Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Autism vs. Neesha: The bragging jinx

For three straight weeks, Nabeel has been an angel. I kid you not. I was beginning to think that the horrible phase was over finally! This morning I told my mom how mellow and sweet he's been and about how he's even talking more and showing more patience instead of screaming.

Well, who told me to open my big, fat mouth! Sure enough, after I got home from work today, my mom and sister informed me that he spontaneously started screaming and throwing chairs! Are you kidding me! Noooooooooooooooo. I gave him a talking to very sternly before we left and headed home. He was quiet and good all evening. Then, just as he was at the sink about to brush his teeth, he let out a spine-tingling shriek right near my left ear! Then he shot out some projectile spit, and it grazed my face. That pissed me off, but I kept my cool. I insisted he sit his butt down, and I ordered him to write sentences about why he did that. Lately, the forced sentence writing has proven to thwart full-blown meltdowns. If I catch it just in time, he will stop to obey the command to "WRITE! NOW!"

This is what I need, NOW.
It's very unpleasant, to say the least, to have your 14-year-old kid spit in your face; doesn't matter if they are special needs or what. It's always a degrading and hurtful experience. While fighting back the tears, I kept my stern voice and told him to WRITE. I know this tactic will get old and won't work for long; nothing ever does, but I will keep trying to outsmart these episodes! He's supposed to be getting into a severe behavior clinic, but I'm still waiting for a reply to my email about getting him on the calendar. There's not too much assistance out there, and what's within reach requires a lot of waiting and waiting and waiting. And, goodness, I hate waiting!

Whew! OK, so now, I will drink a cold bottle of water (since I don't drink-drink), say a few prayers to calm my nerves, and hope that he goes to sleep soon. There's always tomorrow, right? Not all days are rough. I'm grateful for those previous three weeks of peace with my baby.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games

I was incredibly hesitant to read this book, because it's not really my genre. I don't normally enjoy dystopian stories unless it's got a science-fiction twist. I'd been hearing so much hype over it, and several unlikely people raved about it. So, I caved in to peer pressure and gave it a read. I finished it in one weekend.

In a nutshell: Our country as we know it ends up in ruins and is then known as Panem, a nation ruled by the Capitol, which is surrounded by the 12 districts it governs. At one time, long before the story takes place, the districts waged a failed uprising on the Capitol. Defeated and broken, they had to suffer the terms of a surrender. As part of this punishment for trying to overtake the Capitol, each district had to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games," a fight to the death on live TV. Only one out of the 24 could survive. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist, lives alone with her emotionally disturbed mother and younger sister Prim. Although Prim's name is pulled, Katniss races ahead of her and offers to volunteer in her place, protecting her little sister. She is then forced to represent her district in the Games.

I will break it down into likes and dislikes:

