Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Clarification and An Apology

In my post from a few days ago where I talked about Beckett breaking my favorite bowl and how I was angry and frustrated, I said in the post that I started to call my husband Scott but didn't because I thought he wouldn't understand my anger.

That's not entirely true and not what I really meant to say.

Scott is very understanding and supportive. But, he's also someone who operates on a pretty even keel. He knows how to manage his anger. He doesn't yell. He doesn't get frustrated with the kids like I do. And he works really hard at a job that means he doesn't have time to talk on the phone a lot.

So, when I didn't call him, it wasn't because he doesn't "get me" or something. It was just that as I was dialing I was thinking, "Well, what's he going to do? He's at work. You'll be interrupting him and you know that he wouldn't react like this, so, just get yourself together, and do what a normal person would do."

I projected my own insecurities and feelings of failure for getting frustrated and angry onto Scott and that is wholly unfair to him. And I'm sorry.

My husband is a really amazing guy who takes wonderful care of his family while balancing work and music and I'm extremely grateful for him and for all he does for us.

I just hope he knows that.

Angels Among Us

I am overwhelmed with gratitude this morning.

Our friend Barrett came over for dinner last night. When she arrived, she had a big Crate and Barrel box. She said, "This is for you," handing it over to me as she walked in.

I couldn't imagine what it might be. My first thought was wine glasses because one of our favorite activities is hanging out and drinking good red wine while we talk and laugh. And I was thinking, "Wow! That's really nice."

I had no idea that the gift she was giving me was something so superior to any ideas I had that it would blow me away with the scope of her thoughtfulness and generosity.

Barrett had read my post from the day before where I was kvetching about the broken bowl. (Funnily enough, I had already decided I was a heel for being upset over a stupid broken bowl.)

And then here comes Barrett with this amazingly thoughtful gift for me. Yep, the 5-piece bowl set from Crate and Barrel in this gorgeous array of colors. And for no reason other than the fact that she's just a very loving and considerate person. She read my post and just wanted to replace my yellow bowl, but when she couldn't find one, she just bought me this whole set instead. Now I'm thinking what a pretty palate that would make if I repainted the kitchen. Just like that pancake-eating pig. But, I digress...

Barrett is a fairly new friend in the relative scope of life, but a genuine one.

And I know I am undeserving of her kindness. But, I am terribly grateful for it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Magic: Boy Wizard Brings Awareness to Neurological Disorder Dyspraxia

With all the Harry Potter mania going on right now, I thought it seemed like a perfect time to share this article from last summer. It talks about the fact that Daniel Radcliffe suffers from dyspraxia, the same neurological/sensory processing disorder/learning disability as Brendan.

Unfortunately, this article focuses far too much on the fact that one of the common effects of the condition is clumsiness. Sadly, it's not the only – and not by far the worst – problem children and adults who suffer from dyspraxia face.

So few people know about the condition and it along with the other SPDs often gets overlooked or ignored because there are no glaring, outward signs. Unfortunately, many children who suffer from dyspraxia are labeled lazy or stupid or as behavior problems or unmotivated when, in fact, they are often very bright and eager to learn, yet their inability to process information the way you or I do stands in their way.

I worry night and day over the challenges that face Brendan. I kept waiting for the day when things would get easy with him and for him. Now I fear that day will never come.

I know with the proper therapy he'll improve, but it will always be work for him and for us.

Yet, I do think his dyspraxia, like Daniel Radcliffe's is on the milder side, so who knows? Maybe one day my darling boy will find his voice and a dream and work some magic just like Harry Potter.

And in the meantime, the rise of organizations like Dyspraxia USA which intends to raise awareness of this condition and funding for research into its causes and new treatments gives me hope and a connection to others going through the same thing.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Yesterday was a bad day. I don't know why.

It just was.

We were getting a new roof put on because ours had suffered hail damage back in April. It was really noisy. The roofers showed up at 6:25 a.m waking me and the whole household up. And probably the neighbors, too.

That was actually fine. I was expecting them to arrive early. I just thought I'd be up and about before they got there.

