That is not my favorite color!

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Did you know that they don’t make (most) boys’ shoes with velcro after size 3?  Nope.  Welcome to shoelace-land.  So with school around the corner, we were out shoe shopping today.  The real kind of shoe shopping – not the kind where you pop into Target for some flip-flops.  The children were measured for their shoes and are on average about a size larger than last year.  It took about half an hour or so for us to get Mr. A and Miss S all settled with their new kicks.  For M, however, the whole process was more difficult.  We learned that because of his new size, there aren’t anymore light-up sneakers.  *sad face*  It also means that there aren’t too many options with velcro.  (Where we were shopping, there was only one pair of velcro shoes and they were gray.  I think possibly he was personally offended by the color.  “That is not my favorite color!”)  Slip on varieties such as Vans were an option, but there were limited styles.  Anyway, we knew it was coming.  We knew that one day soon we would have to sit down and work with those motor skills on shoe tying.  I may order some of those little squiggly things that go in shoes instead of laces just in case, but we’re really going to work on tying shoes this week.

Initially, M wanted some red and blue Geoux sneakers like his brother Mr. A.  After realizing that they didn’t have them in his size, we checked the men’s department out for alternatives.  M was not thrilled. I was not thrilled.  The men’s department??  Really??  He’s 9!!  Still.  He has big feet.  He’s growing.  I can do this.  Ok, the men’s department it is.  They didn’t have anything that really looked like a boy, so we decided to break for lunch and go to another department store.  After a minor meltdown whereupon we nearly put that, “No Shoes, No Service” rule to the test, we had lunch.  At the second department store we  (again) explained to M that he couldn’t have light-up shoes anymore, they just didn’t make them in his size.  He was saddened, but he was coping.  Then we had to break it that there really was no velcro option available to us on that day except for the slip-ons.  He had a hard time with this one.  Mostly I think he felt like he was losing control of his situation.  He could no longer dictate what kind of shoe he wanted in terms that he understood.  We went through rows and rows of shoes.  This took literally all afternoon.  He was to the point of refusing to wear his own shoes that he had worn into the store, until we found new shoes.  We began to focus on colors and he decided that red would be his color choice because it was similar to the first pair he looked at earlier in the day.  We went through all the red shoes and eventually he reluctantly agreed to a pair of very red sneakers.  Fabulous.  The relief!  G and I felt like we had run a marathon.  We quickly changed gears and headed to a playdate at the park with friends.  The trials and tribulations of shoe shopping were quickly forgotten, but I did have to re-tie M’s shoes several times.  Gotta work on those skills.  One problem at a time!  Third grade here we come!

*side note:  Incidentally – Miss. S’s shoes….um, they’re musical.  I’m going to let that sink in.  ::::MUSICAL:::::  When you walk, the toes light up.  When you put the toes of the shoes together, they play music and the toes and heels light up.  Yeah.  We did not realize that until we got home.  I have to say, it was a little weird discovering that we had bought our daughter musical shoes.  I just don’t even know what to think.  I suppose it will add a new dimension to waiting in lines…

pTSA-20396289p275wMiss S’s musical shoes.

Twinkle Wishes by Skechers.  Photo by Sports Authority.

Be Fierce.  #dropthegrayshoes

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

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Playground Life Lessons

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Growing up is so hard.

My middle son, my neurotypical child, is a lot like a first-born child to me.  Or rather, we go through many “firsts” that my oldest child has not gone through yet and some, as an ASD child, that he may never go through at all.  Mr. A comes running  up to me on the playground sad and nearly in tears that there was a small group of children “talking” about him and his friends and threatening to put something on FB about them.  You know, he has mentioned this problem and even this particular group of children before and I just didn’t take it seriously because 1) Generally younger children don’t have smart phones with internet access and FB accounts and 2) younger children are prone to more “outlandish” threats and finally 3) I just hadn’t seen it happen.  Well I saw it that day on the playground as I was watching the children play and chatting with a friend of mine.  After Mr. A came to tell me what happened a boy drove his bike over to where we were and again made the threat to my son… in front of me.  How bold is that?  Then he biked over to his small group of friends.  I had so much information hit my brain at once I felt like I was on one of those Bugs Bunny cartoons where I had steam coming out of my ears from an overload.  These children were older.  “Big kids” from the middle school.  They did have smart phones with internet access.  After realizing this I walked over and addressed them, trying to use my best parental voice and sound emotionally-even and mature instead of freaking out that my babies had been threatened.  It was difficult.  Afterwards we left the playground and went to another nearby play area.

