Tuesday, February 24, 2015

RIP to our beloved Bob

I did not grow up with pets, living in rented apartments really limited the option of having a dog (which I always wanted) and the fact that my parents were not of the walk the dog and pick up after it type (they saw dogs with yards or large spaces in their minds) meant no pets for me.  I did not even have the odd goldfish.  I was not alone, many of the kids I grew up did not have pets yet we all longed for them.

As my boys have grown they have had fish, most make it months and one Batman the Beta fish lived for 2 years at which point we all cried and bid him farewell with a burial at sea via our toilet.  

They have begged, pleaded and cajoled but nope no dog still.   There are not enough people in this house who are here full time to walk said dog and also I just do not want to take on yet another responsibility. 

Our first pet was a guinea pig - Jessie - cute as can be and pretty smart.  They are quite affectionate creatures and pretty sure we were trained by her as soon as she understood that crinkly bag equalled lettuce in bowl along with her feed.   As they are South American creatures we knew to make it warm in winter for her what we did not know is that they overheat very quickly and it is fatal.  The tears on that one lasted weeks for all 3 of us and even my husband shed a tear or two. 

It took us several months but we decided to honor the love we had for Jessie by buying our next guinea pig.  I went to the pet store, they had one baby guinea pig and he was afraid in his cage and frankly totally odd looking.  He had this weird hair on his head that looked like a bit of a wig and the fur had these odd swirls.  His fur was a caramel and white color and the guy at the pet store thought he would have a hard time selling him since he was so different - if you know anything about me personally you knew that was the selling point.  

Took him home and my youngest son, who is bit obsessed with naming himself and all things Bob (no clue we just go with it), named him... Bob.  He was a funny fellow also easily adapted to crinkly bags to be lettuce, knew how to find carrot hidden in leaves, went outside and loved dandelion leaves.  About two weeks ago,  after having him for a year and a half, we noticed that Bob was just not his usual non stop eating self.  He still squeaked for lettuce but then seemed unable to eat it as he usually had.  We took him to the vet and found out he had a very rare kind of bone cancer but with these guys and their super quick metabolism he was not given more than a week.   We took him home, hugged the little guy, gave him pain killers and after two days we found him in his favorite spot in his cage when I woke up having died in his sleep.  It was the best outcome for a shitty turn of events.  

We mourned him and I get weepy writing this.   It is hard to have pets for kids, and for me, to see this happen.  They become a part of the family and you attribute human traits to them and genuinely love them.  It is a time to explain to kids that death is so final, unfair and yet also a good time to remind them to love and enjoy every moment of every day.   My oldest son was angry with cancer and understood how easily this deadly disease can rob pets and people of the future they could have.  I was grateful to see my son's friends gently care for them when they were sad, especially my older one whose 10 year old male and female friends offered words of support and understanding allowing him to grieve as needed. 

For me with a secular household I do not have the fairy tale of some sort of after world so heaven is defined as the place in our hearts where these pets and people who die live forever.   We thank Bob for being with us and for making us smile with his silly look which we thought quite dashing.  We thank Bob for being so gentle and for reminding us that each love we have adds to our lives and we should tell four and two legged creatures that they are loved often.  We will miss Bob tremendously but we want to remember him for his silly fights with the lettuce to find the carrot pieces not for being in pain before he peacefully went to sleep forever.   

So RIP our beloved Bob our time together meant a lot and you will be in the heaven of our hearts for always.   

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ahh that Mr Grey

I am getting a kick out of the whole Fifty Shades movie buzz - not that I personally will shell out $$ to see it, at best Netflix it.  

Instead I so like the discussions it has opened up;

Domestic Violence -- all these folks saying this movie does not condone it and submissive/dominant relationships are consensual in acts and even roles.  CONSENSUAL is the key word here any thing else please seek what help you need because it rarely gets better. 

Men - oh that good looking, sexy, of course financially super set man who is broken and who let's face it too many of us would fall for because we can "fix" what is broken ... see point number one; sometimes a man that broken is just in too many pieces and other times maybe we need to look at what is driving us to try to be the fixer.

