Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Here's where I just talk about children.

I never thought I wanted to be a mother. I can remember being in Young Women's and listening to the lessons about motherhood, womanhood and the eternal plan for women related to the bearing and rearing of children. I thought to myself, "That might be okay for someone without ambition- someone who doesn't have talent, drive, intellect, creativity. Someone NOT like me. I want to be something special- do something different. Something great." I can remember the interior rolling of my eyes whenever there was a lesson about how wonderful it is for women to be mothers. Give me a break, I thought. Women can be so many BETTER things than mothers! And I left it at that. Because, I thought, who in their right mind would EVER want to be a mother??!

When I went to college I told myself I would not be one of "those mormons", who get married young, have kids right away and throw away their life before it has even begun. I knew and saw plenty of girls meet, love and marry a guy within 2 months! That was ridiculous to me. Didn't they know there were so many other fish in the sea? "I won't get married until I am DONE with my bachelor's degree and maybe even my master's degree- and when I DO, we'll wait to have (2) kids until we have a house, and our jobs on track and THEN it will be the right time." I thought that. And I honestly thought I would only want 2 kids. One boy. One girl. Finite.

Maybe I wanted my life to go like this because of my mother and my mom. My mother did get married young, had a child pretty quick and after a series of choices, she and my father divorced. My Mom did the same thing- and then married my father. I come from a perfectly blended family. I didn't want to make the same "mistakes" that my Mother and Mom did- if you could call children mistakes. I don't think I can.

When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant, I was devastated. Seriously. I couldn't talk about it for a few months. We told no one because it was such a heart-break for me- I had let myself down, all my convictions from my childhood through marriage were shattered by that little wand. After all, HOW would I accomplish all the things I felt I needed to do if I also had a child to care for?!

And then, James blessed my life forever.

I'll never forget that crashing-wave, pounding-surf feeling of love that swept from me my ignorance when the brand-new little soul-in-the-flesh was placed in my arms. Granted, I was pretty groggy from the nausea medicine- but the memory is clear and steady. All of the sudden, I knew what true love was. I was holding it. My very own little bundle of glory. How sweet, soft, delicate. And mine.

It has taken a lot to come to the realization that I was profoundly incorrect about motherhood. And I have to say, the overly-emotive misty-eyed oh-how-I-love-being-a-mother-in-zion approach didn't work for me and I'm pretty sure it won't work for other young women who are like I was. Motherhood has taken me on the most terrifying, heartbreaking, triumphant, joyous, and exhausting roller coaster I've ever been on.

James has been my eye-opener to how important a mother really is- and what skill set a mother really needs (and maybe what is NOT essential for motherhood).

I am the mother of a little boy with Asperger's Syndrome. This has been and will continue to be the great trial, training ground and joy of my life. It is the most difficult thing I have done- but the rewards are... well, they just sparkle. This job has taken me to my lowest lows and my highest highs. Lowest low: James' seizure and the limp little body in my arms after his body stopped seizing, thinking Oh my God, please don't let my little one die. Please not him. Breathe, baby- please breathe. Highest high: hearing my son call me Mama- what a treasure and one I had to wait for, for more than two and a half years.

When I was pregnant with him I had this feeling about him- like he would be my angel boy. That's the exact wording I felt when I would think of him- Angel Boy. And he is. James is kind, sweet, innocent, like heaven in a little body-bottle. He even looks like one to me. A friend to everyone, won't kill a bug (no kidding! He'll call me to see bugs, but won't lift a finger against one), dedicated to whatever he is doing at the moment, and sings Primary songs in Home Depot telling all the people in the garden center to Follow The Prophet.

My skill set has improved dramatically with this delightful child. I used to be impatient. Now, I cannot be. I used to be fast and busy and on the go-go-GO! I can't do that with James- he needs time and space. I used to be the most ill-organized person on the face of the planet. No longer! I have the week planned out in advance with meals, workout times, what we're doing at what time on what day. My grocery list is organized by aisle for heaven's sake. I have learned what the most important parts of first aid are, how to make something for lunch from saltines, peanut butter and marshmallows, and what to do to make my boy REALLY happy. Time together matters always. What you do is not as important so long as you do it together with a good attitude. My attitude sets the example for him- if I am happy and together, he is too. Sewing has become something I do for fun- and a little money. Working in the garden together is the most fun we can have outside. We love to play "horse" and "dragons", trains, cars- really anything that has wheels and "goes".

Motherhood demands someone who has ambition, talent, intellect, creativity and perseverance. It requires high aptitude in every area of self-control and selfless service. You have to be on top of your game at all hours- even while sleeping. Who works 24-7 for real? Moms. It is the most difficult job- and contribution to society in general- one can have. No one would be able to afford us if motherhood was a paying gig. In money, I mean.

I know this is really long, somewhat rambling and disjointed. But my James is special in a way not many are. Which means I need to be a better mother for him.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recital Redux

Or Recital Re-do.

Thats right. A re-do, reschedule, temporary cancel. What ever you want to call it, the big recital has been removed from the calendar.

But why?

The cellist broke his pinky knuckle on his left hand. The IMPORTANT hand. Pinky knuckle. I didn't even know you COULD break that.

Which means he can't play for 5 weeks.

That 5 weeks includes monday.

So, no recital.

oh well. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Recital jitters and the outcome...

When I was a 'serious pianist'- meaning I actually practiced for an hour or more every day, ran drills, flew through scales, memorized pages at a time and basically inhaled all the music I could ingest and digest- I would sometimes get compliments on my playing ability. The words "I really enjoyed your playing" were like Nectar of the Gods to me. And they seemed to happen pretty consistently. Which was nice. And clearly, I was not a terrible pianist, but it's nice and somehow validating to have those remarks made to you by complete strangers, instead of by your parents who HAVE to listen to you:)
So, when I was a real musician, I enjoyed the occasional confidence boost.

Then I had a family, house, groceries, school, kiddos, church- to sum it up, a LIFE. And somehow, practicing took the back seat to things like dr. appointments for the baby and millions of loads of laundry or else we'd all be naked the next day.

Then my parents gave me a piano for christmas a few years ago. And I've been practicing ever since.
Practicing piano with 2 kids is hard.
James DOES NOT LIKE ME TO PRACTICE, PLAY, PLINK OR EVEN LOOK at the piano while he is within 25 yards of it. And if I have the audacity to just breathe like I want to sit down for 2 minutes to run through a Bach Prelude, he specifically says "no piano." just like that. (although, in his defense, anytime he sees drums, all he wants to do is bang on them for a good half hour- so I guess that's okay, I like drums too.)
Oliver, on the other hand, ADORES the piano. If I am playing while James is at school- which is the only time I am allowed- Oliver wants to play. He wants to play so badly that he will defy death to stretch up on his tippy-top tip-toes with arms stretched as long as possible and his gecko fingers grasping for the keys to keep himself upright. It's quite the gymnastic feat!
Today for example, I sat down at the piano to run through my recital pieces for tonight's performance. Not a full 30 seconds later and Oliver is grasping at my knees and trying desperately to reach the piano keys without falling face first into the floor. So, I pick him up.
He practices for half an hour.
no joke.


So, as you can see, preparing to perform anything with any degree of skill is a quest.

Skip to tonight.

Before the recital, I posted on facebook:
Playing in a recital tonight. Nervous enough to barf. Ever see The Cutting Edge? I'll be okay in 10 minutes. My program is only 2.5 minutes long. So, 7.5 minutes after that, I'll be fine.

And that's true. I was shaking nervous.

But sometimes thats a good thing. It makes you pay attention to the music instead of disregarding it and then totally screwing it up like you might be tempted to do if you weren't nervous.

And tonight, it was a good thing. Good enough to get me that coveted comment:
"I really enjoyed watching you play."
From a complete stranger.

I'm not saying all this to brag about my piano skills. They are so sadly in need of repair, they are almost like Napoleon Dynamite bow-hunting-computer-hacking-nunchuck skills.

