Sunday, July 26, 2009

One Child Left Behind

Hey, I'm a teacher! It's a play on words. But not entirely because I have been left behind. Now remember all the hoo-haw about the woman who dropped off her teenage girls and left them to sort out their differences away from the backseat? She got a lot of crap, and yet how many of us mothers can really relate to that? I've been in a car accident because my now 17-yr-old could not handle sitting in a carseat. She'd fuss and scream, so I'm driving while turning to console her (that's a nice way of saying to get her to stop screaming!) and BLAM! Rear end. That's back in the day when insurance wasn't a requirement so that one was on her insurance company (she is paying those premiums for a reason...) Not to mention I was twenty and a child myself. That's besides the point--we've all wanted to drop off our children! Many years ago small children were required to work to pay for their family's needs, girls were sold off to marriage before their armpit hair grew to its fullness to require shaving, and children were expected to behave at all times around adults. Nowadays, kids are sheltered and overprotected, and mostly for good reason. I'm not slamming that...but she left two older girls pretty close to their house in their community in which they were comfortable and familiar. Well, I don't know all the specifics, what I DO know is that it shouldn't have made national news. The woman had to decide if she should drive into the light pole or drop off the cats fighting in the back of the car. She went with Option B and spent 15 minutes of fame being ridiculed. Oh brother. Let me at those little girls! They don't even know what it meant to be dropped off in MY day...I say that like it was so long ago--but I guess that's all relative. Picture it--I'm about 9 or 10 and my sister is 15 months younger (yeah, that's a WHOLE other blog about dealing with losing all the attention after a measly 15 months)...and we did not get along. My dad threatened to pull over all the time. It got to where we'd go 'yeah yeah' and then, 'where were we sister dear?' bwaaaah! But on one particular day my father had had enough. It was just the two of us at the time instead of all five of us siblings. We were in Utah where his family lived and we visited every year. I remember driving through this run down town that looked like the people were so desperate for outsiders that they'd make you mayor for showing up to use their gas pumps. My sister and I were tangled in all out war on each other when my dad cut across the lines and pulled into some dusty parking lot in front of a wooden store (do they make stores all wooden any more?) and said, 'get out.' My sister and I were quiet, waiting him out and figuring out our next move on each other. Car didn't move. 'go on, get out!' we looked at each this for real? We shrugged at each other and slowly removed ourselves from his vehicle with utter reluctance considering our surroundings. Now, if he had said this in front of a McDonald's I could have pulled some 'poor me' stunt and had cheeseburgers until my mom sent him back for us. But NOOOOO, in the middle of nowhere. nowhere where where where (are you getting the echo effect?) Once the last bit of my shoe exited the car and the door slammed behind me he sped off. Picture tumbleweeds wheeling by, frogs croaking, banjos playing and that's the scene around me. Even if I did play orphan girl and tried to sponge money off the locals, they'd still have made me mayor and then not given me a dime that they didn't but wished they had. We stood there, side by side, watching down the road for any life let alone a sign that he was returning. Quiet...even the locals were too bored with their nothing town to make a fuss over the two lonely children abandoned by their father. Nowadays, we'd have made headlines. We would be fighting the paparazzi just to get to the payphone to call for a ride. No, not that time people backed up my father's decision to take Option B. In fact, they wouldn't have expected nor accepted anything less. We stood there until we realized he wasn't coming back. We found a wood (of course, right?) bench to park our seats, praying we didn't stand up to find splinters in our behinds. I don't know how long we sat there, probably until the good angel on my dad's shoulder finally pulled the halo around the mouth of the bad angel to shut him up and talked my dad into turning around to retrieve his daughters. In any case, the ride back to grandma's was awfully quiet and we survived the lesson. Now where are my fifteen minutes?

Latest Kindsay-isms

Kindsay always says funny things that I forget about and wish I had written down somewhere. Well, here is where I am writing them down! It's been an interesting summer, never dull for a moment! My family and I went to Manhattan Beach for a weekend, taking Kindsay along against her will. We then went to West Hollywood for a week and left Kindsay at my mom's since Kindsay attends summer school and had zero interest in going with us. In Manhattan Beach we met up with friends who've known Kindsay since she was in utero and they love her to death. In fact, one friend offered to trade Kindsay for their teenage son. I gladly accepted but alas, here she is at home in the next room.
The one thing you have to know about Kindsay is she is very intense. Everything is TO THE EXXTREME (extreme spelled that way for emphasis sake.) When you tell her something it might as well be written in concret so you can't say something you do not mean. This child has NO sense of humor, which is typical in children with Autism (Kindsay is on the spectrum somewhere.) get to part that makes my day, here are her recent activities/comments during the week of 'holiday.'

