Rob and I were talking last night about a lot of things. While I was putting Elliott Richard to bed he read my blog. (He has access but doesn’t read very often, which isn’t a big deal since he lives it and all. lol) He said that while I’m honest I put a positive spin on things. I guess that’s true. I am honest but there are things that I hold back on because for a while now Rob has been uncomfortable with the whole blogging thing. My blog is set to invite only so even if Nick or Pam managed to find my Blogger profile and try to access my blog they would see a message that says my blog is by invite only. No access. No risk. Unless one of you give them the url and your login info but since I know 99% of you personally and the rest of you either dislike them as much as I do or have no interest in them, I feel pretty safe. 😉

So I’ve decided that it’s time for honesty. It’s time for me to be a little blunt and completely open about our lives right now. Keep in mind a few things here: While I tend to be pretty honest and upfront about most things, there are some topics that are harder for me to discuss than others. Also this on again off again weather is killing me and my cold/sinus infection seem to be returning and the sinus stuff I take seems to make me a little loopy for some reason. So what I don’t cover today I’ll try and hit later. (Side note: I am horrible at spelling! Seriously. I apologize for any misspellings but my spell check doesn’t work right now. So just ignore my typos.) Anyway, without further ado…

I have been “torturing” you guys with the fact that Rob and I know the sex of Tiny and you don’t. Honestly, some of you do. Some of you don’t. (Gavin doesn’t even know but then if we told him we might as well tell everyone. lol) I haven’t posted Tiny’s sex on here because some family has access to the blog, although I seriously doubt that they exercise it. In theory I could post Tiny’s sex here if I wanted to and our families probably still wouldn’t know. That makes me sad. It makes me sad that my best friends (one of whom lives in NYC and the other knows who she is – hope you’re feeling better, hon), my mother, my various internet moms (from all three pregnancies) and Gram (my newly internet adopted grandmother) are the only ones who really check this blog(at least that I know of because they let me know they’ve been here). (Tiffany, Nathan, and my Aunt Susie have access and are excused from this generalization because they have their hands seriously full at the moment.) Rob thinks I should post Tiny’s sex and see who actually reads the blog to keep up with life in the our household. I don’t agree. I’ll know when the time is right for everyone to know and I’ll tell you then. So asking (nicely or otherwise) and bribing (although fun and appreciated sometimes) won’t work, so for your own sanity it’s best that you not try. End of story. 😉

What’s next…ah yes, money. We have none. (Can’t get much more blunt than that.) Rob has “lost his job” in a manner of speaking. Rob is self-employed as a construction/contractor for a pretty big home builder here in town and the surrounding states. There is an allotment here in town that Rob has worked in since they opened it. He has been in every house in the neighborhood until now. Glen, the builder he was working for, quit. Glen’s replacement (who’s name escapes me at the moment) seems to dislike Rob. (We think it’s because the last time Rob worked for him he was also working with a rather shady individual. Now please understand, Rob is not shady. In fact, he’s one of the most honest and upfront people I know. But for a while his reputation was tarnished because he was associated with Bob before he knew the “Real Bob”. Incidently, the “Real Bob” recently stole $6 off a dying 67 yr old man whom he, as a paramedic, was supposed to be saving, just to give you some perspective.) Anyway, this builder seems to be replacing Rob with someone different. This has killed our income. Right now we are living off of our income tax return but that will only last until the end of March, if we are lucky and don’t buy things like diapers and gas. *sigh* Rob is actively looking for work with other allotments within the company, however, this also is the slow time of year. Homeowners are buying lots and picking homes but ground breaking probably won’t happen for a few months yet and Rob isn’t involved until closer to the end of the process.

The other thing to keep in mind is that Rob is self-employed for a few reasons. Could he go out and get any job to bring in something for the next few weeks, yes he could. However, that is not what is best for him or for our family. Rob has a herniated disc and degenerative disc disease in his back. He was told years ago that he needs surgery and shouldn’t be doing construction. He has not had the surgery because it would require him to be completely out of commission for up to 6 months. He used to be a paramedic, a job that he loved, (He was saving a hemoraging pregnant woman when he destroyed his back.) but had to quit because he had to be away from home for 24-72 hours at a time and Gavin had become too much for me to handle on my own. To work a “normal job” Rob would have to have the freedom to sit down or stand as his back allows and needs. No employer is going to tolerate that and the pain of all the standing would kill him. When he got home, he would be useless to me and the boys. Rob does what he does to allow for fexibility in scheduling because of Gavin and his special needs. The work he does is not good for his back, by any means, but it allows for us to make enough money to survive on without requiring Rob to be away from home for 40+ hours every week. On a good day (for Gavin) I struggle to meet all his needs, however, now that I’m pregnant and already on light restrictions I am not allowed to have confrontations like the ones that are typical with Gavin. And I’m not allowed to care for Elliott Richard on my own now right either so I need Rob at home as much as time and income allow. This may sound irresponsible on our part but I assure you that this is the only and best way for us. I have made appointments to all of the agencies that may be able to help us at this point. I have calls into other contacts who may know of other assistance. We are doing all that we can at this point to plan for our uncertain future. (If you know of any help that I may not, please email me. When I say our financial situation is dire, I’m not being dramatic.)

