MBA Mommy

Part MBA, Part MRS, Part MOM…..All ME

Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Shout Out

Posted by mbamommy on November 24, 2011

I was perusing Facebook this morning, seeing everyone’s comments about Thanksgiving and what they’re thankful for and it got me thinking. I wasn’t planning on writing a Thanksgiving focused post, but everyone’s comments made me realize I had something to say today. What am I thankful for?  Of course I’m grateful for my friends and family and for their and my good health. That, in my opinion, goes without saying. Without friends and family and without health….well….that’s just not a life I want to lead.

So, then I got to thinking about are all the things I’m thankful for that allow me to live my life. This life. Not the one I imagined. Or had conjured up in my head when I was young and naive. But my day to day real life. So, below are the list of things that I’m giving a shout out to today (in no particular order). And, I promise to do my best to support these things as much as they’ve supported me.

I’m thankful for….

  • HIMAT – without which we would never be able to consider private school or purchasing a home
  • My Angels – without whom I would be completely lost in this world of Asperger’s
  • Early intervention – without which I would be completely lost in this world of Asperger’s
  • Weighted vests – which have made such a difference in impulse control and executive functioning for my little man
  • Education – on so many levels: my degrees, my kid’s budding bilingualism, my understanding of my son
  • My husband’s job – for providing us with so much
  • My job – for its work-life balance
  • That I live today and not at an earlier point in history – all in, I think we have it pretty good
  • My iPhone (yes, it’s made that much of a difference in my and my family’s lives)
  • My arms and legs – which allow me to do all the things I do throughout the day
  • Living in Colorado – because no matter what happens on a bad day, it’s happening here and that makes everything brighter
  • My daughter – my constant ray of sunshine
  • Social media – because how else would I be able to re-connect with people I haven’t seen in 15-20 years?
  • Straight irons – without which my hair would be a complete mess
  • Skype/FaceTime – which allows me to be with my family no matter how far away we are
  • My blog – for being my outlet  and YOU for loaning me your ears (eyes?) and hearts
  • Toddler alarm clocks that change when it’s time to get up – because otherwise I’d be starting my day at 5am
  • Kid’s Clubs at the gym – for giving my little sensory seeker a means to get his squirmy worms out while mommy gets to exercise
  • My Toyota Highlander – the most reliable, safe-feeling mode of transportation I’ve ever had

There’s more…and maybe throughout the day I’ll continue adding as I think of things. But, for now, I think this is a good start.

What about you?

Posted in ME | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Rose By Any Other Name

Posted by mbamommy on September 19, 2011

When I was pregnant with Z, he wasn’t called Z. Granted, we didn’t know he was a he until he pee’d all over J at birth, but his name wasn’t Z.  It was Matthew.  We loved it.  See, J and I were very scientific with our choices in names.  It had to pass 4 criteria.

  1. It had to sound good for a little kid. (“Matty, I just want to nibble your cute little cheeks!” Check.)
  2. It had to sound cool for a high school kid. (“Matt?  Yeah, he’s class president.” Check.)
  3. It had to sound good as an adult. (“Matthew, CEO”. Check)
  4. We had to love the way it sounded because we would be saying it 1,986,234,754,864,356,843,543,343 times.

So, obviously, Matthew cleared all hurdles.  We were all set.  And, we were almost 100% with the girl names too.  It was down to either Elizabeth or S.  Both of which had enormous merits.  They cleared all above mentioned hurdles.  Plus, isn’t Beth your best friend?  Don’t you just want to go play soccer with the team captain…Beth?  And…S…sweet, caring, loving S….honor roll, valedictorian, save the world S.  Totally set.

And then I hit 36 weeks.

And the crazies started.

I realized that I couldn’t name a son Matthew.  Under no uncertain circumstances could I…nice, Jewish girl that I am…name my son after one of the disciples.  Never mind that there’s a gazillion Matthew’s that are also Jewish.  And never mind that we were raising them Catholic, wherein it is perfectly acceptable to name a child after a disciple.  I couldn’t do it.

Nope….the crazies won.

And, instead of fighting his sweet, loving, axe-wielding, get-this-friggin-thing-out-of-me wife, J agreed to discuss.  Now, you must remember, it takes J a looooooonnnnnnnnggggggg time to make up his mind.  But once he does, it’s set.  Unlike me, who more resembles a ricocheting ball (yes.  no.  maybe. sort of.  no, yes.  wait….what were we trying to decide?).  So, for him to even entertain the idea of going back to the drawing board so late in the game (we had been discussing names since before we even got married) was H.U.G.E.

So, we talked, and negotiated, and I may have cried a little bit.  Like I said, the crazies had totally set in.

And then we landed on Z.  And we both kind of loved it.  It definitely met our criteria. And, almost as importantly, it made me put down the axe and stop crying (craaaazzzzzyyyyyy).

So, there you have it.  Z is Z and not Matthew because my husband loves me….and is only a little afraid of axes.

…in case you were wondering.

And, just as an aside….who do you think liked the name S more than Elizabeth?

Oh…and one other thing to noodle over….do you think the kids would be different if we had named them Matthew and Elizabeth?

Posted in MOM | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Run Daddy Run

Posted by mbamommy on August 5, 2011

As you may remember, back in May, J ran the Colfax marathon in order to raise money for the Colorado Autism Society.  It was a momentous event for our little family and one that each of us got to play a role in.

