20 June 2011

And somehow, it still all comes back to politics

Shoot me now. My inlaws just announced they're buying an RV so they'll have some place to stay when they come to visit*. And now they can stay longer. FML.

My inlaws are lovely people. Really they are. I'm sure of it. They're conservatards (but love programs like EI for the seasonal workers in their area), they're Catholic, and worst of all? They mean well.

People who mean well are the hardest for me to deal with because dammit, they mean well. It's really hard to lay down the Fist of Destruction on them. They want to come out for a month (!) to "help". They recognise that we're totally overwhelmed, and want to help. What they don't get is that it's MUCH harder when they're here, because Grandpa Grouch is a miserable SOB about 2/3 of the time, and the nicest guy on the planet the other 1/3. And we never know which to expect. I have to keep feeding him sugar to keep it in the happy zone. He doesn't like the food we eat, but won't go out to eat during our meals (we can't go out due to allergies and intolerances of various sorts). So he sulks or has a nap (by which I mean, he lies on the couch (3 of the 4 places to sit in the living room) and closes his eyes and pretends to sleep.) And then is grumpy. Last time he came, it took him 7 hours to say anything to me. I mean anything at all.

Neither of them will discuss autism or the kids' health problems, which are numerous. They say "mmm" and that's it, if we try to talk about it at all. This is a problem, because frankly, our lives revolve around their autism and other health problems. Crackle has to go over to Vancouver Children's to talk to the uber-specialist, i.e. the specialist here couldn't figure out wtf was going on and said this guy in Vancouver is the guy she turns to when she's stumped. So there are Issues. Hell, there are entire subscriptions. But we are not to talk about it. I don't know why. Because they will not talk about it. It's stunningly disrespectful.

And speaking of which, one of my sisters-in-law made a veiled comment about Münchhausen's by Proxy - she thinks we (I) am poisoning the kids to make them sick for attention. She is NOT welcome in my house.

They don't respect me or my parenting choices particularly much though, and that I do stomp out like a campfire in July. They're big believers in "a little won't hurt" and actively give my kids shit they're not allowed to have. Because it'll taste good! Give 'em a little! Just water the Pepsi down! It won't hurt. A little milk in my coffee won't hurt him! "Your Mommy is so mean!" Seriously? I just say, "I sure am. So mean that I won't let my kids get sick when I can prevent it. Terrible. I make them wash their hands after pooping too! Call the cops!"

So I'm dreading this. DREADING it, I tell you. Because I know they want to come help. I know they can't see how much of a PITA they are. And I know that telling them will hurt them much much much worse than it will hurt me to deal with them for a month. But I'm still going to bitch about it. :)

(Oh, and did I mention? We're not allowed to drink when they're here. No wine. I'm not even allowed to put it in the food. Even though he won't eat it anyway. I think I could handle it if I could just keep a nice buzz on through the evenings. You know, something to get me through the day! Yes, I'm kidding. Mostly.)

I've come to believe that people like my inlaws, the ones who won't talk about things, are avoiding the issues. They're in heavy duty denial mode, because they can't handle it. They're like the ones I mentioned in my ramblings about Hope. Everything will fall apart in the house of cards they've built around themselves if something like Autism happens. I don't know if this is true, but it's my current theory. Though they seem okay with their granddaughter who has CF... so I dunno. Anyway, it would certainly explain why they vote Conservative. :) No, really! Completely oblivious to the facts, wrapped up in their own little world, unable to see the big picture, no compassion for situations outside their own. Love thy neighbour literally means the people they can see from their yards.

Let's hope they change their minds.

*Seriously? You can get a lot of hotel rooms for the amount they'll drop on the RV they're looking at. A lot. With room service. And bathtubs.

18 June 2011

Best thing I've read today - Virtual Vigilantism

Go read this. Right now. http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/2011/06/virtual-vigilantism-and-public-shaming.html

I knew there was a reason I was so uneasy about the police saying "send us your video". I couldn't put my finger on it. Fern Hill at DammitJanet nails it. It's virtual vigilatism. "Booya! Let's punish a drunken 18-year-old yob who posed in front of a broken window -- for the rest of his fucking life! That's the Canadian way. Isn't it?"

