Mira, 2 months old:
Mira, 3 years old:
Good to know I still get a “thumbs up” from her.
So the Halloween candy is nearly gone from our house, and I can only say THANK *burp* GOODNESS! My weakness for the sweet stuff got the better of me and I binged on candy for two weeks straight.
Last night Aaron and I were watching TV and he commented on our different preferences for snacks. “You always go for things like ice cream bars at night. But I prefer baked goods, like cookies and snack cakes,” he explained.
I laughed – as I ate my ice cream bar – and he added, “But you’re the one who usually does the grocery shopping, so you control what’s in the house.”
I thought about that for a moment. Yes, I do have more control over what’s in our house because I do the grocery shopping. If Aaron doesn’t specifically request something, I won’t buy it.
However, I do like cookies and snack cakes and baked goods. Probably more than ice cream. But I know that if I keep those foods in our pantry, I’ll eat them. And eat more. And then eat some more and probably lick up the crumbs.
So it’s better for me to keep those high-temptation foods as far away from me as possible. Which often means out of the house. Ice cream treats are often single serve, and I keep them out in the chest freezer in the garage. It takes more effort for me to go get one (especially when the garage is cold in the winter) so I’m less likely to go back for a second.
Keeping the right balance of resisting the temptation to binge versus allowing myself some “bad” foods to keep from feeling deprived is often a difficult line to walk.
Over the weekend Mira was invited to a birthday party for a little girl in her preschool class. As any 3 year old would be, she was proud she had an event to go to, something that was just for her as well as her parent escort.
I decided to make the most of it and have a one-on-one morning with Cordy. Thanks to a little sister who insists on always being on my lap or hanging off of me whenever we’re at home, I feel like Cordy and I often don’t get much time to chat and bond. This would be our chance to hang out with no interference from Mira, where she could have my undivided attention and I might get the chance to see what’s going on in that pretty little head of hers.
I left the plans open to her, and she decided we were going to the zoo, followed by lunch at Bob Evans. Thankfully, the forecast was for a warm, sunny day – rare in November – so I happily agreed.
Once at the zoo, Cordy was intent on riding all of the rides. The Columbus Zoo has an area called Jungle Jack’s Landing that features carnival-type rides for kids, but this area was blocked off with a sign announcing it was closed for the season. Cordy was disappointed, but I suggested we try to look at some of the animals while we were there, since, you know, it IS a zoo.
With no little sister to object, Cordy demanded we go to her favorite places: the fish and the snakes. For some reason, those two exhibits are her favorites. She loves watching the fish swim around, “driving” the boat in the manatee area. We talked about all of the different fish, and she oohed and aahed over the pretty colors of the coral in the tank.
In the reptile house, she pushed all of the buttons in the information area before moving on to the display animals. She chattered about each one, pointing out one was really long, another was hiding in a tree, and yet another had a funny shaped head. We had nowhere to be, so I let her go at her own pace as she went through her normal routine of pushing buttons, asking me to point out where we live on the map, and then talking about each snake as we walked past them.
Outside of the manatee exhibit, I also let her climb on the manatee sculpture – something I’m usually unwilling to wait around for. But it wasn’t crowded, so there was no wait.
After that, Cordy wanted to ride the carousel – the only ride open in the zoo that day. I purchased a ticket for her and we waited in line. When did she get so big that she now wants to go on the carousel? I remember her crying at the thought of riding it years ago. I remember sitting with her on the bench seats of the carousel because the up and down motion of the horses scared her too much. Now here she was picking the horse she wanted, holding on tight and waving to everyone instead of keeping a death-grip on me.
Having seen her favorite animals and taken her ride on the carousel, Cordy announced it was time to go to lunch. But not before asking to pose (yet again) with her favorite penguin statue.
We then went to Bob Evans, where Cordy got to sit on her side of the little booth with no one next to her. “Mom, I’m all alone over here,” she announced, “Can’t you sit with me?” I explained that there was no room for me over there, and that she was big enough to sit by herself now. Stretching out her arms, she decided she liked all of the space to color and work on her activity sheet.
After the meal, Cordy begged for dessert. I normally say no, but since this was her special day, I gave in and agreed. She loved every bite of her sundae, even as I cringed and realized the coloring in the hot fudge and cherry might provoke a behavioral reaction later.
(Side note: it did. She didn’t act the same the remainder of the day and had a fierce meltdown that night over spelling a word wrong. My lesson from this? Even if it’s her special day, we still have to hold firm to rules about “bad” foods.)
On the way home, she fell asleep in the car, but not before telling me that this was “the best mommy-Cordy day ever.”
And it was.
I don’t know how many more years she’ll want to spend time with me in public, but I’ll selfishly hang onto these moments for as long as I can.
So I’ve noticed several bloggers are taking part in a 30 Days of Truth blog meme. It’s a nice way to give yourself 30 days of blogging prompts, and while I’m all about jumping on board that bandwagon, there’s no way I’m doing 30 in a row. That would be too much commitment and way too much emotional sludge for me to slog through at once. I’ll just do them here and there and hopefully get through all 30 before I forget what the remaining ones are.
Day 1: Something you hate about yourself
They decided to start easy, didn’t they? I could write a book about all of the things I don’t like about myself. From my dull, flat hair, past my big nose and all the way down to my monster feet, I’m good at finding fault with myself.
But what I really dislike is my lack of social understanding. The more I look inward, the more I can begin to understand and accept that I have a daughter with autism. My daughter’s pediatrician even admitted she thought I had Asperger’s. And as Cordy gets older, I’m starting to see the awkward moments I suffered through as a child relived by her.
I’ve never been popular. I was always the kid on the outside, wishing I could understand how to do the “right” things to be liked by others. My interests were never popular interests. I had trouble being witty on the spot, and often missed the social cues that I wasn’t wanted in a group.
I was told I was a freak and a weirdo, and I was bullied and shunned all through school for being different. I tried so very, very hard to fit in, mimicking others yet never quite getting it right. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong to never earn acceptance. I remember feeling suicidal more than once as a child and a teen, always confused about how I could be so amazingly smart in school but couldn’t figure out how to get people to like me.
As an adult, I’ve learned to blend in a little more, but I’ll admit I still don’t understand people. I’ve never figured out the secret to being popular, and sometimes it hurts that I know I’m rarely at the top of anyone’s list of people they like to hang out with. In public I make an effort to conceal some of my quirks.
When I’m funny, it’s generally on accident. (Ask our friend Baca about the scissors sometime. I made everyone in the room nearly suffocate from laughing so hard that day.) I suck at predicting how people will react to something.
I try to accept my geekdom, though. (The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite TV shows and I understand nearly all of the humor on that show – Sheldon fans unite!) I’ll freely admit to strangers that I’m socially awkward at times, or that I need to drop out of a conversation quickly because I’m feeling overwhelmed. I know my brain doesn’t work the same as others and I’m not ashamed to admit it anymore. After all, I have a daughter with autism, and I want to make sure she doesn’t grow up thinking she’s a worthless freak like I did. Thankfully, being different is more accepted today than it used to be, but we still have a long way to go.
I’m sure it sounds like I’m being hard on myself, and I might be. There were kids who were just as unpopular as me in school. (A few possibly more unpopular.) But if I could change one aspect of myself, I’d love to be that person who can expertly navigate the world of popularity, winning friends and influencing people with ease, instead of the person on the edge of the social circle, wishing I knew how to be a little less awkward.
My personal anthem at the moment: