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A Little Reminder This Halloween…

This is the week Aidan and Lincoln have been asking about for over a month. Counting down the weeks. And now the days.

We’re very excited over here. And I’m almost done making costumes….I just need to make Lincoln’s ears.

Aidan is so excited that he’s been practicing how he will say “Trick-or-Treat” and is considering the abbreviation, “T-o-T” (funny story…I’ll share it another time). And I couldn’t be happier.

It hasn’t always been like this.

Aidan’s 1st Halloween was non-existent. He wore a Halloween shirt. I had a migraine…which meant I was in bed, under the covers, in a dark room.
Sorry hunny.

His 2nd Halloween… Aidan was a few months shy of 2 and wasn’t speaking.

He had a speech delay. But he knew exactly what to do…

2nd Halloween

Halloween 2009

…these were his exact words, “HI…MORE…PLEASE…BYE”

Those 4 words were HUGE for us at the time. So much so that I saved them with the above picture.

 

His 3rd Halloween I remember Aidan was a firefighter…

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Halloween 2010

And, apparently this convo accompanied the above picture. But I honestly don’t remember it…so it musn’t have been one of our better days…

3rd Halloween Capture

 

Aidan’s 4th Halloween is one that will forever be engrained to my memory…
It was the day he was discharged from outpatient counseling services (we attended weekly sessions in the hopes it would provide an outlet for Aidan, in turn having a positive influence on his behavior).

Aidan went to school as Waldo…

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But he insisted on wearing his firefighter costume from the year before for Trick-or-Treating…

We met up with friends and family for Trick-or-Treating after Aidan’s last counseling session.

Circumstances weren’t working in our favor. Trick-or-Treating got delayed. It was past dinner time. And Aidan had been on edge since the morning.

It turned out that this…

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…the act of a group of kids rushing to one door was too much for Aidan to handle.

In previous years, we had gone Trick-or-Treating with one other family. And we went to the doors WITH Aidan. And HE rang the door bell.

The first hour of this fun activity involved Nolan walking behind the group with a screaming Aidan.

Nolan was eventually able to get Aidan to calm down. And the other kids were so great in adapting…they worked out who would ring the door bell in what order. This little bit of structure made a HUGE difference.

Aidan was able to keep track of when it was his turn, which was comforting for him.

Between that and his cousin, Aidan (and Nolan and I) were able to enjoy the rest of our time collecting candy from strangers Trick-or-Treating…

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Thank goodness for loving cousins….

The 5th year (last year) was a great success, despite the fact that we had been hit by Hurricane Sandy and Halloween had been canceled in NJ.

Aidan dressed as Turtle Man from Call of the Wild Man

Aidan dressed as Turtle Man from Call of the Wild Man

After however many days without power, we decided to wait out NJ’s black out in Massachusetts.

This meant new houses to visit and no large groups…it was just us…

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…which was more than enough and absolutely perfect…

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This year we are planning on Trick-or-Treating with our MA cousins. While I am a little nervous about how Aidan will do with a group of people, I am excited at the same time. Excited to see how he does. How he interacts. Adapts.

He has come so far. Progressed so much. Has a much better understanding of his feelings and how to effectively communicate them to me.

My mommy intuition tells me he’ll be just fine.

So, as you prepare for Trick-or-Treaters this week, I ask you to please keep this in mind….

Halloween reminder

…my oldest has SPD issues. All 3 of my kids are gluten and dairy free. Other children may have other issues. Issues far worse than ours.

Your response, your reaction, can make all the difference in a child’s (as well as a parent’s) evening.

Please don’t judge. Please be nice. And remember, it’s about the kids. Smile.

 

 

 

I am 1 of the 4…

When the average person thinks of October, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say they think of all the fun fall festivities it has to offer… apple and pumpkin picking which then turn into baking and carving, changing leaves, cooler weather, and who can forget Halloween.

But for 1 in 4 women, October is something a little more….
It is pregnancy loss awareness month. And yes, 1 in 4 women experience the loss of an unborn child.

You probably didn’t realize how common pregnancy loss is.

It’s not spoken about.

But that is slowly changing.

More and more women are stepping forward and breaking their silence.

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image courtesy of The Green Mommy

Nolan and I lost our first baby. This was the baby he had dreamed of having since he was 14 years old and the baby I couldn’t wait to have with him.

Loosing our baby was such a long and torturous event. And I remember it as if it just happened yesterday.

