Friday, April 23, 2010

Children's Newberry book winner Rules review

Rules Rules by Cynthia Lord

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Read this together with my 11 year old son for a Newberry winner book report. Easy, fast, funny read, believable characters - he loved it. I was looking for a bit more insight into issues siblings have with with autism and its' effects on families. This book translates into compassion for all disabilities, but autism proper, not as much. An excellent read and a great message for kids to be themselves, not cave to peer pressure and accept disabilities.

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Chicklet’s Best Day with Mom EVER!

My husband told me yesterday that our 9 year old chicklet M was disappointed. Her teacher had asked the class who would be going to work with a parent on "Bring your child to work day". DH has been working stressful 15+ hour days for months and there was simply no way for him to take her. I asked her if she'd like to join me on my day as Mom. She lit right up!

And so began our workday. 3 a.m., I awoke after only 2 hours, couldn’t sleep, my husband snoring and me filled with anxiety. I tried to relax, but finally went downstairs and watched tivo. M came in about 7, I wrapped her into my lap and I fell right asleep. My darling girl got up and played quietly with my 4 year old awhile later, to let me catch another hour of sleep.

We entertained ourselves with goofy activities – drew pictures, played school, ate poptarts for breakfast. Yum! It’s Earth Day, so we drew pics of the earth, trees, flowers. I took video of them singing “Happy Earth Day” to the tune of “Happy Birthday”, and posted it to YouTube. OMG, you’d think she won the lottery – jumping up and down, “we’ll be famous!”. By day’s end, even after linking to my Facebook page, we only had a handful of views, but I dared not burst her bright bubble. She’s a star!

We got G ready for preschool, and waited for his new schoolbus to arrive. G was recently diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum (ASD, HFA, PDD-NOS). He started in a new special education program a few weeks ago, and the biggest perk for him is getting to ride on the “big orange schoolbus” like the older kids. Today was only his 2nd time, so he’s still in Awesome! mode. M was elated, and acted like a proud mommy, kissing and hugging him over and over as we waited excitedly. She was thrilled to see that his bus driver is HER bus driver – bonus! She watched him get buckled in and waved like crazy as we watched his little bus drive off.

Our time! I’d given her a few choices, so off we went after loading the car with bags and bags of donations that we’d cranked out last weekend. We made our drop, then made a return, and browsed at shoes for awhile. Next stop Red Robin, her restaurant choice for our special mom workday lunch. She asked in a mature tone, “Do you often lunch?” Never! I told her stories of how I used to love lunching with girlfriends. Good times, long ago! We played tic-tac-toe, worked through the play-placemat while she slurped her smoothie. We munched and chatted about her friends at school. We bought quarter gumballs. The hostess asked if she’d like a balloon, and I saw M’s inward struggle: childhood fun vs. tween-age sophisticate.  Finally she picked a bright balloon.  Inward high five to myself!

Absolutely the greatest $50 spent on a surprise treat…
On a whim, I’m not really sure why at all, I turned into a nail salon. I fully expected it to be booked or too expensive. It was neither, so I succumbed to whimsy. We chose perky colors, deep luscious purple for me, vibrant pink for M. She sat for her first manicure, excitedly perched on the edge of her seat, studying the hard-working serious nail goddess. Me – I got acrylics! I’ve only had my nails done one time, for our wedding 15 years ago. I have hideous nails! I’ve struggled for years with breaking-peeling-jagged-short nails. We kept stealing gleeful looks at each other, feeling naughty for doing something so luxurious. M got a pretty design on her thumbs and loved it! She marveled how her nails glowed when the tech put mysterious goo on her nails and led her to sit under an ultraviolet light. She had to wait awhile while my nails were worked on, but she gaped at every little detail, absorbing feminine swank. A joy to behold for each of us, as I watched her. We talked about our nails the rest of the day. We waited expectantly to see how long it would take our boys to notice our gorgeousness. She delighted in keeping a secret from them, waving her nails in a flourish.

I’ll admit to fluttering my perky purplicious nails a bit too. And giggling. Lots.

Most wonderful gift of all: Chicklet told me and her dad over and over that she had “The Best Day Ever with Mom”.