Likes:
  • The way Collins leaves you starving for more, ending every chapter with some kind of jaw-dropping twist. Nice writing tactic! Whether I liked the book or not, I would have kept reading just to appease my need to know what the hell happens next.
  • Action packed. Never a dull scene.
  • Fast paced. Story moves along quite steadily.
  • Likable characters. Nobody was overly annoying, and although Katniss reminded me a little bit of Bella Swan from "Twilight" at times, it wasn't that bad. I wanted to slap her in about two scenes, but that's not terrible compared to Bella and Remy from Amanda Hocking's "Hollowmen." Katniss was brave and fierce, but still held on to her cluelessness and wasn't easily wooed aside from the fancy food. Didn't blame her! Me loves food.
  • I'm a fan of trilogies, so that helped my enthusiasm.
  • I hugely respect authors whose work makes it to the big screen! And I love reading the book before seeing the movie.
  • Like I said, I don't normally enjoy dystopian novels, but this one didn't turn me off. It wasn't overboard the way she wrote it.
  • This bullet relates to the previous one. The story was very creative and believable. If not the U.S.A., I can actually see this being a thing in some Third World country that we don't know much about. I mean, just think of the barbaric things that really do happen across the globe, especially with tribal people and place with extreme poverty and hierarchy. You hear stuff on the news all the time. The laws and regimes are quite different in other places, ya know.
  • The deaths during the games were well created. It wasn't just a bunch of violence or shooting. It was strategic and each was totally different.
  • There was an intermission, i.e. part one and two. I like that. It's like a two-fer. 
  • It ended in a way that allowed me to feel satisfied if I didn't choose to read the next two books in the trilogy, although that may not be the reaction the author seeks.
Dislikes:
  • I'm a big fan of first person, but not first person present tense. That made it an uncomfortable read for my brain. It just didn't sound right to me.
  • Her descriptions were a bit confusing at times such as with the scenery or whereabouts of the characters. I could not picture the town they ran through or the Cornucopia thingy. I had to go back and read certain scenes over again to grasp a mental picture.
  • The character names annoyed me. "Gale" didn't seem like an appropriate name for the strong character he was. "Peeta" made me think of Jack in the Box's Fajita Pita or pita bread, especially since his family owned a bakery. And I'm not hating on the author's creativity, just expressing what irked me. Most authors put a whole lot of thought into naming their characters, and many times they are reflections of some real-life person, place or thing that influenced the author's life.
  • The book was very predictable. I would predict things, and they would happen. Even after the first chapter, I told myself what the basics of the story would turn out to be, such as who would get chosen, who would survive, who would be in love or not, her fate with the Capitol officials, and I was about 99% correct. The only part that kind of got me was when Peeta joined forces with those rebels. I doubted his loyalty for a while just like Katniss did.
As you can see, I had way more likes than dislikes. The story was very good and unique, and I honor it with my 4-star rating. I'm pretty sure I will read the other two books eventually. Now, I must see the movie so I can compare how much better the book was. =)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Book review: Jane Slayre

Today, I finished reading the book "Jane Slayre" by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin. My son bought me this book, because he wanted to cheer me up and knows I like quirky things. It was meant to be a joke but turned out to be a great choice!

If you know the classic "Jane Eyre," then you already knew this was a creative rewrite of that novel just by the title. Erwin turned the tale into one with a "blood-sucking twist," as the cover suggests. I was wary at first, since I liked the original classic so well, but anyone who likes a good vampire story will appreciate this version. It was very enjoyable! First off, I like true vampire stories, not the ones of today where they sparkle and are sexy and romantic. This book contained all the scenes I loved in the original story along with blood and guts and horrific scenes with both vampires and zombies. Jane is a vampire slayer and a damn good one.

I love the way her character was written, because she wasn't turned into that annoying, "I'm made of steel and don't need to show emotions," Bella Swan type. Not once during this book did I want to punch Jane in the face like I did with Bella Swan and Katniss Everdeen in "Hunger Games." Jane was a well-rounded, heroine! She didn't act conceited about her skills, stayed classy even through adversity and showed emotion when appropriate even though she kept herself well guarded from showing weakness. There were scenes that incorporated just the right dose of humor and made me giggle even though it may have been a serious moment. Jane's thoughts are hilarious sometimes. All of her struggles and adversity came together in the end to create a much-deserved happy ending for her. It wasn't too fluffy and mushy. It was one of those reads that left me thinking about it hours after I read the last sentence. Just right and just enough to make me glad I read every word attentively.

It was well written, and I give it 5 stars!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Autism vs. Neesha: Ink about it

I don't know how long this is going to last as far as effectiveness, but so far, so working. The last two times Nabeel started his scream-athons, I went up to him immediately with a pen, paper and very stern face and ordered him to write 10 sentences about why he should not scream. He took me VERY seriously! He abruptly stopped his scream/spit/throw routine to obediently sit down and write the sentences. He hits that ink hard with his thoughts. I'm thinking tattoo artist as his future calling! (As digital as this world is getting, that'll be the gig that keeps ink alive.)

I don't tell him what to write; I just let him give me 10 answers that he comes up with. My favorite one so far is, "If you scream you will not get berger king." My second favorite is, "If you scream, you lose and get an exx by your name." He's quite a creative thinker, proven by the random chatter I eavesdrop on from the hallway as he's in his room chillin'. He talks about being an astronaut and riding to outer space on a rocket ship, going to Wal-Mart to get more chicken nuggets and all kinds of hilarious remarks about his friends at school.

