Plushie Power

To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies. Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc. The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the... Read more →


Blow Us All Away, Part Ezra

Thank you, thank you, every one, for the (always consistent yet always surprising to me, somehow) outpouring of love and support for Ike. And me, because meeeeeeeeeee. I know he's going to be just fine. (A more literal interpretation of how I wish I could send their little hearts and minds out into the world.) Anyway, let's PIVOT TO EZRA for a moment. Ezra actually started out this school year as The One I Was Most Worried About, because he was also experiencing a lot of social/recess-related anxiety. He had a pretty important friendship fizzle out last year, and coupled with the fact that he's very much an Inside Bookish Type Who's Really Just Waiting Around For Adulthood at this point, he no longer knew what to do at recess anymore. Sitting around on the Buddy Bench while contemplating the complex contradictions of his being was getting old, tbh. So he joined the school safety patrol, which meets weekly at recess. A dear friend of mine had business cards printed up for him, because he totally remembers what it's like to be a kid like Ezra. (The Baby-sitters Club books were a gift from another grown-up friend who also deeply... Read more →


The Loop, Part Infinity

It's IEP meeting season, again, and supercharged. It's Noah's re-evaluation year AND time to start planning for his transition to high school (!!!!!WAT!!!!!) next September. His meeting was mostly spent debating whether he continues to qualify for special education services, so...it was a short meeting, because surprise! He's got Autism. Still! Imagine that. My mother-in-law will be so disappointed. Must've been the flu shot. Or our lack of interest in essential oils. So he won't be losing any supports or services this year -- if anything, he'll get more, since the middle school team likes to send kids off to high school with fully loaded IEPs, and then let us decide once he's made the transition if anything is overkill or unnecessary. I was also expecting Ike's meeting to be similarly short and to-the-point -- we'd just had parent/teacher conferences and gone over alllll his reading progress and goals last week -- so of course, I was thrown for yet another loop when the team expressed their universal worry that Ike is showing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wait. What? Oh. "He's just not the same Ike this year," the school psychologist said. "I've known him since kindergarten. Something is... Read more →


The Best Things I Bought For My Brain (2019 Edition)

In honor of Cyber Monday, it's better mental health through consumerism, betches. In no particular order, other than in the order I remember them as I wander around my house: Brain-Saving Plan to-do list/mental health planner & Punch Today In the Face motivational coaster (KatieAbeyDesign, Etsy) The part of my brain that took the longest to heal (post-apocalyptic ZZZZZPPPTTTZZZZ-style short-out) was/is, unfortunately, the part that allows me to simply sit the fuck down and get shit the fuck done. Oh, I'm plenty good at making long, elaborate to-do lists around 3 a.m., along with the many terrible consequences that will surely rain down after my subsequent failure to complete said to-do list. But by 9 a.m., I've lost all sense of urgency and/or curled into a paralyzed ball of panic and procrastination. There are a LOT of mental health planners and motivational office supplies aimed at correcting this pattern, but I found most of them either too shmaltzy and motivational-quote heavy, or entirely too detailed and similar to my 3 a.m. version. (DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER OR FAIL AT TUESDAY!) This one from KatieAbeyDesign on Etsy is way, way more my speed. Keep Fucking Going bracelet (Amazon) Simple, to... Read more →


Everything That Happens When Your Significant Other Joins An Amateur Ping Pong League

1. First, they will attempt to convince you to also join an amateur ping pong league, as their team needs three more people. 2. You will tell them NO. Never in a million years will you join an amateur ping pong league, because you are terrible at ping pong and even more terrible at losing. 3. They will text all your friends to see if THEY want to join an amateur ping pong league. 4. Your friends all respond with their personal favorite variation of a WAIT WHAT? gif and then politely change the subject. 5. The league will manage to sign up three other teamless/friendless losers and complete the team. 6. They will volunteer to be team captain because "nobody else wanted to." 7. They will be lying. And also a little giddy. 8. It's actually kind of cute! 9. A very specific, very fancy ping pong paddle will arrive in an Amazon box. You will laugh at the fancy box and ask them if they actually plan to carry the paddle around in the fancy box. They will say no. 10. They will be lying. A specialty paddle care and cleaning kit will show up along the way... Read more →


