My Whac-A-Mole Life   

All The Damn Talking

I recently read the excellent book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, and learned that I probably am an ambivert - which means I have both introvertish (is so a word) and extrovertish tendencies.

I think this tends to be situationally dependent, but it most definitely also is mood dependent...and sometimes unpredictable - even to myself.

True, there are times when I am among the loudest at the party...and other times when I'd rather skip it altogether, preferring the company of a dependably silent and non-demanding book.

As with most personality extremes, the best way to cope and/or succeed is to know thyself. In modern therapy vernacular, this also is called a "Sensory Diet" (which can be confusing because it has nothing to do with food). We implement a sensory diet to help our children learn self-regulation and channel their sensory cravings and defenses safely and "appropriately."

Instinctively, we all do this to a degree. Aren't you fulfilling your own personal sensory needs each time you use light dimmers, volume controls, a certain pillow type or coffee? Think about how you feel when you can't alter the level of light, sound, or caffeine you seek? I relate my daughter's sensory experience to that ... to the zillionth power.

Now, what happens when our sensory needs are in direct conflict? I suppose I sacrificed my right to control my own sensory environment when I had children, but still sometimes I just need some quiet, you know?

My daughter is largely nonverbal (or a new term I recently heard: non-speaking) but superbly communicative. This is a wonderful blessing...albeit an exhausting one. Let me tell you something about nonverbal. It has absolutely no correlation with quiet. Nada!

A Memo To Our New Puppy

Dear Puppy,

Blame it on the timing. 

A few weeks before we met you, after passing me our weary, 14-year-old dog on her leash, the vet handed me a paperback booklet with the title, A Final Act of Caring. No need to go into the details, but that pretty much translates into, “it’s time to make sure that all your doggy affairs are in order.”

The sepia tone is intended to
emulate an "in memoriam" effect
(and hopefully mask the amount of

excess fur on her Cowgirl Dora bed).
Not too long after that, late in the night, I hugged that dear, old dog to sleep for good. I know it sounds callous, but it was quick, painless (for her, at least) and I swear her eyes emitted gratitude. An inoperable bladder tumor is no fun, and she had been moping around looking – well – depressed. An ultrasound confirmed her bleak, unsustainable status. It wasn’t easy, but it was time.

The next morning we had to break the news to the kids, and hope that our gentle, prescient warnings and weeks of intentionally staged moments of bonding would help ease the shock (it didn't).

It should come as no surprise that page 23 of A Final Act of Caring wisely warns: “Although it may be tempting to quickly get another pet, this is generally not a good idea.

So naturally, against all better judgment, we ignored that advice, and you bet we were the first ones in the door at our nearest Humane Society animal shelter THAT VERY SAME DAY!

You're Going To Love Me For This

I blog for all the right reasons (whatever those are)....usually. Today, however, I blog as a freebie whore.

Any blogger worth her salt gets weird stuff in her emailbox occasionally, including suggestions to "review" or write about some completely irrelevant product.

You see, companies - big and small - recognize the power, reach and influence of the social media platform...and presume "mommy bloggers" are frothing at the mouth to talk about how completely awesome that new laundry detergent is...and all you have to do is send her said laundry detergent for free (or even - wow - a half-price coupon for it). In turn, she presents her readership to them on a plate.

Now, some people apparently make big money doing this, and I salute them. In other news, I have yet to meet "some people."

But you know what? Today, I don't even care. Today, I get to reap the benefits of this blog with a product much more exciting than laundry detergent. I shamelessly CAMPAIGNED for this freebie because I wanted it so badly. And, dear readers, not only did Sensory Goods willingly agree to help me "sell out," but they upped the ante and offered to give one of you an amazing freebie too.

Behold! I give you a custom weighted blanket. These babies are not cheap. I've been wanting to try one on the kids for years, but never wanted to cough up the money on something that could be a big bust. (And make it myself? That's funny. Have we met?) Also, I was overwhelmed. What weight? What size? What color? Where's my coffee?

Sensory Goods gets us....they're one of us. This company, founded by a family with two children on the autism spectrum, has a mission to "meet autistic and sensory integration needs while meeting the financial need of those caring for people affected by these developmental disorders." Let's say it together: Aw. 

Sometimes I Can't Sleep

Sometimes I can't sleep.

I can't even blame it on the kids this time. It's not that I'm not tired; I'm beyond exhausted. I haven't slept properly consecutively since around 2000, despite my habit of leaping into the bed like a gold-medal gymnast by 8 pm.

When I do sleep, nothing - and I mean NOTHING - can wake me. I have slept through tornado watches; mysterious fire alarm battery chirps (come on, it happen to everyone); and malfunctioning burglar alarms. It's disconcerting actually. Lest you think I'm well rested, bear in mind that this only occurs in spurts...and I'm convinced I need many more hours of sleep than the average person. (Please do remember that there's nothing "average" about my whac-a-mole life!)

But nights like this one are different. A few hours ago, I battled to keep my eyes open just to make it through the afternoon, and now they won't close.

Instead, the Doppler Radar inside my brain - unfettered by mundane activities like making lunches and shuttling carpools - blips and twirls. I fret that my sweet baby girl sprawled out in bed next to me is almost my size - practically a third adult in the bed (yes, my bed because at least I know she's safe). I wonder if her nightly visits will ever cease...and whether she'll ever sleep under any roof but my own.