Punky Mama


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The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

I know, I know it is the middle of January but to me this is the best time of the year.  This is the time of the year when stuff happens. Everyone is back from their long holiday and are ready for action.  Life which all but stopped in December has started up again, and it feels like exciting adventures await around every corner. Although I worked over the holiday like normal, my whole family was home for over ten days and although we got out we also engaged in the act of hibernation. We are such busy people and the time around Christmas finds us watching movies and engaging in other laying low activities. I played more Trouble and Uno in December than I did all year   Now that January had arrived I started getting exciting emails again.  It is the beginning of “opt out of the PSSA” season, the band is planning it’s spring shows, and the potential for freelance work has arrived. The bar is back to normal after the bizarre ebbs and flows of the holiday season.  It’s good. My real life is exciting so the holidays are the time to relax and regroup except when we get a snowstorm to keep the kids at home which is a party in itself.  Since January started the band has already booked a show in New York, my oldest freelance client handed me a bunch of work this week, and the kids had a few specialist appointments. The end of January brings two interviews for me.  One about mothering over 40 and another for the band.

It’s January and 2015 has so much potential.  I can’t wait!


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We Are All Not Parents

I have had two career type jobs.  While working both jobs I had to pretend I was not a parent and my kids did not matter during my work day.  It was an awful task.  I have memories of bosses at law firms telling me that if I did not pump my breast milk in less time than it took the other employees to smoke, I would lose my lunch break even though that same boss knew I went to see my baby at daycare at lunch to nurse everyday.  I, of course, got another job that was more progressive about me nursing but when Ryan was booted from daycare for “bad parenting” at 18 months old I left the world of 9 to 5 jobs. It’s been a struggle of working nights at the bar and freelancing because of the lack of sleep and lack of days off but in all this time I never ever felt like my kids had to cease to be because of my job.

The band is comprised of two parents of two kids, who both happen to have special needs. It is not easy to be in a band with Elliott and I but Dallas and Hoover are maneuvering our choice to be parents with amazing poise and grace.  Unlike my old day job they have been completely supportive. For example, this week the usual swim meet time has been changed from noon to 3:30pm.  This is an issue since our show is in Delaware which is thirty minutes south of the city, the swim meet is thirty minutes north of Philadelphia, and load in at the club is supposed to be at 7:30pm.  I contacted the promoter and explained our hardship. Dallas and Hoover could be to the venue on time but Elliott and I would be very late not because we were rock stars but because of our parenting duties. The promoter was very understanding and so were our band mates.

Except our band mates are both child free by choice.  They chose to be in a band with Elliott and I and in that choice they have decided to accept our kids and the kids needs.  I am so touched by this gesture. Not even our families have embraced the boys and their endeavors as much as the band does.  I hate to be the band mate that needs accommodations. HATE IT.  We need support and without that support our participation in the band could not happen.  Our band mates accept that the boys are part of the journey and embrace it, although they are both child free. They don’t resent the boys they do what they can to make this happen for all of us.  I have read so much about ‘breeders’ and their “crotch sprog” over the years I had missed that the child free can embrace and support the children in their lives and the parents behind them without the negativity,

I hope I can support them in their choice not to parent. I hope the guys understand that El and I don’t always want to be the family they are forced to make accommodations and feel taken advantage of.


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In Fits and Spurts

I am not sure how neurotypical kids mature. I do know how mine is growing and changing. I find these days one minute I have an over five foot tall two year old on my hands when his issues get the best of him and he is overwhelmed and over stimulated. Then on the other hand I am raising a thirty-five year old. With Ryan it is all or nothing.

Lately he is thinking about making his own money and saving for college. ALL the time. When we have a play date and the kid has a younger sibling along Ryan tries to practice his babysitter skills and he is pretty successful with it.  Last night Aaron was slow to get out of the locker room from swim team.  I found Ryan with the two youngest kids on the team organizing a game of push the Barbie car.  As we walked to the parking lot he said, Mom I was practicing to babysit. I think on the time off swim team I need to find him a baby sitter course. He also wants to pet sit. He begged me for weeks to put up a pet sitting post on the neighborhood Facebook page. I relented and we instantly found interest. If I can say anything about Ryan it is that he is GREAT with kids and pets. He rises to the occasion, I am sure he is going to be a great at both jobs.

Today it snowed and even though it was a few inches I decided to take a cyber day with school.  It was enough snow to make our commute four hours long.  Aaron wizzed through school but Ryan was struggling a little.  His level of work got harder after the testing he had in late December.  It is just something he needs to get used to, but his focus was a mess today.  Aaron finished his school work hours before Ryan.  At the end I sat with Ryan and made a discussion out of what he was doing.  I didn’t give him the answers but we discussed the passages he was reading and it helped a ton.  I was proud of him for sticking with the work and finishing. He hugged me at the end and said my ADHD was not letting me learn this today but changing it up helped a ton.

