Saturday, May 08, 2021

Thirteen

I don't really remember when I turned 13. The teenage years were such a blur.  I remember High School and the anticipation of things to come...and now, I am a mother to a 13 year old.

It has definitely been a strange few years and her first years in Middle School has been challenging in so many ways.  But in a really good way, the challenge has also brought my daughter and I together even more.  We are starting to bond in that way where I hope it lasts through the next few years of teenage drama and we end up continuing be the more mature relationship of a grown young lady and her mother.

It is bittersweet to watch the children grow up like this.  And the last few years and pandemic make it so much more clearer that life is fragile and short.  Sometimes that just gets me down.  Sometimes that makes me want to live life to the fullest. 

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Willow at 13: loves Manga, loves Japanese fiction, anime, history, UTube, driving around with mom, Billie Ellish, Gorillaz, The Monkees.  She loves running around outside, cute squishy stuffed animals and drawing.  She hates working on homework, doesn't like the noise of people eating, and apparently Flan and Chocolate are heaven on earth.

Funny, intellectual, manipulative, dramatic, loud, clumsy, whimsical, daring, wise, anxiety-ridden, coffee addicted, fashion obsessed (if not personally).

Willow is awesome.












Tuesday, March 30, 2021

"Selfies"


She just came downstairs one night like this.

Kif "Working" in Brad's Chair.

Blue Birthday Cake icing and braces do not mix.

Willow loves to do selfies.

Fell at work..smooshed foot and nose.

Ana having a socially distanced meet up with me.

Progress on nose smooshie

Foot smooshie

Better--almost myself

Lennier

Willow foot selfie.  

Unvarnished morning selfie. This says "so, this is 51"...

Current Game Michael is obsessed with--we won!

Paleo--we survived and did our cave painting!



Sunday, February 21, 2021

And Now he is 22 years old...





Michael is 22 years old now. There is a part of me that cannot believe it has been 22 years since he was born, and there is a part of me that cannot remember life without him.  

As usual, he is a mix of so many things, volatile, yet subtle, humor-filled, yet humorless.  He has autism, but doesn't want to be defined by it, but yet, invariably, he is marked by it.

This pandemic has been especially hard on him.  His anxiety levels, his social issues and the way he isolates himself and interacts with others--all have been tested.  I have seen a regression in him of social anxiety and tantrums brought on by frustrations and anxiety.  For a while, he started getting a grunting tic because he was so anxious and overwhelmed. Michael has been doing great academically in school, but emotionally, the last year has been hard.

The past two weeks have been calmer and I do think that he has started to overcome some of the anxiety and social distancing issues.  He has started to act more mature again, more like himself from 2 years ago.  The grunting tic is almost gone. As things settle back in this country, and as the vaccination helps to make the world around us more "normal", I feel that we can start working to get back to where he was before all this mess.  

It is hard sometimes with a child who has special needs, to know when to focus on those issues caused by that problem or when to leave those issues alone and just focus on the core person.  With the pandemic and the issues brought on by that, I think we have all have been just focusing on getting by.  Now, perhaps we can start moving on.

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Meanwhile, today was his birthday and I think despite the strangeness still of the pandemic, he had a fun day!  Since he loves animals, I set up a couple virtual meet ups with animals:  in the morning, he met up with a sloth, who was having breakfast.  This one was a public meet up that was set up for everyone who signed up and paid for the event. 

The big event was at 1 p.m., where we met one on one with the giant anteaters at Roger Williams Park Zoo...it was just Michael and us (and Uncle Tom) and the zoo keeper for the anteaters (Mel) showed us around the giant anteater enclosure, and we got to see them up close and personal--including when she was able to hold the recent addition--a "little" baby anteater named Ruth (after Ruth Bader Ginsberg).

Michael was so excited and despite his usual reserve in front of other people, you could tell he was impressed.  He has a soft spot of animals, but has his favorites--and giant anteaters are one of them.  (He sleeps with a stuffed anteater).  When the zookeeper asked him why he loved giant anteaters so much, he said "Well, just look at them!"  :-)

The zookeeper was able to hold the baby anteater in her arms and show us her paws and claws up close and we saw them eat some yogurt with insects and avocados (which, apparently, they LOVE). We got to see those long tongues and we got to ask the zookeeper any questions we wanted to.  It was the most worthwhile 30 mins of our weekend and I am sure it was a perfect gift for my son, in these imperfect times.  Heck, in a lot of ways it was better than going to the zoo live, because we would have never gotten that close to the animals or been able to ask so many questions.  

