After All These Years

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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.

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Prisoner

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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

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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.