Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, Y'all

Merry Christmas, y'all! I'm going to take a little vacation from blogging until after the New Year. Mostly. Unless something really funny happens. Or if I find more 1980s holiday music videos.

In the mean time, for those of you who celebrate Christmas, have a very merry Christmas. For everyone, I hope you're able to take the day to relax and spend time with your crazy little sugar plums.

May your Christmas be free of meltdowns, and your New Year bring progress, patience, and humor.

Happy Holidays!

xoxo,
stark. raving. mad. mommy.

p.s. Nothing says "festive" like Sting in a flannel lumberjack shirt. Or, Boy George's trench with the big huge rounded shoulder pads. But mostly I like everyone's advanced use of Aqua Net. Because if you're going to help starving people in Africa, you should really reduce the ozone layer with with an entire can of aerosol hair spray while you're at it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Maude and the Aliens Wish You a Merry Christmas

By special request, for Lydia of
Rants from Mommyland, here is Bea Arthur as a bartender in the cantina in the Star Wars Holiday Special

Just so you know, there's a lot of mystery surrounding the Star Wars Holiday Special, such as why the heck any of these people agreed to be involved in the thing. 

Here is where I go all conspiracy theory. 

This reminds me a LOT of the Muppet Show.  Here's my theory: one night in 1978, Frank Oz got a LOT of people wasted and convinced them that what the world needed at that particular moment was more Star Wars-related peace, love, and holiday cheer.  He must have intoned, in the Yoda voice, that this would be the most awesomely fun project ever.  And then he switched it up to Miss Piggy and slapped George Lucas upside the head until everyone was like, "Duuuuude, you are so right. We have got to make a Star Wars Holiday Special."

That is the only explanation I can think of.  That, or everyone in the 1970s was out of their gourd on polyester fumes.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Holiday Message from the Offspring

If you read Rants from Mommyland, you may have remember them getting a few emails from a British girl who is so crazy and funny, Kate and Lydia refer to her as their Offspring, and her writing as leaving a vibrating, buzzing sound in their heads. 

I received an email with the subject line "Videos, Star Wars, and Total Ignorance" with no mention of Kate and Lydia, no mention of being their Offspring, and no mention of bruises, badger incidents, and the like.  Even without any of that, I noticed that bees seemed to be buzzing in my head. 

And I was all, "um, by any chance has there been a Badger Incident in your past?  Because your writing voice is awfully familiar."  And, it turns out that yes, the email was from Lydia and Kate's famous "Offspring #1."  With her permission, I'm sharing this email with you, because of the awesome.

Thanks for the Stephen Fry Star Wars video, Offspring #1!  Love him, love it, love you.

********************

Hiya!

I thought you and your family and assorted humans and muchkins and manatees and EVERYTHING might like this! It's even kind of seasonally appropriate! (Well, for Christmas anyway.) (And I hope it works 'cos UK and US vidoes sometimes don't play nicely with each other and then I have to roll my eyes and sigh and try to hunt the same thing down in a different form and suchlike.) Oh! Also! You probably know (well I HOPE you know, you're too awesome not to know) about Weird Al's The Saga Begins. Because it is MADE of cool and music. Me and my sister actually thought that those were the real lyrics for a long time, until a really long car journey where the same tune came on the radio and we started singing along and our parents exchanged "Dear Maude what in the name of pastrami is going on in the back of the car?" looks.

It probably doesn't help that we have never actually seen Star Wars.  Star Trek, yes. Star Wars, no. I hope you haven't fainted, 'cos the last time I imparted this revelation unto someone they threatened to do that, and honestly? Not much fun. Unless you need some sleep! That might work. But since reading your blog I've suddenly become aware of the hugely awesome Star Wars STUFF you can get! Including a Jedi bathrobe I've just seen and flailed at, because AWESOME! So I have to find it.

If it helps at all, I did have a dream about lightsabers the other night. Mine was yellow!



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas, Star Wars Style

The fact that this even exists is completely surreal. But yes, there really was a Star Wars holiday special in 1978. It has to do with Chewbacca finding his little Wookie son and Carrie Fisher singing a holiday song to the tune of the Star Wars theme. It has never been released as a video, and I'm pretty sure that George Lucas and the entire cast are still like, what the HELL was I smoking when I agree to do that?

Here's a little snippet. Hang on 'til the ending to catch the creepy Wookie kid.



Dang, they were doing lots of drugs in the 70s.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not So Neurotypical

One of the best things about Winter Break is that I get to be with the kids all day, and watch their quirky weirdnesses unfold.  It's better than cable.  Today the weirdest stuff was coming from my "neurotypical" kids. 

I have mentioned before that we have an excess of Littlest Pet Shop critters.  I actually counted them today, and was surprised to find out that it was only three dozen.  I could have sworn we had upwards of a gross of them.  Each one has a distinct personality (apparently) and a name.  One of them?  Is named "Grandma Licks." 

Eeeew.

The reason I counted them is that they were all lined up across the playroom, Aspie-style.  Normally the girls don't line things up like Little Dude does, so I was intrigued.  It turns out the girls were planning a Christmas party for the critters.  To ensure that each critter got at least one present, they lined up the critters, and then lined up the presents and cards with each critter.

Each present was wrapped, and has a fun, festive message from another critter.  Some of the presents are other little toys that we already had, and some are things the girls made.

Now seems like a good time to remind everyone that hyper-focusing is very common in children with ADHD.  Yes, they can focus on one thing for hours and hours.  Yes, I know it seems counter-intuitive.  It would be helpful if the Big Book o' Crazy could maybe start calling it Attention Regulation Disorder instead of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Primarily Inattentive Type or Primarily Hyperactive Type.

I'm glad I took the pictures when I did, because now that the planning stage is over, all the tiny presents are clustered around the Littlest Christmas Tree.  The Littlest Christmas Tree is actually a green crane taken from Little Dude's train set, but whatever.  It's representative, people.

All of the critters are sleeping in their various Littlest Pet Shop homes.  Tomorrow morning will be Littlest Christmas.  I can only imagine what will be next: Littlest Thank You Notes, Littlest Credit Card Bills, Littlest New Years' Resolutions.

How much do I love that they were concerned that each critter should have a present?  How much do I love getting the reminder that there is really no such thing as neurotypical?  And more importantly, how much do I love the expression, "you are bubbles of fun"?  That works both sincerely or sarcastically.
I am totally writing "you are bubbles of fun!" on next year's Christmas cards.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Webkinz: Internet Crack

Oh, Winter Break.  How I love you.  I love you like I love coffee and The West Wing marathons on Bravo.

My kids had a half-day Friday and then our break started.  When we came home, Cookie lay down on the couch and fell asleep.  These kids are wiped out.  And probably dehydrated.

We are still in the beginning stage of the break, which involves vegging out in pajamas all day, watching mindless television, and playing too much Webkinz.  It's similar to the start of Summer Break that way, although we won't be moving on to "bridge" workbooks like we do in the summer.  If they want to read, great, but I won't be making them do math problems.

Although the Peanut Butter Kid now does extra math problems every night before bed.  Apparently this is fun and relaxing for her.  I assume she gets this from her father's side.  Anyway, like I said, I'm not going to make them do math problems.

It is like Summer Break in that it's a big fat break for me, too.  It's exhausting, the homework and the anxiety and the ADHD.  Not to mention how much time I spend getting up people's asses about my children's education.  Oh, and ensuring that their basic human needs are met.  (Yeah ...I'm still pretty pissed about the water thing.)  It's nice to have a slice of the when we can all stop sweating this stuff.

Eventually, we'll move on to doing some more active things, but for now we're still in the pajamas-and-Webkinz stage of Winter Break.  If your kids aren't into Webkinz (yet), they are adorable little stuffed animals that have virtual counterparts online.  You can play games online with your Webkinz toy, and also rock out to the little cartoon videos.  Tiger, Tiger, anyone?

Webkinz is like Facebook for children, in the sense that it's Internet crack.  Or maybe more like Farmville.  Whatever.  It's cracktastic.

It's also slightly scamtastic in that after a year, your online virtual pet will disappear unless you buy a new one (or buy the Deluxe membership or something).
But by then, you're hooked.  Yes, you: the parent.  The games are addictive.  Seriously addictive.  Many of the games are educational, but some are just plain fun.

Remember how we all were about Solitaire on the computer, circa 1990?  That wasn't just me, right?  Between Solitaire and Tetris, no one got anything done.  Then AOL came along and workplace productivity tanked even further.

That's how I am about Cash Cow on Webkinz.  It's got that same soothing quality that Solitaire has, and I can play it forevah.  Or at least I would play it forevah, but the kids are on break which means they're all attempting to commandeer my laptop so they can play Webkinz.

Guess I'll go watch that West Wing marathon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

Earlier this week, my six-year-old daughter, the Peanut Butter Kid, came home with a headache, and absolutely parched.  She told me that after recess, her class hadn't been allowed to have water, as a punishment for being "too loud."

Uhhh, what?

I asked another mom about it, whose daughter confirmed it.  Then I asked the Peanut Butter Kid for some more details, and she said that during recess, a first grade teacher told the entire grade that because they were being so loud, they wouldn't be allowed to get water on the way back in as they normally do.  The other two teachers on recess duty apparently went along with this. 

I should mention that none of these teachers is the PBK's teacher, thank God

Let's list the problems I have with this, shall we?
  • Um, it's water. For children. In Texas. Where the temperature still goes into the high 70s.  If you run around like a nutjob on a playground for thirty minutes, you work up a sweat.
  • Withholding water is a big fat FAIL as a discipline strategy.  Now you have to control a classroom full of sweaty, thirsty six-year-olds.  Good luck with that.
  • Punishing an entire group for the poor behavior of some only works in the military.  It works in the military, because after lights out, the one who fouled up gets the crap beaten out of him or herself.  I'm guessing that's not what we're encouraging first-graders to do.
  • Withholding water is an inappropriate consequence because no child (who is not being abused) could possibly have seen that coming as a punishment.  Miss the next recess?  Maybe.  But no water?  It's crazy and random and plain old mean.
  • Pretty sure our society doesn't even withhold water from convicted felons.
  • Again, let me point out: it's water.  They're children.
  • Are you effing kidding me?
I'm sure none of you will be surprised when I say that I had a delightful chat with the Principal about this.  I am happy to report that she was suitably horrified.

I didn't make these suggestions to the Principal, but I have some ideas on possible consequences for the aforementioned teachers:
  • Have the teachers exercise for 30 minutes while being yelled at, then withhold water while allowing each child to have a blue raspberry slushy.
  • Take the first grade on a field trip to Chuck E. Cheese.
  • Write "I will not withhold basic human needs from my students" on the blackboard 300 times.
  • Next teacher in-service topic: Positive Discipline Strategies, or Why Military-Style Discipline Is Not Okay for Six-Year-Olds
  • Withhold coffee on our first morning back after Winter Break.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Merry Christmas Microbes Winner

The winner of the Merry Christmas Microbes! Tree Ornaments from GIANTmicrobes is ... Milo's Momma!  Milo's Momma, please email me at Mommy@starkravingmadmommy.com with your address, so I can get these right out to you!

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year.  Well, pretty good.  I took care of my family.  I even took care of myself, although I may have dropped the f-bomb a few times in the process. 

So, you know.  I thought maybe you could hook me up?

Here are some things that I wouldn't regift or return:

Not having to think about poop so often.  I know that, as a mom, I will think about my children's poop.  But does it have to be at the forefront of my thoughts all. the. time?  If I could free up some of the brain power currently being used up by poop, I might be able to do something valuable.  Like broker a middle East peace accord.  Or work on my book. Or maybe just remember to pay my bills.  Either way: WIN.

The laundry-folding robot.  And possibly the U.C. Berkley student who created it.  Clearly, this is a guy getting a Ph.D. in Awesome.  Maybe he could build us some other stuff, like a hoverchair and a robot that can find Little Dude's glasses in the morning.  Or -- even better -- I bet the U.C. Berkley guy can explain New Math to my kids.


And yes, something is very wrong with me that this laundry robot makes me giggle uncontrollably.  It just seems so perplexed by the towels. It's like watching my husband fold laundry.  ("Uhhhh, whose shirt is this?")

But wait! U.C. Berkley is also working on a sock-folding robot. I think it's actually the same robot but it's learning new skills or something.


Yeah ... I guess it's learned how to, umm ... turn socks right side out. Yeah. That's it. That or the robotics engineers are a little too lonely.  Santa, I think if you get me the towel-folding robot, my husband might like the sock robot.

A Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all children.  I know.  You totally already hooked us up with that right under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  And yet, it doesn't always happen.  And when it does happen, all too often it's after parents have spent time, energy, and - -yes -- money, all of which are extremely precious, especially to parents of special needs children.

This thing:
I can't even really explain why I want it.  I think it has something to do with my homeowner's association.

