Bedtime routines, disrupted and concocted:

My son, Emerson, lives for routines. He is three years old and he has Autism. My older son, Charley (7), is beginning to understand the importance of these routines. The bedtime routine normally goes like this: I help Emerson brush his teeth and then take him upstairs while Charley brushes his teeth. Emerson pounces on the bed, on his knees, saying 

“he’s still brushing teeth” over and over. Charley sneaks up the steps quietly, then bounds into the bedroom with a loud ‘boo’ which sends Emerson into squeals of glee! Charley takes off his clothes and puts them on the floor. Emerson then carefully puts on Charley’s shirt, pants, and socks and goes downstairs, brushes his teeth (probably with Charley’s toothbrush, I don’t want to know), sneaks up the stairs and says ‘boo’ just like Charley. When it doesn’t happen just so, Emerson falls apart and we all suffer. So… the other night, I gave both boys haircuts and then put them both in the bathtub to rinse off the bits of hair. Emerson and I went upstairs first, as usual, while Charley brushed his teeth. It took an extra while for Charley to finish. He came upstairs, fully dressed (after a bath?) and explained that he put on clothes so that Emerson could do his ‘mysterious routine.’ Charley explained that he HAD to put on Emerson’s shirt, because it was the only one he could find. Yes, the hair-covered shirt. So, of course, Charley took the shirt off, Emerson put it on and happily did his brother-impersonation. Two boys, covered in hair. Charley seemed to understand the absurdity of it all. I was touched that he had enough empathy for his brother to put on a hairy shirt just to keep him happy. And happy we were!

This Child

This child may never grow up.  

My younger son is a whirlwind of activity; he’s vigorous, strong, intense.  His name is Emerson, and he has Autism.  Delayed language development is the most pronounced feature of Emerson’s particular variation of Autism.  He mostly echos words and phrases, either immediately after he hears them, or hours or days later.  The phrase, “we have no cookies” blends with “no whining” to become…”we have nooo whining!”  His brother apologizes for bumping into him, “oops–sorry Emerson” and Emerson bangs his own head with his hand, repeatedly, saying, “oops–sorry Eem-uh-hun.”  I was thrilled a few days ago, when he used a phrase in the correct context.  He wanted me to stop pulling weeds in the backyard and come over to push him on the swing.  He said, “top doing dat!”  I’ll take demanding over echolalia, anyday.  We’ll work on manners later.  

My hope is that he will learn to hold conversations, form friendships, find a satisfying career, have a family of his own someday.  I’m beginning to accept the possibility, though, that this darling child may never leave the nest ~ may never ‘grow up’ in the traditional sense.  Time will tell.  [see video of Emerson here]

Pressing, depressing, de-compressing

They told me I was pretty.  They never saw that I was smart, or if they did see, it didn’t register in their faces.  No delight, there.  Waiting to be picked up from school, I hear, “you were the prettiest one in the bunch.”  I wanted to to be taken seriously. And so…I married him.  He reflected my narcissistic need to be seen as smart.  He was bona fide; degreed and pedigreed.  I felt a swell of pride when he spoke, at gatherings, at meetings, with my father even.  He could parse words without mincing them.  Dice and slice and chop them all to pieces. I miss being married to him, though I don’t miss him all that often.  The words were not always kind; there was often a bite.  His family became my own, ours. Today I wished he had been there to see me cuddling my little one on the sofa.  Nobody here to chronicle my growth as a mother.  In many ways, I was his fawning admirer.  I still fawn, and it sickens me.  I thought I’d lost that puppy-ish pleasing tendency.  No.  I’m still looking for my place.  I thought I’d be home by now.  

I think I was hoping for an invitation, of sorts.  An invitation to join the sophisticated, local literati.  For thought-provoking films complete with coffee and debate.  Maybe pumpkin pie in the fall, sugar cookies in the winter?  This has happened more than once.  Too eager, too earnest, too much.

Pardon Me

Pardon me, it will only take a minute

To pull your ribs apart

Reach in, command your heart to beat again.

I promise it will hurt.


Excuse me for staring through your windows

The smell of the feast was so divine

And I haven’t eaten in days

But that’s no excuse




Forgive me, I know not “what”

I know not “I”

I know not “do”

I know naught.

Forgive and forget?


Self-portrait, 2002Self Portrait, 2002


Threads ~

I once had a ‘writing shirt.’  It was the softest flannel and I wore it in creative moments.  Held together at the cuff with a safety pin, missing buttons, never washed.  The grunge years.  He wore it; we broke up; he kept it as a memento.  So.  That explains the twenty year gap in my writing career.

He was a little sad to learn that I wished he hadn’t kept it.  Seeing it again after so long, I almost didn’t recognize it until he pointed at his cuff and I saw the safety pin.  He kept it again, but this time I’m glad; I don’t need it anymore.  


Cookies in the Tub…


I write snippets of songs.  Twenty seconds is the norm.

“Cookies in the tub…just an emblem of my life that’s filled with love…”

Crumbled Oreo cookies in my bathtub.  True story.

It made me happy in the way that artifacts do…a rush of knowing without having to think.

This is where I belong; this is my lot in life; and so it goes; of course.  Typisch.

I borrowed the melody from a friend’s song, which was so much more poetic than mine.  You’re not supposed to point out that something is emblematic.  It ruins the aha moment for the reader (or listener).  It should be subtle but not so subtle that nobody gets it.  But you don’t want everyone to get it, do you?  If everybody got it, there would be nothing to ‘get.’  How would we know that we’re part of the ‘in’ club?  What if there’s a higher level that we don’t even know about?

Time to investi-gate.

Entree Nous.

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