At the end of this post, I’ve added the letter he sent out to everyone who donated, but what that probably doesn’t portray was how moved we were of the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family.  Folks, we’re talking about people who don’t have any extra money to do anything for themselves…much less donate their hard earned money as a show of support for us and our little man.  There were countless nights when J and I would review the donations coming in and both of us would have tears in our eyes.  We truly truly have the most amazing network of friends. People who didn’t even know us directly were donating!  It was amazing.

The day of the race was cold, grey and overcast.  Sadly, the kiddos had to wear sweatshirts over their t-shirts and long sleeves under.  Z put up a HUGE fight because he was VERY concerned Daddy wouldn’t see his shirt when he ran by.  I was able to appease him by promising that as soon as we saw Daddy he’d be able to take his sweatshirt off.  J started running at around 6am, reporting later that it actually snowed the first couple miles.  Z, S and I got to the end of the race a little earlier than I would have liked because I wasn’t sure how long it would take to find parking, how crowded the race would be, etc etc.  Lucky for us there was plenty of open space and not a lot of noise within 1/4 mile from the finish line.  We set up camp in a grassy area where they could play and I could keep an eye out for the moving autism ribbon.  The kids were good, but getting cold and restless….then…there he was…right on time…. Z ripped his sweatshirt off and RAN out to meet Daddy.  Z, with a full tank of gas, made it tough for poor Daddy to keep up!  S tried her darndest to follow along but just wasn’t fast enough so she and I ran on the sidelines as the boys crossed the finish line together.  I overheard very sweet comments about little Z man and his “Run Daddy Run” shirt and saw smiles the faces of the spectators watching them run in together…..it was definitely a moment I’ll never forget.  I wish I could share pics from when they crossed over, they’re absolutely amazing, but alas, they’re also not free.

I *can* share this one though….

And, this one was posted in the ASC summer newsletter (along with a one-page Volunteer Profile of J).  You can tell the kiddos were done with the cold at this point.

And finally, the thank you letter J sent out:

As a supporter to our cause, you helped make this project a complete success:
  • The team I help organize surpassed its fundraising goal by 20%, providing a pleasant surprise to the finance committee chair at the Autism Society of Colorado for the 2011 budget year
  • Thanks to you, I was the #1 fundraiser, inspiring me to continue with another race of some type later this year
  • I finished the marathon in 3 hours, 27 minutes (beating my goal of 3:30)
  • Perhaps most importantly to me, I had the personal joy and honor of running the final 0.2 miles with the Z-man himself.  He took his mini-race very seriously, and I had trouble keeping up when he started to run, but when we crossed the finish line, I hugged him, and he said, “Daddy, that was fun, but next time I want to run with you FROM THE START of the race”.  (Something tells me that day isn’t as far away as I think!)
So, from all the C’s, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  Personally, I cannot tell you how grateful I am, and I promise you that 4.5yr old Z will, one day, truly understand what you did for him.
“It is not enough to prepare our children for the world; we also must prepare the world for our children.”
– Luis J. Rodriguez
Best,

J

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

From Here to There, From There to Here…..

Posted by mbamommy on August 4, 2011

…funny things are everywhere.

I realized yesterday that it was a year ago this week that our migration to Colorado began.  J had just received his job offer and I jumped on a plane and spent 4 days looking at rentals, schools and therapy providers.

Was it really just a year ago?  It feels like a lifetime and a minute all rolled into one.  So much has happened in a year and so much more will happen as we go forward (ugh….I shouldn’t try to be philosophical before I have my coffee in the morning…that was terrible).

I have an analogy I like to use to describe my family’s situation right now.  You know how when you play a slot machine, you pull the the lever (or, I guess these days you just press a button), and the slots spin around and around, slowing down one by one until they line up along the line?  And then you see what you’ve won?  I feel like our life is kind of like that slot machine.  The first slot has stopped spinning….the kids/school situation.  The second one is slowing….J’s job situation.  The third one is still spinning and will need to continue until the other two are in place (me!).

To go in more depth about that, I should give a (semi) brief update on how everyone’s doing.

Z is doing amazingly well.  When we first got here and he started preschool with his IEP and private therapy services, they had to do a lot of interventions to help him regulate his sensory overloads and learn how to play with other kids.  We (J, I, his therapists and the teachers) literally had to teach him how to play.  And, not just the turn-taking stuff that every kid has to learn. We also had to teach him to read expressions, understand the give and take of a conversation and how to be flexible enough to allow other people (adults first and then kids) influence the games they were playing without having a complete meltdown when he wasn’t scripting everything.  In the beginning, the OT would bring him in from recess early and take him to the ‘motor room’ where she had a swing and a dark, quiet corner where he could wind down.  Otherwise, his sensory system completely overloaded with the transition from playground to loud, chaotic bathroom to sitting down in a classroom.  By the end of the year, not only was he a part of every minute of the class, he was helping other kids resolve conflicts and the SpEd team was using games/therapies they usually reserve for kindergarteners because he blew through the more age appropriate stuff!

It wasn’t an easy road in the least.  I spent a lot of my time driving him to and from school and therapy (he spent 10 hrs a week in school and 10 hrs a week in therapy).  But the teams he worked with were all angels…truly seeing my son and his strengths and using those strengths to work through the weaknesses.  One example: Z is obsessed with airplanes.  Has been for as long as I can remember.  So, his school OT created a game where she’d ask him “How is your engine running?  Fast, like an F-16?  Just right, like a Blackhawk? Or slow, like a Bi-plane?”  She used it to help him identify how he was feeling and she altered the traditional usage from Winnie the Pooh (fast like Tigger, just right like Pooh or slow like Eeyore) to something he could relate to.  She made charts for school, home and his private therapy so we could all use it.  He loved it and was able to identify how he was feeling and we could help him regulate from there.

