Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Monday, June 28, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

Today is the first time I have ever sent my oldest over state lines without her father. Today is the first day of summer youth camp. We have been planning for this since last year when she went to the local children's camp. She went without incident, and that was quite an important step in this Aspie girl's life towards autonomy.

As I got her ready for this day, I counted socks, underwear, swimsuits, towels, etc. We talked about the dangers of going places alone and the importance of the buddy system. I even explained the ever present topic of "Few people are interested in Pokemon," and what is a good topic to strike up with other girls in junior high and high school. Unfortunately, there was one thing I didn't plan for and it ruined my morning.

The youth director wanted the kids to be there by 7:30. My summer school director was kind enough to let me arrive late to work. I got my daughter to church at exactly 7:30, unloaded her gear, got her things onto a pull trailer and stood around talking to other moms. We had idle conversation. "Hi, what's your name?" "Which one is your daughter?" "How long have you come here?" "Cute top." All the while, I am watching my girl stand observing other people, standing in proximity to other girls, listening to their conversations, but not once saying hello or interjecting her two cents.

Departure time was not to be until 8:30. At 8:15, the youth director began giving directions. I noticed that I was one of only a handful of parents who stayed to see their kiddos off. The youth director announces the number of vans, SUVs and minivans. My daughter is sitting next to a girl, but isn't showing her any regard. Then I begin wondering who she will be riding with, but wanting her to independent, I let her figure that out. This turned out to be a mistake.

I walked up behind her and asked, do you know what van you will be riding on. I hear her mention a group of girls, but I start counting them and they are riding in an SUV, and they are just the right amount with no room for more. What do I do? I try to let her figure it, but she gets up when they call the white SUV and then have to tell her that there are too many people for that van. Try another.

In the end, I see that everyone has chosen a vehicle except her. I begin to get annoyed and have flashbacks of years of being left out as a teenager. Trying not to transfer my feelings upon her, I have to problem solve because I realize that the youth director is not directing. (Why hasn't he been more proactive in signing up for vans?) I am quickly scanning vans. I think I see an opening and question the driver. There is another girl standing outside the van waiting for a seat. The driver is moving a suitcase, and I'm thinking it's for my girl. It's not. I question him again because I am certain there is a spare spot between to teens in the front bench. There is. The driver makes them move. She gets on the van and I feel a slight sense of relief. Then begin to wonder again.

What will the rest of the week be like? Will she be searching for a bunk? Are the people she is sitting next to going to include her in conversation? Is someone in the clinic going to remind her to take her medication? Was this year too soon to send her off to camp? If not now, when? Should I have said more on her registration slip? (These people have supposedly known her since she was 3.) Should I have pulled one of the sponsors aside? Would that be setting my girl up for people to have preconceived notions about her?

I walked to my car trying not cry. Trying not to let people see me cry. I drive off to the convenience store parking lot next door to finish crying. By the end of the day of work, I was still/am on the verge of tears. Tears of anger and frustration, thinking I should have done more.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Is Officially Here!

...But to a Texan, that doesn't mean much. We have been having close to 95-100F temperatures for over a month.

Nonetheless, it doesn't keep us inside. We continue our daily routines and go on excursions armed with hats, water and sunscreen. Like this past weekend where we ventured out to our annual trip to Holland (TX) for the corn festival.

In a recent post, I shared with you some Team Brandi pics, but there still more photos to share from our excursion. So sit right back, get a glass of Texas Tea and cool off while I share our day.

This is what I look like after a day in the heat. It isn't sunburn and I am don't feel bad. It is just what happens to me. People get worried, but I am hydrated and don't feel terribly hot. My poor son has the same affliction. His is far worse as he can't even get in the hot car without immediately sweating. We live with it and try to allay people's fears that we are having heat stroke.
Most Central Texas parades begin with the 1st Cavalry Marching Band. Imagine getting paid to march in a band!
Then there is festival queen's float with her court. Reminds me of a Sandra Bullock movie where she returned to her home town where she had been crowned Queen of Corn and her daughter called her Cream of Corn.
This was new to me, a miniature version of an old Texas bank.
Every Texas parade has horses from the Sherrif's Posse and...A Shriner in a miniature car.

The mandatory John Deere tractors and last but not least,
a good ole Texas outhouse.

