mommy&everything

trying to find myself and humor in life

Archive for the category “children”

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Happy Hump Day!!! Can you believe it is already Wednesday and halfway to the weekend??

Yesterday’s post was a little serious so I thought today I’d lighten it up a little. Sound good? Great!

For those of you who do not know me,  I am a mom to four boys, twins who are 9, a 7yo and my baby who is 5.

Families with 4 children are not the norm anymore so when people find out I have 4 kids AND that they’re all boys, it usually leads to a stunned look and/or a gasp.

Inevitably questions follow so today I thought I’d share and answer some of my favorite questions from the past 9 years  – please note these are in no specific order and I have been asked every single one of them

  • No I am not trying to start my own (insert sport) team
  • Why yes it is always “fun” at my house, you should stop over sometime without calling first
  • OMG yes I know how LUCKY I am to have four boys and not girls. After all, girls are SO much harder to raise than boys and I will be SO happy when they are teenagers
  • Yes, twins run in my family
  • Of course they are all best friends (see #2)
  • No actually they do not ALL play sports but we still love them anyway
  • Yes I know, my food bill will sky-rocket but for now it’s ok since they exist on Elios pizza, Eggo chocolate chip pancakes and chicken nuggets
  • No I am not trying for the girl – you know how old I am right?
  • Yes I am the “queen” of my household  and treated as such (again see #2)
  • Nope, I did not plan on having 4 children, I do not come from a large family and no, before having kids I didn’t really like kids
  • Yes, the blond one is mine and as a matter of fact, his dad DOES have blond hair
  • Yup they are all mine – would I voluntarily take 4 boys out if they were not related to me?
  • Hmmm, it’s hard to say if boys “run in my family” – they do now!
  • No, it’s NEVER quiet
  • Yes, there were (and still are) lots of hand me downs but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to buy something cute and girly
  • I don’t know if I really save a lot on clothes but I do get away with only buying 1 pair of sneakers for them
  • Yes, I know it is very sad that I was never blessed with a girl but I am sure God feels differently (this was said to me in the Carters outlet when the twins were 3 months old)
  • At this point it is hard to imagine any of them taking care of me in my old age but I guess I have a 1 in 4 chance
  • Nope, no drama in my house. I must have dreamed the episode this morning when I was told that I am no fun ever! or when the tears started because I said it was time to take a shower
  • Oh I know I will get to have my own “daughters” when the boys grow up and get married. You know how much women LOVE their mothers-in-law
  • Thank you but I am SOOOOO not managing it or “doing it”, really I am just faking it (wink wink)

Thanks for reading.

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This is what at least one of my boys looks like on any given day

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Say Cheese!!

Back in the day when I was a newbie mom,  I always made sure that the boys had professional pictures taken. When the twins were babies, I did the obligatory photos at 3, 6, and 12 months old.

I would spend hours planning the “perfect” outfits making sure everything down to their socks matched. The day of the photos I would give myself a heart attack worrying how the boys would, or more likely would not, behave.

It was always a disaster with someone (usually me) leaving in tears.

The years went on, more kids arrived and soon anytime I had to think about professional pictures was long gone! Besides, I had an iPhone so if there was anything I was NOT lacking in, it was photos of my kids – ask anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram.

Life went on.

Then this past fall I had an idea. The boys are older, they sorta listen and I have no pictures of them all together looking “happy” let’s take them to have pictures taken!!!!!! (no I was not drinking when this idea popped into my head).

I booked the appointment for a Sunday in October and tried to block it out of my head – not a hard thing to do with 4 crazy boys, school, soccer and work. My mom and the husband thought I was totally insane.

Why would you do this to yourself? You know that you will be disappointed when no one listens? Well if you are going to do it…just prepare yourself for the worst.

Those were just a few of the little pick-me-ups that were offered in the days leading up to picture day.

Before I knew it, it was the day before the pictures and I had NOTHING ready. In my mind I assumed it would rain and the pictures would be canceled since we had planned to take them outside at a college campus.

Well what is the saying about assuming???

Yeah, here is was Saturday night and the weather forecast for Sunday was going to be warm and sunny – YIKES!

Off to the mall I went to try to find 4 perfect “look at what I just threw together don’t my sons look amazing like they just stepped out of a Ralph Lauren print-ad” outfits.

Needless to say I struck out at every store I went to. Why can you NEVER find something when you really need it?????

Somehow I was able to buy a white button-down for L and a pair of jeans for J. On the ride home from the mall I crossed my fingers and said a silent prayer that the twins had something decent (and clean) to wear in their closet.

Sunday morning I woke up, saw the sun and listened to the boys downstairs screaming and fighting over nothing. I

Immediately began to panic OMG….am I out of my fn mind taking these kids out in public to have their pictures taken????!!!!!!

I went downstairs to make coffee and the husband was checking his phone. Ya ready for today? he asked with a huge smirk.  Good luck he said laced with sarcasm as the twins started crying because the 3yo was yelling at them and chasing them with a pirate sword.