A year ago, Z would scream when we washed his hair during bath.  He HATED getting his hair and face wet and we’d have to take extra precautions not to get water in his face or ears….I think it actually hurt him somehow.  We started swim lessons at the beginning of the summer and for weeks he would cry and get upset whenever his teacher wanted him to put his head under water.  And then…one day…BAM….he was swimming.  Something clicked in that little head of his and now we can’t keep him ABOVE water!  He graduated to the next level of swim school.  He’s extremely strong and can swim a good ways across the pool underwater.  We’re at the pool all weekend, with him jumping in, swimming to us and back to the wall, jumping off our shoulders, playing with older kids…he even ventured into the deep end last weekend!  J and I look at each other sometimes and say, “Is that really our little Z?!”

Before we moved here, I heard horror stories about services available in Colorado.  How the schools weren’t great, how there weren’t experienced service providers, insurance didn’t cover autism related services, etc etc.  I have to say that I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences with everyone who’s worked with Z.  They were right about insurance….the situation is abominable….I’ve even thought about getting in touch with Erin Brokovich to see if she could make a difference, but I’ve been a little busy with my own little life so far.

So….Z’s doing so well that we stopped therapy for the summer.  I don’t think we’ll be starting ABA again but we are in the process of getting OT rolling again.  He’s still got some challenges regulating himself (what 4yo doesn’t, right?) and because of his new school environment (more on that in a minute) we think it’s still important to have outside support.

The biggest change (for me, at least) is my relationship with me.  A year ago, he could take me or leave me.  He was ALL about Daddy.  I would have to coerce affection out of him.  For some reason, he just wasn’t interested in hugging and kissing me…or anyone else for that matter…just Daddy.  There were nights when I would go into his room to say goodnight when he and Daddy were reading and J would be close to threatening him with timeout so that he’d give me a hug. I always stopped him before it got to that point, satisfying myself with just blowing him a kiss.  And, I understood what was going on.  But, it still sucked.

He still fights me at every turn.  His logical little brain constantly looks for ways to rationalize his way out of doing his chores or anything else I tell him to do.  He questions everything and refuses to accept a half answer, which I mistakenly try to give him sometimes.  But instead of hitting, scratching, biting, kicking when I say no to him, he (mostly) accepts it.  Pouting and telling me he’s mad at me of course…..but a FAR cry from our arguments of a year ago.  Folks, he TELLS me he’s mad.  Do you understand how HUGE that it?

Anyway, our relationship has changed and evolved into something I treasure.  He asks for me to read books to him at night.  He asks me to cuddle with him.  He comes to me when he’s upset.  He freely gives me hugs and kisses, even sometimes without me asking for them.  He tells me he loves me and squeezes even harder.  Those parents of kiddos on the spectrum that are reading this will understand how unbelievably precious this is.  Those parents of NT kiddos…..please cherish each and every hug, they are a blessing.  I find myself waiting until he lets go to end an embrace because every hug reminds me of when I used to not get them.  And I never want them to stop.  Hopefully now they won’t (at least until high school and I’m a constant embarrassment to him).

OK, so now little S….who’s not so little anymore.  My baby girl.  What can I say about her?  Well….not much without getting teary.  She’s our angel, she’s our diva, she’s the light of our house and she can just as easily bring our home crumbling down around her with her tantrums.  She’s growing a very funny, very sweet, very LARGE personality.  Her teachers all love her and comment on her dramatic way of talking.  She’s all hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions.  She’s a smart little lady who excels at everything big bro doesn’t: relationships, friends, reading people….street smarts to his book smarts.  She’s a tough little girl who won’t back down to bullying by big bro.  She’s a natural athlete who can throw a ball better than Z.  She’s not afraid of anything and is usually the one leading Z into trying new things (like swimming).  She’s my girly-girl who loves all things pink (including her elephants) but is dirty from head to toe at the end of every day.  She idolizes big bro, is a Daddy’s girl and has an amazing bond with Mommy.  She’s a snuggler and a cuddler and a jokester all in one.  What’s the saying?  “When she’s good she’s very very good.  And when she’s bad she’s terrible.”?  Something like that.  Well, that’s my S.  She’s stubborn, independent and opinionated. (I have NO idea where she gets that). She keeps us on our toes and laughing all the time.  I remember being terrified of having a girl….and now I couldn’t imagine life without her.

So…school.  We’ve decided to send the kids to a language immersion school to learn Mandarin.  They’re in camp at the school this summer and they both LOVE it.  They come home every day with new words, new songs, new friends.  J and I are so far extremely impressed with the school, the community, the education….we’re so excited we found this for our kids.

And, because that first slot has stopped moving, everything else can slowly fall into place.  The kids are in a great spot…they’ve got their groove on.  And it’s so wonderful to see after all we’ve been through.