At the end of our anteater time, they wished Michael a Happy Birthday, and said that anytime we can to the zoo, we could always page Mel and if she was there, she would come by and say "hi"

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After that--it was cake time--I splurged because of the situation, and got a custom cake:  

Michael is excited for the King Kong vs. Godzilla movie coming up at the end of March, so...a Godzilla cake was in order:









Chocolate cake with oreo frosting.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

31 years...in a pandemic

Today marks 31 years since our first date.  Normally, we celebrate by going out on a dinner and/or a movie date.  Well, if there is one thing about living in a pandemic has taught us, one has to think out of the box...so tonight..

Chewy and I are at a local fancy hotel...eating take out sushi...and frankly relishing the time to just be alone without kids or cats or anything.  

Thirty one years and a pandemic means we are just chilling and happy to be together.







Saturday, January 23, 2021

2021 so far...

It is Friday evening.  I have come home from work, Chewy is finishing his work (he works remotely).  The kids are upstairs.  

Like we have forEVER (well, since March 2020), we decide to take a little anxiety reducing nap in the living room.  Chewy on the comfy chair/ottoman, me on the slowly breaking (on his side mostly) couch...Hubs asks me to Do the Thing.  I turn on the calming sounds of Thunderstorms and we rest for 20 mins.  The alarm goes off...and since its Friday after a loooong week...we decide to relax a bit longer--maybe 15 mins more?

Willow comes down first.  But its okay.  She ignores us and goes straight for the kitchen.  She gets something to drink, she asks Alexa to play a song or two and she paces and dances to the songs.  Quietly, so we are still napping and relaxing and decompressing.

Then Michael comes down.  Asks us what are our plans for the evening.  (He starts his new term of college NEXT week...so, he hasn't really been doing much this week except being anxious about the world, etc.)  We mutter some ideas...Dad mutters something about playing chess.

Michael tells Willow to be QUIET and quit making noise under his room.  She then leaves the kitchen, turns on a light in the softly darkened living room, and starts pacing there.

Michael goes up stairs quickly bringing down the chess game....thunderstorm sounds still echoing in the air...yeah...no extra time now---TIME TO BE UP!

That is generally how its been a lot here.  We try to get along, we generally do...but we are also getting in each others ways sometimes...cuz, you know, you ALL know...because we can't go ANYWHERE.  

Well...at least we have our health, if not our sanity.

Random cat picture for fun.


Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas/Birthday Unplugged

So, pretty low key Christmas/Birthday this year.  Partially because we have grown-ish kids, partially because of Pandemic...this year has been low-key with the holidays.  Hanukkah finished up on December 17th, we had some gifts from people--lots and lots of Popcorn....and a HUGE snowstorm a week before Christmas.  But, in typical New England fashion, the weather changed, and now, for Christmas Day, we have a rainstorm, and most of the snow is gone, leaving a messy, dirty afterglow all over the outdoors.

We had take-out 7Nana (Japanese steakhouse) last night for my Birthday dinner, and Chewy and Michael got me a decent chocolate cake (I have had more pieces than I normally do..so, it must be good!)

Willow got nail polish, and we took turns last night polishing our nails, so I have purple nails right now...

So random photos because it was so low key, I really did not have that many opportunities to take pictures.  Also, the "kids" did not wear the holiday pjs I bought them, so there is that photo not taken.  Sigh...teenagers/college students....

I am #1!!  Or 51 years!  You can see remnants of the sushi/Japanese dinner.


Rudolph sucker in stocking.

See!  Me and my brother don't wear the Christmas pjs!

D&D book for Brad, Nessie book mark for Michael (Willow got a purple one)

Being a bunny.

Bunny socks and Bunny Slippers.

Santa forgot that Michael already had this Funko Pop of Weird Al--which is fine, because someone else coveted it!

Kif guarding the popcorn.

Spiked Squirrel Squishy.

X-mas morning stocking loot! Why yes, the storage boxes for the X-mas stuff just stayed upstairs this year....its been that type of year, folks.

Memorial candles lit last night for Grandma P., Grammie and Paul.  (Memorial candle for Brad's father going to be lit per request on New Years Eve)

Willow was Santa's helper and put the traditional candy canes on the tree.

Willow self portraits...





Funko Pops Advent characters from last year; Squishy Advent characters from this year, around X-mas tree...





Birthday kitty socks.

Opening presents last night.


Michael wrapped his gifts.

Magnetic tree advent calendar, earlier this week...

Co-worker Kif.

POPCORN from Nonnie.

Making blueberry chocolate chip pancakes last Sunday (chips left over from last batch of Grammie Fudge)


Cookie decorating

Chocolate and peanut butter fudge, Grammie style.

Ah--okay, so here is the Christmas PJs...




I wrote this up in March, its been on the cork board this whole time to remind us how things have been different this year  - Hopefully, the next year will be better!  

Thirteen

I don't really remember when I turned 13. The teenage years were such a blur.  I remember High School and the anticipation of things to ...