Monday, December 27, 2010

The Day After - a relentlessly mudane accounting.

I get somewhere at the end, eventually -

Due to the Fiscal Woes, Santa wasn't able to visit his workroom until Friday.  I thank whatever gods may be for TRUs's 24 hour pre-holiday policy.  We weren't quite sure how this was going to play out with the kids and husband's schedule but I woke up at 4am and was at the store by 5(ish), done by 6:30(ish), and still had time for two other stops.  Think Santa landed some good deals and ended up with a good mix of volume and wow factor.  Biggest hits were the 200 piece Tinker Toy set (because I am a masochist.  Also, disappointed to find out later they were PLASTIC.  The horror! Is nothing sacred?), the crystal-growing kit (everything thinks I'm forcing the educational stuff down his throat but he LOVES it - the crystals got the second biggest screech. Of delight, not horror. Jeez).  And my $40 online find of a mini-camcorder.  The boy loves to make movies but his current kiddie-camera basically captures shapes.  Which may or may not be human.  For $40 I'm not expecting him to become Spielburg, but perhaps he'll make some blog-worthy clips.  It's super-simple (on/record/review) and clicks into the computer to recharge - LOVE that that are no new cords.  Of course once you get it open they "highly recommend" a memory chip, and maybe a battery pack, so maybe no longer $40 steal, but I suppose we'll suck it up.  Lots of volume thanks to the 50% off second Crayola item - art supplies for the year? Stocked.

I didn't spent as much on the girl.  I fretted about this - way to short change A/my daughter with special needs and/or B/the youngest child.  But she has, courtesy of her older brother and via a mix of previously flusher parents and 4 sets of elders, a plethora of shape sorters, toddler-aimed noise & light makers, and more push around/ride upon vehicles than our little house has room for.  In my new fiscally responsible fashion, I'd been keeping a list of ideas and rough pricing.  I'd paged thru reams & reams of catalogues but she either wasn't ready for it or we already had it.  Albeit not always in pink but even if we splurged on a pink kitchen, instead of the manly green & brown kitchen in situ, she wouldn't notice and we would have no place to put it.  I did find some very adorable Melissa & Doug puzzles with textured pieces and a new! and different! shape sorter.  Added to the cornucopia of kitchen play food.  Also - and I say this with shame in my heart - a set of pom poms and a pink feather boa.  I was never a girly girl.  I did not enjoy high school, nor the girly girl cheerleader sorts.  I am under no illusions that the girly girls will be nice to my daughter and, though this is unkind and paranoid, I have no wish she be elected homecoming queen in some token patronizing look how nice WE are plot.  I do not wish to encourage any aspirations of pom poms in her future.  Girls are mean.  But... SO STINKING CUTE.  Those damn pom poms are her favorite present, right after the wrapping paper.

That might also be because Santa forgot one of her presents...on the bottom part of the cart in the TRUs parking lot.  The one push toy that she didn't have, that I thought she'd get a kick out of, was a shopping cart.  To go with *cough* the new kitchen food.  She's always loading up the other push-y toys with fridge magnets and the few plastic figures that the dogs haven't yet eaten so thought the cart would facilitate the process - maybe we could put her to work clearing the floor of Happy Meal toys.  But alas, the missing piece was not discovered till 3am (yes, that would be 23 hours later) when I noticed the girl's "volume" was lower than expected.  At the time, the crushing guilt of not finding another equalizing $50 worth of crap stimulating educational opportunities and then leaving one of the "big presents" behind was of Monumental Import.  Worst Mommy Ever.  After a lavish 2 hour nap, it just seemed like a rather asinine way to lose $30.  Because she didn't notice.  Because there was wrapping paper and ribbon and pom poms, and kisses and hugs, and mom & daddy & brother in the same room together.

We started a new holiday book tradition this year.  Prompted by another blogger, who I'd credit but I can't remember where I read it and many many minutes of google and clicking thru my favorites bar lead nowhere. So, just to keep you oriented, I was up at 4am, in and out of three major stores and back home with the car emptied by 8:30, on Christmas Eve no less.  Super Mom!  It was starting to snow so hubby had to go into work early.  I dashed out again for groceries, came back and loaded the kids in the car as hubby departed, then we stopped by a dollar store at the boy's repeated request.  I don't know how he got fixated on the dollar store idea - the Fiscal Woes have downgraded us to Walmart from Target, yet the dollar store still isn't one of our usual haunts - but it was Christmas, we had a long day ahead of us and no reason not to humor the lad.  I had images of Kelly Hampton's girl buying cute trinkets for her dad.  Except it wasn't so much dollar store as repository of random crap, most of which appeared to have “accidently” fallen off the back of a truck, none of it was $1, and it was busy being patronized by recovering meth addicts.  Yes, I am a terribly judgmental awful person. You take YOUR kids there and let me know how you feel about it.  Anyway the boy was easily talked into writing cards for his cousins instead (which we never got around to either - so many good intentions).

