Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Rolling Good Time

Sometimes my sons ask me what's wrong with their sister. Why is she like that? they ask...I tell them she was born with a different brain. I don't know what to call it, and I don't think there is a name for what makes her special. She's a cafeteria of 'needs' and I live at Hometown Buffet. Thank goodness for medication. And I really mean that. The dear girl takes three different medications everyday. Some people don't believe in meds, but I do...and after today, her teachers do too.
It was one of those days when my husband and I looked at each other in stark realization that there weren't any more meds--we were out! We sent her to school like we were sending her across a tightrope--the uncertainty of failure or success was there with everything to gain or lose. I had the prescription ready to fill, but you know how those triplicate meds are, being so closely watched and all. I waited for 'the call.' It came in email form and it read exactly how I imagined it would. Her functional skills teacher writes, "Kindsay is having a really bad day. Is something different going on? She's agitated, keeps putting her jacket over her head, I can't get her to focus on anything, she's up and down and every where...." She's very kind and loving about it, and I cringe as I return the email with profuse apologies for having been a dope about the dope (that's just a pun, she's not on dope). It wasn't until I got the OTHER email, from her block A teacher who has her twice a day. This email read a little differently, though the message was the same. To some effect she tells me that we need to address some serious behavior issues, that Kindsay literally prevented any child from learning in her classes, that her rolling on the ground, breaking school equipment, constant noise-making, flailing, etc, were nonstop....they actually pulled someone from her usual job to be Kindsay's 1:1, and that still wasn't enough. Eventually, she was sent back to her functional skills class. The email was a few paragraphs in detail and shock, and I wrote back with more apologies, but this time I added that today they experienced the Kindsay I know. How many times do I hear how adorable, sweet, wonderful she is--and don't get me wrong--yay! I'm happy to have her be so loved in the world, but MAN...when she gets home, the meds wear off and her charm does too and I got Kindsay the Hun to deal with. I said, "You now know what I live with every night after school." I think I owe them some serious Starbuckage. (legally I don't have to medicate her and the school would have to put up with her behaviors if I chose that route, but I am not a hater...I want to go to heaven.) But then it hit me--I have to go home to her. I raced home, first stopping by the pharmacy to get the med order going so the next day wouldn't be a repeat...and I call home to check on her. "How was your day? I heard it was hard." Oh yeah, it was she tells me about it, which to her it wasn't as hard although getting in trouble all day isn't fun--but she is so out of her mind that I don't think she notices the turmoil around her. All the while she's talking to me she's in the mouse cage. She lets loose the baby mice so she can hunt them down. "Mom, I think I grabbed the baby too hard, his eyes are big." Here we go, George. I tell her to leave the mice alone until I get home!! (I find out she put the mama mouse in a box and squirted water from a water bottle on it to make it drown. Yes, we are getting rid of the mice.) I come home and find this whirlwind of a child. Her arms are flailing, literally, over her head, around her body, she's making noises without purpose, she's making food in large quantities and leaving it on the counter untouched, she's pulled out huge shelves in the garage in an effort to hunt down the mice (I could only move that amount of stuff if I was trying to save a child beneath's huge.) I finally sit down in the oversized chair in my family room to meditate--aka--go out of body. I imagine myself somewhere-anywhere!-else. She sees my guard is down and I'm cornered. Out of my fridge she pulls a gallon of milk that has about a cup left. She walks up to me, tilts her head back and tells me, "watch this" and begins to drink from the gallon. OK--that is a huge no-no in my house (as with most) but I hold every muscle back from giving her the response she so badly wants from me. She tries to poke me, rub me, grab me, she's all over the place and I'm in la-la-land. I had told Greg to stop by the pharmacy and get her pills plus I put an order in for my anxiety medication (is that really a shock, now come on!)