Monday, April 28, 2008


what's worse than swinging your shoe to kill a giant mama-bear spider on the wall in your living room?


initial reaction, is, of course, the overwhelming sense that the spider is on me. in my hair, on my clothes, under my feet.

once the spastic arm-flapping (which causes me to hit myself in the face repeatedly) ceases, the realization that i don't know where it is settles in.

this causes a new wave of anxiety. what if it flew into the bedroom and is hanging in wait above my bed, only to crawl on me in my sleep? what if i never find it? what if it's eight spindly legs scuttle across the floor tonight while i'm watching the bachelor?

ooohhh....i totally see it. no plan of attack. need plan of attack............darned blog! if i hadn't been blogging, i'd have a plan!

spray cleaner! douse it with cleaner, and then stomp it with my shoe!
okay. it's hurting. but i can't risk missing again. hmmm. need to suck up the cobweb anyway ...... the vacuumn! aha! brilliant.

oh, goodness. he's gone. i even left it running for an extra minute to be sure.




what if crawls back out? what if the vacuumn malfunctions and spits him back out the hose and into my face???

what if he is a she and there's babies.....


feeling a little better now. i had to use the vacuumn to suck up taco seasoning from my stovetop after someone was "helping" make dinner. no spiders flew out. (shivers)

how monk-ish are you?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

someone's father petitioned for his monthly support payments to be lessened. just found out it was sliced in half. but i really can't be angry. cause even after i subtract the monthly amount we get for ssi, i still make $300 more a month than he does -- including my pampered chef income -- and i really don't make very much. and since it's been cut, we will probably qualify for more ssi every month. which is clearly more reliable than the person who is jumping for joy today because he got his way. i just kind of wonder how he is even paying the rent. wow. makes me think that even though things get rough around our little apartment sometimes, i really am doing pretty well for myself. minus the whole not having been to a dentist in almost four years thing.....

boom boom and buttery cookies

so eharmony sent me an e-mail that said my soulmate is ready for me tonight. what i want to know is, "who gave eharmony my name?"

and, um, can someone please politely tell mr. punkin that his breath is majorly stanky? (for those of you who don't know, stanky is an intense stinkiness. you have to say it with a really long, drawn-out "a" sound. staaaanky.)

speaking of mr. punkin, he has learned that he can shorten the number of words he needs to say if he simultaneously uses sign. for example, if he wants to watch chicka chicka boom boom again, he can sign 'more' while saying 'boom boom' instead of saying, "more boom boom." which does, admittedly, sound a tad bit like a cheap/uncreatively titled porn movie. but still, he is a slacker.

also, the best part of my job is that it is literally next door to punkin. so today i got to go hold him while he had his hearing tested with one of those doohickies that checks whether or not the child's eardrum is vibrating. and he's gotten used to his teacher and to seeing me in the hall from time to time. so all it took was a simple "bye" to separate from him afterwards.

all of my friends (who are not trendy world-travelers, up-and-coming lawyers, or metropolitan book editors) and my mom are lutheran school teachers. this means that once every two years, all of the lutherans call off school and attend a lutheran educators "conference." i type conference in quotes because while there are speakers and presentations during the two day event, it really boils down to a bunch of people who went to school together at lutheran schools in order to become teachers and haven't seen each other since the last conference getting together in a big hotel with lots of food. this leaves me alone on a friday night. i may have to go see baby mama all by myself, which i really have no shame in doing. i may also have to buy an orange julius smoothie and buy punkin some new t-shirts for summer.

i love free book day at preschool. today punkin got one about baby polar bears. soooo cute.

i really can't wait until i get a certain someone's tax refund so i can see a dentist. a kid at school knocked me in the jaw, which knocked my teeth together, which has for some mysterious reason made them super sensitive for the past 24 hours. i should just call the university already. why do i put these things off? i think it's because i have to call them. you know, using that thing with buttons and a speaker. blech. why can't i just e-mail or text message them?

