Out of Office Reply

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Greetings!

I will be out of the office until my kids go the f*ck to school with limited access to my sanity. If you need immediate assistance, why the hell are you contacting me? I haven’t showered in days, I can’t remember the last time my kids brushed their teeth, and I’m pretty sure they ate Fritos for breakfast.

I will respond to your email just as soon as I’ve had enough “me time” to not feel murderous about finding wet bathing suits on beds, cheese stick wrappers stuck to keyboards, and popcorn kernels imbedded in the backseat of the car.

In the meantime, please review my recent career successes, including getting head lice and spreading it to our closest friends, introducing my picky-eaters to the healthy habit of drinking Mountain Dew, and endangering my kids’ lives in a freak storm for the sake of punctuality.

Also, please consider projects I never got around to finishing (or starting) this summer, including sorting through the remaining boxes from our move over a year ago, painting the family room, planting a garden, and teaching my seven-year-old how to tie his shoes.

If your matter is urgent, look for me on Facebook and Twitter. That’s my happy place when I’m procrastinating on the above-mentioned assignments or avoiding current objectives, including folding laundry, labeling school supplies, and cleaning the clutter from the kitchen table every surface in my house. Otherwise, I will respond to your inquiry upon my return to routine and stability (i.e. after I get rid of my kids for six hours a day).

Warmly,

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Filed under anxiety, school

We got lice. I’m grateful.

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Lice. The great equalizer. Or is it?

Lice can happen to anyone, even to an arrogant blogger who thinks she’s hilarious and knows how to “prevent” lice when she’s never actually dealt with the real thing. It’s how we manage the aftermath that varies.

We got It. By It, I mean lice, by we, I mean my kids and me, and by me, I mean ME. I most certainly could’ve lived a humble and happy life filled with compassion for others with nits without experiencing it firsthand. Alas, the universe had different plans, but the despicable experience reminded me how fortunate I am.

I can afford professional lice removal. When I combed the third (or thirtieth?) live louse out of my kids’ heads in my kitchen, my anxiety turned into panic and I couldn’t catch my breath. I googled “professional lice removal” and threw everyone and their bug-infested heads in the car. We spent the next four hours getting deloused by professionals, and the peace of mind was worth every penny. Besides, I don’t need to save for college because my kids are going to be YouTube superstars.

I have a washer and dryer in my home. Lice = ten billion loads of laundry. Every towel, bathroom rug, sheet, blanket, comforter, mattress pad, pillow case, and every item of clothing worn in the previous two-four days had to be washed. Everything that couldn’t be laundered – throw pillows, stuffed animals, hats, etc. – had to go in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes. For the next week, bed linens and towels were washed and stuffed animals were “cooked” multiple times daily. If laundry was an annoyance B.L. (Before Lice), it was the bane of my existence A.L. (After Lice).

I can afford new bed pillows. Until lice strikes your home, you can’t fully understand the desire to throw everything out and start fresh in the witness protection program somewhere in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I gathered as many 20%-Off Bed Bath & Beyond coupons as I could find and replaced every bed pillow in my house.

I have the luxury of time. Instructions from the professionals were to run the metal comb through everyone’s wet hair every day for one week. To do so, everyone’s hair had to be doused with conditioner. Then, everyone’s hair had to be rinsed. Next, towels had to be washed and dried. Between each “patient,” the comb had to be sterilized in four-parts water/one-part ammonia. Repeat. I didn’t leave my house for several days.

I have perspective. A week later, we were directed to cover our heads in Crisco (a.k.a. vegetable shorting) for six hours to suffocate any remaining eggs that might hatch and then use dish detergent to counteract the grease. Or, we could return to the professionals for follow-up, which entailed two dry and two wet comb treatments for half of the original cost. I thought long and hard about how we would handle having our heads soaked in lard for six hours and chose the latter.

During our follow-up, which was no walk the park because that metal comb was no fucking joke, there was a lot of crying and screaming coming from the room across the hall. I assumed there was a “threenager” or “fournado” in there who was pissed about the unexpected pit stop.

Eventually, the woman combing through our hair apologized for the commotion. I assured her no apology was necessary. I pointed to my boys who took turns giving me the stank face for ruining their afternoon. “I get it.”

She apologized again. “The little girl in there is deaf and has autism.”

I remembered how my boys would sob and shriek during haircuts when they were toddlers. SPD made the simple act of trimming their hair – among other grooming practices – dreadful. All those years ago, dealing with lice would’ve been impossible.

