Posted: June 17th, 2016 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Minneapolis Schools, Misc., Out and About, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness | No Comments »
I just want to write.
Every night as my head hits the pillow, my eyes blink open and that thought flashes across my mind. I just want to write. But when? How? What do I even write about?
I’m in the deep end of the parenting pool, and I’m treading water like crazy. Everyone is so loud. Everyone needs me all of the time. Yesterday I actually told my kids that I was going to run away and never come back. And for a few minutes, I think I actually meant it. We aren’t far enough into summer for me to be losing my grip here. Don’t even get me started on the state of my house.
There is a lot of energy in my house. My almost 6-year old is without his best friend Monday-Thursday, and spends the day antagonizing everyone from dawn til dusk. There is not enough coffee in the world to enable me to start the day on the right foot with him. I do not do mornings well to begin with, and I dread getting up when I hear him downstairs at 6am. Which is in itself a problem- 6am?! It’s summer, we have nowhere to be in the mornings. Why must my kids get up at 6am?
My 2-year old just figured out how to climb out of his crib, so naps and bedtimes are a nightmare, and we are suddenly back into up-all-night sleep deprivation mode. I was completely spoiled by the ability to put him in his crib, let him snuggle in and be awake for awhile, and then fall asleep on his own. Now we are all rocking and shushing, and sitting in front of the crib and putting him back when he climbs out. Did I mention he is still nursing? He’s still nursing. We’ve been trying to wean for a good year at this point and although I think we are close, I’m completely over it.
My 7-year olds are (as usual) the easier of the four to keep entertained during the day, mostly because there are endless screenplays to read on the internet, and the yoga balls are in abundance. Easy if you ignore the fact that one of them likes to dump all of my jewelry out and drag it all over the house, and the other one won’t wear pants. Easy if you ignore the fact that we are all on constant lockdown because they are an elopement risk and my biggest fear is one of them leaving and me not being able to track them down and/or catch up to them. But they aren’t yelling at me at 6am, so that goes a long way.
We wrapped up all spring sports and activities! Newsflash: much to my surprise, I am not cut out to be a sports mom. I have zero patience for watching games, and even less patience for chasing my other kids around parks and fields while their sibling plays. I also really like not having things scheduled at night. Maybe it’s good none of them like hockey.
Speaking of sports moms, I got to witness another mom walk out onto the field during a game to yell at MY KID for throwing sand. Of course every other kid was also throwing sand at the time (this is T-Ball after all), mine just happened to throw sand at her kid. Asher’s Mom- Your face is seared into my brain.
We spent approximately 10% of our income on various car repairs and major appliance replacements in May. So that was fun. I’m never getting a new couch.
My 5-year old took it upon himself to open up a can of paint, and proceed to paint on our walls, and his bed frame when I allowed him to stay home while Yogi Dad was on a conference call (home, but not supervising). I guess I need to actually get the painting done this summer. Anyone like to paint?
We finally figured out what our upstairs ceiling was made of. The weird ceiling that when we bought the house we told the realtor we would eventually replace because it’s weird, and ugly? ASBESTOS. The ceiling is made from asbestos. Because OF COURSE IT IS. I guess we just paint over it and live with it, because we probably aren’t going to be replacing it anytime soon. Shouldn’t that have been in the truth in sale of housing documents? It feels like that might be important information.
Another important piece of information that we recently learned was the fact that the teacher hired from Spain to teach in my 5-year old’s brand new Spanish dual immersion program last year, was a gym teacher when he taught in Spain. Nothing against gym teachers, but I think we can all agree that this was a major oversight on the hiring team. He was not a general education teacher. He was not a dual immersion teacher. He was not a kindergarten teacher. I’m not sure how many times I asked what he taught, but it was never specifically stated, and the answer always led me to believe that he just taught a grade other than kindergarten. Of course, I didn’t learn this information until we had already pulled our kids from the school for next year, partially due to the fact that the Spanish immersion experience had been so poor. I am disappointed on so many levels. But mostly I fear that we wasted my son’s entire kindergarten year. We put a lot of faith in the district and our administrators that this was going to be great. We knew it would be hard starting a new program, but we trusted that it would work out. It was a total fail.
