I am sharing this with you today for no particular reason, except that over the past week or so, since we have been working long hours each day to [yet again] attempt to get my boys re-integrated into the public school system (after the “fiasco” – link here) every moment of every day seems to be sucked away with bureaucratic and logistical minutiae — and almost no time to get ANYTHING “real” done (besides parenting!)
I wanted to share with you (and document for myself) what a typical day in my life is like right now!
And so, with that, here is what I did today [was your day similar?]…
Tuesday, September 18, 2018 – Erev Yom Kippur
- 1:00 a.m. – Fell asleep (co-sleeping with my mentally-ill 10 year old son who will not/can not wind down to sleep at a reasonable hour — and will not sleep without me)
- 7:40 a.m. – OMG – got to sleep late! (Avi finished his homework last night!)
- 7:41 a.m. – Checked my e-mail, bank balance, Facebook communications, stats and all the other online morning work tasks!
- 7:50 a.m. – Reviewed Avi’s math homework with him, patiently reviewing how to write a rudimentary proper narrative answer to a math problem. With husband’s help fed Avi (blueberry oatmeal, frozen sliced bananas topped with peanut butter, and a glass of water), cut fresh raspberry leaves from the garden and fed them to the bunny. Fed the cats. Put medicine on Avi’s hands for his plaque psoriasis (amidst his routine screaming and protesting.) Tried to brush my hair while sitting with Avi doing homework [brush gets repeatedly caught in my hair because I forgot that I had braided it yesterday — so finally Len has to spend several minutes untangling it patiently – with the help of a stainless steel chop stick – to retrieve the brush from my hair!]
I just want to add that my husband and I absolutely love this one-on-one early morning time with just Avi (before everyone else wakes up!) It’s really nice to be able to pay as much attention to him as he needs, even if it is just usually from 7:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. each morning!
- 7:57 a.m. – E-mailed Charlie’s teacher about the trouble he had at school yesterday
- 8:00 a.m. – Charlie’s teacher got back to me.
- 8:02 a.m. – Got back to Charlie’s teacher.
- 8:45 a.m. – Avi left for school. Len and I sat on the porch to drink our coffee (which he ground, brewed, filtered and brought to me — as he faithfully does each morning!) While sitting on the porch we hung out and watched the bunny as he ran around on the hay bales. He was being so amusing with his hopping and chasing after the cats that I decided to make a video of it. Three neighborhood toddlers (walking by with their mom/nanny) stopped by to play with the bunny too.
- 8:52 a.m. – Posted an article on Facebook that was shared on Leadnet about the military’s shenanigans (aimed at diminishing their liability in the lead poisoning of military families)
- 9:14 a.m. – Posted the bunny video [if you want a good wholesome laugh, watch the full four-minute video; it’s hysterical (in a low-key way, from a kid perspective) and I bet your little kids will love it! The close-up at the end of the bunny’s face is really cute, and his sideways hops and charges at the cats are very funny.]
- 9:15 a.m. My friend/helper/savior/right arm, Katie came over. Katie helped us take pictures of the new Lead Safe Mama t-shirts and helped me make some decisions about the new Lead Safe Mama buttons I am having made!
- 9:40 a.m. My magical graphic designer/marketing expert friend Janelle e-mailed me with an update for the graphic for the Lead Safe Mama buttons.
- 9:41 a.m. – E-mailed Janelle back.
- 9:43 a.m. – E-mailed the button company with the new graphic
- 9:47 a.m. – E-mailed the button company with an update on the new graphic / parameters for the buttons.
- 10:13 a.m. – Got a call from legal assistance organization that I had contacted a few days ago asking them if they could help me with my ongoing legal case. 26 minute call.
- 10:30 a.m. – Charlie woke up and needed to be dressed, washed (face and hands), fed, watered & entertained. Luckily big brother A.J. [16 years old] had just finished his SAT prep session for the morning and was able to help with the “entertaining” part, so I could get a little more work done. I don’t know what I would do without that boy!
- 10: 50 a.m. – Texted exchange with lawyer-friend Susan to tell her about legal assistance org I spoke with and their fascinating story.
- 11:00 a.m. – E-mailed a mama who wants to do an outreach event with me when I am back east next week.
- 11:01 a.m. – Responded to an email from a woman with concerns about her dishes.
- 11:07 a.m. – Responded to dishes lady again with another answer to another question she sent me.
