Figuring out what I wanna be when I grow up.
Oop..I AM grown up...

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's Quite Possible I'm No Longer Fun

Well, Hallowe'en's all done.  It came and went with little fuss or incident.  At school Ella was a butterfly, and Jack was a policeman.  Then, for trick-or-treating, Jack was STILL a policeman, and Ella became BAT GIRL, after I found the little black cape their nana had made, in the Hallowe'en box. 

The Man carved some great pumpkins
at the picnic table in our back yard yesterday.  I had my warm cardigan on, with my Mom's scarf wrapped all snuggy around my neck, and I had a nice, toasty coffee in the travel mug I'd bought for...The Man.  Ella was bouncing on the trampoline, and the sun was out for a bit, so it was all very Autumn Zen as the wind swirled the leaves around. 

Then Jack zipped outside and ruined all the peace temporarily.  To tell you the truth, I'm a little worn out.  Since Thursday, my little guy has been fairly impossible to live with.  I don't know what other moms, with kids on the Autism Spectrum go through, but Jack's biggest problems have always been ANXIETY, and ANXIETY OVER SCHEDULE CHANGES.  Thus, as most of the other children look forward to Hallowe'en, and look forward to having a party day at school, whereby they can eat junk and wear their costumes, Jack is filled with dread.  He worried that they would watch a movie in class.  You know how sometimes the TV makes that staticky CHZZSSSSSSSSHHHH noise before the tape (or dvd now I suppose) gets popped in?  Well, Jack's terrified of that sound.  I tried to explain that movies are supposed to be a treat, because then you don't have to do the same old work. 

Then he was panicking because he found out there'd be a PARADE.  In these situations, he immediately consults his mental rolodex for horrifying, relevant matching articles.  So, he hears "parade" and uploads a memory of the Christmas parade we went to, or any of the other parades we went to, in which there were marching bands.  Jack is fascinated with bands, and instruments, but is scared of the loud noise of these bands--especially the bag pipes.  Now he's panicking, because he thinks his whole school is going to be out there with marching bands and bag pipes and NOISE NOISE NOISE.  I reassure him that all it is is a walk around the school.  Mummies and Daddies take pictures, presto-changeo, you're back in class for a class party


I'm fairly certain now that Jack has just had a flashback to the birthday party he went to last year for a boy in his class.  The kid's mom made hot dogs for the boys, which Jack ate at the time, AND enjoyed, but has since twisted the memory into a scene of bad food and coercion;

"Why did S--'s mom say; 'okay boys, eat your hotdogs'???"
Me:  "I don't know--because that was supposed to be a treat?"
Jack:  "why did I have to eat that hot dog???"
Me:  "you liked it!"
Me:  "you were all excited at the time!  You said; 'Mom, I ate a hot dog!'"
Jack:  "I just don't WANT to eat THAT hot dog!  I'm NEVER gonna EAT THAT HOT DOG AGAIN!!!"

As I was saying, most kids love a party.  Jack however, was close to tears just thinking about it.  I reassured him that all that involves is eating a cupcake in his class.  Try to explain all this to a kid who is so afraid of the unknown that you can feel his little rapidly racing heart when you give him a hug.  Also, let's throw in, that since they did some firedrill practice a few weeks ago, we have had to reassure Jack, dozens of times, every day, that there will be NO FIRE ALARMS at school that day.  Still, as soon as the school bell rings, the tears start rolling down his face, and he doesn't feel better until his teacher puts her arm around his shoulders, and says in her matter of fact voice;

"there's no fire drills today." 

One day it his fears were so great, he started doing THE BIG COUGHS before school, which means his stomach was rising up, and he was on the verge of vomiting.  Yeah.  So, because Jack is filled with anxiety and agony over Hallowe'en--this great disruption in his life--it pours out of him in the form of hostility and bad behaviour.  That means, I get to endure a whole lot of "I hate you, Mom," and "I'm SICK of my MOTHER," and other super fun stuff.  He also turns into the unstoppable pest to his poor sister. 

And then, just as I'm once again at my breaking point, and close to tears myself, like magic, he turns back into my sweet kid; "Captain Snuggy," as I jokingly call him, which makes him laugh and say; "MOM! I'm NOT 'Captain Snuggy!'"  Out of the blue he'll be back to saying; "Mom, I just love you."  But until then, you'd better buckle up and pour yourself a few fingers of something stiff after the kids go to bed.  Or, lament again that my Mom is not here to lament all this to. 