(Now I’m just sitting here angry. Think Lovely Thoughts!)
Libraries. Dude. I finally updated my card and I’m newly obsessed with working on my To-Read list without feeding my Amazon addiction. The best thing so far is the audio books. I spend way too much time doing dishes every day, and listening to something I want to read is making those hours feel like less of a loss. Also: podcasts. I’m sorry I ever turned my nose up at the podcasters at the blogging conferences!
Ice Cream. This is the summer of ice cream. Northeast Minneapolis needs a good ice cream shop, it sounds like we have donuts figured out, but our ice cream options are lacking. In the meantime we are eating our weight in DQ.
Neighborhood pools- best invention ever.
My gardens are really coming along, there wasn’t much here when we bought the house, and we have since removed all of the shrubs and replaced with perennials, so it’s a work in progress. If I like it, I stick it in the dirt, so there isn’t much rhyme or reason to what is happening there, but now that things have had a year or two to establish, I can see where we need to move things around a bit.
Our summer is pretty well stocked with fun things to do. I hope the boys enjoy our daytrips and vacations. I hope that I can enjoy them and not just be constantly stressed. Cross your fingers for me?
Aaaannnd we’re back to negative, so I’m going to stop right there for now.
Posted: November 3rd, 2015 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Stream of Consciousness | No Comments »
It’s November. In Minnesota. And it’s 70 degrees out.
I’m staring at my backyard that is still covered with kid toys, and lawn tools, and an unfinished patio, and I can’t help but think we are playing with fire here. It’s going to actually be winter soon, and then those toys and lawn tools will be covered in snow, and that unfinished patio project will cease to just be an eyesore and turn into a major hazard for anyone trying to walk across the backyard. We need to get on this stuff, but the weather is not conducive to getting everything put away for the winter.
We need to rake! We need to mow! We need to put away the trampoline and the patio furniture! I need to put down grass seed! We need to fill in that damn hole before someone breaks a leg! But I’m over here ignoring all of it. I’m enjoying these days of having the windows open and the breeze blowing through. It makes up for the craziness of darkness at 5pm thanks to daylight savings time.
I never get used to the early darkness. By 6:00 I’m ready to tuck everyone into bed and sit on my ass. Instead I have an endless list of places to be: PTO, CPEO, SEAC, Site Council, Partners in Policymaking, and on and on and on. When did I become a joiner?
Winter is coming. It’s my favorite time of year. When everything gets covered in a quieting blanket of snow. When the air has that distinct winter snow smell that I can’t ever describe. When it’s OK to sit inside and be cozy, and churn out baked goods, and burn candles, and wear sweaters, and plan holiday meals and map out holiday traditions on the calendar.
Winter is coming. I hope it snows.
Posted: September 9th, 2015 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness, Stuff I Like | Tags: Kitten | No Comments »
We told the boys they could have a kitten.
This doesn’t seem like a huge deal, except I have been saying for the past year that I am in no uncertain terms, done with pets. D.O.N.E. And then a friend with a pregnant cat offers up kittens, and half jokingly I asked Yogi Dad if we should get a kitten, only to be met with a very enthusiastic- Yes!
So, we are getting a kitten.
“Because all kids should have the experience of raising a pet.”
To prepare for this kitten, who is expected to come earthside sometime in late September/early October, we need to get the last of the carpet out of our house. I can’t have cats and carpet. More specifically, I can’t have Henry-Simon, and a new kitten, and carpet. I can barely have Henry-Simon and carpet as it is. He’s kind of a passive aggressive asshole that way. I’m anticipating some angst-y days after our little furball friend joins us. I have visions of him just giving up the cat box altogether to show his displeasure at the situation.
