Neurodivergently Clueless

My son is doing much better on his medication. I didn’t have to do much to convince the pediatrician he needed it. I was prepared to get letters of support from his teachers, the school guidance counselor, etc.

We were waiting in the office, and when the pediatrician came in, R. was pulling the bottom step out from the table (it’s the step stool for littler kids). As I was explaining to her what was going on with him, he started interrupting: “Is that stool clean? I touched the handle. Is it clean? Is there COVID on there? Can I wash my hands? Are my hands dirty?”

She just sorta blinked, asked a few questions, and said “Yeah I’ll send the Prozac to Kroger.”

For a while he still did some validation-seeking stuff: “did you see me get soap all over my hands?” We went between reminding him he doesn’t need us, to enabling him if he’s tired and it’s not worth the fight. Because for the love of all that’s holy…if you want an argument, try convincing an OCD person something’s not contaminated.

In October I had parent-teacher conferences for both kids. I’ve seen R’s teacher in the hall when I was over at the school volunteering, and she’s been telling me how well he’s doing on his medication. So when I talked to her on PTC night, I was surprised when she told me she had a new problem with R.

“I’m not sure exactly how to describe it so I’m going to tell you what I saw. He forgot his headphones for reading group so I sent him to get them. He went over there, looked around, and knocked four or five other pairs off the hooks. Then he did this little evil cackle.”

I’m sitting there with dread creeping up behind me and the overwhelming urge to laugh maniacally. Thinking “Sounds like a kid I used to know.”

She goes on to say she caught him shuffling some cards the kids use for library. She made him fix his messes both times, but she was asking what I thought.

“So it sounds like he’s…um, vandalizing your room?”

Then I heard from the music teacher that for a whole class, R did the exact opposite of what she told him.

We discussed how maybe R is pushing limits because he’s relaxed/comfortable enough at school to do so. Also that he hasn’t caught a clue yet that the adults at school do talk to me.

When I asked R. “what the heck,” first he told me he didn’t participate because the music teacher played a violent song about America.

Side note: He makes up stuff. I’m aware. Imaginary friends, teachers, situations…if all the kids really broke their arms this year whom R claims broke their arms on the playground so far, this school would be sued into bankruptcy already.

To verify this story, I asked, “Hmm. If I call her up will she tell me what that song was?”

He said “Don’t call her.” Then he confessed he was playing jokes on the teachers. “Pranks!”


We had a chat about how hard teachers work, how nice Mrs. M is, and how we are not going to prank teachers.

Things have been fairly quiet since, at least with school. R. enjoys the first grade now, and his anxiety seems to be in a good place.

My daughter is still hating middle school, mostly because it starts too early. Her teachers told me at my meetings how smart she is, and that she draws nonstop in their classes, including during inappropriate times. I. says it helps her focus. The teachers pretty much agreed with her grades so far they can’t say much, except it distracts other kids.

Her English teacher said one day she told I. to put away her sketchbook and participate more, or she’d take it until the end of the day. She saw I. sneak it out later so she made good on her threat and took it. Then she saw I. nonchalantly pull out a spare one the next time she looked away. OCD kids come prepared.

The good thing about my kids is, even though they never run out of interesting and creative ways to get into trouble, they’re pretty good about shaping up once they do get into it. Until the next great idea hits. “Nobody ever told me I couldn’t ______ !”

In the middle of trying to collaborate with everyone on R, I got this workshop invitation from one of the schools about “2e kids.” I had never heard of 2e kids. But reading the flyer, I thought “How the hell have I never heard of 2e kids?”

2e means “twice exceptional,” and it’s a label for kids like mine (and me, and half my friends…) that are gifted with that extra learning or emotional or behavioral disorder flavor. I’ve had several psychologists and counselors mention offhand that gifted kids and anxiety disorders go together like peas and carrots (I don’t like either tbh, but you do always find them together). I didn’t know there’s a whole community of people with the double whammy – to the extent that there are workshops.

I also did not know that OCD is possibly considered to be neurodivergent. It seems to depend on which source you’re looking at.

Of course, when the kids got their first report cards, they both did fantastic.

That’s the funny thing with gifted people. On paper we look great! So it’s easy to pretend things are fine when they aren’t. Or almost fine when they’re horrendous. Sometimes it’s hard to ask for help. I don’t think I’ve done it in about twenty years.