- 11:07 a.m. – Drove kiddo to grocery store so he could pick out his own snacks for the school day (budget: $16.87, all I had). He chose sliced turkey, organic sourdough bread, organic cheddar cheese (so I could make him sandwiches) and two Luna protein bars. Total was $16.92; check out lady scrounged up 50 cents from “lost money” pouch and contributed it to our bill. Result: $16.42 spent on groceries at 11:25 (time on receipt)
- 11:31 a.m. Have rental car this week, so Charlie and I rushed from store to school and got to school about 11:31 a.m.
In negotiating his IEP for this year, I told the team that I would need to be there at school with Charlie each day to help with the transition or we would immediately be faced with “school refusal” as we had in previous years.
The IEP team said I could not be there each day all day, but the compromise we came up with is that I would bring him only in the afternoons – starting with lunch time (until he got used to the routine) and I would stay with him for lunch and recess, and then walk him to his classroom and leave him alone at school from 12:20 to 2:00 p.m. each day. I would then return at 2:00 p.m. and go with him to each of his after-school classes (or his brothers would meet him and walk him home on days he does not have after school classes.) This is why I am spending this time with Charlie each day at school.
Today Charlie decided to go straight to the play yard (and skip stopping in to the cafeteria to see what they had for their “free lunch”, since we just came from the store and had sandwiches!)
- 11:41 a.m. – E-mailed back and forth with the people who have the advertising contract for my blog, regarding a form that needed to be filled out.
- 11:50 a.m. – E-mailed with folks in NH about the lead-poisoning prevention events I am doing there next week.
- 12:14 p.m. – E-mailed with a mama who has questions about lead in her pipes and other concerns in her home.
- Hung out with Charlie and his Special Needs classmates from 11:31 until 12:16 (when the bell rings). When Charlie was actively playing with other kids, I interacted with folks for my advocacy work on Facebook (on my phone) while I also kept an eye on Charlie and his interactions with the other kids. I also played a mad game of tetherball with Charlie & made sure he ate one of his sandwiches during this time. When the bell rang I walked Charlie to his class, checked in with his teachers. Got in car & drove home.
- 12:26 p.m. – Phoned my adult (22 year old) son to see how he is (he called yesterday to say he was not feeling well and to ask for advice.)
- 12:29 p.m. – Got e-mail from Charlie’s school instructing me to sign in when I come for his after-school classes later in the day.
- 12:31 p.m. – Arrived home, checked in with Avi who had just got home (he is in 8th grade walks home on his own each day) after his three morning classes: Math, Art & Art [sic]. Noticed the time on car’s clock because it was one minute after Avi was supposed to be home
- 12:32 p.m. – Responded to e-mail from Charlie’s school.
- 12:59 p.m. – Made a few calls to my friend in Wisconsin to let her know her Facebook account was hacked.
- 1:00 p.m. Took my three older men (Avi, A.J. and Len – 13, 16 & 60 respectively) grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s. Told each “boy” the could decide what to spend $25 of the grocery budget on; they could pick out whatever they want under the clear condition that whatever they bought would not be just for them but would be shared with everyone in the family — they had to do the math, and it had to come in under $25. I also explained that most things in Trader Joes are either about $2.50 or about $5.00 so they should be able to buy between 5 and 10 items with that money. [That was SO MUCH FUN! – the only boy that went over was DAD! lol — but he chipped in some spare change in his pocket to cover his overage! ;-)]
- 1:20 p.m. – Checked out and left T.J.’s (time on receipt!]
- Drove home & all of the boys helped put the groceries away!!
- Printed out all of the paperwork I needed to open an official new bank account for my new business (incorporated with the State of Oregon on January 5, 2018, BTW! … Lead Safe Mama, LLC)
- 1:55 p.m. – Drove in car to Charlie’s school so I could pick him up and be there with him for his after-school class. Wondered to myself how I actually manage to do anything normally (when I don’t happen to have a rental car?!)
- 2:02 p.m. Pick Charlie up from his teacher, check in with him. Checked in as a visitor on the school’s computer. Charlie saw his art teacher from yesterday while we were checking in and he voluntarily apologized to her for “being grumpy” in class(!) This was an amazing breakthrough as he spontaneously did this 100% of his own accord! Went out to the playground to wait for his after-school drumming class to start (today was the first day.)
- 2:04 p.m. – More e-mail correspondence with the people with the advertising contract.
- 2:10 p.m. – There was an ice-cream truck parked right outside of school. [This should be illegal I think! What kid can resist this?!] I somehow miraculously found some change in my pockets, and since Charlie had stayed in school “all day” [2.5 hours, from 11:31 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), I felt we each deserved a reward! I gave him the change, and Charlie bought me a fudgsicle (he picked out a rainbow sour snow cone for himself).