That said, I’m hoping Henry-Simon enjoys this new addition. He seems lonely without Audrey and Stanley. He needs someone to bum around with. He needs someone to get him up and moving instead of hiding under the bed all day long. He needs someone to boss around. Someone that isn’t me.
The major conversation around our house lately revolves around what to name this kitten. We get first choice of the girls, so I’ve been rallying for Gertie. I think it fits well with Audrey/Henry-Simon/Stanley. So far I’ve only convinced Lincoln that *this* is the name for our kitten. Wyatt and Judah have settled on Gnocchi, like the cat on Curious George.
It’s been almost 14 years since we’ve adopted a new pet. Where will she sleep? How will we contain her? What if she gets out and is eaten by the neighborhood fox or one of those gigantic blackbirds that are everywhere?! So many things going through my mind. I need new cat bowls, and a collar, and something to scratch on, and heaps of catnip to keep Henry-Simon content.
I’m excited for the boys to meet this new addition. I don’t know what I was thinking saying I was done with pets. As if that could ever be good.
Posted: November 5th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy, Stream of Consciousness | Tags: Baby 4, Boy Mom, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 1 Comment »
This is going to ramble a bit…
Way back in July (August?) we decided we were just going to go ahead and announce this pregnancy so I could freely talk about it here. Of course that pretty much meant I would have all of the energy (and will) sapped from my body immediately and I would go months between posts because all I did was sit in bed and try not to be sick for weeks on end. I go weeks without sitting down at an actual computer. Blogging…HA!
I eventually ended up in the ER, and a few days later I started OB Home Care. Lactated ringers and a zofran pump became my lifeline.
After 3-4 weeks of IVs, I was able to stop them, and have been IV free for just over three weeks. They are extremely helpful when needed, but with three wild boys running around they were getting to be difficult to deal with. My veins have always been a bit tricky, and getting a good stick to begin with was not always easy. Getting them to last more than a day or two was even harder. Now that I’m to the point where I can eat (mostly) and drink (sometimes) we are working on keeping me from backtracking, and possibly weaning from the zofran pump.
Looking back, this is definitely the earliest we have had my hyperemesis under any sort of control. I will take it!
We are starting to talk about things like nursery decor. Something so simple, so obvious to someone who is having a “fluffy” pregnancy. But all those fun things you look forward to, they get lost in the shuffle when you are just managing an illness, trying to survive the day.
But we are there now.
I’m not 100%. I don’t know that I’m 75% or even 50%, but every day is not all bad. A corner has been turned.
And we just made it to the halfway mark!
Which brings me to our 20 week ultrasound. The BIG one. The one everyone looks forward to. Well, at least people who are wanting to find out if they are having a boy or a girl.
Having a house full of boys, I definitely wanted to know if I was going to be adding ruffles and dresses to our laundry pile.
I wore the same pink striped socks that I had worn to both of our previous 20 week scans. The tech joked that if I was looking for a girl I probably should have worn blue socks, they didn’t seem to be working any magic. The thing is, I kind of wanted another boy. A girl would have been welcomed and celebrated, obviously, but I just don’t see myself as a mom to girls. Lincoln was our lone hold out- if you asked him, he would tell you the baby in my belly was a girl. He would tell you her name was Hansel. He never wavered on his prediction. Everyone else said it was a boy, even if they were hoping deep down for a girl.
Even though I was silently rooting for a boy, I kind of loved the thought of Lincoln having some intuition and being the only one right on this. Lord knows *I* never feel any intuition when it comes to whether it’s a boy or a girl. I just guess based on what we have, and what I can eat (spicy, Mexican) compared to what I could eat in past pregnancies (spicy, Mexican).
Alas, it’s a boy.
I was almost relieved.
We all laughed when she moved the wand over his lower half and he spread his legs for a split second, just long enough for me to confirm that yes, he was definitely all boy.
Before I ever became a mom, I wished for boys.
I wished for Lincoln and Wyatt to be cute. I know. That was really the only wish I had? But they are definitely cute, for better or worse. I think they get away with more than they should because they can charm the socks off their teachers and therapists.