Joking aside, I’ll do it for my kids. I want them to have an easier time with it than I did. I’m just glad there are so many resources I can tap into now, and that mental health is slowly (too. damn. slowly. – it’s one reason I talk about it.) becoming less of a risqué topic.

Like most parents, I wouldn’t trade my kids for anyone else’s. They’re hilarious, sweet, caring, creative as hell, and mostly well-behaved. They just don’t do boredom very well. Or rules…or structure…and I have a hard time saying anything about it because neither do I.

I’m ten times happier doing gig work than I ever was in an office. I liked production work for many years, because there was a lot of variety and daily problem-solving – not to mention I could just read the articles I was working on whenever I got bored. But having to follow arbitrary rules has always chafed my ass, and it shocks me zero percent that my kids aren’t fans, either.

So I often find myself bumbling around trying to explain to the kids why they have to do something the way they do, even though it doesn’t make sense, when I’m not even buying what I’m selling. I end up babbling something about the social contract and yes it sucks to get up at six am but if we all did what we wanted we’d be flinging poo at each other like zoo monkeys so get your shoes on for the love of all the gods and saints and tree sloths, it’s 7:39 already.

But anyway, we’re in a much better place than we were when school started. Still working on making middle school suck less for I., but we’ll get there. Me and the rest of our little 2e family circus.

F*ck OCD

“Are my hands clean Mom? Did you see me get soap on the backs? I can’t remember if I did or not. Are they clean?”

“I touched the seatbelt. Is it covered in COVID now?”

“Are my undies clean? Can you see anything? What’s that speck? Are you sure it’s just lint?”

My almost-six-year-old, R., has had symptoms of OCD for a while now. But I thought we could limp along and wait on treatment until he was older. That’s what we did with his sister, but it’s become apparent in the past six months or so that he has it worse than she did.

I’ve heard from four different people at his school, where he’s thriving except for the OCD. That he keeps seeing dirt that isn’t there, or obsessively washes and rinses his hands, or thinks there’s something in his underwear when it’s fine. Sometimes he goes to the nurse’s office and changes clothes.

I’m proud of him that he’s only had to actually come home once so far. We are very lucky that everyone at his school this year is understanding and patient with him.

My daughter’s main trigger was bugs. I thought that was hell, and some days it was, until the meds kicked in – screaming fits about a gnat in the bathroom. Or screaming right in my ear while I was driving because there was a gnat in the car; I nearly wrecked over that once. But bugs can be avoided a hell of a lot easier than invisible germs or miniscule specks.

My son’s OCD developed in the middle of COVID, when we were all talking about germs and how to avoid them. He also potty-trained late enough to remember us telling him over…and over…and over…to check his undies and wash his hands.

Even though I know that germs are a classic OCD trigger, my OCD tells me we programmed him.

I’m back to managing two people’s worth, mine and his. I’m trying to be patient but firm. I tell him things like:

“I’m only going to tell you this once, because you know the more we feed the OCD monster, the stronger it gets. Yes, your hands are clean. Now stop asking.”

“You know the answer to that.”

“How would poop even get there? Does that make any sense? No, that isn’t poop.”

“Soap is clear. You don’t have to see it for it to be on your hands.”

On and on. It gets exhausting.

Last night he had an OCD nightmare of some sort and came into our room screaming and crying about it. He had to wash his hands, and at whatever the hell o’clock it was (I went to bed at 1:30 so it was…between that and 6…), I just gave him whatever validation he needed. Yes, your hands are clean. Yes your undies are fine. Yes you washed that thumb. That one too.

He laid on my arm and we did alphabet animals to distract him. A is for Axolotl. B is for Bear. We did the whole thing (is there anything for X besides X-ray fish? That one seems like such a cop-out). He finally calmed down and went back to sleep.

I hid the fact that I was a complete mess the whole time. My own OCD was whispering “This is your fault. They both got it from you.”

I have a pediatrician appointment set up for him next week and we’re on the list for a call-back with my daughter’s former behavioral health provider. It’s gotten to the point where it’s negatively affecting him every day. I hate to put him on meds without therapy, but at this point, I’m asking the pediatrician if we can do that. We know meds work for my daughter (and me). I’ll do the therapy as soon as I can get set up with a provider, but that might take weeks or even months.

I just want him to feel better. He’s such a bright, funny, sweet little kid, and I hate that this is dragging him down.

RIP Roe v Wade

Yesterday the Supreme Court, packed with incompetent jackasses put in place by the King of Incompetent Jackasses himself, voted to take away my right to bodily autonomy, along with that of every other woman in the country who could still claim to have it.

