Thursday, January 27, 2011

iFinder is a Keeper

Stop!  Do you have an iPad or iTouch?
Download and activate the "Find my iTouch/iPad" app. This smart app finds idevices on a map, sounds alarm, displays a customizable message even when screen is locked, and can wipe personal info should it be lost for good. This nifty app can be activated on older iTouch models if you have a newer device activated.
Too late for me – we lost G's.  Sad smile   Maybe not too late for you!
Find my iTouch:
Find my iTouch older models (pre- 4G)
Find my iPad:
Easy Setup Instructions

My family has searched the house and cars at least 50 times for G’s iTouch (was mine once upon a time Smile).  I never lose big item$!  We always stored it in the same spot, we charged it when not in use.   I had over 100 apps for G on it which I’ll have to re-purchase if/when I get another one.  I read about all these cool new apps and I’m just sick about losing ours.  I attended an autism friendly app presentation tonight and now I’m really itching for G to try them.  I love to watch him discover features and see the delight on his face.  My daughter got a new 4G iTouch for Christmas, so if I’d known about this app, I could have enabled it on his 2G iTouch.  A day late (several) and $1 short ($225)  I’ll be activating it on hers first thing in the morning.
  g itouch4
I hope we can find it, I’m not giving up!  Send good karma, send prayers, send the patron saint of lost items (is there one?), an angel, good vibes, psychic insights, or just plain old luck.  Smile 

Download it! 
Do it, NOW!

*Note: After 3+ weeks,
we found G's lost itouch.
S$$$ooooo relieved!
I'm buying a neon bright case and activating Find My iTouch!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Giant Hug Tug on my Heartstrings

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A couple of nights ago, my little G came downstairs a full hour after I put him to bed.  He sat on the couch for a couple of minutes, then came to my chair to climb into my lap. I felt his head and discovered he was a bit warm, he said he had a headache and didn't feel good.  Unfortunately, Motrin makes him hyped up, and Tylenol doesn't work at all for him.  I lightly massaged his little noggin, hoping to take away his headache and relax him into sleep.  Like a doggie, if I stopped G would grab my hand and direct it to his forehead.  If I moved my hand to his hair or neck, he'd re-direct it back to his aching forehead.  So adorable.  There he stayed for about an hour, and may have stayed longer, but I needed to go to the restroom.  Instead of bed, he wanted to sleep on the couch and wanted me to sleep on the other couch and stay close to him. 

What was unusual about this scenario is that G doesn't usually seek out cuddles, physical affection or sitting on our laps. Occasionally when I read a book to him he'll lean his arm on my leg. He lets me and the rest of our family hug him, but pulls away if it lasts too long or if we try to talk and hug simultaneously (too much sensory input is my best guess). When he gets hurt, if he feels it (the big IF), he will come to me for comfort, but only briefly.  His headache must have been really horrible for him to a) feel it  b) seek comfort  c) continue to want the closeness.   

He fell asleep while I watched a movie and re-awoke when I was making up the neighboring couch to sleep in.  I massaged his forehead again for a few minutes.  A memory came flooding back: I stopped showering affection on G a couple of years ago because he used to order me, "Go away now Mom," in a direct tone.  Ouch!   That hurt was difficult to bear.  Quick hot tears and a lumpy throat befell me each time.  I finally quit bestowing affection lasting longer than 5-10 seconds or so, and take care to talk quietly, no laughing.  Just a quick quiet hug before he twists out of it.  It just came with the autism package - nothing personal, I told myself.  I wonder what parent wouldn't take it personal.  I need those parent-child bonding moments too.

Later when I was nearly asleep G vomited and cried, I comforted him.  Well, that explained his seeking comfort and feeling needy.  He didn't get sick again and felt fine the next morning.