As for J….well, he’s getting his groove on too.  I’ll write more about his marathon in another post (or, maybe have him write it? hmmm….) but as far as getting involved in the Denver community and finding a good job fit…well, it’s all there.  Now that my gregarious, outgoing husband is out from behind his desk and doing what he was born to do, his career path is bright and solid.  His “thing” this summer is golf and he’s taking full advantage of the Colorado summer to get out on the course and hack away.  Recently, he and I began a workout program called Insanity.  The workout is hard….insane, if you will.  But what’s truly insane is we get up at 5:30am in the morning to do it.  Crazy, right?  But, it’s been fun.  It helps your motivation when the person who’s sleeping next to you is pushing you out of bed when the alarm goes off.  It’s motivating to hear the huffing and puffing and under-your-breath swearing going on right next to you.  It’s an amazing way to wake up and keep your energy going throughout the day.  And, if NOTHING else goes right for the rest of the day, at least you worked out!  J and I end every workout high fiving and fist bumping.  It’s fun to have something new to do together.  And, boy, do we sleep well!

I know I was the driving force behind us moving to CO, but he’s certainly a willing participant.  He drank the kool-ade and we’re both loving living here.

And, finally, me.  Well, my slot is still spinning.  There are a lot of things that still need to be finalized before mine stops.  Things like finally selling our house in NC (we have a contract but it’s contingent on them selling their house).  Things like figuring out whether I want to/need to and can/can not go back to work full time.  And, what will that look like?  Where would I work full time?  Do I  formalize the contract/consulting I’m doing now?  Do I want to?  And, what’s best for my family?  For me?  So many questions.

But, that’s all really ok.  Because, I’m having the time of my life right now.  J and I have dubbed this summer the “Summer of MBA Mommy”.  I’m working part time and the kids are in camp all day.  I’ve got free time to do the things I want to do (yoga, blog, reading, writing, walking, seeing friends) and free time to do the things I need to do.  I’m making some money….not a ton….but not nothing either.  I’ve written before about wanting to Be Present in my life and I will write more about Finding Balance.  I feel that I’ve struck the perfect balance this summer.  Frankly, I feel like I’ve won the lottery.  Freedom during the summer in Colorado?  There’s not much more I could ask for….well, except for someone to buy our buyer’s house so I can stop my obsessive online house hunting and start for real….anyone in the market for a new house in Raleigh?  I know a GREAT one you could buy. 🙂

Because then? JACKPOT.

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Modern Day Circle of Life

Posted by mbamommy on September 22, 2010

Do you remember when divorce was for grownups?  When it was the “D” word that your parents spoke about in hushed voices when discussing family friends?  Or, in my case, openly speaking about it as the norm because my folks were divorced by the time I was 2?  It seemed like such an ‘adult’ thing to do.  And I always thought about it from a kid’s perspective.  How different kids had different custody agreements and how frustrating it could be to go from house to house.  Different rules, different clothes, different phone #’s, etc.  And, how in comparison, I was lucky because divorce wasn’t a big deal for me.  It’s how our family worked and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

J and I reminisce frequently about being on the “wedding curcuit”.  You know, when every weekend of your year is booked with weddings, showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, engagement parties, etc etc?  And all your extra cash goes to flights, hotels, car rentals and wedding gifts?  It was a blast.  You got to go to new places, see old friends, dress up cute, dance, drink, eat and do it again the following weekend.  Kind of like Wedding Crashers, but not with the weird twists….most of the time.

And then we hit the “baby shower circuit”.  Now, weekends were filled with baby showers, “sip and see’s”, making meals for new parents, baptisms, bris’s and buying super cute baby clothes.

Sadly, we’ve hit the “divorce circuit”. No, there’s no parties and no presents.  Just a lot of time on the phone listening, consoling, shaking our heads and wondering what happened or, even worse, looking at each other and saying “Yeah, we kind of saw that one coming”.  And, all of a sudden, I’m thinking about it from the adult’s side.  The anger and frustration and sadness.  The wondering about how it’ll affect the kids and how they’re going to keep it together for their kid’s sake.  I guess the timing makes sense.  I mean my kids are almost 4 and just 2, so we’re right around the age our parents were when divorces were happening.

NO, J and I are not getting divorced.  That’s the beauty and comfort of marrying a Catholic man.  Divorce is a 4-letter word in his family so I’m pretty confident I can act like myself and he’ll still stick around.  Plus, we’re still very much in love.  Even with all the s*#t life’s thrown at us.  I couldn’t imagine doing it without him at my side.

But, it’s sad to think that we know more people getting divorced than getting married or having babies….even their 2nd, 3rd, 4th babies.

What’s next?  The “second-marriage circuit”?

Posted in MRS | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Homecoming

Posted by mbamommy on September 16, 2010

Sorry for the 5 week cliff hanger, y’all, but there’s good reason for it.  See we moved.

Go Broncos!

Not just around the corner, not just down the street…half way across the country….TO DENVER!!!!! Whooo hoooo!!!!  Now, if you didn’t know this, I went to undergrad at CU Boulder.  I’ve been coming to Colorado in the winter and summer since I was a little kid and I started my career in a ski town.  So, for me, this truly was coming home.  We’re closer to family, in a bigger city, J’s got a better/more fitting job and the kids have a whole city to explore in great weather.  Even little A, our resident furball, is enjoying the lack of humidity and cooler temps.