Up For Air

Hiiiiiii. How are you? I've been okay! Okay. Well, that's probably a flat-out lie, or at least a wild exaggeration. It's actually been a rough couple weeks. Everything's fine, of course. I've just been...kinda sad again, and overwhelmed by...everything, again. Kids have camp drop-off at 8:30? Gonna squeeze in at least three vivid anxiety dreams about fucking it up between the hours of 1 and 5:30 a.m. Conference call at 10 a.m.? Better start worrying about Skype not working by 9, triple check the meeting invite around 9:30, start staring at clock at 9:45, then contemplate various imaginary reasons for missing it altogether at 9:59. Two whole text messages from two whole separate people? Better just ignore those for awhile (because they COULD just be saying hi but they ALSO COULD be full of bad and terrible news and/or calling me a bad and terrible friend). Can later just pretend my phone broke, or something. (SPOILER ALERT: they were just saying hi.) Things have regulated back out this week, I'm happy (what a word!) to report. I've made the jump between "getting through the day with the bare minimum of necessary executive functioning to survive" and like, "being a normal... Read more →


Like a Bird

For Ike's birthday, we booked a pirate-themed tour of the glistening green sludge better known as Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It combined everybody's favorite things: Costumes, boats, water cannons, and birthday parties that don't involve cleaning my house. It also involved pirate-themed temporary tattoos. I chose an appropriate skull-and-crossbones design while the girl applying the tattoos raved enviously about my oh you thought we were all overreacting didn'tcha Nolite te Bastardes tattoo. Then I pushed my sleeve up to my bicep and she spotted the semicolon. "Oh!" she said quietly. "Oh!" I said awkwardly. "That's...yeah." "Me too." We stared at each other in choked up silence for a minute before murmuring our respective whens and how long agos and she wiped my arm and pressed the tattoo down. "We're so glad you're here today." "Me too." The first questions that fall out of people's mouths after you do Something Like That are usually along the lines of how could you and what were you thinking and don't you know that _____ (fill in the blank some variation on your worth/value/love/rich full life with so much to live for/etc.). At the time I tried to answer all those questions, albeit with wholly... Read more →


It Gets Better

If I had to name one aspect of parenting that I deeply, intensely hate, it actually wouldn't be the diapers or the sleep deprivation or the full-body bone-goop temper tantrums or even the look on your preshus beloved baby's face when you accidentally call him "sweetie" while saying goodbye in the middle school hallway. No, it'd be taking them to the damn dentist. Our past appointments easily take up several spots in my all-time top 10 Low Moments In Parenting list. We're talking screaming, kicking, crying. (Them, not me. At least not until we were back in the car.) I'd have to sit in the chair with them, pinning down their arms and legs with all the force my own limbs could muster, while a clearly pissed-off and tired-of-this-shit hygienist tried to assure them that "Mister Thirsty" was nothing to be scared of. (FUCK YOU MISTER THIRSTY, I'd think to myself, while also trying to think of post-appointment good-behavior incentives that didn't involve tooth-rotting junk food, lest the hygienist judge me even more.) We tried kid-only dentists, special-needs dentists, dentists whose lobbies were packed with video games and had televisions in the exam rooms. My kids would have none of... Read more →


High Crimes & Misdemeanors

I recently had to pass a drug screen and background check for work -- for a contract job I've had for over two years now and successfully not done while coked out of my mind and/or while committing various felonies, not even once, but I guess you can never be too careful with us shifty freelance types. I did not fail the drug screen, though I did initially fail the TAKING of the drug screen. Because I didn't pee enough. The ONE thing I needed to do that entire day was to pee in a cup and I couldn't pee enough in the cup. (This is what happens when you successfully medicate my anxiety, people. One time I showed up for a 20-week ultrasound with a bladder so full I burst into hysterical tears while signing in at the front desk and then spent a terrible 10 minutes in the restroom trying to pee just some of it out, but not all of it, because then we wouldn't be able to see the babyyyyyyy and find out the sex and everything in the entire universe would be ruined. RUINED I SAY.) I was directed to a water cooler in the... Read more →


Fearless Fashion

Ridiculous Unicorn Horn Headband: $9.95 Even More Ridiculous Fake Fair Extensions: $9.49 Needlessly Politically Themed St. Patrick's Day Shirt Because I Am Insufferable: $24.95 Needlessly Cat-Themed St. Patrick's Day Leggings Because My Husband Is Hilarious: $23.95 Doc Martens Because I was Seeing The Pixies (also Weezer but was mostly there for The Pixies): $140 but the blisters are freeeeeeeee Actually enjoying a concert for the first time in God knows how long vs. of spending the entire time on the edge of a panic attack because there could be a fire or roof collapse or crowd crush so maybe I should obsessively check the exits again and map out an escape route OMG we're all probably going to die and I cannot believe people do this for fun: PRICELESS (Also priceless: Me, in general, for using a commercial format MasterCard hasn't even used in at least a decade, thus dating myself even more than the Docs and Pixies tickets EVER COULD.) Read more →