31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: Pouring from My Empty Cup

While I was living with my former in-laws, my (hopefully soon-to-be) former mother-in-law made the suggestion that I could start a ministry for families with kids with special needs in Jon’s next parish. When I told her why that was really not a good idea, she was less than pleased and told me that I was being incredibly selfish.


A year later, I was fighting bout #2 of bronchitis which was caused partially by the stress of ending my marriage. My parents were out of town and my idiot PA told me he wanted to admit me to the hospital immediately for Prednisone and antibiotics. When I told him that I couldn’t be admitted to the hospital because I had nobody to watch my child, he excoriated me for refusing the prednisone (which, by the way, IS BLACK-BOXED ON MY CHART FOR THE REACTION I HAVE TO IT!!!!!) and for refusing hospital admission, telling me that I had to take care of myself and learn to ask for help.


What these two things have in common is that both of them assumed that I have far more in terms of resources than I actually had. My former mother-in-law assumed that I would have the emotional, mental, and physical resources to take care of Daniel at church AND several other kids with varying levels of special needs. In churches that have such ministries, THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS. You have rotating groups of people who are trained that take turns helping out one Sunday a month. You never ask the parents to be the ones doing it because Sunday worship might be the one time a week they get to replenish their emotional/mental reserves for the week.

My idiot PA assumed that I had people who could help and I was just refusing to ask. Yeah… if I had people who could take over my difficult child, DON’T YOU THINK I WOULD ASK?!?!?!? So many single mamas like me with difficult kids are frequently flying by the seat of our pants. Yes, my parents could take over… unless they’re not available and then I’m very much SOL. I had a control journal for Daniel and if I had been hooked up with the local Regional Center, I might have had a respite worker… but we were in the process of moving so I never got hooked up. So I was taking care of my kid and getting him to school on no sleep and I’d be coughing so badly I was puking while he was at school. I probably should have been hospitalized (no Prednisone though!) but I had no choice but to refuse. (My BFF and my tasoni both mothered me by remote control that week and it helped immensely.)

I wish the world could understand that a lot of us moms with special kiddos are pouring from empty cups, not because we want to, but because we have no other choice. I want Daniel at church with me but by the same token, church is one of those times when I try to fill my cup for the next week. I managed to get through church with him a few weeks ago… but that was because my priest and my parish surrounded me and supported me so I could be a lector and I could sing with the choir. People asked me what I needed and gave me grace when my kid didn’t act like they wanted him to. That helped me fill up my cup a little bit.

Pouring from an empty cup.

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: Autism and Changelings

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung

Someone posted this picture on Facebook a few days ago and it resonated with me. I have friends with kiddos on the spectrum that are thoroughly convinced that their children are vaccine-injured based on when the autism manifested. It’s really hard for me to understand their viewpoint because I never had that normal child who was seemingly taken by fairies and replaced with a child who did not seem like mine. Not to mention, all of the peer-reviewed studies on vaccines and autism have come back saying that they don’t trigger it.

I think we need to be aware that microdeletions and genetic issues happen and we need to be open to the neurodiversity of people, rather than saying that people on the spectrum are damaged.

Autism and changelings.

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: 7 Quick Takes on ADHD, Greek Food, and Other Fun Things

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

ADHD anniversary. 2 years ago today, Daniel was diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication. As controversial as that decision was, it’s been a good one — he sleeps better at night (and goes to sleep on his own) and he can play independently.

— 2 —

Greek food. I made the comment at choir practice that I would give up Greek food in order to not have to deal with Seattle-Everett traffic. People started throwing out suggestions of closer options and I realized that I could go up to Bellingham. Apparently, there are several up there and there is also an Ethiopian restaurant. Yay!

— 3 —

An Epic issue. The local hospital system just got a new computer system which is kind of a pain in the butt. However, they sent me my code to login and sign myself up so I did that on Monday and got to populate my chart with information. It was geeky fun and I didn’t have to worry about transcription errors or Dragon Dictate problems or anything else that I’ve had to deal with in the past.

— 4 —

Special intention. Please pray for a special intention. Thanks!

— 5 —

Baseball take. So I know in the postseason, these will be the teams I support:
Red Sox

I can’t root for the Astros because they’re a Texas team (I LOVELOVELOVE messing with Texas), the Dodgers are the archenemies of my boys in San Francisco, the Yankees are evil, and I’m pretty sure the Indians made one with Satan again this year to get into the post season because… CLEVELAND SUCKS!!!!

