Well, as if you can really teach an old dog new fancy tricks in a matter of weeks. Just call me old yeller with a limp. Ruff Ruff. Ten months have flown by and I suppose it’s not surprising as my children started school right after I posted the last few entries and my new home became our SUV where all Starbuck’s pumpkin bread goes to die. Preschool for two kids isn’t really a big deal when you are a stay at home Mom. It’s that public & private preschool, speech, behavioral & occupational therapy for two developmentally delayed kids in Los Angeles is a fucking nightmare. Especially if you are a lightly paranoid and a painfully self aware parent with self esteem issues like old yeller with a limp. Our two kids started out toddlerhood speech delayed and with sensory and behavioral issues. Ali liked running in circles and climbing up and down stairs over and over. She called me “daudy” for a whole year before she could pronounce the “M” sound. In hindsight, it was really cute but if you rewind to almost 3 years ago as she was running across the playground yelling “daudy daudy daudy to embrace a self conscious Mom who saw that other classmates muttered phrases it was painfully obvious that I needed to do something. I came to find out she had apraxia, something that stroke victims get. Now, after thousands of dollars in therapy and suing the school district for more therapy hours (a yearly tradition at our home sort of like me getting drunk and forcing everyone to watch the Oscars-my husband hopes it doesn’t happen but it’s inevitable), she just sounds like a ESL student who is only mildly hyper and that’s big progress in our home.
Our boy Jack seems to be on the same trajectory except he maybe mildly autistic. That was news I received around January of this past year and while he is currently receiving Applied Behavioral Analysis and is now saying a few phrases and has progressed remarkably, I was very freaked out and worried this all would be way over my head. Many times I thought would he get worse? (Answer: No) Would he ever speak? (Answer: Yes) Would he ever be loved by someone as a grown up if he displayed weird behaviors? (Answer: Bitch please, you’re married aren’t you?) Could we handle more therapy sessions, school district battles, driving more (Answer: well sort of, I melt down every few weeks) Months ago, these worries consumed me and my emotional state was in the fetal postion for awhile until I came to find out that my son had a female admirer in class who was leading him around by the hand and purposefully sitting next to him at rugtime. And one day, as Ali and I left him at his preschool class, without prompting, Jack said “Bye Momma, Bye Dadi ( Ali’s name)” and ran to hug his sister goodbye.
At our weekly Sales Meetings, my old boss liked telling stories about himself to better explain where he was coming from. Sometimes he would begin by saying something like “I came from a broken home, so I had to become the man of the house early on” And in a round about way continued with you over privileged insolent salespeople need to be more responsible or something like that, I don’t know, they were long meetings. Anyway, the phrase “I came from a broken home” was a scarlet letter I refused to identify with at that moment but curiously never forgot. I never thought my home was broken. I subconsciously thought that my father’s absence would be compensated and his role would be absorbed through our tight knit relationship with my mother’s family. And as I bounced and staggered through my adolescence and all of my 20’s, I accepted much later that I too came from a broken home. It doesn’t feel as tragic as it sounds. But it did shape me and it did rear its ugly head the harder I tried to suppress that anything was “wrong” in my life. Indeed, my sister and I did have to grow up quicker because of some severe moments but in context to what children grow up with these days even if their parents marriage is intact, I’m not sure its any worse.
Parenting is only truly comprehended when the spawn actually becomes yours. Otherwise you just shouldn’t talk or compare. No parent is listening to you, trust me. As for the paths you choose to take well that is inversely proportional to how you grew up and what you are currently facing. My parents broke up in 1986. We lived in a small town where everybody knew everybody’s score. Over the years, I’ve grown to admire my Mom’s vulnerability as much as I always felt safe with her level of tenacity in the face of my father’s spiral. Her nature is genuine so the path she set out for me and my sister albeit conservative at times, never was selfish or demented. Over the years her maturity led to her being one of the few people I can say anything to.
Calexico Parish hall circa 1982
And so the next posting is Sullivan’s Alley. Another other reason I stopped posting. I kept trying to fine tune it and procrastinating. Overall, its a work of fiction. And yet there’s plenty of truths that I experienced. I like the quote Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth once said, “Once the music leaves your head, it’s already compromised.” Nothing can ever be replicated but it can be interpreted and out of that something created. -DB