Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The first cut is the deepest...

{stream of consciousness}

Today was our first day back to normal after a long, busy weekend. I  always love having an extra day added to our weekends- I think every Monday should be eliminated, personally! Even though PJ chose to wake up before 6am every day this weekend (what the hell, child?) it's always nice to have any opportunity to enjoy a relaxed, alarm-free morning.

The weekend was kicked off with a haircut for PJ, which is, in general, a harrowing experience for all involved. Thankfully, I found a children's salon with stylists who treat PJ with kindness and humor. They do what they need to do, which is get in there and give him a haircut. PJ writhes, screams, shakes and cries and somehow his thick, blonde hair always looks fantastic.

I know he needs the haircut. His hair is too thick and too heavy to let grow. I would much rather the haircut go as fast as possible, rather than plead and cajole with him, an endeavor that could take hours. So, I wrap my arms around him to hold him still while our stylists hovers about us, snipping and buzzing away. If you ever want to feel like a failure as a parent- even if you are doing something you know will help your child (shots are a perfect example)- go ahead and hold them down to make them do something they are scared of. It'll break you inside every time. 

I know that for most parents, haircuts are not major life events. It is not at all uncommon for children to throw huge tantrums over the shears and clippers, of course. But for PJ, the whole thing is terrifying. The head is so sensitive, anyway, and for PJ those feelings are intensified times fifty. He starts off okay, but as they start to cut the hair at the back of his head, he just melts down completely. I can feel him trembling like a tuning fork as I try to coral his flailing arms and legs. Often, my glasses are thrown across the room, my hair pulled out in handfuls. I usually come out with bites like swollen, angry crescents on my arms and wrists. But I know he's not being bad or just having a tantrum. PJ is honestly, truly in a white-hot panic and just does not know how to cope.

Eventually, the haircut ends, and PJ recovers quickly. Once the cut hairs are brushed from his skin and his tears are wiped, he goes back to being my funny, sweet baby, hopping up to play with the toys in the waiting area while I pay the bill (and leave a 150% tip). There are usually a few other parents in the waiting area. They tend to divide into two camps. One are the Supportive Mothers. They see our struggle at the back of the salon and throw me sympathetic, Sisterhood-of-the-Motherhood-Pants glances and offer encouraging words as we leave. The other are the parents who eye was with a wary gaze, with a hint of Control-Your-Kid-Bitch, and avert their eyes completely when we leave the salon. Needless to say, the former make me feel a little better.

Today, when I dropped PJ off at school, everyone fussed over his haircut. It's a really, really good haircut. He looks so handsome and grown-up and I can almost forget that I had to hold him down to get it done. 

'Tis the gift to the simple...


Hey friends! I am at Reedman-Toll FIAT (Langhorne, PA) this week talking about the New Year's Resolutions we should
make as vehicle owners and drivers! Resolve to make some changes to be the safest and happiest 
driver on the road! Stop by and check it out! 
*****

Our holiday decorations are down and the tree is put away (much to the chagrin of my husband and son, who would leave it up until Super Bowl Sunday if I let them). Our living room is done being a joyful repository of Christmas magic and is back to being the place where I routinely leave my pink Uggs in the middle of the floor.


That said, the aftermath of the holidays are still strewn all about our apartment in the form of PJ's presents. His books and trains and hockey helmet and the cement mixer he had coveted. It's a first world problem, and I am a little ashamed to admit it, but here it is:

PJ is spoiled.

I don't think that he is spoiled in terms of behavior. He knows there are rules, he is expected to share, and he understands the consequences for his actions. Autism-related meltdowns aside, we do our best to make sure he's not the kid getting the stink eye from Applebee's patrons because he's climbing into our neighbors booth. But PJ has an alarming amount of stuff, and that gives me pause.

Books are a perfect example of something I rarely say no to. 

There are a number of reasons why this got out of control. It started with being first-time parents who could not resist all the cute things. While I was pregnant, I swore I would not go overboard with infant toys because babies could give two shits about them. Then PJ was on the outside, and I spent his first Christmas, when he was all of 30 days old, trying to get him interested in the wrapped gifts under the tree. Spoiler alert: He. Did. Not. Care.

It went on in the same strain until PJ was diagnosed with Autism. Then it became a race to try and somehow out-buy what was happening to my baby. Flash cards? Dolls to encourage pretend play? Games to help with interpersonal interactions and practice with turn taking? Bought it, bought it, bought it twice.

Now, we have our rookie mistakes in addition to our Autism guilt and it all is contained in closets, shelves, and random space dedicated to toys. On top of that are all of the beautiful, thoughtful gifts that PJ is showered with for his birthday and Christmas. Those gifts, if I really face the truth, are not the problem. Those are not the gifts that are sometimes trying to either bury or lift up the things going on with my son. We tell ourselves he doesn't need all of this stuff, that it is all too much, that it, in fact, causes him to be completely overwhelmed sometimes. But still, our guilt hands seem to reach for the wallet every. single. time.