Bacon Cupcakes. Wait, that sounds a little gross. How about French toast cupcakes with maple frosting and a bacon garnish? I imagine it would look something like this:

Sure, I could make them myself.  The recipe is online.  But I bet they would taste even better if someone made them for me.
Thanks, Santa.  I heart you.

xoxo,
Mommy

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Geeking Out Our Festivus

[Note: Comments and contest are closed.]

As I've mentioned before, the geek factor runs pretty high in our house. As part of my plan to find more happy, we're doing a Duct Tape-themed tree this year. Family heirloom ornaments are still being hung up, but not on the tree. This year, the tree is alllllllll duct tape. And candy.  But mostly duct tape.

Well, actually, the tree itself is a real tree. This is no small thing in Texas. They probably had to truck this thing in from Oregon or something, making it a heinous environmental crime, but I just couldn't stomach buying a plastic one. Plus, those fake trees are wicked expensive.

So off I went, in a t-shirt and shorts, and picked out a cut tree. Most of the trees were already dried out and Charlie Brown-y, because 80 degree weather makes cut Douglas Firs shed needles like nobody's business. I should also mention that sweating should only be a part of getting your tree if you are cutting the thing down yourself. Otherwise it's just wrong.

The tree I chose is a nice classic seven-footer. Yeah, it's a mess, but when I vacuum up the needles (twice a day) it smells great.

It also showcases our duct tape ornaments quite nicely.  The tree is a work in progress, with new ornaments being added daily.  We did decide to use actual candy canes, because while duct tape candy canes are lovely, they simply don't taste as good. 

The rest of the ornaments are constructed of duct tape.  Some have tissue stuffing and some string loops for hanging.  The star at the top has a cardboard interior for shaping.





If you don't have time to make a treeful of duct tape ornaments, don't worry, I've got you covered.  In the spirit of geeking out your Festivus, we're giving away a full set of geektastic Merry Christmas Microbes! Tree Ornaments by GIANTmicrobes.  It includes the common cold, E. coli, a brain cell, kissing disease, and limited-edition red amoeba.  Because nothing says festive like E. coli with reindeer antlers.

To enter to win the Merry Christmas Microbes! Tree Ornaments, leave a comment!  Winner will be chosen at random using random.org, and must be in the U.S. or Canada. 


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Potty Party Update

Guess who went to school in big boy underpants today?

Hint: It's not me.

Also? Warning: This post is entirely Too Much Information.

Yes, Little Dude went to school in underwear today.  He stayed dry all morning in his special needs class, and then switched to a Pull-Up for his regular pre-K class in the afternoon.  Which also stayed dry.

Now, before anyone goes getting too excited, this does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean he's potty trained.  He pees on the potty pretty consistently at school, but then is exhausted and resistant by the time he gets home.  We're fairly successful on Saturday and Sunday mornings at home, but then it sort of falls apart as the day wears on.  And I must repeat that we are only talking about pee here.

I have offered to buy him literally any toy he wants if he will only poop on the potty.  So far, no luck.  I know he has some ability in that department because he poops almost immediately upon walking in the door from school.

I don't know how much of this is a motor planning issue, or a sensory issue, or just regular kid stubbornness.  I think it boils down to a motor planning issue, because he just can't poop sitting down.  You would think being seated would be more comfortable than standing.  I mean, pretty much everything in life is more comfortable sitting than standing, right?  But he just can't seem to figure out how to poop sitting down. 

And, well, how do you explain it?  I think it's the kind of thing that has to just happen for him to be able to figure it out.  It took Little Dude a long time to figure out how to pee on the potty.  It involved bribery and photos and about 20 ounces of juice boxes in one sitting.

I'm afraid to push too hard with the poop business, because the last thing we need is for him to get all weird and poop-refusing and constipated.

That, by the way, is yet another thing I didn't know about parenthood. Seriously. Did you have ANY idea how much thought you would give to someone else's poop? That you would be not only willing, but eager, to discuss poop with as many people as would listen?

I wish I had some words of wisdom for those of you entrenched in potty training right now.  I have none.  I have essentially spent the last eight years potty training people, so I should be really, really good at it by now.  I'm not.

Most of the credit for today's success goes to Little Dude's special needs preschool teacher and classroom aides, who make going to the bathroom a regular part of the schedule.  Basically, when it's time to go potty, he's not allowed to move on to the next fun activity until he's at least tried.  I have been doing that at home, too, and it is making all the difference in the world.

The fact that he wore underwear to school is a huge, magnificent step.  It's a slow process, and it's ongoing, but it's happening. 

p.s. If you have some time to waste and feel like getting your geeky awesomeness on, check out Geek Cubed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Douchetopia: The Top Ten Douches of 2010

So many douches in 2010! We wish we could honor them all. But, alas, we only have space here for ten.  One thing I'm proud of with this list is that it proves that douchiness knows no boundaries in terms of gender or ethnicity.  We're all about equal opportunity for douchebags.

Mom-in-a-Million and I asked for your nominations, and then your votes to help us determine the Top Ten Douches of 2010. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, your 2010 Top Ten Douches.

10. Kate Gosselin. Between the Dancing with the Stars debacle, and the upcoming Camping Crossover with Sarah Palin on TLC, Kate Gosselin has had a very busy year indeed. Interestingly, Kate and Jon Gosselin were neck-and-neck at one point in the polling, and I really thought Kate might win out. After all, Jon Gosselin appears to be fading into the Ed Hardy-patterned woodwork, while Kate is famewhoring her kids at every. possible. opportunity. SRMM

9. Kody Brown: Oh, Kody. The polygamist everybody loves to hate Kody rose to fame when he and his three wives, one fiancĂ©e and eleventy-bazillion children debuted on TLC. His main defects are his hair, which is a cross between a Muppet and a midlife crisis, his two-seater Lexus that he drives around while his wives' cars have duct tape on the windows and, oh yeah, THE FACT THAT HE THINGKS HE’S SO SPECIAL THAT HE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BOINK AS MANY WOMEN AS HE WANTS. Kody is not only married to more than one woman, he’s insensitive to more than one woman, leaving them to wallow in their jealousy and depression while he cavorts with whichever wife strikes his fancy that day. We strongly suspect that Kody’s douche-ness leaves a trail of vinegar scented vapor following him from room to room in his polygamist compound. MIAM

