And just like that, things were okay again.

The past two months since Squishy left me have been truly a learning experience. I learned that I am still strong, and I can make it through whatever life throws at me. It wasn’t easy by any means, and the scars still remain. But I have moved onto a better place, and I am comfortable.

I have started seeing a psychiatrist for help with PPD and life in general. She gave me a prescription to help me sleep, and I no longer need to self medicate with alcohol. I used to drink for fun, but it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep and had to be drunk to get even just four hours. I’m so glad that’s over.

I have finally made a connection with Little Hippie, now that he’s more of a child than a potato. I didn’t experience PPD with the other two boys, so it was very difficult to realize what was happening. Talking to friends who went through it, especially ones who specifically only went through it with their third child, was incredibly helpful. His dad sees him twice a week and every other weekend, and I am glad for that.

There were absolutely no plans in my head or my heart to start dating anytime soon. But I went out to dinner with a friend, someone I’ve known about two years, but had never hung out with. One night the ex’s girlfriend decided to text me from his phone and talk all kinds of shit. It was infuriating to the point where I actually vomited. At that moment, I wrote him off completely. There was no coming back from that incident. Because I was so angry, I needed to talk to someone on the phone to distract myself. I called my friend (let’s call him Hoss), and I told him what happened. He let me vent, and then proceeded to talk to me about everything under the sun otherwise. We were on the phone for four hours, and by the end of the conversation he had told me that he had been interested in me, but because I was attached, he never said anything. I was shocked.

The next night, he came over after work. It was wonderful. We watched a movie and cuddled up on the couch. I fit perfectly into his body, something I have never had before. From then on, we’ve been together. He stayed one weekend, and I joked that because he had a toothbrush here now, he must be my boyfriend. He agreed.

In the few weeks since that first dinner out, Hoss has treated me, and more importantly my two older boys, better than Squishy ever did, even at the beginning. Hoss seems to truly care, like lifelong care, not fairy tale romance care. He fixed my dehumidifier, and now maintains it of his own accord. He wants to cut my grass. He set up an antenna so I can get regular TV and watch Jeopardy! All these things that are the stuff of life that Squishy never did or couldn’t do or wouldn’t do. Hoss took me and the older boys fishing. He voluntarily had dinner in a real restaurant with them. Squishy wouldn’t even tolerate eating at McDonald’s with the kids! And you know what? They were SO GOOD with Hoss. He is patient. He is even keeled. He doesn’t yell at them or insult them. I never thought Squishy was that bad until I saw how good someone else could be. Hoss is already planning our holidays and birthdays. He changed my oil.

So, while I am surprised to be in a relationship so soon after tragedy struck, it is a good thing. It happened naturally, organically, without any pursuit or drama or whirlwind romance or whatever. That, I think, is what might make this be one of the best relationships I’ve ever had. I’m finally comfortable. It might sound cliche, but for once I actually believe that everything happens for a reason.

The Most “Wonderful” Time of the Year

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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After All These Years

Late May of 1997, I met a really cute guy in the bleachers at our spirit day festivities. There was only a week of school left. I told my friend Sarah that I thought this guy was cute, and at the end of the day she and her boyfriend showed up at my locker, cute guy in tow. We ended up dating all summer, but when school started again he went to public school and I went back to Catholic school. It was hard to keep it going, because I was young and easily distracted. In the end, I broke up with him, and life went on.

On a typically boring Friday night a few weeks ago, Facebook suggested him as a friend. I added him and sent a message like, “idk if you remind me, we dated almost 20 years ago”. Saturday evening, he wrote back and we talked for awhile, and it turns out he’s always had me in the back of his mind. He’s been married once, has one son, has a good job, and apparently thinks I’m beautiful. We’ll call him Squishy.

One afternoon, Squishy and I went to Chipotle for lunch, and while we were standing in line a woman turned to us and said “We are starting a hug campaign, would you like to be first?” So I said sure, and then Squishy and I proceeded to hug five strangers just for the hell of it. It was weird, but it was awesome! People need to give and get more hugs! How was this my life?

I know that you guys might think I’m crazy, falling in love almost immediately. But when Squishy walked back into my life that day, it was like I had finally come home. I texted him, I talked to him on the phone, then I saw him in person… the last time I saw him was almost exactly 19 years ago. I was young and dumb. Things happen. I spent the whole time looking for someone who treats me the way he did – the way he does – and finally he’s back. He’s here. The only time I have felt this much joy in my heart was when JI and Squeaks were born, and when I reconnected with my birth mother. I feel whole. I feel happy. Not honeymoon, new love happy, but comfortable happy.

I’m Back

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.

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.

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?

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.