Thursday, May 16, 2013

File This, Baby.

Yeah, so, it's like this. About a year ago, I decided that if I couldn't hold down a j.o.b. due to the demands of caring for Conor, I would make like he would be my job. God knows there's enough work here for a full-time position, what with all the protocols and social stories and doctor visits and therapists and dietary shenanigans and whatnot Conor needs. Not to mention all the time wasted dealing with tantrums. I figured doing this would give me some emotional distance while also helping me deal with my bitterness at having to give up a career. Not that I had much of one to give up, seeing as I popped him out when I was but a child. (What? 29 years old is still a child, right?)

No sweat, boss. Want that alphabetical or chronological?
To be completely honest, though, I'm not really great at much except filing. Look, I don't mean to brag here, but I file like a beast, whether I'm punching paper for a 3-ring binder or placing the papers loose in a manila folder. 

Sha-ZAM, alphabetize that, suck-ah!

(I'm really terrible at the 2-hole puncher, though, so no doctor's office would ever hire me. Those things are extremely complicated. I blame the math involved.) 
And scanning? Don't even get me started on my whip-smart scanning ability. A broken automated document feeder doesn't even slow me down. True story.

I can always attempt laminating, but it's such a niche market that it's quite competitive. You have to have, like, a PhD in Laminating before anyone will even LOOK at your resume. (I'm self-taught, so no luck there.)

Sometimes I can put words together to form sentences people read (thanks, Mom and Dad, for reading, you're the best), but any editor would be wincing right now what with my sentence fragments, coarse language, and using terms like 'what with'. Additionally, I have a problem with rampant overuse of the comma. I know, I don't know why, it's like I'm a comma ADDICT.  My poor parents, when they read what I write, they must sound like they've just run a marathon what with all the pausing of breath and the stopping and starting and stuff.

('What with' is my new favorite phrase, I've just decided, that. Comma.)

Anyhoo, what with the rise of the Internet and the popularity of electronic documents and all, the job prospects of a comma addict that can file actual made-from-trees paper is seriously in decline. I know, right?! Progress sucks.

So, in order to fill all my (cough) spare time whilst Conor wiles away the hours in school, I decided that I would start locking myself in my home office and write social stories about not picking your nose (not you you, Conor, he picks his nose), and call doctors for appointments and results, and email behaviorists their (mostly completed) data sheets back, and manage his calendar, and whatnot. I go to the pharmacy a lot too. For both of us.

Hey baby, how much for your accountant calculator?
I'll give you whatever, as long as you love me.
(Conor has a remarkably complicated calendar, but that's for a later post. Suffice to say that we use it to help control his behavior and to manage his obsessive interests and desire to be out amongst the people.

He's just like Justin Beiber that way, enjoying time with the common man. And buying stuff.)

Right now, for example, I have to type up a chart that outlines for Conor the following things:

1.     Things That Conor Can Control
2.     Things That An Adult Controls
3.     Things That No One Can Control
(Yeah, we're having issues with control. OBVIOUSLY.)

I know! So very exciting!Thankfully, Conor's in-home aid, Paisley, put the actual list together when he was napping the other day, so I don't have to actually use my brain. I just type it up, print it out, and... FILE IT! Sha-ZAM!

Oh, wait, no, I actually have to go over the list with Conor. Might have to delegate that, not my area of expertise.

Hmmmm, what else is there? Oh, prepare for IEP meetings, manage in-home behavioral aids (they expect me to know things and train them and, you know, pay them), marathon conference calls and meetings with the behaviorist, and...

I know! In my spare time, I take care of things for my other kid. (Whew, almost forgot about him for a minute. He's so quiet.)

Despite the fact that there's no pay, no benefits, and the work environment is fairly isolating, there are definite perks to treating all my slaving away on providing supports for Conor as my job. The biggest one being that I totally get to sleep with my hot boss. He plays "boss man", and I get to play "secretary" and help him with his, um, filing.

This is a REALLY old picture. Sometimes I make him
put on a suit and pretend to be Don Draper.
So, yeah, it's like that.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

What's That Smell?

“What’s that smell?” Conor asked, slamming into the kitchen one afternoon.

Quickly, I glanced at Conor’s in-home aid. Brian arrived just a few minutes before Conor came home from his earned outing with his dad, and he and I were seated at the kitchen table discussing his schedule.

Brian stared back at me with a slightly alarmed look on his face.

“Um, what smell, Conor?” I replied, surprised. It wasn’t me, I swear. Cross my heart and hope to die. I didn’t even smell anything. Truth.

“That smell, what’s that smell?” he repeated emphatically, pointing at me.

I glanced again at Brian. 

“Uh, I don’t smell anything, Conor, but whatever you smell, it wasn’t me,” I protested, pointing at Brian.

“Hey, ho, it wasn’t me,” said Brian with a grin, throwing his hands up in the air. “I’m not taking the rap for that.”

“Maybe it was Linus,” I offered. Thank God we have a dog. Seriously, I think that’s half the reason people get dogs, to blame farts on them.

“Why did Linus fart?” Conor continued. “Why does Linus gots gas?”

“I don’t know, Conor,” I said. I got up to let the dog outside. “Let’s move on.” Poor Linus, I could tell he resented getting the blame for the nonexistent smell. It’s tough, a dog’s life.

Time was, we could fart with abandon around Conor. Throw caution to the wind, as it were. Not that I actually do that, no, I don’t do that. But if I did fart (though I never do), he certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone.

Quite frankly, with his own significant gastro-intestinal issues, Conor certainly shouldn’t be pointing fingers at anyone, being Farty McFarty Pants himself most of the time. Still, seeing as he was wrapped up in his head, in his mind, with his obsessions and sensory overloads and with limited expressive language, and whatnot, a person could let a big one rip and mum’s the word.

I mean, not that I would ever do that, but if I wanted to, I could. Conor certainly wasn’t going to go over his friend’s house and laugh about how his mom ripped a shotgun blast the day before. That would require friends and language and the sort.

(Again, I’m not saying I ever do that, just that if I did, hypothetically, Conor wouldn’t say anything about it.)

But over the past year, thanks to a pop in expressive language and increased relatedness, our son has become the Fart Police. A living, breathing Fart Alert if you will. 

I mean, for the love of Pete, he will not let one little SBD waft past his button-nose nostrils without crowing “What’s that smell? Who farted?”

I did, Conor, and it smells like roses, I want to say. (Not that I ever do that, but if I did, it would. Smell like roses, that is.)

Oh, but it gets better! Not only does Conor now proclaim it to everyone within earshot (not that I would ever fart in front of people, no, I don’t do that. Fart that is. Ever.) 

No, now he has to interrogate you on the gas you passed.

“Who farted? Daddy, who farted?” Conor crowed one evening.

“I did, Conor,” my husband sighed. It was late, and he was weary from travelling home from Miami that day.

“Why did Daddy fart?” Conor asked, pointing his finger at my husband. “Why?”

“Must’ve been that Cuban sandwich I ate in the Miami airport for lunch,” my husband laughed wryly. “It’s not sitting so well, thanks.”

“Why did Daddy eat a Cuban sandwich?” Conor continued his interrogation.

My husband sighed heavily, shaking his head.

“I’m asking myself the same thing, Conor. The same thing.”