What I didn't expect was how terrified our dog Cooper would be. He's afraid of thunder, but I didn't expect him to be so terrified of 10 or so strange men banging hammers and buzzing saws 12 feet over his head. But he was.

Trembling. Whining. Pressing his 65-lb. hot, furry, panting dog-body against me at every turn.

Every time I went to the bathroom he would either follow me in or scratch at the door until I let him in and then squeeze himself between the toilet and the wall.

When I was writing, he would crawl under the desk and lay on top of my feet.

It was stressing me out. So finally, I loaded boys and dog into the car and we headed to the church playground at our church, where I will be damned if there wasn't a house backing up to the playground that was having a roof put on it.

We left there after a few minutes, hit a drive-thru, and then headed to another park where there was absolutely no shade.

It was our first visit. I went on the recommendation of a friend who told me it had a very nice dog park as well as a cool playground with a merry-go-round.



The only shade was in the picnic pavilion where we scarfed down our Chick-fil-A in between me yelling at Beckett because he was whining and refusing to eat because there were flies buzzing about and yelling at Brendan for repeatedly taking off his shoe and then asking me to put it back on. I realized after eating that I had low blood sugar which always makes me angry and no one likes me when I'm angry.

So, after eating we played on the playground until Beckett and I couldn't take the heat any longer then we marched a 1/4 mile to the dog park.

Cooper wandered around off leash and we played freeze tag. It was fun, but miserably hot. After about 20 minutes of that, we had to go home and I swear I thought I would never get them all back to the car.

Finally we did and we got home to the comfort of air conditioning only to have Cooper start freaking out again. Thankfully, my dear friend Laura rescued us by inviting us and Cooper to her house for a playdate. Cooper played with her dog Sonny and fun was had by all until 5 p.m. when it was decided that daddies would be home soon and dinners must be made and we had to come home again.

I ended up popping some corn for me and the boys after putting Cooper in the basement where he couldn't hear the noise as well and all was going great.

I was just running a shower for Brendan when suddenly I heard it! Crash! The sound of glass splintering on the kitchen tiles. I ran into the kitchen and immediately looked toward the counter where I had just poured myself a glass of wine. Brendan was saying, "Beckett did it! I told him not to!" when I looked down and saw that I was standing, barefoot, amid shards of broken glass and popcorn.

And then I realized that my favorite bowl was broken.

I know. It's silly. A bowl.

But it was bowl I had had since before I knew Scott. A bowl I loved. A yellow mixing bowl, medium sized, with a wide opening. The bowl I made French toast in. The bowl I used for popcorn.

I know most moms with common sense would use a plastic bowl, but I hate plastic. Hate the way it looks and feels and smells.

This bowl was gorgeous. The color of sunshine. And I was so angry that it was no broken into countless pieces on my kitchen floor.

Mad at my two-year old who doesn't really know he shouldn't take it off the kitchen table and carry it to the living room although I tell him many times every day that he can't have food in the living room.

It was the exclamation mark on a really shitty day. And I had to lecture myself that people are more important than things. But I have to wonder, why is it always my shit that gets broken. My favorite pitcher that was a wedding gift. My favorite bowl. My antique table that gets a chip out of it when a baby throws his bottle.


I think beautiful things add to our quality of life and there's nothing wrong with having them and that if more people had them and the ability to afford them they'd be happier. I'm not saying we should covet things or put them above human beings, but damn it! It makes me happy to look at pretty things and that bowl made me smile every single time I used it. That's why I picked it out yesterday to put popcorn in.

I ended up banishing Beckett to time out until I got all the glass cleaned up and by then I was calmer. Initially, my blood was boiling I was so angry. I was slam doors and throw things and yell at everyone around me angry. But I did none of those things. I tried to call my best friend who wasn't home. I tried calling Scott but he doesn't understand my anger so I didn't follow through on that.

I just gritted my teeth and swept and cried silently and debated myself over the non-monetary value of things.

I'm not angry now. Just sad that I no longer have my favorite bowl. And I feel stupid for letting the kids near anything I treasure. I can't tell you how many necklaces Brendan has broken while I was wearing them.

I guess I've learned a lesson. I'm not sure what it is. But today was a new day. And I'm moving on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let's Be Friends

I had the fun and rare opportunity to meet one of my favorite fellow bloggers last week.

