Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Gonna Take A Lot More Than Calgon

     Do you guys remember those commercials?  The ones where the baby's crying, something's boiling over on the stove, the phone is ringing, etc. and the woman says, "Calgon, take me away!"  The next screen cuts to the woman in an enormous bathtub soaking in bubbles and looking like she's had about a box of wine.  Well, what I want to know is where exactly did Calgon take her that her crying baby stopped crying, two kids didn't need to pee while she was in the tub and nobody stood right outside the door yelling, "Mom, what are you doing in there? How many minutes until you get out? Mom, he's breathing my air! Mom, Mylie just spilled an entire box of goldfish on the new couch!  Mom, I'm hungry..."
     Don't get me wrong folks, I am all for the therapeutic value of a long hot bath.  In fact, I am so dedicated to their magical powers that I still take them despite the fact that our bathtub is roughly the size of a matchbox and I am roughly not, so I can only soak about 1/2 of my weary bones at a time.  We need not even discuss the amount of yoga I have to practice to be able to perform the contortions required to shave my legs in there.  But, let's face it, all baths must be taken after the kids are in bed otherwise they are far more frustrating than relaxing.
     Luckily for me, I have a new crew-the ESCAPE CREW!!!!  The Escape Crew, (actually I don't know that we have a title but whatever,) is a group of women with kids who are newly committed to going out once a month and doing something new and different with grown ups and NO CHILDREN.  I am so excited about this group that I cannot stand it and I had a blast at our first meeting.  Part of the reason for my excitement is that I am the world's worst person at going out and doing things for myself.  Previous to this group, my only regularly scheduled time away from my kids was my weekly lifeteam meetings with women from church.  Don't get me wrong, I adore my lifeteam and wouldn't for a second downplay all that it has been to me for years.  However, 2 hours of Bible study, prayer and conversation, fantastic as it is, doesn't quite carry the same weight when your children are just downstairs.  Now, I do go out occasionally without the kids but it is hard because my parents already help us out so much with required things that I hate asking them for optional ones and my kids have very few people with whom they can stay that doesn't kick off such an extreme set of attachment behaviors (for one of them at least) that I feel like my husband and I are being punished for going out.  Part of the magic of the escape crew is that it's all women so my kids can stay home with their dad!!!  Thank goodness he is a great dad who is nothing but sweet about me getting this break.
     So, it would seem then that this monthly excursion would be fairly simple.  I get dressed up, I go out, I come home, easy peasy.  Yeah, not so much, have I mentioned that we're not normal?  I shall now illustrate this point by explaining what all went into the first escape:
     Those of you who read my FB posts already know that I have been sick.  Of course I was sick for the first escape but I was dead set on going so what did I do?  I quite literally sat on the couch for the majority of the day, not playing with kids or cleaning the house, not washing laundry, not exercising.  I fed everyone and allowed more toys in my living room than usual and allowed my children to watch movies all day long and all for the noble pursuit of going out to dinner.
     Whenever I am going to leave my kids, even for a couple of hours, I have to prepare them in advance but it is a delicate balance of enough time for them to wrap their heads around me being gone but not early enough for it to become a full fledged panic attack.  In this instance, I told them about 10 am.  So, from that moment on, I had to tell my children roughly every 4 minutes where I was going, when I was coming back, what I would be doing, who I would be with and that they would be home with their father.  By 1:00, I was making them tell me the answers to all of their questions but they kept on asking.
     When Brandon came home, I ran out and got Chinese food for all of them as a reward for the fact I was going out.  Then, I climbed into the shower, prepared to primp out for girls night.  Like a crazy woman, I expected my children to actually eat while I was in there and left the door unlocked as I was certain that someone would need to use the toilet while I showered-clearly I am psychic because they all did.  The delightfulness of changing water pressure and temperature was only a prelude to the next way I would pay for my plans.  As I am toweling off, a certain blond 4 year old wandered into the bathroom, points at me and begins cracking up.  When I asked what she was laughing at she said, "Ha ha ha, you're naked!"