One minute he's a mellow fellow, and the next he's rampaging and breaking things. Still not sure why he does this! It's been eight months! (gasp!) Trial and error will be my guiding light until we exit this violent, aggressive phase. I foresee a lot of broken items and egos in the process, but this momma ain't no giver upper! Although, I do cry a lot. But I might cry if I got an ink blot on my favorite purse, too, so I guess losing a few teardrops is no biggie. I have a lifetime supply.

While he's screaming his 14-year-old, puberty-stricken brains out, I look at him and just want to hug him. =/ Mommies are supposed to fix everything, and autism is taking that super power away from me, dammit! I don't plan on allowing it to be my kryptonite in helping my child. I read that Texas is one of the worst states to be in if you need services related to autism. Seeing as how it's on the rise, I'm hopeful it will be given way more of the spotlight soon. I'm not too, too freaked out by lack of help, because I have made some great friends over the years who are specialists and teachers and caregivers and offer me tons of advice all the time. I love them all so dearly. And for that, I'm at ease and grateful for every micro-second of peace I get in life.

When the meltdown starts, so does that countdown, because remember ... nothing lasts forever, not even bad stuff.

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Bad mood therapy

I think there is too much hostility in the world, especially in today's world because technology has seemingly turn us into impatient lunatics. People want everything NOW! God forbid the smart phone takes more than 10 seconds to load a Web page! What? The home computer has no Internet connection? What else is there to do!? We can order food deliveries online. Text messaging and social media provide direct connections to people, and when we send a message, we expect a reply within seconds or else! Don't even get me started about road rage.

There once was a time when you didn't know who was dating who, or what a co-worker did over the weekend. Or even what people eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGI3uAMjU10). But suddenly, we live in a world where just about everyone's life is an open book. I truly believe convenience has spoiled us, which is a recipe for anger issues stemming from impatience. I get all wound up as much as the next person, and I vent to my friends BUT ... I don't throw tantrums, and I surely do NOT have road rage. I take out my anger in other ways. Let me introduce you to three simple things that provide bad mood therapy (to me).

1. Youtube

Here are some of my favorite HILARIOUS vids. You should definitely watch these. If you don't laugh, then you're a robot.

7-year-old takes car for joyride
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcqOgnQyXp4

Best news bloopers!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gbgip2CYmeM

Jim Gaffigan - making fun of bowling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5fm7QPA9zY

Frank Caliendo - George W. Bush
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK1ekhovFeU

2. Cupcakes

On occasion, I will make a special stop on the way home or during lunch to indulge in some type of stress-relieving treat. I'm not talking about regular food or meals. I'm talking about one special thing that you LOVE but don't get very often like Marble Slab ice cream (cheesecake flavor, YUM!) or a delicious cupcake from a bakery. It's not healthy, but it's great for a temporary mood fix. And if you're a health nut, then stick to Youtube therapy.

3. Music

I highly advise you to not only listen to your choice of beats but to try listening to something new now and again. I'll spit you some of my favs, and you can take it from there.

The Wanted - Glad You Came
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiEEJds8JFE

And, I love me some old school flava!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4koo2orCEk&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK_tCnsoUe4

Now, keep in mind, I'm from the Caribbean =)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ2mPlxgoSw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejOSbiIieXw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpO_6V7Ur0o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0hTXW7lE1g

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5th grade follies

It's the weirdest thing! The month of May always reminds me of my 5th grade year. I guess a lot of crazy enough things happened to have branded me for life. Another thing is that I have an unbelievably good memory for things that are not exactly worthy of remembering. Ask me what I did yesterday, and I probably cannot tell you.

Here are the most memorable things from that school year. Tell me if you can understand why it still sticks with me at 36.

Boobs

This popular boy named Chris was the Brad Pitt of 5th grade. All the chicks wanted to be his beau. I didn't like him that way because I thought he was nasty ever since I saw him pick his nose in the hallway one day. He traumatized me on the playground once when we looked at my chest and said, "Gross!!! You have big boobs! They're as big as my sister's, and she's in 7th grade. Yuck." Then, he walked off disgusted, and I was left standing there in amazement and humiliation, because other kids were staring and snickering. I'm sure his opinion of boobs changed in the next year or so.