Later on I tried to explain to my son that people only talk about you when you’re important.  They talk because you have something they want, or they want to be like you.  Possibly, they may even want to be your friend, but they may not know how to express that.  He was still a little blue, and we’re working on it.  My oldest son, my autistic child, has the gift of irrelevancy.  If something is not immediately important, especially in a social scenario, he is not concerned and may not even remember that it happened.  If he does happen to remember, he is so unconcerned with it, it might as well have happened to someone else.  DH and I are often curious about what it must feel like to be him.  In some ways, it must be pretty awesome to not have to carry all your emotional baggage with you!  Talk about taking a load off!  In other ways, he may be so bogged down with other racing thoughts he just may not have the brain space for all of the social nuances in every day life.  Who knows?  Maybe one day he’ll tell us.

Be Fierce.  #DiscussIdeas

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

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Shopping Shenanigans

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Oh groceries.  How I love thee!  So much excitement over a newly opened canister of coffee!  New yogurt flavors, new applesauce containers.  Yum!!  So much fluster over those flipping plastic bags that seem to procreate on their own…  O.o  “They have babies!”, my stepsister-in-law says.  They do accumulate.  I’ve tried several “styles” of shopping lately trying to solve various obstacles I’ve found myself up against.

For a while money was my biggest obstacle with groceries.  For a couple of years we were on such a slim budget that I created an excel sheet pricing grid and kept up with sales and pricing to the penny.  It was tedious!  Also weirdly fun in a way?  As a result, I still am able to tell you where the best prices on various items are within a few miles of my home.  It helped and amazingly, we got by.  ( I never did figure out how to do some of the awesome couponing I’ve heard about.  What’s it called?  Super-couponing?  Supreme couponing?  Something like that.)

Over time, our budget somewhat smoothed out and just in time, I hit a new obstacle, my anxiety disorder.  As mentioned in previous posts, due to “life” I was off of my anxiety medication for a period of time and eventually decided I didn’t need it anymore.  (I was mistaken.)  Very very gradually, my anxiety increased to the point where I would have occasional panic attacks while out shopping with my children in tow.  It was not fun.  I one time had to leave a shopping cart full at Target and dash out of the store (once the dizziness had passed and I was able to safely leave).  Thinking back, it probably wasn’t the best time for me to be driving home, but well, there I was.  So – for this issue it was medication that solved most of my problems and I began to find stores that for whatever reason, I felt more “comfortable” in.  I began to steer clear of traditional grocery stores, but instead would hit big box stores and bulk stores.

As my children got older, it became a little harder for me to put them ALL in the cart when I was shopping and around this same time we got a diagnosis for M and we began to learn what some of his triggers were for his difficult behavior.  Some of them are: buzzing and yellow overhead lights, echoing sounds from a  warehouse-type of building and the motion and low rumble of many conversations at one time.  I learned where I could and could not shop very easily.  There are probably 2 brands of grocery stores that I simply do not take M inside of because I think it is actually rather hurtful for him.  We just don’t go there.  There are also probably 2 stores that he can handle for a short few minutes that I can bring him, and my other two children of course, in and grab a few necessities when I need to.  Honestly, this wasn’t that big of a deal for me.  Some people like red apples, some like green – whatever floats your boat.  I feel lucky that I live in an area with a variety of groceries stores to choose from.  Truly, its helpful.  But then the growing started.

Oh the growth spurts.  My stars but my children can eat.  As many of you probably know of children they will eat you out of house and home while growing and then seemingly be not so peckish for a few days off and on until they start those mad growth spurts again.  My mother-in-law had been measuring the children for clothes that she makes them and while we were visiting over the summer, we compared some of the charts.  The boys had grown almost 3 inches taller in the span of 6 months and Miss S was not far behind.  Their arms were much longer (no wonder that new shirt I got Mr A lasted only a couple of weeks).  Their feet were bigger.  They were bigger!  I digress.  So, we were flying through our groceries and I was constantly trying to figure out how to fill the pantry while managing our schedule and over-stimulated and wiggly children in the store.  And then I re-discovered Peapod.