I wished for Judah to be a Mama’s boy. And I got that, again for better or worse. He was a completely different experience from his brothers, and I am grateful for that, although a few moments of downtime would have been very welcomed in the early weeks.
For this, our last baby, and the youngest boy, I am wishing for him to be calm. So far he seems pretty chill, I just hope he remains that way. We need a little bit of calm in this family.
So, kind of by default, and none of my own doing, I remain queen of my castle.
A rowdy, messy, noisy, castle.
A Boy Mom.
Oh, and Lincoln? He’s cool with another brother. He’s pretty sure his name will be Hazel.
Posted: June 14th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Stream of Consciousness | No Comments »
Well, it’s been awhile.
I have to say, there were many days when all I wanted to do was sit down and write, but time was just not on my side.
Here are the high (and low) points:
We bought a house! We closed on the 31st and have been in full-on moving mode ever since. Which mostly means painting, packing, and spending all of our money at Home Depot.
Moving with three toddlers is harder than moving with two toddlers and an infant. I think we are still 90% in boxes here. As hard as it was to pack, it’s proving to be just as difficult to un-pack and organize. We might be living out of boxes for the next 6 months. Maybe the next 6 years.
We have a lot of stuff. I *thought* I had made a dent in our possessions when we purged three van-fuls of clothes, housewares and home décor over to Goodwill. I was sorely mistaken. As we unpack and organize, we will once again be giving everything a long, hard look. Or, in my husband’s case, just tossing everything, including the gorgeous hooked rug gifted to us for the boys room. I pulled more than a few cherished items out of the trash last week. So, I suppose I will be doing the unpacking/ organizing/ purging. Anyone want to help?!
We went on a date! At a normal time! At a respectable, hip place! On a Saturday night! On MOVING DAY! It was one for the record books. It’s been awhile since we made a reservation for after 6pm.
All of my electronics conked out on me at the same time. Our desktop took a turn for the worse and was skittish at best, throwing up the blue screen of death at it’s worst. A certain 4 year old spilled a glass of milk on our laptop rendering it almost completely useless. My phone decided that it would no longer hold a charge for more than 6 minutes and seeing as we are up for new phones in July, I am trying to make it through the next few weeks with minimal phone use. So, basically, if I was online at all, it was while tethered to the wall by my phone charger.
Care Cab took our boys home to our old house. Pretty sure the old guy across the street who sits on his porch and watches the neighborhood all day thinks I am up to something after I paced up and down the sidewalk with a half-naked toddler for 45 minutes while we waited for them to show up at the right house. I have no doubt that it was an honest mistake, the driver has driven them many times before and it was the first time she had driven them since the move and just went to the old house. There was no way she would have left them there, they just got an extra long ride home. She probably suffered the most as Wyatt and Lincoln told her in no uncertain terms where they wanted to be: The three five one five house!
The school year ended. We are mostly surviving with just 3 hours of day treatment each day. It’s hard to tell where the craziness is coming from, the shortened day, or the new, unorganized house. I’m hoping we can get into a routine here soon. I’m also hoping that things will be easier once our fence goes in. I. Can’t. Wait.
This house is locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Four locks plus alarms on the exit doors? Yes, please! Everywhere you look there is a lock, latch, or safety device. I know it seems excessive, but containment is our number one priority with these kids, and for once, I don’t want to have to worry about leaving the room and coming back to find they walked out the back door.
New furniture for everyone! And the beginnings of Pinterest worthy rooms! Aside from Home Depot, we have been to Ikea about a dozen times, Target, and Amazon are seeing lots of action. We held on to cheap furniture from college and when we were first married because we wanted to wait to replace things when we bought a house. Let’s just say that tearing apart old flat-pack was insanely satisfying after all these years. It is so nice to start fresh and new!
