Tag Archive: fun


Chi-nese

6 months old on his Grammie quilt.

Chi started in with words very early. At 8 months he had words for Dad, Mom, Kitty, Ears, Bear, Eat. He picked up new words almost every day, it seemed. Then between 11 and 12 months he started losing language. He stopped using the words he had been accumulating. He still picked up new words and would use them for a few days, a week, two at most. Then he would stop using them. So after about 6 months, he was completely done with English. He spoke only in his own language that only he understood. He wasn’t real concerned with whether anyone understood him, and for such an intense little kid, he was completely unflappable when it came to communication.

He excelled at non-verbal communication and was able to get his intent across. There was no one way he did this and it wasn’t using ASL. He never mimicked. I could never get him to repeat after me so teaching him sign-language was a non-starter.

Blowing bubbles

I took to calling his very own language Chi-nese. (Chi is pronounced like the Greek letter Χ)(It’s my own little inside joke. A play on words. It’s something my husband and I did. We’d take words spelled with C-H-I that are normally pronounced with the /ch/ sound and use the /k/ sound of Chi’s name. So Chicago became CHI-cago. And Lake Michigan became Lake Mi-CHI-gan. You get the picture. We chuckled a little bit every time we came across a new word (Hey, you gotta take the humor where you can find it, folks.))

Around the age of 2 and a half, he started slipping English words into his Chi-nese. I guess it’s because he didn’t use all the letter sounds in his own language, but he was impossible to understand. So when he was five, we took him to a speech pathologist and he met with her once week for more than a year. He’s very well spoken now.

So now, to me, Chi-nese is the little things Chi says that are so him. He sees things differently than most and his observations are pretty cool. A few for your enjoyment.

  • “Mom, the lightening is too loud. I can’t sleep.”
  • (tasting something new) “…It kind of, maybe, doesn’t taste very good to me.”
  • “Oh, look! The moon is reflecting the sun!” (meaning the moon is shining, obviously)
  • “Mom is being sarcastic, Pieces. That’s when she says something but she means something else. She isn’t really glad you spilled your water all over the table.” (He is forever pointing out when someone is “just joking” or “being sarcastic” and then explaining the joke or the sarcasm, even if it is only to himself.)
  • At the DQ drive thru, after I hand him a waffle cone. “A man in 1904 at a fair, ran out of dishes to serve ice cream and folded up a waffle to serve ice cream in. That’s how the waffle cones were invented.” I stare at him a moment. Then I remember that he squirrels away all the tidbits of trivia he comes across. Also? I googled it when I got home. He was right. It was the World’s Fair in St. Louis.
  • Chi is an eleven year old boy. He still wants to hug his mom whenever possible, and if there’s hugging then there’s sniffing because he loves the way I smell. I hope the desire to hug me never ends.
  • Actual conversation while Chi opened his birthday presents a day early:

Hubs: Is that a new Super Mario Bros game?

Chi: Yeah. It’s New Super Mario Bros 2. The first one came out in 2006. It’s kind of like Luigi’s Mansion. A new one is supposed to come out this year or maybe next year. The first one came out in 2001. (He could tell you the release year of every game he plays. True story.)

  • Chi is always truthful. He doesn’t do vagaries. Here is a real conversation from Saturday’s birthday festivities.

Pynni, Pieces, D and Chi heading into Frankies for birthday funtabulousness!

At Red Robin eating lunch, someone across the restaurant has the wait staff chant (read: yell) their birthday song at them.

Me to Chi: You want me to get them to yell at you some?

Chi: **shrugs** I’m kind of used to it because they did it to Brady on his birthday.

Me: So that’s a yes?

Chi: **shrugs** Yeah, I’m kinda used to it now. Yeah. (I, personally, didn’t think he’d tolerate it at all, but he seemed game.)

later Hubs to the waitress kind of to the side: It’s someone’s **gestures in Chi’s general direction** birthday today.

Waitress looking at Chi: Oh? Is it your birthday?

Chi: Well, no. My birthday is Monday, October 22. We are just having it today, though.

Waitress nods and just goes with the flow: Sure, have the fun on the weekend. How old are you?

Chi: I’m 10 now, but I’ll be eleven on Monday.

And so he is. Chi came into our lives at 3:11a eleven years ago today.  We celebrated on Saturday, opened presents on Sunday and have cancelled school for today. We will eat what he wants for lunch and dinner and we will probably launch one of the rockets he got for his birthday. I will hug on his and sniff him and he will do the same to me. Happy birthday, Chi-guy. I’m so happy you’re mine.

Timmus: I, also, have my cwocks. (crocs)

Pieces: Cwocks?