...he comes home but I only know he's home because here she comes with all four bottles of meds in her hands. All the sudden she's salsa dancing through my kitchen with all four bottles acting as some kind of rattling instrument. She's literally four to five feet from my kitchen island which has a double sink and fervently shaking the bottles while making some unearthly noise. Then I see it--an entire bottle's worth of meds goes flying through the air and lands 'without the net' into the garbage disposal. Now, in a million years I couldn't pull off that stunt, but Kindsay has done it...I jump to find what meds they were and I saw white round pills that looked like her night pills, which keep her sleepy and not up all hours of the night which she is without them. I start pulling them out of the disposal--of course my dishwasher is on so the sink is watery and the meds are too! I grab the bottle--whew! They were mine, though I realized I had half a month's supply for the next month. Help us all. My mom knows Kindsay is 'out of her mind' and came over to check on us. Kindsay is still going in circles, whirling, chirping, but this time she has a throw blanket she's whipping around. My mom approaches her with loving attention only to have Kindsay begin to whip her with the blanket. Yes, my daughter was whipping her grandma while grandma was trying to ask her about her day. I am watching this, wondering how long my mom would hold herself together while fluffs of her hair are static charged in the air with every whip. Let me explain something you might be wondering. No, she cannot have her morning pills in the evening. No, she cannot have her night time pills until a certain hour or she is off her schedule and up at 3 AM. No, we cannot tell her to go to her room and stay until her next meds (there isn't a punishment in the world that would keep her in one spot). She wasn't even interested in the computer, which is her most favorite thing. She was like a wound-up toy on coffee-spiked Rockstar. By 6 PM I give her the night time pills. A few times already I had to calm Greg down and pull him away from a situation before it escalated, reminding him that when it came down to it--it was our fault she was the way she was. We gave her the meds, and small doses, she finds her way to her room, crawls in bed with the computer and finds her favorite song "Superman" and plays it over and over until she drifted off to sleep with the laptop on her stomach still replaying the song. My husband and I leaned over to see her and it was like looking at a baby...they drive you nuts but then they are so cute when they are sleeping that you feel bad for ever getting impatient with them. People called to console me after the day they knew we had and the question I get all---the---time "how do you do it?" I say the same thing every time...because I am no "Superman"...'you would do it too if you had to.' They always pause, 'yeah, I guess I would if it was my child,' then they politely refrain from letting me hear the sigh of relief under their breath. Y me?...Y not?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's "A DOUBLE I-Told-You-So" or "The 3-day Valentine's Weekend that lasted 1 hour**" or "Y Me?"

Okay, so I can't figure out what to call this post--any ideas? Allow me to share with you my weekend thus far, which is only composed of about twelve hours, but was ruined in one. It all started about a year ago when Greg and I realized Kindsay's bed had the BEST mattress in the house--perfect nap-taking bed. The room gets super dark, the temperature is always perfect, and the bed is soft soft soft. Greg, who is not one to take naps lightly (and I mean that in both senses), would take naps in her room only to be disturbed by the bursting in of children at random times about almost nothing. This is one of two things that will take hold of Greg's temper and flare it right up. The other has to do with his PS3, but I'm not even going to glamorize that dumb thing so 'nuff said. ANYWAY--Bottom line: Greg loves his naps, loves Kindsay's room, hates the constant barging in and disruption of said naps, so what does he do? I come home one day to find a knob with a lock on her door. Greg, not being a sophisticated domestic-type, doesn't get a knob with a push-button lock, he gets one with a key. Yes, a real toothy-edged key. One key might I add. I told him then and there--that key is going to get lost and Kindsay WILL lock the door from the outside and THEN what? Ignore, ignore, nap, ignore, nap, get the idea. Well, an hour into my 3-day weekend and "what's this? Kindsay's door is locked and she's in the garage? what's that? You say the key is inside her backpack which is inside her room?" Needless to say I spent the entire night trying everything on Google to get that dumb thing open, only to go to bed with raw hands and a kink in my neck. Still locked. Greg wasn't too upset...until I told him I was going to sleep alone in Rebekah's room until the door gets opened--so there he was in front of the door trying my tried-and-not-true Google methods, only to find himself frustrated and yelling at Kindsay "why? why? why?" I pulled him out of the room to which she was banished (the boys'), I remember a child psychologist saying never ask a child "why" because--they don't know why! So now I'm in Rebekah's room and her wall lines up with the garage-and what's on the other side of the wall but Kindsay's mice...2 have run away, we're thinking the other (female) ran off the men once her babies were born (10--yes 10), so behind me is one mouse mama and her ten babies...Wal Mart take me away.