I had my tubes tied back in 2016 when my second child was born. My husband had to sign off on the procedure. As if he should have a say whether or not I would have more children when he isn’t the one risking his life and health carrying said children. We both thought it was ridiculous.

It’s ridiculous that in 2022 I have to worry about my daughter’s bodily autonomy. I explained to her today what this decision means. I didn’t want to, but she caught me crying, and I don’t hide things from her especially when they matter this much.

So I explained that these old decaying white men, who don’t even know how women’s bodies work and aren’t doctors, just decided that a clump of cells that may or may not successfully grow into a baby has more rights than the mother who carries it. That they hide behind God to oppress people, and that this is backlash from the civil rights gains made in the past few years: the first Black president, first Black and female VP, gay marriage.

That they don’t give a damn about the mother, the baby, or anyone but themselves. It’s a distraction from the January 6 panel, and they think so little of our rights that they’ve decided taking them would be a good diversion while they cover their own asses. That their real gods are money and power.

It’s not about the fetus, it’s about control.

I told her that even if she never wanted to have an abortion, that was her choice, and she should always have that choice. And I will do whatever I can to make sure she has that choice.

I wish I could say I’m shocked that this country cares more about gun rights than reproductive rights. Or that I’m shocked at the hypocrisy of conservatives. These are the same people who screamed “MY BODY!” when we tried to get them to get a goddamn vaccine. Oh, but it’s risky! Well SO IS PREGNANCY.

If any of them actually gave two shits about my children or yours or any children we’d be doing something about climate change. We’d be supporting the kids and mothers already here, including the kids and families that don’t look like the white man white woman 2.5 kids and a dog that come standard with the Melissa and Doug dollhouse. We’d be following the fucking COVID recommendations instead of pretending the pandemic is over. Making healthcare accessible to pregnant people. Signing off on universal maternity/paternity leave. Or banning guns no one needs that can tear a classroom full of children’s bodies to pieces. There’s so many things we could do to help families and nurture humans. But they choose to only care about the unborn…because it’s not about the fetus. It’s about control.

I don’t buy for a hot second that it’s even about religion. The Bible has mixed messages on literally everything. Christians can’t even agree on a denomination. When I lived in the Bible belt I regularly drove by corners with four different churches on each one. When I was forced to attend church as a kid, I questioned – even then – why none of it made sense.

I feel bad for the actual Christ-like Christians I know, because their religion is used to justify being so un-Christ-like. At the same time I want to scream at them to DO SOMETHING. Get their house in order. Take back their religion. Fight for what Jesus would actually DO, instead of what some of these pastors interpret from the cherry-picked verses they want to use to push their own narrow-minded bigoted agendas.

Because it’s all about control. Control over when and with whom women have sex. Gutting education so Americans are too dumb to question as they’re ruining the country entirely. Keeping women and their families at poverty level with more kids they can afford so they’ll keep working shit jobs for shit wages. The rich get richer, and their daughters will always have access to abortion.

I was at a rally earlier in May when the draft leaked, and I saw the ghouls carrying their posters of gory chopped up babies. They had labels on them with months, and they were entirely bullshit. These people don’t deal in facts and reality. They’ll stoop lower than the bowels of their own hell to suck people into their alternate reality where old white men are saviors and everyone else is expendable. Except that fetus, until it’s out! Then the hell with it too.

Those posters did make me think, though. I wondered where the photos came from. Whose deceased late-term fetus they were disrespecting, waving those photos around like some murderous whore just decided at 24 weeks she wasn’t doing it. That’s not how that works.

But that’s beside the point. If they had any empathy for that actual fetus, they wouldn’t be parading the evidence of its demise around on a poster and lying about the circumstances. We know what lowers abortion rates: birth control access and education. They’re against that, too.

I read some of the articles about how happy these deluded conservative women are now that they can force their sisters to have more children than they want or afford. One in particular was gushing about how now that we’ve saved the fetus, we will move on to enact social programs to make sure every mother and child is supported!

Bitch please. Your exalted holy white men lied to us, and they’re lying to you. You’ll just look the other way when these kids are starving or abused or neglected. You’ll say they’re safe with Jesus when they die in the next school shooting. And when your teenaged daughter comes calling with a positive test, you’ll quietly take her to the next state or country to have your moral abortion.