All morning I prepped bribed and threatened the boys. What? Don’t judge.

Hey, I had a lot riding on this and I didn’t want M crying about his hair or J screaming he wanted to go home to ruin the experience AND I deserved at least 1 nice picture of my boys all together god dammit!

The car ride was good, I played some Kidz Bop cd and kept the kids talking and happy. We pulled up to the college and saw Mr. D waiting for us. I took a deep breath before opening the van doors and letting the monsters out.

Mr. D made the boys line up and handed gave them “the rules” for the day. Everything they listened they would get a blue marble. At the end of the day, each boys could turn in his marbles for a prize bag AND candy!

Never have I seen the boys smile so big for a total stranger as they followed him (walking single file) down the path on campus.

It’s going to be fine, stop worrying he told me as he posed them on the steps of a building.

Here is a small sampling of what the boys said that day (please picture it said in a whiney/annoying voice):

L stop touching me! Mom, L is sitting too close to me! Ewwww J’s leg is touching mine and I don’t like it! Mom..there are people looking at us.  Mommy…can I have a lollipop? NO I WANT A RED LOLLIPOP this is blue!! Hey look over there…it’s a huge pile of leaves!!!!! I don’t want to smile. I am tired, can we go home? Mom, can I play with your phone? Why does J get to play with your phone and I can’t. Why do you hate me? My mouth hurts, I can’t smile anymore. Can I go play in the leaves? Mom? Mom? Mommy?? Can we play in the leaves? Hey J I bet you can’t catch me!!!!!

At the end of the photo shoot, I was completely drained. A few hours trying to get 4 boys to smile, stay clean and look happy will do that to a grown woman.

Mr. D has assured me that we had at least 1 great shot – and that wrangling 4 kids was WAY harder than he had anticipated (lol).

On the car ride home as the boys played with their prize bags – that contained containers of slime that made fart-like noises when they squished it with their fingers – and congratulated myself on surviving.

A couple of days later the proofs arrived in my in-box. I was a nervous wreck opening the attachment. I had no idea how the pictures had come out and if the boys even managed to smile for one.

The minute I saw the pictures my eyes welled up with tears…the pictures were beautiful!! OMG how my babies have grown up.

Mr. D made me a special mosaic picture which I attached below, it’s my favorite! (his work is absolutely AMAZING!).

Thanks for reading 🙂

ps – Thank you Mr. D!!

Me and The Boys

Me and The Boys

On the good ship lollipop…

The older I get,  the more it amazes me how I can remember every detail about something that happened in 1975 but can’t for the life of me remember where I put the twins’ Valentine’s Day card list.

Case in point….

This morning I read that the legendary actress, turned politician and diplomat, Shirley Temple Black had died at the age of 85.

Sitting on my bed, listening to L and J kill each other over a cardboard box (the screaming was still below the intervention level so technically this was my “alone time”) I had a flashback to being about 3 or 4 years old, sitting in the living room of my grandparents’ house on Chestnut Street.

I was watching tv on the floor in front of the coffee table. On the coffee table has a lace doily in the center and some random knick-knacks on top.

In my mind I am wearing a pretty pale pink dress with ruffles and black patent leather shoes – there is no way in hell this is accurate but it sounds WAY better than the shorts and t-shirt with apple juice spilled down the front that I was probably wearing.

The tv was on channel 5 or 11 but I can’t remember what the show was. I do, however, remember a commercial that came on for a Shirley Temple record album and I was completely mesmerized!

She was SO pretty with a big bow in her curly hair (my mom was not able to appreciate my curls back then so my hair was usually cut short and boy-like) and a pretty dress. She was tap dancing up and down a stair case and singing.

My two aunts were in the kitchen with Grandma and I yelled for them to hurry up and come in the living room.

Look, look! I yelled pointing to the tv. You HAVE to buy me this record PLEASE???????!!!!!!!!

My aunts looked at each other and then at me and said Sure, we’ll buy it for you. We just have to order it over the phone.

The happiness and excitement I felt was insane!!! I could not believe my aunts would really buy me that record. Soon I would be singing and tap dancing all over the house – I assumed just owning the record would give me the talent to sing and dance.

Afterwards, I remember my aunts taking me for a walk on Park Avenue (Rutherford, NJ not NYC) and I skipped along asking WHEN my record would get to my house.

Soon was all they would say.

Needless to say, it is now 2014 and I am STILL waiting for that damn record to show up on my front porch. Yes, my aunts lied to me. Imagine that?!

Looking back,  it’s funny to think about how naïve and gullible I was to even dream they would but me that record album! Luckily they made up for it over the years (lol).

LOL….so that is my Shirley Temple memory may she rest in peace.

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Chickens and the Bees

As some of you know, my twins are in 1st grade. It was a bumpy journey in the beginning, going from 1/2 day kindergarten to full-day, first grade.

