Fwd: fwd: fwd: fwd: I hate my autistic daughter

I belong to a few closed and/or secret groups regarding Autism and other disabilities. Last night, someone in one of my groups posted the below clip, and some of the parents in my group were dismissive of this mother. They called her names like "bitch", "heartless bitch", "psycho" and more. But an equal number of members came to the defense of this woman. Not in defense of her actions, mind you, but seeming to understand how a mother could reach this breaking point.

So, I watched the clip, and I tried to figure out how I felt/what I thought. This was hard to watch, because I knew that if she was publicly admitting to pushing her daughter and "hitting her on the arm", the odds were that she'd done much worse. Also, WHERE THE F*CK IS THE DAD?? I'm pretty sure that child has half his DNA, so he needs to get his ass of the couch and do his part. Overall, I can't completely condemn this lady, because thank God she had the courage to come onto national T.V. and admit to her feelings before she ended up possibly killing her child.

I sort of feel like we're putting special needs parents like this in a double bind. On the one hand, we want these parents to ASK FOR HELP. We say it all the time. "If only s/he had told someone!" Or, "Holy crap, autism wrecks yet another family!" Then everybody nods and posts "heart" and "hug" emoticons. Someone else puts up a Facebook page in memory of the child. We hold virtual hands and sing "Kum-bay-ya" by the firelight. Then we snuggle deep into our covers, secure in the knowledge that we would never even consider that as an option. And if we have felt these emotions, we post about it, showing that *we've been there*.

In NO WAY am I belittling or judging anyone who has done of the above. We all come here via different paths. I'm just pointing out a general trend as I've noticed it.

On the other hand, when these parents DO ask for help, knowing they will be judged, they find themselves at the center of a public stoning. These parents, warts and all, let it be known that they have reached their limit. They somehow find the courage to express their innermost thoughts, fears, emotions, and personal stories, and in turn, we hurl invectives, pass judgement, and point fingers. If we want things to change...really change, we can't continue to send such mixed messages to those of us who are, deep down, fighting the very same fight we are. Not if we expect things to change for the better.

You never know what you're going to find at Goodwill, but whatever it is, somebody else didn't want it. With *BONUS* wine and scotch reviews.

Several weeks ago, I bought a faboolous pale blonde mink coat for 29.99. This coat is swing-style, with a huge collar I can wear up. It goes nearly to my knees, and did I mention IT WAS IN PERFECT FREAKING CONDITION? I tried it on, and it was a perfect fit. I stuck my hands into the pockets (This is a very bad habit of mine. One day I'm going to get stuck with an AIDS needle, and I will have no one to blame but myself).

Soo! In the right pocket, I found the original receipt, dated 1972! The husband paid $1233.75 for this mink coat. IN 1972!!! There were even receipts for storage fees!  This coat was taken care of.

The heavily embroidered silk lining was in perfect condition. I snapped it up in a heartbeat, and ripped the price tags off the second it was mine. I had a strong desire to wear it out of the store. I had decided that my combination of yoga pants, a Bob Marley thermal, and Sketchers would perfectly offset my new mink coat. I was pretty sure that movie stars wore furs with jeans and such.

But. Just in case...

"Smell this. Does this smell bad? I asked my 10 year old son. I shook the fur in question in his face. He inhaled deeply. Because he's a rube.

It smells fine. It smells like that place. Here, he pointed a finger to the thrift store we had just recently exited. Ok, fine by me. I slipped the coat over my Bob Marley thermal and immediately felt The Swank.

*sidenote* I have absolutely no sense of smell. None. Whatsoever. Never have. I can't smell babies, cookies, flowers, or my own child's personal scent.


I also can't smell pig farms, dead skunks on the highway, farts, decomposing flesh, or my own child's shitty diapers.

I'm pretty sure I'm winning.

So, I dropped my son off at home with my teenage daughter, and then I drove to UFS...wait. What is UFS, you ask? ONLY THE BEST FREAKING PLACE IN THE WORLD, THAT'S ALL!! UFS stands for Unclaimed Freight Store. Basically, it's shit nobody signed for, or wanted. So they sell alcohol at ridiculously low prices (name brand alcohol, I might add), as well as flooring, tents, grills, snacks, curtains, and mini-fridges. There is also another UFS across the street that sells furniture, dishwashers, refrigerators, and ovens.

