Category Archives: Parenting

Hormones, hormones, I love hormones!!

Yah, that I do. I love hormones because they are the juice that make our bodies run…but in transitional times their ups and downs drive me CRAZY.

Take Yesterday. It was a day like any other day. I ask a child to take something downstairs. Very basic. It stays in the same spot for hours and many reminders later. A while later, I blow a patience gasket and tell them they better get that basket downstairs or they may see the last of my patience evaporate before their very eyes.

Basket sits there for another day. Until I yell. “If you don’t get this silly basket where I want it now I will make you miss whatever it is you are looking forward to today. ”

Basket moves. but then the clothes are scattered as he slams it down. “You don’t have to yell, mom. You could have just asked me nicely.”

Oh, child. You are fortunate to have outgrown me or you would have been put over this knee of mine…way down here.

I know this is typical pubescent brainlessness at work here. I get it. Everyone is going through it or has gone through it.

But add that to the complete lack of following directions in home school and then a fiery meltdown over simple math and you have my life crazy in a nut shell.

It’s not all bad though.

In calling me out with yelling, he was being helpful. He didn’t know it but he was right. I don’t need to yell. He was being cheeky, but made a point. So I am going to swallow all those lecture words “that I’ve heard before and I know everything and you don’t have to go on and on and on.”

No, child I don’t. And I won’t. Next time YOU wash your underwear, stinky socks and soccer shirt. I am no longer yelling.

Let’s see what happens then, shall we?

I do know that hormones of puberty suck all the brain power out into the great beyond. I hope the brain power comes back.

COME BACK, Teenage brain, come back.


And all the parents to teens sit and laugh at me.



Livin’ and Survivin’

You will probably not believe me when I say that this preteen stage that my two oldest children are in is the one of the most enjoyable stages EV-A!  The rest of the world seems to dread the thought of their kids hitting the teen years. I am determined NOT to hate the teen years. I want to enjoy as many of the moments as I can.

There were many years that The Reverend and I spent a lot of time with preteens and teenagers. I love their crazy little selves.

1. Their bodies are growing way too fast for their brains to keep up and as a lovely result they are a little less likely to think about what they are saying and they say pretty cool things! Or, they say strange things that don’t make sense in the least and it is fun to see them try to communicate to the people around them. Mostly, they just say random stuff that comes out sounding disrespectful but they are trying to be funny.

2. They are honest. Somehow, telling me I have a big butt was right for a certain preteen of mine to say to me. I replied with, “I can hardly wait to see you with your new woman curves in a few years. Now that should be interesting!” I left her guessing and with her hoping that her butt would take after some smaller genes.

3. You can mess with their minds so EASILY! I told one of my kids that if they were going to not listen to me for the 1000th time in a row, I would put short shorts on and go screaming down the road in front of our house. My daughter said “You can wear short shorts?” Well, that wasn’t really thought out on my part. But the other kid thought I was serious and went back to work after he said “You wouldn’t dare.” and getting an “I wouldn’t, would I?” in reply, with an Evil eyebrow twitch.

4. The meltdowns can be downright hysterical. Until someone loses an eye. But really, the drama! It’s impressive enough that I am tempted to pop popcorn and munch while I watch the action.

5. They are just big kids. They like playing silly games and we can act like goofs and they think it’s fun.

6. they may not say they are needing a hug or a wrestle like they used to but they most certainly need them. I love to give them these hugs or tackles because they usually end a smiling face and with them trying to remind me how much taller they are…ok, ok, I get it. I’m SHORT.

7. Sometimes they act like big babies so I talk to them in a baby voice. I tell ya, this one gets RAVES…or is that RAGES? Somehow they don’t like to be told they are being babies, but if you act the part I’ll treat you the part. Coochey Coochey Coo!

8. I’m losing weight because my growing kids are eating all the food as fast as I buy it. Of course, it’s not the fruits and veggies but next week that’s all I’m buying. Think they’ll notice?

9. They talk a lot….I mean, a LOT, like you NEED to know everything that’s going on. In a couple more years, I’ve heard that they completely stop talking except in grunts and groans so I’ll enjoy it while I can. I’ll enjoy the silence just a little when that stage hits.