— 6 —

NCAA football. My Huskies are at the top of the PAC-12 and 6th in the nation. Duuuuuude…

— 7 —

On a parting note… Here’s some amazing music and scenery.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: The Visit Itself

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung

I alluded to the visit to the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital yesterday and how we now have teams of people who want to help Daniel learn and grow.

Basically, the need for services is so high that the waiting list to get an appointment is over 12 MONTHS — not just to be seen but to just get the initial appointment. It’s in the U District of Seattle at the north edge of the University of Washington (Go Dawgs!) and, as we discovered, across the street from the University Village, which is an upscale shopping center. We got to the appointment an hour early (traffic is horrible so we left super early in case we got stuck on I-5 for 30 minutes because of an accident) so we went across the street to the first $tarbux my parents ever visited (this is the second store ever opened — my parents visited it when my dad was a grad student almost 50 years ago) and got coffee to kill some time.

When we got back, we visited with a psychiatric nurse practitioner for an hour, talking about every aspect of Daniel’s case from birth to present. We left with referrals for ABA, peds gastroenterology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry, outside speech therapy (in addition to what he gets in school), a DDA application, and some other information. When we get the clinic note next week, we’ll be hooked up with people who can help us get all these services established. Given that I’ve been kind of having to figure all of this out myself for the most part (people can tell me about stuff but getting services established is a whole other ball game), I am so unbelievably happy that I’ll have people helping me whose job is to help me.

The best thing: dealing with people who can use the actual correct biological terminology to describe WHY my kid is on the spectrum, has ADHD, and has developmental delays (other than his prematurity). Given my dealings with anti-vaxxers who believe in the conspiracy theories spouted by the quack and fraud Dr. Andrew Wakefield and disgraced pediatrician Dr. Bob Sears (who will, God willing, be losing his license shortly for gross negligence), it’s so wonderful to deal with intelligent people.

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: Country Mouse Visits The City

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung

We finally got a consult at the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital today. It’s near the UW so Mom and Dad tagged along in case we were going to make a stop at the bookstore. (Unfortunately, we didn’t.) Thankfully, Mom drove because the streets likely would have confounded me. I can drive around the towns in my area just fine but Seattle is psycho. It also feels positively claustrophobic because of the tall buildings.

The appointment was good and I now have some more people who are focused on making sure Daniel has what he needs to succeed and grow, but traffic on the way home was crazy and I definitely now understand why I don’t make the effort to take Daniel down there to do stuff on a weekend!

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung: The Simple Woman’s Daybook for October 1, 2017

For Today… October 1, 2017

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… sunny now though it was raining earlier and we’ve had a few days of good rain. Weather.Com says it’s 50F and I believe them.

I am thinking… about my Doodle assignment this week.

I am thankful… for classes I like this quarter.

One of my favorite things… when my sports teams win. My Giants beat San Diego and I’m hoping my Niners can beat Arizona.

I am wearing… a grey heather long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Church clothes this morning were a blue-grey long-sleeved shirt, black slacks, and black flats.

I am creating… various Doodle polls.

I am listening to… classical music on a DISH Network channel

I am hoping… Daniel’s appointment with the Autism Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital this week goes well. We’ve been waiting for this appointment for a very long time. (The waiting list for an appointment is over a year long.)

I am learning… about email best practices.

In my kitchen… coq au vin is cooking.

In the school room… Daniel continues to love school.

Post Script… Tesla’s aid to victims of Hurricane Maria.

Shared Quote… “The four sayings that lead to wisdom:
I was wrong
I’m sorry
I don’t know
I need help”
— Louise Penny

A moment from my day… Our anthem today.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

31 Days of My World As It Is Sung

7 Quick Takes: Ask Me Anything Edition

7 Quick Takes

With the quarter starting for me this week, I’ve had a couple “get to know you” questions that have gotten asked by my instructor in addition to some questions people have asked me. 🙂

— 1 —

What do you like to do when you are not working or studying? SLEEP! 🙂 I also read too much, blog, hit the beach with Daniel (which I did today), search for the best iced vanilla latté with whole milk (the current winner: Diedrich Espresso), and crochet.