It's strange to realize that I'm missing out on a basic loving practice with G.  I take affection for granted with my older 2 children, a parent-child bonding which I still enjoy with my M, who loves to sit on my lap to cuddle.  My older son will surprise me with a random great big bear hug.  Naturally, he's growing away from affection like other tween boys.  I never really think about G's lack of cuddling any more, until he seeks it out for some odd reason - usually sickness or extreme tiredness.  I steal my kisses and hugs when I can as he zooms by. 

But lo and behold, little G came to me and curled up in my lap again...2 nights later.  I asked him if he felt sick, alarmed.  Nope!  After a moment he got up and I figured that was it, the typical 10 seconds, then back up and moving around.  Instead he lifted my throw blanket to climb under with me, sitting in my lap.  Granted - he talked a blue streak, completely driving my daughter crazy as we were trying to catch some family tv time before bed. 

But I was overjoyed!  

I'm not holding my breath that he'll suddenly become a snuggle bug, but I sure cherished every second while he did.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Resolution Revolution

Betsey Johnson Izzy
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New Year's Resolution?
The best exercise
for the heart
is bending down
to help someone up. ♥

 ..then 30+ mins.


with joy!

Love these! 
(unfortunately, my back wouldn't!)
Velvet Angels Falcon

Before you begin any new exercise program, be sure to consult your
dancing shoes...

Reminiscent of my beautiful Bridesmaids shoes.
My all-time favorite
electric Periwinkle hue
on my all-time favorite ladies!
Elegant! RSVP Ivana
Sofft Reyna
While those above may appeal to my taste, the shoes below are better suited to my aging bod...

Naughty Monkey Turn Out

Dr. Martens
Dansko Professional

Ugg Cayha
Sadly, this are the type of footwear I wear most often these days...
all the better to shuffle with!

Art for the soul/soles....
While I don't have the venues nor the funds for these beauties at this stage of my life,
I love to browse! 
For more incredible purplicious shoes, visit:
Zappos rocks a full spectrum of colors and designs.

Thousands of emotions
well up inside me throughout the day.
They are released when I dance.
~Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rocking 80's Style

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U2: success...
The Sweetest Thing
My husband and I were discussing upcoming plans at the dinner table. 
I mentioned my plans for a Ladie's Night with some high school friends in a few weeks. 

I said excitedly,
"We're going out for dinner and then dancing - to an 80's band!  Doesn't that sound fun?" 

My 11 year old son burst the bubble of my schoolgirl excitement with,
"Wow, really?  They're still alive?"

I gotta say...not only are these bands still jamming out some primo tunes, but they're looking better than ever...or maybe my eyes and tastes are adjusting as I

David Byrne:
Still Burning Down the House

Sting: still Mad About You

REM: Pop Song 89...80's defined

Aerosmith: Sa-weeeeeet Emoooootion!
  Santana 1969, I was 5!

Santana Soul Sacrafice 2010 Note Screen Image is Woodstock Concert

Bon Jovi Detroit 2010

Elvis Costello White House 2010

Peter Gabriel

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Amazing Grace(s)

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The Spirit of Faith
My heart is warmed by a few miraculous events in the last year, acts of grace which surprised and touched my family.  One day last fall, I found a card in the stack of mail.  It had no return address, which made me curious - such a rarity.  I opened it, inside was a funny inspirational card about coping.  The type of card that I used to send when I had time to be a better friend.  That was enough to get my tears rolling.  But, also enclosed were two gift cards!  No signature, no clues.  I called my husband crying (he's so used to that, emotional mama that I am).  He had no idea who sent it either and was as incredulous as I.  I put out a message on my Facebook, asking who my anonymous angel was...nothing.  I called a few likely suspects, still no answers.  I compared handwriting from other cards and mail, even Christmas cards when they came.  Now more than 3 months later, I still don't know who my secret angel is or if they saw, heard about or felt my huge thank you.  I'd love to hug them and express my gratitude.  They may never know how meaningful their action was to me, my family.  They "had me" (bursting with tears and gratitude) at the beautiful card.  The gift cards were unnecessary, as gifts always are.  But of course they were certainly appreciated and used wisely, shopper (Sale-er) extraordinaire that I am.  :)