Now, as they got deloused for the second time in a week, they were unhappy but compliant. They knew what to expect and what was expected of them, and they had the skills to cope physically and emotionally. In fact, although they still disliked haircuts, I predicted they would thank me for the next one after this clusterfuck.

Lice is gross. It’s expensive. It’s time-consuming. It’s inconvenient. It’s exhausting. It’s all of these things and more, but mostly, it’s invasive. For the little girl with severe special needs across the hall, it was painful, nightmarish, and traumatic.

We got lice. I’m grateful because as big of a deal as it was, it was no big deal at all.

That said, I’d be eternally thankful if It never happened again.

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Filed under gratitude, lice

When My Kids Wanted to Drink Soda, I Said Yes

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I have two children with sensory processing differences. Both are picky eaters. Both are sensory picky eaters. One is a severe sensory picky eater. Certain tastes, textures, and smells are deal breakers. Entire food groups are off the table.

Mealtime at home is tricky. Elsewhere – at school, camp, birthday parties, sleepovers, and vacations – it’s grueling. I am that mom and my kids are those kids, and it breaks my heart.

They’ll grow out of it.

I hear this a lot. Sometimes, it’s from well-meaning people who don’t know what else to say. Other times, it’s from parents who have stood in my uncomfortable shoes. I hold on to their optimism as my kids quickly approach the upper age limit on children’s menu items and gain more independence in their social lives.

I do my best to make sure my kids eat as healthy as possible within their limitations, and I encourage (but not force) them to explore new foods whenever possible. I say yes to whatever they want to try because I never want them to say no out of fear, and I’m not just talking about food.

Perfect parents need not read any further.

If my kids asked to try a Happy Meal, I would drive to McDonald’s in the middle of the night.

If my kids asked to try pizza, I’d have it delivered for breakfast.

If my kids asked to try a Slurpee, I’d say, “What flavor?”

When we eat out, I ask my kids if they want soda with their plain spaghetti no sauce, no butter, no oil with parmesan cheese on the side in case it tastes like the inside of a balloon.

I don’t want them to drink soda, but I want them try soda. I want them to know what an ice cold Coca-Cola tastes like, and I want them to know if they’re on Team Pepsi or Team Coke. But they never want it.

When my kids unexpectedly told me they wanted to try Mountain Dew, I was suspect. The thing about having picky eaters is that excitement and disappointment go hand in hand. It’s hard not to be enthusiastic about the potential to add a new food to their diet, but it’s equally difficult to anticipate the disappointment of “I don’t like it” that comes 99.3% of the time.

Their curiosity for the carbonated beverage came from an unfortunate infatuation with the YouTube sensation, Pink Sheep. Despite the annoying inspiration, when new food requests surface, I listen. At the grocery store, I bought strawberries, grapes, bananas, and a liter of Mountain Dew because a mom can dream.

All afternoon, my boys said they couldn’t wait to try Mountain Dew…later or in a while or tomorrow.

They were scared. “Why wait? Let’s do it!”

I alleviated their anxiety. “Mountain Dew is sweet and fizzy. It will make your tongues feel funny, but it’s okay.”

I threw in some healthy eating advocacy for good measure.  “Soda is fun to drink but it won’t fuel your body and brain, and it won’t make you healthy and strong. If you like it, you can drink it sometimes but not all the time.”

I put ice in two glasses and warned them of the hissing sound they would hear when I twisted the cap on the bottle. They smiled when they heard it. I poured a small amount in each glass. They marveled at the sparkling bubbles.

They sniffed. They pulled back. They sniffed again. They sipped. They winced a little bit and smiled.

They liked it. They liked it!

A few days later, I gave my kids money for the snack bar at our community pool. They came back with an ice cream sandwich, a soft pretzel, and a giant styrofoam cup filled with Mountain Dew.

I rarely feel like I belong when it comes to feeding my children, and I finally had something in common with the other parents when I proudly and firmly called my kids out. “I didn’t say you could buy soda! You didn’t ask for permission! No more soda!”

 sensory blog hop

Welcome to the Sensory Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from sensory bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about what it’s like to have Sensory Processing Disorder and to raise a sensory kiddo!Want to join in on next month’s Sensory Blog Hop? Click here!

Want to read more amazing posts in the August Sensory Blog Hop? Just click on this adorable little frog…

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Filed under eating out, food, food issues, sensory processing disorder