In the meantime, the only decorations we had were our two carved pumpkins, and some last minute mini ghost and jack-o-lantern lights that we strung up by the front window.  The neighbour's house was festooned with halloweenery, and a guy down the street had about 8 carved pumpkins, strobe lights, scary sounds pouring out from somewhere, and with the push of a button; great puffs of dry ice. 

Ella, in the past week, after surveying a front lawn "grave yard," complete with half-buried skeleton, and some sort of gibbet hanging from the tree, sighed and said that she wished WEEEE could have some Hallowe'en decorations.  Hmm...

Well, I was at the Wal of Evil one night, in their Hallowe'en section, and saw all the "keep out" signs, and cheap, plastic decorations, and I tried, but I just couldn't bring myself to invest in that poorly-made, plastic crap.  I did have a sparkly black kitty thing in my hand, but thought; I don't WANT to buy this!  I'd much rather spend my money on my favourite thing to spend my money on:  a new shirt.  I suppose I should have gone to a craft store instead, and shouldn't be surprised that Wal of Evil only had crap.  I'm starting to hate that store more and more, and resent them for their cheap, cheap goods, and really crappy adult clothes, but that's another rant for another time. Besides, I've used really overused the word "cheap."   

And another thing--what's so whimsical about a grave yard?  Yeah, you can get some styrofoam and make up your own "funny" grave stones:  "here lies DISCO..1970~1979" or something stupid like that, but after spending too much time at the REAL cemetary, where my poor Mother STILL doesn't have a stone at her grave, well, crafting up an eternal resting place on my front lawn no longer seems so ha-ha hilarious. 

I suppose as well, I should have had some sort of costume, perhaps?  I love looking at pictures of peoples' Hallowe'en parties online.  I like seeing their fun decorations, and the different, witty costumes people come up with (except for PUN costumes.  Oh my lord, I can NOT stand PUN costumes.  You know, somebody sticks socks and dryer sheets all over themselves and says they're "static cling," or somebody writes "book" on their face, and therefore their costume is FACEBOOK?  No, I hate those costumes.  They fill me with pure rage).  I love all that, but I did NOTHING to Hallowe'en up myself.  Oh wait, I used dark green/blue eyeliner, and a few more coats of mascara that day.  Rah, rah.  I suppose I should have been something trashy though, as it's apparent that all costumes marketed to women are SLUTTY.  Yawn. 

Also, my sister and her man went on a haunted hay ride.  Ppffft.  She wanted me to come too, but a) that's no my bag, and b) I HATE being scared.  I said to her; "what--you know that feeling when you find a new lumpy-bump on yourself, and you nearly faint from the fear of cancer???  You want to EMULATE that feeling???"  Real life is scary enough. 

The kids had fun.  Ella knocked on all the doors, and Jack joined in nervously, barely able to hold his own treat bag open, he's so shy.  At the last house we went to, a large-ish dog could be heard barking in the background.  Ella got this exasperated angry look on her face and said; "ugh, what is THAT?"  The nice lady of the house said; "oh, that's just my puppy, honey."  Then Ella, much to my horror, said; "I HATE DOGS!"

I was a tad embarrassed, especially considering my girlie is the loviest kid I know. She's always the one who zips over to pet everyone's dog, or oo-ah over someone's baby. Oh well, kids are funny.

The kids were getting in the spirit, and all the while their cynical mother was following along pondering the pointlessness of trick-or-treating, especially on a street where less than half the houses even had their lights on. Oh great, I'm headed down the path of being that person who turns all the lights off and hides in her own home until all those kids JUST GO AWAY.

See? See? I'm no fun anymore. I've lost all my child-like whimsy. What a drag.

Hallowe'en 3 years ago (what a freaking adorable Harry Potter) 

2010 ~ Pumpkins By THE MAN


All Done.


  1. Cute pictures of the kids. As for your son, I really do not know all of it, but one question stands out. Does your son go to a special school that understands his needs? A lot of what you mentioned sounds like my girlfriends daughter whom they basically labeled with ausbergers in the spectrum of autism, and they tend to be extremely bright. There are certain triggers that my girlfriend mentioned that you have also picked up on. She said she was advised to have her daughter do some activities that would help relieve the panic, spinning around in circles, if in a pool, swimming to the bottom and staying down there as long as possible. Laying in bed with tons of blankets on top. The affect each of these had was to put pressure on the body and that seemed to make her daughter feel better. My girlfriend did tend to avoid some situations and others she just had to do but did not let herself made to feel bad about how her daughter was reacting. Another thing my girlfriend did was find a support group of parents whom also were going through the same situation with their child. Have you had your son diagnosed so you can get the support you need. I hope this helps in some way. Oh and you are right Wall of evil, love that name, does put out cheap crap. I usually pay a little more at the craft store or enhance something myself.