I’m still processing my feelings about all this. There’s the rage, but as an American woman there’s always a layer of rage pretty close to the surface because so many of my fellow Americans are content to look the other way when others are treated as less-than, expendable. But I think under that is this giant reserve of sadness. That so many consider a woman, girl, or trans-man as less important than a potential life that person may not want to nurture into existence.

I never had to make that choice but I was always glad to have it. I came so, so close. My first boyfriend pressured me (two years younger) into having sex before I even knew basic shit like the pull-and-pray method didn’t work. I was late. This boy proposed that he would attempt to do a DIY abortion with “something sharp” because he was afraid to tell his mother or mine. I chickened out. I told my mom. She took me to the doctor, and I wasn’t pregnant…but if I had been, she would have let me make my own choice.

That boy grew up to be a conservative Catholic Republican. He sent me a friend request once, and I peeked, curious to see what he’d turned out like. He has a daughter.

I have a daughter and a son. I love them both with all my heart, more than I have ever loved anyone including myself. And the reason I have that space and capacity to love them is because I had them when I was ready. I wasn’t ready at 14. I wasn’t ready when I was “legal” at 18 with a latent death wish, an alcohol problem, and zero fucks what happened to me, let alone a baby. I wasn’t even ready at 25 or 30 because I was still recovering from my youth and figuring out who I was, building the life I wanted with the rare, decent, considerate, empathetic man I fear is becoming extinct in this society.

Every woman should have the life she wants, the children she wants. Not the life or children she’s forced into having because of biology and an outdated misogynistic religion that has been used to oppress people since the man himself died on the cross.

I think what makes me the saddest is that most of us want to leave our kids a better world to live in. And we just can’t anymore in this country.


I’ve been slacking on my blog, along with most other things in life, but it’s been a busy fall and winter. I homeschooled my son for kindergarten this fall because of COVID. Then both kids got vaxxed, so I reenrolled Rory and he’s officially a K student now!

It’s going a lot better than I thought it would.

*tosses salt*

*knocks on wood*

My daughter has been in school all year. Our district is doing a fair job of dealing with COVID so far. Issy got into a girls’ club that looks amazing. Her best friend lives down the street. She plays video games online with various friends from school, too, so even when school is out she can stay in touch with her social circle. (As an introvert, I admire her ability to even keep up with that many people.) She still loves drawing and making art. She learned to needle felt during the pandemic.

My husband got a promotion at work, so he doesn’t have to work as much OT. He still works a lot of holidays, but it’s so nice having him home all weekend. He’s also permanently remote, so if at some point in the future we want to move, we can go wherever! The state his company is based in actually is somewhere we’d consider moving, too. We’re sticking around here for a while, probably through middle school for I. But after that, who knows…we could follow her to college and move across the street! 😀

I’m working two tiny part time jobs (a few hours a week) and getting back into some of my hobbies. I am cautiously optimistic that the ‘Vid won’t close school down again, since my son is finally freaking going.

I helped with another kitten rescue over the summer. We trapped Dolly and her seven kittens, and I kept them in my garage for a few days while we waited on their foster home to make arrangements. I got to socialize the babies. Dolly was already social; she just wanted the hell out of there. They all got homes and she is now a happy, single, childfree cat.

I’ve also been reading a lot, lately alternating between the Wheel of Time series and Hap and Leonard. Now that would be one heck of a mash-up…

Here are some pics of things I made and kitties (etc) I met in the last year.

My yard kitty playing catnip
The local pond swans, Frank and Maxine (I just made those names up).
Mom’s circle vest:
Big peets
R’s Poochy Pup-inspired costume
My circle vest (same pattern as above)
Summer babies
Summer babies
My stepmom’s circle vest – pattern


This morning, when I answered the wails of my feral cat friend Jiji and opened the door with her food, I was pleasantly surprised to see Panda – Feline Man-Whore Extraordinaire – whom I’ve been trying to trap during feral cat drop-off hours.

He usually comes by in the afternoon when it’s too late to get him, and I don’t want to keep him in my garage overnight, because he will totally piss up the place.

I had my trap out already, trying to get the cats used to it, so I armed and baited it with a plate of tasty sardines.

My first challenge was keeping Jiji out of the sardines. This is strange, because Jiji typically hates fish. But when she sees Panda going after fish, apparently it takes on the delectable flavor of Something That Other Cat Wants. So I had to shoo her out of the trap a few times and get her to settle down with her own food.