But for what it's worth to me (and that's a LOT), someone said it because I suspect they might have enjoyed watching me play. And that will always feel good. Validated. Entertained. Appreciated.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My easter....

Remember how I wrote, last month, about how my camera died a natural death and I was looking for another one?
Still looking.
I've seen all my friend's blogs with pictures of their darling offspring dressed in easter finery gathering pastel colored eggs and enthusiastically partaking of chocolate in one form or another.
And they all look happy.

I must be a terrible mom because I've not captured pictures of Easter Sunday.
None of me in a new dress. Drue in a crisp white shirt. James in "boy appropriate pastels".
Not even Oliver gets a close-up.

Of course, none of that actually happened for our Easter sunday.
What did was all of us, sans showers, in pajamas. All day. The parents and the children.

My parents would be horrified.

When we were little, and the internet did not exist and neither did Dish Network, my parents got everyone washed, dressed, entertained and bustled out the door for BOTH sessions of General Conference being shown at the church. This must have been a monumental task for my mom and dad. But they did it anyways.

Thank heaven for lds.org
We vegged in front of the computer screen in lounge pants and ate cinnamon rolls with aplomb.

So, pictures would have been nice.
But really, there was nothing to "picture".

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Recommendation

See this Movie.

Today was a tough day for James. We had an appointment with the ENT (Ear nose and throat) to ask whether or not James needs ANOTHER set of tubes. Apparently, he does AND the Dr. recommends an Adenoidectomy. Or, the removal of the adenoid glands located at the base of the eustacian (how DO you spell that terrible word?!) tubes. We're not sure we'll "go all the way" but the new tubes are a go. In order for the doctor to reach this uncomplicated decision about my son's ears he (and his nurse, and the hearing tester) all had to dig into James' ears. On each side. More than once. Which, if you know James really well, or just remember me mentioning this more than a few times, he does not tolerate happily. During these appointments I turn into "straight jacket lady"- meaning I'm the person strapping both arms down strategically with one hand while holding his head in a vice-like grip with the other hand. In other words, I turn into Satan as far as my sweet boy is concerned.

He did exceptionally well today. No huge tantrums. No kicking and screaming. Nothing. Even the waiting room was a pleasant experience. Of course, the office staff/decorator had the stroke of genius to put a nice fish tank with great tropical fish and a BIG viewing side for the kids to oooo and ahhh over. Nice touch guys!
And because he was so good at the office today, we had a date tonight.
Me and my big boy.
At the movies.
With a Kid Combo popcorn, soda and "treat".
The popcorn, while fresh, was still movie popcorn- and therefore, gross.
The soda was WAY to carbonated but James seems to like that.
The "treat" was 3 Pixi Stix. I'm not sure who the genius was that decided Pixi Stix were the PERFECT treat for little kids. Are they not aware that anything not immediately grab-able in some kind of solid form invariably ends up PLASTERED to the floor, and by extension, every movie patron's foot after that?! It's truly stupid.

but the Movie?
Flat out fantastic!
James was enthralled by the dragons. When there were mere mortals on the screen conversing like mere mortals tend to do in films, James was asking (in a stage whisper) "want more dragons?" Which was darling to me- not sure about the family sitting in front:).
He loved the dragon flight scenes and would extend his arms just like the hero- hiccup- and pretend to fly along with him! It was so fun to see him do that.
And as an adult, I loved so much about this film. The music was good! The animation was flawless. The character development was right on target. Perfectly edited so the story NEVER dragged or lost you. And the dragons. I don't remember when dragons were so much fun!
On our way out of the theater, James and I "flew like dragons" (running fast with our arms spread out wide and snarling) all the way to the car!

So, did we like the film?
Is it really worth the money to see?
In 3-D?
not sure. we only saw it in 2-D which I think was a wise idea. There were one or two scenes (dragon battle scenes) where I think the 3-D would have given James vertigo. So, for the under-6 crowd, maybe 2-D is best. But if I get to see it again sans children, I'll go for 3-D.

Oh by the way. We are now officially collecting the Dragons McDonalds toys. Just so you know where to send your extras when you find 3 of each type in your toy box in a week:)