oooohhhhhh, further proof that punkin is a mad genius. every morning his teacher writes a morning message. it says "we will go to the library/eat lunch/play with sand." today it was, "we will read a book." and guess what happened when his teacher --- four hours later -- sat down with a book. yep, he marched right up to the board, pointed to the word 'read' and said, "read!" he put it together -- they write it and then they DO it later!!!! okay, it could have been a happy coincidence. but we take what we can get.

okay, i am having a sensory issue. i love love love the taste of a certain grocery store's animal cookies. not animal crackers -- cookies. they are buttery. mmmmm. anyway, i just grabbed one from the bag and the texture sent a shiver through my fingers, up my arm, and down my spine. and then i popped it in my mouth and the same thing happened atop my tounge and down my spine again. maybe it was a fluke?

just think. that is what our kiddos go through all day, coming at them from all five sensory directions. and to top it off, they generally just don't understand their world or the demands of it. punkin's sunny disposition and resilience amaze me.

okay, not a fluke. something about the dryness of the cookies against the dryness of my fingertips. blech. shiver. shake. maybe i can eat them with tongs. and no, not eating them doesn't seem to be a viable option. i feel rather compelled to enjoy the buttery goodness of those machine-stamped animals despite any negative ramifications to both my waistline and temperment.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Guys, I am watching Antique Roadshow. And my dad isn't even with me. Next I'll be sitting down to Bob Villa on Saturday afternoons. *EEP* Actually, that makes me smile. I can see my dad and sister and I sitting in the tv room, at the coffee table, watching This Old House and eating Schwaan's corndogs. Mmmmm. I still feel a little, teensy bit old and boring. But I can totally brush it off as nostalgia if anyone teases.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

church and dogs

Punkin and I settle into the second pew from the front this morning at church. I can feel the gasps from all of the other Lutherans for having the gall to not only sit so close to the front of the church but to sit there with a toddler. Lutherans do not sit in the front. I know I'm crazy. Punkin insists on sitting beside me rather than on my lap. I hesitate, but allow it. He takes off and almost makes it to the chancel area. We sit back down, Punkin firmly in my lap. There are some ladies two rows back.
"Glad my kids never acted like that." (Is she for real? I guess it was a while ago.)
"Yes they did!" (Rock on!)
"Well, why's she sitting there?" (It's a free country.)
"Probably so she can get out easily if she needs to." (Well, she's got me pegged.)
It's true, I'm always aware of escape routes. And Punkin does better sitting up front because he can see the pastor. And I like sitting up front because there are fewer distractions, like little kids. And this morning when he fell asleep on my lap, I was able to continue to sit down and not have to stare at people's butts. Before Punkin, I would have wondered why a mother would risk sitting up there, too. I also wondered why moms talked about poop so much. And why a mom would ignore a child who was hitting himself in the head or making himself throw up. Oh, the things we learn.

In other news, I was voted bravest by my friends on Facebook. I was not, however, voted best scientist. I'd hate to see what they'd say if there was a mathematician category. =)

Little Mr. Punkin is becoming quite the stinker. (Not literally, thankyouverymuch. I bathe him nightly.) The other night, I heated up two hot dogs. One is cut up on his plate, the other sits whole in the middle of the table. He eats about half of his cut up dog and pauses before picking up the remainder a few at a time and placing it on the table next to his plate. He does this a lot, so I simply tell him to put it back. He looks at me, "More? Dot Dog?"
"No, eat this," I point to the hot dog next to his plate.
He pushes it onto the floor, "More? Dot Dog?"
He wants the one that's whole. Not happening.
"No. You threw it on the floor. All done. Eat your peaches."
Silence. He picks up his cup, looks at me, and turns it over.
Okay, you're all done.
"Muddah! No! Oh no! I fowed it! Oh no!"
I roll my eyes as I drag him to the bathroom to wash his hands.

busy sunday

Look who's playing -- with a purpose!
And lounging -- with a purpose!
Two points!
Jammin'! He's never tried to play it like a piano before.
He's had this thing for two years and it's still one of his favorites.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

found these on my friend's camera. they speak for themselves.

my at-home glamour shot

i got a new camera! i got a new camera! someone's dad owes me money, and the state intercepted his tax refund. so i got myself a present. i love presents. and, sigh, i am a total blonde. did you know that i have a slot for an SD card in my computer? and even though my computer isn't recognizing my ipod, an cd/dvds or my camera when plugged in, it does recognize my card. so i could have been posting photos this WHOLE TIME! d-o-r-k.

our new obsession: playing on the trampoline. this time with every truck we own.