Aidan and I had gotten sick. We both had severe ear infections (one of my ear drums had blood on it) and high fevers. My fever spiked to over 103. This was the beginning of the end for my baby. I was 7 weeks pregnant.

My ear drum healed and fever dissipated, but  I had begun to bleed.

A week later we celebrated Aidan’s 1st birthday with family.
Looking back on it now, I should have canceled the party and stayed off my feet. I didn’t. I honestly didn’t know any better. So, I made sauce and meatballs from scratch and baked and party planned.

Things progressively got worse.

Nolan and I went to the Emergency Room. We were there for 9 hours, only to be told there was nothing the hospital could do and to come back if things got worse.

Things got worse. By our second visit we knew to bring a bag of food and some games to keep us busy. The thought of Mastermind always brings a smile to my face…we must have played that game for 5 of the 9 hours we were there.

It was during our 3rd visit that the doctor finally decided to do an ultrasound.

I knew I was loosing my baby and couldn’t bear to see the image of our hopes and dreams on the screen. Nolan, wanting so badly for this to have a different outcome, saw our baby and the heartbeat. I watched him as he watched the screen.

Based upon the baby’s heartbeat, the doctor gave us a 30% chance of survival and sent us home.

We held onto that 30% until about 2 am the following morning.

I awoke with more pain than I had felt during that 2 week period. I ran to bathroom and in the quiet of the early morning, passed my baby.

The life growing inside of me was no more and I have never felt emptier than at that moment.

I stood their for what felt like hours.
I didn’t know what to do.
Every part of me wanted to scoop my baby up, hold it, bury it.

I flushed.

Immediately I regretted it.

I cleaned myself and crawled back into bed. I gently nudged Nolan and let him know what had happened.

Everything from that point through the next 8 weeks is a blur. That is, except for the rage and extreme sorrow. Those are the only things I really remember.

It was the loss of potential that nearly cost me my sanity and marriage. The loss of what my child would have looked like, sounded like. The loss of experiencing all of my child’s interests and quirks. The loss of Aidan having a sibling and the thought of the relationship they would have had.

I had an extremely difficult time bonding with Lincoln. As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t form what I believed to be a real attachment to him. I have never told anyone this, but I resented him. I could not let go of the baby before him.

I was torn and guilt ridden. I was petrified that if I didn’t hold onto my angel baby, that I would loose it forever. That if I didn’t constantly remind myself of the pain and sorrow that I would forget.

I lived this way for a long time.

I went through the motions of being mom and wife, but was empty.

It wasn’t until a couple of months after Lincoln’s 1st Birthday that I realized the way in which I was living my life was disgracing the memory of my lost child. My resentment and bitterness was everything that my child was not.

I realized that if it wasn’t for the loss of my baby, Lincoln would not be here. It was through my baby’s death that made Lincoln’s life possible.

I realized that by letting go, I wasn’t forgetting. By letting go I was simply allowing the beauty from what happened to be present in my eyes, my mind, and my heart. By letting go, I was allowing room for my love to grow.

 

It will be 5 years in February since the loss of my 2nd child. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him/her. And while it is still extremely sad, it longer consumes me.

I can’t help but think of the women who have gone through this scenario multiple times. Or those who went full term and had a still-birth.

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain I felt, multiplied.

My heart goes out to the 1 in 4. My heart goes out to their spouses, their partners, their significant others. My heart goes out to their entire family.

 

I ask you this…

If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a child[ren] during pregnancy, shoot them a message letting you know your thinking of them. If you see them, hug them a little longer, a little tighter. This goes for men too…I hadn’t realized how heartbroken Nolan was until we talked about.
While it gets easier as time goes on, and having 3 earthly children most certainly helps, the loss of a child stays with a parent forever.

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The Other Mother

My husband and I met when Aidan when 7 months and married when he was 20 months old. This technically makes my husband Aidan’s stepfather. As far as Aidan knows, my husband is his Daddy.

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Aidan knows that he has 2 fathers, his daddy and the other one that shares his blood. I have never hid this from him.

Aidan’s biological father dropped out of the picture when he was 3 and re-entered around the 4 1/2 – 5 year old time frame (not too long ago). It’s a very long and complicated story, but Aidan’s bio-dad remarried. And with this marriage came a lot of resentment, directed towards me.