I wake up this morning, having slept very little that night because 1) I have trouble sleeping period 2) I am a scaredy cat and imagine Freddy Kruger TO THIS DAY is still in my closet AND (all 3 apply) 3) I hear Kindsay talking to herself in the garage in panic. I hear the words "mouse" "dead" "trouble" "I'm in"...I add it all up (because I'm a mathmatician) and conclude that she has killed a mouse. I get up to tell Greg who is a lone man in our room, and he rolls over commenting about not believing that was really the case. I braved it alone--out to the garage I go...and there's Kindsay, holding a baby, which isn't pink anymore but a small little bundle of fur, and she's distraught. She sees me and starts in on her self-punishment "Oh, I shouldn't have done this, why do I have mice? I shouldn't have mice! We need to sell them, I think it's time we sell them or take them back or something...oh I shouldn't have done this!" What did you do, Kindsay? Apparently, in an effort to feed the baby, Kindsay stuck a CRAZY STRAW down the baby's throat. At that point it was still alive but she was anticipating its death as its little legs kicked around. Then I went back to Greg with a full report at which time he leaped out of bed (he really loves those mice babies). He tried to assess the damage, but Kindsay had stuck it back in the baby pile so he didn't know which one to pull out. He came back in the house "Kindsay! You are not allowed near those mice again! and you are grounded for a week!" Is this on top of the week you grounded her for locking herself out of her room? So, I have 2 'told you so' moments. I told Greg "don't put a key-lock knob on the door" AND "Kindsay can't have animals because she hurts them." and they happened within 10 hours of each other. Kindsay doesn't mean to hurt them, she just gets something in her head and goes for it without thinking about the possible consequences to her actions until after the damage is done. And her "ideas" are usually c-r-a-z-y let's not involve real lives, huh? No one listens to me. and now we're all in a foul mood. So which is it? "A Double I-told-you-so", "The 3-day Valentine's weekend that lasted 1 hour" or "Y Me?" ....or should it be "KINDSAY!!!!!!!!!" It's a good thing I love that man because this would send any other girl running out the door on Valentine's weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Rules of Friends (Kindsay-style)

Kindsay has become the typical female adolescent with the nonstop phone calls and all. The phone calls are to and from one girlfriend from her class--but it's a friend nonetheless!!--and I will look no gift horse in the mouth! The last girlfriend from her class was banned from talking to her on the phone because the calls were coming from Kindsay around the clock (not to my knowledge of course!), but in the case with the new girl on the block, she has met her match. New friend, I will call Alli, calls us around the clock and leaves tiny-voiced messages looking for "Kindsay! Where are you?" Yes, Alli is a special needs child too so we've got them chasing each other's tails about the unknown all evening on the phone. I've enjoyed seeing Kindsay socialize, I have not, however, enjoyed missing every call coming in through call waiting...well, not entirely true, but you know what I mean. I will not be one of those parents who ban any child from calling my house, especially not special little gals like Alli. My husband and I both think she is just about the cutest thing and we want to eat her up in a non-literal, figurative-only type of way. She's half Kindsay's height and twice her width, just a round, jolly little thing with so much spunk she makes Hannah Montana look like a wallflower. All night, every night, Kindsay and Alli talk about going to each other's houses. With all the time they spend planning they could've had world peace figured out, but alas they want to know "when and what time" they can see each other. Since Alli's parents only speak Spanish, I direct all correspondence to Greg (whew!)...but at least once a night Kindsay will just randomly hand me the phone while I look at her puzzled (yeah, I know, will I catch on one day?), only to say hello to Alli who begins quizzing me about the "when and what time." Kindsay finally went to Alli's one Friday night. Greg dropped her off, and when he brought her home Kindsay had a shopping bag. Seems she went through Alli's house and whatever she saw she liked they gave it to her. Aye! Kindsay comes home with 2 sweaters and a box of barritas~(not burritos...barritas...look it up)~Again, we reviewed the rules of 'what to do when visiting at a friend's house'...#1--don't tell the parents you are mad at them (like she did with 'banned' friend) #2--don't ask for everything you see that you want #3--don't lock yourself in the bathroom and ignore their pleas for you to come out (banned friend again) #4--oh who am I kidding? These rules come along when we turn a corner, or hit a wall...whichever...either way, we're not prepared to prepare her because we don't know the problem exists yet. sigh.