Burp

It's no secret that I get along better with guys than gals. This has been the case since childhood. I always liked their company way more and not because of crushes or anything. I mean they were cooler to chill with than girls who were always getting mad for everything, had exclusive cliques and gave the silent treatment whenever they felt like it. This trend, I've found, doesn't stop in grade school as I have a running list of bitches who don't speak to me for whatever reason ... but, anyway.

This year our classes were in trailers outside the regular building. So in between classes, we were outside trailer hopping. As we all waited for the English class trailer door to open, we congregated on the steps for a bit. A group of guys with whom I so badly wanted to be considered cool were having a burping contest, or should I say belch since that sounds more nasty and accurate. I was watching them all swallow air then take turns letting out long, loud and disgusting face farts. I made my way over to them and decided that maybe they would like me if I face farted along with them. So I sucked in some serious air and let out a horrendously long belch. The entire group, fellas and everyone else all immediately stopped chattering and moving to stare at me in shock. Just when I thought I had hit popularity status, everyone expressed their disgust and shame at me, including the teacher who had opened the classroom door just in time to hear my amazing burp. She called me out in front of everyone, and I walked in the room in shame.

Birthday dough

Norma. The scariest, meanest bully in 5th grade. She had a nerve condition that caused her head and eyes to slightly shake from side-to-side. She loved to fight and stare people down. For my birthday that year, I got a brand new purse and $20. I was so proud of that, I stupidly decided to take it to school. After recess that day, I was the first to go back into the classroom, and Norma was in there with another scary boy doing a recess d-hall. She looked at me and said, "Hey, some guy just walked in here and went straight to your purse and stole your money. I saw him." I knew that wasn't true, and I knew it was her! But, I was too afraid of getting beaten up to say anything. Bye, bye birthday money, and hello tears of grief.

Booger

I was usually the teacher's trusty helping thanks to my nerdy and trustworthy demeanor. One day, the teacher asked me to take her cup and go inside the regular building to the water fountains and get her some water. I happily jumped at the chance to earn points with good ole teachy teach. But, as I approached the desk to grab the cup, a girl (who I couldn't stand) named Darilyn ran up and asked if she could go along with me. I was so angry, but the teacher seemed pleased and told her she could go with me. She was this perfect-looking princess, always wore matching, fancy dresses and accessories, always smiling and giggling and acted very shy and well-behaved. I was good, but not to that disgusting extent.

The second we left the classroom, her persona changed. She snatched the cup from me and said SHE was going to get the water. The little chicken shit that I was, I was horrified but didn't argue. As we walked she said, "My daddy calls me Curly Temple because my mom always curls my hair. Haha! You know, after Shirley Temple." I rolled my eyes and hoped she would fall down some stairs, but sadly the school was one story. We got to the water fountain and she filled the cup. Then, what she did next traumatized me. Miss perfect stuck her finger all the way up her nose then swooshed it around in the cup of water as though she were stirring a cup of coffee. She gave me an evil, threatening glance and said, "If you even think about telling on me, I will say YOU did this, and she WILL believe me!" I think I was too shocked to answer and just stared at her in horror as we walked back to class. She chatted my ear off the whole way back about stupid crap like dolls, cartoons and her daddy as if she didn't just put her boogers in the teachers water.

We walked in the classroom, and she went and handed the cup of boogery water to the teacher who thanked her kindly. Then Curly Temple gave me the meanest glare as if to say she would kill me if I said anything. I cringed as I watched the teacher sip the polluted water. And evil girl kept staring at me with warning eyes the rest of the day.

Blahhh
 

My little sis, and me holding my best friends.
This was also the year I fell in a huge mud puddle the ONE day I wore my brand new white jeans. I had to walk all muddy to the front office to wait for my dad who brought me some fresh, clean clothes. That trek through the school in muddy clothes was a humiliation unmatched. The pointing and giggling was enough to jumpstart my life as a future migraine sufferer.

My prized possessions that year were my Cabbage Patch doll and Pound Puppy (which I still have.)



