I originally started this blog a few years ago to chronicle Noah's daily struggles with autism. It was a dark time in my life - a time when I felt that things would never get better. It was a time when I felt that all my hopes and dreams for my son and for our family had died. In my efforts to help Noah recover from autism, I began a journey that inadvertently led me to rediscover myself. I learned how to laugh again. How to dream again. How to live again. How to love again.

Autism Schmaustism. He's still our son.

This is a blog celebrating our family. Our kids. Our life.

Friday, December 21, 2007

You Can't Take Christ Out Of Christmas

I thought this was a great article on CNN.com this morning:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/12/20/roland.martin/index.html

But reading through the comments left me with my mouth hanging open. What a bunch of angry, hateful, spiteful people! Wow.

Isn't Jesus the Reason for the Season??

As for me... I hope you all have a very Merry CHRISTmas.

P.S. Speaking of Merry "X-Mas"... this is a hilarious video that I stole from my friend Christine's blog.



Leslie

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Affording the Good Stuff

I stole this from my friend Amy's blog -who stole it from someone else's blog. That tells ya it's pretty good, doesn't it! lol.


AFFORDING THE GOOD STUFF

The other day while painting my daughter’s room, with the little kids safely cordoned off elsewhere, I actually had time to daydream. Mind wandering, I found myself wondering how it would feel to have enough money for a week in Hawaii. A kitchen remodel. A couple weeks in Europe. Or even the freedom to zip off to California for the weekend just for the fun of it. All the stuff that’s hard to fit in the budget while raising eight kids on a single income. For just a moment I wondered about the life we don’t have, the path we didn’t choose. What would be it be like if we had stopped having children after our first two daughters. If we’d chosen that other path, what might we have instead? We’d have a matched bedroom set, but no little kids bouncing on our bed in the mornings. We’d have the latest in video equipment, but no 4 year old pirouetting for the camera. We’d have video of Hawaii beaches, but none of Christmas programs featuring half a dozen of our brood. We’d see the Eiffel tower, but we’d never see 8 ‘stairsteps’ lined up on the beach grinning for a photo. We’d have a cool commercial range, but no pots big enough to properly test it. We’d have new living room carpet, but no rosy-cheeked 8 year olds to wrestle there. We’d have a nice lawn, but no teenagers gleefully chasing toddlers around the yard. We’d have a hot tub, but no little children splashing and squirt-gun-fighting. We’d have nice dinnerware, but the dinner table would be nearly empty. And what about our children if there were only two? They might have gone on a cruise, but they would have missed the eye-opening trip to another country to adopt a sibling. They’d have pictures with made-up Disney princesses, but none with tiny sisters looking adoringly up at them. Their college may have been paid for, but later they’d bear the burden of aging parents alone. They’d have designer jeans, but no mob of siblings to laugh with later in life over childhood memories. The individual present-piles under the Christmas tree would have been bigger, but I don't know how a small crew around the tree each year could compare to the ever-growing mob that comes from a big family, as children become adults and add their own spouses and children to the joy of the season. You know what? I think we’re affording the good stuff after all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More Pictures










Don't you love the creativity of my blog titles? But at least you know exactly what I'm going to be blogging about. :-)




Here are a few pictures that we took over the weekend.




Monday, December 17, 2007

Are YOU smarter than a 5th grader?

So, Sim came home tonight raving about some online geography game he heard about on NPR today. And I have to tell you...

I am addicted!

It is amazing how fast an addiction can grow. I think it took about 3.5 seconds for me to fall in love with this game.

It's so simple. Nothing flashy. Just has a world map and flashes up a city or a famous place and you have to see how fast you can pinpoint it on the map. And then it tallies up your score in the end.

It's my new obsession.

http://www.travelpod.com/traveler-iq/game1?284a=79d8

Leslie

Our One Month Anniversary

Thought I'd take a quick minute to update the blog. The kids have just finished their late lunch, and now Nandini and Eli are running through the house playing, "Naked T-Rex Goes to the Beach". It's a bit like "Barney's Beach Party" - but without clothes.

And, it's just as annoying.

Honestly, I don't know why it bothers me so much. I think it's my conservative Southern upbringing. But man, it gets on my nerves. A closet full of color-coordinated outfits with matching hairbows and tights.... all going to waste.