Timmus: No, cwocks.

Pieces: …cwocks?

Timmus: No. Not cwocks. Cwocks!

Pieces: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

(They crack me up.)

Pynni Pi. Seven.

Pynni is at my mom’s house with the “little” kids.

######Kip, Chi, Mae, and Abshie make up the “big” kids (grandkids). Pynni is two years younger than the youngest “big kids” and two years older than the oldest “little kids”. She is smack in the middle. So when the “big” kids go to Grammie’s Camp, Pynni gets to go, and when the “little” kids go to Grammie’s Camp, Pynni gets to go.######

Wednesday, April 18 is her birthday. She turns seven. I do not think I can overstate the importance of her birth in my life.

Chi was hard. Period. If you, as a parent, have ever dealt with a child with SPD or Asperger’s or PDD-NOS, then you know my pain. I had no clue what I was dealing with when Chi was born and things weren’t simple. They weren’t easy. I was not just dealing with the huge change a child brings into your life, but the huge challenges a child with these sorts of issues bring. On top of all of that, I suffered, pretty mightily, from post-partem depression. (It was difficult and complicated and I won’t go into it all here, but I was a mess.)

I knew that I didn’t want Chi to be an only child, but I wasn’t sure I could deal with another kid. Still, I was very determined to have another child.

Enter Pynni.

She was this light in my life that saved me. She was so easy going and quiet and beautiful. She was everything I needed and made helping Chi something I could handle without falling apart after he went to bed. She was exactly the balance I needed. EXACTLY. She is light and joy and smiles and happiness and beauty; all without trying.

Today, 18 April, she turns seven. She is so much her own person. The ONE thing I truly want for her is to be her own person. Yes, I want her to be happy. Yes, I want her to be successful (whatever that embodies). Mostly, I want her to be her. I want her to march to the beat of her own drummer. I want her to be a leader, not a follower. I want her to own WHO she is. I want her to be unafraid to just BE. I want her to be strong. I want the fact that she is a woman to DEFINE her and, yet, for that fact to set her free. I want her to have the strength to reach for her dreams, whatever those things may be: mother, world leader, healer, teacher, artist, lover, WHATEVER!

So I got a text from my mom because Pynni is not going to be HERE for her birthday. She is going to be with my parents. My mother says that Pynni is planning her own party and is VERY definite about what she wants. She is having a SpongeBob SquarePants piñata with Hello Kitty plates and napkins and a Tinkerbell cake with mint ice cream and a trip to see The Lorax.

So it begins. Somehow I need to nurture that uniqueness, that special light that is Pynni. Somehow, I need to encourage her light to shine in the face of whatever she faces. Unafraid. Unchanged. Undaunted. Uniquely, Eowyn.

Wynni Pynni Pi;

I love you and cherish EVERYTHING about you. I love watching you grow and become this amazing person. I look forward to the coming years; to seeing who and what you become. How YOU define happiness and success. Those are two things that can only be defined by you for you and I cannot wait to learn their definitions as seen through your eyes.

I love you, Pynni. Happy Birthday.

~Mom

****CAUTION! SPOILER ALERT****

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up, we never believed in Santa Claus because we celebrated Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. My parents made Christmas special in many, many ways, and I never once wished I’d had Santa be part of that. Yes, I was most likely that kid in Kindergarten who burst your happy little Christmas bubble by announcing loudly and with great conviction that “THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS SANTA CLAUS”. We didn’t have stockings or set out cookies. We didn’t write letters to fictional men or mistake who gave us what.

What we did have was an all night fest of “WAITING FOR CHRISTMAS MORNING” on Christmas Eve during which we (that’s my brothers and I) would stay up all night and debate on whether 2 o’clock in the morning was too early to wake my parents up. (We generously waited until 3am, in case you were wondering.) We would then call Nanny and Papaw (paternal grandparents) and they would come over (having been awake since 2am waiting for us to call, btw) and after reading Jesus’ birth story, we would start what came be the most anticipated part of Christmas: Christmas Morning Games. These were sometimes simple, sometimes elaborate, games that my Dad would set up the previous evening (while we, the children, were “sleeping”) like Christmas Morning Scavenger Hunts, or presents that were for “Mom” until she opened it and it was for “Nanny” until she opened it and it was for “Tim” until he opened it and it was for me all along, or the time when Dad wrapped a phone number that I had to call and it rang in my bedroom (HOW DID HE DO THAT WITHOUT ME KNOWING?!?).