Hhhhmmmm, where do I go from here? Ah, yes, the boys. We’ve been lucky with Elliott Richard. While he’s technically considered a preemie, he was born at 36 weeks. That puts him a HUGE advantage over most preemies because we were able to keep him inside for 9 weeks despite the preterm labor that threatened us everyday. So even though he spent the first 10 days of his life in the NICU, he’s fine now. Developmentally, he’s right on target.

Gavin isn’t quite so easy. Gavin was a typical baby until about 2 1/2 or 3 years old. Then it was as if he woke up one day and someone had flipped a switch. Gavin was gone. Prior to the switch being flipped, he was a typical little boy. Although now that I have Elliott Richard as a “point of reference” (as Gavin’s doctors put it) I now realize that there were many things I should have noticed but didn’t. The fact that we lived down south for 9 months with a family doctor rather than Gavin’s regular pediatrician didn’t help matters any. And yes, I blame myself for that. From start to finish, I firmly believe that our time in down south while I was married to Nick was the beginning of the end for my precious Gavin.

There are many different theories as to how Autism/Asperger’s comes to be. Some believe it is vaccines. I don’t agree. Autism as a whole is seeing a 300% increase globally. That means third world countries, under-developed countries – essentially, countries without access to vaccines. In order for it to be vaccines, all the children in that 300% need to have exposure to the same vaccines. Others believe it is genetic, tied to such factors as extensive drug use by the parents (I used socially until I found out I was pregnant with Gavin. In my opinion, Nick is an addict.) and the advanced age of the father. I tend to agree with this a little more. Personally, I believe that Autism is much like cancer. You may be born with a genetic predisposition to cancer but not develop cancer in your lifetime. However, you pass that genetic predisposition on to your children and they may develop cancer if the conditions are right and the gene is triggered. I think either Nick or myself or both of us carried this genetic predisposition and passed it on to Gavin. Then something happened, over time, to trigger it. I believe that had it not been triggered, Gavin would have been quirky but not necessarily Autistic. But once it was triggered, Gavin was locked away inside his own mind. Too far away for us to reach.

When Gavin was young, before the switch was flipped, he was quirky. The girls at his daycare used to worry because he would not play with the other children. He would play beside them but never with them. He also refused, to the point of violent meltdowns, to participate in group activities. I admit, I was young (20/21) and didn’t know what this meant. I thought he was simply angry at me for leaving him in daycare. When Gavin was a baby (9-18 months) he was very attached to me. Everywhere I went, he went. Elliott Richard is the same, only he’s different. Gavin was attached to me but it was more as if I were a safe place, not a safe person. If that makes any sense. His attachment didn’t seem to be emotional. As Gavin has grown, his attachments have become less emotional over time and more forced. He gives hugs because he has learned that they are expected in certain situations. Gavin will memorize a social situation and what he did that was acceptable in that moment. He will then react the exact same way every time recognizes a similar social situation. Gavin has no filter. If he sees someone smoking, he doesn’t think about whether he knows them or if he should say what he’s thinking, he tells them that smoking is bad and they are going to die. Then he will walk away. He has called neighbors “scary vultures” and “black monsters” to their faces. He doesn’t know it’s wrong. He simply thinks it and says it.

We try and teach Gavin what is right and wrong. We try and teach him that just because he feels the need to hug Elliott Richard does not mean he can drag him kicking and screaming away from his toys to accomplish it. We try and teach him that it’s okay to not want to be touched but it is not okay to push, kick and hit Elliott Richard when he’s trying to get Gavin’s attention. The blunt truth of Gavin is that he has kicked Elliott Richard in the chest because Elliott Richard touched Gavin’s foot. Gavin has kicked one of our cats down the stairs. He has tried to throw a dog down the stairs. When I was pregnant with Elliott, Gavin attacked me. He has tried to slam my fingers in his bedroom door while I was trying to get in and stop him from hurting himself. (Our house is 100+ years old and the doors are all about 2 inches solid wood.) He has clawed at my face, my eyes, my arms. He has spit in my face and punched me in the side of the head.

Gavin has no gray area. Everything in his world is black and white. He over-generalizes everything. If Person A buys Gavin at toy “just because” at Wal*Mart. Then from that moment on every time he is at Wal*Mart Gavin’s believes that he will get a toy. It doesn’t matter who is with him. His whole life is like that. Good and evil, with no in-between.

In our home, routine is life. Our lives are not such that our routine is on a set time schedule. However, the same things happen in the same order everday. Regardless of the time we get up or doctors appointments etc. In our world, it is always A, B, C, D etc. Never A, Z, J, V etc.

