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What you see is what you get

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for forever, the way people sometimes recoil from labels or admitting that there’s anything less-than-perfect about themselves or their special snowflakes. So it should come as no surprise that I have some things to say on the topic of whether or not special-needs students should disclose in their college application essays.

I know. You’re shocked. It’s shocking.

[Sidebar: Maybe less of a good idea to discuss your laundry habits, as I’m not sure a certain child of mine would’ve been accepted to her school if they knew that she just didn’t do laundry the entire first month. This weekend we had a rather spirited discussion about the number of undergarments in said laundry (hint: not as many as there should’ve been, given the number of days away) wherein she INSISTED that some of her laundry must’ve still been at the dorm, and later she went back and threw her roommate under the bus to save herself: I got a phone call informing me that AT LEAST she’d brought her sheets home to wash, whereas the roommate had gone home without hers and still hadn’t changed them. In summary, be yourself but BE YOURSELF OVER THERE WITH SOME FEBREEZE, PLEASE.]

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Everything is terrible (not really)

It occurred to me that I forgot to tell you about my recent Bread Adventures.

If you’ve been reading here forever and also have an uncanny memory for stupid details of other people’s lives, you may recall that many, many years ago I discovered how easy it was to bake bread, and also how DELICIOUS said bread was, and I began baking bread all the time. In fact, I stopped buying sandwich bread altogether, because I just baked it here at home and it was a billion times better. Sandwich loaf bread from the store is—to me—a necessary vehicle for sandwich fillings, but… meh. Homemade bread, on the other hand, is yummy and good for sandwiches and also just random stuffing into one’s mouth. So I began eating LOTS of bread when I started doing all that baking, and shortly thereafter was when my skin and my general health went berserk and I did an elimination diet and ended up discovering my body is not so fond of wheat, actually. Surprise!

Once I determined that I couldn’t eat the bread I was baking, I stopped. We went back to store-bought bread. I still baked bread for the rest of the family occasionally (rolls to go with dinner or focaccia for pasta or what have you), but I didn’t bother with sandwich bread. Lo these many years I have avoided wheat and my long-suffering family has made do with stuff from the store. (Their disappointment is likely tempered by all of the Nerd Night baking I still do, you understand.)

And then… I made a sourdough starter. Because I’m a dummy. Look; it wasn’t my FAULT. There were suddenly a million articles about how EASY it was and how SCIENCE-Y the process is and before I knew it, I had a bubbling jar of goo convincing me I needed to bake bread ALL THE DAMN TIME. (more…)

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Recent discoveries, in no particular order

Graduation is on Saturday, and so I will just be over here Cleaning All The Things and Cooking All The Things and Crying About All The Things, if you need me. However, I’ll leave you with a few items I’ve noticed of late, because I am nothing if not helpful.

1) Wishing you could lose a little weight, but feeling stupid for being shallow and wishing you could lose a little weight? Solution: Have one of those fancy keep-track-of-everyone’s-profile bathroom scales, and then one day while trying to flick some lint off the scale with your toe before weighing yourself, somehow accidentally tell it you’re profile 4 (your husband’s) instead of profile 3 (you). You will be whatever weight you are, BUT then it will cheerfully inform you you’ve lost 75 pounds since you last weighed yourself! You’re welcome.

2) Go make this as pasta salad immediately for every summer barbecue and event henceforth if you like avocados. Use a more pasta-salad-y (totally a word) pasta; I did gluten-free penne. Add grape tomatoes, too. But it’s basically avocado pesto and it tastes like summer and you can customize however you like. (Do it cold. COLD. I tasted it warm and it was weird. Do cold. And add LOTS of lemon juice so it doesn’t brown.)

3) My 18-year-old graduates in just a few days and it turns out she still doesn’t know how time works. Should I be worried? We had an argument (full disclosure: arguing is kind of what we do) because she asked to go out with a friend “this morning” because “they’ll be busy this afternoon” and I said okay and then she said she’d be home for dinner and I had to explain that she was asking to go out ALL DAY and she insisted that “this afternoon” means “dinnertime” and then my head exploded. THAT IS NOT HOW TIME WORKS. But okay.

4) You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but it turns out you can teach a young Monkey how to drive. Add it to the long list of ways in which he just keeps on being awesome.

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More reasons why I am a little high strung

Did I mention that I—like every other person in the world who likes to cook and bake and who gets periodically sucked into food trends—made some sourdough starter a while back? I did, and now I have returned to that place where I don’t buy bread, I just make a couple of loaves every week. That’s all good and well (I enjoy doing it, the family seems to enjoy eating it, and it’s both cheaper and more nutritious than the stuff from the store), plus I’m experimenting with making other stuff (sourdough pizza crust! sourdough garlic knots! sourdough oh look I’m making something else I can’t eat but you guys enjoy it!) and generally feeling JUST LIKE a homesteader of yore. (You know, if said homesteader had a wheat allergy, drove a hybrid, and had a couple of very spoiled lap dogs.)

Anyway. This morning I went to make some dough for this week’s bread and got my beloved KitchenAid going and I turned my back on it to do something else and shortly thereafter the mixer WALKED OFF THE COUNTER AND CRASHED TO THE FLOOR. It unplugged itself and everything. The results, in no particular order: I had a minor heart attack, the floor was both gouged AND cracked (awesome), I panicked that the mixer was broken (it still works but… I think I need to have it looked at), and I swore a lot at the bread dough. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS, STUPID SOURDOUGH.

Also (this is not related but it’s another reason I’m high strung), I am busy trying to get my kid ready for a dorm when most “what to buy” lists aren’t geared towards kids who would not, say, remember their own heads if they weren’t attached. So I came up with a supplemental list for those of us whose kids need a little extra support.