      "Aren't you naked when you take a shower? Do I laugh at you?" I asked trying not to let this make me feel like crap.
      "You should," she says still giggling and pointing, "naked is funny!" Seriously?!!!
      So, I dry my hair just enough that it doesn't stick to my head and not so much that my curls decide to go frizzy and put on make up.  The make up is particularly fun because both Conner and Mylie have decided to stand there and ask questions about where I am going, what I am going to do, who I am going to be with and who they are going to stay with while I do it. 
    With the top part of me presentable, I shoo the children off to play and go to my room to dress.  I was so excited to be going out as an actual girl and not a mom that I decided to put on a spanx camisole so that nothing would dare bulge where bulges should not be and I would feel fabulous.  For those of you who have never worn spanx, they aren't horrible except for having to put them on.  Putting them on is like the opposite of the birthing process.  Rather than pushing something out of your too large body in great pain and in the most humiliating possible position, spanx humiliate you by making it incredibly painful to squeeze your too large body into something about the size of a toothpaste tube. 
     Newly unbirthed, I threw on the rest of my clothes and headed for my cute shoes.  CUTE SHOES!!!!  The most magical part of going out without my minions is the ability to wear cute shoes.  Cute shoes are not generally a possibility for me because I cannot go anywhere with minions in shoes that I cannot run and catch them in should they decide to run off-which occasionally they do.  So I painted my toenails gun metal grey to complement the bling on one of my favorite pairs of wedge sandals and slip my feet into their size 7 1/2 perfection only to find that, with my ear infection, I couldn't walk in them without falling.  Lovely.
     Undaunted, I put on a less awesome pair of sandals and commenced the 15 minute process of hugging all of the children and getting out the door.  My children all cleaved to my bosom, whining and promising to miss me as if I were leaving for war and I finally scraped the last one off of me and slipped out.  I hopped in my van and pulled out of the driveway waving to their ridiculously sad faces and that of the dog smooshed up against the picture window in the living room.
     I arrived at the restaurant only 10 minutes late. When I got to the table, it dawned on me that I had worn my new white blouse to a restaurant that served salsa.  Amazingly, I didn't spill a drop of salsa on myself as I had a drink, carried on conversations, and enjoyed the non-minioned. moment.  NOT ONE DROP OF SALSA, just one huge dollop of guacamole right on my right boob.
    Even guacamole flavored wardrobe malfunctions didn't ruin my time.  I met new people, ate terrific food, it was magical.  Not one of my dinner mates soiled herself or asked me to run down their agenda for the night.  No one put a bite of chewed up food they didn't enjoy on my plate or complained about anyone else at the table.  It was absolute PERFECTION.
    It was so perfect, in fact, that we extended the evening to Orange Leaf for dessert. Not one person asked for a bite of my yogurt or asked if they could eat every topping.  It was profound.  It was a truly magical night as I walked to my van.  Bliss, I was thinking as I put my keys in the ignition and turned the engine over only to find, dead battery!!!  Luckily, my stepfather was able to come and jump the van so I could get home and all was well.
   For those of you who have only one child or no child, this may sound like a fairly uneventful evening.  Some of you might even wonder if it was all worth it, especially if I tell you that by 8:30 I was so tired that I actually had trouble following conversations.  All I can say is you are sooooooo wrong!!!  No matter how many questions I answered, how tired I was, what shoes I wore, how green my boob was, how much a new van battery cost or how old I have to admit I am when I could easily fall asleep at a table full of women in a crowded restaurant, I came home feeling like an actual woman.  A few hours as an actual woman, capable of conversing in more than 3 word phrases, dressed in clothes that don't look as though I am headed to work out left my heart full and head clear.  I am a better mommy for it.  It took more than calgon to get there, but man am I glad for the trip.