The most important part about a Friday evening trip to UFS is making sure I'm there way before their 6pm closing time. I parked my car, stepped out, and sashayed in the automated doors. My mink coat swinging. The coat seemed to give me unnatural powers of speaking my mind, because once I found out that UFS was having it's bi-weekly wine/scotch tasting, I stepped right up. The wine girl asked which wine I wanted to try, and I said, all of them. It was cute how she pretended to think I was joking.

Then I meandered over to a table that had a bottle of Kahlua on it. But not just any bottle of Kahlua. This was a bottle of PEPPERMINT MOCHA Kahlua! So of course I had to talk out loud about this amazing occurrence. Which led to me being given several shots of Peppermint Mocha Kahlua. Then, I bought some cut-rate Little Debbie Snacks for my kids, the aforementioned Kahlua, and wine.

So I'm pretty much rocking it as a parent.

Condoms. THEY'RE EVERYWHERE! And, they're for marriage.

Friday night, my 14-year-old daughter had 2 friends spend the night, and they were watching "Jersey Shore" reruns on Netflix. All of a sudden, the camera cut to an unopened condom on the bar floor. Here is the conversation that followed:

Friend #1: That's a condom!

Me: How do you KNOW THAT??? You're only 13!!

Friend #1: _____ brought one to school last year and showed it to everyone...


Friend #1: He brought one to school in the 4th grade too. It's a pretty bad school.


Then, from the dining room, where my 10-year-old autistic son (child #2) is on the computer.....

Child #2: Oh, condoms? For some weird reason, THEY ARE ALL OVER MY PLAYGROUND! ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Me: *choking* WHAAAT???

Child #2: Yep. They look like balloons! And they're kind of white. THEY'RE EVERYWHERE!!!

Me: You don't...you don't...PICK THEM UP, DO YOU??

Child #2: No. I asked, and somebody told me they're for marriage.


A day in the life.

Today, I had some free time between clients, so I decided to go get my driver's license renewed. Except I wasn't wearing any makeup. Shit. What's a girl to do? 


That's right. I drove to the nearest Ulta and totally used all of their makeup to beautify myself for the stupid DMV photo. Except, in the process, I ended up purchasing $110 worth of makeup from Urban Decay. Which was exactly 3 items. And? I still wasn't able to renew my driver's license.

Well played, Ulta. Well played indeed.

Then I ran a bunch of errands, did a bunch of paperwork, and got home. Not 15 minutes had gone by before I heard my 10-year-old son Z, moaning helplessly for me, from the half-bath off the kitchen. Sometimes he needs to squeeze my hands when has to make a really big poop, so I obviously assumed this was the issue. I cracked my knuckles in preparation, and stepped into the bathroom.

It wasn't a big poop. Instead I he was perched on the toilet, holding a piece of toilet paper on his left shin, looking up at me with mournful eyes. I was confused, but only for a second. Then I remembered his habit of picking/scratching at scabs and halfway healed cuts. Then this conversation happened:

Z: *moaning* Mamaaa! Help me, I'm bleeding!

Me: *sigh* You've been picking at a scab again, haven't you?

Z: I need a band aid quick! 

Me: *bigger sigh* Ok, hang on. Let me look for one....

Z:  Owwww!! Ow Ow Owww!!!!

Me: *eyeroll* Ok, here. I found one, let me put it on.

At this point, Z began squealing in agony as he nimbly avoided allowing me to place the band aid on his cut. He is very wily, and his maneuverings required much dexterity on his part, considering that was still on the toilet.

Me: Dammit Z! Let me put the freaking band aid on you!

Finally, he allowed me to tend to his cut, and I finished putting away the groceries, mistaken in my belief that we were done with the subject.

But no, we were not.

Z: *still on the toilet* Do you want to know what really happened?

This gave me pause for thought, as I began to sense that this injury was not his run-of-the-mill picking injury.

Me: Sure.

Z: I shaved my legs.

Me: *choking* You did WHAT??

Z: Yeah. I found a razor in the sink, so I shaved my leg when I was on the toilet.

