Category Archives: The One Where I Waffle On About The Kids

I have three children, three cats, and a dog underfoot. And then there’s that guy I married…

A Worthy Cause

UPDATE: Way better way to donate from a long distance – go to my First Giving site at http://www.firstgiving.com/catediede

If I get enough donations, the boy will plunge, too!

So this year I promised to do the Polar Plunge. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s when a bunch of otherwise sane people jump into a freezing cold lake to raise money for Special Olympics. This is a cause near and dear to me, especially because my oldest son has autism and benefits greatly from the program. Seriously – the first time I’d seem him really joyful in a long time came on a basketball court.

So, to make a small contribution to help him, and to help dozens of other kids just like him, I have promised to jump into a lake. And now I am asking your help. You see, I need donations to plunge.  What do I need? Your spare change. Ten bucks. Whatever you can afford. What do you get? The knowledge you helped a bunch of great kids go to events where they can be themselves and excel in their element. And, of course, pictures. I promise to have a cameraman on hand to take lots of lovely, embrrassing pictures that I’ll post here on the blog.

So here’s how to help –

Send your donation to:

Aberdeen Special Olympics
c/o Catherine Wade
PO Box 2122
Aberdeen, SD 57401

Please make checks out to Aberdeen Special Olympics.

And for more information on Special Olympics, go here.

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Come Over to the Dork Side

Have I ever told you all about Son #2? He’s a bright kid – or so they tell me. Actually, to be fair, he’s extremely bright about a lot of things. He just doesn’t have an ounce of common sense. This is the kid from whom the following gems have been uttered:

“This ice cube is cold.”

“It’s dark at night because the sun’s not out.”

And my favorite…

“You don’t move much when you’re dead.”

A few years ago for his birthday, we bought him a tee-shirt that said, “Captain Obvious Strikes Again.” He loves it.

But whether he’s stating the obvious or researching how to build a fusion generator (not kidding), he cracks me up. The other day, he was talking about how other kids want to be in his group because they know they’ll get an A on their project. (Okay, so he does have a clue about some stuff.) He wasn’t complaining, just stating. And then he said, “I guess there are advantages to being a geek. Soon they’re all going to want to come over to the Dork Side.”

You can imagine the peals of laughter from us all. Of course it didn’t end there. We started in with, “Luke, join the chess club!” and “Use the slide rule, Luke.” My stomach hurt the next day I laughed so hard.

I got to thinking that same day that I should start writing this stuff down. If I’m ever in need of a cheap joke, I’ll have one handy. ‘Cause face it, there’s nothing funnier than a kid. Even when he’s stating the obvious.

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Next Thing You Know, He’ll be Shaving

I am not old enough to have a teenager. Am I?

My oldest is fourteen today. Holy cow. Fourteen. In this crazy state, that makes him old enough to learn to drive. He won’t, mostly because he has autism and will probably never drive, but I would not put a fourteen-year-old behind the wheel of a car unless I absolutely had to. As the next two kids coming up – they’ve already been told.

But fourteen! I still feel young! I can’t possibly have a kid who is taller than I am and looks like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Seriously, he does, but that’s mostly my fault because I need to give him a hair cut. But he has that same half-slumped posture, the same reedy, skinny figure, same appetite, and the same goofy laugh. And his voice! It’s gotten so deep! No nasty cracking or breaking. He just woke up one morning sounding like Barry White.  Face it, my baby is no more. Slowly but surely, he’s turning into a man. In four years he’ll legally be an adult.

Scary.

So I’m spending my day feeling old, but also feeling very proud of how far he’s come. There was a time we never thought he’d speak, and now he tells me what’s on his mind. He is starting to care about what others think of him, and is getting that teenager-y vain streak. You know the one – when they stare into the mirror endlessly getting the hair just so? That’s a huge step for a kid with social issues.

Yes, my boy is growing up. And you know what? He’s pretty cool.

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The Boys of Summer

Well, aside from the obvious, there are a lot of reasons why this summer has been kind of crazy at Casa Del Catie. One of those reasons is baseball.

The youngest has gotten to Little League age – D minor for those of you who know what that means. I don’t. At any rate, he went from three days of ball a week last summer to five this summer- with three games per week! But he gets a uniform this year, and ommigod he’s cute. (He’d shoot me for saying that.) Luckily, since I’m single-parenting this summer (with an additional “child” who has a lot of doctor appointments) my boss is letting me work half days so I can get the kiddo to all his games and practices. I’m learning a lot about baseball. Like a foul is considered a strike unless it’s on the third strike. And you can’t make a run on the third strike. And you can’t run to first if it’s the second Tuesday of the month and the runner on second is facing north.

Kidding.

But seriously! Who knew there were all these screwy rules in baseball? People who like baseball, I guess. Not me. But the kid seems to get it. I just watch and look stupid.

The oldest has summer school this year – actually extended school year, designed to help him retain what he learned during the school year. Waste of time if you ask me, since it runs for four weeks right after school let out. Then they get two months to lose everything. Oh well, he enjoys it and loves loves loves his teachers.