After the parade, we headed over to the carnival where the children rode on the following rides.
On the merry go round with one very creepy bunny.
Going up the Ferris Wheel
James favorite, the dragon roller coaster
All to be topped off with this horrific ride that flipped them around and around, but they insisted on riding. I tried to dissuade them by saying we only had 5 tickets left and the ride required 4 per person, but the carnie let both on anyway. I don't think James will want to ride that one for a very long time.

We survived the carnival only $22 worse for wear. The kids had fun, and I got some nice pictures out of the deal. And you got to hear another part of the Victory Saga.

Have a great Saturday.

Bike Day Part Deux

Not as bad as day one until little man decided we were going as far as MacDonald's. He sat on the curb screaming. Then a police car drove by. I had to go back and get the bike out of his grasp and repeat the first day's drama. Next time I'm going to get up really early and go on my own. Although this double duty workout must have some benefits.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Worst Bike Ride Ever

So my plan was to ride bikes everyday from now until Peggy comes Unfortunately, I didn't account for a rug rat who doesn't know how to ride a bike yet. He isn't old enough to stay home alone, and staying with his sister is basically the same as staying home alone. So he came along for the ride.

I got a double workout because I would ride forward 50 yards and he would ride forward 20. I then would get off my bike, run back to where he was, put him back on the bike he had fallen off and pull his 60 pounds uphill. On the way back from the cul de sac around the corner from my house which is as far as I got in 20 minutes using the aforementioned process, I changed my method. I put my bike down, put him back on his bike, pulled his 60 pound body up the hill (yes it is uphill both ways - in my opinion,) and then ran back to my bike (yay, downhill) and road my bike up to the driveway where I left him. Then I carried his Spiderman bicycle (I hate you Spidey) across the street and told him to walk his bike back home which he subsequently refused to do so when I reached my driveway, I had to run downhill (yay) to get him three driveways away and drag him the rest of the way home since he had fixed himself to the bicycle and once again refused to get off.

I may not have rode as far as I wanted, but I think I got a workout nonetheless. Kinda reminds me of another workout I had a few years ago. Feel free to use any of these methods to work off the summer ice cream, or in the case of my down under friends, the hot cocoa (?) you have been enjoying.

(PS - if any of you are asking why I don't just bike ride while he is at daycare, let me just remind you I live in Central Texas, and at this very moment with no sun at all, it is 88 degrees. So imagine what is like when I get off of work at 1:30 in the afternoon. No thank you.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Team Brandi

Today I saw the most touching expression of support that a town of just over 1100 people could show toward one woman.

We went to Holland, TX for their annual corn festival, but this year had a theme like no other theme I have ever seen before.

After the military marching band and traditional corn queen float passed, I was surprised by a group of bikers swathed in pink. I thought it was unique, but didn't let it weigh too heavy on my mind.

Then came this group of ladies in pink sporting Team Brandi t-shirts.

But the most unique part of the parade was this...Do you believe this?
or this?I then decided I better ask the Team Brandi woman that was standing next to me with a video camera about Brandi.
It was then that I learned about Brandi Shelton who was going through her third bout of cancer which this time has spread to her bones. The entire town decided to dedicate the festival to her. She even got to ride on the pink fire truck. Unfortunately, I didn't know this until the truck was too far past for photos.

I was blessed by the outpouring of love and support that this little town was able to muster for one person. Her story brought me to tears, something that doesn't usually happen at a corn festival.

Anyway, the rest of the festival was its usual heat filled fun time. I will do a separate post about it with more pictures tomorrow.

Things I Love About My Boy

Waiting for his turn to dance

He is funny. He gets humor and sarcasm. He makes remarks and waits for you to get it. However, he doesn't tell funny jokes. With those he makes up jokes that make no sense. For example, I will say, "Why did the lettuce always win the race? ... Because he is always a head." Then James will say, "Why did the squirrel cross the road? ...Because he was a silly squirrel head and he eats acorns and is running across the highway." What??! Last night he was standing next to me pretending he had lost his voice. He was mouthing words and trying to get me to guess what he was saying. The only thing I got was, "I lost my voice." It ended with me tickling him to make him laugh and prove he hadn't lost his voice.