When I was preparing for G's Independent Education Plan (IEP), I was surrounded by friends who stepped up to the plate to help me gain strength and confidence.  My sweet cousin Coco, a special needs teacher, called me to brainstorm, and she provided answers, research and very welcome hugs.  Trusted friend/G-care sitter Chris and long-time family friends Karen and Chris L. listened to tormented calls and offered comfort and stability.  I located an advocate, a friend from a local mom's group that I was in, and my friend Ellen took my reports and notes, reviewed it all and gave me tasks to be certain that I was prepared.  Armed with a file cabinet full of organized binders and Ellen, we advocated for G.  She evened up my side of the table, gave me confidence and security to fight for my son.  G got services, he prospered.  I'm grateful and impressed by our school professionals too.  As always, my BFF's Linda and Laura were available for counsel 24/7.

When I went public via Facebook about G, a delightful college classmate Susan reached out to me to guide me through the initial shock of autism's diagnosis and confusing maze. She brought me down to earth and let me know that I could do this. There IS life beyond diagnosis. I thank her for her many links, resources, phone calls, notes, kindnesses and a great book. Go Warrior Moms!

I was awestruck again when family friends called to invite my kids on a family adventure 3 days before Christmas.  I said yes immediately, but my heart and brain started racing at the thought of all I had left to do to prepare for the big holiday.  I was completely taken off guard next when the friend next suggested that his family take my 3 kids, including G, so that I could have time to get some things done (had he read my mind?).  :)  I was stunned into silence.  I stammered and told him, "I never get that offer, do you know what you're getting into?"  He said that he and his wife had discussed it and decided that as a family, and with my 2 older kids they felt sure they could handle G.  I told him I had absolute confidence in that, I'd strongly consider it, thanked him about 30 times and hung up, dialing my husband immediately.  Of course we both felt completely secure that this couple could handle G.  They have a beautiful family of polite, smart and kind children who take after their active and fun parents.  Their son is one of  N's best friends, and a rare friend who can "deal" with G effortlessly.   Steve is a baseball coach (my son N was lucky to have him as coach for years) and ski patrol during the winter months.  Julie's a lunch monitor at school and volunteer extraordinaire.  Both are very active in the community, family and friends.  I'll never forget one of my first impressions of this awesome family: for each of their children, they host a pool party after school lets out for the summer after their kindergarten year.  Wow, can you imagine hosting 25-30 five year olds and their parents?  That's beyond brave!  So, their offer was really hard to beat. 

Judging from everyone's demeanor,
G's tantrum had been going on for awhile.
Why I said no to a perfectly wonderful opportunity which NEVER comes up...aka: Am I stark-raving mad?  Really, it's only been necessary for G-care a few times.   My husband and I decided years ago to simply skip going out together - we take turns or don't go.  We have great neighborhood babysitters that we trust, but why take a chance that G will do something outrageous?  We don't want to burden a teenager, that's way too much responsibility.   Most often he'll go to his buddy's house to stay with strong, capable Miss Chris, who sometimes gives him bonus Sensory PT.  :)   For a couple of family emergencies the kids have stayed with Aunt Chris, Uncle Greg and their fun crew. :)  We love and trust them and so does G.  I'm pretty sure we've scared off everyone else with our wild child G, which is totally understandable, lol.  :)  We don't expect help and try to save our favors for desperate situations.  I can't offer to help friends much any more, but of course would if needed.  Okay, so you get the picture that we never ask for help, which is why this offer felt like a bonafide miracle.