    So, here's to you Escape Crew!!!  Can't wait for next month's trip.  For now, the minions look bored.  I think I'll go to the bathroom and lock the door, that'll give them something to talk about!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Please Don't Confuse Us with Anything Normal:)

    You know, there is nothing that bugs me more than when someone acts as though whatever is going on in their lives is worse than what every other human on the planet has experienced.  That is not what I am about to say here.  Let me make this perfectly clear, bunches of my friends live the their own versions of the wildness I live every day.  In fact, some of them live even wilder versions equipped with teenagers and other horrifying things like that.  So this, this is just my version of wacky, submitted for your entertainment:

All of our fourth of July fun has reminded me once again that my crew is not normal.  I am fully aware that no one is really normal.  The human status quot is sort of weird and kids are profoundly weird, however, minion weird is weirdier than most.  Take, for example, a recent cookout with dear friends of ours.  We went to their house, where there are already children, (boy children between the ages of 4 and 10,)-a certain degree of exuberant wooliness was expected.  Still, the man of the house did what all really great guys do, he was super sweet and inviting to my kids including my son.  This good deed would not go unpunished.
     Despite the fact that he looks incredibly typical, my little man has reactive attachment disorder.  There are tons of technical explanations for this disorder but suffice to say for our purposes, it basically predisposes him to actively push the buttons of anyone he likes.  So, if you meet my kiddos in a public place where there is lots to make Conner nervous, you are safe, but if you allow him to feel comfortable, look out!!!  Case in point, Conner looked my friends husband directly in the eye and blasted him with a water gun, a super soaker actually.  The guy asked him not to do it again and was very cool about it.  (If he had acted angry, Conner would have continued, by the way, ask my stepfather and brother.)  The man came in with a sort of awed combination of disbelief and respect for his boldness  in his voice as he told my friend and I what happened.  I apologized and was sincere but what I really thought was-of course he did!!!  True, most first time guests in the homes of people do not, without provocation, look adults in the face and nonchalantly blast them with water guns completely free of the expectation of a consequence, but we do-that's our normal. (IN MY OWN DEFENSE, THE LACK OF EXPECTATION OF CONSEQUENCE IS NOT BECAUSE WE DON'T PROVIDE CONSEQUENCES BUT BECAUSE KIDS WITH FASD DON'T REALLY UNDERSTAND CONSEQUENCES SO THEY DON'T ANTICIPATE THEM.)

     Still thinking this doesn't seem all that unusual to you?  Sit still, I have more.  My four year old is a picky eater--go ahead, get it out of your system, what four year old isn't a picky eater?  Well, my four year old went 2 months this year where she ate nothing but condiments.  Specifically, she ate salsa and spicy mustard.  Occasionally, I was able to convince her to eat them on a chip or vegetable but mostly she ate them with a spoon.  And yes, I put them away in a locked fridge and tried not to let her have anything else and...she lost weight.  That's right, I know how to get normal kids to eat a variety of foods, keep introducing them, don't make it a war, limit junkie options-CHECK, got it, used to be my job.  But with my kiddo, she literally just goes without.  She really doesn't enjoy eating all that much anyway, it slows her down so she'll happily just not eat. I am guessing that she would do this until she was hospitalized. 
    Currently, she is obsessed with individually packaged processed cheese product(some folks call these things American cheese slices, she calls them square cheese, I call them ingredients.)  The thought of eating this fake cheese literally makes me ill but she is eating it by the pound.  Oddly, if she eats this cheese, she will eat other food as well right now.  However, she also will eat this cheese until it is gone.  Buy one package, she eats it all.  Buy two packages, she eats them both.  Buy no packages, she eats nothing.  Perhaps, I should also mention the object of her affection of the moment used to be her worst nightmare.  In her little picky eater group at Cardinal Hill she constantly asked the therapist if they would have to eat cheese.  She'd spit it out, she'd hide it. 
    In fact, she has no foods that she always eats.  She has gone through her whole life being alternately obsessed with and terrified by different foods.  There is no rhyme or reason, no guide book-it's not normal.
     Then there is Isaac, sweet little Isaac.  When I say little, I really mean it.  Isaac is three and weighs about 25 pounds.  He's tiny and looks like a baby.  However, he is devilishly intelligent and mischievous.  For instance, the fact that he cannot walk does not impede his scaling our built in book shelves or doing somersaults off of the furniture in some mad combination of Eval Knievel and Cirque De Soleil and cracking up as the adults surrounding him stroke out when he lands safely at the bottom.  Needless to say, he requires correction frequently, especially in public where he finds an ever available audience looking at him because he is a stunning, hurt-your-eyes version of beautiful.  The result is his mother, in effort to treat him like the intelligent young man that he is, getting terrible looks of disdain for fussing at what people assume to be an innocent infant.  Look away folks, we're not normal.
    Finally, there is my Laura-Liz.  Our only biological child, as of yet developing neurotypically, yet in no way normal.  You see, she was born to two no where near normal parents.  Her father is pathologically shy and bookish-(Think Howard Hughes with shorter finger and toenails) and her mother is outgoing to a fault (Think Debbie Reynold's as Deborah Messing's mother on Will and Grace.)  The result is this child who is obsessed with facts of all kinds, verbal well beyond both her years and ability to reason, and with an undeniable urge to share her every thought with the world.  At our family July 4 party, she would pin down family members telling them stories and forcing them to rate them on a scale of 1-7 (Why, I don't know, she's not normal?) Her cousins actually asked me how much Animal Planet she watches because she was filling them in on roughly everything she had ever heard or read about animals in her life.
     So you see folks, it is important for you to know that if you are thinking of spending time with the DeZarns, you can expect entertainment.  Laughs, hugs, new bits of information, non-stop action--that's us, that is all us.  However, if you are looking for normal, look elsewhere, we are fresh out:)