He remembers EVERYTHING. On Sundays we have breakfast after church while Cait is spending time with the youth group. We go to the same place every week. When we order our breakfast, we get Cait a cheeseburger, pickles only with ketchup. Sometimes I forget. He never does. "Mom! Did we get Caitlin's cheeseburger??" Another instance of a good memory...Every year we go to the corn festival in a little Texas town called Holland. He has attended at age 3 and 4. The first year that he came along, we watched the parade, ate corn, shopped the vendors and left for a drive through the countryside in the air conditioned car. The next year, Gary came too. I guess I didn't impress on Gary the importance of not encouraging attending carnivals with poorly maintained carnival rides and creepy carnies who try to get you to spend your money games you can never win. So after the parade, Gary takes the kids over to carnival. Let me tell you, when I told my son that we were going to the corn festival this is what he said, "You mean the place where you walk over the railroad tracks and watch the fire trucks, tractors and motorcycles and walk back over the railroad tracks to the place with the roller coaster and the thing that goes round and round?"

He loves music. Just last week he was seen dancing in the store while waiting for Caitlin to come out of the dressing room. There was some hip hop music playing. He turned his hat sideways and and started moving like a break dancer. He also remembers the tune of every song he hears. He doesn't always understand the words so it makes me laugh. However when he started mumble singing the words to Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," I knew I had better begin changing the station when such songs were coming on. I didn't want my son to end up like this kid.

My son has a tender heart. He loves his sister even though she can't show love back. He is always asking her to push him on the his horse swing. She hates it but does it because I ask her to. Inevitably, he does something to make her angry. He's a boy. He does boyish things. She comes in and doesn't want to play anymore. Well, yesterday we were watching Ni Hao Kai-lan. The lesson to be learned on this episode was to not be a bragger. The characters were in several contests, and the little tiger was bragging every time he won. All the other little characters got their feelings hurt and didn't want to play anymore. Kai-lan's grandfather taught the tiger that instead of bragging when he wins, he should find something nice to say about how the other players performed. Immediately, my boy said, "I want to tell Cait something." I called his sister out, and he said, "Cait, you did a really good job pushing me on the swing today." Of course, his sister in her usual Asperger's way said, "OK" and walked away. I had to call her back and teach her how to take a compliment and how to carry on a conversation, but that is nothing new.

Below is an older Scrapblog I put together about him. I found it when I was looking for the Scrapblog about the corn festival.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hidden Rules & Common Courtesy

I was taking my son to daycare this morning and some questions occurred to me. It was all a matter of courtesy and hidden social rules.

  1. The school has a large parking lot. Most parents are trying to get a child or two out of the back seat. Why do people feel they must park in the space right next to you when there are 20+ spaces available elsewhere? There you are pulling your child out of the car, door wide open so you don't bump his head and along comes Mr./Mrs. Impatient who noses his/her car into the space next to you as if to say..."I'm in a hurry." Listen mister/lady...I am in a hurry too, but I am going to slow down just to impede your progress.
  2. When you are entering a building and you know that someone is walking up behind you with child in tow, how close to you do they have to be in order for you to have to wait and hold the door for them?
  3. Inversely, when a person is holding a door for you even when you are clearly too far away for them to need to do it for you, how fast do you need to walk when wearing dress shoes? Is there an obligation to hurry up? I tell you what...when I have dress shoes on, even low ones, I am not a fast walker. Then you see the person standing there holding the door open waiting for you...Believe you feel obligated.
  4. This brings to mind something else in the area of door holding. How should you hold a door open? (I know the real answer.) Do you open the door first and wait for that person who is far away to come and then enter yourself? Do you do the modern, walk through the door with your children, prop the door open while you are halfway in method to let the person know you saw them and didn't want to slam the door in their face? Do you just decide they are too far away to hold the door so you slip in, acting as if you didn't see them, even though they parked RIGHT NEXT TO YOU while you were trying to get your child out of the back seat of your car?
Maybe there is a better solution??
Then again, maybe not.

There are hidden rules in society. You feel everyone knows them, but really they don't.

I have more questions, but they have to do with things like grocery store behavior, handicapped parking use and the like. Since I travel with a 5 year old who doesn't understand half of my ranting and a teenager who could care less, I have to share my thoughts here.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When The Whining Continues I Love... look at the things I love about my kids. See below as I go outside to stop the whining.

My Lil Slugger

Running for Home

Who's the kid?

How much longer will that branch hold??

Disaster averted. The whining has ceased and all is peaceful again.
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