Sensory Freakout:
G's panicked, in fight or flight mode.
Back to why I said no...It's hard to comprehend unless you live with special needs, but I feel tremendous guilt for the amount of stress that's put upon my 2 older children.  I try hard to shield them from the reality of G's issues: the pain and sadness, extra work, stress and downright ugliness.  But try as we may, they live here.  They experience difficulties kids shouldn't be burdened with, note my frantic calls and research, take up slack if I just can't multi-task enough to cover watching him.  They see me breakdown, have my own meltdowns, get crabby and frustrated.  They chase him when he impulsively runs...everywhere.  They weather his unruly tantrums.  They must rise above the embarrassment that G often causes in public, with their schoolmates, teammates, friends.  They're true team players in our family: they help, they hug, they comfort, they give, they love.  Our family dynamic is entirely G-centric, dependent on the moods and behavior spikes which we don't understand, can't predict, can't control.  I understand that our family dynamic will help them to be more sensitive and accepting.  I see the good traits that this inspires.  But: they deserve THEIR OWN FUN, their own friends, their own time to be away, to relax. 

Another Not-so-Kodak Moment
G's not cooperating. Check out N and M's
 uncomfortable body language
To that end, My husband and I strive to single out our kids for one on one time with us, so that we get a chance to bond, to connect, to enjoy our own time.  We've been doing this since the kids were tots: when we began to feel the sibling rivalry reach its peak, we'd head out for an afternoon of fun, each of us toting one child with our own plans.  My husband and I value these special times and hope they do too.  I'm thankful this year for the opportunity to connect daily with my 11 year old son since he arrives home an hour before his siblings.  This single hour has been fantastic, even if we just sit across from one another while he does homework and I cook or do the dishes.  He knows I'm here and he can talk to me casually, without fear of distraction or interruptions.  I'm approachable for this sacred hour.

The unpublished photos, the real deal.
I had a rough time hunting down these photos. I usually don't take photos in the midst of tantrums, or just delete them.  Maybe I should save a few to look back on someday.

Progression of Meltdown
Take 1:  G objects to random annoyance
The kids see it coming, disaster's on the horizon.
Mom tries to pull it off anyway...

Progression of Meltdown
Take 2: Change of scenery
G still objects to random annoyance
I still try to make everyone laugh, we can do this!

Progression of Meltdown
Take 3:  Resistance is futile!
Oh well, I'll just crop him out.
Poor N had to go sing happy songs at his choir concert.

If G were to join the kids on the outdoor adventure with their friends, the whole day would be completely different, even if G was perfectly well-behaved.  They'd be on constant alert that he'd make an impulsive move and run for it.  They'd be embarrassed if he was clumsy or said the wrong thing.  They're too young to have this stressful nervous undercurrent.  Let them be free for an afternoon!  That, my dear friends Steve and Julie, is more than enough gift for us!  So N and M went on a fun adventure, and I was afforded an afternoon with G to bond during a chaotic week with no schedule and lots of social activities.  Win/Win.  It turns out I made the correct decision.  The next morning my daughter said to me, "Mom, G would have run into the street if he would've come yesterday.  We were by a road and had to do lots of climbing and walking through the snow.  It would've been really hard with him."  This from my patient, easy-going child.  She thought about G and his difficulties even though he wasn't there.  She is tuned into his needs, so much that it follows her it does for me.  That's just too much, it breaks my heart and I wish I could make it easier for the kids.  The afternoon outing was a great gift of freedom to laugh and play with their friends.  Still, my husband and I are floored by this kind, generous offer, we can't stop smiling and feeling great about our friends Steve and Julie.  That's the true meaning of Christmas: an act of giving that's completely unsolicited and selfless, expecting nothing in return.  Bless you, friends!