The middle child (his words, not mine) is spending his summer on the computer so far. Well, he does go to the park sometimes, and I signed him up (a little against his will) to go to history camp for a day. That sounds like fun to me. I’d love to go. But I have to be at baseball that day.

And of course the biggest kid has finished his second cycle of chemo and now we see the doc on Friday. He’s doing well, by the way. Seems pretty strong and feels relatively well. Someone asked me the other day how I was holding up. I told them I was beyond the sad, shocked stage and now I’m just irritated and annoyed. Pretty much my standard state of being, so it’s all good.

Wow – I’m rambling today!

So anyway, I’m not getting a whole lot of writing done, which is why I am really trying to throw myself into this NaNo-esque thing my write club is doing. I have some words down, but mostly I’m still exploring the characters. As an exercise the other night, we described our main characters from another character’s point of view. What I wrote tells more about Jeff (our hero) than it does about Alex (our heroine), but I thought I’d share it here. So, in the course of ten minutes, here’s what I wrote:

Okay, so she’s kind of a nut job. But she’s a cute nut job – not that she’d be anything I’d go for. But she’s like a slave to that family of hers. I don’t know why – she’s smart enough and has talent. I just don’t get it.

Looks? Oh, well, she’s comfortable looking. Pretty enough, but not exactly a girl in a magazine. But when she’s in the sunlight, her hair kind of shines reddish, and her eyes are green. What is that, Irish? Yeah, maybe Irish. But she’s more like a girl you could hang out and watch football with. You know, comfortable.

Not that she’s anything I’d go for.

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Just Call Me Shorty

It finally happened. I knew it would. It was, after all, inevitable. It’ll happen again, too. Has to.

Yes, one of my kids is finally taller than me.

Not that it takes much – I’m only 5’4″ and change.  But this morning – the last day of school – the husband insisted we measure the kids with the idea that we’ll remeasure come September to see how much they’ve grown. Won’t matter. I’ll still be looking up at the oldest.

Our first born is 14 in less than a month, so I suppose he’s a little late in stretching past me. But this morning, the little turkey is 5′ 5″. Almost a full inch taller than me.  The second son is in between growth spurts, but he’s due. He’s 4’9″ but I expect a full five feet before the end of the summer. The younest – well, he’s mid-spurt at 4’5″. Among the tallest in his third grade class.

Also today marks another milestone in our family -we only have one child in elementary after this. The second son will move into Middle School next year with our oldest. Two years later, we’ll have two middle schoolers and a high school kid. Crazy! Where did the years go? Where are my babies?

Not babies anymore, that’s for sure. In fact, it looks like the oldest might have to start shaving.

Sigh… I feel so old.

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Better Late Than Never

The last edits on Another Time Around are off to the final line editor, and galleys for Let’s Dish haven’t arrived. So today I finally find myself between projects. Which finally gives me the chance to talk about something near and dear to my heart.

April 2nd was Autism Awareness Day, and April is Autism Awareness Month. Here are a few facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders:

  • 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism
  • 1 in 94 boys is on the autism spectrum
  • 67 children are diagnosed per day
  • A new case is diagnosed almost every 20 minutes
  • More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs the nation over $35 billion per year, a figure expected to significantly increase in the next decade
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

My oldest son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder when he was seven. We had a longer road than some, as he was diagnosed later than most children.

Despite what some celebrities are claiming, there is no cure for autism. No magic diet that makes everything all better.  There are therapies that can help these children function in a typical world, but there is so much research that needs to be done to help discover the cause and stop this thing from taking more children’s lives and turning them upside down.

To learn more about Autism, or to help find a cure, here are a few links:

Autism Speaks

Autism Society of America

Autism Research Institute

Autism Link

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation

VH1 Rocks Autism

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Home Again

Well, it’s been one heckuva week. And then some, actually, but it looks like life is calming down a little here. As much as it can with three kids, a full-time job and a writing career. I do apologize for my absence this week, and I’m sorry I’ve been so criptic about my whereabouts, but we had a sudden and unexpected loss in our family last weekend. I wanted to respect my family member’s privacy.

But I can share where we went this weekend. As some of you out in cyberland know, my oldest son has a form of autism called Pervasive Developmental Disorder. One of the fun things he gets to do is take part in Special Olympics, and this weekend was the State Basketball Tournament. son #1-at-state-09Last year was his first year, and let’s just say he wasn’t the best player on the team. This year he had improved so much! He went after the ball, and even made a basket! Never won a game, but he didn’t care. He had fun. On Friday night, they had a banquet and dance, and apparently my boy shook his groove thing all night long. As you can tell from the picture, he enjoyed himself. A lot.

He rode the team bus home with the other players, and as I watched it pull up, I realized how much I love the kids on his team. Especially this one right here. Some people try to give our family credit for parenting a “difficult” child. There’s no difficulty here. Just a great kid. Now his brothers on the other hand…

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