10. They are starting to sleep in later, and this mom has NEVER been a morning person. So hip hooray! Let’s bring on the late sleeping stage 🙂

11. Their hearts are in need of just as much direction, encouragement and love as when they were happy little tweeny bops. It’s fun to see my kids shine in doing what they love and receiving praise for things well done.

So, It’s officially my favorite stage (besides the snuggly baby stage) and I’ll let you know if I change my mind like a teenager and things go south.  Oh sure, there are all those mood swings, but popcorn. It shuts them up and it is like living a reality show in my very own living room. Who needs cable? Not me!

Pubescent awesomeness!


I was getting the feeling that I was talking to myself and saying the same things over and over again until I got sick of me telling me stuff. After a time my darling boy, who usually loves to please people, said “Mom, why are you telling me over and over to do things? I’m getting really tired of it.”

Oh, really?

This has gone on a while now and I am thinking it’s not just me being annoying.

I know that many children need reminding a time or two, but with J-man, he has always needed a bit of micro-managing. I can only tell him a step or two before he tunes me out and forgets the direction I gave him a few seconds ago. I’ve learned this the hard way.

For a while it seemed that either he was able to follow direction more easily or I was  getting really good at only giving one direction at a time or we were both forgetting what I’d just said at the same time. Either which way, apparently I was droning on and on about the same things all the time which annoyed him to no end. I thought I was just trying to get things done.

I thought maybe he was sleep-deprived for a while but it turns out it could be puberty. The experts say that children in this stage lose their minds, so to speak. Their brains are impaired by the chemical changes that occur. I would tend to agree by what I’ve seen of the junior high age.

I actually really love this age, if you were wondering. It’s my favorite age group to work with as far as being in the ministry. Pre-teens or early teens are weird and funky (smell ain’t everything!) and they are thrilled when adults are weird too. The Reverend and I fit in well 😉

I suppose that we will get a lot of practice “loving” this stage because, as we did with babies and toddlers, we are going to be going through it for a while,now that we’ve started it.


Importance of sleep


This week has been a week that went from extreme quiet to very busy. You know the type of busy that is always with people? Well, that kind makes my boy a special kind of Aspie. SUPER Aspie. Get where I’m going with this? AND he had all sorts of artificial food dyes.

Yesterday, he had a fabulous day with friends. He has a great friend who “gets” him. They are both very similar and get along famously. They played well together all day. At the end of the day (I was taking care of this friend and siblings for the day) as we were having a supper and he just couldn’t take anymore and broke down crying (with me in a private conversation). He told me he was done with all the people. He needed to engage his recharge and retreat method of dealing with TOO MUCH. I let him retreat.

I wasn’t sure how he would handle today as he had Basket Ball and a Sledding party on his schedule. He went sledding with the youth group and they had a great time. Yay!! He told me he had all sorts of pop and junk food which made him so happy. I tried to not nag him about the whole “PLEASE DON’T EAT OR DRINK THINGS THAT ARE PINK/RED!!!” He came home late and Then BAM! The fatigue hit and Jman became a deaf robot. That is typically what happens when he’s DONE like dinner. He walks around the house aimlessly. Tonight, I tried to get him to shower four times. The first time he got into the shower but didn’t actually wash his hair. I told him to go back to do it at LEAST three times. He kept walking off forgetting I had said anything. He tried to give me attitude at this point but it was short-lived and he managed to make it down to wash his hair.

I told him it was time for bed and to go to sleep. I assumed he would fall asleep quickly. I had hoped.

Almost 10pm…2 hours after telling him to go to bed, he was awake and still reading. OH MY why did I assume he was so tired he’d fall asleep without reminder. WRONG Mommy! 🙂 Never assume. I needed the child to do the very thing that his body was begging him to do.

I can say with a certainty, that comes with past experience, that tomorrow could be a very, very hard day for my son. Poor guy. Poor siblings. I hope he is right as sunshine on a cloudy day, but then I have a lot of history that says I’m dreamin’.

Sleep is so integral. SO important for my Aspie kid. It makes all of our lives easier when there is good sleep patterns going on.

It also reminds me to be more careful of when he is out of routine. He needs reminders all the time for everything and I need strategies where he can attain more independence in it. It would lessen the nagging/constant reminding that drives him crazy.

Sleep. Now I need to go and get mine.