After all the paper was ripped off the boxes, Dad would present us with our Christmas Cans. In lieu of stockings, we had cans that we opened at the end of the presents part of Christmas. These were about the size of gallon paint cans and were usually filled with small things: tapes, cd’s, socks, money, candy, knick-knacks, whatever. Sometimes the best Christmas Games came in the cans that had the three of us working together to solve some sort of riddle and ended on The Gift that was for the three of us. So. Much. Fun.

After the mess was mostly picked up, and we were occupied with whatever we’d received, Mom and Nanny would make a giant breakfast that we would be eating by 5am some mornings and that breakfast was usually followed by Nanny’s chocolate cake and naps.

With all these great memories, Christmas is my favorite holiday. I LOVE this time of year. I love redecorating my house for Christmas BEFORE Thanksgiving. I LOVE listening to Christmas carols on REPEAT. I LOVE the excitement that builds and builds for my kids and I LOVE watching their joy and excitement culminate on Christmas morning.

Even with all of that the Santa question loomed large for me. I have nothing against him, personally, but I had no idea how to introduce such a concept to my kids when they were little without lying to them and I make it point never to lie to my kids. Hubs believed in Santa and wanted the kids to believe in him as well. I shrugged and figured that was no big deal. Oh, how wrong I was.

First of all, my oldest child is not neuro-typical. He did not naturally latch onto this myth and I found myself constantly telling him lies to make him understand who this Santa person was. He just didn’t get it, and I was pissed off all the time because of how difficult the whole undertaking turned out to be.

Christmas Can-Cans

The Christmas after Chi turned three, he started asking random questions about this Santa person and what he heard upset him immensely. He really was not okay with the idea of some strange man in red rappelling down our non-existant chimney unbeknownst to the sleeping inhabitants of our house. It scared the ever loving crap out of him.

So I did, it. I told him that there was no such thing as Santa Claus, and there was much relief on both our parts. He understood in his own way the idea of a pretend person that he was NOT going to imagine coming to our house THANKYOUVERYMUCH, and I was much relieved that I didn’t have to lie to him anymore.

Now that I have Pynni and Pieces, I can see how easy it would have been, had Chi been other than he is, to perpetuate the Santa Myth with my kids without much effort, but that wasn’t the case and I’m not sad about it. We have stockings that they pull things out of while Hubs and I get our coffee. They open their presents, and take our time taking breaks to play with what they get as they get it. Afterwards, they get their cans and after that we have a big breakfast. We don’t have any grandparents living close enough to spend Christmas Morning with us, but even without Santa and Grandparents, we do just fine.

Last night Hubs asked me if I thought Chi would ever change. I turn and observe the following:

Chi is “walking” on the balls of his feet squatted down so that his butt is mere inches from the floor and his miles of leg are folded up so that his knees are pressed into his chest. He is wearing a long sleeve shirt and has pulled his hands up into the sleeves and spread them out to make a kind of oval shape in the fabric.  He is pressing these fabric covered hands into the floor in front of him as he zooms around as fast as he can, making but one of his deep and vast repertoire of noises. He notices me watching him and says, “I’m a level 2 vacuum cleaner.”

Hubs taking all this in right along with me, says, “You might need upgrades.”

I turn back to Hubs, amused, and say, “No. No, I don’t think he’ll ever change.”

Yar! Chi's Jack

My Three Bandits. Out to take your SUGAR!

We carved our pumpkins too early and they rotted in a most dramatic fashion on the front porch steps. Gross!

Our costumes were ready in time (read: not last minute), which isn’t in the buckets of fail per se,

Pie's Pumpkin

but it causes little kids to beg to dress up and trickertreat NOW even though Halloween is a couple of days away. It also results in being dressed for trickertreating much earlier than strictly necessary.

My kids were costumed and ready to rock an HOUR before we were scheduled to trickertreat, right around the time it started to rain while the temperature dipped into the lower fifties/upper forties.

Pieces Jolly Jack: A self portrait

They had to be de-costumed so they could consume some nourishment and then re-costumed after that.

Then we had to decide: Do we trickertreat in spite of the weather? Do we not trickertreat? Do we go to the mall and trickertreat inside?

We go to the mall and trickertreat inside! Brill! I bet everyone and their damn dog will be there and how fun is that? To cram shoulder to shoulder and chest to back with a bunch of pushy, self-ish strangers?  we’re the only people to think of that! I bet we’ll make out like successful bandits!

Piece-E

(Maybe I should have crossed out that last part, instead.)

Yeah, so the mall was more packed than I’ve EVER seen it. There were lines of cars just to get into the parking lot and people cruising the isles for a spot, any spot. Then the nightmare of the interior of that place is hard to relive. 7 billion people indeed. INDEED!

