The Times That Bond

Super BunnyThere’s nothing I love more than playing with my boys.  When you get right down to it, I’m still a kid at heart and playing with my kids allows me to let my inner child run free.  (Letting my inner child run free in other situations, such as the office, just leads to weird stares from people.)

Last night, after both boys were in their PJs, NHL went to play on B’s iPad.  JSL, meanwhile, decided to play with me.  We crawled under my slanket (yes, I still use that after 3 years) to shut out the light and played with some of his stuffed animals.  I took his "super bunny" puppet (a plain, white rabbit puppet that I make "fly" by virtue of the fact that I hold it off the ground) and began to make it speak.

Super Bunny and JSL had a few conversations and then JSL decided to let Super Bunny on a sad fact of life: He is just a puppet.  No matter how much JSL pointed out that I was making him speak and move, though, Super Bunny just didn’t see it.

The funniest moment came when JSL decided to show Super Bunny that he was a puppet.  He reached for the section where you put your hand in – the read of the puppet.  Of course, Super Bunny reacted by moving off – offended that JSL would try to stuff his hand back there.  After all, that’s disgusting!

In the end, JSL and I had a blast and he went to bed happy.  We even confused B when JSL walked up to her to tell her that you should never put your hand up someone’s rear because you don’t know what’s in it.  Sadly, however, Super Bunny has yet to come to terms with being just a puppet.

Genetic Guilt

DNAYesterday, I revealed that NHL was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.  In addition, we’re pretty sure that I have Asperger’s as well.  When we figured this out, I found myself questioning everything I did.  Suddenly, I wondered whether I did certain things because of me or because of the Asperger’s.  As I internalized that these were one and the same, another problem presented itself: Guilt.

Asperger’s has a strong genetic component.  If Mom or Dad has Asperger’s, there’s a good chance that Junior will have it too.  NHL is so much like a little version of myself: Socially awkward, prone to babbling on about interests whether or not anyone is listening, has trouble looking people in the eyes, has trouble tossing out a plan and winging it, etc. His Asperger’s Syndrome – for better or worse – comes from me.  Or, to put it the way I began to think about the situation: It’s all my fault.

All those years of not knowing what was going on?  My fault.  The problems he’s had in school?  Because of me.  His future struggles with the neuro-typical world?  Blame me.

Of course, I knew that it wasn’t like I gave him these genes on purpose.  I didn’t sort through my genetic code tossing out some "good genes" to make room for Asperger’s.  This was just the roll of the genetic dice.  There is no blame to place here just like there isn’t any blame assigned to NHL having my blue eyes or JSL having the same chin dimple I have.  Still, a portion of my brain refused to give up the guilt.

As parents, we never want to see our kids come to harm.  If there was a magical button that, while pressed, would ensure that kids would have a perfect life, we would spend the rest of our days leaning heavily on said button.  It hurts us when they feel pain or sorrow.  And if said pain/sorrow is somehow attributable to us?  Even in the most indirect of ways?  Devastating!

I have let go of most of my guilt.  Deep inside I’ll always feel a tiny bit of guilt, but I’ve learned to ignore that voice.  I suppose that overcoming the feelings of guilt was part of coming to terms with the diagnosis.  Now, instead, I focus on how I can best help my son navigate the often confusing Land of the Neuro-Typical.

Have you ever felt guilty about something your kids inherited from you?

Note: The DNA image above was created by netalloy and is available from

The Kermit Connection

Kermit-JSLYesterday, NHL asked me which Muppet I like best.  I thought for a second and answered Fozzie Bear.  However, after giving it a little more thought, I’m torn.  Though I still like Fozzie, I think I might feel a certain kinship with Kermit the Frog.

You see, on The Muppet Show (which I grew up adoring), Kermit was the leader of the gang.  However, "leader" didn’t always mean "had everything under control."  The Muppet Show was barely contained chaos.  Sometimes, the chaos wouldn’t even be "barely contained."

Kermit did the best he could keeping everything running smoothly, but you could tell that there were times when he felt like every problem he solved came gift-wrapped with three more to tackle.  His arm flailing "Yaayyyy" when introducing a guest might have been a bit of stress relief lest his froggy mind snap and have him flailing his arms while screaming out the back door.

The other Muppets would look to Kermit for advice.  If anything went wrong, they’d turn to Kermit as though he had the answers.  He did his best, but it was obvious that most times he was just making things up as he went along.

After all was said and done, he could have given up.  He could have left the Muppets behind and retired to the swamp where his only worry was catching flies.  He didn’t, though.  He kept coming back week after week, putting himself through more and more stress because he saw that the finished product was worth all of that stress and so much more.

Like Kermit’s Muppet Show, my household can feel like barely contained chaos at times.  There are times when it seems as though B and I can’t look away for three seconds without the boys arguing over something trivial.  ("That’s *MY* spot on the couch!" "*I* wanted to play with that toy!"  "No, we’re going to play *this* now.")  Even if the boys aren’t at each other’s throats, there seems to be a list a mile long of things I need to do.  Every one thing I complete seems to lead to seven more to add to the list.  Often people will look to me for advice.  They’ll assume that I know all the answers.  Sometimes I do, but more often than not I feel like I’m making it up as I go along.

I’ll admit that there are days when I realize that it would be easier to run out the door screaming, but I never do that.  Why?  Because no matter how stressful it is, no matter how many fights, no matter how tired I am from trudging through my To Do list,  no matter how much winging it I need to do, it’s all worth it.  My boys and my wife are worth all of this stress and so much more.  So I grit my teeth and shoulder the tough times so I can treasure those all-too-rare moments when the chaos subsides and it all falls into place beautifully.

Aloha Friday: Father’s Day Planning

Sunday is Father’s Day: A day for celebrating dads everywhere.  I’d like to share with you the wonderful, grand plan I have for my Father’s Day.

I really would like to share it with you.


I’ve got nothing.

For the life of me, I can’t think of a good idea.  I’d like to see the Avengers movie, but the boys are too young for that and I’d like to spend time with them too.  The local amusement park sounds like fun except that all the other dads are likely there too.  Fighting my way through crowds to go on a few rides doesn’t sound like fun.  We could go out to eat, but I’m not sure where exactly.

At one point, we considered going on an overnight trip to Vermont with B’s parents, but nixed that idea.  Good thing too since Wednesday night JSL was up coughing so much that he puked/gasped for air.  He went to the ER where they said he has croup and gave him a steroid to help strengthen his lungs.  So, at this point, I simply want JSL to be healthy for Father’s Day.

Given that I have no plans, I thought that maybe I’d steal borrow someone else’s plans.

My Aloha Friday question for today is: What are you planning to do for Father’s Day?

P.S. If you haven’t already, try out my Twitter applications: FollowerHQ and Rout.

Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.

Aloha Friday by Kailani at An Island Life

Aloha #143

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