The Nag or the Friend?


Since becoming the Home School Mom (of the Year…not) of my Aspie’s life, we’ve had a few ups and downs. I’ve been the teacher extraordinaire, the grumpy teacher, the balanced teacher…the good mom, the evil twin sister mom, the huggy mom…it’s been a mixture of good and the not-so-excellent. Overall, I think we’ve made some progress. I can’t always be the Mom they remember. Teacher Mom gets in there and makes them work. Other times, Fibro Mom lays in bed for a day and tells them to do a few things here and there. I mark their stuff in bed and life goes on.

Lately, I am thinking because of the general state of pubescence, I seem more of a nag to him than usual. Or he’s losing some brain cells to the hormonal surges and I need to remind him more often. All he says he hears me say are things he has to do. He says he cringes when he hears his name because it will never be something fun or positive.

It hurts my heart a little that he perceives our lives like that. Me the Drill sergeant, never the soft mom who listens to his problems/happy talk all the time. He sees me as definitely someone who sucks joy out of his life. I call him back to what he is supposed to do in his life and school and little else. I have to say, I feel the same. I feel we’ve lost a bit of our rapport. It used to be great. I think it’s NORMAL for an almost-teen boy and his mom to not be as close but I still want to have a good relationship with him. How do I change this? How do I make it less him against me?

I should probably read a few books about it. There is probably some very good books on the topic.

A few ideas I’ve prayed about are:

*Taking more time to play with him. I need to play those Wii games I dislike. We always have fun doing it.

*I need to listen more. It’s been easy to gloss over what he’s saying and not really listen. We’ve had great conversations in the past but the kid can talk and there are only so many mine craft convos until I start staring into space. I need to be more aware of what he wants to talk about.

* We need to get out more. Or maybe he needs to. He needs more stimulation than ever. He likes to move, play ball, be with friends. It’s a normal part of his development when friends become important and parents aren’t. I get it. Just who do you trust with your son. We’ve had some interesting things happen to us in this community with “friends” so we are wanting to let him spread his wings, however we still need to be watchful and vigilant in whom he hangs with. I am praying about this one so very much. I want my child to have some really good friends and ones he and we can trust. It’s complicated when he’s an Aspie. He has the ability to make friends (yay) but not the ability to make good judgments when his friends are asking to do something he knows is wrong. Anyways…it’s a tough one.

* We do our best to give as many opportunities as we can to cater to our children’s interests and to keep them just busy enough but not too busy for family. When we home school two and public school two the dynamics of what that means gets complicated. We need him to have more positive interactions. This year he has found basketball difficult but has worked through it tremendously. Still, he thinks he has to do basketball because he has to and I’m praying he can start enjoying it. There are many people on his team with which he could enjoy it with.

* He wants to figure out what his passions are, what his purpose is so that he can plan for the future…what do I want to do with the rest of my life? I pray we can help him see what he is good at because there are so many things.

My sweet, kind, goofy, spirited boy…how I do love him. I pray that we can find a balance in it all as he grows . He was born for a purpose and I know he will find it.

The great highs and lows of Aspie livin’

skateboard (Photo credit: expense)

This last year has been a time of great achievements and growth in J-man. HE had started to act less “Aspie” and more “normal”. Crying was a part of his daily life not to long ago, far longer than what the rest of the world thought he should cry. I have never actually taken to what the “world” or “they” tell us. His crying had become almost non-existent.  To see him be more calm and in control about things did my heart proud. He had made such big steps and is able to control himself to only show mild frustration and not let it escalate.

That was last year, before we decided to home school he and his sister full-time. I’m pretty sure there have been all the adjustments and frustration with HS’ing with his arch (family) enemy. It’s hard to be with a sibling that is bent on making you scream every chance she gets. On the other hand, she is entering pubescence as well as he is, so we have immature tween hormones at it’s finest here. She is crying or screeching and he’s barking like a dog or crying like the world is ending. Or meowing like a cat. Or he’s melting down like his life is at an end, at times.

I have mediated like a CHAMP and using the opportunity to build their rocky relationship…and it’s working. I play psychologist and they play my patients. They don’t see it, but it’s totally working. I clap my hands in silent GLEE! Until the crap hits the fan the next time.

Enter: Major Growth Spurt.