Passing the candy bowl at the end of each meeting.
N tells his favorite part of the meeting,
and shares ideas for future meetings.
G (in stripes) wanders around
checking out costumes and candy.
A few months ago, we were blessed to find a sibling support group for autism families.  After voicing my concerns about the toll G was taking on my fam, I was referred by a friend to SibShops.  I emailed, called and found the leader of our local chapter to be positive, fun, energetic and open.  Going into the first meeting, the kids were nervous and unsure, and I hung out for several minutes when I dropped them off, worried that I'd thrown them into something they weren't ready for, or wouldn't like.  When I came back to pick them up, they lingered and stalled.  They chattered enthusiastically on our way out to the car and the entire way home.  My daughter exclaimed, "Mom, I was having so much fun I didn't want to leave!"  Epic win!!!!  The group opens up the floor to voice concerns, frustrations and challenges that sibs face.  The sibling workshops use team-building and confidence building to make the children more aware, tolerant, more open about autism.  The biggest boon for us: they found out they aren't alone.  My amazed son told me on the ride home, "They asked who got embarrassed with their sibling in public, and EVERYONE raised their hand!  I couldn't believe it!  I guess we aren't alone."  Then he expanded to talk about some of the examples the kids talked about.  Each example was an issue we face and find frustrating, isolating.  This from my "I don't know," child who clams up when I try to talk to him about his troubles.  Double epic win!!!!

Holiday parties: After their brief meeting,
SibShop kids make gifts and set up activity stations
for their autistic siblings and oversee the fun.
The SibShops program gets N and M thinking and talking.  After each meeting, they raise issues and topics at odd times.  I note how much they think about, how much they're affected by G's challenges.  I'm glad that they have an impartial forum for support to work through these troubles.  No matter how hard my husband and I try to remain impartial, the kids know we have G's needs in mind too and still may feel injustice or bias.  The kids both look forward to their monthly meetings, and during the holidays, ASD sibs were invited to join in the festivities for a portion of the meetings.  This gives my kids more exposure to other ASD kids, their diverse challenges and family dynamics.  G is high functioning, many of the other sibs are not: nonverbal, non-social, in wheelchairs, walkers, unable to care for themselves, etc.  This gives the kids perspectives that are truly priceless.

Lastly notable is my GLORIOUS find of a winner Autism center and SUPPORT Group!  Hallelujah!  I reconnected with an old friend who moved away to another school district (that's how awful ours is rated for obtaining special services) when she learned that her son was autistic a few years ago.  I'd been searching for her, but was disappointed.  The night before G's big "School Diagnosis and Recommendations IEP" last February, a former classmate Julie sent me a recommendation via Facebook to an ASD center I hadn't heard of.  I was surprised to learn that my middle school classmate is an ASD mom too.  I thank Julie so much for her timely referral - a moment in the middle of the night which I truly felt shaken, unsure, lost and ALONE.  I needed hope and a miracle badly.  I opened their website - just before logging off, I noticed my lost friend's name!  Talk about divine intervention!  I emailed my old friend, she sent info, and by the next week I was chatting with her about the center's services.  What a find!

Temple Grandin: Funny, gifted, inspiring, autistic.
I attended an ASD conference last spring and my friend toured me around, introduced me to helpful resources, and invited me to sit with her at the Autism Collaborative Center's table with professionals, therapists and key development professionals.  As it turned out, we were seated just one table away from keynote speaker Temple Grandin.  I was able to note her quirky ASD behaviors up close and personal.  What a great opportunity.  The center offers incredible programs and services.  My kids love it when they come along for family events. 
When I started in a support group at ACC in the fall after trying a couple others closer to home, I immediately clicked with the staff, met wonderful parents, and felt open to express myself.  I took advantage of a respite care afternoon together with 2 other ASD moms from my support group.  We went to a crowded art show/sale teeming with people bumping and pushing.  We lingered over a long, conversation-filled lunch.  Either activity would be impossible with our ASD kids, what a delightful treat.  3 hours of worry-free peace - a highlight of my year.  How comforting it was to speak the same language, compare notes and discuss our concerns and triumphs.  I love this wonderful center and the new-found support I've found at long last.  Bonus: I get to see my strong beautiful friend whom I missed when she moved away.  It turns out this can-do woman helped to start ACC from grassroots.  This amazing mom is caring for 3 children on her own.  She manages to find and provide therapies for her challenging autistic son, encourage them all in their education and activities.  She's a bright spot at the center, wears a comforting warm smile and appears relaxed.  Wow - I want her secret!  She's a wealth of knowledge and incredible inspiration.