S & M - has brought this topic from the dungeons, pun intended, to discussions.  I mean I wonder how many suburban homes have had recent remodeling to include a redish hue ?? Maybe it allowed people to explore this option even lightly or hey maybe if you were practicing now you no longer feel like a suspect from a CSI episode but rather dashing like Christian G (Oh my!!)

Sex - so like the song says "the attraction was purely physical" this has reminded all those people who it is making so uncomfortable that women like sex, a lot.   That women are not breeders only but rather sexual beings who want to do with their bodies what they will and not be left on sidelines when decisions about their bodies are made.   

Spiced things up - so often couples fall into a rut, understandable.  Unless you have other marital issues there are many who are enjoying a good relationship but are too tired, stressed or just kind of fell into a routine which lacks sexiness even if there is still sex.   If a book can add a little of that spark back - go for it after all you don't want to eat porridge for breakfast for the rest of your life either.

Regardless of the merits of the screenplay, the acting or even the chemistry of the actors having a movie that is more about pleasure and less about death is all good in my eyes.  I know this is going to scare a lot of people into being mean and nasty because of the female sexuality issue, after all what's next? We may actually acknowledge that our needs are just as important to us and then open that Pandora's box about how our partners need to fulfill those needs -- oooh hot button.  

Whatever your reasons for seeing this or not seeing this it is creating good discussions that we should not be ashamed in having.    So go for it maybe you are less grey and more vanilla, even that flavor sometimes needs a few sprinkles to make it stand out.  Enjoy the movie, the books, the whatever even if it's just making fun of the premise - but mostly just enjoy whatever makes you feel good, oh yeah as long as it's consensual. 

"....your face will turn to alabaster .. when you find your servant is your master..."  The Police 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Boys will be boys ... what ?

I am a pretty tolerant person but there are things that just make me want to flick people right in the eye.  One of those things is the saying "boys will be boys".  It makes me cringe; totally eye rolling, flick inducing cringe.

I don't like it because it implies a level of excuse for bad behavior that I just find appalling.  I embrace the differences between boys and girls and men and women.  I love things about men that I find unique to them and it makes me think fondly of the men who have been romantically part of my life as well as being one of the things that I find gives me balance as I also count myself lucky to have all of these men who are friends in my life.

So whenever this saying comes up it is never like " look at that boy he did something good" no it is always in the context of over rough play or bad behavior that should be excused or tolerated because they are boys.  This "excusing" is one of those things that somehow is the pass from small infarctions to larger ones as they grow up.  I just don't buy it that it is ok if you are boy to hurt anyone or anything intentionally.  I understand that boys have different types of play than girls - even if you are one of those uber granola parents who refuses to buy gender specific toys you will experience it - I have seen it.  Boys do tend to be attracted to games that involve more conquering and girls I find are more into building.  Now I know there are exceptions but this is my observation not a scientific study. 

I think this "pass" also can be seen in the multitude of violence and abuse incidents that we hear publicly about, or painfully privately about.  This thought of how the women often are not seen as the victims or survivors but somehow the instigators with there mere being - because after all the sight of a woman on campus, holding a beer is an excuse for "boys to be boys" and sexually assault her.  This was evident in the disgraceful letter sent to sororities at UVA, a place that decided it's multitude of sexual assault complaints needed to be addressed - so they did via this letter.  To the sororities .. you read that right.  Telling the women that if they were found near frat houses, you know the places were boys were getting drunk and had drugged them or raped women if they got drunk, they might lose their charter.  After all boys will be boys right ?  Girls on the other hand .. well they can control themselves. This devalues are males as non thinkers and our females to think they should just accept whatever happens to them. 

We see this with imposition with religious dress codes - those boys will be men and we must shield them from the mere sight of our hair, wrists, elbows ... am not even going to BOOBS!!! After all girl will be responsible for negative reactions because yeah boys will be boys. This is so demeaning to the complexity of both sexes and I think much more of them. 