I was wondering why he was back-talking me and acting like what I said was the exact opposite of what he should do, then I realized he is pubescent. Yah, that’s right. And in the middle of the most major growth spurt of his life.

This made me shake my head at my blindness. Of course he’s going to be a hot mess while these things are happening in his body! What was I thinking? That since he is the size of an adult that he would think like one? Silly me.

No…it means a good dose of REGRESSION. We get to see the toddler years re-emerge into the bigger tween years.

christmas treeAdd to that the Christmas season, and we have some awesome fireworks around these parts, and I don’t mean the kind you buy off an illegal stand somewhere. No we have fireworks right in our own walls. Just as spectacular too. You should come over and watch. On the other hand…

I know that all the progress we’ve made is not lost, it’s just jumbled around in that brain that has a million chemicals trying to shoot around, in his body, so that he can grow and mature into the man he that I am sure he is becoming.

Watching your child lose part of their mind…the part they use to listen to our parental words like “Hey, man. Can you do the dishes for me please? Hello? Helloooo?” Well, it throws me back to my pubescence and I want to retaliate. But I don’t.

Ah forget it. I’ll just take the DS away from his face then he’ll “hear” me. Yah, that’ll work.

Putting my Psychologist on

The UN headquarters in New York
The UN headquarters in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I feel like a full-time psychologist most days. Hokey smokes! Between everyone we have a basket full of nuts. I’m speaking mostly of myself, of course.

Here are some of the things that require specialized treatment…

Conflict resolution – Since I knew I was going to have J-man home for the year (and absolutely NO qualms about it) I figured it would be good for him not to be hanging out with his middle-aged mom all by himself. At the time, I thought taking my next oldest child out was a logical step. While I still know that it was a wise decision, sometimes I think I’ve gone crackers. They are polar opposite in personality and pretty much every second is a competition. They can be the best of friends and the very worst of enemies. Most of the time, I hear that I shouldn’t have brought Belle home to home school and she should go back to school. I have been tempted…very tempted. Alas, I have become a mediator the United Nations could hire. Seriously. I’m that good. In the end, if they can get along without maiming each other, we will have successfully glimpsed world peace.

Anxiety prevention – Ack. Who can prevent anxiety? Not me. At this point we’re just mopping up afterwards. We have put J-man into a few different new situations this year. New situations = Nitro Anxiety. What was I thinking? I love my life. He is bearing down and sticking with basketball even though he really is having challenges understanding the game. He ROCKS at the skills, it’s just the plays and social part of it that has him bamboozled. Having braces in his mouth is about as fun as punching myself in the head, but they motivated (bribed) him with the chance of winning an Xbox so he’s brushing when I ask. Yay! Small victories, people.

Depression – Preventing myself from this is a fulltime job. Just kidding…kind of. J-man has struggled with this from early on and we are dealing with (a little of) this right now. I am the cheerleader/listener extraordinaire.

Oldest Child is an Aspie – Having the oldest child be on the Autism Spectrum is a special pickle in and of itself. We were blessed to adopt four kiddos within five years and we do count it a blessing despite me sounding like a whiner at times. Whining helps me cope. When you have an oldest as an Aspie, you have a world that looks like all of your kids are “special”. What I mean by this is, they all notice that he needs some different attention. They all notice what gets him attention. They all TRY the same methods or their own special methods (that drive me mad) repeatedly. Yay…not. We also have the youngest who has some issues herself, and so we have a special little sandwich of goodies. A couple of them have recently admitted that they feel like they don’t get enough attention. Well, goodness sakes children, you do have three siblings all squished together! Any “normal” family would have the same feelings, methinks! At least I know that I play the psychologist role well enough that they can express their feelings. Let’s be thankful for that, now, shall we?

All in all, I really don’t feel proficient at anything much of the time. Now that I’ve written some of that down, I feel like I’ve given myself a much-needed couch session. Whew! Now I can get up off that couch and treat the rest of the patients! Thanks for being my therapists. I know you are out there…somewhere.





Braces + Aspie = ?

Eleven years ago he popped out two cute little front teeth. Then he popped out another two. Oh, he was the cutest little thing on the planet! At least, this mother can say that and be completely telling the truth, according to a mother’s prerogative. Back in the naïve days of parenting a first-born, we didn’t think about those two little teeth turning into a whole mouth that needed some serious adjustments. We just adored our little guy with cutesy-wootsy, itsy-bitsy teefers.