So, here we are.  We’ve been here for about 2 weeks.  We’re renting in a great location near J’s work and in a good school district for Z until we can sell our house and then we’ll start thinking about where we’d like to buy.  And then, we’re never moving again.  Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

To say the move was intense is to put it lightly.  J got the job offer and started 3 weeks later.  During that timeframe, I flew out to Denver, found a place to rent, met with school special ed teams and service providers for Z.  All in, I drove over 300 miles, saw almost 20 rentals, had multiple meetings and multiple glasses of wine all in 3 days.  Then, it was back to NC to pack up the house.  Now, when I say pack up, I’m talking about a 4 part pack.  The first part occured in the beginning of the summer when we put our house on the market.  I “de-cluttered” and “de-personalized” the house so it showed well.  The items I packed I needed to assume I wouldn’t see for at least a year or more.  Stage 2 was packing everything we needed to put in a truck and bring out to Denver.  This had to be stuff that I’d need within the next year but not need for the next 2 weeks.  So, things like toys, clothes, kitchen supplies, etc etc.  Then the truck came and we were left with enough clothes to last for a week, 1 pan, 1 pot and plastic plates & utensils (the eco conscience in me cringed the whole time).  Then, J left to drive the car and the dog out.  And I was left with 2 kids, no toys, no hubby for a week.  Stage 3 was packing all the stuff we were left with…excluding the furniture that was being left to stage the house.  Stage 4 comes when we sell the house and either J or I fly back to empty the house.

Phew!

Wanna know how we made it through?  Our Mom’s.  Seriously.  J’s mom flew out and helped him drive across country.  My mom flew out and stayed with the kiddos and me, flew to Denver with us and stayed a couple more days to help unpack.  I guess it’s true that a mother never rests.  I’d like to take a moment of silence to praise the s*#t out of our Moms.  I’m not sure how we would’ve done it without them.  I went to the airport with 5 bags, 2 car seats, 2 carry-ons and 2 napless kiddos.  How I would’ve managed that without an extra pair of arms?  No idea.  And, who, aside from a Mom would willingly offer to sit in a car for 3.5 days to drive cross country if they didn’t have to?!? Thank god for Moms.

Anyhoo….we’re here.  We’re unpacked.  Z’s in pre-k 4 days a week and a social skills group the 5th day.  I’m working on setting up a therapist to work with him in the afternoons.  So far, I’ve been extremely pleased with the services we’ve been working with.  The public school he’s in has a fabulous spec ed  team.  The support I’ve felt and the willingness to help of everyone I’ve spoken to here has been amazing.

The transition has been pretty rocky for everyone, especially Z.  But, he’s starting to pull it together.  S is thrilled she’s got her “Moppy” all to herself every morning when Z’s at school and both kids seem to think the Kids Club at the gym is ok, which means I get to workout. 🙂  I miss my friends in NC, I miss working and having more free time because the kiddos were in preschool all day but after 4 weeks of tough changes, things are smoothing out.

It feels good to be home.

Posted in ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rent

Posted by mbamommy on July 23, 2010

Before I get into this post, I’d like to express my extreme gratitude to everyone who’s read my blog.  And even more gratitude to all of you who’ve reached out to me either here or otherwise.  Your response is overwhelming and it makes me so happy I decided to write about our little Z-man.  It’s enormously therapeutic for me, especially knowing there’s so much love and support out there.  So, thanks.  And, please keep reading. 🙂

I need to take a brief break from telling our Asperger’s saga to thank J for being an ah-ma-zing hubby.  I mentioned I recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of my 25th birthday, right?  Well, I didn’t do the post script.  You see, around here, birthday’s aren’t just one day.  Especially when what you *really* want to do on your bday is only an option a couple weeks later.

See, I have an obsession with Rent.  Seriously, I *heart* Rent.  I honestly can’t get enough of the music.  I’ve seen it 5 or 6 times and have a tendency to listen to the soundtrack on repeat.  I think if I could marry it I would (sorry, J).  The good news is, J is *almost* as obsessed with it as I am….probably by osmosis….I’m a little leaky.

Aaaaannnnnyyyywwwwwaaaaayyyy.  The day Rent shut down on Broadway was indeed a sad day in our household.  I think I cried, but I could be making that up for effect.  But, it was sad nonetheless.  So, imagine my surprise when I heard an ad for it on the radio here in Raleigh, NC.  Really?!?  How could that be?  Who cares!  Let’s go see it!

“J, I know what I want for my bday.  And the whip cream on top would be if you planned the entire night out: babysitter, dinner, tickets, etc.”

Well, folks, my man came through.  Which was such a nice gift.  We always have wonderful date nights and he usually agrees with whatever I plan but he rarely takes the initiative in planning things.  Granted, that’s probably because I’ve wet-noodle beaten him into submission:

“J, what do you want to eat tonight?”  “

I dunno, MBA Mommy, what would you like?”

“No, honey, I don’t care.  you decide.”

“Ok, how about sushi?”

“Hmmm….I was thinking more of ordering a pizza.”.

Seriously, why do I even bother asking him if I already know the answer.  BUT, when it really matters, he knows how to deliver (ask me to post my engagement story sometime…..it’ll make the ladies swoon and the men complain they’ve got big shoes to fill).

But, I digress.

So, last Saturday night, as he planned, the babysitter showed up promptly at 5pm (us old folk get an early start for our big nights out).  I get dressed up in a cute dress and shoes and as we were walking out to the car…..huh?  J, why is there a big black van parked in our driveway? Oh, why, it’s your friendly neighborhood Gary-I Gotcha Taxi, of course.  Triangle peeps, this guy is AWESOME.  His FB tagline is, “YOU DRANK I DRIVE”.  He’s an upscale taxi service with a KARAOKE machine inside complete with strobe lights in sync with the music.  Best of all?  They have a license that allows you to have an open container.

