In the past 3 hours of my life I've become convinced that I have lost my sanity, need to improve my parenting skills and deserve some incredible award acknowledging my continued survival as a parent and it's only 9:09 am on a Sunday morning AND only one of my children is home with me.
Parker has always been an early riser. Well, let me clarify that... Parker is an early riser when he is at home with me. Apparently when he goes anywhere else (grandparents, his dad's, camp, relatives...) he sleeps in until you wake him up. While I have absolutely no understanding of why this is instead of starting every day feeling like I have somehow screwed up or am doing something wrong when Parker starts yelling "MOM!!!!!!!" around 6 am each day, I smile and believe he gets up early because I am such an awesome mom he just can't wait to start his day with me. I kinda blame myself as when I was pregnant and during the first couple of years I would replay "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith over and over; as a baby, I would watch him sleep (when he would, it really wasn't that often - somethings never change!) I still don't want to miss a thing... apparently neither does he. I knew I was at fault...
Today was a very typical morning for the two of us (even when Allison is home - and not at her grandparents like today - she sleeps in until 9 or 10) while I can wake up happy, my mind isn't always so quick to wake up.
We started our morning like we always do making sure everyone (people and pets) go to the bathroom, then heading to the kitchen to feed the cats and dog and then Parker. So far, I had this covered. We were low on milk so after I fixed Parker's cereal I went downstairs to get the spare gallon of milk from the downstairs fridge. Simple, right? Until I get downstairs, stop at the bottom of the steps and have absolutely no idea why I am downstairs. I mean, it's been at least 15 seconds since I was upstairs this is completely understandable. So I fall onto my bed deciding I'd lay there and think about it for a minute. I didn't get a full minute though, Parker started to yell that he needed juice, knowing it wasn't juice I was there for I go back upstairs to fix his juice. When I open the fridge (upstairs) to get his juice I see we are almost out of milk! Ah yes, this was why I went downstairs. So I fix his juice and thinking "Milk, milk, milk" in my head I go back downstairs where I swear there is some sort of magnetic force on that last step that erases my memory and I find myself at the bottom of the stairs again drawing a blank. I walk into the bathroom and check the litter box, it's fine and was recently changed so I go into the laundry room (where the fridge is also) - look around and decide to put laundry in. Parker yells down to ask what I am doing so I finish loading the washing machine and head back up stairs. I look around, still at a loss for what I was supposed to be doing, and decide Cheerios sound good so into the kitchen I go...where I get distracted by the dishes in the sink which leads me to unloading and re-loading the dishwasher, taking out the trash and recycling and then going to sit down. As soon as I sit down Parker asks for more cereal which reminds me *I* was going to have some Cheerios and as I open the fridge to reach for the milk I remember... MILK. I need to go downstairs and get the extra milk. So, I ask Parker to go with me (as he is not at all affected by the magnetic mind erasing force on the last step) and we get the extra milk from the downstairs fridge and return upstairs able to eat our breakfast.
As we are eating Parker's kitten (Sweetie-Nutball) decides now is a good time to chase Allison's cat (Belle). Not a big deal except Belle puts Gumpy cat to shame with her attitude and, outside of Allison, does not like anyone... especially Sweetie which only encourages Sweetie to antagonize her more. This playful chase by Sweetie led to a very loudly yowling/growling Belle and an upset Parker "Shut Up Belle" "Knock it off, Belle" Parker is now yelling as loudly as Belle is fussing. I point out to Parker that 1. we don't say shut up in this house and 2. Belle is only making noise because SWEETIE is being mean to her and chasing her. However, I forget that one key thing... Sweetie can do no wrong. Parker leaps to his feet yelling at Belle and races to help Sweetie by chasing Belle who runs downstairs back to the safety of Allison's room. Parker, however, remains at the top of the steps yelling at Belle (who is occasionally replying back with yowling at him) telling her to "Be nice" and "Stay downstairs" and to "Leave Sweetie alone" so I say to him "Parker, Belle WAS being nice. It was Sweetie who was being mean. She was being a bully and chasing Belle." Parker, of course, disagreed continuing to yell down the steps at Belle (leaving me wondering if our neighbors can hear this from their houses). I tell Parker to leave Belle alone and to finish eating. He gave me that look and, giving in I yell "Belle, please be quiet too". Which prompts Parker to tell me "Mom, Belle can't help it, no yelling."