I had seen my friends’ and relatives’ kids all lose their cute little baby teeth and enter the “awkward” stage. Not saying they weren’t just the cutest little awkward kids ever, but still, the stage where the teeth are bigger than their faces, awaiting the adult head was an obvious stage to look forward to. Ahem. J-man hit that stage early because his big ol’ teeth came in earlier than his peers. He lost his first teeth just after he turned five.

Fast forward a few years and those teeth and his upper jaw moved forward noticeably and we knew we were in for a dental bill that we couldn’t afford to ignore. We started saving early. Now we are paying those dues and will be doing so for a spell.

Today was the day. It was the day he had looked forward to, in a dread sort of way, for a long time. We had prepped him with pictures, videos, a prep appointment…you name it. We were being proactive, but not in a crazy, in-his-face sort of way. We were very balanced about it, knowing his proclivity towards anxiety.

He has matured and grown so much emotionally that I didn’t really see the semi-trailer full of Anxious before it hit. We were having a normal day yesterday when we mentioned that tomorrow would be braces day. Enter tears of frightful proportions that we have not seen in a good long while. Whoa! This did not bode well. He asked his 1000 questions, I answered as best I could. I prayed, asked my Mom and Dad to pray and asked them to ask their prayer chain to pray. Can’t have too much prayer, I say.

This morning we get up to the usual 1000 more questions and my 873 answers. I secretly place an Ativan in my purse…for him, not me, though I eyeballed the dosage to see if it would be strong enough for an anxious mother. Just kidding…I also placed a stress ball and some natural homeopathic stress meds. I was so ready. Bring. IT. ON!

The Orthodontist office is the cleanest I’ve ever been in. Of course, it’s the only Ortho office I’ve been in. They make you take off your shoes outside the door and give you “sterilized DAWGS” to wear. I like it.

We entered and waited. J-man was noticeably amped up but doing really well. He hadn’t cried for at least an hour! A lady that we had not yet met called us in. J-man thrives when life is predictable so throwing in a new (but not new to the office) gal into his life messed with him right from the get-go. She was nice but definitely had the air of “don’t mess with me”. Right away he got super nervous, shaking and defiant looking. I know he’s not really defiant but really over-the-top freaked out, but she interpreted his mood as defiance and tried to lay down the law. It spooked him even more.

Eventually, we got him convinced to lay down, but he was still super freaked. He was shaking all over. After a very noisy half of an hour, the Ortho Dr. came in and said we should probably shut it down for today but that we’d have to wait for another 2 months and then try again. I really didn’t want to do this again. Not the anxiety, not the panic…none of it. I got down in front of J-man and had the best pep talk in a long while. I talked to him of how I didn’t care what he looked like. I knew he was an amazing kid whether he had the same teeth or whether they were fixed. I told him that God shone in his life no matter what too. I reminded him that HE had wanted his teeth changed. I told him that he would be healthier for it too. I let him think that he had some control over whether he got braces or not. I’d like to think I wasn’t fibbing…Little by little he calmed. I remembered to pray. As he lay back down, I laid my hand on his ankle and started praying for him. I wondered why in the world it had taken me so long! Immediately, he started to calm. The rest of it was done in less time than all the talking took. He was almost relaxed as they finished up. It only took over three times as long, as it usually takes, but we got ‘er done!

I was so proud of how he worked through the incredible amounts of internal distress to get through a very undesirable circumstance. The sensory aspects of getting braces is  unbelievable when you are a person with an extra sensitive system. His head area is his most crazy-making part of him. I am bursting with mama pride!

I realize that God is the real reason that we got through this seemingly innocuous procedure. I raise my hands in praise to the King of Creation. He made our child who he is. I am excited to see him progress and become the man he was created to be. Even these “simple” circumstances, that are monumental tasks for our boy, are ones that shape who he is becoming. God is doing a good work in our son.

Braces + Aspie = One proud and thankful Mom. There were moments we could have left the office minus the braces, but we left with braces and boy intact.


Now to figure out the high-tech tooth-brush. Why can’t they make that simple?