On the drive down to Manhattan Beach Kindsay was a wreck. The unknown makes her nerves rattle so all the way down she is in my face, in the back of my head, in Greg's face, in EVERYONE's face just talking talking talking. "Where is that man going?" Man in the car next to me? I have no idea. "What is that girl buying in the store?" The lady who went into the minimart at the gas station? Again, not a clue. I must look like a big moron to my own child since the questions SHE asks I never have an answer. I need to be able to explain to her all the happenings around her when not only do I not know, I don't care. When I was just about to save my family from this life of inane and constant questioning by driving off the nearest overpass, my husband hands her his cup of ice from which he drank his bottled water. All that was left was the ice, but she happily took it. Granted, this is toward the end of our fantastic three hours together in a tight space (now you know why I drive the ugly van that I do!) By now my nerves are shot, my patience thinner than what is left of the hair on my head, and my knuckles on the steering wheel make the white on my thighs appear Brazilian. The ice seemed to make her happy, but then nothing is ever easy, nor for free, so we still had to endure something...but it wasn't as bad. Her emotional energy was focused on the cup of ice, which apparently, was really good. Here's her constant, non-stop chatter for a solid twenty minutes. I kid you not:
"oh oh oh, this is soooo good, this is (slurp, suck) this is ice...oh it's soo good...oh (slurp, slup, slup) it's like water and ice...oh oh oh (shlip slup suck) oh, it's like water and ice and it's made out of ice water oh oh oh it's sooo good (shlup slurp suck)...this ice is sooo good, oh I love it (more sounds of sucking on an ice cube like an Arab in the desert.)" At one point I caught Rebekah's eyes and we both had the same look like, "if I didn't know she was sucking on ice, I would definitely be worried about what she was doing." Believe me, all that monologuing about the ice was welcomed over her questioning the actions of the family in the car beside us. At times during the weekend, we did look for cups of ice like a pacifier for a baby.

Weekend is over and it's off to my mom's. My dear friend and her family bravely drove Kindsay home. She knew what she was getting into. Her husband adores Kindsay and loves to add to her incessant demands. The last time Kindsay drove with this friend a long distance she continuously asked for a glass of milk. Her husband sat beside her in the back seat and would act as though he was handing her glass, "here you go," he'd say. She'd ask again, he would offer the invisible glass again. While he was having fun and Kindsay was oblivious to the humor and torture of her hounding, my friend was white knuckled at the wheel. This time around, I gave her Kindsay's night-night pills to ease the pain. I think she slipped Kindsay the pills at about the time we drove out of the parking garage at the beach. In any case, it was a pleasant drive home.

At my mom's Kindsay takes pleasure in the parakeet's company. Poor ZackChloeJack (Kindsay keeps renaming the bird, we really don't know at this point what to call it other than her target.) My mom watches Kindsay with the bird closely because we all know Kindsay's past with animals. So there sat Kindsay in the tv room with the bird in front of her in its cage. "Don't open the cage door, Kindsay. The bird might fly up into the ceiling fan and get hurt." cage opened. "Kindsay, did you open the cage?" yes yes, I did. I just opened, should I have done that? Then Kindsay proceeds to remind grandma of previous animals within her grasp. "I had a pet and I just threw it and threw it on the ground until it died. It was little and it died." OK...that was cruel and unusual, but so is Kindsay. She hasn't had a pet since the hamsters (remember the hamster? tried to get away when she set it down but she slammed her hand on top of it and crushed it in a single blow? yes there was blood. or what about poor goldfishy who dangled over a lightbulb till it fried? We don't buy her pets anymore, just the fake one's on the computer. She's been in plenty of trouble for her past murders.) ANYWAY...I regress, which is relevant still.
So poor birdie, at this point, ain't goin' nowhere out of its cage when she's running loose around the house. Its wings are curled around the bars in the back corner farthest from the cage door so Kindsay would have to really make an effort to get it out. Birds aren't stupid, I suppose, especially when they are constantly being yelled at. "stop it! you just stop it! that's enough! Oh, I'm gonna, oh you are in so much trouble! Knock it off, you just shut your mouth!" The bird, wings wrapped around bars and all, is looking around for anyone to confirm to it that it had done nothing to deserve her tirade. Indeed, Kindsay is screaming at the top of her lungs all the statements my husband and I have ever said to her in her almost 13 years of life when we had reached the end of the rope from which we so badly wanted to dangle. So we know where she gets her choice of words. (not a cuss word among them if you notice.) At one time my mom could hear Kindsay screaming and blowing up all over the place and peeked in to find her bent over the cage giving the bird a what-for-nothing. My mom asked, "who are you yelling at?" the bird. "The bird isn't in the cage, it's flying around the house." that's okay that's okay. OK so maybe she's just mad at the cage and the bird just happens to be inside it?

THEN...with my sister who did a lot of time with Kindsay during the week. While driving Kindsay turned to my sister and asked, "Was it okay for me to stick my tongue at that man?" Britney laughed as she imagined what appears to be a grown person in the next car sticking her tongue out at some random stranger whose only fault was driving beside them. Kindsay does the deed THEN asks if it was right or wrong. Backwards, I know.

Last Kindsay-ism, I swear, for now. My sister's dogs are brother and sister, but Kindsay is waiting impatiently for them to get it on and have puppies. The sister is a grown dog while the male is a new puppy (same mom, different dads...those slutty female dogs!) Anyway, my sister is trying to explain the relationship between the dogs while Kindsay continuously interrupts with her questioning questioning questioning. 'are they married?' 'are they going to get married?' 'do they kiss?' 'are they going to have a baby?'...My sister finally asks Kindsay, with the intention of relating things to Kindsay's life so she'd understand the dog situation, "would you marry Garon?" Now Garon is eight and her little brother to boot. Hoping the message would then click in her brain Britney says Kindsay burst out in disgust, "oh no! no, ew! Garon is 8!" wrong response. Just another talk I have to have with Kindsay that will get lost in translation. Well, that week is over and now we are off to Monterey with yet another family, who, by the way, is also very loving and accepting of this child. That makes it easier to deal with her tantrums, but I still feel bad when it happens. Oh well, maybe we'll have another story to share.