Sunday, February 11, 2018

Simon's 2016 funnies

I realized after I posted the 2017 funnies, that I had done this in 2016 but only posted on Facebook.  Thought I'd share here in case anyone needs a chuckle. 

A compilation of Simon funnies from this year to ease the pain of 2016.


Simon perfectly communicated how he feels about his first day of school by crawling into my lap while simultaneously yelling at me to leave him alone.

Simon loves to make up puns and mash up words. This morning it was "coffee" and "chocolate". From this day on, in our house, mochas shall forever be called "cocklet". Bwwwwaaaaahahaha!


Dropping Simon off at school late after a morning appointment and passed kid standing outside a classroom.

Kid looks up and shouts"Simon! Oh my god! Where WERE you? You haven't been here all morning", and wraps him in an "I-thought-you-were-lost-at-sea-but-here-you-are-in-the-flesh" bear hug. I honestly thought the kid was going to cry he was so glad to see him.

Team Shimmy fans are hardcore, man.

Thank God. He's gonna extra need it if Trump gets elected.

Simon, after finishing a donut: "I think that sugar just hit me in the nuts, Bro!"

I could NOT make this stuff up.

Simon was playing with our landline phone almost an hour ago. Thought I hung it up before he actually made any calls, but I just answered a very hard knock on the door to find 2 Oakland police officers calling me Ms. Fitch and asking me if I called 911. Dude. If I called 911 an hour ago and actually had an emergency...damn. And that's the response time for a middle class neighborhood. Also, my kid is so busted when he wakes up tomorrow.


Reason #936 why I adore Simon? He calls Laura Fitch "the chaplain". As in, "is the chaplain home" or "where's the chaplain?", if she's not around. Slays me every time.

In lighter news, this week Simon's two TV obsessions are Teletubbies (I can barely handle that we're back on this after enduring his early years with this on non-stop) and...Lip Sync Battle.

Simon's brain to my brain: "I'm 2! No, wait, I'm 14. Just kidding. I'm 8 but maybe more like 5. That's right. Keep guessing. "
It made my whole day when Simon requested Megan Trainer's "No".
Simon now adds "Bruh" to almost any answer. As in "Simon, do you want toast for breakfast?" "Nah, Bruh. I want sushi".

Parenting win for the day: not busting out laughing when Simon tries to insult me by angrily calling me a "scoundrel".

Simon: "I'm a chicken. My name is Pecker!"

Simon tonight: "I like big butts". Me: Oh shit. (Thank you Alvin and the Chipmunks, btw). Simon, also tonight, while we were marching up the hill on the dog walk: "We are the 99%". Me: Okay, I think that balances things out.
As overheard this morning:
Simon: Is Darth Vader coming to our Seder?
Laura: Nope. He's not Jewish.
Simon: Nuh uh! He is TOTALLY Jewish!
Second time Simon has ripped a loose tooth out of his mouth and triumphantly spiked it on the floor, leaving us frantically crawling around on the ground for said tooth. Tonight it was in the dark in our driveway.
Scene: bedtime
Me : *trying to quietly sneak out of Simons room, thinking he's asleep.*
Simon: [full voice] "Nuh uh! You shouldn't be doing that. You get back here".
Me : *shaking with laughter as I slink back*

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Simon's 2017 Funnies

Here's a compilation of his funniest moments last year:

Context: we are a very physically affectionate family, very playful and don’t spank for punishment but do spank each other playfully a lot.

Simon is eating breakfast and watching TV. Laura jumps up from couch next to him and runs into kitchen (within view of Simon) to grab a quick full body snuggle with me, complete with a butt grab.
Simon: Spank it!
Laura and I: *laugh*
Laura: *little spank on my butt*
Simon: Harder!
Laura and I: Um...
Simon: Mommy! Spank your wife!
Me: *If anyone outside of this house heard this, we are so getting a call from CPS*
Brought home rose Turkish Delight tonight bc Simon has been obsessed with The Chronicles of Narnia.
We all tasted it.
Me: It tastes like soap.
Laura: Yep. Like rose soap.
Simon: It tastes...Narnian.
And, just like that, food snobs of Oakland have a new adjective.
You're welcome.
Simon: Mama, can I get this eggplant?
Me: What are you going to do with it?
Simon: Pan fry it.
Me: That sounds delicious.
Me: *remembering many items purchased and not eaten*
Me: Simon, what do I get if I buy this for you and cook it and you don't eat it?
Simon: Uh...You get to slap me.
Me: *thinking*
Me: That sounds fair.
What one wears to see "Thor".