Aspie plus One

005I was pretty sure that bringing home my spitfire of a girl, my second oldest, would result in epic battles between she and my Aspie. She is delightfully strong-minded and I don’t mind telling you she’s adept at making many people cry. Her skills would do well in a future career of law, but she is setting her mind to be a Veterinarian.  She can be her own boss and Top Dog at the same time!

I have had a few friends and community contacts ask why we took her out of school to home school her. After all, she does just fine in the public system. I have many reasons, but I’ll just share a few.

1. My Aspie needed a sibling at home. He is definitely not going back to school and he needed a pal. Out of all of my kids, historically he and she do not mix well. This is going to be an opportunity to build their friendship and give company for each other during the times we are not actively doing “schoolwork”. It has worked out VERY well (so far) as I see them working out the differences many times. Sometimes I have to step in and help them work out squabbles, but mostly they are working it out and dare I say…having fun! There have been a couple of times where he’s begged “Can you please send her back…PLEASE!”

2. She is on the brightly intelligent spectrum and I foresee no problems getting her going on some projects that would help push her even further, intellectually and personally. I fear she has not been pushed to excellence and I can work one on one with her in areas that need improvement, like handwriting and printing. I know how much more she can do, even if she’s pulling easy 90’s. She likes a challenge and I’m good with being the one who is challenging her to reach farther.

3. Spiritually, she has so much potential and in school she was becoming discouraged with the amount of non spiritual content. She felt like she was spiritually alone in the school and that there were very few people that she could relate to in that way. That is not to say that she did not have some good friends at the school. She values those relationships greatly. We still make sure she can have opportunities to see those friends from time to time. Homeschooling allows us the time to play/interact with some peers who do love God and are now a part of her social group. We have also been able to take many teachable moments to discuss in-depth what the Bible says about certain topics.

There are a few more reasons I took her out. I was nervous about having her home. She and I can have some epic battles of the wills but I have not found that to be the case at all recently. In fact, she seems so much more relaxed and willing to back down. She has been the loving, caring, helpful and respectful child I knew that she could be.

The last six years, with my kids gradually going into the public school, I found myself more and more having to manage stress and fatigue fall-out from school. I would have to work out situations that were almost daily in occurrence. After school activities included De-escalating behaviors, instead of doing their homework and playing. Everyone felt deregulated.

This year, it seems like (for the most part) my two at home stay regulated and happy or at least relaxed when the other two come home. The other two are thrilled with school this year and so I think we are a happier and calmer family all around. There are still days, but I remember months of days where I would be talking all four children down from their proverbial ledges (simultaneously) from the time they arrived home until the time they would (finally) fall asleep. Homework often got pushed aside while we tried to manage life and behaviors.

I am so very thankful for the direction and support I have received from friends who homeschool. Also, I appreciate the folks who don’t understand why we do what we are doing, yet still accept that we are doing the best we know how for our family. We’ve got a pretty great community here.

Moment of dread

Yesterday I was having an intense conversation with a good friend when the call waiting (generally a nuisance feature) indicated the camp was calling. The camp where I sent my son this week. My heart did a triple take and I told my friend I needed to go b/c it was the camp. Immediately, she understood and hung up. I could not figure out how to hang up and pick up quickly enough as my fingers trembled a bit.

“Hello? Is this Judy?” Said the voice.

Inside my head I am wondering how bad is it that they are trying to contact my Mother-in-Law? She was one of the emergency contacts on the form.

“No this is Marcy, Josh’s mom.” I replied, keeping my cool.

“I was told to return your call.” Said the voice again.

“My call? You mean the call from last week?” I breathed. She was not calling that my child was maimed in any way.

“I was just given a message to call you.” She said.

“Well, I think it was about the registration and that we wanted to know if he was accepted or not. I think we worked it out last night. He’s there.” I was so relieved and a little annoyed at how after-the-fact it was for her to be calling. Truth be told, I was a little put off that it wasn’t an emergency and my heart had raced for nothing. Well, except that my child was apparently unscathed thus far.

“I thought you were calling because J-man was hurt.” I said.

“Oh no!  He’s just fine and doing really well!”

Ok then. I guess I could have just kept talking with my friend about a really important life event.

**So happy she called just to accidentally tell me that my son is doing well at camp!**