Monday, April 14, 2008

dear punkin,

You are mad brilliant. Except today when you ran away from me at Walmart and starting throwing bottles of Juicy Juice and chasing them down the isles. That was mad embarassing. So can we maybe not have to do that again? I mean, I know I shouldn't have told you we were going home when we left the chiropractor (where, by the way, you broke the blinds), but did you have to sit down in the store every six steps and refuse to budge? Really? Did you really have to? I had to go to the store. I had to buy diapers. Just diapers. If you would have simply cooperated, we could have been in and out in a few minutes. You were all happy at first when we saw those big bags of Tootie Frooties (off-brand Fruit Loops) for A DOLLAR and I let you carry them around. But then I stopped looking at you and starting looking at diapers and all H-E-Double Hockey Sticks broke loose.

But I digress.

Back to why you are mad brilliant. See, I work in a preschool room with a bunch of kids that are a lot like you. And some days it's hard to be patient and energetic when I come home because I've used a lot of those things up already. But lately I've been considering those kids' home lives and life skills, and I'm thinking you are rocking three years old. In proper Muddah fashion, a list:

1. You can use pictures, signs, words, and gestures to tell people when something is not where it's supposed to be or if you need something, like a snack or a blanket. Sometimes it is frustrating, but keep being patient with me and your teachers. We're still learning!

2. You can take your shoes, socks, and pants off all by yourself. Sometimes you have to yell and flail your body around the room first, but you still get it done. Can we maybe rethink throwing your shoes, though? It's kinda scary because you have no aim. (Wouldn't want to hit Muddah.)

3. You can use a fork and a spoon when reminded. Often.

4. You can help set and clear your place setting at the table. I appreciate that you want to help with mine, too, as well as the gallon of milk, but maybe we should wait a few years for that.

4. Say and sign, "I love you." (Ya you!)

5. Shake hands and say, "good morning" at church.

6. Make a choice between two pictures or objects.

7. Occassionally tell me when you need to go potty.

8. Remember when you learned how to answer the question, "What's your name?" And then when you learned how old you were? You'd say, "TWO!" with such confidence and everyone would praise you. But then you turned three, and no matter how hard your teacher and I tried, we just couldn't make you understand the change. And then something happened:

Muddah: How old are you?

Punkin: FOUR!

Muddah: You are three. Punkin is three. How old are you? Three.

Punkin: Th...FOUR ya old!!

(Muddah bangs head on wall.)

9. You can name most of your body parts, some common animals, and a few colors. You have trouble when someone asks you, "What color is this?" but you sometimes say the correct color spontaneously. Likewise, you named a square and a triangle the other morning.

10. Drink out of a regular cup. And dump it on the floor. On purpose. And whine, "Uh oh, Muddah. Thow it! Oh, no!" For the final time, IT IS NOT UH OH WHEN IT IS ON PURPOSE!

11. Find a movie to watch. Even if you dump all of them out on the floor and then choose the one that's already in the dvd player -- you know, the one you watched twice already. It's beyond cute when you turn them over, put a hand on one hip, and "read" the backs.

12. Be the best little Punkin' God meant you to be. I don't need you to be anything or anyone else than what and who you are. KISSES!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm not trying to ignore my blog. I actually sit down every night to write, and I have two drafts just sitting around. But nothing is coming together the way I want it to. So until I get it together, I have a joke:

Q: What do you call a lawn chair from Ireland?
A: Why, Paddy-O Furniture, of course!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

note to self

In college I used to cover my computer screen and desk with sticky notes reminding me about where I needed to be and what I needed to have done each day of the week. Some people thought, "Uh, they sell these things called planners. They have blank boxes under each day of the week for you to write special notes...." Others thought, "Quirky." And still more thought, "An organizational genius!" In the spirit of my post-its, a few notes to myself and others.