Much to the boys’ surprise, they were expected to do school work all day – oh the horror!

Almost daily I hear Mom….do I have to go to school AGAIN?? I just went, WHY do I have to go everyday? It’s the SAME thing everyday…math, math, math!

One of our biggest challenges has been the daily reading requirement. WE are supposed to read together 20 minutes a night and learn roughly 400 sight words.

Piece of cake I thought in September!

I love to read, surely one or both of the twins will also enjoy it. Visions of us browsing Barnes & Noble filled my head. Heck, I even imagined us reading the Harry Potter series together – this would be win-win because we would fulfill the reading requirement AND make a memory.

Sadly, it didn’t take very long for my dream to be squashed by my offspring.  Everynight when I say boys…it’s time to read and I get OH NO AGAIN??!! We just read last night!

This week, through the grace of God, the twins’ advanced to Level 2 books.  This is sort of a Catch-22 for me. On the one hand, I am thrilled that they are progressing and able to read books that do not rhyme every other word.

On the other hand, Level 2 books are longer and it takes FOREVER for them (especially J) to finish.

Did I mention that J reads only 1-word at a time which can cause a tired Mom to maybe fall asleep halfway through “Ruby Bridges goes to School”.

Last night the boys and I arranged ourselves on my bed and I pulled out the book J picked from his blue reading folder.  Tonight we will be reading (drum roll) “The life cycle of a chick”.

WTF? Who the heck wants to read a book about a chick??!!

M looked at the book and immediately asked Can I go wait in my bed for J to finish? (that’s my boy!)

J…did you just pick this off the shelf or did you look at it beforehand? I asked trying to hide my dismay.

No..I looked..can I start now? was his reply.

And so he began to read about hens and roosters, the many breeds of chickens in the world (there are hundreds in case you were curious) and lastly how hens lay eggs that turn into chicks.

Obviously this brought on a discussion about where eggs come from, how come the eggs we eat don’t have chicks in them and do ALL eggs come from chickens or does someone make them?

Somehow I got J back on track and he continued reading about how an egg is fertilized by a rooster and all the different stages of the chick before it is hatched accompanied by pictures.

EWWWWW that is so gross Mom!!! J look at that, yuck I don’t even want to look at that again said M.

M it looks like an alien in this picture look! shouted J.

Finally we got past that chapter and moved on to chicks getting their  yellow “down” and how old they are when they first grow feathers.

Whew…I managed to stay awake, I thought to myself. Ok boys, let’s get ready for bed.

Mommy? I have a question M said before getting up.

M’s question resulted in the following exchange:

Me: Sure, what is it?

M: Well…where do babies come from?

Me: (Jesus Christ is he kidding me??) Ummm in their mommy’s belly, you know that.

M: No I mean, how do they grow in the mom’s belly? How do they fit?

Me: Well they start off small and then grow and grow until they are born.

M: How small?

Me: I don’t know, very small.

M: Small like an ant small?

Me (baffled and thinking back to my ultrasound pictures): Sure, that’s about right.

Now J chimes in still holding the chicken book

Look M….this is how tiny he says pointing to the picture of the fertilized egg in the book.

M: Mommy, I am really confused, I just don’t get how the baby gets in the belly. Does it just appear??

Me (not quite sure I am ready to explain a sperm and egg scenario): Hey, look it’s after 8pm and you guys have school tomorrow. You better hurry up and put your jammies on!

M (uttering to himself): This is really confusing, I hope there is a book out there that will explain this to me.

And that is how I survived my first “the birds and the bees” conversation.

Thanks for reading and have a good day!

Not quite ready for this conversation

Not quite ready for this conversation

How can these babies want to know where babies come from?????!!!

How can these babies want to know where babies come from?????!!!

Snow Painting

The weather in Central New Jersey the past couple of weeks has made me think about packing up and running away to a warmer climate.  I am a much happier person when it is in the high 70s with little to no humidity.

2014 has brought us snow and frigid temps (sometimes dipping below zero) all the result of some “polar vortex”.

Combine that with the dreariness of January and 4 housebound kids and I for one will be cheering on Punxsutawney Phil come February 2nd.

Last Saturday the boys and I were trapped at home (the battery died in the mini-van) and the “natives were getting restless”. Everyone was sick of each other, “bored” with their new toys from Santa and DID NOT WANT TO WATCH TV.

With 5 more hours until bedtime and a war brewing over a game of Candyland I knew what I had to do.

It was time for…..SNOW.

Hey…do you guys want to go play outside in the snow? I asked with mock enthusiasm.

What snow…you mean the real snow? said the 4yo.

Yes the real snow outside…won’t it be fun??

I guess…can you give me a couple of minutes? one of the twins asked I really want to finish my game.

I HATE the snow.

Yes, it looks pretty when it is freshly fallen (not when it is piled up and black on the side of the road) and nothing is cuter than a newly built snowman.