Post movie:
Me: who was your favorite character?
Simon: Hela. She was hella good. Get it?!
Walking dog with Simon, each of us equipped with the requisite Harry Potter wand.
Simon: *bleats like goat*
Simon: *points wand at something*
Simon: "Alohah-ah-ah-amoh-oh-oh-r-ah-ah-ah"
Simon: I'm a goat! I'm a wizard! I'm a gizzard!
Highlight of the weekend
Simon: "Mama, can we listen to the Screaming Goat Complain-a-thon on YouTube?"
Me: "Uh, yeah! That sounds amazing!"
Me: *fruitlessly searching*
Laura: "Simon, do you mean 'compilation'?"
Simon: "Yes!"
Me: *pouting *

The first version sounded way funnier.
Simon : Who is Joan Jett? (He often asks questions he knows the answers to)
Laura: Simon, you know who she is. How would you describe her?
Simon: Strong, legendary and tough. And she's a fighter.
Laura and I: Um. Wow. Pretty much. Yeah.
Two minutes after I walk out of Simon's room thinking he's soundly asleep, he opens his door, stands there scowling with a toy pistol in his hand and angrily proclaims "Worst sleep EVER!"

Drama King.
Simon: Can you be a valley wizard?
Me: Oh Mah Gah. She is like, *so* Hufflepuff. Ew.
Breaking in his new tuxedo jacket by hawking gelt at Trader Joes. Seriously. He parked himself there and offered gelt to everyone that passed by for a full 15 minutes.

Simon: I have a crush on Miley Cyrus.
Me: (inside)
Me: (outside) Oh! What do you like about her?
Simon: The power that she presents.
Me: (inside and outside)
Me: "Simon, what's your favorite thing about Mommy?"
Simon: "When she's on call at Summit hospital"
Laura and I: Uh....ok. Let's try again.
Laura: "What's your favorite thing about Mama?"
Simon : "When she goes to work"
Laura and I: "Twerp".
Spider Bobby about to report for duty at the Dickens Faire
A little regret that we watched a video of a goat delivering triplets. Simon's new "popcorn" word of the week is vagina. As in, we were just mock battling and he threatened to smack me with a...vagina.
Hey, at least I can stand proud as a former sex ed teacher that he knows the proper word, right?
Me: *driving*
Simon from the backseat: "Do otters have a big ole vagina?"
Me: *Nearly running off the road*
Me: *hysterical laughter*
Me: "Nope, I think they're pretty small."
My contribution to the marches for science. Anatomy is science, right?
When Laura and I got home from seeing Get Out:
Me: Simon, Mommy and I went to see a really scary movie.
Simon: Did it have hunters?
Me: Um, actually, yes.

*in my brain*:
You are *hella* creepy dude. How did you vibe the perfect word to describe those crazy ass people while not hearing a single thing about that movie and me not even saying the name of the movie?

Walked Simon into YMCA spring break camp this morning and a twenty-something young man watched him with a super sweet little smile on his face. I said "you could start your day like this" and he shook his head a little. He said "I used to be that person". I responded "you still are!" And my heart broke a little that someone so young already felt like the real him had no place in the world. 💔 Let your freak flag fly, people.
Simon: You know where I want to work?
Me: No, where?
Simon: The White House!
Me: Cool! What is your job going to be?
Simon: I'm going to work *for* racism and the Imperius Curse
Me: Well, you'd be in very good company right now.
Sometimes Simon's word salad is freakishly spot on. The word of the day is "homophobia" ( no idea why or from where- never heard him use it before today). He can't articulate that he knows what it means, but he just said, "Do you know what homophobia can do? It can make people go back in time ". Um, yeah. That's pretty much it.
Best part of my day was picking up Simon from camp (no small thing since I had Homeless Court today which I love). One of Simon's verbal "tapes" is to randomly generate codes. Today as we were walking out, one of his counselors said "Hey Simon! What's the code?". Simon authoritatively answered "247". The counselor nodded and replied "got it".
I realized this has happened every day I've picked him up.
Nothing better than seeing my son fly his freak flag high and getting to witness someone salute it.
Simon: How about we listen to"Barbie Girl"?
Laura : I'd really rather not. That song makes me a little nuts
Simon: Well, it doesn't make me go nuts. That song is my jam...always.

Yes that's the Torah and yes, that's Wonder Woman gear. 

They were letting the kids help with rolling the Torah at Hebrew School and he had a very specific place he wanted it stopped so he could pretend to read it. Of course we want to know what the text said where he stopped. 

This child. 