Lisa from That's Why, formerly of Politits, invited my husband Scott to perform at a conference she was organizing for her company. I was so excited that she thought of him and asked him to play.

Last Thursday night we drove up to Hiawassee, which is, by the way, just gorgeous. I want to go back. But, I digress... We drove up there to The Ridges Resort where Lisa's conference was being held and Scott played in the Lakeside Pavilion overlooking Lake Chatuge during dinner and drinks. It was a lot of fun. And apparently, the attendees and other organizers were pleased. I thought he played a very relaxed and intimate set. Very nice.

We really had a great time. We met a real interesting fellow named Mike Purcell who turned out to be a session player, among several other things. He and Scott played together for a bit when Scott was finished performing.

Like I said, it was a fun night. The best part, aside from hearing my honey-boy play was meeting Lisa in person. She's as beautiful and charming and funny in person as she is in writing. I originally found her blog a couple of years ago, or so, after reading her insightful and bellylaugh-inducing comments and observations on another blog that we both read. I soon added her to my blogroll and the rest, as they say, is herstory.

If you visit her blog, you can see a video Lisa shot of Scott performing that night. Check it out.

Ain't That the Way: Why You Should Never Let Someone Else Undermine Your Own Beliefs and Instincts

So much for my joy over Brendan making progress.

I'm back in panic mode.

We've been reading every day. Working on handwriting. Drawing. Coloring. Trying to keep up with some OT exercises now that our sessions have run out for the year. Brendan has been going to tutoring twice weekly since school got out.

I thought he was making tremendous progress over where he was. And, realistically he has made tremendous progress.

According to his tutor, however, he's still not quite where he ought to be. She recommended again yesterday holding him back in Kindergarten.

I have to keep telling myself we are doing the right thing and that he will continue to progress and that Kindergarten retention is a very, very bad thing that has nothing to do with the reality of how children develop.

How I wish I were a motivated activist who knew how to fight the Man and get this unrealistic expectations of what a 5 or 6-year old is capable and should be doing replaced with realistic notions of what Kindergarten is meant to be.

Are we creating a generation or future society of doers who are incapable of real thought or creativity?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happiness Runs: Our Circular Search for Meaning and Joy

Do you know the children's story, If You Give a Pig a Pancake (If You Give...)?

I had a minor epiphany about that story tonight.

I actually thought of it yesterday and in a very circular fashion came back to it tonight. And by the way, this circular theme is, well...a theme.

So, we are getting a new roof tomorrow because of hail damage our roof suffered from two hail storms back in April. Almost every house on our street and in a 4 or 5 block radius has either gotten a new roof or is about to. No joke.

Anyway, I was thinking that once we have a new roof, we're going to want to paint. And just like that pig who needs syrup to go with her pancakes, once we paint, we're going to want new doors. And once we have new doors, we're going to want to replace our front steps, and once those new steps are in, we'll need new outdoor lighting, and once we have new lighting, we're going to want to re-landscape...

And, well... you get the idea.

So, tonight I realized that Pig and its sister books are really just metaphors for Life and Its (Our) never-ending search for happiness.

In each of those books, the main character – Pig, Moose, Mouse, Etc. – asks for something he or she believes will make them happy. But once they have that thing, the darling creature decides it really needs something else in addition to or instead of the original item until they work themselves in a (aha!) circular fashion, back to the item they began with.

And so it is with the rest of us that we live when we live unconsciously.

We're always looking for the next great thing that is going to change our lives and make us happy. It doesn't matter what it is...
house, boat, car, wife, husband, dog, cat, boyfriend, girlfriend, job, hat, hairdo, plastic surgery, baby, baby boy, baby girl, one more baby... Whether it's something that we have that we've craved and longed for and put all our hope in or just something that caught our attention and our whim, we barely acknowledge the moment or show any gratitude for what we have before the magic and thrill fade and we're left looking for our happiness fix.

And ultimately we end up back where we started. Back wanting another pancake, another muffin, another house, another car.... Defeated by our inability to live in the moment, to be content with what we have, to be grateful for what we have when we have so much.