Me: ............

His sister happened to be in the kitchen at this point, and our eyes met in mutual understanding, compassion, and absolute f*cking hilarity. And totally silent laughter, because he's sensitive.

Poor Z.

Despite his sensitivity to to social faux-pas, Z was completely oblivious to the absolute silence following his announcement. 

Me: Why????

Z: *calmly* Well, I wanted my legs to be all silky-soft and smooth, so I would have something nice to pet.

I should explain that Z is extremely sensory-seeking when it comes to petting soft things, and getting tight hugs. It's just part of the grab-bag that is my fabulous son.

Me: Hmm.....well....I bet you know not to do that again.

Z: But feel them! Feel my legs, didn't I do a great job? I mean, they're SO SOFT!!!

At this point, my 14-year-old daughter decided to join in the conversation. She knelt down (he's still on the toilet, remember), felt his legs, and remarked, he really did do a good job Mom. You should feel them.

So I leaned down and felt my 10-year-old son's legs. And it's true, they were silky smooth.

I nonchalantly grabbed the razor out of the bathroom sink, and tossed into the garbage. Just then, Z called out to me, you should really hide those razors from me. I'm pretty sure I will want to do this again.

An open letter to the 2nd grade teacher who thought she could bully my son and get away with it.

September 3, 2013

Dear Lynn,

I see from Facebook that you are now married. Congratulations.

However, that’s not the reason I’m writing this. I’m writing you because of my son. Do you remember him?

School year 2009/2010. Blonde hair, difficulty reading body language, killer green eyes, poor social skills, and a heart of gold. He was in your 2nd grade class the year his father and I were going through our divorce proceedings. You and I even spoke about it several times.

To recap, second grade is basically the year that Z’s life imploded, along with his older sister’s. First of all, his dad and I went through a heart-breakingly ugly divorce. Then Ira ended up in rehab for substance abuse. Taking the kids to visit him in treatment every weekend was hard on all of us. It humiliated Ira, confused and frightened our children, and saddened me greatly.  But somehow, we all made it through.  Ira successfully completed treatment, and the kids had SO MUCH FAITH in him! And, as for myself?  For the first time in a long time, I had HOPE. Hope that he would finally be the father my children so richly deserved.

But then, as if to top off Z’s Very, Very, Very Bad Year, Ira died unexpectedly that Spring. I kept the kids home all week, and you thoughtfully had all of his classmates make him condolence cards. We still have them, and we will always treasure the compassion, love, and heartfelt sorrow he felt from his classmates the day he opened and read each one in turn. I remember that you even bought Z a gift card to Chucky Cheese (he loved it!), what a blessing in such a time of sadness.

I truly believed you had been sent by God, to help us through this incredibly trying time.

I vividly remember sitting in Bradley Park one summer day, and feeling like I wanted to talk to you. Because I was SURE you had Z’s best interests at heart, and so I called you.  It was just before Z entered the 3rd grade. I told you he had been diagnosed with several disorders that are related to Autism. Here they are again, just in case you’d forgotten. It’s been so long since he was in your class:

ADHD (Severe, but we already knew that, right?)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder 
Hypotonia (I’m still trying to figure that one out, myself)
Sensory Integration Disorder
Disruptive Behavior Disorder

So when Z was in your class he was…what, 7 years old? Yes, I remember now. He turned 7 exactly 18 days before I found his father dead in his apartment.

Do you remember me mentioning to you how afraid Z was of the vacuum? I do. I still remember the thrill I felt, the day I walked into your classroom, only to find him VACUMMING YOUR RUG and SMILING. I was SO PROUD of my son that day. Proud that he challenged and overcame one of his biggest fears, and happy that he had a teacher such as yourself. An adult (and educator), who didn’t pass judgment.  An open-minded and open-hearted teacher, who made my son feel IMPORTANT, SAFE, HAPPY, and CARED FOR.

But you already knew about all of that. So Z’s losses, as tragic as they are, are also not why I’m writing this.

Here’s the thing. When you really think about it, you’re a role-model. Not just a role-model to one child, one time. Your behaviors, statements, and lessons shape every one of your students. Not just for that day, but possibly for a lifetime. Did you know that? Did you know that your young students observe your every facial expression, every vocal inflection, and every non-verbal cue, and they then base their own behaviors on what they've seen you display?

