Sunday, April 10, 2011


I've been deep in one lately. Unable to accomplish much that I set out to do. Mornings go like this: Make coffee. Have a sip. Put coffee down (somewhere that I won't remember like on top of the dryer, on the bathroom sink, up in Sean's closet or near the pet food.) Find coffee. Re-heat coffee. Sometimes can't find coffee at all and have to make another cup (will find coffee later -- most likely in microwave when I'm warming up something for dinner.)

Next, wake up Sean.

"Let's get up Sean,"
"I'm not Sean," a grumble rises from a tornado of covers.
"Who are you today?" I ask.
"I'm Bertie." A red head pokes out.
"Okay, rise and shine, Bertram."
"It's Bertie."
"Get up, Bertie."
The red head retreats back into the cave of blankets.
"I mean it. Get up. Now. Come on, Sean."
"I'm not SEAN. I'm BERTIE."

And this goes on and on...

Finally the heat clicks on and Sean/Bertie hops out of bed and perches on the heating vent.

I fumble through his drawers and pull out clothes, grab shoes from the closet and bribe him with breakfast if he can get dressed quickly. Well, maybe not quickly, but at least get dressed.

Breakfast. Smoothie. Plop all the ingredients into the blender. Whirl. Find Rice cakes. Find Peanut Butter. Where's my coffee?

Let dog out. Beg dog not to bark. Just do your business. Dog looks at me like "Where are you going? Don't you want to hang out in the rain and watch me?"

Back to bribing Sean into kitchen with smoothie. He reminds me, losing his patience that he is Bertie. The dog is barking. I can't find my coffee.

Clean out blender. Make lunches. My oldest is easy. Turkey and cheese sandwich, milk, chips and a granola bar. Sean, not so easy. It's as if I'm packing lunch for a squirrel. Almonds. String cheese. Potato chips. Fruit leather. Soda water or juice (whatever I pack drink-wise always comes home unopened.) Rice bar. What Sean begs for everyday is the even unhealthier cousin of Hostess -- Little Debbie. Every day it goes.

"Can we get Little Debbies?"
"Why not?"
"They could make you really hyper."
"I like hyper."
"Well the rest of us don't. Besides, they're not good for you."
"Why not?"
"They could last forever on a shelf."
"I like them."
"We are not getting them."
"Why not?"

Sean's form of crack. He admires Little Debbie at the grocery store, in the lunchboxes of fellow students and he googles them on the computer. Most days my computer is on the Amazon page with that happy-go-lucky Little Debbie peddling her Honey Buns or Cosmic Brownies. Don't be fooled by the rosy cheeks and pretty smile.

Wake up my oldest. Remind him to go through the garage and CLOSE the garage door (if I don't specifically tell him, the garage door will be left open.) Also, put the dog in his crate. Don't forget lunch. And lacrosse practice tonight. He nods his head but I'm pretty sure he'll fall back asleep. I leave the phone on his dresser. It's off to school.

"You tell Miss Judy that I'm Bertie?"
"She will call me Sean."
"Actually, she will call you Bertie. She is way too nice to you, Sean."
"I'm Bertie."

I call home. My oldest picks up. He is up and moving. After I hang up I wonder if reminded him to close the garage door.

I stop by the office and help out a little bit. Head to the post office. Do a little grocery shopping. Come home -- yey! the garage door is closed. Clean up the kitchen. Walk the dog. Feed the cat. Do some work for my classes. Beg myself to write something (opt not to, wonder if there's a Top Chef marathon on Bravo, look outside, watch rain coming down in buckets, wonder if the backyard grass will ever dry and start looking for my reading glasses.) Usually the search for the glasses (and mind you, I have at least half a dozen pair) can take anywhere from a minute to half a day. Often times, they are perched on my head and when I'm at my wit's end looking for them I'll walk by a mirror or a reflection in the sliding glass door and see them.

Look at clock. Geez, where did the day go. Start to feel overwhelmed. Need to check in with friends. Need to answer e-mails. Make appointments. Figure out what I should cook for dinner. Do laundry. Write scolding letter to Alaska Airlines regarding "Spring Break Travel From Hell Nightmare". (Oh, that's another post for another day...) Start book that looks to be the size of the Holy Bible -- must read almost 600 pages by Wednesday for book club.

Why am I just standing still looking out at the rain? My coping skills are horrifying lately. Why is it so tempting to lay under the glass coffee table in the fetal position and take a nap? Why is the dog barking? Why can't I just organize my life?!

Hustle to the bus stop. Here comes Sean with a name tag that says, "Buster."

"Who are you now?" I ask.
"Your name tag says Buster."
"I'm Bertie now."

I read the note from class. He has had three name changes: Bertie, Blythe and finally Buster. She tells me the name tags seem to be working. He is less anxious and isn't persevering as much on names. Sometimes I can't believe this is my life. I wonder if Miss Judy feels the same.

Sean/Buster/Bertie wants to talk. He wants to spell. He spells Big Big World. He spells Captain. He spells Wiggles. I wish it wasn't raining so hard and he could play outside. I wish we could get a game down from the closet and play it. I ask him if he wants to play a game or something.

He looks irritated. "I want you to talk to me." he says. Which means he wants to spell the same words over and over and then he wants me to spell them. He hops and stims and spells words. I try to gage if he seems happy. Some days I just want him to be happy and not worry so much about him and his inability to play games or have friends or to carry on a conversation that makes sense to another person. It's hard to imagine how difficult that can be for him and how much I take that for granted in my everyday life. I try to remain upbeat. I make a deal that we can spell words for fifteen minutes but after that we have to something that I want to do (and clearly drinking martinis with a ten year old can't be an option.) I set the oven timer and when it buzzes I tell him we are going to go downstairs and he can play on the exercise ball while I fold clothes.

He is my little shadow. He hops and does amazing tricks on his ball and I try to remember that we all have fun in different ways and he seems to be having fun. And that has to be enough for now.


Deb said...

I'm chuckling over "I like hyper!"

I have been so impressed with "Bertie"! I've had to go into the classroom a couple of times this month for D, and when I walk in, I am greeted with the biggest grin and most enthusiastic welcome by Sean! I have seen such positive change in him! I think I make his day by checking the name tag before I address him, too. I love making him smile! :)

Gimky said...

Katie, I know you didn't exactly intend to be funny, but I smiled and chuckled through all of this. I know, I totally, totally know!

Books the size of the holy bible, the glasses on the head, the coffee cups in random spots... maybe you have a future in comedy. Seriously! You're good at this writing thing. Keep writing. I've missed you.

Desiree said...

WOW! I thought I was the only crazy one in the morning, trying to run out the door and having my son also wanting to repeat the same conversation we had the day before and before.. My son's topic right now is all about Disney Pixar.. and its learning the dialogue that is driving me crazy. Especially if I want to know what he is talking about.

Your post really touched me when you said: "Some days I just want him to be happy and not worry so much about him and his inability to play games or have friends or to carry on a conversation that makes sense to another person." I do wish he had friends, that the other kids would want to play with him. But yet, I know he's happy most of the time even if he's just hanging out with me.

Great post! Great job! Remember take it day by day and one small goal at a time!

Katie Donohue Bevins said...

Thank you, Desiree. It's nice to know that there are others who "get it" even when it really doesn't make too much sense. Day by day -- yes! Best, Katie

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie,
I continue to read and appreciate your blog. Know that I am thinking of you and I know that you think about me. Hope to see you sometime!!