He's some kind of magic.
Talking about racism and whiteness with a kid on the spectrum is at best...dicey.

Laura and I: *blah blah racism, black, native, MLK, Black Panthers, blah, blah unfair, protest, angry, blah, blah, white people, speak up, responsibility, blah, blah*
Simon : *says something showing he mostly followed what we were saying*
Laura and I: *exhaling*
Five minutes later...
Simon : *echolelia smorgasbord of phrases about racism strung together into KKK worthy statement*
Laura and I: "We are so going to get a call from the principal "
In keeping with his current obsession with placentas (thank you Bear Grylls and Shaq), Simon's imaginary new robot is "Placentron".
I present...Mosquito Warrior. His super power is that he controls mosquitoes with the snap of his fingers.
Also, he just said to me "Mama, you know I'm a fighter, not a lover, right?" For real.

Keeping the streets safe.
Simon always bogarts my bone broth but now he asks me to put it in his Butterbeer cup (from Harry Potter world) and proudly calls it "Chicken Beer" as he chugs it.
Simon's parting words to me from the back seat as he and Laura dropped me off at the airport as I left for England was a fervent "God Save The Queen"!
I love that my Mom gave us a book about how to celebrate the Solstice with kids as a Solstice present.
I also loved this moment:
Mom: “Who wears black and white and red and gives out presents?”
Simon: “Bhagavati!”
That’s about as multi-cultural as it gets.

Monday, February 5, 2018


Last weekend I was invited to a gathering that included a few other families with kids with special needs, most of whom I had not met before. I was chatting with a Dad who has two kids on the spectrum.  As we talked about our kids,  I mentioned that in addition to being on the spectrum,  Simon had also been very ill with heart disease as a small child. His compassionate “oh man, that sounds so hard” response to that extra bit of news was welcome and also jarring.  It always catches me off guard when another parent with a kid with special needs is shocked by our medical experiences. I forget sometimes that there are multiple clubs under the “Special Needs” umbrella.  I figure that we belong to *three* clubs.

I’m a public health nerd, so I made a Venn diagram with examples of what I mean.
(Simon doesn't have all the things listed under each category, btw, in case that's confusing- just giving examples of what might be in each bucket) 

As I lay in bed thinking about my conversation with that Dad, I realized that Simon's life so far is divided almost equally in half, with the  first half dominated by medical special needs and the second half by developmental special needs.  As a bonus, in the last year we've also been joined by behavioral special needs but I sort of lump that in with the developmental stuff. 

Our lives have been somewhat ruled by whatever issue is on the front burner.  In the first 5 years of Simon's life, we only wanted to go to cardiac camps, freaked out about germs on the daily and mostly lived with the threat of death.  At about age 5, Simon got off the feeding tube, his heart stabilized and we got the autism diagnosis.  From that point on, heart camps didn't work for us anymore, we shifted our focus from keeping him alive to how to best understand how his brain works, worry now about crowded/overstimulating situations and live with the threat of him getting bullied.  Last year he got diagnosed with ADHD and we've added paying attention to how ADHD meds are/are not working for him, how to help him manage his big feelings that sweep through with lightening speed and worry about the executive function challenges of middle school that are coming up in 6th grade. 

While it's stressful to raise a kid with special needs, I've found the kinds of stress to be really different depending on the category of the challenge.  Here's my breakdown:
  • The stress of medical special needs kind of feels like getting clubbed to death. 
  • The stress from managing developmental special needs might be best likened to death by a thousand paper cuts. 
  • Behavioral special needs can feel like there is imminent risk of bodily harm (to yourself or your kid, depending on the day and the tantrum). 

The joys are different too.  We don't celebrate echocardiogram results and dropping meds from the regimen anymore.  Instead, we high five when Simon asks a "why" question and cheer when he gets his dirty dishes from the living room to the kitchen without a distracted bypass to his bedroom with dishes still in hand. One isn't better or worse than the others, just different. Actually, that's bullshit. I'll take the behavioral stress over the medical stress.  The threat of death sucks the big one. 

It's all a lot and with Simon, much of it isn't obvious at first, which also feels hard.  Sometimes it feels like we're carrying this enormous load and you can't tell if you just meet us. Laura and I often talk about how we wish there were some secret signal for other parents of kids with special needs to “flag” that we’re a member of the same club. This has been proposed a few times, but it looks way too much like “Heil Hitler” for me to promote.  Still, how amazing would that be?!