I used Peapod briefly a very long time ago when it first was offered in our area, but now, now I felt like I really needed the assistance with getting the food into the house.  As I mentioned, I previously was shopping at some bulk grocery stores and big box stores.  (Target is a favorite.) This was lovely, but then often, I wouldn’t actually be able to get the groceries out of the truck and into the house with any timely manner and sometimes because I just couldn’t lift it.  I began to bring in the perishables and then leave the rest for when I could manage it.  It was frustrating.  It was inconvenient.  I needed to fix this weirdness.  I began ordering Peapod again and oh the happiness of being able to just open the door and have my groceries come all the way into my kitchen was amazing.  I heart grocery delivery so much I got the “pod pass”.  Did you ever hear of such a thing?  You basically pay for all of your shipping for 6 months so then you have free (or discounted shipping) for your orders.  Amaze!!  (I know, I know, I’ve been watching too many Barbie cartoons with Miss S.)  Still.  There were a few things I could not get from Peapod.  Hmmm…. Amazon?  We’ve been Amazon prime members for a while now and I highly recommend it.  Especially for the holidays.  Ok, this sort of filled that gap, but there were still a few things missing…. And then…..Amazon Prime Now.

Crazy bananas.  You just download this little app on your phone and you can order a gillion (ok, not a gillion, but a lot) items to arrive to your house in 2 hours for FREE, if you’re an Amazon Prime member.  Yeah.  I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.  ::::::::::::::::

This will change my life.  Oh!  Oh!  And…. they will take away the silly plastic bags to have them recycled!  Woot!  Save the planet – check!

:::doing the happy dance::::  Silly shopping shenanigans….I got it down.

Be Fierce.  #saneshopper

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

How did I get here?

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I have these “moments” every now and then where I seem to be hyper aware of being in the moment:  remembering the sights, sounds, smells, enjoying the present.  The first moment that I can truly recall like this was when I was hmmm… a sophomore in college.  I was driving around my little college town and breathing in what must have felt like the “freedom” of being a grown-up.  Of course I had no idea in my 19-year-old head what being an adult actually meant, but I was kind of trying it out.  Like trying on clothes.  I wanted to see what it was like, see if I could do it.  I remember that I had my windows down in my car, I remember what the wind felt like and that I was listening to a lot of Green Day at that point. It was springtime and warm outside and the air smelled sweet because the cherry blossom trees were in bloom.   I had a car phone.  (LOL!  Right?  That’s how long ago this was.  A CAR phone.)  I felt so important because I had a phone.  IN my car.  I was obviously not supposed to use it except for emergencies because it was absurdly expensive per minute, but still.  Fun to have.  I remember that I used to love checking my mail at the college post office because it was the first time I had an address that was just my own.

The next “moment” that I recall capturing was when we first moved to Chicago.  We had an adorable apartment on the north side of the city.   It had french doors opening to the dining room, a completely square kitchen and zero closet space.  I loved that apartment.  That is where DH and I really stretched our wings.  We had to “sink or swim” in the big city and we learned how to swim together.  Amidst all the other 20-somethings trying to figure out life and how to use the transit system.  We were very broke, so we spent a lot of time playing video games at home or playing rpgs (role playing games) with our friends.  I remember playing Theme Hospital on the playstation game system and feeling so content in my little apartment, 650 miles from my family.  We ate a lot of macaroni and cheese (from a box) and ramen noodles.  It was hard, really really hard, but also satisfying in the way that you might be creating  a sculpture and you’re trying to get the vision in your head worked out in tangible form.

Five apartments, 6 jobs and 2 college degrees later, my oldest son was born.  He was beautiful.  A skinny baby with long spindly legs and big blue eyes.  If I think back on it now, I can see his personality just as it is now, but emerging through his little baby gestures and sounds.  I remember the first time I cared for him by myself, completely alone after our visiting family left and DH was at work.  I had not gone back to the office yet, and there I was with this little newborn.  Had anyone even checked if this was ok?  That I had this little baby?  What was happening?  It was surreal.  I was sitting in an ugly-patterned orange wingback chair, a hand-me-down from family.  I loved that chair.  It wasn’t a rocker, but it was super comfortable, and most importantly, it fit in our tiny 2-bedroom apartment.  DS made little cooing sounds and wiggled around in my arms.  His little hat was too big and would slide around on his head like a lopsided sailor hat until I straightened it out again.  I was so astounded that I was responsible for this little life.  I had just sat down on this enormous rollercoaster of a ride without an end.  I didn’t even have time to think about whether or not I could do it, I constantly had to keep up with actually doing it:  the care, the love, the food, the diapers, stimuli, tummy time, eventually my workplace and socialization.  If I stopped to think about it anymore I would become overwhelmed, so I just looked at that little baby with the lopsided hat and green dinosaur slippers and smiled and cuddled and held on to him for dear life.  He’s 8 now.  I still love to watch him sleep.

So is this how we recall life in a series of flashbacks like this where you hit highlights and occasionally look up from all the busy-ness and see where you are before digging in again to “real life” and work and  details?  What a ride.  I wonder what’s around the next bend?

Be Fierce.  Buckle your safety belts.

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly