Someone in our house hold is totally up for Easter. It started already three weeks ago when the DVD shop, where I usually buy our films, offered free shipping one weekend. TV had just broadcast the advent calendar, from a couple of years ago, in the afternoons, and we had missed many of the funny episodes. “Gubby” was too young to appreciate it when it was originally broadcast, so he really thought it was exciting this time around, which made it the more sad that we had missed so much of it, not knowing that they were showing it. So I ordered it on DVD. But when it arrived, I was horrified when I realized that the children would do a marathon of it every day, till they were bored stiff and never wanted to see it again. I decided to hold it back till Easter vacation, when they would be bored anyway. We counted the days and marked them off with a cross, every day on our family calendar in the kitchen.
Then Saturday I brought it out and “Gubby” confused Easter vacation with the Easter Bunny’s expected visit. So I had to mark our calendar with a big bunny on Saturday the 4th April, and now we still have to put crosses on it each day.
Every morning, he gets out of bed, when I am 90% asleep and then he comes back, puts his face close to my ear and whispers “Has the Easter Bunny been here?”. I just have to laugh because it is Superman or rather “Super mimmi” as we call him, who has returned to bed and is asking. And it is the perfect way to get me out of bed in the morning isn’t it, because the only way to explain to him that it is not time for him to come yet, is to get up and go mark the calendar.
Who is “Supermimmi”? Ever since “Gubby” started to talk, he has called his soother “mimmi”. Don’t know why but autistic children do this a lot, put their own names on things. And even though he is six years old, he does not want to give his “mimmi” up. It drives E. insane, but I don’t have the heart to take it away from him, since he just sucks on his thumb instead, if I do. It is his security blanket and he and I have made a deal that he can have it till he has eaten breakfast and then when he is going to bed in the evening. But what is “Super” about it? Well, during the sports’ holiday, week 8, they showed all the “Superman” films in the afternoons. All the Christopher Reeve ones and then newer one/ones. I say the latter because I could not let my children see the one which came after Reeve quit. It was too violent, so I have no idea how many more were made. But we all sat and watched the old versions and while I sat and thought about how tragic it was that such a handsome man fell off his horse and ended up in a wheel chair, the children thought it was most exciting. You could say that “Kitty’s” favourite is “Spiderman” but “Superman” comes close second after seeing the films. “Boo” still prefers all things “Batman”, but loved the films too. For “Gubby” though, only one superhero exists and it is “SUPERMAN”! He is petrified of “Spiderman”, so great that I have all these T-shirts for him to inherit, isn’t it!? And he couldn’t care less about “Batman”, walking by all those clothes at H&M, who are the main suppliers of the superhero clothing/shoes/rucksacks… For him “Superman” is THE thing to collect and wear.
It is not easy to find “Superman” things though, since it seems like the other two are more to the liking of the adults who manufacture these things. So you can imagine how excited I got when I found one little lonely rucksack with “Supermans” on it, down south. And the excitement was even bigger when I found the following hoodie on Swedish eBay! “Gubby” bounced like a rubber ball when I pulled it out of the envelope, from the seller. He couldn’t believe his eyes and wanted it on right away and gave me the biggest hug and kiss. I wish the seller could have seen it. And believe it or not, it was a brand new item as well, not previously used! He doesn’t want to wear anything else now!
So every morning, he gets up, throws off his pyjamas and dresses like “Supermimmi”. He can’t wait till Easter and at the same time, I wonder if he really knows what it is all about. He has just heard his brothers speak of it in an excited manner and of course saw me come home with a bunch of pretty new paper eggs, for the Easter Bunny to fill. He was mighty disappointed when he opened one at the supermarket and realized they are empty, even more so when he opened his new one, here at home and it was… empty as well. I had to tell him “Mamma has bought it for the Easter Bunny to fill it, otherwise he has to drop all of the candy right here in the hallway, in a big pile and how can we know who is supposed to get what then?”. I had to say this for a couple of days in a row, before it sunk in that Easter will not come faster just because mamma has bought new eggs. I would have smuggled them in to the house if I had been able to, but I always have someone in tow who will give away “secrets”.
Easter is not what it used to be though. Candy eating has become way too common. When I was a child, we got a couple of things for Saturday candy every week, but today children and adults alike, eat candy whenever and in enormous amounts. No wonder that people are getting diabetes and getting fat, like nothing before. Trying to get to an endocrinologist for my thyroid is turning out to be a nightmare, since all of them have specialized on diabetes instead. But the supermarkets keep on selling their pick candy cheap and even cheaper for Easter. What used to be an exciting event, when the Easter bunny had left a big egg full of candy, which one portioned out over days, feeling nauseous after just a little bit, has become nothing. Yes, I will fill my children’s eggs on the Easter Bunny’s behalf, but I will not go overboard. And like a friend of mine and I discussed last year, it has more and more become a day when our children get some item instead. So what I have done, is concentrating on finding “cheap” gifts to accompany the not overfull eggs.
Easier said than done when one is trying one’s hardest to save up for a little family vacation. Good thing that there are still book sale books to be had over the internet! Adlibris sold there last ones last week and now they are back to full price. I managed to get one exciting book for D. who is doing his military basic training right now. It is all about war and guns and hand grenades in his mind, at the present. Actually he is having a blast eventhough it is very, very tough training. They are the elite and not even all the chosen few will be passed on the 30 April. To cheer him on, I bought the following for him, which is not a glorified account of the battle of Azincourt, but a down to earth one. I have no idea what he will think of it since he doesn’t usually read novels, but he does enjoy historians who have researched properly in order to write a believable account of things. His old history professor Dick Harrison has written three novels about a viking, and he actually read the second in the series for school. And he liked it! I could not ask him if he would like the first and third in the series, for Easter, since he and his fellow recruits were out in the field somewhere, so while I did order them when he was within radar distance, they will not arrive until next week and will have to be saved for his Birthday, alternatively for when he is done with the basic training and is awaiting his next orders. Providing there will be some. I hate this not knowing if they will want to keep him or not!
For E. I had a book saved from the book sale. I guess I should have given it to her when I got home from the book sale shopping on the 25th February, but it is no fun to do anything for my oldest daughter. She is spoiled rotten by her father and I am horrified to say that she has inherited all her paternal grandmother’s traits: Laziness, Diva manners, … you name it. Last week-end, it was our turn to clean the chapel. D. who always goes along to help his dad, was on base digging fox holes for the relative visiting day. T. was having a bad cold, just like me, and church people kept on calling us all week, reminding us that it was our week to clean, like we have all been struck with Alzheimer’s. I was getting so perturbed at it finally, that the last time they called me I said in a snide voice “I know, I have it written down in my calendar and on the family white board and I just discussed who is going with my husband, five minutes ago!”. All of it true! Since the place was not cleaned the week before, since someone else ignored their week, it was vital that it got done properly. And I thought that E., soon being 18 years old, could lend a hand. T. had told me that she would never agree to doing that, but I tried. And she screamed at me, went completely berserker. She has school work to do! Right! D. had a tougher time in school than she does, since he actually had to study 200%. But never ever did he skip a single week cleaning the bathroom upstairs, nor did I have to remind him ever about loading the dishwasher on his two days in the week and every Saturday he grabbed all the paper garbage and went out to sort it in to the right recycle bins. E. does NEVER do her cleaning chore, which is vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor. It is no use fighting about it since she will not do it. Too lazy! She sits down and plays the piano instead, exactly like her grandmother did when she was asked to help out at home. And she does not load the dishwasher until one has reminded her ten times and most of the time not even then. I get up in the morning and find a sink full of dishes and that is how it has to look till she gets home from school to load it.
She screamed her head off, so the entire village could hear her, about going with her dad to clean Saturday morning. And this is the person who demanded that I should buy her three books at the book sale and who thinks that I should take her to London to spend a fortune on her, in clothing on Oxford street. Forget it! I bought one book and I have saved it for the Easter egg.
Her father rewards her bad behaviour but that is not the sort of mother that I am. I would not consider myself doing a proper job if I always mopped up after her and let her get away with everything which I never let her siblings get away with. She screamed of joy here two days ago, because she is getting a short story published and I only felt resentment, because she has all the time in the world to sit and write, watch TV series and films on her computer, but she can not lift a finger to help out at all, here at home. She will only help with funny things. Like taking her siblings out to wish people Happy Easter or Happy Halloween. As payment, she demands her share of all the candy. This is the harvest from yesterday’s Easter walk:
After receiving all this candy, how can my Easter eggs for the children, make any impression? Anyway, what to get F. then? Our tookey teenager, who sat and made little Easter egg letters and cards all day yesterday and Wednesday, to hand out to people Maundy Thursday. She cleaned the entire living room Monday when I was at habilitation with “Gubby” and Tuesday, she and I, spent the entire day cleaning the kitchen, so it would look nice to decorate for Easter. A little bit late, but better late than never. I actually have bought her the same thing which I bought her twin cousins in Australia, for their Birthday, which happens to be today actually!
I wrecked my brain for months about what to give them and really I do not know why? I did not receive a Birthday gift nor Christmas one last year and my children received nothing either. And then I had made sure to send my sister’s girls a very nice edition of a lovely book, for their 2014 Birthday. One each of course. It is not easy to shop for two girls whom I have only met twice, in their 15 year lives and whom I never receive news of. My sister decided to cut all contact with me, after arriving here in June 2014, to see my mum for three weeks. Not a word since and I guess that is fine with me. She can ostracize me as much as she wants. My mum is not my responsibility. She chose to remain in her house, 380 kilometers away from here, after retirement, partly because she lived so cheaply there but also, I suspect, to live as far away from my family as possible. She has never liked the fact that I have seven children nor the fact that I belong to a church and actively live my religion. During the years, she has made sure that I know that her love is conditional and that she does not approve of anything I do. I have never asked her for a thing. The last time I asked her to babysit, was in 1996, when T. and I went to London, and she only had two boys to look after for a week. She called us every day and demanded that we come home. Never again did I bother to ask her to even babysit them so I could run off and get some milk. (When she was here for a visit, living off us.) I made my bed and I have had to lay in it, according to her. This is something I have always accepted. So she can lay in the bed which she has made now. If I could help her, I would. But I am not going to drive all the way up there to get insulted. I am not going to sit with fighting boys in my car, for five hours, spending a fortune in petrol and have our old car break down on the way somewhere. Only to find that social services are looking after all her needs. She has people come in and make sure she takes her medicine, they pay her bills, they bring in food, clean her house and help her with hygiene. They even bring her out to events, so she will not just sit at home. I am sorry, but BUP and habilitation already have their hawk eyes on me to see if I am coping with three handicapped boys, because in their mind, no single mother can do so! They have told me that according to them, I am counted as a single mother with six children to take care of, since T. is never at home to make a difference. Sorry sister, but I have my life to live, just like you have yours, and my first and foremost responsibility will always be to the children whom I have placed on this earth. They need me more than my mother, who have always hated me and regarded me as a waste of space.
All that said, I want my nieces to know, that they are always on our minds. My children love their cousins even though they never hear a word from them. They wish that they could see them again and we had big discussions on what to give them for their 15th Birthdays. “Boo” and I finally settled on long-sleeved T-shirts, since what teenager doesn’t love clothes? I hope that they arrive in their post box, so the twins can grab the package and see what they have received, before their mother perhaps confiscates it. One of my daughters thinks that my sister will do that, to reinforce what a bad person I am, who did not remember her daughters big day. I am sure she wants us to have no contact with her children, so she can continue playing the martyr. She being the only one who cares about our mother, flying all the way from Australia to see if our mum had had a stroke. Instead of just calling the personnel who looks after my mum. My mother started drinking heftily, after her mind started to slip, so slurry speech can easily be explained! But my sister will not listen to that sort of reasoning. Anyway, she doesn’t give my children any acknowledgement that she cares about them, but at least this year I bought something for my nieces to show that we care about them. Next year, I might just send a card, like I did at Christmas. Then I sent them individual cards and photos of their cousins, so they will not forget them. I hope they are not growing up to be identical copies of their mother, totally lacking a sense of etiquette and only doing things for show, to get a pat on the back by those around her!
For “Kitty”, I also settled on clothing because I felt that my funds were getting depleted. It was one I had bought home but not shown yet. I don’t mean to be cheap but we really, really need to save for vacation. I hate going on vacation and telling the children that we can’t afford to do this or that and even worse, when we have to live on sandwiches. We never go to a restaurant, but one can’t anyway with two autistic children and one with ADHD, who possibly also have autism. They can’t behave, can’t sit still and they are too finicky eaters. The first and last time we took our children to a restaurant was when “Kitty” was 18 months old. We went to the Spaghetti factory in the US 2005 and he evacuated all over the table. The rest of the children had to bring their meals back to the hotel in doggy bags!
Why did I get him a shirt with Bart Simpson all over it, when I can not stand the program? Well, he likes it since he doesn’t understand what a dysfunctional family the Simpsons are. He doesn’t really understand what they are saying, that Bart is terrible, cheeky and displaying ADHD, and so on. That series is not at all for children is it, but children think it is because noone in their right mind would make a cartoon for grown ups, would they?! “Kitty” is becoming more and more impossible to shop clothes for. I can get him something which he is excited about and then some of the mean kids at the Catholic school, probably out of jealousy, laughs at it, and he will never put it on again. I am getting so sick and tired of it and would love to move him to another school, but none is available! It breaks my heart that he has to continue there, year after year. He is so afraid of being different and being pointed out as different, that I feel like ripping my hair out. How God could give such a sensitive child such a horrible handicap is beyond me, because he really can not handle having it. If they tell him he has autism as well, his entire world will come to pieces.
“Boo” who is not interested in any toys of any kind, who has no attention span at all, was the most difficult to shop for. I had bought him three T-shirts from H&M, for the summer, but T. had left the bag on the table, so he saw them and I could not smuggle one away. And to be honest, he would not appreciate clothing in his Easter egg. He expects a toy even though he never plays with it. When I ran in to a DVD at the supermarket, with the Swedish detective duo “Lasse & Maja”, all Swedish children’s favourite books, I settled on that for him. They have previously made a film, which he and I, were the only ones in our family, who appreciated. Now there is a second film and if anyone is going to appreciate it, it is our little film enthusiast! If there is one thing he loves to do, it is watching films! I just noticed on the picture beside, that they seem to have changed actors! Oh no, he is not going to like that. Oh well, tough luck. It is what he will receive and I will sit and reinforce what a good film it is, right?! Our copy is not a blue ray by the way. Don’t see why one would buy that in the first place. They are much more expensive and scratch as easily as ordinary DVDs.
Finally, I had to settle on something for little “Gubby”. I had totally forgot that I have two little cars saved in my closet, for this occasion. The Cars version of “Mike and Sully” from “Monsters Inc.”. I guess I will have to remember to give them to him for his Birthday. I bought them for his last Birthday, forgot about them, and the same thing happened for Christmas. This is turning out to be a parody isn’t it. Anyway, he doesn’t want to go to bed without someone going to bed with him. T. usually goes to bed in the evening with him, leaving me to spend the evenings on my own. I have tried to tell him that “You must go in and keep mamma’s bunnies company! They are lonely!”. Not good enough. After watching “Monsters Inc.” or the University version of it, two weeks ago, he said he is scared of my bunnies and think they will come alive. I have told him that they will not and that bunnies are nice and cute, but to no avail. So, he got to pick his own soft animal to keep him company in bed. (He did own his own bunny, but E. who I have mentioned above, being almost 18, kept on stealing it, because she loved it. We haven’t seen it for months and since she is in the habit of stealing what she wants in this house, I am sure it is hidden somewhere in her room, but I am not going to go digging in that health hazard of a room. It looks worse than after a napalm bombing in there or let’s say the bombing of Dresden! She can keep the bunny and one day maybe her conscience will wake up. To steal from her little brother. It is not nice.) I tried to persuade him to choose a cheaper one, a cuter one, but there was only one he wanted in 18 pages full of animals and it was this:
After it arrived, it turned out to be even cuter than this one. It had more of a baby face. He loves animals and while “Kitty” is potty about tigers, “Gubby” really, really likes lions. I agree, they are beautiful animals, but if I had had a choice among the soft toys at the place selling these, I would have chosen a giraffe. The penguins were also adorable and the owls. It is a brand called Jellycat and all the animals are just so adorably cute and the fur is wonderfully soft. I have not seen a face that I have not liked. “Gubby’s” missing bunny was of this brand and so are my small bunnies. I just can’t resist them!
Talking about the internet and shopping. After we went to habilitation Monday, I took “Gubby” to the toy shop, to see if they still had these little mini rucksacks. I wanted F. to give his Superman one back to him, which she steals all the time, thinking it cool. I bought an owl one, down there, a year ago, since mini rucksacks are perfect to carry your scriptures in. I have bought LDS scripture bags previously, but I am fed up with them breaking down too easily. Unfortunately, the toy shop has changed owners, AGAIN, and the selection has changed somewhat. So, only really childish rucksacks now, which a 14-year-old would not be caught dead, carrying around. While looking down there, “Gubby” saw these really, really nice wood toys. T. joined us eventually since his train got in, before we had explored enough and had made our decisions. He liked the wood toys and we were on the brink of buying one of them for “Gubby”, for Easter, since the lion was after all to be his bed buddy, trying to make him go to bed without us. But “Gubby” could not settle on one thing, feeling overwhelmed with there being too much of everything in the toy shop. So, we put the lorry I had settled on, back on the shelf and started to go to the exit, when I found Humbrol paints. I have searched high and low for someone selling those, so I can paint my dollhouse things. At the cash register, paying for the four paints I need the most, and two brushes, my husband mentioned to the girl that I have searched all over the internet for these paints. Snidely she said “You should not shop on the internet. Then physical shops will go out of business. You are supposed to support US!”. I started to argue, that first of all, the selection on the internet is so much bigger and who wants to pay 100:- (£7.85, €10.66, $11.70) more for a book or something, when you can get it cheaper on the internet. She got so angry with me! So I retaliated and said “Fine, but you know something. There are some of us who are not rich and are forced to shop where it is the cheapest, whether it kills physical shops or not!”. Then I walked out.
Coming home, I went on the internet and searched for the wood toys. I found this toy site which charges no shipping and all those wood toys we looked at in the physical shop where ALL 100:- cheaper. I am sorry lady, but IF I am going to buy “Melissa & Doug” for my son, it will be from Bamba.se and not from you. Those 100:- x ? will have to go elsewhere.