I've learned that God sends help in rare forms when you truly need it.  The referrals and opportunities appeared when I was desperately in need of a beacon of hope.  The selfless acts renewed my spirit and faith in human kindness.  Someone understands how difficult my family has it right now.  Someone thought about us and took action to help out in some way.  How cool is that?

Thanks to each of you who has touched us and lighted our path...Gratefully paying it forward in any way that I find possible, always do.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Friendly Perspectives

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Over the holidays, I got a chance (had an excuse) to socialize more than I normally get.  The kids had 2 full weeks off, so we were primed for fun.  After Christmas, my husband came down with a miserable stomach/intestinal bug, which unfortunately put a halt on our activities for 4 days, but gave us time to chill at home.  As always, I learn something from my social interactions.  This year, for me it was all about perspectives.  From friends with older kids that we've known since before G was born, I got questions about G's place on the spectrum, and inquiries on what makes him Autistic and not just an "overactive kid".  I appreciate this curiosity, because it means friends are interested in his symptoms, challenges and future.  Because G does not appear "outwardly autistic", such as facial features, physical challenges, etc, it can seem confusing.  We all have this idea in our mind's eye of an autistic child sitting in a corner rocking back and forth, alone and sad.  Not so, in all cases.  I'm glad to promote awareness, for G's safety and also for the outside chance that I may help some other parent or relative understand their child.  It's a frustrating puzzle on the road to diagnosis and help. 

One friend gave a haughty, yet on the face of it perfectly polite, dismissal of G and his issues...we all have issues with our children, whatever age.  Wait until they're teens.  Wait until they're in college.  Wait until they have kids.  Wait until they get divorced.  Wait until you have to put your parents in a home.  OMG, wait until I scream!  It's not a competition!  My lips were sore from biting them so hard.  I certainly know that everyone has their challenges, never purport to be "more" troubled or burdened than anyone else. I rarely bring up ASD unless it's on the table already, or is a need-to-know situation. 

I wondered: is it my blog that leads some to think I'm exaggerating our troubles in dealing with G?  Perhaps someone read that I find it difficult to parent special needs and thinks I'm trying to play a martyr. NOT. Just tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, constantly worried and completely in awe of parents who have greater challenges than I.  This little blog of mine is a spot to write down my news, ideas, funny moments and a forum to let off steam, tears, and fears.  All of the aforementioned parenting issues above have thousands of blogs written about them as well: teenage years, college kids, empty-nesters, grandparenting, divorce, geriatric parent caregiving.  I blog about my own piece of the parenting pie, trying to take a subject that isolates me from most people and write to others on the same remote island.  I hope to connect with someone, educate someone, make them laugh, cry, nod and smile.  Really it's for me.  I try not to complain - only to very close friends, and very recently, support group (hallelujah!).  I strive to put a positive spin on matters - even on downward spirals.  You'll hear about the funny things G says and does, not the tantrums, screeching, in-fighting within our home, wishing for someone to take over because I/we need a breather.  Instead I'll talk about a proud moment for my kids, compliment someone, ask them about themselves.  I try to pull one good thing out of each day to focus on.  Sometimes it's a dogged struggle to find one shred of hope or joy, other times I laugh all day.  This blog gives me a record of progress, of hope.  It's my testament to the strength of ASD warriors, to the wonders of our children. 