OK, I’ll admit it.  We’re not *exactly* his target market.  I think he spends a lot more time around UNC, Duke and NC State campuses than up in the ‘burbs where we live….but how cool is that?  J not only planned this wonderful evening for us but he threw in a fun little surprise.

So, off to dinner at Second Empire we went with our mini-bottles of wine in hand (W.T., I know), where we had a fabulous dinner complete with Cakebread Chardonnay (my fav and too rich for daily consumption) and chocolate cake (see previous parentheses).  Then, back to our car service and off to the show.

Soooo…….the show.  Rent.  My favorite.  The show I can sing along to just about every word and I cry at almost every song.  Why, because it’s sad?  No, because the music gives me goosebumps (I cry when I get goosebumps?  Huh?).

The show was amazing, although I think the show would be amazing if I was watching The Chipmunks perform it (haha, just had a mental image of Alvin singing Maureen’s “Over the Moon”).  The music was the same.  The stage was the same.  The singing?  The dancing?  Well, I think it left a little to be desired.  I thought JoAnn, Maureen, Collins and Mark did a wonderful job.  But, I thought Roger, Mimi and Benny were lacking.  True, Roger and Mimi are huge shoes to fill but they’re also very important shoes.  And, Angel did a great job dancing but his voice just wasn’t there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  And I wasn’t disappointed in the slightest.  Both J and I simply noticed that we weren’t watching Broadway, that’s all.

Wanna know the best part?  J and I.  As far as we were concerned, we were the only ones in the world.  Well….us and Gary-I Gotcha.  With everything going on in our lives it’s truly wonderful to be able to escape with your plus 1 for a night and remember why you married them in the first place.

Posted in MRS | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Hurry Up and Wait (part 2 of our journey with Asperger’s)

Posted by mbamommy on July 21, 2010

Confused as to how you got here?  Start here.  Come back here.  And then finish off here.

(Get comfortable, this is a long one)

So, a quick recap.  I’m beginning my new job.  We’ve just been made aware that there may be some ‘red flags’ with Z.  Both kids have transitioned from Mommy being at home with them all the time to being at a daycare/preschool all day.  J is doing a bang up job supporting me and taking on more of the home-load.  Seriously, he did an amazing job supporting me.  The new job was challenging; long hours, lots of ramp up, several weekends.  Luckily his job was pretty slow in comparison so he was able to step up with the kiddies and allow me to work later and do what I needed to be successful (thanks, J!).

The transition for the littles didn’t go very smoothly.  I told Z’s teachers and the center directors about the previous teacher’s concerns.  I shared her report with them and told them I still wasn’t convinced there was anything wrong (denial is a powerful thing).  But, would they please keep me up to speed on any challenges they have with him or if they saw anything of concern.  We agreed to give him a few weeks to settle in before moving forward with any calls to Project Enlightenment for further evaluation.  Within 4 weeks, they came to me and said, Please, call Project.  We need help.  He’s acting out, refusing to listen to us, kicking, throwing chairs, throwing toys, runing away when we try to talk to him and disrupting other kids.  He even spit in his teacher’s face and was sent to the director’s office.  My 2.5 year old….already being sent to the director’s office.  One of his teacher’s put it best when she said, “Z’s like all little boys.  They’re defiant, they break rules, they’re physical.  He’s just amplified.”

OK….time for action.

We set up a time for Project to come out and evaluate Z at school and subsequently filled out the first of MANY questionnaires/rating scales.  At this point, J and I were doing them together (although that changed quickly given the sheer number we filled out), analyzing each question, discussing where we truly thought Z fell and being annoyed with the “gray” of all the scales: Does your son do X, Y, and Z: “Sometimes”, “Often”, “All of the Time”, “Almost Never”. Both of us being MBA’s, we like black and white much better.  Given we didn’t think there was anything wrong with him just a few weeks ago, we weren’t even sure what exactly we were supposed to be concerned about, much less how insistent we needed to sound the alarm.  No matter, once the ratings were scored there was enough of a concern that Project suggested we come in for a full evaluation with a speech therapist and a child psychologist.  Great! Let’s do it.  Well, first available date was February.  And so the wait began.

Z & J went to Colorado for Thanksgiving.  We decided to cancel my and S’s trip because she had an ear infection (the 4th or 5th in as many weeks), was getting antibiotic shots daily from the pediatrician and we just couldn’t justify putting her, us or our extended family through the torture of a sick toddler after flying (she eventually got tubes in her ears in December).  And I spent a week alone with S….a sick S who had an ear infection…..S, the one we thought was the difficult one.  And she was so easy.  So loving.  Without the intensity of Z there she and I both relaxed.  She didn’t cry nearly as much as she usually does and her funny little personality started coming out.

There were 2 huge takeaways from that week.  First, I started reading Out-of-Sync Child and the similarities between the books’ descriptions of kids with sensory issues and Z’s behavior blew me away.  I kept calling J to read a passage or marvel at how the author, Carol Stock Kranowitz, was describing our son.  The second takeaway was when S and I went to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.  There were a ton of kids running around and S just hung out with them, played with them, watched them, did her thing.  And, I hung out with the parents, chatting, having a glass of wine and keeping one eye on S.  It was so easy.  So relaxing.  So different from the last time I was at this friend’s house when I had to hover over Z to make sure he didn’t climb, kick, break, eat, run away, etc etc.  And, S didn’t have a meltdown when we left.  We just left.  It was a huge eye-opener to me how difficult things had been with Z and we just thought it was the norm.  I had no idea how tense I had come to be anytime I went anywhere with the kids.  And, I had no idea how much I was not enjoying my kids until then.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved them intensely.  I just didn’t really like being around them that much.  Z was Z.  S needed more attention than she was getting because Z was so intense.  And, she reacted strongly to the power struggles between Z and I, which made her cry.  A lot.  So, here she was, ear infection and all being the sweetest little thing you could ask for.