I am failing at using my CSA shares. We just have fallen apart when it comes to cooking. Pretty sure we have eaten out at least once a day for the past month. I am so ready to be cooking again. Thankfully Wyatt is on a “healthy snacks” kick and the boys are devouring fresh fruits and veggies by bowlful, even if they aren’t our CSA veggies, and even if we aren’t getting healthy meals in. Sunday is the start of a new week, a fresh start for everyone and everything!
Wondering what happened to our landlord and his many hats? When we checked out of the old house, he sort of apologized for “only thinking of himself” when he gave us the boot so unexpectedly. Things obviously worked out in our favor. We bought a house we love in a neighborhood we are excited to be living in. That said, his “apology” doesn’t erase the douchbaggery. He ended up taking his house off the market after a couple of price drops, so they won’t be moving into the rental we were in after all. Of course.
That’s probably enough for tonight. Pictures will come once we get more settled. Right now it’s just toy soup and box city. Pretty sure you all know what that looks like!
Posted: April 18th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »
I seriously need it to be Friday. And I need Friday to be GOOD.
This week we had…
Monday, which brought clarity to the fact that you should never trust someone who switches between his landlord, investor, and businessman hats so frequently. Also: people who think the phrase “I’m putting my (fill in the blank) hat on” somehow softens the blow, are kidding themselves. Also: anyone who evicts you so he can have a place to live when he sells his house is kind of an (insert choice word here). At least those were the sentiments of all the people who read my post on Tuesday.
Which brings me to Tuesday. Tuesday had me bringing Judah in to have an “unofficial” evaluation/ observation to rule out any red flags for Autism. If you’ve been down this road, you know how difficult that is. Thankfully, he is just crazy busy and challenging, no red flags found. Also: we toured, made an offer and had our offer accepted on a house. We are (cross your fingers) going to be home owners. Finally!
Wednesday I had two IEP meetings scheduled back to back in the afternoon. IEP meetings usually come with a lot of anxiety for a lot of parents. I generally welcome the chance to chat with the boys teams and make plans for next year. This year, I figured there would be issues with the transition/ transportation between the boys day treatment and school. I was correct. We are pretty much up shit creek a this point and we are seriously contemplating pulling them out of school and just doing day treatment. The alternative does absolutely nothing to serve our boys- it only serves the two different facilities. It’s funny that after the last 10 days of agonizing over keeping them in this school district, how easily I am willing to walk away from their current school. I’m hoping I can get past this annoyance in the coming weeks and I hope that we can come to a better solution. I still can’t believe that *this* is what we have to quibble over each year.
Thursday, well, Thursday brought snow.
It’s April 18th. This is the third snowfall we’ve had in a week. I know that non-natives think Minnesota is under snow for 300 days a year, but I’m here to tell you, this is not the norm. I am officially ready for Spring!
Also, with the craziness of the week, my house is a crazy mess. Dishes are piled in the sink, the laundry room is filled with moving boxes and laundry, the dining room and living room are an inch deep with toys and tools. Judah won’t stop escaping out the back door and he pooped on the floor TWICE today. Because of all of this, I have a short fuse. I feel like I’m constantly yelling and screaming and I just want to crawl into bed and wake up to a clean house. But that isn’t going to happen. I will be up hours after they go to bed (they will still be up at 11, mark my words), trying to get some semblance of order and I will wake up exhausted, and crabby, and start this whole thing over, with a shorter fuse.
So, Friday…our INSPECTION day! It seriously better be a good one. At least this weekend won’t be lost to driving around looking at houses!
Posted: December 26th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Stream of Consciousness | 5 Comments »
For all the build-up, Christmas sure does go fast once you actually get there!
Last Saturday we were at my Dad’s to celebrate and we had a good time. We went sledding with the boys (two of the three as Wyatt was down and out with a fever on the couch), ate some good food and opened gifts before the tantrums struck and it was time to high-tail it out of there.
Sunday we spent getting ready for two days at my moms, I had lots of cooking to do and I wanted the house to look fairly picked up before we left. I never understood cleaning the house before you went on vacation but now I totally get it- who wants to come home to a messy house? Also: if someone were to break in while we were gone, I would like to be able to tell!