I bet you knew that.  I mean, you've had how many hours of education? How many hours of assistant teaching? And how many hours of being an actual TEACHER, responsible for shaping our children’s young minds?

So, three weeks ago, I was tucking Z into bed, after a VERY rough night at home. Suddenly he started sobbing uncontrollably, nothing could stop him. Finally he calmed down enough to tell me this: When he was in 2nd grade, his teacher mocked him, made him the butt of her jokes, and CALLED HIM A BUTTHEAD. In front of his entire class.

Ms. Reagan, that teacher was you.

My wonderful, loving, awkward, smart, funny, sweet, angry, loveable, obnoxious, silly, huggable son....was humiliated. Shamed. By an adult. And not just any adult. An adult IN POWER. WITH CONTROL. Acting as a ROLE-MODEL. For children. Who will grow up with her lessons in the back of their minds. Always.

I've been mulling this over for the past 3 weeks, and tonight, I'm writing you a letter. A carefully worded, well thought out message, letting you know that the name you called my son three years ago? IS WITH HIM TO THIS DAY.  I’m writing this letter to tell you something I bet you never knew.

I'm  telling you that your hurtful words, spoken in a moment of anger, HAVE STAYED WITH MY SON TO THIS DAY. But because of his autism, because of his shame, because of his loyalty to you...he never said a word.

Do know that deep, sobbing, bottom-of-the-heart crying your kid does? That sound you would give ANYTHING to take from him? YEAH, IT WAS THAT. Three years after the fact, my wonderful, challenging, loving, and CHALLENGED son sobbed his heart out to me. He told me you had placed him in "time-out" in the corner, and in that corner there was an outlet with a gray button and a red button on the switch plate.

My socially awkward, impulsive, and curious son decided to see if he could push the red button with his tongue. Only you thought he was licking the outlet, and not bothering to ask him what he was doing,


And the entire class LAUGHED AT HIM.

They laughed at my son.

My child, who was going through SO VERY MUCH at such a tender age.


He held onto this secret for THREE ENTIRE YEARS. Until, one night, it all became too much, and the secret was spilled.

I wonder, how many other children have you shamed, humiliated, taunted, and bullied.  Because I’m betting my child wasn't the only victim of your hateful, spiteful, vindictive cruelty.

So, I leave you with this...

I know what you did. 

I believe my son.

And I won’t let you get away with it untouched.

It took THREE ENTIRE WEEKS for me to decide how best to address your behavior, so don’t even try to convince yourself that this is some impulsive, spiteful, random message.

The thought that went into this message is exactly opposite to the consideration you put in to educating my son, and his peers.

Minty green eggs sans ham, I met Shinedown, a broken wrist, and Happy Mother's Day!

Tonight, I was scrolling through my unpublished blog posts, looking for something to post. Because I'm totally lazy like that. And I found this. Apparently I wrote it sometime in May.....

Last year, for Mother's Day, my daughter made me green eggs, sans ham.

I bet you're thinking that she colored them with the green food coloring in our pantry. You would be WRONG.

She ignored the green food coloring, and instead used the 8-year-old peppermint extract that she found waaaay back in the obscure cupboard that also contained 2 rotten potatoes and a bottle of alum I bought for a science experiment when she was in 1st grade. So....for Mother's Day 2012 I got a breakfast of potentially toxic minty eggs.

Also? She and my son gave me a flower that "we pooled all of our money together for!" Awww, right? Except when I was looking for change in my wallet later that day, I discovered that my wallet was empty.

Turns out I paid for my Mother's Day flower.

Well played, children. Well played, indeed.

This year, I decided to take Mother's Day into my own hands. Or hand, actually. Since I broke my wrist 4 days (May 2013) ago at a Shinedown concert.
That's right. I AM the klutziest person you know.


The concert, not the breaking of my wrist. I saw Shinedown in Moline 2 months ago (February 2013), and it honestly was a much better venue than where I saw them Tuesday *cough*Springfield*cough*. Also, I had a broken wrist then.
This was the 2nd of three casts I got on this wrist

I break easily.