However, it is also cold and wet AND I have to dress FOUR boys in snow clothes before we can even make our way down the stairs to find boots and gloves.

Dressing 4 kids to go play in the snow is probably the equivalent to getting a tooth pulled sans Novocaine.

First I have to gather them in one room. Next comes adding layers of warm clothing amid the complaints of I don’t wanna wear this sweatshirt, it’s too small. Can’t we just go outside already, I don’t want to wait for (insert brother’s name)! MOM…where are my snowpants?

After what seemed like an eternity, me and my crew began to head downstairs for boots and gloves.

Damn Lands End for only having black boots on sale last season! All 8 boots look exactly the same size!!!

Finally we’re ready! I line the kids up and tell them to wait on the porch. I turned around and saw J sitting on the step. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What’s the matter? 
J: I don’t know.
Me (beginning to sweat from the layers) Ummmm..well something must be wrong if you are sitting here and not outside with your brothers. Do you feel ok?
J: I guess so.
Me (void of all patience): Then what is the matter??!
J: These mittens don’t fit.
Me: What do you mean they don’t fit? M is wearing the same ones. Let me see! 

J holds his hand up and there is this HUGE mitten hanging off. Oh crap! They are too big I think as I dump out the baskets filled with miscellaneous mittens and gloves. Crap!! There are no more matching pairs AND no more waterproof ones. I HATE SNOW!!

Ok J, we are going to have to improvise I tell him and hand him mis-matched mittens. Here, put this on first.

J takes the mitten and just stares at it like it was something he has never seen before.

J…PUT THE MITTEN ON YOUR BROTHERS ARE WAITING!!!

J is fumbling with the mitten now not sure how to put it on.

OMG, what is wrong, how can he not put on a mitten??!!!  I think to myself.

He is 7 AND there are only 2 holes to put your hand in! I hate snow, I hate winter and I hate my life!!

After grabbing J’s hands and shoving the mittens on we make our way out into the snow and I carefully get my phone ready for pictures – need to create everlasting memories after all!

After “accidentally” opening Facebook (to see all the FUN stuff all my “friends” were doing with their kids, therefore, making me look like Bad Mommy of the Year) I hear MOOOMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!

Oh crap…that sounds like L.

I look over and there is L sitting waist-deep in the snow yelling and crying.

What’s the matter???!

My hands are all wet and I have snow on me! he wails.

Seriously??

I am not sure how much time has passed but I do know that I have run back into the house probably 20 times for water, tissues, new mittens, a shovel, a Lego man and carrots.

On one of these trips I remembered something a co-worker had told me about “painting the snow” and frantically start searching the kitchen for a spray bottle and the food coloring I bought for L’s bday cupcakes.

The kids will be SO happy when they see this, I think as I fill the bottle. OMG I am like one of those Pinterest Moms I make fun of and secretly want to be!!

The first kid I see is M.

M..look what I got we can PAINT THE SNOW! Look how cool it is I say as I start spraying the snow blue.

M looks up from building his snow man, looks at me and the blue snow and says Why would we want to make the snow blue?

Welcome to my life!

Luckily the others loved the “paint” and before long I got daring and mixed food coloring to make new colors. I even promised to buy more spray bottles so we could make rainbows next time it snowed (this also guaranteed that it will NOT snow anymore in 2014).

A few days later I was suffering from some serious Mommy Guilt. I sat on my bed browsing Netflix hoping that one day I would finally get the hang of this whole mom-thing.

I glanced at my phone (which is attached to me at all times) and noticed a new email from J’s teacher. Oh no.

Mrs. B. was telling me how great J was doing in class, how proud she was AND how he told the whole class about how much fun he had painting the snow!!

I sat stunned on the bed. Had I really done it? Did I actually create a happy memory???!!!!

Maybe the kids won’t hate me after all!

green "paint"

green “paint”

Thursday Ramblings and Mom Guilt

Hello and Happy Thursday-before-the-big-Labor-Day-2013 weekend.

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the upcoming holiday and the unofficial “end of summer.”

On one hand, I am THRILLED the kids will be going back to their “normal” schedules. There is no more washing of beach towels and the sun is setting earlier so I will hear less of MOOOOMMMMM I can’t go to sleep now….the sun is still out! at bedtime.

The flip side is that it is the END of summer.

Overall it was a good summer. Some months were better than others – July kicked ass and August no-so-much – but it wasn’t too bad.

The kids got to go to the beach, pool and Dutch Wonderland. Heck, they even stayed at a real farm back in June even though they don’t really remember. They saw some movies and got to hang out in pjs all day once in a while.

Looking back though, I wonder if I did enough with them. Were they really entertained? Will they look on the summer of 2013 with fond memories or tell me Mom, we never did anything when we were little when they are 20???

Yesterday the twins had their well-visit at the pediatrician and when she asked them if they did anything fun this summer M said No, not really so I guess that answers my question (lol).