Note to self: When you hear "Rip, rip, bang, crash," go immediately to the source. Do not finish washing the dishes before you decide to investigate.

Note to Punkin: Spilled milk is not to be cried over or stepped in.

Note to parents of poor sleepers: Melatonin is the sweet nectar of life. I may be speaking too soon, but I'm just going to enjoy the fact that Punkin has fallen asleep within 10 minutes of being put to bed and slept the entire night for a week straight. And contrary to what the sleep clinic said, he isn't going to bed any later or napping any less. We'll see if it lasts.

Note to self: Do not run out of Mountain Dew.

Note to self: Mountain Dew is bad. Self discipline is very rewarding.

Note to Punkin: No hot dogs for snack at 4pm. No hot dogs for snack at 7pm. If you throw toys in protest, it will not change my mind. You have to eat your dinner. Not hot dogs. Talk to me on Saturday morning when I am too tired to protest.

Note to self: Start making eggs on Saturdays.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Two hours of reality tv later, I am still staring at a blank rectangle where my post is supposed to be. And I am drinking wine out of a plastic Mickey Mouse cup.

I realized today that my birthday this year will be 8-8-08. Too bad I am not turning 8 -- that would be sweet. Or, then again, I don't think I would like to be eight again. See, I've been thinking a lot about how my fragile x story is different than a lot I've heard. Most of the people I've met have been first-generation X-ers. I remember one summer when I was about eight (maybe?). We spent a week at a cottage in Kentucky with my mom's side of the family. One day I was running around with my best girl cousin when we were either compelled or instructed to remove the sand and general schmutz (see Sunday's post) from our bodies. We were in the shower (I think for fun and to conserve hot water -- one ten minute shower hit two bodies) when our male cousin barged in and threw open the curtain. He was trying to play with us. I don't remember what was said, mostly "eek!" I'm assuming. Later, after we yelled at him and complained to our parents, my mom came in to give us a firm and loving talk about increasing our patience quota and understanding differences. My cousin has fragile x. Little did I know, so do I.

I also remember my great uncle. How when I was little I was confused by his muffled speech and perseverations. How he'd repeatedly tease us at Christmas, "That's mine. That's all mine," as he swept his hand towards all the presents. My face must have read, "Is he for real?" I found it simultaneously strange and heartwarming. And now I am working to supress my mama-bear emotions when children think my fraggie is obnoxious, naughty, or weird.

In high school my mom came to talk to my biology class about fragile x during our unit on genetics. I remember a sense of just knowing that I had it. That's why it was such a shock when we got the test results -- negative. My mom doubted it immediately, but it wasn't a priority to be retested until I became pregnant in college. And it didn't become a matter of real urgency until I the ultrasound technician informed me that the blinking blob on the gray and black screen was a boy.

And after the papers came that told me that not only am I a carrier of fx, but that I have a full mutation, I wasn't at all surprised. And, like many moms, I "just knew" the diagnosis of my baby before the doctors did. That's not to say that the call from his pediatrician on his one month birthday was easy to hear, but it was easier because I had been preparing myself.

Which is why I think genetic testing should be offered to every pregnant woman, but most importantly to every newborn. Because I've had the advantage of knowing. Punkin has had the advantage of receiving services since he was four months old.

And while it's important to understand that the FMR1 gene is just that -- one gene -- and that every fraggie is as varied as the rest of us, it has been a unique experience to stand back and see my fraggie (3), my 23 (?) year-old cousin, and my 80 (?) year-old uncle living happily with their Xs.

I guess I've been thinking about my fellow fraggies because it's strange to be on the other side. To feel a newfound connection with two people who for most of my childhood eluded me. If my one X was a Y, we'd be even more alike. And if Punkin's X wasn't fragile, I'd go on living without a deeper understanding or appreciation for who these men are.

