suck me in at any time. It’s so frustrating. This headache hasn’t gone away for almost a month.

But damn, as happy as I am for the things mentioned earlier, it would be really nice to get a break. I’ve been busting my ass for these kids and my family and our lifestyle for so long, and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. JI tells me that he loves Squishy more than me, and he wishes I would go away. Squeaks went from being a great sleeper to some kind of 3rd shift monster. Very little of the furniture and stuff in the house is mine; I’m simply existing in someone else’s world. It hurts.

There’s nothing to do but carry on, so carry on I shall. Keep smiling, keep being cheerful, fake it til I make it. Right?

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I’m Back

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It’s been a long time since I updated, thanks mostly to my chromebook keyboard suddenly ceasing to work properly. I don’t know what happened, it just stopped working one day. Then a few weeks later, half the keys worked but there was no real pattern to it. So I finally got a wireless USB keyboard and mouse from my dad, and now I can use my chromebook again! YAY!

ji2So anyway, kindergarten started off great. The first day was, in JI’s words, “Absolutely perfect”. I cried for about twenty minutes when he got home. Day two… shit hit the fan. My son JI was sent to the peak aka behaviour room. Day three, okay. Day four, his behaviour was so bad that I had to pick him up early and he was asked to not return. They wrote on the report that he assaulted a teacher. He’s five. He kicked her because she got too close. JI was off for the next week as we tried to find a spot in an ED classroom rather than the general SpEd/Autism room he was in the first week. We got a spot at a different school, and he attended half days at the original school for a week until the transportation was figured out.

He’s been at the new school for a full week, three days, plus Monday and Tuesday. Monday was his first rough day, but he got himself under control. Yesterday after lunch/recess, I guess he started melting down and couldn’t stop. The teacher called me at 2:45pm, and I could hear JI screaming. He said JI was throwing chairs, trying to bite/hit/kick, took off his socks and shoes and threw them, etc. He wouldn’t or couldn’t calm down. It wasn’t until they told him I wouldn’t be coming that he calmed down to get on line for the bus.

jiThe problem is that he doesn’t act like this at home. He doesn’t get violent or aggressive towards me or any other people – and to be clear, he wasn’t at school either, not towards any kids or adults until the adults attempted to get close to him. If he and I have a disagreement, I either remind him of his choices or I tell him the consequences of not doing what he’s told. I’m frustrated because I’m not the special education teacher, I’m not the expert, but they expect me to tell them what to do. I don’t know what to do because he does not do this around me! There was a short period of time when he did, but we suffered through it and moved on. I merely held my ground.

Is JI trying to feel them out? Is there something about school that changes a kid’s personality? Will this eventually pass, or is my high functioning, highly intelligent, super cute, loving autistic child doomed to end up in juvenile detention or some kind of home?! I know it’s the first incident but the way things went at the last school, I’m really nervous. We had a conversation last night and this morning about how he should act when he’s upset or angry, and I hope it sticks.

Parenting my Autistic Child

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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.

In the Thick of It

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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.

Cave

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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.