Fancy Nancy Pynni Pie

So after an hour of trudging through the masses and getting like 5 pieces of candy and lots of pushing,we returned home. Sad. Things were not looking up for the my children and their quest for the yearly harvesting of large quantities of sugar in all its glorious forms.

We, the parents, decided that this was not to be born and decided to do some trudging in the rain along the

Chi was Mac from SSX. When asked he said, "I'm Mac from SSX. It is a video game that is coming out for the PS3 in January 2012. All other SSX's were on the PS2!

sidewalks of our little neighborhood the usually turns out en masse for this yearly harvesting. And do you know what? There were quite a few people trickertreating, too and more people that I thought were handing out candy and the two coolest Halloween houses were all decked out and battery powered and SPOOOOOOOKY. Pieces

Hubs made the snowboard. Chi chose a Pokemon and Hubs freehanded the drawing. We wrapped it in plastic because its made of paper which isn't really waterproof.

was convinced the ghosts and the witch that fly through the air all around their house were real.

In the end, we trickertreated with friends from the neighborhood, hit a few houses, got soaked and cold, and harvested a decent amount of shaped sugar. The kids? Well, you couldn’t tell by the way they acted that there was anything amiss with the weather. Hubs? He was sopping wet and cold. Me? I hung out under the umbrella so that I didn’t go into anaphylactic  shock (I’m allergic to the cold! Sheesh.) Still, I was itchy, but I made a good holder-of-parts-of-costumes-the-kids-were-tired-of-wearing.

I like that the kids had fun anyway. I want to be more like that.

Post Trickertreating GORGE!

Do you remember, Mom?

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to make cookies? The dough was always my favorite part. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, watching the Sound of Music and Little Women over and over and over with me? Watching Singing in the Rain? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, how we were too chicken to try out the subways in NYC until the very end of our trip, and how we swore we’d go back, just to use the transit system properly? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, the awesome birthday parties when I was growing up: the backwards birthday party, the slumber parties, the parties centered around really fun games, the McDonald’s Caboose parties? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, singing songs to each other and to my kids? Do a deer, Favorite Things, Second Story Window, and others? “Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that  stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into spring. These are a few of my favorite things.”  I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, when you would wet my hair and braid it? Sometimes it was one braid and sometimes two, but always it was this perfect French braid. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, when we would sing in the car together? I would sit on the armrest of the Malibu like it was my own personal chair and we would belt out songs. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me the nursery rhyme song and how much fun it was to try and come up with as many nursery rhymes as we could? “Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. When she went there, the cupboard was bare so she threw it out the window. The window, the window, the second story window. With a heave and a ho and a mighty throw, she threw it out the window!” I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to play Nardle? I remember playing over and over, and having SO much fun. I ended up teaching friends, I liked it so much. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, building a snowman in the snow? I think we were in Ft Smith, which means you were pregnancy encumbered, but I had a blast. Thanks to you. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, drying my hair and ironing it on the ironing board? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, laying face to face on the bed (or floor or where ever) upside down to one another? Do you remember the funny upside down faces and the laughing? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, playing boardgames in the camper at the end of the night when we all went camping? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, just you and I going to the movies and seeing tear jerkers and crying on each others shoulders? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going for drives and getting Sonic sodas and beef meximelts from Taco Bell? Do you remember sitting at the lock and watching the river flow by? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going shopping in Little Rock, just us? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, swimming at Meemaw and Grandad’s house for hours on end? “Fish on land!!” I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, going to see all those musicals? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, teaching me to play the piano? How I preferred to memorize the songs as opposed to reading the music? How I hated theory? I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, all those duets we loved to play together on the piano? You always played the bass clef because I was ruined from playing the clarinet for so long. Bass clef required all kinds of counting and figuring out what was what for me anymore. I remember.

Do you remember, Mom, being there for the birth of my children? I remember.

Making Memories

Do you remember, Mom, holding me and loving me? Yeah, all those times you’ve always been there. I love you, Mom, I’m so thankful for you and all the memories we’ve made. I may not know your birth story the way your mom tells it to you, but I know your life story as I’ve lived it with you. I look forward to all of the memories we will make going forward and all the times you will hold me and love me.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

My heart is all splintered apart and part of it has returned to California to be with their mom for the school year. I can’t seem to let go and move on. I have to keep forcing myself to do something else besides wallow in sadness.

Today, I made a commitment to face forward and move on with life. I know that sounds melodramatic, and maybe it is, but the sadness is real. The depression is dragging at me like weights in the deep dark waters of time. I have to make myself turn away from the darkness and start swimming in the direction of the light because that’s where the air is. I feel like I can’t breathe. I need to breathe.