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In a word: OOF

In the ever-losing game of balancing out the time I spend with each kid so that neither assumes I love the other better—or both of them assume I love the other better, but I feel pretty confident that they are being ridiculous drama llamas—I was thrilled to discover that the day after Chickadee’s birthday, there was going to be a screening of Autism in Love at our local indie cinema.

“Hey Monkey, would you like to go see this documentary with me? I think it’ll be pretty interesting.” I was braced for a shrug or a swift refusal (this would, after all, cut into his gaming time…), but to my delight he agreed right away. (I also invited the rest of the family, by the way. But it ended up just being Monkey and me, which was fine.)

This movie caused me to have A Lot Of Feelings, both because of the movie itself and how Monkey reacted to it. The premise is simple: they follow four autistic adults who are either in or want to be in romantic relationships. Two of them are a couple, one is married (but his wife is in the hospital with end-stage ovarian cancer, and it’s unclear if they ever lived truly independently), and the youngest of the bunch is a young man who really wants a girlfriend but is struggling with… well, everything, seems like, but especially that.

There are highs and lows in the film, but it was the ride home that was most interesting. (more…)

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In lieu of Nerd Night goodies…

… all I have for you today is this. (There was no Nerd Night this weekend, alas.)

Monkey began texting me about some injustice in class, but it quickly devolved into the following. And for the record, this went on for quite a while even after this. It’s a good thing I’m fond of that kid.

monkey-fish-puns

(Eventually I told him I had to go. He responded, “Sea you later! I’ll reef you abalone now.” Internet, HOW DO WE TEACH HIM TO USE HIS POWERS FOR GOOD?)

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Lessons learned (a.k.a. maybe ask)

You know that I always bake for school meetings, right? And for when my kids go off to their weekly gaming night? I love to bake. I can no longer actually EAT most of what I bake, but that’s okay. It makes me happy to feed other people. Funny story: usually at the holidays I start making cookies at the beginning of the month and bake all month (sometimes making/freezing dough to bake later, sometimes baking cookies and freezing them) so that we can give out goodie baskets at school before the winter break. That’s not the funny part. The funny part is that I just found out that one of the teachers we’ve been giving cookies to—ready for this?—has a wheat allergy. She didn’t tell me (and assumedly doesn’t know that I’m also allergic); one of the kids figured it out.

I felt terrible, of course. Our past gifts were useless and perhaps we seemed thoughtless. What if she hates us now?? (I’m glad I didn’t overreact or anything.) But I didn’t know! So today I emailed and asked some questions (Celiac or allergy? Is cross-contamination an issue? Do you even like sweets??) in preparation for Cookie Season. That was well-received and now I know how to proceed. It’s almost like… things go better when you get clarification. WEIRD.

This is a clumsy lead-in to my post today at Alpha Mom, in which I learn that what I think about a situation matters a whole lot less than what the person actually IN the situation thinks about it. Again: WEIRD. Who knew?

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Whoops, it’s okay

I realized I may have—in my attempts to be privacy-shielding and vague—accidentally left the impression that the sky was falling with that last post. And no, I wasn’t smart enough to figure it out on my own; rather, after a bunch of concerned emails followed by one from my dad asking what was going on, it occurred to me that sometimes I need to distinguish between “feeling miserable here” and “genuine crisis here.” So. Um. Oops? I’m sorry! And thank you for the concern!

Long story short, Monkey has been ill, but in that special Monkey-licious Aspie way of “NO I AM FINE I JUST HATE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING AND LIFE IS TERRIBLE!” It doesn’t matter that we’re coming up on 16 years of this, every single time I have to go through this trajectory of “Oh my God what is WRONG with him?” and “Wait, I think he’s sick” and “But no, really, WHAT IS WRONG WITH HIM??” before we get it figured out. And in the meantime, it’s frustrating and he’s in pain and everything sucks. (Long story even shorter: Did you know that a severe Vitamin D deficiency can make you feel like garbage? True story!)

In the meantime, life marches on, and as we continue preparing the other kid for college (hey, at least she can tell us when she’s sick, so she has that going for her), I made sure that even though things are going really well in Chickieville, I still have something to worry about. I’m great like that. Fellow parents of ADHD kids, you’ll want to check out my post at Alpha Mom today.

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You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry

Actually… most of you probably WOULD like me when I’m angry. But other people… not so much.

Anyway, I’m trying to cool down, but: I’m angry. Every day, in a dozen tiny ways, the world misunderstands my kids. That’s the nature of the beast and my mantra is to assume people are generally well-meaning and kind, and ignorance isn’t malice, after all. But every now and then, the ignorance is hard to bear.

I dusted off my soap box for this one, because disability is not laziness, and teachers—of all people!—should know that. C’mon. It’s 2015.

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Always bucking the trend

I love reading articles about “today’s teens” because they never actually sound like they’re about any real-life teenagers I’ve met. Granted, my special snowflakes are the specialest and the flakiest (haaaa) and their friends also tend to be anything but regular, but still. “Kids today” are risk takers! “Kids today” act first and think later!

Well, okay—that’s true even of my kids, I guess. Except instead of using drugs and sleeping around, my kids are doing things like stabbing each other in Minecraft “by accident.” (OOOOOHHHHHHHHH! Rebels!!)

Therefore, I humbly offer as an antidote to umpteen articles about how kids today are all suffering from FOMO: A piece about teens dealing with the opposite of FOMO, over at Alpha Mom, because ’round here, that’s how it goes.

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