- 2:15 p.m. – The school bell rang, and Charlie gathered with his classmates for his new drum class, we (the teacher and all 10 drum class boys & me) then hiked over together to the stage in the cafeteria, got the drums and carried them out to the outside (detached building) classroom where they had their class.
- 2:30-3:00 p.m. – That was all Charlie could take of the class —he had a real hard time, and left 1/2 hour early. [I came to the class to keep an eye on him to make sure he was safe, but I also brought my laptop with me and was on Facebook answering lead poisoning related questions for families during this time.] I have enrolled Charlie in after-school classes every day so he could have more opportunities to make friends. But (as he was yesterday in Art class) he was overwhelmed and grumpy [even though he had plenty of snacks and food today].
- 3:00-4:00 p.m. – Went with Charlie around the corner to the bank and opened my new business bank account! #Woohoo [though during the entire hour spent at the bank, Charlie was constantly reminding me that I “have to pay him the $400” that I promised him I would pay him if he could manage to go two entire months without kicking a single hole in the walls of our house! [He did it BTW, and I owe him the money — which I will give him as soon as we are on the other side of all of our crazy… and in the meantime I stall… 🙂 He really wants to buy a punching bag — well, not a bag at all really; it’s a huge, robust martial arts practice figure creepily shaped like a full-size male adversary) with most of the money! Which may actually probably a really good thing for him to do at this point in his life, as he needs more “safe” physical outlets for his frequent rages. [affiliate link to this crazy thing!]
- 3:53 p.m. Got e-mail from one of my lawyers
- 3:55 p.m. Responded to e-mail from lawyer & drove home.
- 4:19 p.m. Called doctor about pain in my breast and mild lurking concern for breast cancer (what!?), but my phone died in the middle of trying to get through to the advice nurse. Need to follow up tomorrow. Plugged phone in to charge and then forgot to call them back!
- 4:45 p.m. – Got in the hot tub & started drafting this post in the hot tub (in the hot-tub!)
- 5:03 p.m. – Crawled into bed to write for a while (while also eating a piece of cheese) while the three boys play Minecraft together (supervised by A.J.) #Exhausted #Spent
- 5:45 p.m. – Charlie came in to my room screaming “I’m STARVING! FEED ME!” and he reminded me that today is “National Cheeseburger Day” and Burgerville had cheeseburgers for $1. Charlie is the meat eater of our boys – and really wanted some cheeseburgers for dinner (and we don’t cook meat in the house since everyone else is vegan or vegetarian)… so I dragged myself out of bed and put away my laptop.
- 6 to 6:30 p.m. – Len and I drove to the nearest Burgerville and brought home special “Yom Kippur cheeseburgers” for Charlie! [Can you think of anything more absurd/sacrilegious?!]
- 6:50 p.m. – Made an organic purple milkshake for the boys – organic frozen strawberries, organic frozen bananas, organic frozen blueberries, organic milk, organic maple syrup – served up with paper straws in ball jar glasses! Followed this up by making gnocchi and steamed organic broccoli (one of Avi’s Trader Joe’s picks!) for AJ & Avi, and later followed up with a round of clam chowder and sourdough toast for “second dinner” for Charlie!
- 7:15 p.m. – SUNDOWN! Oh yeah – it’s Erev Yom Kippur! Got to stop working and do the family thing. (But I still have 8+ hours of work I have to finish tonight, including following up with at least two lawyers!) <#Sigh>
- 7:20 p.m. – Drafted newsletter/update
- 7:49 p.m. – Sent out out newsletter to my e-mail list with info on the lead painted baby food jars.
- 7:55 p.m. – Sent e-mail to Leadnet to let them know about the lead painted baby food jars.
Over the course of this day I also interacted with more than 100 people on Facebook… including private messages with 7 people, and commenting and answering questions on more than a dozen post threads with questions about lead-poisoning and consumer goods toxicity. Today alone my blog had 1,547 unique hits and my Lead Safe Mama Facebook posts reached over 2,819 people (with 477 post engagements). No wonder I’m frazzled!!!
How does anyone (especially parents of children with disabilities) get anything done!!!!????? [Things like taxes, and dishes, and laundry and sleep and really ANYTHING!] It’s almost like one needs to have ADHD to manage the frantic energy required by all the different stuff going on every day!
Thanks for reading – if only out of curiosity. Happy New Year and have a great day!
P.S. – It wouldn’t be a real day in my life if the day didn’t close out with four more e-mails received from one of my attorneys! (Emails received at 11:53 p.m., 11:55 p.m., 11:55 p.m. and 11:56 p.m.!!!!)