It had been another week and Kindsay and Alli again made plans. This time I never got let in on the plans, which isn't surprising. My doorbell rings on Saturday morning and there stands Alli, ready to pick up Kindsay. Kindsay rushes to the door...dirty clothes (food all over from breakfast) that she slept in, major ratty bedhead, and a big purse on her shoulder. No--uh aren't going anywhere, and the gates of hell opened. I put my foot down while the mom got out of her car with an English-speaking aunt. "We didn't know if you knew that Kindsay was coming over." Um no. I ask Alli, 'do you want to stay here today instead since Kindsay isn't ready to leave the house?' Alli is nervous all the sudden and stammers something about not wanting to because Kindsay's dad will touch her. I'm taken aback--what? no! Kindsay's dad isn't going to touch you! I turn to the mom, "My husband and I both work in schools, we know how to deal with kids...we don't touch them...we won't touch her..." I'm explaining like I've been caught plotting, but Alli's mom nods and's okay, she says, Alli can stay. Alli comes in, but she's so nervous she can't hold still. She moves through my house like she's walking in the dark, completely disoriented and unsure with every turn. She keeps repeating something about Kindsay's dad touching her and I actually started wondering, "what did Greg do??" Finally, Greg comes in the room and hears Alli announce that he's going to touch her. You can imagine his surprise! "No! I'm not going to touch you, please don't worry, etc." (while he's doing this he starts picking up stuff on the floor by her feet...later I said, "way to go to make her more comfortable by invading her personal space to pick up socks off the ground") At last we gave in and Greg took Kindsay and Alli to Alli's house. The next morning, I get in my car to find a policeman's business card. What's this? Did Greg get a ticket? Then it dawned on me--since when do policemen give out business cards after writing tickets "Nice doing business with you, let's do this again soon!" not likely. So I call him. Greg laughs a bit, apologizes for not telling me about this, and proceeds to explain. It seems Alli has a neighbor of a questionable nature. It must've been the parents' approach to protecting Alli by scaring the bows out of her hair by telling her what a freak he is and all the bad stuff he would do to her if she went to his house. Alli decided to let Kindsay in on 'freaky neighbor' and got Kindsay so riled up she called 9-1-1. Yup. Greg pulled up to Alli's to pick her up only to find cop cars and their owners at Alli's door with two little special needs teenage girls heroically alerting them to 'freaky neighbor'. now we have rule #4...don't call the police on the neighbors unless the parents tell you to. I can't wait to find out what rule #5 is going to be. Any predictions?

re"LAX" ??

Have you ever been to LAX? I can't imagine the entire airline industry's problems not being solved after stepping within three miles of that place. Granted, it was just days before Christmas, but my goodness--the entire world was there. We met up with the Wards, our fellow travel companions, at the hotel where we all caught a shuttle to the airport. All twelve of us were heavy-laden with baggage...each child carried a backpack and a 'can't do without' Snuggie along with a carry-on, plus Greg and I had one checked-in bag carrying all of Christmas as granted by Santa himself. Matt and Aimee had their share of luggage and arm-busting it was every man for himself. Every man, woman, and child. We stood in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the shuttle that continued to circle to the airport and back through all included hotels without stopping because it was never-endingly packed full of people. "Five more minutes," the hotel bellboy would tell us...slowly the lobby went from just my little family of seven, to the Wards after finishing breakfast, to many more people...each getting anxious that the last and only ship to sail that day would never arrive. Five minutes--psh! Another five, and another...slowly people began to move their way outside into the freezing cold dawn(not really to some, but to us Californians? ew...40 degrees.) I am never one to be unfair, but I know people, especially those catching a plane, are not going to be the same way, so I ushered my clan outside to their balking. I didn't want to be obnoxious and say, "I want to make sure we get on that shuttle because we've been waiting longer than anyone here!" but...I'm not a child I suppose, so trap shut--body language loud and clear. At last, twenty more people and twenty more bags later the shuttle arrives, and in it is an older gentleman who has the world in his hands and every minute to spare. We lug everything on, piece by piece is taken by the driver and placed on carts lined up against the front of the bus walls. We push back, standing or sitting, but not going anywhere because the whole sardine concept was in full force and in case of impact, well, I feared for the glutton that hits us. At last, kids getting louder as they get more excited, each feeding each other's frenzy as they look about them in awe of their circumstances, and the driver putts his way to the airport, foot looming over the break versus stepping on