  2. Hey... That last picture of Ella sleeping on the couch... What is all that behind her all glowing? creepy. ;) And for the record... There are different variations of being scared. There's the BAD kind of scared (like the one you mentioned) and the FUN being scared. ;0) Like when you and I went in that Haunted House years ago and were terrified but OH how we laughed. You just wait my dear sister.

    BTW, my Triumphant Wednesday Roast smells YUMMO.

  3. Alaina, thanks for the insight/suggestions. I'll have to blog about Jack, but he's very mildly on the autism spectrum. He doesn't go to a special school, or a special class, but a resource teacher drops by his class every day and helps him out with some things that give him a lot of anxiety. When I lived in suburbia, we were on a zillion waiting lists, but hardly received any support. There were various groups I could go to for parents of children on the spectrum, but I found it was hard to relate to the other parents, because their kids were a lot more severe, generally. I'm still looking into what kind of services are HERE now that I've moved back home. It's long and involved, so like I said--I'd have to blog about it.
    Yeah, your decorations looked great! Definitely several steps up from Wal of Evil.

  4. Nerdo, yes, I know that the shrieking thrill from a haunted hayride is different from the hot/cold terror sweat of perceived cancer, ha ha. I have to say though, all forms of being scared, to me, kind of bite.
    How'd that roast turn out?

  5. We actually bucked the trend of 'lights-out' cynicism by setting up a table and BBQ outside to give out spider-dogs and pop/juice in addition to the normal mini-chocolates/candies. They were a hit with the grown-ups who hung around longer chatting, while the kids hit surprised levels of glee. It felt like a combination mini-block party and open house. Neighbours even told us people were talking about it to them - we may be creating a 'montser' expectation for next year, but I have to say Hallowe'en felt frest again.

    As a bonus I got to walk around with my baby girl as she very quickly got into the concept of trick-or-treating! At 18 months she was always clutching her two fav candies (one in each hand) setting one down on the porch when she determined that she had just received a new fav. She would even say bye-bye at every house, wanted to walk right into every open door (I had to kindly stop her), and LOVED every puppy no matter how large or loud.

    Gabe on the other hand...refused to go back out after her sister was in bed (by 6:15) and it got dark. He claimed he wanted to help with the spider dogs, but he was actually scared. No matter which friend from school came by to ask him to come along, his imagination and fear of 'what-if' stopped him completely. Yet he was hyper and full of excuses. Yay. I hope he gets over HIS anxiety next year, or his 2.5 year old sister is going to boldly outpace him.

    As for the Wal of Evil....I heard a sermon once on what is a more 'just' way of buying - to buy less and less often, but to deliberately pay more. THAT philosophy would result in better quality, more local expertise, and a more thoughtful approach to purchasing decisions - plus allowing people to actually make a fair profit. Just a thought. What do you think?

  6. Oh, yes. Two more things: One, I saw some bad grammar errors (monster rather than montser, and fresh instead of frest) - I need to stop to review things before hitting, "Publish".

    Two, I agree with Aimee - fun fear actually can relieve some of that stress and cynicism that can ripen.

  7. Matt, I totally didn't even notice your typo of "monster," or "fresh." Sheesh, that's what' happens when the kids don't make it to bed until almost 9, thanks to their mother being in a good mood and having a tickle festival with them. Probably not the best idea right at bed time...
    ANYHOO, I like your consumer/spender concept of buying less often, but buying better things. I'm sick of the Wal. They make you think you're saving money. They make you think you're getting more for your money, but really you're just getting cheap, second-rate things made by abused, over-worked people in China. As far as the cheap things market is concerned, I wish GIANT TIGER would just take over already. No wait, I'm mostly anti-consumerism anyway. This buy, buy, buy attitude has got to go, but it's the cheapest way to get a little happiness in this now very cynical world.