This shit just does not fly for me.  I am raising boys who will be men.  Men who will respect women and the choices those women make.  Men who will not try through god or law to make choices for these women.  Men who do not need lame excuses because they need to own their behavior good or bad toward every one.  So yeah in this house boys will be boys gets you a lecture because I also think it is demeaning to the multifaceted people I am raising - they are not one dimensional even if they are slightly obsessed with video inflicted damage.  They are fully able to differentiate right from wrong even when they do not always choose right.  They are boys who will be men -- boys who will be boys but not as an excuse but as part of the excellence that makes us different.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Motherhood vs the doubt dragon

I read a blog on FaceBook a few days ago, http://carriecariello.com/2015/01/19/i-know-what-causes-autism/, and I was going to write a thank you comment on the site.  

Then I saw the comments and at first I got angry on her behalf, because this is a blog that is obviously written from her heart.  Her, being the mother of a child with autism.  Then there were the total idiots who just cannot let her have her opinion, even if based on science, but want something else, some big ass coverup conspiracy to be the reason for the diagnosis their child has.  By the way I called them that more for their obvious lack of empathy,  that their belief does not have to be that of others.  I stopped and took a step back - it is all coming from the same place, for the most part - total assholes aside because just because you have a special needs child doesn't preclude you from being one - it comes from days of frustration at different levels.  It comes from nights when you wake up and wonder how your child's issues will hold them back, bring out the worst in others, hurt them or maybe even because they seem not to feel any of those emotions.  It comes from not being able to fix it.  

If you have children you want to make it all happen for them.  It starts with physical comforts for a baby to a few years later when you have to make a fist and dig your nails into your hand to not slap the kid who pushed yours on the playground.   It is the comforts of favorite foods, watching mindless shows, hoping if you eliminate tv you will keep them just that much less exposed to negative things and even to the countless times you say no.  You fret for every one of these decisions because as a parent, and I have to say I know more about mothers because I am a woman and hearing from other mothers, especially moms we are never sure what else to have done better, more of, less of, known about, enjoyed time away, basked in the lights from their children's .  You are not sure how to hold on to the sloppy kiss that left you with food on your face and your clothes.  You try your best to understand nutrition and balance it with the fact that treats are just that, and they may be made with GMOs and non-organic and on sale with the occasional soda.  As a mom you enjoy doing all of this and are exhausted from knowing if you are doing it all as best as you can for your child.  

Now that is all if you have a typical, non-special needs child.  Take all of the above and magnify it exponentially based on the severity of the diagnosis if you do. 

I have a non-specified spectrum disorder child.  I used to even fret about that - like I had no right to complain, worry, discuss or participate when others have children on the spectrum, kids who maybe never made eye contact, showed affection, were non-verbal.  I did not care if people judged me but judge my child and the fist held in the playground was that much harder to keep down.  My son has this weird, oh stop it like normal is something so exciting to aspire to, non-specific issue.  It has to do with sensory integration and if you spend a little or a lot of time with him you will probably never know it because of the way we have dealt with it .  I have heard how I overreacted by getting him OT and PT when he was younger, because just in case I did not have enough doubt about my own abilities others sure had no issues expressing theirs in me.   To think of the hoops you have to jump through to get them these services and maintain them through the IEP process - oh yeah on top of working full time, sitting on my kitchen floor crying and worrying what this meant for him, it was obviously my "fun" extracurricular to do the IEP process. 

I read the article this mom wrote and it really touched something in me because while my child may not catch your attention with his challenges - they are there and we work together on them so that he is not stopped by them through self-doubt or a world that even comments negatively on a mother's blog about how she deals with her autistic child.  The same week my good friend wrote a blog about her 2014 accomplishments and how they were not her usual monumental ones of past years (I beg to differ).  If you are a mom every week and every time your child has a better moment because of you should be on the big accomplishment list.  We really are hard on ourselves and maybe that is not so bad.   An honest look at what we can improve can be useful but only if we let it.  We also need to take that doubt for what it often is .. a reflection of the love we have for our children.  So I am thanking the moms who wrote the blogs I mentioned for just putting it down that being a mom is special indeed.  I may doubt myself as do other moms but I do not doubt that my child will be the best he can be - not in spite of being different but because of it.