Yes, my house it usually that big of a disaster.
So, Sunday I made a bunch of food, my contributions to the various meals to be had over Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Wrapped the gifts for Yankee Swap and made sure all of the stocking gifts were ready to go. Clothes were packed. Outfits were laid out for church.
Monday morning we woke up and Lincoln was a feverish mess.
We crossed church off the list and proceeded to try and get everything packed up and on the road a little bit earlier than we had planned. It didn’t work very well. Has anyone with toddlers ever gotten anywhere earlier than planned in the history of the world?
Christmas Eve is Mexican Christmas at our house. A tradition that started when I first married Yogi Dad. We do tamales and enchiladas, this year I added a taco bar with chicken and steak, the best rice you’ve ever had and home made refried beans. Cookies for dessert and lots of margaritas.
We open one gift (new pajamas- all matching!) and then the kids go to bed.
After the kids were in bed, the adults played Yankee Swap.
When we bought our contributions to the game , we were super excited about what we had chosen. Usually when we do this we just find something pretty generic that anyone might like but this year we tried to find something that was really great that we ourselves would like. I picked out a lovely Infinity Scarf and Yogi Dad chose a Shaving Kit. Both gifts came from Etsy and I think from now on we might try and do all of our shopping there.
After Yankee Swap- we all descended on the stockings to fill them to the brim with candy, socks and other trinkets. Stockings are a tradition in my family. Every year we get the same candy we got every year growing up (Fanny Farmer Chocolate Balls, solid Santas and Fruit Slices), socks, and various other trinkets. It never gets old.
We only had one item to assemble this year- a kitchen for the boys. It would have been a breeze had Yogi Dad not thrown away half of the screws (after fastening only two pieces together). I blame that on the late hour and possibly too much merriment. After some fishing around in the garbage, we found what we needed, finished securing the Kitchen, and then we all went to bed.
Wyatt was up at 5:30. He sat straight up in is bed and said “It’s Morning! Santa!” and then walked upstairs with his blanket and pillow. I thought Judah was right behind him, but thankfully he just rolled over and went back tot sleep. I figured there was no use both of us getting up (I could hear Yogi Dad walking around upstairs) so I went back to bed too. He finally woke up around 7 and we headed upstairs then.
I expected to see the contents of the stockings strewn from one end of the living room to the other, but they were all sitting right where we had left them the night before. That is one thing I will never get used to with Autism- they are just completely oblivious to things like presents and stockings. Maybe one year there will be a mad dash to open gifts on Christmas morning, but maybe not.
After everyone else got up, we opened stockings and then got on with brunch (Blueberry Cream Cheese Baked French Toast, Maple and Cajun Sausage, Fresh Pineapple, coffee and Mimosas) and then we hung out for awhile. The kids played or napped. My sister set up shop and cut and colored hair. We made lunch and went sledding int he front yard.
And then came dinner.
After seeing the price tag on this piece of meat, I totally understand my mothers worry over it getting overcooked. You really don’t want to ruin something that cost you that much! But, my sister’s boyfriend Sam is a pro and it was perfect and delicious and dinner was simple and pretty relaxing. Pretty sure everyone was ready to undo the top button after that.
We loaded everyone into the car shortly after eating and headed home. Lincoln had been asking to go home since the day before, he was ready for his own bed and I was ready to sit on my own couch and stare mindlessly at the TV with my feet up and not have to worry about my kids breaking something or pushing anyone or jumping on something or when the next tantrum was going to come.
It was a good Christmas. We were with the people we love. The weather was nice. The food was good. Fun was had by all.
And today I feel the Christmas let-down. All that build-up. The cookie making, the gift choosing and wrapping, the cooking and packing. today it is over.
We get to do it again next weekend when Yogi Dad’s parents come to town.
I’m hoping for a repeat of the success of the past four days!