8. Kanye West. Kanye West had several douchetastic moments in 2010, including a a bizarre mini-feud with Matt Lauer of the Today. For me, the pinnacle of his douchiness was replacing most of his bottom teeth with diamonds. He also just couldn't seem to shut up about stealing Taylor Swift's spotlight at the 2009 VMA awards. He finally issued an apology in November of this year, but also complained that Swift never came to his defense in any interviews. Whuck? She was supposed to defend him for being a douche? SRMM

7. Jesse James: Jesse James had it all. He had a tv show. He has gorgeous kids and his legal battles with their mother appeared to be at an end. He had Sandra Bullock and they were adopting a beautiful baby together. So what’s the next logical step? Do the nasty with a tattoo model, duh. Jesse’s little extra-curricular romping with his skankalicious flame brought out in sharp relief what a class act America’s Sweetheart is. Sandra took her infant son and quietly divorced Jesse without a word to the press. Jesse, I suppose, has his ink to keep him warm because he sure doesn’t have Sandra Bullock or any of her fans showing him the love. MIAM

6. Jon Gosselin. The fact that his wardrobe seems to be consist exclusively of Ed Hardy shirts speaks volumes. Say what you will about Kate Gosselin dragging her family through the limelight, but this guy let it happen. And there's no denying that he seemed to enjoy the hair plugs and personal trainer he acquired as part of Jon and Kate + 8. In 2010 he enjoyed a string of different (young) girlfriends, including the 22-year-old daughter of Kate's plastic surgeon, a 25-year-old snowboarder, and most recently a 24-year-old who refers to herself a "stepmom" to the eight children. However, Jon Gosselin seems to be closing the year out on a positive note: he finally has a real job. So this honor may be more of a Douche Emeritus position after years of douching it up on reality TV. SRMM

5. Tiger Woods: Tiger got to start 2010 in rehab for Doucheness. After the cascade of events that closed out 2009 for le Tigre, starting with rear-ending his own tree and ending with sexts that made the whole act of sexting seem gag-worthy, Tiger had nowhere to go but therapy. In the spring he held a press conference to try and apologize but it appeared that he hired an animatronic version of himself to stand there and recite the tritest apology ever. America didn’t buy it and neither did his wife who took the Sandra Bullock route and divorced him without ever granting an interview about it. MIAM

4. Mel Gibson. When I first lived in South Philly, there was a guy on my block who walked around in his jammies with a stuffed cat in his arms. I was told that he collected Social Security Disability Insurance "gets the crazy check." 2010 was the year that Mel Gibson slipped from "collecting the crazy check" to "I can't believe no one has had him committed yet." Let's face it. We already knew that Mel Gibson was a racist and an anti-Semite. 2010 brought us the knowledge that he is a raging (and we do mean raging) misogynist. His girlfriend and babymama Oksana Grigorieva recorded Gibson ranting at her, using horrifying phrases like "you look like a pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of ... it will be your fault." He also threatened her with "I'm going to burn the f---ing house down, but you will [perform oral sex on me] first". Personally, I can't wait for this guy to do jail time. Because he's so pretty friendly, I bet he'll make some really nice friends in jail that will help with his anger issues. SRMM

3. Sarah Palin: After her exit from the world of politics when she quit being governor of Alaska, Mrs. Palin found herself with lots of free time to explore the many avenues of douchity available to a moderately attractive woman with a Fox News contract and a ghost writer. Whereas other ex-politicos hit K Street to wield real influence in policy arenas, our girl Sarah took another route: the route that leads to putting her kids on reality tv for their high-school classmates to watch and mock on Facebook. Because we all know that teenagers are soooooo reasonable and not likely to abuse their classmates for appearing on a tv show where their mom trots their purported family values around like a rotting caribou carcass. Poor Willow Palin took some heat from her classmates and then took heat from the whole damn blogoshere when her angry reaction made news. A good mother would have come to her senses right about then and told TLC to pull the plug. Sarah did nothing of the sort. Her fame-whoring continues, unabated by concern for her kids. MIAM

2. Clint McCance. Clint McCance was the Vice-President of Midland School District in Pleasant Plains, Arkansas when he posted an anti-gay tirade on Facebook because his school district was planning activities to support anti-bullying efforts after a rash of teen suicides. McCance stated that he wanted gay people to commit suicide, and said he enjoyed "the fact that [gay people] give each other AIDS and die." When a friend commented that it was un-Christian to speak so hatefully about other people's families, McCance responded, "I would disown my kids if they were gay. I will absolutely run them off. Of course my kids will know better. My kids will have solid Christian beliefs."

Before resigning, McCance apologized and said that he "would never support suicide for any kids," and that he doesn't "support bullying of any kind." Huh? In the words of George Takei, "Mr. McCance, you are a douchebag." SRMM

1. Jennifer Petkov: Jennifer Petkov is no ordinary vinegar-and-water douche; this woman is pure battery acid and standing too close to her will burn your skin. For reasons that defy understanding, she began a reign of terror against her dying neighbor that included saying things like "I can't wait until you die". Her neighbor, that is, who is 7 years old and dying of Huntington’s disease, which also took her mother last year. Jennifer Petkov is an adult with children of her own and yet she tormented a dying child because of some stupid incident involving a delayed response to a text message. Petkov is now in jail on assault charges and has lost custody of her own children but even that doesn’t touch which I would like to see happen to this sub-human creature. She should have to see Kody Brown naked. She should have to get ink from Jesse James’ skank. He should have to talk economic policy with Sarah Palin. She should have to mediate terms of Jon and Kate’s divorce. She should have all future texts answered by Tiger. She should have to go to a school governed by Clint McCance. She should have to hang out with Mel Gibson when he’s had a few. She should have to go to Kanye’s dentist. And even punishment by douche won’t redeem Jennifer Petkov. And that is why she is the Biggest Douche of 2010. MIAM


Congratulations, Jennifer Petkov!
You're 2010's Biggest Douche. 
See you on Jerry Springer and/or in Hell.

Thanks for all your nominations and votes!  Special thanks to Amy from PregnantChicken.com for the stunning Douche Trophy graphic.  Have you seen Amy's latest post?  It's full of douchetastic pregnancy portraits.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Geek Pride

I am a geek, and I come from a long line of geeks.  I say that with love, and I wouldn't have it any other way.  My kids are geektastic.  They are quirky and funny and brilliant and curious. 

There is something wonderful happening in our society right now, and it's the celebration of geekery.  I think it's a backlash against the vapid ridiculousness of so much of our culture: quasi-celebrities who are famous for being famous, politicians who act as though intelligence is something to be ashamed of, and news outlets that think we're too stupid to form our own opinions.

