Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sammy is Six

Today is Sammy's six birthday. And he is running a temperature. I think we will be having our cake next week. Poor guy. :-(

Plan Is A Four Letter Word

Some people are smart enough to make a plan for their life. I never was. I had a general vision of how I thought my future would look but wasn't sure how I would get there.

Once I entered high school, I never applied myself. I spent more time thinking up creative ways to escape class than I ever spent studying. How I graduated is a complete mystery.

After the misery of high school, I was in no hurry to go to college. So I entered the military for a bit and that didn't suit me either. That whole order taking thing rubbed me the wrong way. What was I thinking when I joined?

Then I conceived a surprise baby. I quickly married and almost as quickly divorced. I moved back in with my parents.

Not too many years later, I met the man I am married to now. We married and lived with his parents for about a year. Then he found his dream job in San Jose, California so off we went.

I had always assumed that whatever I did in life, the one definite was that I would be a working mom. It was the way I was raised and although most of my jobs were dead end and miserable, the self-esteem of a paycheck was immeasurable.

My husband told me I could be a stay at home mom if I wanted and since I felt like I had missed much of my daughter's earlier years, I took him up on his offer.

The Bay Area was great. While my daughter attended school, I attended some college. It was fun. Who would have thought? I couldn't decide on a major but continued taking the core classes.

We decided to have another baby and to buy a house. This was when reality slapped fantasy in the face. Buy a house in the Bay Area? Mwahahahahaha. For two-hundred thousand dollars, a person could buy a six-hundred square foot mountain shack that was about forty-five minutes from work. But that was only if it were possible to bid higher on it than the other fifty people who wanted the same shack.

How I loved the Bay Area - the culture, the people of all colors, the delicious pot lucks at my daughter's school...But we had to move to afford a house so we headed East to the Sacramento area. This was my husband's idea. It was a great idea too. I just hated to move.

We purchased a sixteen-hundred square foot house on our own plot of land. I stayed at home with my older daughter and our new baby. I didn't know anybody. I was miserable. I didn't realize I was struggling with depression at the time. Hindsight does me no good now.

We went through the motions with one kid in school and one kid at home. The youngest was almost school age when we decided we were done having kids. The positive pregnancy test was approximately a week after that decision.

A little over nine months later, we had our boy. He wasn't the happiest baby in the world. He had lots of tummy aches. He screamed during car rides unless I played obnoxious kid's music Cd's. The wheels on the minivan went round and round, round and round...

My oldest was very resentful of the kid's music. She would far rather put on the radio with adult music and hear him screaming from the back seat.

Three years later we received his autism diagnosis. That was a surprise bump in the road. Shortly after, we started him on his special diet.

Many therapies and over two years later, he was ready to be mainstreamed in kindergarten with an aide.

I knew that kindergarten would go well and he would go into first-grade easily. When he went into first grade, it would be time to get a part-time job or go back to school.

Well, he has done well this year, but traditional school requires that you sit still and pay attention. Sitting still is torture for him. He bounces around, makes noises in class and gets in other children's personal space. My boy is a square peg in a round hole.

So, not without trepidation, I have decided to home school. That is not something that I was ever going to do. Home school people never get any personal time away from their kids. Home school people either have infinite patience or an endless supply of Valium. At least that is what I have always assumed.

Here we are in a faltering economy. Grocery and utility prices are killing us. My husband's employer handed out five-percent pay cuts around the board. We could really use an extra person going out into the workforce.

But my son needs what he needs.

There really is a point here somewhere. I think it is about how different things can end up than you ever imagined them.

My vision of my life involved two working parents, two children, nice toys and absolutely no bumps in the road.

We have a few toys but nothing fancy. I count my blessings though. How incredibly lucky we are compared to so many other countries.

Many of the dinners I used to cook had help from a box. Now I avoid MSG, would buy organic if I could, and am ever surprised by the contents of my grocery cart. Flax seed is for those crazy, organic food eating people, right?

I make my own laundry detergent and cleaning products, wash my hair with baking soda and condition it with an apple cider vinegar rinse.

Add to that homeschooling and who the heck am I?

But it's okay. I feel like I have ended up where I was supposed to be. It is odd to me how things are so far from where I ever pictured myself. Life is funny like that. Don't you think? And if anybody has some extra valium for the 2009/2010 school year, my address is...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Toe to Toe With Mr. Stubborn

Sammy has a stubborn streak a mile wide. Make that two miles.

Today we got snow, just a little bit. This happens maybe every three to five years.

He and Azure were very excited to go out in the snow. I handed them snow pants. Azure happily put hers on. Sammy flatly refused. I told him if he didn't wear them he couldn't go in the snow. This was a big mistake. A typical child would have put on the pants. Not Sammy.

He cried and hollered. Azure went outside. He cried louder. I tried reasoning with him to no avail. Then I tried forcing him in the damn pants. He wouldn't wear them so I went outside with Azure. He shrieked out the window.

Finally I told him he could go outside in sweats and a coat but he was grounded from the television, the computer and video games for the rest of the day.

He went outside but, at this point, he was determined to be pissed off.

I took his picture and showed it to him in the viewer. I told him he needed to smile so he pulled the corner of his lips up for the next picture.

I also took a picture of Azure by her snowman.

The snow is gone now but I shall keep my blackmail photos forever.