Posted: December 18th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Blogging, Stream of Consciousness | 9 Comments »
I’m pretty annoyed right now that as a blogger, I (and this is a general “I”) am being tsk-tsk’d by fellow bloggers for daring to write about the tragedy that happened in Newtown.
(Most of them say it’s really terrible that people are trying to capitalize on this tragedy and giving media attention to it. Then in the next 5 paragraphs they go on to give their $0.02. Attention bloggers: No matter how you spin it- you are still writing about it. Get off your high horse.)
I’m not writing for page views- my page views are looooooow. I stopped chasing page views months ago.
I haven’t mentioned any names, I don’t trick out my keywords or try and draw people in with titillating titles.
I write because as a person, as a parent, I need to process.
No matter how inadequately my words may be, is how I am doing that. There is only so much I can cry during the news or discuss it with my husband.
Today we got home a letter from one of the boy’s schools outlining a few guidelines for dealing with this.
One of the things was this:
“As parents and adults, we should get the support we need to process this from other adults.”
Which seems pretty obvious.
On top of talking to friends and family, writing here accomplishes that for me. Talking about it on my Facebook page does that for me.
Why do the blogging police always come out after things like this and try and shame other bloggers for writing about their feelings? If you don’t want to write about it- don’t write about it. Don’t mention it at all.
Because sending the message to other bloggers that they should be ashamed for addressing it and then turning around and talking about it yourself makes you a hypocrite.
As a parent of toddlers with autism who attend school, I am affected by this much more than I ever would have imagined. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been.
Posted: December 15th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Stream of Consciousness | 5 Comments »
Yesterday as I was getting ready to head out the door to run some errands, I caught a friends Facebook status that said something about a school shooting in Connecticut. It seemed that there weren’t a lot of details at the moment but it seemed that there were only a few casualties. A blessing, I thought.
As I was driving around, listening to CNN on the radio I heard an interview with a parent who was in a meeting at the time of the shooting. She told of the Principle, Vice-Principle and school Psychologist leaving the room after hearing gunshots, and only one person coming back.
This seemed in line with what I had heard earlier and I though that this was the extent of the destruction.
As I started on my last leg of my journey, the details started to spill out.
I just started to cry. Right there in traffic on my way to Target.
I’ve written before about feeling jaded when these mass shootings happen, and for the most part, I am. The Oregon shooting just weeks ago didn’t even register a blip on my radar.
This hits much too close to home.
This was not someone who was bullied taking out his hurt and anger on the people who hurt him.
This was someone killing 6-year olds.
Two years ago, when the boys were first diagnosed, we didn’t bat an eyelash when they were put right into public school just 3 weeks later. They had just turned 2 years old.
Since day one, they have ridden the bus. They have their own cubbie for their jacket and backpack. They eat school lunches. They bring home art projects by the stack. They lose playground privileges when they act out.
They have an entire life, five days a week that I am not a part of. It’s been like this since they were TWO. This year they are gone for almost 6 hours a day, dividing time between two different schools. This isn’t some dress rehearsal for school- this is the real deal.
It didn’t strike me until yesterday just how much faith a parent has to have to do that. To put your two year old on a bus with a complete stranger who will hand them off to other (relative) strangers, and trust that they will come home safe at the end of the day. To trust that the people they are with will protect them and care for them in the way I would if I was there.
When the boys bus pulled up to our driveway yesterday afternoon I bounded up the stairs to unbuckle them from their seats. The driver took one look at me and said “Today has been a terrible day.” In that moment I didn’t know whether to hug him (for acknowledging my tear stained face) or smother my kids in kisses (simply because I could).
Today I spent the morning at a parent support group discussing safety precautions at one of the boys schools. How they are making sure the school is safe for the kids. If/ When/ How to talk to our kids about things like this. Whether the kids should be prepared in any way via a lock-down drill like they do tornado and fire drills or whether that would create added anxiety for them.
I’m sure we will be hearing more in the coming days about safety measures from both schools. It astounds me that at the age of 4, this is now part of their life.