PS This post was edited under the duress of constant Minion interruption, please excuse weird phrasing and and grammar that may have resulting

Sunday, July 3, 2011

First Post Business

Okay, I'm giving in, enough of my FB pals have told me that I should blog for me to try it again.  A couple years ago, I tried blogging about home schooling Conner and Mylie but it was way too serious to be fun and, quite frankly, not many people were willing to make comments sooooo, it started to feel like homework and I got bored.  As someone who went to preschool-a post graduate certification, I have sworn off homework, thus, quit blogging immediately.  This blog, has a completely different purpose!!!  This blog is to tell the completely ridiculous things that happen in my days and blow off some good hearted steam.  I sincerely hope that readers will share their own crazy stories and have a giggle with me because, let's face it, this parenting gig is harder than it looks.  So, before I really get going, here's what you might want to know about me.

1.  I don't work outside my home.  I really do mean that, I offer my flowerbed as evidence:)  Actually, when we adopted Conner and Mylie, I left teaching because their appointments with specialists, therapies, etc. forced me to miss too much time from my classroom of students with moderate to severe disabilities.  I loved teaching but this was what I needed to do.  I became a developmental interventionist for children birth to 3 with disabilities for the flexible schedule and it was the best job ever.  Truly, I would have done it forever but our social worker told us about a baby boy in the NICU at UK who needed a forever family.  We took him and he had a great deal of health issues which made it more expensive for me to work a few hours a week than to just stay home.  So now, for the first time since I was 14, I am technically unemployed.  However, since I run around like a crazy woman to and from school drop off, therapy, specialist appointments... "Stay at Home Mom" is sort of a misnomer.

2.  We have one biological child and 3 adopted ones.  All of our adopted children have some degree of special needs.  Do not kid yourself into thinking that the mayhem mentioned above is because my kids have special needs, it contributes, but I can honestly say, craziness is just sort of how we roll around here.  By the way, not all of my kids are of the same race, so occasionally I will talk about the craptastic ways people react to that on here--just laugh, idiots happen, that's what we do.

3.  I am completely and utterly aware every day of my life how blessed I am to be a full time mom and to have my wonderful husband and 4 awe inspiring kids.  Please don't ever take any jokes I may make about running away with Mr. Clean or their evil intentions seriously.  Fact:  navigating the waters in this household can be treacherous and frustrating, if I could not laugh about it, I would never be able to do it.  Another Fact: I would not trade it for the world.  Therefore, if you can't read my silly rants and see them as a humorous outlet, don't read it, but don't give me any crap about it either. 

4.  I frequently refer to my kids as the minions.  Think cute yellow Disney minions sort of fumbling through acts of thoughtless destruction, I in no way think my children are mindless or evil.

And that, my friends, is as serious as I hope to get on this blog site.  Hope you all enjoy and share stories of your own.