I was talking to my work neighbor Sam earlier today about kids and the mom-guilt I have felt lately. I blame this almost entirely on Facebook and the posts and pictures of all my “friends” on vacation with their kids. Nothing is more depressing than seeing all the things that you did NOT do with your kids.

Let me tell you, I have some pretty fortunate friends because their kids went to  Disney World, Bermuda, Jersey Shore and a bunch of other places I can’t remember now but do know I saw pictures and even “liked” a few.

I know…I know….I am not supposed to compare myself to others. Kids need love not stuff. The boys will look back and remember that I loved them.

This may be partly true but I happen to know from experience they will also look back and tell me all the things they didn’t have – like maybe every Lego set in the Lego store at Freehold Mall.

Lately I have thought that I am not the best Mommy out there. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely suck and I LOVE those boys to death but I am not THE best by any means.

I have accepted that I’m not one of those fun, crafty moms that always has an activity planned making even the littlest things into some great adventure.

Maybe because there are SO many boys in Casa Chaos, I rely on them to entertain each other. After all, the twins are WAY more fun at playing pirate with L than I could ever be right?

This is not to say I lack all good mom qualities. I am VERY good at hugs and kisses. Kissing boo-boos and finding a “favorite” t-shirt or Lego figure.

I can coördinate pick-up and drop-off schedules, camp drop off and bath time. I know who likes homestyle Eggo waffles and who despises Eggo pancakes.

I know L will eat apples (red or green) cut up or whole but J will not touch a green apple if his life depended on it. And don’t even think about passing off anything other than Pepperidge Farm raisin bread to J.

Parenting is just a big life lesson I guess. Kids do not come with any sort of instruction manual to help parents navigate the roller coaster ride of life. A lot of times you just have to go with your gut and pray you made the right choice.

If you don’t, you can’t beat yourself up too long. Mistakes are part of life too and your kids shouldn’t expect you to be perfect – Lord knows our parents weren’t all the time right??

Last Saturday the boys and I had some extra time on our hands after sneaker shopping. It was around 6pm and the husband was trying to get over an upper respiratory infection.

The thought of taking them home and listening to them kill each other over swords, Legos and the iPad was not appealing.

Then as I drove down Route 130 North an idea popped into my head How about ice cream for dinner??!! At first the kids thought I was insane. Ummm… Mom, you don’t eat ice cream for dinner, M said.

Why not? I replied. Come on, let’s go to Dairy Queen and have any kind of ice cream you want! YAY they all yelled in unison over the KidBop 25 cd.

And eat ice cream we did. Over ice cream and milkshakes we laughed as L attempted to eat a sundae and J ate an ice cream cone sans ice cream (don’t ask). We even managed to get a table with an umbrella.

On the way home we stopped at a park and M learned to pump his legs on the swings and they all posed for a picture on the slide (possible xmas card photo???).

As we walked back to the van, the sun was setting and M ran up and gave me a big hug. Thank you Mommy…thank you for everything today. I loved it all!!

Maybe 2013 was not the absolute BEST summer ever for the kids (they are only 7, 5 and 3.5) but hopefully, they were happy and knew they were loved.

Dinner al la Dairy Queen

Dinner al la Dairy Queen

Mommy and some men

Mommy and some men

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Random Monday Thoughts

Wow can you believe today is July 1st??? Wasn’t it just April Fool’s Day??

The beautiful Garden State has been a bit soggy the past week and today is no exception. As if the 100%+ humidity isn’t enough, what’s a monsoon (or 2) while you walk to your car – or fight with your 3yo and attempt to strap him into his car seat?

And now for some Random Monday Thoughts…

1) Thank Goodness for having a Plan B

Last week I blogged about my twins upcoming 7th birthday here and their obvious discontent for the “surprise” outing to a minor league baseball game. The husband and I did not back down, and had all intentions of dragging taking the twins last Thursday night.

Even when the weatherman (is that un-PC to say?) predicted a tornado watch and flash flooding, we were set to make the trek to Bridgewater, NJ AND have fun.

However, the husband and I did not take into consideration M’s sudden “illness” that struck halfway through dinner at the local diner.

Afer complaining about the air conditioning, and his sandwich and his lack of Skylander Giants, M turned to my husband and started complaining of a stomach ache.

Within minutes M had an ear ache, joint pain and a “fever” and J was asking how many minutes we had to stay at the baseball game.

Assuming M was not hit with a case of malaria, I looked to the husband and said should we just take the kids to c-h-u-c-k-ie c-h-e-e-s-e?

The husband, being the husband, looked at me and said Huh? (spelling is not his strong suit).

No lie, I spelled Chuckie Cheese (I know it’s “Chuck E Cheese” but it was easier my way) 4 times before just saying the damn thing out loud – to which the kids yelled YES!!!!!!!!!

The next 2 hours were a blur of music, yelling, video games, ice cream, tickets and excitement as the twins had (and I quote) the best day, birthday, EVER! Thank you MOM!

I guess there is something to be said for a Plan B.

Happy Birthday Boys!!

Happy Birthday Boys!!

2) My Buddha Baby

As most of you know, my now 5yo was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in January 2011. Previously, I have talked about some of the challenges, and successes, we, rather J, has experienced since his diagnosis.

J has come a LONG way since 2011 and I am beyond proud of him and how hard he works. However, having a child with ASD is like riding a roller coaster – there are ups and downs and just as you get used to one thing BAM! you are hit with a new “thing”.

For example, J will be attending Extended School Year (ESY for those of you who are “cool” with the school district lingo) beginning in the middle of July.

ESY is a 5-week school session designed to prevent kids with disabilities from regressing over the summer break. While I am thrilled that J can attend ESY, the draw back is that school was over on 6/24 leaving me (and J) with over 2 weeks of no structure – the kryptonite of ASD kids.

Routine is to ASD as peanut butter is to jelly or ying is to yang. Just mention “change of routine” to an ASD parent and watch them physically cringe at the thought!

I did some brainstorming in the spring and came up with an idea for J. His 3yo brother attends a daycare (a/k/a country club like facility) near my work and maybe they would take J for 2 weeks in July and 2 in August????

I begged talked with the owner and the school was able to find a spot for J. Now for the hard part, preparing him to go to a new school, new kids and completely new routine.

Terrified I talked to his teachers, aides and therapists for weeks. These women are true saints. They not only listened to me, consoled me and offered me advise, Miss Lyn even called the daycare in advance to talk to the teacher J would be getting.

Over and over (and over and over) they told me Nicole it will be fine…this is good for J….don’t underestimate J.

None of it mattered, my stomach was in knots and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. For the past week I dreaded the thought of today’s drop-off.

Would he cry? Scream? Run or freak out? Worse, would he do that new, weird head-hitting thing of his???

Last week J and I took the twins to camp. J was SO excited for them and kept telling me he wanted to go to camp too. It was like a lightbulb went off over my head. That’s it!! I’ll tell J he is going to camp next week with L!!!!!!

All weekend I planted the “camp” seed with J. Even the twins went along with me and told J how much fun camp is and all the great stuff he would do. Yesterday I even got him a new lunchbox to bring with him and he was thrilled.

I slept terrible last night, I was so nervous about drop off today. At 4am I just stared at the ceiling and wished it was September.However, I put on a brave face and made sure to greet J with a huge smile this morning.

Are you ready for camp today???? It’s going to be SO MUCH FUN!! I said even though on the inside all I  wanted to was cry.

The ride to “camp” seemed like it took forever (it’s down the road from where I work). When we pulled into the parking lot my stomach ached and a feeling of dread came over me. I put a big smile on my face and said You ready for camp J?! To which he said YES!

All my worry was for nothing. God bless that boy! He walked into that school with the biggest smile on his face and said hello to everyone. He walked into Miss Danielle’s classroom and looked like he was right at home.

J was all excited when he was asked  to choose puzzles or blocks to play with and gave me a kiss goodbye before he went and sat with the kids.

I walked to my car speechless.

A little while later I emailed someone at daycare to see how J was doing. This was the exact response I got “The sweetest little happiest boy, the best in the class!”

I don’t know what the rest of the summer will bring but there was a lesson learned today – Never underestimate J.

1st day of "camp"

1st day of “camp”

Crash & Burn

Mommy and the Soon-to-be Unhappy Birthday Boys

Mommy and the Soon-to-be Unhappy Birthday Boys

Tomorrow (Thursday if I don’t post this today) is the twins’ 7th birthday.

Surprisingly, I am not too overly emotional about this birthday of theirs. I guess J turning 5 and the recent graduations drained me of emotion (lol).

Regardless, I still remember the day they were born like it was yesterday. The excitement, nerves, fear, panic, joy, happiness and nauseousness (thank you magnesium sulfate drip) will forever be ingrained in my memory.

Even now I can still hear the doctors say Baby A is a BOY….Baby B is a BOY and me thinking ummm, NO Baby B is supposed  to be a girl, what am I going to do with TWO BOYS??!!

OMG this will be SO fun! The boys will love this, I can’t wait to tell them all about it. No, better yet, I will keep it a secret!! I told myself as I hit “purchase” online.

Go me…go me…I am the best mom ever!

Fast forward to last night around 8:15pm. M&J are tired and annoyed that I made them take a bath – BAD MOMMY making them take a bath after being at camp all day in 90+ degree weather.

In between whining, M asked me how many more days until his birthday. This is it, I thought. I will tell them now about the baseball game. God, they are going to love me….

Me: M&J? M? J? M&J!

M&J: What, what do you want Mommy?

Me: So guess what? I have a surprise for your birthday on Thursday. Do you wanna know what it is??