On the flip side, J was having a helluva time with Z.  Strange place, lots of people, strange climate (it was snowing and cold afterall).  We know now it was just too much sensory overload for him.  J couldn’t get him to go outside the entire first day.  He refused to wear his jacket, gloves, snow pants, etc.  And, this is a kid who NEEDS to run around and be physical.  And he was inside.  Grandma and Grandpa took one look at him and said “J, you’re too lenient with him.  Make him put his jacket on and take him outside.”  Good advice for a normal kid.  What they didn’t know (and I can’t remember if we ever told them this story or not) was we tried to force Z into clothes one time.  We had gotten this cool flight suit made especially for Z from his aunt & uncle (who’s in the airforce) for Halloween.  He loves airplanes so why wouldn’t he love to pretend to be a pilot, right?  Wrong.  J got fed up and tried to force him into it and all hell broke loose.  That was the first and last time we’ll try something like that.  Looking back, I think of how little we knew then.  He didn’t know how to pretend.  So, to him, putting on a flight suit meant he would have to fly a plane.  Because that’s what his Uncle Mike did.  And, he didn’t know how to fly a plane.  And it scared him.

To say that our extended family was confused and concerned was an understatement.  I mean, if we don’t know what the heck’s going on with the kid, how could they, right?  All they saw was a kid misbehaving and a Dad not laying down the law.  There was lots of advice given, some solicited, most not.  There were lots of opinions and a few hurt feelings once J spoke up and said, in the nicest way possible, “Back off, we’re trying to figure this out.”  But mostly just a lot of love, a lot of uncertainty in how to act/react and a lot of unanswered questions.

That Thanksgiving was an eye-opener for me (us).  Something needed to change.  Our family was stressed and we needed help.  Fast forward through the rest of the holidays into mid-February.  I’d been on a 6 week travel stint for work.  J was totally picking up the slack and being a stellar single daddy while I was gone but the wear and tear was wearing and tearing on him.  S was still sick all the time.  And, if she wasn’t, Z was.  School was getting a little better but J and I still called each other every morning with, “How was drop off?  Who cried?  Who fought?  Did you get out of the house all in one piece?”  It was traumatic for us that even after months of going to school, drop off was still full of tears and arguments.  I loved my job but felt SO guilty leaving my children.

In mid-February, I flew home early from a business trip so I could participate in the Project evaluation.  Not the best decision for my career, but I wasn’t willing to wait another minute to have Z evaluated and there was no way in hell I’d miss it.  We met with the Project team for 2-3 hours.  They did multiple tests/ratings/games with Z, with us watching behind a 1-way mirror.  They asked us a million questions and had us fill out more questionnaires.  We watched Z with pride as he answered all the questions right.  We weren’t surprised when he refused to wear the headphones for the hearing test.  And we weren’t surprised when he started pulling down the blinds on the 1-way mirror.  Or when he ran out of the room in search of more toys.  Or when he ran over to us to get hugs and kisses.

Nor were we surprised when they told us, “Z’s complicated.  He’s got some wonderful strengths but he’s also showing some concerning behaviors.  As soon as we start thinking one thing, he’ll do something else that negates it.  No wonder you guys have been struggling with him.”  Finally!  A professional telling us it wasn’t bad parenting (although, wow, do I wish it were that easy) but that we had a ‘complicated’ child.

What did surprise us was when they said Autism.  And then Asperger’s.

Did you ever see Spanglish?  Do you remember the scene when Tea Leoni admits to Adam Sandler she’s having an affair?

AS: Hold on. I’m missing what you’re saying. You can’t keep talking…and expect me to follow it when you start the way you did.

TL: Just what did you hear?

AS: There was a crack in the planet. That was noisy. There’s an actual noise in my head. No kidding.

That’s kind of how I felt.

They had us sign a form giving permission to recommend us on to Wake County Public School System preschool services (WCPSS) for further evaluation.  They said WCPSS has 90 days to complete an evaluation once they receive the report from Project.  But, this would put us right at the end of the school year so they estimated that Z wouldn’t start any services (if he was eligible) until the fall school year.  I asked what we could do in the meantime.  Everything I’d read said the more, the earlier, the better and I wasn’t going to wait around for 6 months to start doing something.  They gave us a list of private speech and OT therapists in the area and circled the ones they thought were most relevant.  They lent us a couple books to read: Does My Child Have Autism and More Than Words, suggested we contact TEACCH, told us we could call them with any questions and they’d have their full report done within a week or two.

On the car ride home, J kept saying, “I think that went well.  I feel like we’re moving forward.  I feel really good after that.”  Well, J is definitely a glass half full kind of guy.  I, on the other hand, turned to him and said “What part of that did you think was good?!?  NONE of this is good.  They said AUTISM!!!!!!”

Now, you have to understand, even though I’ve had a fascination with Autism, I knew very little about it.  I knew Rainman.  And, I knew a former co-worker who’s son is on the spectrum.  He told me about the therapies for his son, how it was a full time job for his wife (she had to leave her job).  How that’s all they ever spoke about.  How overshadowed their other NT (neurologically typical) child was.  How their plans of an empty nest and retirement were out the window because their son would always be with them.