But I got to meet the band, and they all gave me hugs! And Brent Smith KISSED. MY. BROKEN. WRIST. 


Sometimes when you think you're getting The Bee Gees you actually end up with Bollywood. It happens, roll with it.

Sometimes  A lot of the time Most of the time, I like to go to thrift stores. As in, I pretty much meet the DSM-V criteria for an addict, only for thrift shops. And I've scored many a wonderful find, let me tell you. Like the time I bought a 1918 Rookwood Pottery piece hand painted by one of their A+ artists, for $1.98, and sold it on eBay for $405. Or the time I bought a Bakelite poker caddy for $5 at an auction, and sold it for $365. I'm just lucky, plus I have what some people call "The Eye." This is when you can walk into a room full of crap, and miraculously are drawn to the ONE THING that has any value whatsoever. I have that, and I really do count myself blessed. The money I've made selling those treasures has paid for school tuition, winter coats, and one ABSOLUTELY AMAZING Christmas. Also, for my divorce.

But when I walked into the Goodwill last week, nothing prepared me for what was about to happen. Sure, I may have found a strand of gray baroque pearls set in sterling silver and 18k gold, with matching earrings, but the real magic happened when I was in the check-out lane, perusing the used CD's. That's when I saw a copy of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Live. Woohoo! I opened it up and checked for scratches, and when I saw it was in pristine condition I popped that sweet little baby into my cart.

You know that moment when you open up your bag from the thrift store and think Awesome! I'm gonna to listen to the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, while I nuke a couple of hotdogs for the kid. I'M SO EXCITED!  Then you notice that the actual CD is called, "Check It Out!" and has a bunch of songs that are NOT sung by Barry Gibb or Yvonne Elliman? And then you look a little bit closer and see that the songs are called, "Punjabi Party Mix", and "It Was Wrong Mix", or even, "Don't Sample This Mix?"  And then you pop it in the CD player, just for Ha's, give it a listen, and....and.... that's when you realize HOLY F*CKING SHITBALLS! I accidentally bought an Indian Punjabi dance mix!

That just happened to me.
Oooh. They're at a discotheque!

I won't rape you until we're married. I PROMISE.

 Look! Now we're MARRIED!!!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to my awesome Bollywood CD. SO MANY TIMES.

Just when you think you're done with word problems, YOU FIND OUT YOU'RE NEVER DONE WITH WORD PROBLEMS.

My son has recently Discovered Time. Not time, as in, Oh hey, it's about 5:30. Time to start dinner. 

No. He has Discovered Time, as in, It is exactly 4:31pm. How many seconds until dinner is ready?

Basically, he has turned into a Time Nazi. At the beginning of this phase, when he wanted to know what time it was, I would say something like, Eh, it's around 5:30ish.

Which, if you've never encountered a Time Nazi, is totally not the right answer.

The correct answer is, It is exactly 5:28pm.

So now, when he asks for the time, I make him come to the kitchen and find that shit out himself.

Tonight, on the way to our martial arts class, we ended up discussing how the rate of velocity affects what time you arrive at your destination. This conversation took place completely by accident, and I wish I was a Time Lord, and could go back in time to erase the concept of time, rate of velocity, and all related concepts from his young brain.

But since I can't do that (legally), we ended up talking about how long it takes to drive a mile. Which is where the rate of velocity came in. Then he dropped it, and I thought Well, that was easy. Maybe his obsessive nature is taking a backseat this summer. Woohoo!!!!

Tonight, as I was enjoying my 2nd glass of wine, my child posed a question. A question that let me know the idea of Time + Rate of Velocity HAD NOT LEFT THE REALM OF HIS CONSCIOUSNESS.

The question was this:

If you are driving 59 miles per hour (please note that he did NOT round it up to 60mph. Because that would have been TOO EASY!), and the ocean is 100 miles away (We live in ILLINOIS), how long would it take you to get to the ocean?

Ok, I would like to take this moment to say, WHAT THE F*CK???!! I thought I was done with word problems back in 6th grade. WTF kind of bizarre joke is the universe playing on me? I'm the Language Arts parent, his dad was the Math and Sciences parent!!! F*CK YOU, UNIVERSE!!!