  8. also, thanks for sharing your tales of Hallowe'en. That's funny about Gabe making excuses not to go out, and your daughter wanting to go to all houses. Sounds so much like Jack and Ella! As well, I liked your neighbourhood fun idea. I wonder how that would go over in anti-social Mississauga...

  9. I'm homesick (again!) - I loved trick or treating in mine/your neighbourhead - you could run to like a zillion houses. Your kids are in for such fun when they get older and really get into hard core treating with the pillow cases. Remember that? We used to get so much candy we would pit stop at home and drop off then go out again. It is a miracle that I have any of my original teeth still!

    Matt - I love your open hallow house! That sounds like fun.

    Oh - and I learned this year that trick or treating is way more fun if you have two glasses of wine before heading out and take one in a road cup. Hmm - pleasant evening walk anyone?

    - xy

  10. Damn Christy, why didn't I think of the wine trick. This forces me to ask, now that you're an American citizen: what is with those red cups? Whenever they show any pics or 'reality' type television, and people are boozing it up, they always have RED cups???
    Yes, I remember the pillow cases. I know Kate was always super driven to hit as many houses as she could, because her house was devoid of junk food. I was lazier, and less enjoying of the cold, so I don't think mine ever got completely loaded.

  11. Hey Karen!
    Still feeling lousy here and have to get caught up on your posts!
    Sam's dance was not like how ours used to be thank goodness! No slow songs just fast fun songs. Lots of fun and kids just running around and dancing. Real kid fun nothing serious!

  12. sounds like you need the man to take over the parenting duties for a night. then take your tired self to get your nails done, read a trashy mag ,and the best part is you don't have to talk to anyone 'cause the ladies don't speak much english!{where i go they all speak vietnamese,wonder what they are saying about the customers feet?} my friend works at the niagara penninsula childrens center ,they are awsome but you may have to wait to get in. is jack on any medication to help the anxiety? not like you want to drug up kids but sometimes it can really help them and the rest of the family.

  13. well Pam, just keep on resting! That's cute about Sam's dance. I remember those first dances--SO EXCITING.

  14. Paula, I think that is precisely what I need. I'm so tired of cooking and cleaning lately, I can hardly stomach eating my own dinner. Blah.
    No, Jack's not on any medication. I'm always leery of medication, and try to go the diet and vitamin route...but I do wonder if medication could be more beneficial. I'll have to google that childrens' centre.

  15. hey karen the childrens center has autism seminars in november maybe you could still get a spot.

    wed nov. 3 -behavior management
    wed. nov.17-ask a doctor
    my friend is a social worker at the center, if there are no spaces maybe i could ask her to get you on the list. 905 688 1890 . we went there for physio when gabe was 3 and it really helped him with his balance and co-ordination.good luck!

  16. foregot to give the time of the seminars 6:30-8:30 pm

  17. thanks for the offer of help, Paula. I've been dealing with looking for different groups and such so long for Jack, that even thinking about it now is revolting, so I will have to meditate on it a bit.

  18. i have only one kid, she's 8, and i'm about positive that she's got aspergers. i can totally relate to so much of what you said about the dread of all situations unfamiliar. we just went on her first plane trip & that took some serious thinking & preparing & prepping with her to get her to walk through security & sit quietly during take off. but she did it & now considers herself a seasoned traveler.
    how old is jack?

  19. Hi Sherilin, thanks for stopping by :)

    My son is 6 now, and was diagnosed when he was 3 1/2 years old with "Autism Spectrum Disorder." Dealing with kids is a job in itself, but dealing with kids with issues--well, I'm sure I don't have to tell you.

    Has your daughter had any kind of assessment, or have any teachers ever approached you with any concerns?

  20. i homeschool brooke & always have, so she's never been in any kind of school situation other than sunday school. and even that has gone dreadfully wrong at times. nothing like getting kicked out of sunday school for kicking the teacher! and biting a gymnastic teacher who wanted her to try something she thought was scary. ugh!
    but things around here have gotten better lately. she seems to be making the adjustments she needs to in order to cope in difficult situations. i'm just thankful that i'm able to homeschool her so that we can avoid some of the inevitable difficulties that come along with a kid who's too normal for the "special" class, but too challenging for the normal class.

  21. actually, knock on wood, but the teachers/staff/principal at Jack's new school have all been wonderful--so accommodating, understanding and supportive. Sometimes I wonder if he gets away with stuff he shouldn't, just because they all love him. But, I know what you mean. There's nothing worse than someone concluding your child is ill-behaved.


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