I have never initiated any conversation with this woman. The conversations that we have had have all been a disaster and initiated by her. Based off of these interactions with her, I can only assume her negative feelings towards me stem from the fact that I had a sexual relationship with her now husband that resulted in my getting pregnant and having a baby.

I have informed her that I have no intentions of ever getting back with Aidan’s biological father. I am married to another man. I have 3 children. My relationship with Aidan’s bio-dad ended at the end of April 2007. The only relationship we have, if you can even call it that, is one of communicating and sharing information regarding Aidan and visitations.

She doesn’t see it that way.

In fact, she is so hell bent on making my life as difficult as possible that she forged her husband’s signature and brought me to court. TWICE! The first time for a paternity test (Aidan was 4 1/2 – 5 y/o). The second was to accuse me of violating our court order by moving out of state without consent from Aidan’s bio-dad and to request that his child support be decreased.

How do I know she did this? Her husband, my son’s biological father, told me. And I believe him. I believe him because we had a conversation on the steps of my mother-in-law’s house about the move. I believe him because we had emailed about upcoming visits. I believe him because I know he would never do such a thing, it isn’t in his nature. And I know he respects me too much to do such a thing.

I had that court date on October 3rd. I attended over the phone. Aidan’s bio-dad withdrew the complaint regarding our move. We worked out the visitation schedule for the next year, including holidays. And then we moved onto the issue of child support…

The judge informed Aidan’s bio-dad that when the original child support statement was drafted, back in August 2008, he wasn’t working. This meant he was to pay the minimum amount of child support allowed by the court.

Fast forward to present day, and he has a job. Having a job means you’re making more money. Making more money means you should be paying more child support.

When asked if he still wanted a recalculation, he responded, “If your honor thinks I’m making out better with the current figures, then no”

The judge, bless her, informed him that every child has a right to the money they deserve.

Ms. ___________, would you like a recalculation?

I took a moment, thought about all the headaches his wife had given me. All the tears I’ve shed from her actions and words. I thought about why I was on the phone instead of at our Thursday morning library program. This woman was affecting my entire family.

Yes. Please.
Aidan has been asking to participate in several activities that we, quite frankly, cannot afford.

I’m assuming his facial expression caused this response from the judge. I can’t say because I wasn’t physically there. But the judge asked if she could make a suggestion.

By all means.

What if, Ms. _____________, Mr. _____________ pays for 2/3’s of all activities and sports Aidan is registered for.

Sounds good.

Also, what if we put Aidan on Mr. __________’s medical insurance. He works for the state and receives excellent coverage.

Absolutely.

In addition, what if he had to pay 2/3’s of all out of pocket medical expenses.

I would agree to that.

 

The conversations in the house this week have been going a little something like this…

Mom, can I do gymnastics?
Sure, I’ll look into it.

Mom, can I try out ice skating lessons this winter?
Ice skating? Why not.

Mom, I want to do basketball.
I’ll get you registered as soon as I can.

Oh, Aidan, would you like to learn piano?

 

Karma is a mother fucking bitch.

Kindergarten Cat Fights

Aidan has always had a way with the ladies.

Last year, he developed his 1st relationship. Yes, at 4 years old and in Pre-Kindergarten, my son had a girlfriend.

He adored her.

He handpicked bouquets of flowers for her.

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And he made her THE most awesome Valentine I have ever seen a 5 year old make.

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When I told Aidan we were moving, he had a few concerns. The biggest being the fact that he would never see his girlfriend anymore.

I also apologized a thousand times and assured my heart broken boy that there would be lots of girls at his new school and not to worry. I felt awful.

Aidan started at his new school a week after we moved. That Friday he jumped off the school bus and exclaimed,
TODAY WAS THE BEST DAY EVER! I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND!
Really?! What’s her name?
Um…I don’t remember.
Well, if you’re going to have a girlfriend, you need to know what her name is.

For the sake of this post, we’ll call this girlfriend A1.

At back to school night, I ran into A1 and her grandmother. Long story short, A1 hadn’t told her family about Aidan and I spilled the beans. Grandmother didn’t appear very happy about the news. She did say, however, that she knew of an Aidan who sat with A1 during lunch; A1 was getting in trouble for not eating her lunch because the two were talking too much.

Oops.

Oh, and by the way, A1 denied she was Aidan’s girlfriend. I would to if grandmother was my grandmother.