I think sometimes about having more. On Sunday some of the moms said they were grateful they never had to make the decision -- they were already pregnant or their second child was already born when they received the diagnosis. It's a big question with even bigger consequences that I'm frequently asked. My answer? I don't know. I loved being pregnant, even though it was unplanned and I was very sick. And if I met and married someone who wanted kids, I would want them, too. I would want birth announcements and painting the nursery and doing it all again but on purpose. I tried to enjoy it with Punkin as much as possible, especially after I found out my status, because I knew it might be the only time I would feel little legs kicking and feel a little heart beating and sustain a miracle inside myself. But I also know that adoption is an option. And I know that taking chances and being okay with whatever the results may be is an option. I'm just relieved I don't have to make the choice today.

To read about similar topics: Fragile What?! and Basically FX. If you comment, please be kind. These women aren't looking to discuss politics, just their experiences.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

here i come, miriam webster!

Had a fantabulous Sunday. Went to another FX family's house and hung out with them and two other families from nearby. It's so nice to let Punkin be himself and not have to explain his behaviors. Even though all of our kids are very different -- even the siblings -- we have that common thread of understanding. It's much like our blog community, but even better because our kiddos can be friends, too! Punkin played HARD outside. They had a huge fenced-in yard with a playset and balls and golf clubs (FIGHDER!). Way fun. But I ate too much.

And now on a completely different note, I need to take a poll. Does anyone else use the word schmutz? I thought everyone used this. Apparently not. Here is my definition:
Schmutz (SHMUTS) An unknown substance (possibly goobers, drool, food residue) of unknown origin (your kid or when one you miss your mouth while drinking but try to smooth over it like it didn't happen so then you forget and later wonder why your shirt smells like french vanilla bean) which one discovers on ones clothing or other possessions throughout the day. (ie: What is this schmutz on my shirt?)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

good news ... and blues clues

The neurologists were sooooo nice today! At first there were two of them -- a staff member and a student. They examined him and returned with two more, who joked with the doctor in a totally "that's such a ridiculously funny idea and I can't actually come out and say what it's for" kind of way about the tool that measures boy parts. (There's a special name for it, but I can't remember. ) It's just silly that people are so interested in how big his body parts are. I mean, it's part of the syndrome, but who cares? Punkin certainly doesn't! Anyway, there were four of them -- doctors, not boy parts. Apparently they all wanted to meet him. But who wouldn't? He is pretty darn adorable. And funny. The one guy was cracking up the entire time. Truth is, so was I. Because Punkin LOVES men. And he LOVES attention. And he LOVES hamming it up for professionals and doctors, who are usually males giving him tons of personal attention. He was literally bouncing around the room, dancing, trying to play with their doctor stuff, showing off his belly, and fighting with that PAPER THEY INSIST ON PUTTING ON THE BEDS. The. Bane. Of. My. Existence.

And on to the actual substance of the visit. They listened very politely and they had his file. And they looked up information about FXers and sleeping issues. In the end it was decided that, thank goodness, it is just night terrors. They recommended melatonin every night (rather than just when he is being especially ornery, err, awake) and wished him speed in "growing out" of them.

They must have been learning about FX because they asked me other questions about my family and Punkin's quirks. It is so nice to be asked questions. That's why I want to participate in research studies. Makes me feel like part of the solution (education) to the problem (no one knows about this common disorder).

All in all a good day. And now I think we need to go see Horton Hears A Who because, well, it's Thursday.

Update: Punkin loved being at the movie theater. This time, though, he wanted his own chair. But he had to sit just right because otherwise it would fold up! And he wanted to hold the popcorn and the slushie. At the same time. Needless to say, little boys do not always get their way, though I did release the popcorn into his custody after he proved to me he was a responsible caretaker. We had fun.

Blues Clues. Why? Why did I buy this? It was calling out, "I'm only $5.99! I'm educational! I'm a blue dog! Punkin is imitating Ratatouille -- why not learn about shapes and colors instead?" And in the back of my mind, "You will regret this. You know they got a new guy. Adios, Steve. It's Joe Schmoe and Blue. It's 'We just got a letter ....' for the next four days. You love Ratatouille! You love that he holds his plates like a waiter now! You love that he pretends to smell tomatoes. It's cute!" But in the end, the clearance-priced opportunity won out. And now I am stuck with Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper. Or is it Mrs. Salt and Mr. Pepper? Hmmm. Can you tell who's been washing dishes during this one?