Despite those things, or because of them, there is a movement towards being okay with differences.  When bullying lead to too many tragic suicides of young people, the Internet allowed for an immediate, visceral response: the It Gets Better Project.  When a seven-year-old girl named Katie was taunted at school for carrying a Star Wars water bottle (supposedly for "boys only"), her mom's blog post about it inspired thousands of geek girls of all ages to rally around Katie.  They told her that it is not just okay to love Star Wars, it's awesome.  They told her that she is not alone, and that she doesn't have to conform to be fabulous. 

(Many also pointed out the Urban Dictionary definition of geek: the people you pick on in high school and end up working for as an adult.  No one has helped the cause of geeks everywhere like Bill Gates.  Not that I'm looking for any of my kids to be the next Bill Gates, but it's kind of nice to see Aspergerish geeks ruling parts of the world.)

The hubbub caused by the geeks over the story of Katie ended up getting more families at Katie's school talking about bullying.  Parents talked to their kids, and the school stepped up its anti-bullying program.  Today, December 10, will be Proud to Be Me Day at Katie's school, and all over the country, people will be geeking out in their Star Wars gear to support geek pride.  There's even a Facebook event for it, with  27,000 people RSVP-ing their plans to "Support Geek Pride for Katie."

All this is good news.  Our kids are told, in small ways and large, that conformity is the road to popularity and success.  I don't want my kids to conform, I want them to be better than middle-of-the-road.   However, I know that's a hard row to hoe.  Hopefully, this movement toward greater acceptance means their seventh-grade experience won't suck as hard as mine did.

Last night we had our Winter Program at school, and part of it was that the entire first grade sang a song called "Rockin' Santa."  The Peanut Butter Kid rocked it out, hard.  While the rest of the kids were sort of slowly shuffling back and forth, she had all the girls around her doing the twist, pigtails a-flappin'.  It was pure awesomeness.

Afterwards, parents came up to us in the hall and asked me, "Is that your daughter?  She is so awesome."  And I was all, "I know, isn't she?  Thanks for noticing!"

You can't stand out without standing out. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

People Who Inspired Me in 2010

While it does crack me up to follow the votes on who's going to win the Golden Douche Award for 2010, I'm still looking for more happy.  Therefore, I present to you, ten people who aren't douchebags at all.  In fact, there is a level of awesomeness that goes above and beyond the call.  When I have a day that sucks my faith in humanity dry, this is the list I look back on and remember that many people shine brightly, inspiring me to do better because of their choices.

Here are the people that inspired me the most this year.

January: Haiti Earthquake Rescue and Relief Workers. Within hours of this devastating earthquake, nations as near as the Dominic Republic and as far away as Iceland were responding with medicine, food, water, and volunteers. 

February: The New Orleans Saints.  Look, I'm an Eagles fan. But if they're not going to the Bowl, then I root for the team with the best back story.  With the Saints? I probably would have rooted for them even if they'd been playing against the Eagles.  I doubt that any city, at any time, needed a win more than New Orleans needed this Super Bowl win. The Saints were the underdogs, having lost the last three games of the regular season. 

March: My Parents.  You know what my parents probably weren't looking forward to in their retirement?  Having their three bedroom home invaded by their adult daughter, her unemployed husband, their four kids and two cats.  Oh, yeah, and one of the kids has ADHD, one has autism, and all have massive anxiety issues.  Also? One of the cats is special needs as well.  The cat is deaf and has balance issues and a tendency to fall into the fireplace.

You know what my parents did?  Welcomed us with open arms.  My dad put my husband to work painting the garage so he wouldn't lose his mind and/or do crossword puzzles 12 hours a day.  My stepmum baked cakes and let the kids decorate them.  We filled the house to bursting and made it work.  It was kind of awesome.  In March, we left my parents' house after living with them for five months.

April: Rants from Mommyland.  In April I had been living in our new town for two months, and had no friends.  I was lonely and out of place and spent inordinate amounts of time on Facebook writing snarky status updates to make my friends in Pennsylvania laugh.  Several of them kept saying, you should write a blog.  I wasn't sure what a blog was, but I thought it involved posting scrapbook layouts of photos of my kids and sharing recipes for homemade chicken nuggets or something.  And then I followed a link from a friend's Facebook page to Rants from Mommyland.  The first post I read was their "Open Letter to Stupid People," and I was all, Kunta Kinte, I have found you

Kate and Lydia made me laugh at a time when I needed the funny desperately.  I spent a significant chunk of time reading their old posts, and had an epiphany: blogs could be funny.  Not just funny, but snort-coffee-out-your-nose funny.

May: My Husband.  This is kind of an every day thing, but since he puts up with my constant nonsense and got me a gift certificate for a spa for Mother's Day, I'm slotting it in for May.  The man is awesome.  Yesterday I mentioned that I needed to pick up some vitamin C supplements because the kids all have colds and I don't have time to get sick.  He pointed out that I could just add more orange juice to my Frodkas and make them into health drinks.  Awesome, I tell you.

June: Urban Prep Charter School, Chicago, IL.  In June, all 107 graduating seniors of the all-black, all-male high school were headed to college, despite the fact that only four percent of them could read at grade level as freshmen.

July: My Friends.  My friends are like family to me.  I love them so much that in July I packed me and the four kids into the van, and drove cross-country without my husband.  It was worth it.  The kids and I descended on a few different houses, and our friends graciously hosted us and acted like it was no big deal to add five people to a row house for a week at a time.  Special shout-out here to my friend Meredith, who still has not stabbed her douchey ex in the eyeball with a fork.  I'm really proud of her for that.

August: Little Dude's Special Education Team.  In August, Little Dude started full-day preschool.  His special needs team includes a lead teacher and two special needs paraprofessionals (classroom aides).  They are the kindest, most patient women I have ever met.  They take care of my son like he was their own.  They push him to try harder than I do, and without them he would not be nearly as independent as he is now.  They made potty success a part of his life.  They meet his specific, unique needs, working with him on shirt buttons as well as multiplication tables. 

September: Dan Savage. In response to a rash of teen suicides, columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner Terry made a YouTube video, hoping to inspire young people facing harassment.  They wanted to let teens know that it gets better.  This one video paved the way for a world-wide movement, The It Gets Better Project, which was and is amazing.  The most important part of this movement is that now millions of teens now have the number for the Trevor Project crisis intervention hotline, 1-800-4-U-TREVOR.