However....HOWEVER, I did not get to the age I am by being stupid. In fact, I am a firm believer in "work smart, not hard." So my first question to The Boy was this:

Do YOU know how long it will take me to get to the ocean?

He said no. Just as I suspected.

So I just made some shit up, I think I said something like, Well, according to my calculations, it will take exactly 1 hour and 39 minutes to reach the ocean. 

And everybody was happy.

Goats+tranquilizer darts = PURE WIN

Back story. My deceased ex-husband had a machete and a field-radio, both of which his grandfather brought back from WWII. My son is OBSESSED with the machete, which I've been wise enough to hide from him because....

Most of the time, Zach forgets about the machete's existence. And then there are days like today, right after I dropped his sister off at tutoring:

Z: When I grow up, I can use my machete to cut throught the jungle underbrush, right?

Me: We live in Illinois. There is no jungle underbrush.

Z: But just in case, I could, right?

*I have already hidden all sharp knives, scissors, box cutters, and razor blades from this child. Primarily because he has no concept of his own mortality.

Me: Probably not. You don't need a weapon.

Z: Well, then I'll get a gun! When I'm older you can't tell me what to do, and so I'm going to get a gun. Not to kill anyone, though.

Me: So what are you going to use it for?

Z: Hunting.

*My son is a big softie, and would never harm or kill an animal. Unless it's a rollypoly. And even then, those were accidental deaths.

Me: You know that means you'd have to actually kill an animal, right?

Z: I would only hunt ducks. Because they're kind of ugly.

Me: Ok, except after you kill the duck, you have to rip out it's feathers and take out it's insides. Then you have to eat it.

Z: *completely aghast* Is that a rule?

Me: Well, yeah. You can't just kill an animal and leave it to rot. You have to eat whatever you kill.

Z: *thinking* I know! I'll only shoot GOATS.

Me: And then you'll eat them?

Z: Oh, I forgot. Do people eat goats?

Me: Uncle Asshat ate curried goat in Jamaica, remember? Some people do.

Z: Oh yeah! Remember that episode of The World's Biggest Cheapskates? That guy ate a goat head. He even ate its EYEBALLS!!!

Me: *sigh*

Z: Ok, how's this idea. I'll only shoot the goats with tranquilizer darts. Then I'll sell the goats to farmers. It's a win-win, right?

Me: .......

Z: Seriously Mom, I'm going to make a TON of money.

Because nothing tastes better than a grilled chicken with a can of beer shoved up its ass.

Tonight the kids and I spent the day with my best friend, her 2 kids (who are friends with my 2 kids), and her husband. K and I drank margaritas, the kids swam, and her amazing husband grilled ribs and 2 chickens. It was amazeballs. So good.

K's  husband cooked something called, "Beer-Butt Chicken", and I've never had chicken that was so juicy and yummy in my life.

If you've never had (or heard of) Beer-Butt Chicken, then you've come to the right place, because I'm going to tell you how it's done.

1. Buy a whole chicken
2. Rinse it
3. Heat your grill to 350 degrees
4. Open a can of beer
5. While holding the chicken vertically, shove the can of beer up the chicken's asshole
6. Open another can of beer
7. Drink this beer in an attempt to forget the fact that you just anally assaulted a dead chicken
8. Use toothpicks to hold the skin together at the neck
9. Set the chicken, ass side down, on your grill
10. Shut the grill lid
10. Walk away for 1.5 hours
11. Use kitchen shears to cut the chicken open, because that beer can is going to be HOT
12. Eat that ish
13. Go to the store and buy your wife and her friend more margaritas
14. Clean up after dinner while your wife and her friend drink
15. Do some laundry

Ok, 14-15 are optional, but that's what K's husband did. I'm pretty sure it made the chicken taste better.

13 is NOT optional, however K's husband seemed to feel that it was, so we got no more margaritas. :(

Happy belated Father's Day to all the single Mommas out there. Doing it on the daily.

Yesterday, I drove my daughter to camp. It's a 6 day camp, and they aren't allowed cell-phones, ipods, or any other means of electronic communication.

So for the next 6 days, it's just me and the boy. This is what our first day alone sounded like:

6:43am - MOOOOMMMM!!! Waaakkke upppppp!!!!!!