17 June 2011

Politics as Usual

I have just not been able to get worked up about politics lately. Honestly, the Con win really knocked the wind out of my sails. I feel like I just have to weather the storm until the fuckers get voted out in 4ish years.

But I'm still watching and shaking my head. The PM's own office breaking spending rules? That does ^NOT surprise me. I feel like I'm getting cynical. See, here's the thing. They're the assholes who screamed and hollered about Adscam, accountability, and cleaning up Ottawa. And now, they're just as bad as the Liberals ever were. It's disgusting. Not that I ever believed them in the first place...

  The union busting tactics between Canada Post and the feds don't surprise me either. I know, it's shocking, but I support the union. The thing of it is that Canada Post runs a profit. It is not taxpayer supported. So there's no excuse to not pay decent wages and good pensions. None.

Oh, and CBC is liberal media. And my ass smells like roses. Could this article be any more slanted against the union? I mean, I know it's opinion, but it's anti-union. So it's not lefty. HELLO?!

In good news, Ed Broadbent has announced a left-wing think tank. Something to rival the Fraser Institute, I imagine. Shouldn't be hard to outthink that bunch. I wonder if they'll give me a job. :)

Oh, and since I'm a BCer, I have to say something about the rioting in Vancouver the other night. It would have happened regardless of the game outcome. It's simple: when you get over 100000 people in one place, about 1 in 1000 of them will be a total fucking asshole. The hockey was more or less irrelevant. To explain this, I drew this venn diagram.

09 June 2011

Harper's Hockey Game

Ya know, I'm pissed about Harper hopping a jet to go watch a hockey game. Right pissed. I mean, yeah, good, the guy should get some downtime. And I know he can't just hop on Air Canada. But you know what? The bad comes with the good. He gets the big bucks. He knows the rules of the job. So if he wants to jet off to watch a hockey game, by all means. But he should pay for every last cent of it. Not just the commercial equivalent. Hell no. Especially not when he's cutting jobs. Because that 70k that he spent on a hockey game is someone's salary for a year.

03 June 2011

Happy Day I became someone else!

Today is my wedding anniversary. MrFCS and I have been married for 16 years today. It's been a good ride. I hope it's long from over.

I was thinking about it in terms of 'that's the day I went from Miss X to Mrs Y', though honestly, I used Ms. before and since. And that got me thinking about name changing with marriage. I did it. I know, Bad Feminist! No cookie! It didn't even take much thinking. I guess the biggest reason was my previous name was rather unusual, at least in my neck of the woods, and I dealt with spelling it at everyone and getting misspellings and mispronunciations of it back at me. It drove me nuts. I was happy enough to ditch it for that reason alone. Now I have a nice easy, one syllable, commonly used word.

When I was a kid, that name got me teased. Kids riffed on it and bugged me about it. I hated that so much. I was a really sensitive kid and it was damn easy to make me cry. I hated that my name was something they could use against me. I got married when I was not quite 21, and these memories were still with me.

When I got married, I had just had a baby. It is really hard to have a different last name than your children. It was only a couple of months before we got married, and JEEEZ.

I briefly considered hyphenating my name. But I realized that it would sound like a place name and then I'd be Ms. North Haverbrook (Simpsons reference!*) and that would make me sound like a beauty queen. Um, no.

And despite all that, sometimes I regret it. When Dad was dying, it was incredible how quickly I reverted to using my old name when talking to doctors. Without thinking. And when he was gone, I wished I still had his name. And now my name is common enough that I know of two other people in the city with the same name. That never happened to me before. In fact, when I searched my old name on Facebook, mostly I found black, male football players from the US. And a jazz singer. That was pretty much it. I kind of miss having my unique name. Though I imagine that would disappear the first time I said it to someone and they looked at me like they were wondering if I was playing a joke on them or if they'd heard it wrong. Nope, that's not something I miss at all.

And from a feminist perspective, I find it almost a non-issue. I mean, yes, it's weird that the woman becomes part of the man's family, and not vice versa. But to me, it boiled down to having one man's name (Dad) or another's (MrFCS). Really, what difference did that make to me?