So then, with much fanfare we were then OFF! to the bookstore where I immediately decided that the books would be a surprise next year.  The girl kept trying to run off and the boy wanted a $25 pop up book that wouldn't have even made it home unscathed.  Plus, there were no words in it.  Gigi was always worried my dad's "Assigned Reading" program would ruin books for me but given my collection in the basement, I survived biblio-phile-intact. I love love LOVE that one of my girl's first signs was "book".  I love that she knows what to do with them and will flip through books and even magazines without me.  I love my son's long complicated sentences.  Even if heavy handed (hi dad), I love that I've read most of the classics.  Not that you'd know I know what a complete sentence is by reading this, but the kids' books will have words, dammit.  This didn't go over well in the middle of the store and it was only by threatening Santa and conceding on a (cheaper) Club Penguin thing, in addition to "real books", did I avoid dragging both kids out of there by their hoods.  Screaming.  On Christmas Eve.

Anyway, stayed up till 4am wrapping presents and putting annoyingly effusive bows on all of them.  Betcha didn't think I had a Martha streak?  Christmas morning is all about the presentation.  Also there was the summer in Macy’s gift wrap department.  Do you remember what you got when you were a kid?  I don't.  Except for the new bike the folks hid in the kitchen one year.  I do remember the anticipation and giddiness when looking at a big pile of boxes & bows.  Which is why I individually wrapped every box of crayons and carton of paint.  Which is also why daddy rallied when he got home and put ornaments on the tree (we'd held off due to Little Miss Destructo).

After my aforementioned super-refreshing 2 hours sleep, we did Christmas morning.  In all its pageantry and excess and glory.  Then Daddy had to go to work so we took it easy and eventually made our way over the Auntie A's house.  Had snacks, hung out, waited for daddy to head home... we'd planned on a late dinner because of his schedule but I'm usually long asleep by 9pm.  By the time he arrived and the food was laid out, I'd hit the proverbial wall.  Nothing looked the least bit appetizing but I took a token slice of filet (oh! the suffering!) and tried to remain upright, assuming my marathon Santa act was catching up with me.  I then draped myself on their couch but was feeling worse...and worse... until I insisted hubby escort me & the babe home and I immediately puked all over their driveway.  Merry Christmas!  Grab a bucket!

Which meant that the in laws took the boy to an all day brunch at the other SIL's house Sunday by himself.  Husband went to work.  My girl stayed home because of her disdain for the extended family (and also, the stairs) but she was happy to roll around in the as-yet-uncollected wrapping paper and show off her pom poms.  And I was "Sick".  Maybe not with the bunny ears, so just Sick, but still not exactly incapable of running the washing machine or maybe collecting the wrapping paper.  Which I did not do.  I spent the ENTIRE day reading the archives of another blogger.  Who'd been writing since 2006.  Like I said, the reading obsession had to be re-directed somewhere.

Occasionally I'd check comments and recognized other bloggers (the first step is to acknowledge the problem).  Also I'd click on links and blog rolls and I realized something - in all my www-reading, I actually read very few blogs about DS.  Other special needs - sure, lots (other peoples’ problems), funny blogs, two fashion blogs, large/commercial/semi-professional blogs, but only 3-4 blogs about kids with DS.  I recognize the other sites, have idly perused them but, whatever the reason, haven’t stayed.  I’m not going to insult anyone by saying they were too-this or too-that, though a few were too Jesus made my cereal EXTRA crunchy this morning. Sixteen exclamation points! - I suspect I just wasn’t ready for the party.  Why is probably a whole different post.

Also, not unrelated, many have been abandoned.  Not that the internet isn't littered with other orphaned commentary but the trend seems to be baby arrives with a diagnosis, we are sad, we love our child, we document various emotional adjustments.  Then the thing that is DS eventually fades away, becomes less note-worthy, less exceptional, and Life Goes On. (sorry, couldn't help the last bit).  I also wonder if the opposite might be true - if the hurt moves to a darker place.  Becomes less semi-funny stories about intrusive elderly ladies in the grocery store insisting you have a Very Special Child and more about the slings and stones of the playground, widening gaps, exclusions…a thousand tiny wounds.

Also, not insignificant, is that I cannot remember the last time I had an entire day of leisure to read through four years of someone’s life.  Even if it was at the expense of the laundry and dishes and uncollected bits of ribbon.  It IS like dating – you’re not sure if new bloggers (me – who wudda thunk?) will stick around for the long haul, and the old hacks have lots of luggage to sort though, stories to catch up on.  Which requires (this might be beating the metaphor to death a bit) a commitment.  Of time, if nothing else.  And maybe I could have been reading an actual book which I just got done complaining I didn't have time for, or should have been doing flashcards with the girl,  instead of internet stalking dating perusing but she was still on a Santa High and busy reveling in the wrapping detritus and new stuff.  She’d come over, give me a hug, we’d sing a song, she’d laugh and laugh, then spy the pom poms again, and would be off.  Because it’s not always about the DS or the therapy.  It’s about the kids, and Christmas, new books with words, and new pom poms, and crystal growing kits.

Merry Christmas.

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