Panda was hungry. He made moves toward Jiji’s food, but thought better of it, having had his ass handed to him several times on that front. He licked the juice out of the sardine can.

He went all around the trap and found the entrance. He started to go in. This is when I got excited. I was going to get him! Finally! An end to his spotted little bastards scattered around the neighborhood!

He went up to the plate. He put his toes on the edge of it. And then – because silly human, cats are made of liquid! – he stretched his neck just far enough to snatch a sardine and GTFO.

I may have literally threw a stomping fit and if Panda could understand English, he’d know he was called many creative names.

He went back in for fish #2 (I only put two, because if you overfeed them before they have anesthesia, it can choke them at worst, and create a total vomit-fest in your car at best). Maybe he’d spring the trap this time, I thought, since this fish was a little farther away.

Nope. He just stretched a little farther.

I gave up and cleaned up and called him a little fish-snatching bastard.

I’ll try again next week, and this time I’ll chop the fish. I’m also going to ask around if I can borrow a bigger trap, because this is a long cat. I didn’t realize how long until he stretched himself from one end of a raccoon-sized wildlife trap to the other.

Panda 1, Human 0.

In other news, another feral – New for 2021! – is pregnant (I named her Two Dolla Ho after I saw her lounging on the steps with both the neighborhood toms) and I didn’t catch her when she was just sort of pregnant. She’s probably going to drop those kittens soon, I’m hoping in someone else’s yard, and I’d bet my spay-neuter vouchers at least one will be black and white spotted.

Year of the Plague

It’s hard to believe the Rona has been around for a year now, mostly because the whole year seems like it just disappeared. Like time just stopped and we all started living outside it.

What’s really heartbreaking is that half a million people are dead, and there are still others walking around pretending it’s not real.

I haven’t felt like writing much. Or doing a whole lot of anything other than the day to day stuff that keeps me and my family going.

Our schedules became very relaxed over the past year. My daughter has been attending fourth grade completely online. My son was supposed to start preschool, but we cancelled. Now he’s supposed to start kindergarten in the fall with no experience and since he barely makes the age cut-off, we aren’t even sure we’ll send him.

My husband has been working from home since last May, and since he’s been doing fine, his employer is going to let him stay remote even once Corona is…what? Under control? Contained?

It seems like eradicating it isn’t going to happen anytime soon, even with the vaccine.

Oddly enough, the first person I know to get the vaccine is my stepdad, because he is in the nursing home. Given how he landed there, that hardly seemed fair. On a positive note, my mom was able to unravel all the red tape surrounding the Stepdad Situation this year and get on with her life, more or less.

I feel like the isolation of the past year has made me an even bigger introvert. I used to have my little contained doses of a social life. Now it’s almost entirely online. I still enjoy my various hobbies but those are weirdly disjointed too. I’ll get obsessed with one, burn out, and drop it entirely until I go back to it months later.

I was planning to finally start doing something with my hobbies. Getting a booth at a craft fair or two. Taking a few baking classes. I also thought about applying to a(nother) grad program, but with the uncertainty about my kids both being in school, I didn’t. I did, however, pick up a freelance gig related to publishing that I work a few hours here and there. It’s very low-pressure, and my client is awesome.

I’ve done pretty well in isolation. It’s been nice to have time to just…piss off. I take hours making my own pie crust and crocheting families of Totoros. I discovered my long-lost love of logic puzzles. We got the kids a Switch for x-mas, and I play it more than they do. I don’t even read as much as I used to because I’m always doing something else. And my inner slob has had free reign. I practically never wear pants or a bra.

Jiji, our feral cat friend, has been our “emotional support kitty” since we got her spayed over the summer. We started letting her in for just a few minutes a few times a day over the winter. We built her a nest box with a heated pad inside and a tarp over it. She’s surprisingly gentle with the kids, but still playful for an older cat, and she loves getting pets whether she’s inside or out. My daughter needle-felted her some toys and she entertains us attacking them. So far, D. has only mildly been sniffling when we overdo it. He is considering allergy shots once it’s a bit safer to regularly go to the doctor.

We miss our friends and family. I’m looking forward to seeing them again once everyone is vaccinated. I feel very, very lucky that so far everyone I know has been safe, and that we’ve been able to swing school-at-home and work-at-home without totally losing it (although overtime has pushed it).

I have a feeling we’re going to run into difficulty when we all have to wear pants again and rejoin society, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.