Sim says I just need to get over it and kids will be kids. But he's European, and they just do things differently over there. :-)

But short of duct-taping their clothes to them, there's not much I can do. Plus, I give it about 2 more months (when it's gets really cold) and I bet they'll change their minds. Eli's already at the stage where he wants to use the bathroom in private (wish he'd give me that same privilege), so I'm just going to grin and bear it. And if I want to be a Glass Half Full kinda girl, then there's always the fact that it saves me on laundry.

So, Nandini and Eli are running around starkers and Noah's in his room playing with a toy. I'm about to get them dressed (hopefully) and load them all up in the car and drive around the lake. It's a terrible habit I've gotten into around this time each day. It's the only way they'll take a nap - and honestly, the houses are so pretty around the lake and the scenery is so gorgeous and it gives me about 15 minutes to unwind. And then I always play different mind games. You know..."If I had money which house would I live in" and "Which house would impress my in-laws the most" and my personal favorite, "What on earth do these people do to be able to afford a house that big".

Anyway, today is a very special day because it marks our one month anniversary of Nandini being home. A month!!! Somedays it feels like it's been forever and other days I open my eyes in the morning and think, "Oh my gosh, who is that child laying next to me?".

She has come such a long way in the last month. When we were in India, my mom and I would console ourselves by guessing how she'd be in a month. We'd say, "Oh, in a month, she'll be chattering up a storm" or "A month from now, she'll be so happy and smiling". And it's true. So much can happen in a month.. especially this last week. That's when things have really started to take off.

I tell you... my favorite time of the day with Nandini is when she wakes up in the morning. She toddles out of the bedroom in her winter pajamas with her eyes all sleepy and her hair wild as can be - and she's drags her little pink blanket behind her. Oh, it's magical. And every morning, my heart just skips a beat and I feel like I'm at Disney World or something. Like I'm witnessing a miracle every morning. And my heart just swells and I get that warm, fuzzy feeling and time just stands still.

And then she runs and wakes up Eli and I know that I've got about 30 seconds to warn the dog, put up anything breakable, and lock the markers in a safety box.

But for those few minutes - especially when she reaches her arms up and curls up against me and lays her head on my shoulder... for those few minutes, it's just priceless. The rest of the day may be utter chaos, but if I had to give up those early morning minutes in order to have a clean house and sanity for the rest of the day... well, I'd choose the chaos. Because seeing her first thing in the morning just fills me up. I don't know any other way to explain it.

She's doing really great. I'm pretty sure she knows this is home now. In the beginning, she'd go to anyone and everyone (everyone but me). But now, she's firmly attached to me and Sim and is leery about going to strangers. She's been around our family a few times now, and although she's slow to warm up, she's starting to recognize everyone.

Her little sideways head nod (to indicate "yes") is going away. She still does it about75% of the time, but has started to nod her head up and down now. Speech is probably the hardest thing. She was speech delayed in her native language, so a second language will definitely present some obstacles. She still speaks primarily in Marathi- about 99.9% of the time, but she can repeat anything you say, which is strange. She can literally repeat anything you say in English, but she has a really hard time with word recollection. You can lay down a ton of pictures out in front of her and ask her which one is a giraffe or a shoe or clouds and she can point to the correct picture (and we didn't even teach her half these words in English), but if you hold up a picture by itself and say, "What's this?", she can't tell you.

But she did say her first English word the other day.

Now, granted, she did come home being able to say a few things:

"Mommy"
"Dahdee"
"Heloooh"
"Bye-Byeeeeee"
and
"Umbrella"

We're not sure how she learned umbrella, but she pointed to a cow figurine holding an umbrella and said "umbrella". Then, later when we were doing flashcards, I held up a "U" card and it had an umbrella on it...and she said it again.

So, she does know a few words in English and can repeat anything you say in English, but hasn't yet come up with a new word on her own. Until the other day.

I was in the shower and Eli came in to the use the bathroom. We have two bathrooms, but, you know, he had to chose the one I was in. So, he had a bit of a tummy ache and it was just plain nasty. I wasn't sure if I was going to pass out from the smell or pass out from holding my breath. Anyway, Nandini was perched on the tub ledge - as kids do - and she wrinkled her nose, pointed to Eli and said...

" Diarrhea".

Can you believe it? This is the same child who has had toast for every single meal for the entire last month and who still points and grunts at the bread box when she wants some... but somehow she was able to pull the word "diarrhea" from the recesses of her brain.

Awwww, her first English word. Do you think I should put it in her baby book?

Anyway, just wanted to log on here and give a brief update about Nandini's first month home. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see that she's gotten a hold of a black marker and she's got marks all over her mouth. I've got a sinking feeling it's not an washable one, too. So, I've got to go.

Noah's doing some really neat things lately, so I need to post a big family update soon. I know this seems to be the "Nandini and Eli" blog lately, so I need to really get back to basics, but I guess there's no going back now, is there? Our lives don't even resemble the lives we had 4 weeks ago. A massive 180 has been done on our family - but it's great and loads of fun - and we are soooooooo blessed..................................................................................................

Oh, man. She just peed in the floor. I am not joking. As soon as I typed out the whole "blessed" thing, she decided to pee on the floor. She just squatted and went all over my floor. My clean floor. Hmph. Obviously, there are a few issues we still have to work on.

I guess running around naked makes it a lot easier to just squat and go when you need to, doesn't it?

Ugh. I guess I need to go find a mop and get busy.

Hmmm...I wonder where Sim keeps the duct tape?

Leslie

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Big Thank You To All You Wise Women

I just wanted to take a minute and give a big blogging group hug to all you fabulous Mama's out there who responded to my "How Do You All Do It?" post. I know there are a few of you Dad's out there who read this (Hi, Mike!), but none of ya'll replied... so, sorry.. can't include you in this big Thank You post.

Honestly, I cannot tell you how blessed I am to know such a fantastic group of crazy, wacked-out women. Seriously...some of you can sure bring on the crazy, can't you? And I LOVE it. I was cracking up reading some of those comments. I had no idea any of you led insane lives that mirrored mine. Isn't it funny how you imagine that everyone else has it all together... and then you get the utter pleasure of realizing that they're all just hanging by a thread - ready to go loco at any minute. Isn't that awesome?

Are you detecting a bit too much glee in my voice?

Anyway, today, when I thought I was seriously going to lose my mind... I just imagined all you sitting in your house all stressed out, too.... and it made me feel soooooooooo much better.

Like right now... as I'm typing this... Eli is screaming because Nandini just hit him with some binoculars. Noah just did a stinky and I don't have any wipes because the other two got a hold of the box and pulled them all out - now they're covering my bathroom floor in a sticky, wet mess. Nandini is going through our magazine rack right this moment and throwing magazines all over the place. I can smell little perfume inserts wafting about in the living room. Oops.. .she just ran over to pinch Eli who has climbed into Noah's therapy chair and is stuck. Bad choice, Eli... she's gonna get you now. You can't run and you can't hide. Oh wait, what's that? Noah's opened the fridge and has a can of Redi Whip in one hand and a thing of biscuits in the other. And he still has that stinky. And there are no wipes. Eeew.

Normally, I'd be reaching for the chocolate... maybe shutting myself into the bathroom and curling up into a little ball... but not today. Not right now... because I'm rejoicing in the fact of knowing that this same scenario is playing out in homes across America this very moment.

So, thank you dear sisters. Please feel free to share your pain more often. It's much cheaper than a therapist and less fattening than a bag of Hershey kisses. (And typing does burn calories. I'm not sure how many, but I'm pretty sure it does).

Now.... if any of you can tell me how to convince my husband that a messy, toy-strewn house is perfectly normal... I'd really, really appreciate it.

And while we're at it... do any of you stay in your pajama's all day and then quickly change clothes, pop in your contacts and brush your teeth about 15 minutes before your husband gets home?

Not that I do that sort of thing, you know. I'm just asking for a friend.

Leslie

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nandini's First Doctor's Appointment

Yesterday, we drove to Houston to take Nandini to her required doctor's check-up with the International Adoption Clinic at Texas Children's Hospital. Well... we weren't required to go there... it was just highly recommended. Plus, our local medical clinic is really small and they don't do blood draws or stool samples for little kids..... and there was no way I was going to drive Nandini all over East Texas and parts of North Texas to get all of the necessary testing done. I wanted a one-stop shop experience....so off to Houston we drove.

Now... before you ask... yes, there is a doctor who "runs" an International Adoption Clinic in Flower Mound. Don't even get me started. He was our pediatrician for years. I would not advise him. He refused to believe that Noah had autism - even though he stopped talking, started stimming, stopped making eye contact, blah blah blah. His answer... oh, it's just the CP. Or... oh, it's just from being in an orphanage (despite the fact that he had been home for five months). His answer was to tell me that Noah was fine and that I needed to go on anti-depressants. So, no. I would not advise him.

And I would absolutely mention his name, but I don't want to get sued for slander. He might get that $1.67 that's been accruing interest in my saving's account for the last 10 years.

So... it was off to Houston for us. Which turned out to be great. The doctor was awesome!! Let me tell you, there is a BIG difference from a pediatrician's office that deals with some international adoptions and a hospital that has a clinic specifically for international adoptions. They were really on the ball. I cannot recommend them highly enough. I am so glad we went because... well.... because... okay, let me explain...

At first Sim wouldn't let me blog about this. He said absolutely not. Forbid me from even getting near the computer until is was all sorted out. But now that's it's sorted and we know she's okay, he said I could mention it.

A few days ago, we noticed something about Nandini. Let me say again.. it turned out okay... but it completely freaked me out. I'm not sure how to say it delicately, so I'm just going to get it out there.. we noticed Nandini had what you might call a fused buttcrack. The exact medical term for that part of the body is called a natal cleft.. but I know none of ya'll would have had an inkling as to what I was talking about, so I had to use the popular term. It didn't bother Sim, but it just sorta grossed me out. I mean, how exactly does that happen?

So, the reason I'm telling you about it is because I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. You see, I am a major worrier. I think it is just deeply embedded in my genetic code. I can worry about the teeniest, tiniest little thing. And a fused buttcrack just set my mind into overdrive. Would it get infected? Would it hurt as her body continues to grow. Would insurance consider surgery to separate the buttocks as medically necessary? And how would she ever wear a thong? Was she destined to a life of wearing granny panties?

I could find no information on the subject. Googling "fused buttcrack" turned up nothing. It appeared that no one in the world had ever been in this situation. (And don't even try to google "stuck buttcrack" because that'll pull up a whole host of websites that you don't want to know about). I really didn't know what to do - and I drove Simeon crazy during the entire 5 hour ride up to the hospital with my incessant questions.

Well, we got to the hospital and met with the doctor and I told her of my concerns. It was a bit embarrassing because, although, I can write down the word, I felt very inconspicuous mentioning the "bc" word in front of the doctor. I tried using the medical term, "natal cleft", but felt like a big goober and turned bright red. Anyway, she checked it out and it turns out that Nandini has something called a "sacral dimple" -

which is different from the dimples I have on my bottom. Those are called cellulite.

Nandini's is much different. Apparently, her little bottom is completely normal, but at the base of her tailbone, she has a dimple that goes in right before her "bc" starts. So, it looks like it starts, stops, and starts again. Hence, the fusing. But it's not fusing. Her body parts are completely normal. She just has a deep dimple at the top of her "natal cleft"... which gave me great relief... but now my parents are going to know they paid good money for me to sleep through Anatomy & Physiology during my freshman year of college.

The important thing is that she's fine. And she's not destined for a life of visible panty lines.

Okay, seriously, though, we need to keep an eye out because in rare cases the dimple can fuse with the bottom of the spine and is common in patients with spina bifida. In some cases, it can cause problems with bladder and bowel control. So, we will get it checked out. But the doctor said it looks okay. Praise God!

But the whole reason I'm mentioning it is because if for some reason, some Mom is up at 3:00 in the morning like I was - googling "fused bc", it'll pull up my blog and she'll be able to know that her child actually has something called a sacral dimple.. and she can stop worrying. So, there ya go.

The fabulous doctor at Texas Children's also looked at all of Nandini's MRI results and CT scans and said that she looks amazing. She recommended us to seek out a neurologist just in case, but said that the brain cyst occurred either in utero or at birth and that, from judging how well Nandini's doing, that it looks like her brain rewired itself and other parts of her brain took over from the damaged parts. In other words, the cyst is static and will not grow. It won't get worse. It doesn't need to be drained. It's just there. That's it. Any damage that's done is done. She did say that Nandini needs to see a Physical Therapist and will probably need an AFO (brace) for her left leg, but overall she was really impressed with how well she's doing. She was also majorly impressed with all the medical information we received from India. (Big shout-out to Holt and BSSK!)

Wow... there's so much that happened. I need a laptop or something so that I can type as the events happen. There's no way I can remember it all.

I will say that Nandini was a trooper getting her blood drawn. I had prepared myself for the worst - after having lived through Noah getting numerous blood draws. We never even drew blood for Eli, but he goes into hysterics if an animal cracker falls on him (seriously, that's true). Plus, I've been through EEG's with Noah and witnessed Eli coming out of sedation after getting his teeth capped... there was no way I was going to have Nandini go through this without Simeon being there. I'd been there, done that. Nandini had just started to bond with me and there was no way I was going to hold her down kicking and screaming while they took 5 vials of blood from her skinny little arm. So, I made Sim come with me. At first, he wasn't sure if he could get the day off... so I had to do some persuading. I think the conversation included the words "over my dead body", "it's your turn", "my way or the highway", and "no way, Jose". A fly on the wall might tell you that the word "divorce" was thrown around, but I can assure you it was in jest. Because if that happened, I would be stuck taking ALL three to the doctor's by myself, wouldn't I?

Ask any woman who's been married for over 50 years what the secret to a long marriage is and I bet after some prodding she'll tell you that it's because the thought of raising her kids on her own scared the living daylights out of her.

So, Simeon went with me - and truly, he is the most wonderful husband ever. I got terribly lucky and do sometimes worry that one day the blinders will come off and he'll realize he's married to a crazy woman, but so far, so good. I am blessed, let me tell you.

Okay, back to the point.

Sim came with me, and I prepared him for the worst. I told him how he had to be strong and not let Nandini seem him panic. He needed to hold her tight and not let her squirm. I told him all the lullabies to sing in her ear as the phlebotomist drained a quarter of her life's blood through a tiny, little hose. I told him how proud I was that he came with me and was up for the challenge... and then with a quick kiss, I high-tailed it outta there. I wasn't about to ruin the bond I'd just established with my little girl.

Wouldn't ya know that little thing didn't so much as whimper? She didn't cry. She didn't scream. She didn't kick. She just stuck her arm out and took it like a champion. And Sim carried her out and said, "What's the big deal? That was easy." I'm sure he was also thinking... you made me drive 5 hours for this? But he didn't say it. Bless him.

Now, I'm glad Nandini didn't scream or cry. I really am. But come on. He was supposed to see what I go through everytime we have a doctor's appointment. It was going to be a "whoo hoo!" moment for Mother's everywhere. A sort of... "Don't You Appreciate Me?" Hallmark scenario. A pat on the back. A bouquet of flowers. And those fancy ideas just deflated like a popped balloon.

I'm sure she's saving it all up for when I have to take her by myself.

I just know it.

And that's it. That was our adventure to Houston. We stopped off at TJ Maxx in Conroe on our way back and finished up our Christmas shopping. (We found Dinosaur Stilts for Eli!!! For $3.99!!) And then we ate at the worst Long John Silver's ever - mainly because Nandini needed the toilet and that was the first place we came across that had one. And then we made it back to my parent's house, where I'm typing away on my dad's computer. (He just reminded me of that fact 2 seconds ago). We're off to Dallas in an hour for Noah and Nandini's cranial sacral appointment and then to Whole Foods to get a daily multi-vitamin that contains iron. And that's it.

Adios,

Leslie

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How Do You All Do It?

I need some some major advice from all you wise Mama's out there (and Dad's, too!).

How do you do it???? How do you keep from going insane? And, more importantly, how do you keep your house clean????

Somehow, a few months ago, little fairies snuck into my room in the middle of the night and stole the part of my brain that loved messiness and replaced it with something far worse...

The obsessive need to keep a clean house.

Or maybe it was CIA agents or FBI agents or whoever it is that Tom Cruise usually plays in a movie.... maybe they're the ones who did it. Maybe they were on a top-secret mission to implant microchips into housewives across America and see what happens when messy women turn OCD overnight.

Because there's no other way to explain it.

I have become a neat freak.

I absolutely cannot stand a messy house. Well... okay, let me explain. I actually don't mind keeping a messy bedroom... and the bathrooms are in such a state that I'm sure the CDC is going to stop by any day now and barricade our doors with yellow tape. But I cannot stand having a messy living room. Maybe it's the wood floors that we put down... the ones that show EVERYTHING. Maybe it's the open floor plan. I don't know. But I have a serious problem. I cannot stand a mess.

Which is really not a good thing when Tornado Nandini and Hurricane Eli hit every morning at 6:00 am.... and make a mess of destruction until 9:00 at night.

I know it sounds like I complain all the time now, but it's just been a big adjustment. And if any of you say, "Well, you asked for it. Your hands were full before... what did you think would happen?"... well, you can think it, but please don't say it to my face. I might actually have to smack ya.

It's just an adjustment. I basically gave birth to a 3 year old. Who is exactly like my four year old. Which makes me sometimes behave like a five year old..... when I'm actually thirty-four.

The point is.... I need some time management skills. Some advice on how to keep the kids fed and entertained - oh, and schooled, and the house clean, and the dog water clean and filled, the husband happy... and still have time to watch Oprah.

Okay, that last part was a joke.

But if you can tell me how to squeeze in As the World Turns, I'd really appreciate it.

:-)

And, while we're at it... I would LOVE to hear from parents who have strong-willed, controlling kids - oh, and siblings who would like to kill each other. That last one is very important.

And is it normal for kids to run around naked all the time? Am I raising a future colony of nudists? Are we going to have to pack the kids up and move to Europe?

Which would make Simeon very happy, but it's too cold there to have a trio of pre-schoolers who shun clothing. Which means, we're stuck in Texas... because, you know, the weather is much more suitable for that type of thing.

Sending out an SOS. I need advice and chocolate ASAP.

Leslie

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Our Evening of Gluttony

Sim and I are just sitting here - not quite believing what we just did. It all started with my trip to the Dollar Tree. You see, I took Eli to the church Christmas musical rehearsal (you know, the musical that he refuses to perform in, so we end sitting there watching all the other kids sing and be obedient and nice and all) - and since Noah and Nandini stayed home with Sim - and since I rarely go out anywhere with one kid, I decided that we should stop off at Dollar Tree.

You know, because everything's just a dollar and I really do think that it was created with me in mind.

So, we get to the Dollar Tree - not really expecting to buy anything - and I spot Santa hats, and I couldn't pass them up because, of course, they were just a dollar. Plus, my friend Amy posted a picture on her blog that featured her two youngest kids making peanut butter balls and wearing Santa hats. And because I strive to be like Amy, I decided that I would buy my kids Santa hats, too. Well, I actually bought Nandini one of those reindeer antler thingamajigs that you put on your dog, but she's really into headbands and she would never know the difference. AND, ever since Eli saw pictures of Mya and Aleigha making peanut butter balls while wearing Santa hats, I had promised Eli that we could do it, too. Thankfully, you can buy anything in the world at Dollar Tree and they had those hats. And did I mention they were only a dollar?

Well, we're standing in line with our Santa hats and reindeer dog ears when to my left I spot the most glorious sight on earth. Boxes and boxes of Toffifay candies. The most wonderful and amazing candy in the world.

Now, let me give you a bit of history with my obsession for all that is the Toffifay. Back when I was 19, I was living and going to school in England. And every time I came back home, I would go the duty free shop at London Gatwick and buy a box of Toffifay candy. To quote the box, it's "A Whole Hazelnut in Chewy Caramel with Chocolate Hazelnut Filling and Chocolate. All your favorites in one."

Need I say more?

Every single time I came home, I would buy a box and it would make that 9 hour flight worth it. I'm sure my parents thought I came home to see them, but really, it was all about my Toffifay. Which, I'm sure I could buy anywhere, but I always associated it with the airport, so that's the only time I bought them. Even after I graduated and moved back to Texas, Sim and I would go back to England every year (this was B.K - before kids - i.e. back before we were flat broke) and I would buy my Toffifay and the world just seemed like a better place.

So, you can imagine the sheer thrill I had when I saw that beautiful carmel covered box with the beautiful white writing across the front and the lovely picture of caramel chocolate discs with solid hazlenuts next to them. I immediately snatched up a box.

Now, I know myself well enough to know that any box would not be safe in my house and would enter my small intestines within minutes, so I exercised extreme self control and only picked up one box. Then, I figured.. .well, it's a sign. It's meant to be. I must buy another. So, I asked Eli to grab another box and he brought back two and I didn't have the heart to correct him and let him know that his math skills are horrible. After all, since we homeschool, I am his teacher and I had to accept with shame the fact that he can't tell one apart from two. So, I did what any decent mother would do and said, "That's right, baby. You bring Mama those two boxes." And with that, we paid our money and walked out into the bright sunlight.

Well, as fate would have it, he fell asleep in the car and when I got home, I discovered that the other two were asleep. All 3 asleep at the same time!!! With excitement in my voice, and glee that we wouldn't have to share our Toffifay with the children, I told Sim of my wonderful discovery at the Dollar Tree and with a flourish, I whipped a box out of the sack and said, "Look! Toffifay!" Now, Sim is a calm, laid-back guy. Never gets mad... never gets too happy. Just smooth and calm. But his eyes lit up with excitement and with exuberant gusto, he exclaimed,

"Rip those babies open!"

So, with the fervent desire of a young couple on their wedding night, we ripped off the plastic, threw open the box and bit into a little slice of wonderful. And it was. Wonderful.

If either one of us smoked, I'm fairly certain we would have both reached for a cigarette.

But we don't, so we just leaned back in our chairs and smiled with contentment.

Then I went to check my email and a few minutes later with a hint of shame and panic, I heard Sim utter the most awful words ever...

"They're all gone"

He had eaten the box. My (I mean, our) box of Toffifay. Gone.

Now, we have an equal partner marriage. What's mine is his is our's is their's... or however the saying goes. So, to be equal, I felt I had no choice but to eat the second box. And now we're both sitting here with massive tummy aches arguing over who gets to use the clean bathroom and who is stuck with the kids' toilet. And, that, my dear friends, is nasty.

So, like every year around this time, we make New Year's Resolutions that we will never do this again and that I am banned from Dollar Tree (and after Christmas, I usually get banned from Target and Walmart, too) and I can never ever ever ever buy anything that contains sugar, nuts, or chocolate ever again. And we learned the hard way that spending a dollar on a box of chocolates is not that great of a bargain when you end up having to pay $50 for a copay to the Emergency Room to get your stomach pumped. Which hopefully, it won't get to that point.

But a bottle of Pepto and a thing of Tums will knock ya back about $7.50 - so it wasn't that great of a deal was it?

Except that I don't get to go to London Gatwick anymore, so I had to have my once a year Toffifay fill and know I'm satisfied.

And now, I'm off to make peanut butter balls for the kids - wearing a Santa hat and carrying around a belly that wiggles like a bowl of jelly. Because I promised them.

But I will not eat a single one - because I'll get sick. Absolutely sick.

The End.

P.S. Simeon has noticed that this blog has majorly digressed from being about "Recovering Noah". And now, after blogging for awhile about the rest of the family, I'm beginning to wonder if Noah is the only normal one in the bunch. I think he might be.

Leslie

Saturday, December 08, 2007

What happens when you don't blog for a week...

Okay, so I'm sitting here and the kids are taking a nap (except for Noah who is watching a video - and who actually spelled out v-i-d-e-o for me on the stencils, which made me feel really good because I'm been severely lacking on the homeschool front). Anyway, Trouble 1 and Trouble 2 are down for a nap and I've been debating on whether to update my blog or clean the house. It's actually a difficult decision because when you don't blog for a week, you have soooooooo much to tell and it could take a while. On the other hand, if I don't do dishes, then I'm going to have to tell Sim to run by Walmart on his way home and buy a thing of paper plates and a pack of plastic utensils. So, because we recycle and use earth-friendly cleaning products, I decided that the paper plates won't be that bad, and really, if I don't catch up on my blogging, I'll get even more behind and then just throw my hands up in the air and not do it.

So I decided to blog.

Where to start? Maybe I should fill you in on why I've been absent for the last week. 7 letters. N-A-N-D-I-N-I. Oh, and add 3 more. E-L-I. As for Noah... he's been good as gold. You know, I always wondered why God allowed Noah to have autism and I'm beginning to think that maybe it's because he knew that 3 typical children would drive me absolutely insane. I mean, honestly, Noah is an angel. Such a sweetie. Absolutely no trouble. My beautiful baby boy. Sure, there are issues and worries and worries and worries, but he is so wonderful behaviorally.

I can't quite say the same for the other two.

Whom I still love and adore... but who try my patience big-time.

Here's a run-down of the first few weeks with Nandini.

Week #1: I hate this woman who calls herself Mommy.
Week #2: I still hate this woman who calls herself Mommy.
Week #3: I guess I have no choice but to depend on this woman who calls herself Mommy.
Week #4: Let's see if I can drive this woman who calls herself Mommy to Prozac.

She's getting very close on #4, folks. Very close.

So let me fill you in on what Nandini AND Eli have been up to.

A few days ago, they opened a 10lb bag of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds (that we keep for the squirrels) all over my utility room. Now, if you've been to my house, you know that the lady who lived here before us LOVED the color green. Green mini-blinds in every room. Green ceiling fans. Green carpet everywhere - including the bathroom. (We ripped all that up). It basically looked like a field of leprecauns exploded in our abode.

She even decked out the kitchen and utility room floor to look like green and black marble. Which makes it awfully hard to see black sunflower seeds all over them. But let me tell ya, you can't miss a 10lb of them scattered everywhere. And your bare feet can't miss them either. Ouch.

So, the kids open up the bag and spill it all over the floor. Then, Eli decides to take 1/2 his toys and play with them in the seeds. It was only a few hours before Sim got home and I decided not to clean up the mess b/c I wanted him to witness firsthand the sheer torture I go through every day once he leaves for work. Well, Eli decided to make mounds out of the seeds for his toys and I said, "Absolutely not! Pick up those toys right now!"... to which he replied...

"Right don't you just throw them away?"

And if you pictured a sinister sneer accompanying that statement, then you'd be right.

So I listed them all on Freecycle and got rid of them. ALL of them. And there were some great toys in there. His Little Einstein toys. All of his Toy Story toys - including the pull-string Jessie and Woody. His Shrek toys (the dragon alone was selling for $20 on Ebay). And I stuck to my guns and got rid of them. It about killed me because some of those he'd just gotten for his birthday, but I wasn't about to let a snot-nosed 4 year old dare me down. And I was still fuming from The Sunflower Seed Incident... so they were GONE.

Then, the next day, I had to make an appointment to take Nandini to the International Adoption Clinic at Texas Children's in Houston. And you know when you see a new doctor, it takes forever to give all your health insurance info over the phone. I think I was on the phone for about 10 minutes. When I got off the phone, I discovered that Eli and Nandini had gone into my bathroom and opened up two boxes of tampons and a box of maxi-pads (the expensive organic kind that I collect Noah's urine with for pee tests... you know... slip them in a diaper and then wring it out in a specimen cup the next morning. Ahhhh, the creative things we autistic moms come up with). Anyway, they opened up 96 tampons and had them all over the living room. They were sword fighting with them and I caught Nandini sticking one in her ear like a Q-tip. Then, of course, Eli started throwing them and yelling "Fetch!" and Nandini would run over and put them in her mouth. It all happened in slow motion. Oh... and I forgot to mention that they had also gotten into some pull-ups and both were wearing pull-ups over their head like a stocking cap. They each had a pull-up on over their jeans and had their arms through them as well. I think I might have actually broke down and cried. Thank goodness I had bought their Christmas stocking candy the day before because I ripped open a bag of Hershey Peppermint Kisses (the BEST tasting thing in the entire world EVER) and went to town.

And if you're thinking right about now... Leslie, it sounds like you have a problem... then you're right.

But is my problem my kids or the fact that I comfort myself with chocolate???

Then, yesterday, Nandini poured an entire bottle of handsoap into Eli's tennis shoes and whacked him over the head with our cordless phone. She also peed on a stack of clean laundry.

So I opened up the other bag of Hershey's kisses that I had stored away.

But in a sick way, I'm loving it! No, not the peeing on my clean clothes. I'm loving having 3 kids. I do think it will drive me insane. I may eat a lot of chocolate in the next few months and dabble in presciption medicine. I might even be tempted to buy cheap wine in a box (just kidding!), but I'm loving it. It keeps me active and on my toes. It challenges me. My life has taken a 180 and I can't wait to see where I end up. And knowing that God has blessed me with these 3 kiddoes and somehow felt I was equipped for it... that I was THE one that was meant to be their mommy... well, that amazes me and frightens me at the same time... but it keeps me going.

Well, THEY are up and awake and demanding my attention. So, I'll bring this post to an end.

Looking forward to seeing what the next 10 minutes brings. As you now know, a lot can happen in 10 minutes in our household.

Leslie