I spoke to Aidan the next day about how some parents prefer their daughters not have a boyfriend, especially in Kindergarten, and he should just be friends with A1.

It was around this time that Aidan received that late birthday invitation. This was the birthday party he brought the Mexican Jumping Beans to.

Here’s what the inside of the invite said…

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Uh, huh.

Aidan was surrounded by girls at the party.

At one point, Birthday Girl’s (we’ll be calling her A2) mom wanted a picture of A2 and Aidan. They stood. They smiled. The picture was taken. Then another girl came on Aidan’s other side. They smiled. The picture was taken. Then another girl came in. They smiled. The picture was taken.

I couldn’t help but laugh.

 

I had to attend an educational planning meeting for Aidan at his school. During this meeting, Aidan’s teacher informed me that there were 3 girls fighting over him. She also said that for the first time in her career, she had to place Aidan at a table with ALL boys. “The girls just start talking to him”, she said. She assured me that the matter was being dealt with and not to worry.

When Aidan came home from school that day, I asked if there were any other girls that liked him. He gave 3 names. A1, A2, and A3. Yes, all 3 have names that start with “A”.

Whatever he's doing, he's doing well.

Apparently, these moves are what the ladies like.

I was at our Wednesday library program last week and met another mother who has a daughter in Aidan’s class (she’ll be referred to as “O”). O’s mom said that she is obsessed with Aidan and writes him love letters every day after school. She also has signs and pictures hanging outside her bedroom door and on her walls. Apparently no one other than Aidan can enter her room.

I was telling my mom the story; I couldn’t get over how there were 4 girls obsessed with my son. Aidan interjected and informed us of a 5th, M. He also said how M and A1 become very upset with Aidan whenever he plays with another girl. So much so that they yell at him. They also follow him around at recess, “invading [his] personal bubble” (his words, not mine). And if that wasn’t/isn’t bad enough, he told me he wanted to transfer to a different school so “that no one would fight” over him.

Shatter my heart into a thousand pieces.

I wasn’t very popular in grammar school and this is my first born, I had no clue what to say next. So, I said I would take care of it. Actually, I promised.

I wrote a 2 page note into school (yes, I’m that mother) and received a phone call from the guidance counselor.

The guidance counselor now works with the entire class and sees Aidan once a week. How you fix this issue without saying “don’t play with each other” takes too much thought for my brain to handle at this current point in time, but that’s what she gets paid for. But what ever she’s doing is working… Aidan came home from school yesterday and said he didn’t have any problems.

I’m not sure how the rest of the year will pan out, I’m just thankful Aidan is enjoying school again. I am, however, a little worried about the guest list for his birthday party. I may have to get a house coat for Aidan and bunny ears for the girls. A picture’s worth a thousand words.

My Son is NOT a Brat

Have you seen this floating around Facebook?

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As a parent of a child with a Sensory Disorder that causes behavioral issues, I find this offensive. I find it offensive to my son, to my husband and me, to our mothers, to my son’s siblings, and to everyone who is and has ever worked with him.

I will never be able to feel how my son feels. I will never be able to fully know or understand what it is like to walk in his shoes. What I do know is that it is difficult and although he has come such a long way from where he began, he still struggles. He puts so much effort into trying to act/behave in a socially acceptable manner and does a great job at it. If you don’t know what to look for, you would never know. But it’s exhausting for him. Simple tasks that take me a moment take him 2-3 times longer. He doesn’t want it to, it just does. It’s how his brain processes information.

You don’t believe me? Take a look at this video…

My son is not a brat. He is not a poorly behaved child. My husband and I are not bad parents. We do not give in to his every whim. We have put in hundreds of hours into seeing specialists and therapists. Hundreds of hours into evaluations and therapies. Hundreds of dollars into sensory tools and products to help make things a little easier, a little more comfortable for him. I have spent hundreds of hours researching alternative practices and diets. Hundreds of hours implementing those findings. I have spent hundreds of hours crying because it was just so much. So much for him, so much for me, so much for our nuclear family. And I’ve spent hundreds of hours worrying. Worrying about the judgement of others.

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My son is intelligent, compassionate, and witty. He’s got an amazing sense of humor and a smile that can light up the sky. He’s an amazing soccer player and an awesome friend. He can tell you a story full of emotion and suspense. He’s a person with dreams and fears, just like you and me. He’s a person with likes and dislikes, just like you and me. He’s a person with feelings and emotions that are capable of being hurt, just like you and me.

