Dessert May Come First–Or Not, Vol. 2

Welcome to the May 9, 2008 edition of dessert may come first —or not, A place to share experiences of the Autism Spectrum, whether a personal journey, or from the perspective of a family member or friend. We share stories and offer encouragement and advice to others on the path.


Good Fountain presents Reading – it?s what works posted at Good Fountain, where we learn how all those on our child’s team help design their learning process in a way that best suits the child’s learning style.


Julie James presents Grace, Please Find Me posted at a most imperfect paradise, a heartfelt story on the tough choices we have to make sometimes when we have children with issues.

For those of you who might not have seen this, here’s my story on ABA for $40 a month. And another on a new web browser for autistic kids.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of dessert may come first –or not using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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CHECK OUT these other great carnivals as well!! The Carnival of Family Life at Write From Karen, the Carnival of Creative Growth at Energies of Creation, the Mom’s Blogging Carnival at Mrs. Nespy’s World, and Writers From Across the Blogosphere at the Writer’s Block. Enjoy!


Approaching equilibrium

You know, every once in awhile you just hit a real bump in the road.

So many of us “manage,” we do the best we can every day as spouses, as parents, to try to keep our fingers in the old dyck for as long as possible. But sooner or later, the water just gets too high, and your carefully-balanced house of cards is in danger of being washed away. When that happens, it’s time to stop and re-assess priorities before you lose touch with your life altogether.

Priorities in this house are: 1) safety and well-being of each person; 2) roof over head; 3) food on table. These are the same priorities I often share with my clients who are panicking about what to do. These three things you MUST have–the rest can come when they will.

No question here that everyone is safe. They have a home, a bed, their clothing, a wide selection of toys. (Grownups too.) The clothing is not always new. We buy, I’d guess, two-thirds of our clothes from Ebay, consignment and thrift shops for two reasons: the first, because they cost less, and second, because it conserves world resources. This is why we also donate our gently-used items back to the thrift shops as well. This may horrify some of my colleagues, whose children prefer to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister. Well, get over it.

We don’t drive new cars, though we each have a vehicle, because we work in different cities. Our house is over 100 years old and isn’t in a spiffy new subdivision. We may have eight computers in the house; all but one are recycled and repaired from someone else’s use. The adults can’t afford health insurance (the best quote we got was $800/month). We don’t vacation in the islands. For an attorney and a teacher, actually, the scope of our lifestyle is pretty narrow. The only real “luxuries” we enjoy, to rate ourselves against the news stories these days, is the privilege of dining out a couple of nights a week. That’s more to deal with the exhaustion of work and child care than the joy of something fabulous.

So the bills get paid, not much else, while both adults work out of the home, me about 5 hours a day, the Cabana Boy an average of 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday. (Even at that, my pay scale dictates I bring home about twice what he does.) He drives 70 miles a day to work–hello gas pump! Weekends are usually a blur, trying to catch up on all we didn’t get done through the week.

Now this is probably no different than many other two-career families in this “more, faster, now” society. But here’s the bump: we’re losing each other. The adults have almost no time together because of work hours and kid commitments, and resentments build over time when one or the other of us feels like we’re being neglected or put-upon– although we know the other is trying so hard just to keep up that we suck it down and try not to complain.

So what do we do? Someone has to be available to make sure all the therapy and appointments are made, prescriptions are refilled, kids everywhere they need to be. We can’t both work full-time, unless we had a nanny who lived in. Our needs are minimal; maybe we should both work part-time. It would put a pinch on, but we could deal with it. With summer coming on, there will be a lot of garden work to be done, again to save money and promote health, and kids out of school. Can we both keep up this schedule and still make it?

Where is the point at which life balances–enough time, enough love, enough resources? What can you give up and still survive? Who takes care of the ones who care for everyone else? Where do you get answers to these kind of questions?

I never thought I’d be quoting Martha Stewart, but this is apropos: “When I got married and had a child and went to work, my day was all day, all night. You lose your sense of balance. That was in the late ’60s, ’70s, women went to work, they went crazy. They thought the workplace was much more exciting than the home. They thought the family could wait. And you know what? The family can’t wait.”

So we’ll be talking about those priorities. We’ll see you on the other side.

What they say is true: parents, too are casualties of their child’s autism.

Mad About Memes

Am I mad? Or mad to go along with the madness? I’m not sure.

At any rate, I’ve been tagged by lastcrazyhorn, so I’ll play along and perhaps use this post as a metaphor for all the things my children have to do to fit in with the NT school population, even if they don’t see the point. 🙂

Five Things Found in My Bag:
I’ll tell you. Monty Hall would die of disappointment here:
1) Checkbook
2) Keys
3) Stack of coupons I always forget to use at the store
4) Business card holder to carry all medical, bank and activity cards
5) Pad of paper and pen for those crazy ideas I get sometimes and want not to forget

Five Favorite Things in Your Room
I have lots of rooms; let me see:
1) Navy blue quilt made by some Amish women as a thank-you for work done
2) Pitcher of fresh cut lilacs
3) Best be including the computers; heaven knows I spend enough time on them
4) As of next week, our new tempurpedic mattress (yay!)
5) Many, many plants

Five Things You Have Always Wanted to Do
1) Travel all over the world
2) Become a novelist–fame not necessarily included
3) Have bright, interesting children
4) Be able to let someone else handle all the crap–bills, calendars, everything.
5) Have enough time to work at a marriage, not just keep sticking duct tape over rifts

Five Things You are Currently Into
1) Writing a new novel, an urban fantasy
2) Writing interesting tech stories for Firefox News
3) Getting ready for a writers’ conference next week (hmm, I’m detecting a theme)
4) Trying to get my last novel published
5) Oh yeah and once in awhile going to work and taking care of the family

Five people I’d like to tag:
Wantabetravelin, A Different Nest, Sparks and Butterflies, Ecky at Pure Thought, and Zaki at The Fruit Projects, who starred in my music story last week.

So there we go. Now I fit in. Even if I’m not sure just exactly why.

Getting around

While some may use a blog as a place to just spew all that awful emotional crap that you don’t feel your loved ones deserve to enjoy, most of us hope that our blog will be read by others, and the more “others” the better. This is one of the reasons to engage in the blog carnival. As you might remember, I hosted the Blog Carnival called Dessert May Come First–Or Not: The Many Flavors of the Autism Spectrum at the beginning of April. I had a lot of great responses, and I’ve decided to make it a monthly event.

Submissions are always open, as the carnival is ongoing. If you have a post in your blog that you feel might help others along their road, or give them a light moment, or connect with someone– or just open your blog to other folk who may not have had a chance to read it before– then enter your blog post here. If you’ve read a post elsewhere you really liked by a great writer on the subject of the autism spectrum, feel free to bring the carnival to their attention. Posts don’t have to be about children or for parents, or about adult Aspies, or classic autism, or coping, or NOT coping– but any of those are fine. Deadline for submission is May 7, for publication May 9.

This week, I’m welcoming readers from a number of carnivals, including today, the Rhythm of Write with more than 20 entries on the subject of writing. I’m also featured in two of the courses of the “Soup to Nuts” Blog Carnival which is a progressive dinner of goodness spread over five different blogs with enough topics to keep you well informed on every level: come by Health Plans Plus and Kilroy’s The Gonzo Papers and the other three to get all your good nutrients!