— 2 —

How does your online class work? It uses a learning management system called Canvas that is similar to Moodle or Blackboard. I login to the site using my school email address and click on the class on which I want to work at that moment. There’s usually a clickable copy of the syllabus and a list of learning modules and I click on one of them to do it. My instructors can create quizzes and tests online which I have until 11:59 p.m. on the due date to take and I can turn work in as well by uploading it to the site. There is almost always a discussion board on which we have to post and frequently, several of the assignments call for us to post something (and sometimes link a file) and then reply to two other classmates’ posts. (We can reply to as many people as we want usually.)

For my Microsoft Office classes, my school has used SNAP for evaluations but thankfully, they are moving away from it because it was a piece of crap last year — it crashed my laptop on a regular basis so I’d have to go do evaluations on the computers in two of the labs on campus in case something happened. I think the worst time was during my Excel/Access class when one of the Access skills exercises crashed 4 of the computers in the lab and then crashed my instructor’s office computer three times! She finally just opened up Access and told me to do some random things so she could give me the points.

— 3 —

Why did you choose Accounting? When I was working at the import brokerage in Montana from 2007 to 2010, they couldn’t find enough work for me to do within my job description so they asked our billing lead if she had anything I could do to help her. She had me help with some of her USDA vet bills twice a week and I found that to be kind of fun. When I had to find another job when I moved to southern California in 2010, most of the admin assistant ones wanted A/R or A/P (accounts receivable or accounts payable) experience and I didn’t know that the vet bills counted. When I moved up to Washington last year, Mom offered to pay for me to take a couple classes and I decided to take Practical Accounting and Excel/Access… and I fell in love.

— 4 —

What goes in your beach bag? I usually have… spare clothes for Daniel/me, Coppertone Waterbabies sunscreen, my Epi-Pen (I’m allergic to bee stings and most beaches here have a yellowjacket problem), my inhaler/spacer, children’s Benadryl (in case I get stung, it’s easier to get Benadryl down in liquid form), towels, talcum powder (yes… the Johnson & Johnson stuff that they think causes ovarian cancer — I don’t use it in my pelvic region and it’s one of the few things that gets sand off quickly which is important when you have sensory issues like mine and Daniel’s), a book, and sand toys for the kid.

— 5 —

Why don’t you homeschool Daniel? This is kind of an interesting one to get asked this week because Kelly wrote about sending Teddy and Fulton to public school!

Short answer: Because I have absolutely no desire to so!

Long answer: Kiddo needs someone to school him who understands how to reach him and help him learn in ways that I am not trained to do. All of his primary teachers have Master’s degrees in Education specializing in special education (and rare conditions, in the case of one of them) and have done their teaching hours with kiddos on the spectrum. Additionally, he gets speech/occupational/physical therapy at school and has the chance to be around other kids… which would totally NOT happen if I was homeschooling him because I’m so incredibly introverted and up until recently, kiddo couldn’t sit through a library program or well… anything except maybe AYSO VIP soccer (and I am not soccer mom material). It’s honestly a better fit for him and I’m a happier mama when I get that time to myself while he is in school.

— 6 —

How do you do school and take care of Daniel? I’m lucky enough that I can fit my classes “on the ground” into the hours when Daniel is at school. There have been a handful of times when he’s been sick or on school vacations when my mom hasn’t been able to watch him so I’ll usually just get notes from a classmate on those days. (Thankfully, I didn’t have to miss any quiz days in Accounting this year because those are quizzes I can’t make up, though she drops our three lowest scores so I’d be able to toss a couple of the ones I’d miss.)

As far as homework goes, kiddo LOVES his tablet so I would usually work on things either during his school day or in the evenings when he would be on his tablet or asleep. I plan online tests around his school schedule and when he’s asleep. On weekends, he has the ability to play independently so I’ll usually curl up with my laptop and any appropriate books while I keep an ear out for him.

— 7 —

What recommendations do you have for teaching kids about the church year? This is not my strength so I recommend you check out Jessica Snell’s list of resources, Kendra @ Catholic All Year, and my friend Jenna’s book, The Lazy Liturgical. Given that I run with bloggers who do this legitimately well, I can’t think of anyone else that would be recommended more highly than these three. (Oh yes, Jessica actually edited a series of books on this as well.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.