I've seen some great compromises. I know one family where the couple have their birth names, and their kids alternate which name they have. That's pretty nifty. I imagine it causes some confusion though. (So, he's her kid and the other one is his. Must be a blended family! Um... no.) The best one I saw, the couple decided on a new name together while preparing to get married. They considered hyphenations, blends (e.g. He's Mr. Breakfast, she's Ms. Lunch, they're Mr and Ms Brunch - I'm hungry, shut up), and eventually, just went with a word that was meaningful to them. I thought it was brilliant. Completely screwing with anyone trying to do geneology, but too bad! :)

*It is my deepest belief that there is an appropriate Simpsons reference for every single situation.

02 June 2011

Food "fun"

I have such a love/hate relationship with food. We both love it and hate me. Okay, that's not quite true. I don't hate me. Usually. But I'm starting to really hate food because it is such a pain in my ass, both literally and figuratively. I have a host of food intolerances, as do my husband and kids. So cooking supper is a royal pain.

Snap: intolerant* of gluten and dairy
HATES fruit. I mean, will not eat a piece of fruit for $50 and unlimited computer access. She will not even touch it, never mind eat it. This extends to fruit flavoured candy, pop, whatever. Will happily eat a salad as long as there are no mushrooms or celery in it. Noodles are the best thing ever. Except mashed potatoes or plain white rice. The girl is addicted to carbs.

Crackle: intolerant of gluten, dairy, soy, corn,and  nuts
Oh my. Where to even begin with this boy? He will eat anything on the promise that he will get some chips after. Or Daiya cheese substitute (he's allergic to bloody everything). Favourites (i.e. things that don't require the promise of chips) include salmon, iceberg lettuce, any fruit, carrots, celery, cauliflower. The only thing he absolutely will not eat is mushrooms. Oh, and sweet potatoes or squash. He will not eat noodles of any sort. Hell if I know why not.

Pop: intolerant of gluten, soy, and eggs. Dairy unknown, but we don't eat that. I mean, ew... it's the breast milk of another mammal. ew. fucking ew.
He will eat almost anything, but it must must must be on the blue plate or bowl. He has about 100 words and they include quinoa (keeee - ya! [ki:ya]**)  and broccoli (bwa-dee! [bwadi]), which are his two favourite things ever. He begs me for chickpeas. He'll eat any meat, fish, vegetable (except squash) or fruit. He's my favourite. :) He will not eat noodles of any sort. Hell if I know why not.

* Intolerances in our house range from "well, that makes me feel shitty - literally and figuratively" to "OMG! I'm bleeding from my ass!" to "OMFG, I am a hummingbird meth-head and I'm bleeding from my ass"
** I'm a trained linguist. I am unable to pass up using proper IPA in situations like this.

Weiner jokes

I do not care if Anthony Weiner sent a picture of his cock to anyone. I. Just. Don't. Care. What? You mean it's covered with underwear and could be anyone's? I truly could not care any less than I do right now. Because I just don't care. At all.

And for the love of all things feminist and holy, could everyone PLEASE stop referring to the woman as a "co-ed"?! She's a college student. Women have been allowed in universities for a long time now. We can stop calling them co-eds any flippin' time now.

Look. That picture was so tame they can show it on Comedy Central without blurring. That pic was so tame I didn't even know what it was at first. (I don't usually look at them from that angle). This is a screaming outrage, why?


Homeschooling is such a hotbutton issue. There seem to be a few camps - the anti-establishment hippie types, the right-wing christianazis who believe the earth is 6000 years old, the combination of the previous two (they terrify me), the school sucks and my kid is getting bullied types.

The camp I'm most familiar with are the hippie types. These tend to be "unschoolers" and I have to say I often find them remarkably sanctimonious. Their way is the best, and you're stupid if you don't know it. Any questions about Distance Learning will be met with, at best, not so subtle commentary about how unschooling is better. At worst, outright derision.

In a homelearning email group I'm currently stalking, with regard to an article about unschooling, one person said this:

I found it interesting that one of Ricci's kids was allowed to CHOOSE to go
to school. At 7.
In conversations like that, I often wonder if their kids are allowed to
choose to smoke, or try heroin. Why not? It's their choice.
Seriously?! And these people wonder why no one takes them seriously. Smoking and heroin is so totally the same as going to school.

