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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cats

The final official day of the 30 days of random is "Cats".  Not the musical, which I've never seen, and which is vaguely unsettling, but the furry little animals about which the musical was made.  I assume.

So cats in general means Dobby specifically.  Cats are a spectrum.  A good friend of mine told me that.  Or maybe it was gender.  I can't remember.  But until I do, I'm going to just say "X" is a spectrum where X = "whatever we happen to be talking about".  Also, the same friend says I plagiarize her, so if you enjoy this blog, you should know, that it's really mostly not my own work, it's hers, and I just put my words on her ideas.  I THINK that's what she was getting at.

Things I've noticed about Dobby:

1)  He will choose to lie down on top of something that does not seem like it would be comfortable.  Always.  So shoes for example...we pile our shoes by the door.  Dobby will walk over to the shoes, and just sort of...collapse across them.  Then he'll sleep.  On the shoes.

2)  He is destroying the upstairs carpet.  He picks the transition strip between rooms, insinuates his little claws in there, and then pulls and scratches and claws it until the carpet thread separates from the pile and little fibers are scattered all over the upstairs hallway.  Emma says, "Well...weren't we getting hardwood anyway?"  I think she's still afraid we'll give him away.  "Yes, Emma, we are.  But not today.  And not tomorrow.  So in the meantime, Dobby is tearing our carpet to shreds."

3)  At night when he's awake, but lounging, he does so just at the top of the stairs.  In the dark.  So that I trip over him and fall down the stairs and die and he can eat my corpse (I assume).

4)  He will stalk over to you as if he's ready to jump on your lap and get attention, but then stand there and look at you while you make a total ass of yourself saying, "come on, Dobby, come here, come on baby, hop up, come on Dobby...etc."  You'll pat your lap or the chair or whatever the whole time you're doing it, and like three or four times you'll see his muscles tense and he'll start to move, as if to jump up next to you...I think it's when he senses you're running out of steam...and then about three minutes later he'll just walk away.

5)  He meows plaintively and scratches your legs when he's hungry.  You get his food out and he twines his way between your legs as you carry it to his dish, nearly tripping you, then you put the food in his bowl and he sniffs it and walks away.

6)  He sheds.  A lot.

7)  He senses when you're about to take his picture and he moves.  He can be fast asleep.  You could be doing jumping jacks next to his head and he'd just sleep through it, but the second you get a camera out, he's off in a blur.

8)  My wife and I are allergic to him, but the kids aren't. 

9)  He has a majestic tail.

10)  He scratches the shit out of our leather furniture.

11)  He's still our cute little Dobbykins, and he's family now, despite his many many MANY problems, he'll always have a place in our home.  Our tattered, smelly, fur strewn home.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Marriage and Special Needs Kids

Day 29 is "The effect of special needs kids on marriage".  Because this is a serious topic, and because it's one of the last two, I considered making it the last topic...but my big facebook autism support group's share day is on Wednesday, and because this is something lots of them can relate to...I'm posting it today instead. 

On our 12th anniversary I posted something specifically about the effects of autism on marriage, and I'm not going to read that three year old post again, but it's here if you'd like to read it...Anniversary Dates and Divorce Rates.

I think since the time I posted that someone came out with some study(ies) or other that showed the effect was "bad", but I didn't read the study and it doesn't change my own experience anyway.

So here, in a nutshell, is what I think:  There are reasons, legitimate reasons, to get a divorce.  There are reasons that people get divorces that seem less legitimate. 

So let me set aside what I would consider the legitimate reasons to divorce, like abuse, for example.  I want all the legitimate reasons for divorce over in this corner over here *points to corner*.  I'm not talking about those.

Also, let me say, that if you feel there is NO legitimate reason for divorce EVER...I'm setting that in the corner as well.  I don't want to debate the sanctity of Marriage with you.  But you're a dumbass if you think there is NO reason why a divorce is legitimately the right thing to do.  But I'm not debating it...dumbass.

What we're left with are all the wrong reasons to get a divorce.  Whatever those might be.  People are selfish, and if you decide, selfishly, that you want to exchange the old worn out wife for the new younger model for no reason other than she's aging (even as you yourself age) and aging is yucky...that would be a good example. 

So there are allllll sorts of selfish stupid reasons to get a divorce.  Getting a divorce because you can't handle the stresses of raising your own children is just one of them. 

My point is this:  IF your marriage fails, and IF you have special needs kids, THEN you need to understand that the person who walks away because of that is a douche.  And that special needs kids didn't lead to that divorce, selfishness did.

Having Lily in our lives has actually strengthened our partnership.  It requires that we communicate more.  It requires that I take a more active role as a parent.  Co-parenting is good for a marriage.  Sharing work around the house, whether that work be child-rearing or doing the laundry, is good for the marriage.  Because when I share the work with her, she's happier and doesn't resent me for leaving her responsible for everything while I hit the bar.

There's a weird sort of topic split here that I'm not really going to explore, but I'll point it out..."marriage/special needs" vs. "parenting/special needs", and I guess I'm going to just gloss over it and say that I feel like the two are very closely related.  When I'm a better parent I'm also a better husband, because the shared responsibility means less weight falls on her shoulders and leaves her more time to enjoy the family and our life together. 

Does having a special needs child make me a better husband?  Not directly, but the additional attention that Lily requires means that we have to communicate more, and it means that she can't do it all alone, which means I have to help out more.  More communication and more active helping out make me a better husband. 

I get that people get stressed out about their special needs kids, and I've said in the past that you can just cross out the word "special needs" and the sentence is still just as true.  But that stress isn't about the marriage necessarily, and making it about the marriage isn't justified. 

I reread like the last four paragraphs and they all say almost the same exact thing, but I'm too lazy to go up and edit it more succinctly.  My main point is that special needs kids don't REALLY impact your marriage in any way.  You love that person or you don't.  You're a partner to that person or you're not.  The circumstances that add stress to you life...aren't related to that partner (unless that person is the reason you're stressed, but that subject is over in the corner).  They're no less stressful, but they're misguided if they're aimed at your spouse.  If you have a good marriage, having special needs kids won't make it any better or any worse, but your reaction to the stresses of parenting might, if you take it out on your partner.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Smart, Pretty Daughters

Day 28's official topic is, "How hard it is to have two daughters smarter and prettier than you are."  This will be probably one of the shortest posts of this 30 day period.

It's not hard. It's so bloody simple.  I think that almost every parent hopes and prays when his children are born that they'll be happy, healthy, intelligent, funny, beautiful, well-liked, successful, etc.  I cannot imagine any decent father being upset that his kids ended up being happier, healthier, smarter, prettier, more popular, richer, more respected, than he is/was. 

So while I have a pretty positive opinion of myself...I want nothing more than for my kids to be better than I am in every and any category imaginable. 

How hard is it?  As hard as lying in bed.  As hard as leaving the dishes until tomorrow.  As hard as drinking a cold beer on a hot day.  As hard as cutting warm butter with a hot knife.

It's eeeeeeeeeasy.