October: The Chilean Miners. Thirty-three Chilean miners came to the surface after 69 days trapped underground in a collapsed mine.  The fact that not one of them went batshit crazy during that time, nor became some kind of insane reality television star afterwards, is testament to the immense strength of character of these men. 

NovemberU.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who became the first living Afghan War soldier to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor for valor.  He put himself in the line of fire twice to try to save two fellow soldiers.  In one case, he saw an injured U.S. soldier being carried away by two enemy insurgents.  SSgt. Giunta ran into enemy fire, fought the two insurgents, and brought his fellow soldier back to cover.  That soldier later died of his wounds. SSgt. Giunta, both heroic and humble, said at the November 16 medal ceremony, "I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now."  SSgt. Giunta is 25 years old.

December: My Kids. Okay, also the nice people who make the medications that help my kids to be happier, more functional members of society.  But mostly my kids.  As I wrote yesterday, my kids have recently all had some pretty great accomplishments, whether it's spelling bee wins or triumphing over fears.  I am immensely proud of them, and they inspire me to be a better parent and a better person every. damn. day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Finding the Happy

There's been a lot of things bumming me out lately.  The kids are whacked out with cold viruses and I'm just not feeling the holiday cheer.  In fact, mostly I'm feeling homesick for Pennsylvania.  I'm either going to have to find some happy, add some new tunes to my iPod, or significantly increase my meds.  Or all of those.  Whatever.
Here's my list of happy:

1. Little Dude came home from school today, announced that he really had to pee, and then peed.  On. The. Potty.

2. This song:


3. Last weekend, our normally shy and anxious daughter Cookie competed in a district-wide dramatic poetry reading event.  When I say "shy" and "anxious," I mean that she has anxiety that was affecting every area of her life until we started her on anti-anxiety medication this fall.  The medication works.  She gets therapy too, but mostly, the medication just works.  Just after starting the medication, she decided to conquer her fear of public speaking and try out for the poetry-reading team.  We don't find out for weeks how she did but obviously no one, including Cookie, cares about that part very much. 

4.  Cookie's twin sister, the Pork Lo Maniac, just won her class spelling bee and will move on to represent her class in the fourth grade spelling bee.  It turns out that spelling bees are actually an awesome event for kids with ADHD.  There is standing up and sitting down and changing chairs.  Fabulous.

5. Speaking of ADHD, the Pork Lo Maniac did all of her homework this afternoon with no whining, no crying, no stalling, no fussing, and without needing any help on math.  Are you kidding me?  She did the math on her own.  Have I mentioned how much I love medication?

6. This song:


7. The Peanut Butter Kid also won her class spelling bee and will move on to represent her class in the First Grade spelling bee.  More exciting than that is the fact that her tummy troubles seem to be under control after a little relapse of problems.

8. In the Douche Poll, Jon Gosselin is only slightly ahead of Kate Gosselin, which makes me laugh. 

9. Little Dude went on his first field trip.  His special needs class went to see "Alice in Wonderland," although to Little Dude, it's "Alison in Wonderland," which is even better because that's the name of one of my best friends.  He made it through the entire play.  It wasn't pretty, and is teacher said she felt sorry for the people around them, but he did make it through the entire play.

10. The actual video for this one is super-cheesy and full of babes in skimpy outfits, which mostly just reminds me of the early 90s.  So I find more happy in just listening to the song and skipping the video.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Please Stop Giving My Kids Crack

I don't know who keeps giving my kids crack, but whoever it is deserves a kick in the taco.  My kids have gone beyond their usual level of insanity lately; things are ratcheted up to the point where all four of my kids now have a 7:15 p.m. bedtime.

Seriously.  Tonight I really wished that I felt comfortable sharing their pictures on the blog, because I could have videotaped the ridiculousness, and that could have been my entire post.

All three girls were bickering in the bathroom while they were supposed to be brushing their teeth.  If they would actually brush their teeth during this time, we wouldn't have the bickering problem, because their mouths would be full of toothbrushes and strawberry-flavored gel.  Instead, they're chatty, but because they're tired and whiny, the chatting leads almost immediately to indecipherable bickering.

All I know is that someone may have made a face at someone else, and someone else may have made someone else feel bad.  And one of the someones really didn't know what she had done wrong, and that made someone else feel even worse.

Are you following this?  Me neither.  So I hollered "LESS CHATTY, MORE BRUSHY!" 

Also during this time, Little Dude was busy writhing around on the floor, making a sound that can only be described as ear-shredding, trying to avoid getting his pajamas on.

Okay, maybe no one is giving them crack.  I think it's just that the mere suggestion of cold and flu season makes them start melting down. It's kind of like how people say to make the driest martini, you just wave the bottle of vermouth over the glass.  To begin making my children fall apart, just have them walk near a sick person.

None of the kids is actually sick, in the sense of having a full-blown illness that requires us to visit the pediatrician.  However, Little Dude was congested enough for me to keep him home today.  The Peanut Butter Kid's asthma is acting up, so the day now revolves around nebulizer treatments.  The Pork Lo Maniac is dragging herself around, but if I kept her home every morning that she says she doesn't feel well, that kid would never go to school.  Ever. 

Meanwhile, Cookie is fine.  With the exception of the Great Swine Flu Debacle of 2009, she has not had a respiratory illness since her tonsils and adenoids were removed in second grade.  I keep asking the pediatrician if we can just electively yank those (apparently) unnecessary items out of the other three kids, but it seems you have to have "reasons" to put your kids through surgery.  Sigh.

But even though Cookie is fine, when the other three are cranky, it's hard for her to not become cranky as well.  And there are other weirdnesses going on as well.

When Little Dude is sick, it's like any other kind of stress.  His Asperger behaviors become much more pronounced.  There's more flapping, more need for deep pressure, more playing with one solitary Luke Skwalker Lego figure with his nose two inches away from tiny Luke. The smallest sensory experience (a few drops of juice on his fingers) sends him into a screaming freak-out.  Because he's already congested, the screaming freak-out quickly morphs into a fiesta of phlegm, snot, and asthma coughing.  And then he freaks out more because there is snot on his face.  The whole thing is really just delightful.

Besides the germ factor, he's also a little stressed about the holidays. Although he's starting to get excited that Christmas is coming, he's also clearly overwhelmed by the overabundance of shiny crap displays and decorations everywhere he looks. At Target the other day, he loudly observed that "people go crazy for holidays," and he repeats that heartwarming sentiment frequently.
And speaking of repeating himself, Little Dude has also been having some issues with echolalia (repetition of words and phrases) for the first time, or at least the first time that I've noticed.  He's been walking around chirping, "HONEST TO PETE!" at everything and nothing.