I did not worry about things like this.
Of course, hearing the word “Autism” bandied about is adding lots of extra anxiety.
Autism is not a mental illness- the news media needs to stop calling it that.
There is enough stigma that comes with a diagnosis, I do not want my kids to grow up and be pegged as loose cannons because they are socially awkward or keep to themselves.
To all of the teachers at Sandy Hook who kept those children safe,
who read stories to keep them calm,
who gave hugs and told those children they were loved,
who barricaded doors with their own bodies,
who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of their students.
I don’t know whether to call you heroes, or angels walking on earth, but I can only hope that my kids are in such caring hands.
Posted: June 25th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Stream of Consciousness | Tags: Cleaning, Food, Food Blogging, Simplify | 7 Comments »
I have been overcome with the urge to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff in our life.
From what we put in our mouths to what clutters our rooms and our time.
I have an unhealthy relationship with things. I cannot part with anything without an argument in my head. If it was a gift, forget about it. I’ll probably keep it around forever- even if it’s not useful, not my taste, or long since been relegated to a box in the basement.
I have to let go of the things.
The thing is not what is important- it’s the memory or the person or the occasion and those things will not go away because I donate the item.
I’m working on this.
I have purged our kitchen and am moving on to other rooms of the house. I should really set a date for a yard sale so I have some accountability to get this done.
In the theme of doing things simply, I just canned for the first time in my life. We have this black raspberry bush growing along the fence half on our side, half on the neighbors. Last year we were told to pick until we couldn’t eat anymore, so we have been doing just that. There have been a lot of berries this year. At least twice as many as we had last year and I think I’ll get one more day of picking out of it.
But, what to do with all of these berries? After about 2 days in the fridge everyone has had their fill and they are starting to look a little lifeless. I figured now would be as good a time as any to try to make jelly. I found a recipe for Raspberry Jalapeno jelly that looked awesome (even if it didn’t sound very fail proof from the comments). I’m a fan of jalapeno poppers and they are always great with pepper jelly. If it doesn’t work I will only be out the price of the jalapenos, the lids and the pectin. I can live with that.
Right now I’m staring at 9 jars and wondering if they will set up- I’m betting on “No” at this point. Of course the jars are still flaming hot, so who knows. Maybe there is a chance. What was left in the bottom of the pan and the measuring cup seemed to solidify nicely. I’m crossing my fingers.
Tomorrow I am stepping out of my comfort zone and doing something I never in a million years thought I would be doing. I’m going on an Oink Outing (with Oink Outings). I’m meeting up with some local bloggers at the Hilton tomorrow morning and we’ll be cooking with the executive chef there and learning about locally grown pork before we travel to the farm and learn how the pigs are raised.
I am kind of freaking out.
I am far from a food blogger. Being surrounded by food bloggers intimidates the hell out of me. Even if I can hold my own in the kitchen, I always bend to the pressure when around others who I perceive to be an authority. I hope I don’t start something on fire or chop off a finger.
I’m not the poster girl for local and organic eating. There. I said it. The secret is out. Actually, that wasn’t a secret. I just find it super cost prohibitive and feeding a family of 5 on a budget of $200 every 2 weeks (including pet food and all miscellaneous items) I have my hands full just avoiding the aisles full of processed foods. So, I avoid all the documentaries about how food is made and why organic is better because it’s just not attainable right now.
We do however shop the farmers market and choose local restaurants over chains as often as possible. Most of the restaurants in our area seem to really go with the locally raised foods thing, so when we eat out we are covered. At the farmer’s market we usually just stick with fruits and veggies although I did buy a dozen eggs the other day and I have to say I am severely underwhelmed. Where are these huge orange yolks and extra richness I have been hearing about? They didn’t look any different than the Market Pantry eggs I usually buy and at $5 a dozen…well, let’s just say they might not be on the list next time (see $200 budget).
But! I am open to learning. So bring on the piggies.