Next the other groups of folks asked me how I do it, how I manage to take care of 2 other kids while G demands so much.  My answer: humor, taking a positive approach, and teamwork.  I'm not a person who can ask for help - just never have been.  But I do ask for help in our little family, and I'm blessed with kids who do.  My kids are older than G, therefore we had years to establish a great respect and love for each other, a solid foundation.  If G were the oldest, or the only one, I wouldn't have the balance that I'm lucky to have with neurotypical children: their dynamic, their life experiences.  Oddly the 2 women who shocked me by recently marvelling at "how I do it all" have enormous obstacles!  Granted they have only one child, but their boys are more challenged than G.  One gal is in the process of a divorce and living at her mom's with a totally nonverbal, highly sensory-sensitive but luckily happy boy.  How does SHE do it?  The other friend lost her mother a month ago, her son has very little speech and misses his grandmother.  How does SHE not cry all day?  They are the inspiration for me.

It's all about perspective.  The grass always looks greener, or more yellow.  Do you ever notice that we never comment on other's lives and say, "Gee, they're exactly like us, I'd do it precisely that way."   Noting differences is what feeds our sense of self, of our place in the grand scheme.  How are we doing?  Is she doing it better?  How can I do better?

My strategy is simple: don't sweat the small stuff.  As far as the day-to-day aspect, multi-tasking. I can oversee a craft with G, while quizzing my daughter from her study guide for a test.  I can blog or Facebook while I sit with my middle-schooler while he does his homework.  I'm there for questions, opinions, moral support.  G likes too cook; long ago I learned that this can be our bonding time, our time to work on his speech, build confidence, skills.  I use car-time to talk to the kids and find out what they're thinking.  Since I have a captive audience, I get their attention, and they get mine.  They get the ease of talking to the back of my head, which also opens them up a bit more and I don't have to hide my expressions!  Nurture a strong family. I ask for help from within your home.  It takes the pressure off me, makes the kids feel good for helping, makes me less resentful or stressed - win/win.  The kids have a few simple chores, and we have rules on picking up after ourselves.  But - when things spin out of control with G, our schedule, or life - that slides.  My husband works long hours, but when he gets home he's ready to jump in and supervise showers, bedtime stories and finish any math homework (not my strong subject, but luckily his).  He also handles mornings, a very good thing since I'm a night owl. 

I try to keep my priorities straight.  Flex.  If my child''s had a bad day, I'll change up the plan if possible to make some fun or chill-out time.  If someone calls to have fun and I'm doing laundry, guess what wins?  If an unnecessary task, worry or research is making me crabby, I'll look for help or put it off for another time.  I'm not afraid to ask for a hug, a laugh, a smile, a compliment.  Simple stuff, all done with keeping momma sane as top priority, love for my family and meeting their needs as top goal.

I also control my communication.  I rarely make phone calls because I can't predict G's behavior while I'm on the phone or when I'll have to fly because G is running out the door.  He's a needy kid and wants my undivided attention like a 2 year old, maybe always will, hopefully not.  He doesn't listen when I'm connected to him, he surely won't listen when I'm connected to you.  I choose accessible, personal communication through Facebook or my blog.  I can comment on someones photo or status, share a laugh or fun.  I can do this on G time, when he's involved in something momentarily.  I can pause, take breaks, sort of like watching a DVD as opposed to going to a theater.  I'm not in the moment with my friends, because I HAVE TO to be in the moment, CHOOSE to be with G.  Behind my electronic wall, I don't have to delve into subjects which are difficult for me to hear or express.  I don't have to let you know if I'm bawling my eyes out as I escape to Fb for a moment to pull it together.  I don't have to hear you gasp at the screeching in the background at my end of the line while I keep talking on, trying to ignore it. 

My mantra:
When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question:
Will this matter in 5 years from now?
If yes, then do something about the situation.
If no, then let it go.
~Catherine Pulsifer

I change this mantra to suit the situation: 5 months, 5 days, 5 hours.  I'll admit that quite often, I say 5 minutes.  

To the friend who tells you to "wait until....whatever", or makes light of your troubles: try to be happy for them.  Wish for their sake that they never have it so bad that they struggle to think about 5 minutes from now just to get through the moment.  They don't have the strength you do.

Friendly Perspective: You have amazing tenacity. Somehow it all works.