Obviously, it could be much, much worse than "honest to Pete."  He could be walking around muttering, "who gives these kids crack?"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Official Poll: Douchetopia! Who Is 2010's Douche of the Year?

Wow.  Mom-In-A-Million and I asked for your nominations for biggest douches of 2010, and boy did you have some good ideas.  We've tallied the suggestions and created a list of twenty of the douchiest douches of 2010. 

Poll Instructions: Check off your TOP FIVE douchiest douches who did the most douching in 2010. Please note that there are twenty douchetastic choices offered; you have to scroll down the box to see all your douches.  The poll will remain open all week.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

There were some that I had missed entirely during the year; how did I not know that Tiki Barber left his eight-months-pregnant-with-twins wife for a 23-year-old woman he met at work?  Tiki was a star for the NY Giants, my husband's favorite team, plus he's a twin, and we actually own the book he wrote for children.  So you'd think I would have noticed his name in the news.  Twitter is my usual source for this kind of gossip and all I can say is, Twitter, you let me down.  Please try to do better next time.

There were some stories I had tried to block out of my memory, like Michigan woman Jennifer Petkov, who bullied a dying seven-year-old girl; and Arkansas school board member Clint McCance, who publicly said that "f-gs" should "commit suicide." I feel strongly that in both cases, douchebag is completely inadequate to describe that evil dwelling within.  However, actor and activist George Takei appears in this video in which he says, "Mr. McCance, you are a douchebag," so in they go to our list.



Some of your suggestions weren't included here.  Take heart; we still agree about the douchiness.  However, we decided to leave out minors, most admitted drug addicts, and most political figures. 

The exceptions:

Charlie Sheen, while clearly having some kind of "issues," was left in for partying with a hooker with his kids in the next room.  Also?  By "partying" we mean "locked a hooker in the closet, then ran through a restaurant naked while screaming the n-word."
The two politicians we left in had extenuating douchey circumstances: Sharron Angle, a candidate for U.S. Senate from the state of Nevada, while expressing her opinion that both maternity care and autism should not be covered by insurance, dismissed autism in "air quotes."

We also included Sarah Palin, not for her political views, but for dragging her children through the limelight in a reality show, in a way that the campaign trail did not.  This exposure left her children open to attacks through Facebook, which subsequently became public.  This publicity, in turn, resulted in her children being mocked Internet-wide.

Ladies and gentleman, these are your 2010 top douches.  It was tough whittling it down to just 20, and we know the competition will be fierce to be in the Top 10.  And who will win the coveted Golden Douche trophy for being the 2010 Douche of the Year?  It's up to you to decide!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ooops ... Giveaway #9 Winner!

See what's happening with me not getting enough caffeine?  I'm forgetting stuff.  Like it turns out I never announced the winner from Funky Junk Recycling.  In my head, I totally did.  Just not in reality.  Obviously, I need a Diet Coke.  But here it is!

The winner of the Diet Coke necklace is ... Susan D.!

So sorry for the delayed announcement!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giveaway Winners: Days 10, 11, and 12!

The last few days kind of got away from me, so now I'm making one big fat announcement for the winners of the last three days of the 12 Days of Awesome!

The winner of Day 10's giveaway from Sweet Meats is ... Marissa V.!
The winner of Day 11's giveaway from the HollyRod Foundation is ... msellie57! 
The winner of Day 12's giveaway from ThinkGeek is ... Lisa!

Winners, please email me your addresses to Mommy@starkravingmadmommy.com so I can mail you your awesomeness!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Festival of Latkes. I Mean Lights.

This weekend we will be spending some time talking to our kids about Hanukkah.  We ate latkes with dinner last night because I am down with any tradition that involves heaping spoonfuls of sour cream.  We played the dreidel game with chocolate coins until Little Dude became overstimulated by the spinning of the top.  (Note to parents: your autistic child will require his or her own dreidel.)  We lit our menorah and read the story of Judah and the Maccabees.

We also teach our children about Ramadan, and Kwanzaa, and we do activities for those holidays as well.  Our kids know that different people believe different things, but basically, we're all trying to live our lives in the best way possible.

We're not a religious family, but the main holiday we celebrate this time of year is Christmas.  However, we want to foster a spirit of tolerance and curiosity in our children.  The town we live in is overwhelmingly Christian, and although it is culturally diverse, it doesn't reflect the religious diversity of America.  When my kids go to college, enter the work world, or travel, they will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds.  Not teaching my children to embrace diversity would be a grave disservice to them.

My friend Mom-In-A-Million recently wrote about people who are offended by the greeting, "Happy Holidays."  I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around this.  It is not meant as an offense against Christianity, or anyone's deep belief in the spirit of Christmas, and the importance of the birth of Christ in the Christian religions.

Greeting people with "Happy Holidays" simply reflects the understanding that Jesus is not the "Reason for the Season" for all.  Not everyone celebrates Christmas.  Most of my friends celebrate Thanksgiving, and New Year's, and something in between: Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or some combination of those.  We also have many people in our community who celebrate none of those holidays, because it is against their religion to do so.

I was told recently that I basically needed to suck it up because "America was founded on Christian principles."  Particularly as someone who served in the armed forces, wrapping intolerance in the American flag does not sit well with me.

To truly be patriotic means to fully embrace the fact that the First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees all Americans both freedom of religion and the right to free speech.  There is simply nothing "American" about pressing one's spiritual beliefs on another person.  While our Founding Fathers may have been Christian, they made it clear that Americans would be free to worship as they wished -- or not to worship at all.

After we were done with our latke-sour cream-chocolate coin fest, we rocked out to Hanukkah music.  When I was a kid, I learned The Dreidel Song and that was it.  Now there is all kinds of awesomeness.  There is even a Heavy Metal Hanukkah song; if you're into Heavy Metal, it's here.

If you need more reason to celebrate diversity, check out these rockin' Hanukkah videos!  (It turns out Rants from Mommyland fell in love with the Glee-tastic Maccabeats video at the same time I did because Lydia and I were separated at birth.  It's like we're psychically connected.  Or psychotically.  Whatever.)

Impossible not to rock out to this one:


Jewish reggae?  'Nuff said.


Not ashamed at all to admit that a LOT of what I know about other holidays comes from Elmo's World - Happy Holidays!


Love the different cultures all rocking out.  I heart NY.  Also?  National Dreidel Association t-shirt?  I need one.