M: Is it the Jabba the Hut Lego set I saw in Target with Terri? Is it? Mommy…if I don’t get that for my birthday it will be the worst birthday ever!

Me: (looking completely dumbstruck) What are you talking about…what Jabba Lego? No, I don’t know if anyone got you that. Do you want to know where me and Daddy are going to take you Thursday after camp?

J: OK, what?

Me:  (very excited) WE GOT TICKETS TO TAKE YOU TO A BASEBALL GAME AT NIGHT!! AREN”T YOU EXCITED?? WON”T IT BE FUN?????!!!!

M&J: (looking at me with complete and total blank stares)

Me: J…J….J! Aren’t you excited?

J: Huh? What? What kind of baseball game? Is it outside?

Me: What? of course it’s outside.

J: I don’t know.

Me: Ok…M? What do you think? Won’t the game be fun?

M: Are L&J coming with us?

Me: NO, they are staying with Terri. Just you and J and me and Daddy!

M: I don’t know Mom, can I think about it at camp and let you know?

Me: What did you just say?? You don’t want to go to a baseball game??! Why?

M: Moooommmmmm, I said I don’t know. I have to think about it! Besides, you said it was a surprise and how can it be a surprise if you told us before our birthday.

Me: (with tone) Fine…be that way. Me and Daddy will just go alone (how this was a threat is beyond me since I don’t even like baseball)

M: Mom? Mommy? Don’t be mad…I’m sorry I just don’t want to go but it is MY birthday. Can’t we go out to dinner and get fried shrimp?

Me: What? We were at a seafood restaurant Sunday and you said you didn’t want shrimp. Now you tell me you would rather go eat shrimp than go to a baseball game??!!

M: Yes….are you mad? Don’t be mad mom, it’s not your fault I don’t want to go. Hey, I don’t want to wear that shirt to camp tomorrow, can I pick out another one?

And that was it. The BIG surprise I had planned was a complete and utter disaster and I was crushed.

It wasn’t the money, I could care less about that (besides, it was only $30). It’s that I thought the boys would be SO excited and they almost looked sick when I told them. How could I have gotten it so wrong?

Weren’t these the same kids I carried for 38 weeks?

As of now, the husband and I both plan on taking the kids to the game tomorrow night. I even called the stadium to see if the announcer would announce their birthday over the loudspeakers at the game.

I thought we could take them to dinner first before the game. Then maybe, just maybe,  they will have fun. I guess this won’t be their best birthday ever, but hopefully it won’t land them in therapy either (lol).

Wish me luck!! I will keep you posted on the outcome.

Thanks for reading.

My Summertime Woes

School is officially over for all the kids – except L who goes to “school” (a/k/a daycare) all year. I have read on Facebook, the past couple weeks, posts and comments from friends who are happy summer is here.

Some of these friends are teachers so that’s understandable – 2 months off. However, for those who are parents, especially working parents, how can they be THAT that happy?

Summer stresses me out completely with the kids. School is my rock, my 9 month, 180-day guaranteed place for the kids  M-F, 9-3.

Sure there are breaks, in-service days, holidays and snow days but for the most part, school is a constant. I don’t have to worry about who is going to watch the twins while I am at work. I don’t have to come up with activities to keep them occupied once the tv, Ipod Touch, Legos, toys, dvds, etc. become boring after an hour.

When school is in session, I also don’t have to use up all my vacation/sick time because camp is over and there are still three weeks until school starts back up.

I guess my complaining is moot, after all, there will always be a summer break. Don’t get me wrong, I like summer – longer days (except when trying to get the kids to bed while the sun is still out), beach trips and afternoons at the pool.

Summer break just stresses me out a little and, more importantly,  makes me have to adapt to yet another morning/evening routine with the kids. Seriously, you have no idea how much time is added to mornings when you have to apply sunscreen to 4 squirming boys (lol!).

That being said, I guess I need to focus more on the positive and appreciate that the boys are still kids, kids who get excited to play in the sprinkler at camp and will still let me apply the sunscreen.

I’ll leave you with this. When the twins and I pulled into camp this morning, M was commenting to me about the awesome playground (I must admit, the playground at this school is 110x better than the one at the twins’ school – in the same town). Our conversation went something like this:

M: Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy?? Do you see the playground? You see it?

Me: Yeah, that’s a pretty cool playground. Did you guys go outside yesterday?

M&J (in unison): YEESSSS

Me: Did you have fun?

M: Yes. Mom, mommy, mom…do you see that circle thing over there? (pointing out the window in the 3rd row of the van as I am driving).

Me: What? That thing? Yeah I see it. That looks cool (hoping I am looking at the right piece of equipment)

M: Yeah..it’s the boys’ secret playhouse. No girls allowed. We sit underneath and pretend it is our spaceship and we have lockers for our space suits.

Me: Do you? Wow!! No girls allowed at all? Not even 1?

M: No, no girls!

Ahhhh to be almost 7 years old again!