the pedal. Thankfully we were the last hotel stop, so next was LAX...should be BLECK or GAG or something else than a word that resembles 'relax.' The driver called out for airlines and we chimed back as he made mental note of all his upcoming stops. The departure area was alive with all walks of life, and to sit and people watch would've made a great Christmas on its own, but the money to get to Hawaii was spent so...oh well, off we went. Delta, our airline, was third in line to stop, and it was like the bus threw up when we got off. Bags, backpacks, purses, blankets, and this was just my family, not including the many others who fell out behind us. I had the misguided idea that checking in my bag in advance would speed up the process, but as I looked down the long line of brilliant people with the same idea, I realized...after too long in that line...that it would've been easier to go inside and check in at the counter. For one, it would've been warmer! We lined the kids up inside the airport along the window so we could watch them, but we mostly watched our breath escape in clouds and inhaled for at least half an hour. And we thought getting to the airport 2 hours early was getting the worm, but we were among early birds that already ate my worm, chewed it, digested it, and pooped it out. As we stood in weariness staring at the single man checking in people that had one problem after another that would never have occurred on any other day, we see a limo pull up. Out steps the leathery, cowboy-hat wearing, skin tight clothing having, fakest of fake faces to the point of complete new identity, her two kids and her wannabe famous husband. He appeared to be somewhat of a celebrity by the way the airline was treating him--the limo wasn't just a ruse I suppose, but the whole charade was ridiculous as those of us anonymous travelers stood by daring to breath the same air. Hey--at least it was entertaining watching this woman's plastic cheeks and lips move about in rapid motion as she spewed fake kindness and charm. Shrug. We were behind the next person to be helped. I looked around myself, found and counted my kids, checked for their bags on their backs, and realized--our suitcase to check-in was missing. The realization warmed me instantly as heat shot up to my head and through my ears. "Greg! The suitcase is on the shuttle!" I don't know what was worse, not making the plane or having spent all that time essentially for nothing because I had nothing to check in. Matt and Aimee looked around with relief as they spotted their two to check, but Greg dashed off looking for anyone with a name tag and I was in panic mode, which means I'm incapacitated. Matt got on the phone with the hotel and gets info about the shuttle while I'm scanning the street for shuttles with extra luggage on them just to have something to give my kids for Christmas. Inspired by the luggage gods themselves, Aimee remembers the shuttle driver had to loop back around because he skipped one he'll be back around any time! I feel like I'm auditioning for the next Christmas movie by Disney as my head jerks around, hair whipping, glasses slipping...looking looking...what color was it? What print was on the side? It was blue! the blue shuttles that drove by were like in families that flocked together. The lady in front of us was summoned to the counter which means my chosen time was coming and I was going to be ill-prepared! Greg was racing around downstairs finding a phone to call the shuttle whose name he absolutely did not know so he was really moving for the sake of moving because what else was he to do? Through the traffic, the masses of cabs, cars, buses, and shuttles, I see the blue van with the elderly gentleman...chin up and falling into his seat heavily like he was floating on a cloud and not performing airline miracles. I run to him, which was behind us and back about a hundred or so feet, dodging people and cars, throwing myself into harm's way for the sake of a stocking stuffer. I get in front of the shuttle and wave like groupie and the driver looks at me in bewilderment but stops and opens his door. He doesn't even have to hear what I say as he turns to look at the single bag sitting on the cart like a lost child. He grabs it and lunges it at me gently, and I thank him profusely, thinking how grateful I was for tipping the guy the first time around. I grab it with superhuman strength and hustle it back to the line in time to check in. Crisis averted! We whip through check in with the Wards and haul to security like every other maniac of delay...the lady at the line shook her head and pointed to the back of the line that lined up outside the airport and down the street, practically back to the hotel. I should've had someone waiting in that line while I checked in, but hindsight is so obnoxious. It was like a Christmas miracle. We raced, all twelve of us with each an extra fifteen pounds or so, to the gate only to get right into line to board the plane. People probably saw us and thought...hmph, they didn't even have to wait...but waiting is all we've done. And now, all I I wanted to do was sit in a seat, with a football player-sized man in front of me reclining into my lap and crushing my ice water cup on the tray and dream of tropical sunrises and poi. Taro root--take me away.