And it's all sorts of hypocritical too. I mean, one of the reasons they tout for unschooling is that the child doesn't lose autonomy. But this mother says that the child shouldn't be given the right to choose school. How's that autonomy working for you?

I've decided to do distance learning with Crackle next year. There are a few advantages to this and very few disadvantages. On the advantages side, we have
1) I can keep him safe. The schools pretty much told me they wouldn't. They said that kids eat in the classroom, that's all there is to it. Crackle's celiac disease is so severe that if other kids eat in the classroom, play with a toy and then he plays with the same toy, he gets sick. Because he puts everything in his mouth. Everything. He licks counters at grocery stores and then I have to give him charcoal to absorb the gluten residue.
Also, with regard to safety, they are being all reluctant to give him a full time assistant. Crackle is a hummingbird. On meth. He doesn't stop. He doesn't listen. He can't even respond to his name. In a playground, I have to keep my eyes on him at every second to make sure he doesn't just leave. Or strip naked. Or pee down the slide. Or shit in the sandbox. Or push someone out of the way because he doesn't know that will hurt them, he just wants them out of his way. In a classroom? He'd be into all the cupboards, other kids' desks, all the toys. And then he'd just leave. But he's sneaky. He'd wait until the teacher wasn't looking and then go quietly. I've seen him do it. When I keep telling him "no, you can't play with the barbecue" he waits until I go to the bathroom, then he closes the door so I won't hear, and then he goes and plays with the barbecue. (I've got it very child-proofed, but even so. Maybe today will be the day he gets past the proofing). The school board: "Oh, we'll have to get him an assistant for recesses and lunch". Huh? So I explained the issues, and the looked at me like I was stupid and just a very bad mother indeed, and then went to observe him with his Behaviour Interventionist (I know... stupidest title ever). Of course, he was nice and good then - and he would be with new people around. He likes new people. So they asked her, "How long can he be left to his own devices in a classroom?" Our completely awesome BI said, "Something he likes? 4 minutes or so. Something he hates? 3 seconds. Max." Hahahaha. Their reaction was apparently skepticism. That was enough for me to say, "Nope. Not doing it." They'd lose him for sure. And there are a lot of woods around here.

2) Money allocation. Because we're doing distance ed with an accredited school, they can apply for the disability money that would otherwise go to his school. Then they can let me use the vast majority of it however I see fit, as long as it is going toward his educational goals. So, I set up an IEP with their special ed teacher and then I use the money to hire someone to deliver the program using the ABA principles he's become used to. A pure homeschool situation would not give us that money. And we cannot afford an ABA program on our own. In fact, this won't cover it even close. I may be putting up a paypal link to ask for help paying for his program. :(

3) It's ministry accountable. It's not me fumbling around hoping I'm doing the right thing. :)

On the disadvantages side:

1) No break from him. I know that sounds awful. But you don't live with my kids. I love them to pieces. But Crackle requires me to be on guard at all times. I mean, I keep a constant ear out for him well beyond what is normal. Every little sound sends me running. The dog dish clinks? RUN. The toilet flushes? RUN. A chair moves? RUN. I was kind of looking forward to a sanity break.

2) He likes being in new places and being around new people. He'd really like school. At least, he would if they could keep him from being bullied. Which I can't see. His vocal stim is really hard to take. So I'm going to try to get him some swimming lessons. He's also in a social group on Wed mornings, and we'll just have to take some more of those types of programs.

So it's pretty clear that I'm doing what's right for my kid, I think. I think that DL is great. I think that unschooling can be great, but definitely won't work for all kids (ever meet a kid who isn't curious about anything? I have one. Snap is uninterested in everything. She has never ever had an ounce of curiosity. It's painful). What worries me about it is that it doesn't guarantee a child will get a decent education, and I think all children have that right. I'm not sure how to go about changing that. Fortunately, no one elected me God this week.

Students' education is only as good as their teachers are. I haven't forgotten that people teach themselves either. :) God knows I did!