Of course. No yelling mom. The cat can't help it.
Parker comes over to my chair, sits on my lap and begins to tell me how Belle needs to be grounded, which I find interesting for many reasons. 1. no one in this house has ever been grounded and 2. (maybe less obvious) she's a cat. But, I don't argue. Instead I tell him I will think about it.
As we are sitting there a notification goes off on my phone, which Parker quickly steals from me (honestly, he has it more than I do - partially because it's a Galaxy 3 which has zero reception and is mostly useless to me - Yay for the $140 cell phone bill I pay each month on something that is barely used outside of taking pictures) and goes through every text on my phone wanting to know who we are going to reply to, or why someone hasn't replied back to us yet. While he goes through my phone (mostly likely texting hearts to people) I open up my laptop which peaks his attention, "What are you doing?" "Why are you doing that?" "What are you doing now?" "No Facebook" "Where's Melissa?" "Check your email?" "Go (scroll) back up" "What is that?" then reaches over and in less than my super slow tired eye blink, shuts the laptop (with my fingers still on the keyboard. "Go Swim now?" Me, "Dude, no! It's 7:15, we are not getting in the pool yet" and that started the "Why's" ...
Why aren't we swimming yet?
Why is it only 7:15?
Why don't we have friends here to swim?
Why are we waiting?
Why can't we text someone to come swim?
Why is it too early?
Why aren't we swimming?????
He gives up and turns on the TV, flips through the channels until he comes across Barney. I give him the "you have got to be kidding me" look. I can tolerate Octonaughts but I cannot handle Barney. After he sets down the remote, indicating he has made up his mind I quickly say, "Ummm.... No. There is no way I am watching Barney." which is met by his "OH COME ON!" reply that always makes me chuckle. He flips through the tv a bit more before giving up and asking how much longer until Walgreens opens so we can pick up his pills (allergy meds) that he is low on. "2 1/2 hours" I reply which he doesn't believe and asks if it's because the old guy farted so they can't let anyone in the store yet. Of course that IS why... it is the only reasonable excuse Parker excepts. "That old guy" whether he farted or broke it... it's my saving grace as to why something can't happen or be done. (FYI - I'm very sorry "old guy"... whoever you are).
For the 5th time this morning, Parker opens his iPad and tells me every sports score and line up for the next several days, who will win and who will get spanked, who will cry and who forgot their deodorant (FYI, hot girls don't like boys who don't wear deodorant or who don't brush their teeth) . He's checked the weather (it's going to be 92 today) and gone through the months (via holidays he wants to celebrate) at least 5 times now too, played Subway Surfers and Pou all while saying "Mom" more times than any one person would be able to count.
We watched the people picking up things for Gabby Days "steal" the stuff of ours and our neighbors and even taken out some new stuff for them to pick through.
He's asked what time Grandma is bringing Allison home and if we are meeting her and letting me know Grandma can just leave her at the gas station (I still don't know where that came from!) which I remind him isn't an option... we don't leave people at the gas station!
Finally he sits down next to me, I put my head on his shoulder (which he quickly nudges off) and said, "Why is Mommy awake right now?" He laughed and started the repetitive questions I hear throughout each days "What are we going to do after that?" Despite our lists and schedules, it's a constant question... "You are going to finish cleaning the kitchen... what after that?" "Going to the bathroom.. what after that?" "Going to the store... what after that?"... all day long. He asks because the "what after that" isn't usually the answer he wants. The answer he wants is that 2,3,4,5 of 10 of his friends will be here to swim "after that" and hang out for the day. That would be Parker's idea summer vacation. Friends here every day, from 6 am until 9 pm swimming, throwing water balloons and eating pizza... a nice reminder of how very typical he is despite his disability.
Later this evening, I will drop him off for KARE camp, a camp for individuals with disabilities, where he will stay until Thursday. While I will wake up a little bit later each day and my house will be quieter with just Allison home, I'll be counting down the days until my next 6 am wake up call of his voice calling for "MOM" and having him back home again.
But for now I'm just thinking, "Is it time for a nap yet?"
**Parker and Allison have Fragile X Syndrome, the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability and the leading known genetic cause of autism. Parker, now 14, is significantly more affected than his sister. To learn more about Fragile X Syndrome please visit: www.fragilex.org