I love getting to be around other parents of kids with special needs, whatever stripe.  And, there's something unique about people who are wrangling more than one. About 7 years ago, a few of us that were in an early intervention program together formed the BAD Mamas (Bitchin' And Drinkin' Mamas). Every couple of months we soak in a hot tub, eat cheese, drink wine (well, the other ones do) and bitch about all our woes.  And because we all have kids that have medical AND developmental and/or behavioral stuff, we effortlessly swing between work challenges, medical tests, new diagnoses, IEPs and who our favorite caseworker is this month and everyone just nods.  There's no explaining, no worrying about stressing someone out, no need to be careful.  We just let it all hang out. 

I'm so grateful to get to belong to so many people. Queers.  Oaklanders. Public Health workers. Parents of kids with heart disease.  Parents of kids on the spectrum.  Parents of kids with squirrel brain (as I call ADHD). Jews. Partners of Chaplains. The list goes on. 

And on extra hard days, I'm extra grateful for my BAD Mamas and all the other parents out there whose lives double and triple up on those bubbles.   It's not something I would choose, but I think those of us who live these wacky realities belong to each other in a way that can only be forged by being squeezed between a rock and a hard place.  Silver linings.  They're everywhere. 

School photo aka Brute Squad application pic

Hawking gelt at Trader Joe's

Sacked out in the airport during a delay

Vikings in Canada!

Headed to the Oakland Women's March with Mamaw

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nine Years Ago

Dear Simon (aka Bane, Voldemort, Princess Celestia, Megatron, Darth Vader, Trender Hoof, etc etc)

Today is August 1st. Nine years ago today I thought I knew who I was, what I was doing, and where I was going. You changed all that with a simple wheeze. Several hours later you were fighting for your life with this incredible will, amazing team at Children’s Hospital, a ventilator, and two broken and shell shocked mommies. I will never forget that feeling of handing your sweet exhausted little body over to the nurses and Dr Williams knowing what they had to do, and that it would hopefully save your life. I will never forget that feeling of complete surrender. It was the same feeling I had 6 weeks later when Jaime and I made the decision to not list you for a transplant, believing that whatever needed to happen would happen and that Jaime and I would be whoever we were meant to be, as moms, as partners, as individuals.

 For those 113 days with you in the ICU, I practiced being present. I practiced slowing down. I practiced breathing and trusting and feeling all the feels because if I didn’t I might miss a moment with you and we didn’t know how many more of those we might have.
I remember knowing that I had to take care of myself first because 15 hour days in the ICU was what was being asked of me and I didn’t want to/ couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But when I got to take 15 min breaks or someone came to hold you for an hour while I went home to take Roxie out for a walk in the sun and non-recycled air, I knew I had to do it. I learned to accept and even ask for help. I recommitted to touch and song and finding the Light even in the midst of beeps and needles and medications administered and even in what felt like the darkest of dark.

And we laughed. Jaime and I laughed and welcomed new people and ate RedVines. We did it like there was no tomorrow. We held each other. We held each other physically, emotionally and spiritually.

We did it for months in the hospital. We did it for the years out of the hospital when things were still so dicey with compromised immune systems and feeding tubes and so so many medications. Your Mama and I stayed present to each other during some really hard shit, more hospitalizations, more diagnoses, bigger risks and amazing surprises from you as you worked your magic, on your own timeline, to becoming the weird and wonderful 9 year old you are today.

We will never be out of the woods with Cardiomyopathy. Autism keeps us re-framing and relearning about the world and the way you see it, and ADHD makes sure that we stay in the moment, breathing deeply to be closer to you as you pace yourself in this growing up process, ever drawing those around you into your imaginative and complex world.

This August I will be finishing up my yearlong Residency program in Chaplaincy and I want to thank you. It was you and your ‘big heart’ that took me off my School Social worker path and brought me to this moment. A few days ago I got offered my dream job. It works for me, it works for our family, and it means getting to follow a calling; a calling that you brought me to with what I can only describe as your divine connection.  You have shown me over and over again, through parenting, through partnering with Jaime, through your own bright and unmistakable Light, more of what I meant to do with this life. I love being a chaplain. I love the process, I love the practice, I love the learning. 

You are like my very own living, breathing Shehechianu blessing and I just want to take this moment to thank you. Thank you for bringing me to this time and this place. Thank you for all the ways that you have made our family what it is. Thank you for the opportunities to learn and connect with the world around me in new and wonder-full ways. Thank you for showing me that beautiful and brutal are loving cousins and most of all, thank you for the chance to play, imagine, see, breathe, cry, laugh, love and live during this time with you. I am humbled and honored to be your mom, a chaplain, a wife, and simply me.