Sunday, May 6, 2012

Never judge a book by its lover (or hater)

In case you're wondering what the title means, let me explain. Well, that's what we're here for anyway, right? When I read book reviews, I am always newly amazed at the lengths people go to express their love or bitter discontent for a book. For some warped reason, I have a one-star fetish. I am automatically drawn to click on the book's one-star reviews first and read what all the haters have to say. Some folks are just outright MEAN. Sometimes I feel like I have to duck to dodge all the flying insults. I respect people who can review a book with constructive criticism without ugliness, especially with serious authors. Now, if we're talking about the book "written," and I used that word loosely, by Snooki or the likes thereof, well, go for the jugular. I can think of ten people right away who deserve a book deal, and she's not one of them. But, I digress.

I never judge a book by the reviews, even if they're all bad. All I need is the genre and a one-sentence description like "It's about zombies taking over North America," or "A little girl's imaginary friends come to life and terrorize her and her family." There. That's all I need. I reject TMI when it comes to books. I can think for myself and don't need all the feedback beforehand. I did seek feedback about "Hunger Games," because I was so ambivalent about that one. I may buckle and give it a read. That's how I ended up reading Twilight, the hype. It wasn't all that painful, although Stephenie pretty much murdered the word 'chagrin' for me forever by using it into oblivion. And, if I ever meet a real vampire, I will evaluate it for hotness rather than danger. Those are the emotional wounds I was left with after Twilight.

I will end this short post by spilling some of my random thoughts upon you, my honorable reader:

- I really, really, really miss anticipating the next "Harry Potter" movie.
- I hope this stomach ache doesn't last until tomorrow because that'll make my awful Monday more awful.
- No, I'm not being pessimistic, I really know it's going to be awful.
- Damn, I love a/c!
- Why do Sundays go by so frickin' fast? Is that the universe effin' with us?
- What am I going to do when they stop showing "Golden Girls" marathons late at night?
- I really miss my husband whom I haven't seen since July 2011.
- I should've eaten healthier this weekend. Meh, oh, well.
- I still haven't finished my laundry and it's after 9 p.m. So, can I call in 'laundry' tomorrow?
- Is it just me, or does everyone spend the last hour before bedtime on a Sunday regretting all the things they didn't do but should have done?
- Maybe I'll write a vampire book.
- Maybe I won't.
- What compels someone to want to be a mime?
- I'm getting sleepy.
- Good night.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Two things to share

"Three Peas In My Little Pod: Book Review - I of the Storm: Hi lovely readers - today is a super important day - Max's 2nd birthday party - PIRATE PARTY alert!!! So I'll be busy busy busy all day ..."

Hey everyone! I've had blogger's block these days, hence the lack of posting. Did you know that emotional overload and avalanches have much in common? Anyway, this morning, I woke up to a lovely message from this blogger who was reviewing my book. She wrote me a raving review and gave it 5 stars. What a great way to end a gloomy, crappy work week! So, I just wanted to share that with you and give you a peek at her blog. It's pretty cute.

I normally talk about my stressful episodes with Autism vs. Neesha, but today I want to also share with you an amazing accomplishment that happened yesterday with Nabeel. His annual physical was due in February, and since he's been having violent, random outbursts the past 7 months, I was terrified to take him, thinking he would have a meltdown at the clinic. I talked to him about it the night before and promised a McDonald's breakfast reward if he didn't scream and kindly let the doctor and nurses check him over. His dad made time to come along, and that made his day. The visit was all smiles and giggles as she examined him. He answered nicely, no growling, and he didn't fuss about having to take off his shoes or change into a gown. When it was time to put his clothes back on, he didn't want to, haha. I guess he liked the patient "costume."

Then came the part where my heart fluttered - the lab! He needed a whole slew of blood tests. Along with the routine labs, I convinced the doc to add in Vit. D and C, magnesium, folic acid and a test for intolerance to gluten and casein. I had given him the lowdown the evening before to prepare him for what was to come. I guess it worked, because he didn't scream or fight. The needle was in, and he sat there kind of groaning, but that was it! Seven vials of blood later, he was free and I was relieved! He loved getting his arm wrapped up with a bandage and walked out like a hero. For an autistic kid who has been throwing violent tantrums since Oct. 2011, that is pretty frickin' amazing. Yay, Nabeel!

He got his food reward, then I dropped him off at school and headed out to face the rest of my day with a smile! Now, THAT is what I call the bright side things.

I'm praying for a pleasant weekend to match. :)