I am not telling you these things about Gavin because I want you to think him a monster. He is NOT a monster. However, he is not typical either. Simply because your pregnancy, labor & delivery were textbook followed by text book typical children, does not mean that our lives work that way. Gavin attends a special school for Asperger’s and ADHD children. They have been a God send! Make no mistake the staff are ANGELS and I will take on (verbally of course) anyone who dares to tell me differently. Without them, Gavin would not be able to attend school. Public schools (as I’ve stated in previous posts) are not a fit for Gavin in any stretch of the imagination. I honestly do not know where we would be without them. They are all miracle workers and the best part of my job as a mother and President of the PTA is that I get to watch them work miracles everyday.

Warning: This is where my honesty is about to get bitter and angry. You have been warned.

Some things make me angry, understandablly. There are people out there who believe that they know better simply based on age. WRONG. Some believe they know better because they have typical children who all turned out wonderfully. WRONG. Some people believe that I am too strict, too structured, too this that and the other thing. WRONG.

Just because you are older than me, does not mean you have more experience than me. I have seen things in my 27 1/2 years that most of you have only read about. My childhood was not text book, unless you happen to be reading a text book about an ADHD child. My young adult years were filled with anger, violence, abuse, drugs, alcohol, cops, court dates, legal battles…you name it and it was probably in there at some point. I did not get to go away to college. I did not get to date my soul mate for years before getting engaged, getting married and having children – in that order. The last 15 years of my life have been spent fighting for survival – my own, my children’s, my husband’s, my marriage.

Much of the things I have endured over the past 15 years are nightmares of my own creatation; I recognize that. I take ownership and responsibility for my actions. I will not take ownership or responsibility for anyone else’s. I chose to marry Nick. He chose to abuse me in any way he could think of. I did not deserve it. I did not tolerate it. And while others are certainly within their rights to ask my advice and not take it, do not ask my advice and tell me that my opinion/p.o.v. (point of view) is wrong because it does not fit into your Bubble Gum Universe. I wish I lived in your Universe but I don’t. I live in the Real World. Which is MESSY and UGLY and filled with PAIN and ANGER and nasty ugly things. While you may wish to live with your head in the sand and ignore the world outside your door, please remember that I live there and when you ignore the pain and suffering in the world…You are ignoring me!

I wish I had grown up with a deep faith in God. I wish I had a life in which that faith has never been tested and I’ve never been angry with God. But you know what, I haven’t and that’s okay. That makes me HUMAN. Some people prefer to live life worrying about what others will think. While I often take into considersation what others think, it does not run my life. I know my God. We are tight. He loves me and I love him. I don’t have to go to church every Sunday to show my love for him nor for him to show his love for me. I was not married in a church. It was a civil ceremony with my parents and brother and Rob’s parents and siblings. That does not doom our marriage.

I have lived my entire life clouded by judgement and none of that judgement has come from where it should – GOD. I will not live in judgement any longer. My life is not easy, even on a perfectly amazing day. My life is struggle and pain. My health sucks. Rob’s back is blown. Gavin is Autistic. And by the grace of God, Elliott is “perfect” (in relation to the everyone else’s issues). Gavin and I have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from the abuse I endured and he witnessed down south. My life is not perfect. I’m tired of pretending that it is because it makes other uncomfortable. I appreciate every prayer that is offered up to God on our behalf but you know what, there are times when it would be nice if more than prayers were offered. If you really want to know what we need…Call and ask to take Gavin for the day or overnight. Call just to see how things are going. If something is going wrong in the pregnancy, ask us about it. If we don’t want to talk about it, we’ll let you know. If you care, sometimes it’s just nice to be told or shown.

I’m tired of fake people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I am tired of fake people. (FYI…Fake people are normal people who act in a manner that is fake, shallow, self-serving etc)If you assume that we’ll tell you if things are really bad, then don’t be surprised when we don’t tell you anything. Don’t be surprised when you aren’t included in the good because you don’t care to be there in the bad. My life right now reminds me of that children’s story about the little red hen. She gathers all the ingredients to make bread and asks for help along the way. Everyone is too busy to help with the work. Then when the bread is baked, everyone is willing to help her eat it. And that little red hen says NO, you didn’t want to help me work so you won’t enjoy the fruits of my labor. That’s how I feel. If you can’t be bothered to care about us when things suck. You won’t get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And you know what, life sucks. The sooner you learn it, the better off you’ll be.

I’m NOT telling you these things because:
We are looking for hand-outs or hand-ups or whatever you’d like to call them.
We are looking for pity.
I am unhappy with my life.
I am trying to hurt anyone.

I AM telling you these things because:
I want to be completely honest (within reason, somethings y’all just don’t need to know lol).
If you pray, you’ll now know what to pray for.
If you want to help, you now know what we need.
If you ask me (or us) to go somewhere, do something etc you’ll now know why we can’t.
Everyone needs to know what our lives are like.
I’m tired of not sharing how I feel because it might upset people. (This is my blog. If you don’t like it or can’t handle it, don’t read it. Most of you don’t anyway.)
It’s unhealthy for me to hold all this crap in.