6:44am - Can we have pancakes for dinner?

6:59am - Can we have pancakes for dinner?

7:16am - Can we have pancakes for dinner??

8:51am - Can we have pancakes for dinner????

9:32am - Mom? MOM! When are you going to wake up? Guess what??  I found an experiment online...for ice cream!!! It called for, um....milk....and vanilla...and, um...a cup of sugar...and some, um...cocoa powder...and salt.

9:33am - Can we have pancakes for dinner?

9: 54am - I come downstairs. The kitchen floor is covered in a fine dusting of sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Also? There's a huge puddle of milk by the garbage can.

9:55am - I cry a little.

9:56am - I set my alarm for 6am tomorrow morning

10:59am - Z informs me that the biggest decision he will ever make is finding the right woman to be his wife.

11:00am - I totally fall in love with my son, all over again.

11:06am - Z tells me that his future wife should: like food, not be "too large", have a good sense of humor, be fit but "not stronger than me", kind, smart but "not geeky smart, 'cause then she'll say, "there's no time for love!!!", love to snuggle, love to cuddle, like video games, like to wrestle, and be kind. Not once does he say, "she should be pretty/beautiful/attractive."

11:07am - Z tells me that "a person can look nice on the outside, but still be ugly on the inside."

11:08am - I consider my job as a parent well done.

11:59am -  Can we have pancakes for dinner????

1:47pm - He begins to assemble the ingredients needed for pancakes. Three hours before dinnertime.

5:12pm - Guess how high I can pull my lip up over my nose!

5:13pm  - Mom, you weren't looking! Watch me pull my lip over my nose! I saw a show with a man who could pull his lip ALL THE WAY OVER HIS NOSE!!!! 

5:40pm - Mom, look! I can touch the top of my head with my foot! Watch!

5:41pm - Wait, that wasn't right. Look now!

5:43pm - Ok, now I'm ready. Watch!!!

6:01pm - Look how fast I can run from the stove to the couch! No, you're NOT LOOKING! Look!

6:05pm - Mom? Are the pancakes ready yet? Can I flip them? That's my superpower, you know. Flipping pancakes.

6:06pm - Is it time to flip the pancakes yet?

6:08pm - Yaaay! Time to flip the pancakes!!!!!

6:14pm - Mom! Look!!! I made a pancake taco!

7:32pm - Mom! I can kiss my own toe! Wanna see how flexible I am? Watch, I can kiss my own toe!!!!

8:03pm - I come to the realization that this family is supposed to be made up of THREE people, one of whom is having a fine time at camp while the other two-thirds are struggling. Struggling with patience and fine motor skills.

8:41pm - Mom! I'm going to wrestle with the couch pillows! Is that ok?

9:04pm - I have to poop. Will you come upstairs with me? I'm not scared, you know. I just like company while I poop.

This post is dedicated to all the single mommas out there. Taking it as it comes, rolling with the changes, thinking fast, acting faster, and never letting that bitch called life get you down.

You rock.

Dear Women, I have one request. Please...PLEASE. Be there for one another.

Tonight, my heart is very heavy. I discovered that many of my neighbors, some of whom I have known for 15 years, have been gossiping about me at the monthly neighborhood coffees, which I don't attend. I've been accused of being a bad parent, not being home enough, not doing enough activities with my kids, and various other offenses. Apparently this gossip/back-stabbing has been going on for 2 years, without my knowledge. They may be too cowardly to say anything to my face, but I'm putting this out here. A few of them follow this page.

Do these women know how many times we've woken up at 5am so we could drive 3 hours to Chicago, just to spend 15 minutes at Ira's grave? Because any more than that is too much for Zach. Do they know how many nights I've lain awake at night, crying because my children lost their father before his time, and because my marriage ended so horribly? Do they realize that this Sunday is Father's Day, but my children have no father to give gifts to? Are they able to comprehend that my children will NEVER view Father's Day, Christmas Day, Superbowl Sunday, November 21st (his birthday), and April 17th (his death) without tasting the bitterness of their father's passing?