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So before you call my son, or any child for that matter, a brat, take a moment to realize that there may be something more going on that what you see. That child may have been fine 2 minutes before that fire engine drove by or before the beeping coming from a truck backing up. There is so much more to our children than their behavior.

Oh, and by the way, when “you” were a kid  your mothers drank and smoke cigarettes while pregnant and not everyone was allowed to drink out of the same water fountain or use the same restroom. But who’s judging. Not me.

Mexican Jumping Beans… not your ordinary bean

My mother bought Aidan Mexican Jumping Beans while getting a gift bag for the birthday party he was invited to this past Saturday. Apparently he HAD to have them, as did the birthday girl (who happens to be one of the THREE girls in his class who wants his hand in marriage. That is an entirely separate story and one that will be shared)

These are Mexican Jumping Beans. They don't look like much, right? WRONG!

These are Mexican Jumping Beans. They don’t look like much, right? WRONG!

So we’re at this party. I’m meeting other moms and am in the middle of saying how although I’m from New Jersey, I do not know the Jersey House Wives, nor do I know where they live, when Aidan runs up to show me his jumping beans. They are in this little clear plastic box, and Aidan tells me there are little worms in the middle of the beans. These worms eat the beans which makes them “jump”. Once the worm eats all of the bean, it turns into a moth.

Me: A moth!

A: YEA!

Me: Well, let’s make sure we keep them in the box.

I made a funny and the other mom’s laughed. I thought Aidan was just being imaginative.

Fast forward to the next day and my mom has some friends over for dinner.Everyone is chatting and the jumping beans are brought up.

Jumping beans? What the heck are jumping beans?

My mom tells Aidan to get the jumping beans and he hands them over our friends. My mom is explaining how they “jump” when they get warm and tells them to hold the beans in their hands. She proceeds to explain that there are tiny worms in the beans….

Me: Wait! What? Worms?

My mom: Yea.

Me: Really?!

My mom: Yea.

Me: HA!

At this point everyone is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. I explain the jumping bean party story and how I thought Aidan was just telling me a silly story. NEVER would I have ever believed that these beans have worms in them that turn into moths.

Monday comes. Lincoln and Autumn are down for their afternoon nap and I’m doing dishes. The house is pretty quiet with the exception of this clicking sound. I stop running the water and look around. I don’t see or hear anything so I go back to washing. I hear it again. This goes on for a while before I realized Aidan’s beans are on the window sill above the kitchen sink. And they’re jumping.

I honestly hope I’m not around when these things hatch because I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep my composure.

Don’t believe me? Check out this video. These are Aidan’s Jumping Beans…

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Dragons and Peanuts…huh?

Where on earth did Dragons and Peanuts come from? Good question.

Let me start by saying, trying to come up with a blog name is like naming one of your children. You want to be creative, but you don’t want to look like you tried too hard.

I was originally going to name my 4th child “Babes and Books”. Long story short, we were leaving the library and someone commented on how my arms were full of babes and books, which they were. And since moving to Massachusetts, we’ve become quite the book worms and library hoppers. Anyhoo…I looked up booksandbabes.com and was directed to an Asian website with an image of a half dressed Asian female (don’t believe me, check it out). On to the next name, “Babes and Books”. Ummmm….sounds like a book fetish porn site.

My husband and I must have thrown out names for about 30 minutes before getting really silly. I’m talking like “Boogers and Poopie Diapers” silly. And then bam…. “Dragons and Peanuts”!

You see, I was trying to nurture the children’s creativity and brought out the markers for coloring. Instead of drawing on paper, Lincoln drew on himself. He used the red marker and turned himself into a dragon. Aidan, not wanting to miss out on the fun, used a variety of different colors and made himself a “rainbow” dragon. The two of them proceeded to fly about the house, roaring, and setting fire to everything in site. It was such a beautifully fun moment that I didn’t even think to grab the camera, sorry.

There’s your “Dragons” now what about the “Peanuts”…

It’s quite simple. After Autumn was born, Nolan gave her the nickname Peanut. This nickname has evolved into much more complex versions like Little Lady Peanut, Little Lady Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich, Little Lady Peanut Butter Jelly Pumpkin Pie. And the boys now call her Peanut and Little Peanut and Little Lady Peanut, making “Peanuts” fairly obvious.

And so, a blog was born.

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