Then he and his brother got dressed to go play in the snow. Except when I looked out Ryan was not playing in the snow he was shoveling!!  He did our whole driveway and is working on the next door neighbors driveway since they are at work. People in my life are forever groaning about their kids from eleven on.  This is so not my experience. Since his childhood was so hard on all of us this almost teen time is simply amazing. I am going to enjoy every second.

Ryan is the shoveler

Ryan is the shoveler


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New Year and 48 My Friends

Having a birthday the day after the New Year begins is hard. Both birthdays and New Year bring forth reflection and I feel like I am wallowing in it for a few days. January 2nd is a tough birthday. The world has been partying for a few weeks and is ready for their lives to have more routine. People are eager to get back to work, start their New Year’s resolutions, us born on 1/2 are yelling ONE MORE DAY OF PARTY.  Even my kids are over this long break and are at each others throats today. Ready to go back to their separate classrooms and miss one another. I insisted they take turns spending time in their rooms this afternoon for a half hour each.  It is not a punishment, just a way to get them out of each others faces and it is making this late afternoon lovely and quiet.

Forty eight. How did I become a grown up? I remember my parents at this age and thinking they were so very old. Funny, I don’t feel old. Actually I feel like I am hitting my stride. I am very fortunate. I am surrounded with love. I have a great little family and a partner who is wonderful for me. I am finding so much in my life has come full circle as they say happens in your 40’s.  I know and care for some truly, great, brilliant people who I can respect. I think back to my 40th birthday and the enormity of parenting young children with special needs. I drank two beers and wound up sitting on my kitchen floor in tears with both kids pulling at me as Elliott stood by paralyzed by how overwhelming two small boys could be. Life has changed a ton since then and I am very grateful.

So 48.  I hope this year work more on finding a way to make money that does not involve staying up all night yet, is still flexible and steady. I am not sure this exists but I am keeping my eyes open because working nights can be excruciatingly hard at times. I hope to nurture and return the love in my life that comes at me from all sides.  That and I really want to savor every minute of my growing kids and this incarnation of Thorazine because life is just too short and moves so fast.

 

 


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It’s Been A Mighty Fine Year.

This morning I am up at almost 9am and my family are all still deeply asleep.  Aaron always has liked to sleep in but for Ryan this is new and I am thinking it is precursor to his impending teenaged years. Part of me misses his 5:30am daily wake ups and the time with him in the morning but this sleeping in is interesting and revolutionary.  Suffice to say I have a rare quiet moment alone and I am going to enjoy this.

It’s been a damm solid year. Last New Year’s I had the members of Thorazine in my life but we had not yet decided to start playing. Playing music started at the end of the boys swim season in February and has not stopped. Thorazine was always a roller coaster ride and this incarnation is no different. This time we are way more productive in the limited time we have. We have almost six or eight new songs in the can with three being ready to play out. It’s been a prolific time and what is even more astounding is that we did this rehearsing three or four hours a WEEK, which is crazy. I am even more astounded about how supportive the kids have been. They sit through the endless rehearsals and almost never complain. They talk to their friends about their parents being in a punk band with such pride. I never thought they would feel this way.

My work life is solid. I like what I am doing.  Of course I always have the bar, but the freelance work I pick up has been great and was very steady in the spring and again this year from July until December. It being the nature of freelance work, the work dries up sometimes but I always have the bar which is a fairly dependable, steady stream of income. This life leaves me flexible to take the kids to and from school so far away, doctors appointments, therapy, swim and diving team, and what seems like a never ending supply of half days of school.  I often get to work through long swim team practices which is always leaves me feeling like I use all those hours for the good of my family and not just consuming the internet or tv shows. My husband although he works a lot is secure at his job and all is well.

Aaron is thriving. School brings him the challenges he needs and he is happy. He often hugs his teacher throughout the day. It is sweet. School is partially project based and he brings home such wonderful posters. He hates if I have to pick him up early from school and hates it even more to miss school.  He has three best friends and is friends with everyone in his class. He is swimming and diving now and loves both. His perfect day would be to go to school, go to a friends house after school and do homework, eat dinner in the car, and go to swim team which means he is out and about from 7am till 9pm.  He is a busy person.  This past weekend he was helping Mike from the studio set up a work bench and clean up his work area.  Aaron was right in there vacuuming and helping in anyway he could. I am hoping this year he passes his full on egg challenge which would change what he can eat. He still would have four other food allergies but this is true movement in our lives away from food allergies. He is super aware what he can and cannot have. He is great.

Ryan is doing amazingly well.  His new BSC said to me last night I never saw a kid with ADHD as severe as Ryan’s who perseveres so at academics. Ryan is an wonderful mix of opposites. He is thriving in every part of his life school, home, swimming, and in the community.  He is happy and full of ideas. He is thoughtful and works really hard knowing he has to because his brain works differently. He is impulsive and immature for his age but he is a delight, funny and full of wonder. I am hoping that these years become more prominent in his mind after the hell that was public school. He is surrounded by people who get him and his quirky nature and embrace him yet hold him accountable for his actions.

My hopes for 2015.  More of the above. I think the only thing I could hope for is more steady freelance work.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2015 full of the good things.

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