I'm shocked, saddened, disheartened, and angry. I'm a single mom doing my best to support my family. ALONE. After 11 years of living with an abusive addict/alcoholic, 3 rounds of substance abuse treatment for him, and,  I realized things weren't going to change. I understood that my children were more important than my marriage, and I filed for divorce, disolving an 18 year relationship in the process. In 2011, only 3 months after the divorce became final, my children unexpectedly lost their father. I found Ira that day, and after 4 hours of talking to the police and the coroner, I had to drive home that night with his elderly cat on my lap, and try to figure out a way to tell my children that their father was gone forever. Every day since then has been a struggle for all of us.

This judgemental gossipping is uncalled for, and I'm wondering when these women plan on graduating from Jr. High. If they feel that I'm working too much and not home enough, why doesn't anyone offer to help me with my load? As women, we have enough stones in our path. We should support each other, not tear each other down.

The saddest thing that never had to happen

Just now, I was perusing the Internet and came across an article about  12-year-old Gabrielle Molina. Last week, she hung herself in her bedroom, and left a suicide note apologizing to her family for killing herself. She was being bullied, you see. According to her schoolmates, she was being called a slut, and a whore, and she was told she looked like she had a developmental disability.

Let me reiterate. She was 12 years old.  Statistically speaking, she had only lived one-sixth of her life expectancy. She was just a baby.

I'm f*cking sick of reading/hearing about our children taking their own lives, generally as a result of being bullied. It makes me feel sad, angry, helpless, and physically ill. Also, I worry about my own children. Are they being bullied? We have a good relationship, but do I know the extent of their school social lives? Probably not, and that scares the shit out of me.

 I'm putting up a link to a suicide statistics page, so you can read the facts for yourself, but here are a few I feel need to be mentioned specifically:

1. 10-14 year old girls are at a higher risk for suicide.
2. LGBT teens are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide than any other teen group. Please note that I said COMMIT. Not attempt.
3. Teenage girls favor emotional bullying, rumors, "slut-shaming", and exclusion as forms of bullying.
4. Bullying victims are 2-9 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who aren't bullied.

So, what are we, as parents, going to do about it? Personally, I've had several talks with my kids about bullying. We talk about what it is, why they should never do it, what to do if it happens to them. Kids are going to tease each other, and cause problems for each other, we can't change that. But we can do our damndest to make sure our kid's self-worth and sense of value isn't dependent on what others think/say about them.

Following is a very short list of teens who have taken their own lives in the past year, due to bullying.

September 10, 2012- Audrie Pott, age 15 (hung herself in her bedroom after being sexually assaulted and "slut-shamed" at her school):

October 10, 2012- Amanda Todd, age 15 (hung herself after being sexually assaulted, "slut-shamed", and having videos of her sexual assault posted on the internet):

January 1, 2013- Duncan Ballard, age 14 (after he commited suicide, numerous schoolmates posted apologies on his facebook wall for the way they had treated him):

April 4, 2013 - Devin Brown, age 13 (hung himself in his bedroom after being bullied at school. His crime? Reporting a classmate who planned on killing a teacher):

April 7, 2013 - Rehtaeh Parsons, age 15 (taken off life support following an attempted hanging, following 2 years of bullying. Her crime? She was sexually assaulted by several boys, and then subjected to "slut-shaming")

April 15, 2013 - Nigel Hardy, age 13 (self-inflicted gunshot. His crime? Being a male cheerleader a his school):

May 22, 2013- Gabrielle Molina, age 12 (hung herself in her bedroom after being bullied and "slut-shamed"):

Please, share this with your children (whatever is age appropriate for them, of course), and remind them that a cruel word from their lips could be the word that makes or breaks a fellow student. It's a terrible responsibility, I know. But so is the alternative.

Also? Talk to your children about being bullied  Make sure they have a plan if they are being bullied. Let them know that they can come to you, make sure they know you will have their back. Tell them that no matter what choices they have made, nobody deserves to be bullied. Make sure they know that they can come to you, no matter what.  Finally, do your best to give them the tools they need to survive the world they live in.

Do your best to make your children survivors.

And if you are reading this, and are experiencing ANY feelings of wanting to end your life, please follow this link. It has the numbers of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, as well as Suicide Prevention Hotlines in each state. Also, if you know someone who may be suicidal, this link can be helpful as well.