This summer was great and we had a royal blast. We did a lot and time flew by unheeded. I’m thankful that we had this time. I hope it’s not the last.

I made a video documentary of sorts because the list of things that we did and their stories would fill up too much of this white space.

Enjoy.

I may elaborate in the future. I don’t know yet.

Kids Galore

It has been a crazy busy summer. Five kids are loud. Five kids are messy. Five kids eat A LOT. Five kids make a lot of dirty laundry. Five kids are needy.

And yet, as summer draws to a close as we near the day that Kip and Mae will return to their mother, I find that I am not relieved.

Five kids are loving. Five kids are funny. Five kids are snuggly. Five kids are helpful. Five kids are entertaining. Five kids say the silliest things. Five kids make my heart HUGE. Five kids fill the minutes and hours and make them fly.

Part of my heart will head to California in less than two weeks and I am at a complete loss. How do I impart my love for the two that are leaving? How do I leave them with certain knowledge that they are loved, here at my house, unconditionally?

I will miss these kids tremendously and I will look forward with excitement to Christmas break, when we will get to see them again.

Kip, Chi, Pynni, Mae, and Pieces

I may write about some of the things we’ve done this summer later. Right now, I just want to hold them close to my heart.

Chi Cure

Cousins

DJ and Mae are with us for the summer. They are the son and daughter of one of my two brothers, Doodle, and near in age to Chi with DJ and Chi being a year older than Mae. They come to stay with their dad during the summers and I’m lucky enough to get to keep them during the days while Doodle works.

Chi on the left

DJ is five weeks chronologically older than Chi, but he is decades older in maturation. DJ is one of those kids that was born middle-aged, and that is not to say that he can’t be silly and have fun because, lordy, that child has a wicked sense of humor. It just means that he is mind-bogglingly responsible and has insight that blows my socks off.

COOOOOKEEEEEES

This may not come as a surprise, but Chi has difficulties with daily things that most folks find just ho-hum. Most kids find his inability to cope and/or function to be strange at best and his little quirks that indicate that he is dealing and/or stimming flat out weird. He never really seemed to care until some time during the second half of second grade and even that was more acknowledgement that he was different without any real understanding as to why he was ostracized or what he was supposed to feel or do about it.

Mae, Abby, Chi and DJ

The one shining exception to this rule about other kids is DJ. DJ and Chi have always been close and DJ has never judged Chi as weird or strange. He seems to understand that Chi is Chi and will even say, “Aunt Beonin, he’s just being Chi” or “He’s just doing Chi things” when Chi has some sort of out of proportion reaction to something.

SUPER DJ!

DJ never loses his temper with Chi. When Chi loses his cool, DJ is there to talk him down. When Chi has a complete shutdown, DJ is able to get Chi out of where ever it is he goes. I have learned to ignore Chi’s reactions, when applicable, and DJ will take over and smooth things out.

On the stool at Grammie’s house

EXAMPLE: Chi and DJ were playing Starcraft 2 on the computers upstairs when it was time to go to the grocery store. I told those who were playing games to turn off their systems and told everyone to get their shoes on and go potty. Chi became floppy. He does not like the grocery store much and he really doesn’t like the store when he’s doing something he enjoys as much as video games with DJ. He REALLY doesn’t like the store when I spring it on him with no prior warning. (Yay, me!)

Fun on the water

So he’s the last one out the door and he practically lays in the seat instead of sitting. DJ just carries on a conversation with Chi as if there is nothing going on. As if Chi isn’t flopping and moaning and squeaking and twitching. When we get to the store, DJ grabs Pieces’ hand and Mae grabs Pynni’s and I forcibly push Chi into the store. I get the big cart that’s shaped like a car for Pynni and Pieces (two less to keep up with, right?) and admonish the older kids to keep up. Chi trails behind. Far behind.

(I’ve come to a point in this journey (the whole entire childhood one with Chi) that I don’t even react to the lagging behind. He never lets me get too far away.)

Goofiness

DJ says, “Aunt Beo, I’ll walk back here with Chi to make sure he doesn’t get lost.” I smile at him and

Best Buds

thank him. We get through the produce and past the deli. As we round the corner into the meat section, I hear a peal of laughter. I look behind me and there is DJ with his arm around Chi, cracking Chi up. There was no issue after that.

No, it’s not that Chi’s issues cease to be when DJ is here, but I am ever amazed at what DJ is able to accomplish with Chi. They are complements of one another and DJ loves Chi, Chi-isms and all.