Friday, March 30, 2007

My day, or Why I need anti-psychotics

Earlier in this day, I was thinking I would title this post "Cleaning Tips" and pass on the odd but useful things I now know because of my darling children. For example, that vast quantities of corn starch are extremely useful if you have creative toddlers in the same house as a Costco jar of peanut butter.

What I learned today is nothing like what I thought I'd be learning when the alarm went off this morning. Not that it's bad, just that it's sort of turning my expectations on their heads. But, hey--what else is new? The best thing about the day? That we're all fine, we're all happy, and ultimately, none of this stuff matters. It'll all work out just fine.

G had an OT assessment appointment this morning. Mercifully, the nice OT called and wondered if we could come an hour later than our scheduled appointment. This was a gift from heaven, because the boy didn't want to go, was feeling like a bug about to be dissected, and was scrambling just as earnestly to get away as said bug. Plus, since Q didn't settle like I had hoped last night and then rose early--I wouldn't have gotten a shower if the OT hadn't changed the time. So that was happy. Then there's the fact that she (OT) not only specializes in G's age and set of behaviors, but she's got four kids of similar ages to mine and a great rapport with G. Woohoo!!

The strange thing about this all is that, for insurance purposes at least, the diagnosis being investigated is Asperger's.


I hadn't been aware of that. When we go in next week to see the psychologist, I'll ask her if she's thinking that's what we're dealing with or if it's some funky combination of "symptoms" that could place him in several categories, but not really isolate anything as a true diagnosis. After all the reading I've done about brains and how they work, the latter seems more appropriate, but it could be just a mama thing. Expectations and all, you know. Again, not that it's "bad"--it's a relief that I'm not crazy and that there's something to do, which I love. It's just not what I'd been thinking, so the transition in expectations will take a bit to sink in. Apparently I don't do well with transitions either, so maybe the boy inherited some of his tendencies from me. That'd be a shock, eh? The whole brilliant brain thing which is a part of Asperger's is definitely in place, genetically speaking. One needs only look at or listen to the boy's articulate and accomplished grandparents (all four) to have one's eyebrows shoot right up in recognition of that.

So on with the day, then.

I was home after Q's PT (which was awesome--love his therapist and he worked so hard), lying on the bed, nursing, when S and K had an, erm, disagreement as to whether or not K would share her gum with S since K was already using S's purple nail polish and S thought that her proposal to trade stuff would be an equitable distribution of sharing skills. K disagreed so S snatched the open bottle away and threw it at K. Guess how I spent the next 45 minutes?

This happened because I've been thinking on how to create some minutes of dedicated meditative time every day. Since I decided that I really want to do this, I've also discovered that sitting quietly isn't an option as I then process several related thoughts in the space of a few seconds, often skipping so wildly about with my squirrel brain (props to Martha Beck) that I'm more exhausted from trying to sit and be still than I would be if I just didn't try at all. So I thought I'd do the "mindless activity" thing for 10-15 minutes every day--keeping one's hands or legs moving so one's mind can track something, anything at all. That hasn't worked out so well either, as I have in my possession several small to medium size noise machines with no apparent off-switch among them. So today, the universe sat me on my behind to do the week's contemplative time all at once.

Wanna know what I thought about? Science. The fact that G said today that he wants to move from the Enrico Fermi biography he just read, right into subatomic particles. I had mentioned that some people think quarks are the smallest particles out there and his rejoinder? "Yes, but no one's ever been able to get a super collider to work well enough to actually see them." Uh. M'kay. What else might he be interested in? He'd like to know just what fusion and fission are really all about.

I also thought about what a perfectly ridiculous idea purple nail polish is, what a lucky mama I am to have such great kids (never mind their messy little foibles), how I plan to get next year's curriculum together. I am so on my knees thankful that there are so many awesome authors out there who discuss, with humor and intelligence, grace and trust and figuring out just what I want my life to look like--the parts I get some say over, anyway.

So I used up my pile of Q-tips and figured the purple nail polish must be gone. It wasn't, but I discovered that after the next educational experience.

I had a teeny nap (closed my eyes while the kids were watching the last half of DragonTales) and then my mom got home. We were off to lightning fast Target and Costco runs, figuring we could pick up burritos from Taco Bell en route. All loaded up in the van, off we go.