And, I was scared.

And so began the endless evaluations and screenings.  First, at a different hearing screening center.  Then, with the private speech and OT therapists, followed up by once a week therapy sessions for each.  Then, a battery of screenings with WCPSS.  In total, Z had 1 additional hearing screening, was evaluated at school 4 times by Project and WCPSS, 2 times at the private therapy group, 1 time at home by WCPSS, 1 time at Project, 2 times at WCPSS and 1 time at TEACCH.  (That’s 8 days/half days out of the office.  Not to mention the additional meetings held with Project and WCPSS without Z.)  They just weren’t sure.  The running theme was that he was complicated.  Which, looking back, is actually a good thing.  It means he’s not slam dunk, on the spectrum.  That his strengths are very strong and his challenges are mild in comparison to other kids on the spectrum.  But, oh my god, was it frustrating.  I even had one phone conversation with the WCPSS therapist who told me, “I’m looking over all his evaluations and screenings and….I just don’t see it.  I don’t see autism.”  So, back to more screenings.  More testing.  More evaluations.  Until they finally tested him with the ADOS and came to their conclusion.

Meanwhile, J’s job has picked up.  S is doing better in school.  We’ve decided I’d be the one to take Z to the screenings and evaluations.  Partly because I wanted to.  Partly because having one consistent presence at all these things made a lot of sense.  And partly because for a variety of reasons my job didn’t look like it was going to last and J needed to focus on his.  And our household was reaching its breaking point.

 

Next up: The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Part 3 of our journey with Asperger’s)

Posted in ASPERGER'S, AUTISM, MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Swagger Wagon

Posted by mbamommy on May 17, 2010

Pure marketing brilliance.

Posted in MOM | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Waiting for my real life

Posted by mbamommy on September 30, 2009

I’ve had lots of favorite bands in my life.  I’ve even had lots of favorite genres.  I went through the glam rock phase, the grunge phase, the classic rock phase (for my age group, that means Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors), the punk rock phase, the hippie phase, the Top 40 phase, the classical phase and the rave phase.  But, at the end of the day, I’d have to say that my reigning favorite musician is Colin Hay, former lead singer of Men At Work turned solo artist.

Why?  Well, there’s lots of reasons.  First, he has an amazing, distinctive voice.  Second, his songs and lyrics have some meat to them. Third, and most importantly, his music, one song in particular, seems to keep coming back to me over the years. 

I was first introduced to his music by an ex-boyfriend – probably the best takeaway from that relationship.  Boyfriend X played the song “Waiting For My Real Life to Begin” when I was getting ready to go to b-school in Michigan and leave him behind in Boston.  It became an anthem for that life Change and my impending breakup with Boyfriend X.  See, he wanted me to stay with him and I was waiting for my real life to begin.

Later, I introduced Colin Hay to JC.  He fell in love with the music as well.  His defining moment with the song was during Run ZMC’s birth.  Here’s an excerpt from that story:

The doctor came in and went over some last minute instructions with us. Then her beeper goes off, and she stepped out to check on another patient. The nurse followed, then returned and informed us that another mother-to-be requires and emergency delivery. So, we are now on hold, lying in bed, lights off, locked and loaded. We wait. Exhausted, Rebecca’s eyes are weary but open. I tried reading a book my boss gave me, knowing full well that whatever I read will be lost in a matter of hours. My mind drifted off to the song we heard earlier that day, and I realize how it now applies to us:

Any minute now,
My ship is coming in.
I keep searching the horizon ….
I’m waiting for my real life to begin.

When I was on maternity leave with Run ZMC, I’d feed him while watching DVR’d eposides of Scrubs.  The length of the show was perfectly timed with how long it took him to finish a bottle.  I was a huge Scrubs fan already….and it solidified one day when I saw this scene.  Colin Hay on Scrubs?  A full, sleeping baby?  This newly minted MBA Mommy couldn’t have been happier.

Later still, the song became a theme song for my brother and his wife’s wedding.  Granted, I’m not sure it was appropriate, given they knew the story of Run ZMC AND it’s not a very romantic, wedding-esque song, but up it went onto their wedding website.

And now the song comes to mind again as I prepare myself for my next big life Change (whenever that may be).  For some reason, I keep waiting for my real life: the next big thing, the next Change, the next challenge, the next opportunity.  When I was thinking about this blog entry, I started a mental checklist of everything I’ve accomplished in my 34 years on this earth.  High School? check. College? check. Traveled through Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand? check. check. check. check. Partied my way through my 20’s? check. Master’s degree? check. Launched my career? check. Married the love of my life? check. 2 Kids? 1 Dog? 2 Cars? Suburban House? Picket Fence? check. check. check. check. check.  OK…so what’s next on the list?  Ah, yes, re-focus on my career….

And then it hit me.  I need to stop waiting for my real life because this IS my real life.  And it’s pretty damn good.  Colin’s words, yet again an anthem in my life.

WAITING FOR MY REAL LIFE TO BEGIN
Album : “Going Somewhere”
(written by: Colin Hay / Thom Mooney)
Colin Hay

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
I’ll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in
But don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane
I’m walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now
Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice
I know that I can win
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in
I’ll keep checking the horizon
And I’ll check my machine, there’s sure to be that call
It’s gonna happen soon, soon, soon
It’s just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin

 

And, just for fun, here’s a link to my favorite Dr. Cox rant.

Posted in MBA, ME, MOM, MRS | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: