June 22, 2012

I Support @JennyMcCarthy: Enter Blog Suicide

My post on why the Vogue editor’s "Top 10 don'ts of the summer" can bite me has been postponed due to controversy.  What? Controversy in the blogosphere?  Never.  I'm usually not one to partake; I think bloggers manipulate controversial topics for page views and attention oftentimes.  I usually steer clear and just write about dumb crap that you all read for some reason or another, thank you very much.

Today is not one of those days, however.  I may be committing blog suicide, followed by a mass blog and twitter un-following as well as a possible lynch mob.  I'm sure I'll receive some nasty comments, but I will publish them, because I'm ethical like that.  Before I explain the crux of the crusade here, a little background if you will.

My son of 5 is on the severe side of the Autism Spectrum, or, he has Autism.  I am a single mom with full custody and divorced.  I rarely write about Autism on this blog.  Not because it is not important, not because I haven't anything to say about it, not because I feel it would do no good.  Autism consumes my every waking moment.  I live it, breathe it, think about it, only second to my son to which I cannot compare.  My daughter of 7 has taken a back seat to Autism, not by choice, by necessity.  I read many Autism blogs and they are wonderful, inspiring and passionate.  Because my son has Autism, doesn't mean I have to write about it; this blog is my escape from Autism.

I have battled the last 4 years through a divorce, losing my home and everything I had, starting over by myself and learning how to parent by myself.  I could write about all the turmoil, the child support woes, the broken-ness of living with a gambler and drug addict, but I rarely do.  This blog is my escape from douche bags also.  Pardon my French.

I don't write about Autism and being a single mom because I don't want to complain.  NOW WAIT...I'm NOT saying every Autism blogger or Single parent blogger complains, NO!  I'm saying when I {I as in me, not you} write about it, that's what it sounds like to me.  I need to write more purposefully as not to come across as a victim of circumstance. Like it or not, this is my life, may as well enjoy it.   Perhaps that is a disservice to my readership.  It's my blog, my prerogative, I write for me.

I drive 3 hours a day to get my son to therapy.  I work full-time.  I pay the rent and the bills.  I make all the school plays and doctor appointments and meetings without respite.  I go to 4 grocery stores to meet my son’s gluten/dairy/soy free dietary needs and cook from scratch every day. I do this and go to bed at night without someone to talk to at the end of the day.  The emotional support is far and away the most important.  I do these things because I am my kids' Mom.  See all that doesn't sound fun to read.  I don't want sympathy.

Autism is a mystery.  Little is known about it, our children are guinea pigs when it comes to treatment.  To date, I do not believe there is a cure, although I am trying to cure my son.  I do believe there is treatment.  Hell, I'd do a naked rain dance in Times Square to make him better.  Since not every child with Autism is the same, not every child can be treated the same...see guinea pig.  You keep trying new things until you find what works for you.  "He's doing so good, or so much better" is not good enough.  Do we accept a little bit of cancer left?  No!  I'll keep fighting and trying new things until he makes a full recovery.  I will keep trying new things until my son has no signs of Autism and is considered and labeled, typically functioning in the areas of social and cognitive development, speech and motor skills; among others. I will continue biomedical treatment for my son because it works for him.  I have seen results for HIM.  Might not work for other kids, I'm not pushing it.  But for a child who hardly spoke, or smiled, or couldn't ride a bike, to transform in 6 months because of dietary changes, I'm a grateful believer. Here is a portion of Jenny's speech:

As we continued to talk about alternative treatments for our children, I noticed the room separating into two sides. We were no longer talking as a whole anymore. There was a group of moms who didn’t want anything to do with what we were talking about. They slumped into a corner and had a “woe is me” attitude. I decided to eavesdrop on both conversations.
The “woe is me” moms were talking about how they didn’t get to shop or go to the beach with their friends anymore, and the “I’ll try anything if it will help my kid recover” moms were trading success stories about the latest treatments.
And, later…
“My other theory was that they enjoyed the victim role. I know that might sound mean, but I’m sure you’ve met people who are constantly having shit go wrong in their life. They complain and play the “don’t you feel sorry for me” game.

You can view Jenny's speech, here, the victim portion in question begins at about the 6minute 50second part.

I could've been nicer on my t-shirt too.
Two months ago I received an email from a reader asking advice about how she could support her friend with a child on the spectrum.  And I quote the friend said, "sad, cries and acts like a victim".  This is before Jenny even opened her mouth.  Could Jenny have said this better?  Of course.  God only knows if I had every word I said scrutinized and published, I'd be hated by bazillions.  But she is doing something.  She has a platform and people are listening.  She sees improvement in her child and wants to shout it from the rooftops.  Thanks to her voice, I have seen miracles in my son.  1 in 88 kids has Autism, the rates are increasing and we don't know why.  She says vaccines may be one of the causes.  WE DON'T KNOW WHAT CAUSES AUTISM, so let’s talk about it, debate it, voice our opinions, get people fired up about it and bring change.  We can hand hold and support each other as much as we want {and that is necessary} but it isn't changing anything.  Insurance companies are pulling coverage; some states don't even cover Autism services.  It costs $80,000 a YEAR to send my son to Autism Day Treatment.  They take 12 kids in the program, TWELVE!  I'm blessed, and know a hundred people that would scrimp sell a kidney {got one to spare?}and pay that much to send their child too.

Here's where I get crucified:  I can see what Jenny was saying.  When are we going to wake up and do something drastic?  This is an epidemic. Just accepting some therapy is good enough and what our undereducated doctors say  is just a band-aid.  She wants us to do something.   At least that's how I see it.  Might not make me popular, but I've never really been one to care too much about what other people think.

I think there are plenty of idiots in this world.  But I would hope there are many more that are not.  I knew next to nothing about Autism when my son was diagnosed at age 2, so I did my research.  Bets are 99% of parents would educate themselves after diagnosis.  For every one person that mindlessly follows Jenny McCarthy without doing their research, there are 2 more people who will tell you she is an idiot and doesn't know what she's talking about without having tried any biomedical treatments.  Neither of those do any good.  I happen to agree with some of the treatments she advocates.  I am also aware she is not a doctor.  I do also think half the doctors that practice are not God, do what they are told and are drug pushers.  So do yourself a favor and make an informed decision for yourself, bandwagons on either side of the road are not necessities in life. I have more respect for those who are bold and follow their own educated path; even if our viewpoints differ.

I respect the time and energy she gives to Autism.  I respect the time and energy all the parents, caregivers and therapists give to Autism.  I don't respect name calling, by either side.  By Jenny for "victim Moms" or the backlash of the parents sinking just as low and calling her names or joining "I hate Jenny" pages. 

I love the Autism community.  They are my rock.  They are also divided.  This is nothing new.  Divide us as you will, ABA vs. DIR, Biomedical vs. 'medical', Intensive therapy vs. non-intensive.  In the community, we just learn to get along.  We know we are all doing our best for our kids.  It's hard for all of us.  We all love our kids.  I know from being on Facebook and Twitter, most of our grief comes from close friends and family who don't understand or care enough to support or educate themselves.  So we have to agree to disagree on some things and do whatever it takes to eradicate the real villain...Autism.  I don't want a 1 in 9 number in 2022.  It's going to take more than t-shirts and walk-a-thons.  {Which reminds me, Autism parents you should research the corrupt organizations Speaking about Autism and see how much money they really make contribute, another rant entirely.}

Because we differ on therapeutic interventions for Autism, doesn't make me better than someone who doesn't.  But good enough is not good enough for my son.  Why wouldn't you try, just try, anything to make your child's life easier?

I appreciate and welcome your comments and debate.  Please be discreet or I'll have to get all meanie-pants on yo ass.

June 11, 2012

What to get ME (Mom) for Father's Day

Sorry I've been absent from the blog for a bit.  I've been:

a) Whipping my brat kids into shape, ala Bubble Gum boot camp
b) Working on my tan
c) Indulging in a romantic tryst with a hot dude

Could be one, could be all of the above, you'll never know.  Okay friends, back to the post at hand.  Tis the season of the boring holiday blog post, therein, Father's Day.  You many have seen one or twelve of the following: 10 Perfect Father's Day Gifts, What to Get Dad for Father's Day, Homemade Father's Day Gifts, etc.  The list goes on and on, endless and boring.  Seriously?  I'll tell you want men/Dads want for Father's Day...sex.  That should about cover it.  Best. Gift. Ever.  If you are rolling your eyes and feel a headache coming on, try bacon as a back-up.  

Since I am the single parent, Mom and Dad of my two offspring, I think I deserve a Father's Day Gift also.  Since sex is pretty much not happening, and I don't particularly care for bacon, I have some other ideas.

I am the prettiest based on lack of facial hair alone.

An Auto-Mechanic Type Person and/or Gift Card To Auto Shop:

Don't take this the wrong way ladies; I'm all for women's equality and doing what they can do better, blah, blah.  However, when it comes to vehicle maintenance, I would rather pass the torch.  For example, just last week the tail light (bulb) of my car needed to be replaced.  I, being somewhat thrifty and capable decided to do it myself.  I can read the manual after all, where it is clearly outlined and pictures are included.  An hour in, three lacerations to the forearm and a varying array of curse words later, the bulb was replaced.  Who knew I had to disassemble the back half of my car?  This is clearly worth the $25 dollars for someone else to do next time.  Live and learn.  I would also like someone to change my oil.  I don't do that, nor do I have the desire.  I don't even have the desire to sit at the Jiffy Lube for 12.5 minutes while the 3 high school kids do it for me.  But I will.   The car maintainability alone will drive me to marry again.


After the bulb replacement debacle, I came upon a startling realization...I need tools.  My toolbox includes two screw drivers and a hammer.  What was I thinking when I said, "take the tools" in the divorce?  I would now kill for the cordless drill and whatever wrench I could've used disassembling my tail-light.  I ended up using one of my jewelry tools, bent nose pliers, to be exact, when I couldn't get the bolt to budge.  Righty tighty, indeed.  Tools would also come in handy when assembling the 58 slats into the mission style desk I acquired and promptly thought of making a bonfire out of.  That friends is for another post, it's too fresh in my mind.

Breakfast In Bed:

Because I'm seriously still waiting from Mother's Day.  And while I'm at it, it would be nice not to hear the complaints from all the other Mom's/Dad's on Twitter and Facebook about how "disappointed" they were in their gifts from their spouses/kids.  Knock it off.  The handmade card should be enough.  We all just want to feel appreciated.

The list could really go on and on, golf clubs, spa days, and a new tie.  But I'm going to end this before it becomes anymore painful, besides I'm saving it all for my Christmas wish list.

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads and Moms out there, I hope you know how much you are appreciated and loved.