I loves me some flash mob dancing.


It's kind of a classic at this point. I had the Adam Sandler version in here originally and then one of my best friends sent me this one. Neil Diamond's chest hair really takes it up a notch.

To my Jewish friends and readers, Happy Hanukkah.

Giveaway 12: Battle of Endor LEGO set from ThinkGeek

[Note: Comments and contest are now closed.]

The 12 Days of Awesome is wrapping up!

Remember when I said that ThinkGeek was going to surprise me with its giveaway for the 12 Days of Awesome?

Oh. Mah. Gawd.

ThinkGeek sent a Battle of Endor LEGO Star Wars set, which comes with 12 minifigures and is valued at $99.99.  It is a set of awesomeness, basically.

If you have a little (or big) Jedi in your life who needs 890 pieces of fun, leave a comment on this post to enter to win this set.    This is a great set because, really, you just never know when the knowledge of how to build a catapult is going to come in handy.  That could turn out to be a critical skill one day.

This set has small parts and is not safe for children under three.  It is intended for ages 9 and up, but I can tell you that my four-year-old son covets this set, particularly for the 12 minifigs.  Obviously I have not let Little Dude see this thing.  Otherwise there is simply no way I'd be able to get it out of the house.  I mean, it comes with Wicket.  Really.  (Um, yeah, Wicket is the little furry teddy bear looking guy with the red hoodie. And yes, I am a geek.)  For the full description of this set, please see ThinkGeek's website.  

ThinkGeek is seriously full of the awesome.  If you're still trying to figure out what to get someone for the holidays, head straight there.  And don't forget that not all the stuff your kid might like is in the Geek Kids section.  LEGO lamps and clocks are in the "Home and Office" section, for example.  Likewise, there's all kinds of fun for grown-ups in the Kids' section.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giveaway 11: From the HollyRod Foundation and My Mom-Crush, Holly Robinson Peete

[Note: Comments and contest are now closed.]

The 12 Days of Awesome event is coming down to the wire!  Today is Day 11 and our giveaway is from The HollyRod Foundation!

The HollyRod Foundation is giving away two signed books -- Not My Boy!  by Rodney Peete and My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete.

They're not giving me the books to encourage you to get them for people as holiday presents.  (Although I will certainly encourage you to do that.)  Instead, they're promoting their Holiday Give the Gift of Voice  Campaign.

HollyRod4kids, part of the HollyRod Foundation, was founded by Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete.  The organization raises funds to help children with autism and their families access and afford crucial treatments and therapies.  This holiday season, the HollyRod Foundation is raising money to give needy, nonverbal (or severely limited-verbal) autistic children Apple iPads with specially designed software that gives them the ability to communicate.  You know what would make a great Christmas present for your mom, who has every thing she needs already?  The gift of giving a child a voice.  And, really?  Does your dad need another tie?  The man is retired, already.  How about honoring his great parenting by making a donation in his name?  Check out the HollyRod Foundation and this amazing holiday project right here.  (The HollyRod Foundation's website also includes a great, comprehensive list of Autism General Resources.)

The Books
Not My Boy! is about Rodney Peete's process of accepting his son R.J.'s diagnosis of autism, and the very real needs that R.J. has.  I am in the midst of re-reading this book right now, and I am freshly blown away by its honesty.  It takes a real man to admit to the world that he lived in such denial that his wife told him to get on board or leave.  And it takes an awesome dad to take that moment to choose to get on board.

So many books about autism are really a list of Things You Must Do.  One of the things I admire about this book is that it's written from the perspective of what has worked so far, with a lot of hard work, for one family.

I frequently receive emails from moms of special needs children, especially children on the spectrum, whose husbands struggle with the autism diagnosis of their child.  I'm going to throw out a huge generalization here and say that men like to fix things, and you can't just "fix" autism.  There are so many uncertainties with autism, so many setbacks and delays, that it can be hard to see the tiny improvements and gains as major victories.  Rodney gets to that point, and shares that journey in this book.  Although this book is essentially written for dads of kids on the spectrum, I think there's a larger message in this book for all of us.

My Brother Charlie is by Holly Robinson Peete and her daughter Ryan Elizabeth Peete, who is R.J.'s twin sister.  It's a really sweet but honest take on what it's like to be the sibling of a kid with autism.  Although it focuses on finding the things that a special needs child is great at, it doesn't dismiss the fact that sometimes he might ruin a playdate.  All three of my girls love this book and I would say it's a must-read for children with siblings on the spectrum.  Again, I don't think this book is limited to families of special needs kids.  I think all children benefit from learning about tolerance, empathy, and counting your blessings.

Disclaimer: I am a huge, stalky fan of the Peetes.  Rodney Peete quarterbacked for the Philadelphia Eagles during the time that I became an NFL fan.  I am an Eagles fan, although I swear I have never thrown snowballs at Santa.  (I'm also a Phillies fan and I swear I never threw batteries at a certain Cardinals outfielder.)  Also, I'd just like to make sure that Holly knows that it was NOT me that threw a half-eaten cheesesteak at her head that time Rodney threw that interception.  First of all, I would never do that.  Second, there's no way I could have hit anyone in the wives' seats from the 700-level of the Vet.  And third, I always finish my cheesesteaks.

Also, in my head, Holly is my BFF.  I have a total mom-crush on her.  She is a great example of a mom who did not let doctors' dire predictions for her son stand in the way.  She has gone full-tilt at autism, supporting her son from every possible angle and helping out so many other families along the way.  Also? She wrote a book called Get Your Own Damn Beer, I'm Watching the Game!.  So this is obviously the kind of mom I want to emulate.  Mom-crush.

Plus, we have so much in common.  We both have four kids, including a set of twins as our oldest.  We both have a son with autism.  We both juggle food allergies, sensory processing disorder, OT, PT, Speech and other therapies.  And we are both on the list of 100 Most Powerful Black Women on Twitter.

Oh, wait.  We might not have that last part in common.  Probably because I have like 800 Twitter followers and she has somewhere around 75,000.  Also because I'm not black.  Yeah.  Those two things are probably the reasons.

Other than that, though, we are so much alike.  Oh, except also not the part of having a talk show.  Or, you know, a social life.

Okay, but we both have four kids, dammit.

To enter to win the signed copies of My Brother Charlie and Not My Boy! leave a comment on this post and tell me who you're mom-crushing on.  

Please don't forget to check out the HollyRod Foundation's Give the Gift of Voice.


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