Happy Tuesday everyone, thanks for reading.

Random “Monday” Thoughts

Hello and Happy sorta Monday friends. I know it’s really Tuesday but let’s be honest, the Tuesday after a long weekend actually feels worse than any regular Monday doesn’t it?

Was I the only one who woke up today totally stunned, thinking it was Sunday with a slight knot in my stomach when I realized I had to actually go to work today?????

The family and I had a pretty busy Memorial Day weekend this year. Sadly, we were not able to visit the Jersey Shore (in-laws live in Long Beach Island) but we did get invited to a couple of bbqs and the twins marched in their first ever parade with some tball teamates (and daddy).

The weekend was filled with lots of children fighting and many margaritas which could be why my pants are feeling a bit snug today.

And now without further ado, I bring you my random thoughts….

1) Horay for the long, open front cardigan

I could literally hug the person (HAS to be a female) who invented the long, open front cardigan. It is by far my absolute favorite fashion go-to item. If I had to guess, I would say I wear one at least 2 times a week.

I own them in a bunch of colors and fabrics. Some have pockets, some have dolman sleeves (for when I want to look like I am a bat) and some are strictly for winter months and others, like the new one I am wearing today, just scream summer!!

Today’s is white, 3/4 sleeves AND the back is a little longer so it covers by butt. Seriously, does it get any better than that?? I was able to find this beauty at the Loft this weekend AND it was on sale for $44.00 with an extra 50% off.

SOLD!!

2) I suck at Candy Crush

A few weeks ago, I talked about my new app obsession Candy Crush. I play it all the time on my iPhone and even got the husband hooked.

I hooked up my Facebook account and now I am able to see how many “friends” also play and what levels they are on (their FB profile pic appears on the cute Candy Crush map).

However, as much as I love this game, I think it is time I come to terms with the fact that I absolutely SUCK at the game.

I have played Crush for at least 3 weeks and I am only on Level 38. This is not “normal” and I am beginning to think I should just give up.

First, I thought it was just a fluke that it was taking me a few days to pass a few levels. I would waste all my lives in a 10-minute setting and was constantly Googling tips to cheat beat the level I was on.

A couple of weeks ago, after being stuck on Level 33 for almost a week, I actually asked someone in work if they would clear the level for me and keep it our little secret. (in my defense this guy is on Level 216).

Well I never had the work guy beat my level, I was able to do it myself but I have been on Level 38 for a week and I don’t think I will ever clear it.

The husband has well surpassed me and I see FB friends whizzing past me daily. I’m torn, do I give up or stick with it? Thoughts anyone???

3) Sometimes being a mom isn’t so bad

As most of you know, my son J was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder about 21/2 years ago. The journey with J has been a roller coaster ride of emotions and “stuff” .

J has really good days, really bad days and everything in between. Through it all J has put on a brave face and is almost always smiling (unless he is angry). When he is happy there is nothing more beautiful than his big, blue eyes looking back at you.

The last couple weeks I have been in an “ASD SUCKS” kinda mood. I know… it can be so much worse; I should be thankful J is doing so well; there are so many others that are worse off yada yada yada. Still, when it is your kid and you have to watch him/her struggle daily it doesn’t matter it just sucks.

This past weekend, however, was A-Mazing with J. It started last Friday when J’s school hosted a talent show. J attends a school for kids with special needs so I was really not expecting much from the talent show.

J’s teacher had mentioned that she had worked with his class for weeks on a routine but kept it a secret. All we were told was that the kids should wear black pants and a white shirt.

The morning of the show, I asked J what he was performing in school. He gave me a shy smile and did some hand motions that made no sense to me at all. Ok, whatever I thought as I got him ready for the bus.

When I arrived at his school, the parking lot was packed. I quickly grabbed 2 seats, the husband was meeting me there, and anxiously waited for the show to start. I grabbed a program, and quickly became annoyed at THE most annoying special-needs- mom in the row ahead of me. She had saved the entire front row and there was no way I could see over her huge ponytail (and big mouth).

The principal handed out programs and under Jake’s class it said “My Girl”. It all made sense, J is in a class with 5 boys and 1 girl. OMG this is going to be awesome….but will J do it or freak out????

J was act #6 and it felt like FOREVER until his class got on “stage.” Finally I heard the music and in walked J’s class. The boys were wearing top hats and bow ties and the little girl sat in the middle on a bench covered in pink tulle.

They all took their places and did the entire routine to perfection! I could not believe my baby was doing that in front of a room full of people. No way that could have happened 2 years ago. To me it was a miracle.

When they took their bow, the room erupted in applause as the teachers shot confetti into the air. They did it – J did it!

I don’t think I will ever be able to describe the feelings I had when J walked off the stage. It was a combination of so many emotions and feelings all mixed together. I just remember thinking that everything would be ok and J will be alright.

My Guy

My Guy

Have a great week everyone and thanks for reading.

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