He's blurry, he's opening presents that fast! 
I'm trying to scale things back- get rid of the stuff he doesn't play with, try to keep what he does have organized so he doesn't get overwhelmed, and most importantly, trying to segue my Mom Guilt into something that won't clutter or house and/or leave us broke (or me fat, ie, stress eating). We need to realize that trips to Toy 'r Us need to be for the big earners and not because he took two bites of meatball (well, I would use a cookie to bribe him for that, but you get my drift). It would be one things if we were spoiling him just to spoil him. Not a great parenting choice, but something that happens. But in our case, we're trying to somehow use Toy 'r Us to take the edge off of Autism, and that's a losing battle.

So, even though I said I was going to pass on making New Year's Resolutions this year, rethinking what we buy for PJ and when will be an improvement we will try and make. We want PJ to grow up with an appreciation for the things he has, along with an ability to be satisfied with the things he needs and a little extra. And, as it turns out, we're the ones who will guide him that way.


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    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    I've got a blank space, baby...

    Blurbs:

    -The New Year was ushered in quietly 'round these parts, starting with a trip to Sahara Sam's with some folks I love: Pete, PJ, my cousin Matt, and his family- wife Colleen and kiddos Braelyn and Paxton. The kids blissfully slid, splashed, swam and soaked as the grown-ups chased and chatted. That night, Pete had to work, so I rang in the year quietly, a whispered "Happy New Year!' to my sleeping blonde Boy. But the last day of 2014 was a sweet one, and spending that last day with my family made it even sweeter.

    - The one fly in our New Year's Eve ointment was my sister Marla being admitted to the hospital with a post-surgical infection. It took the doctors nearly a week to get everything under control and she just went home today, having not been in her own home since last year (technically). It was a frustrating setback after everything had gone so well with her surgery, but it's not uncommon and she faced it like she does everything, with a kick-ass attitude and her usual brave heart. She was finally discharged today and, hopefully, is home in her own bed, snuggling her cats. It was a shitty start to 2015 for her, but I can't help but think that this will be here year now that this little bit of bullshit is out of the way.

    - We spent a few days in the Poconos (Pete's parents own a house). Our intention was to get PJ on skis for the first time (or rather, Pete would get PJ on skis while I took pictures and bitched about how cold I was), but the weather did not cooperate and ski conditions were less than ideal, so we settled for relaxing at the house and taking PJ sledding after we got some afternoon snow. As you can see, he clearly hated it. We are hoping to sneak back one more time before the winter ends so the Boys can ski, but in the meantime, PJ had a blast on his Daddy's old sled.


    - Of course, with the New Year comes the hope that the calendar switch will magically make me a better person. I think at this point I have learned enough to know that there is a snowballs chance in hell of that working out, so instead, I resolve to continue to do the things I actually managed to do right in 2014 and keep them going for 2015. Hopefully, keeping the good stuff going will help the new stuff potentially evolve without all of that resolution pressure.

    - One thing I do resolve to do is keep the "Now Reading" link up to date. You can click on it right now to see what I have been reading the past few days. I have a stack of books that are coming up after and I can't wait to share them with you! Also, these are not affiliate links- I would be sure to disclose if they were and will if that ever changes! For now, it's just a link to the Amazon listing for what I'm reading!

    - Lastly, if you are of the blogging type, why don't you link up with Time for Mom this week? It's a weekly blog hop, held every Tuesday, that welcomes moms of all kinds to share their stories! Each week, a few blogs are chosen to be spotlighted, and this year we will have a few more fun things to offer!

    Welcome 2015!





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    Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Reflecting the glow of the winter moonlight...

    It's New Year's Eve.
    Full disclosure:
      I am exhausted.
    But, I am going to force myself to
      stay up 'till midnight
    and ring in the New Year properly.
    By "properly", I mean
     be in bed by 12:01am.
    This night,
      typically,
    is for reflection and contemplation.
    It's a time to look back on the past 365 days
     and think about what you want to make of
    the next 365.
    Tonight, I'm a myriad of emotions.
    I'm sad because my sister is in the hospital,
     fighting off a gross post-op infection.
    Event though I think 2015 is going to be an amazing year for her
     I still had hoped she would have a better start.
    But she'll kick this infection in the ass
     like she does anything that tries to cross her
    and this year will be her best yet.
    I'm thrilled because this was an amazing year for my son.
    He was his shiniest and bravest and grew so much.
    There are still things to work on,
    but that will be forever, right?
    This year, my best guy went surfing.
    He tried horseback riding and learned to ride a bike,
     and performed in front of hundreds of people in huge venues.
    Oh, that Boy of mine.
    Somehow, he always exceed my expectations.
    And now, there are ten minutes left in 2014
     and I think about the mark I want to make on the year.
    I don't think I'll go the traditional resolution route.
    There is a laundry list of things to change and improve on but,
        instead,
    I think I'll focus on the things I did right in 2014
    and keep them going.
    I feel like if I do that,
      improvement can't help but follow.
    So, that's what I wish for all of you-
     a year full of love and health and happiness and fulfillment
    and a year of continuing the good things in your life.

    Happy, happy New Year to everyone I love, to the friends I have met through this little blog, to so many people who show me their love and support and friendship. Wishing you ALL the best of everything that 2015 has to offer you!