We made it almost to the top of the hill by the stop sign, exiting the development? Before the cuss-ed thing died. Hmm. Seems that 440 miles into that tank of gas (yes, that is an unusually large number of miles for us on a single tank), we'd run out. Okay. I thought I could make it back to the gas station, but I guess not. Well, I roll the dang thing backwards down the hill, around the blind corner, travelling in the wrong lane so we wouldn't be hit by traffic finding an unexpected mini-van travelling backwards in their lane. Over the speed bump. These things are hard to steer without the engine running. Turnturnturn the wheel to back into a side road, safely out of the way. Oops, we're a little short with our momentum . . . Everybody out and push. Except S. Who must stay with Q so he's not scared, and must also pull, with her entire weight, on the back of the driver's seat, in order to adequately do her part in "pushing" the van. (Chortle.)

G and I hiked quickly back to the house to grab up the gas can. I dialed my dad's office to have G ask where to find the gas can. With this info tucked safely into our toolbox, we headed to the shed, where I managed to shoot the padlock off the ridiculous little key over the stack of tires into the potting soil behind everything within reach of human arms. I, of course, am wearing a light pink jacket and a light blue shirt, absolute essentials when one must hurdle bodily over the greasy, filthy stuff found in a shed in order to reach the padlock that keeps the neighborhood miscreants from our miscellaneous flammables. We get the can, the five gallon one grandpa told G was the right one. Thank God there's this much so we can get where we need to go. Whew!

Off we go again, having locked up the shed and the house, hauling the five gallon can in my mom's car. Get back to the van, all excited, figure out the gas can (apparently we needed a user's manual), pour it all into the tank, hop in, up it starts, off we go to deliver the car back to the driveway, then be off on our errands in our now running van.

We made it fifteen feet before the van died.

A nice man, a "fair mechanic", stopped to listen to me try to turn the engine over. He thinks it's probably the timing belt which, if thrown, will wreck the engine. Okay. By this time, my mom, the kids and I have pushed the van back into this side road twice. If it's the timing belt, which it sounds like it could be, the nice guys down the hill will get to handle it all, so never mind. Let's go home. We're now relieved to just be done. I am also more or less splattered with fuel. It's raining.

My mom starts up the hill with Q, who turns out to love the walk and the rain. I direct the children who don't have greasy, nasty hands to get the stroller, the big red diaper bag, the baby pack, out and into the car. G puts the now empty can and it's stinky box in the trunk of the car. We're off.

I park my mom's car on the driveway and haul everyone in. The kids start making supper while G and I scrub up and I wash my hair, twice, to get the fuel stench out. It almost works. We have a lovely supper (yay kids), Q watches the Little Leap Word Factory (which thrills his soul no end).

Just now, as I'm typing, my dad gets home and eats, heads off to talk to my mom, comes back hollering for G.

Apparently, the can we emptied into the tank of my van? Was diesel.

The only question I have is: can I blow-dry my hair even though there's still a faint smell of DIESEL? Or will I combust?

(I am smiling. Almost. Or I will be before I die.)

Also? Why did I not stop when I thought that it looked way to yellow for gas? Way too thick for gas. Way too stinky for gas. Aaaaaaaagh.


Anonymous said...

Oh, (((Carrie)))! It never would have occured to me either. I was summarizing the story for Doug...

"...and then the car died because..."
Doug interrupts, "She had put in the wrong mix of gas, the kind you put in a lawnmower?"
I looked at him astounded. "How did you know?"
He shook his head. "Good thing we don't have a lawnmower."

Oh well, must be a guy thing.

Hey, you've got a great story to tell! Blessings to you and all the kids, I think of you often and you are in my prayers.

Kay in Cal

Amy @ the foil hat said...

((((Carrie)))) You had me laughing, crying and cringing all at once. I only knew about your gas disaster because I've done it not once, but TWICE to myself.

All I can say is keep looking for the "good" parts of your life like you are and you'll be fine. It's never easy, but it's so much easier if you can see the humor in it all (even if you have to dig really deep to find it)!

Like Kay, you are all in my thoughts often and always in my prayers.

TheTutor said...

(((Carrie))) I am so sorry. The good news... I just checked online and accidentally putting diesel in a gasoline engine isn't nearly as bad as doing the reverse. You'll need to have the tank drained and the fuel lines flushed, but the engine should be fine. If you smile real purty at the mechanics, maybe they'll discount the labor cost for you. :)

I saw your cheery post from early in the day and was thinking how amazingly fast things change. Thank you for reminding us to laugh (or at least grin) at the bumps in the road... even when we have no momentum and are finding it hard to steer.

Writing and Living said...

Arghhh. (Carrie) Hope it gets fixed soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh, poor poor poor Carrie... Really, that just seems really too much to bear in the rain. You have my sympathy.

At least it is fixable. My little guy poured a cup of coffee into the laptop last week. It drowned in a $1800 cup of coffee that I hadn't even sipped.

Old Dominion Heather