Category Archives: blog

Valentines Day, Shmalentines Day & Birthday Blues

The Family Band

We are not Valentines Day people. The kids get some candy at school, my parents (as they do for every holiday) get gifts for everyone, but that’s about it! My wife & I have never really done Valentines, it’s just not something that has ever appealed to us. (Trying not to sound like one of your annoying pretentious faceboook friends! You know the one I’m talkin’ about “I don’t celebrate the commercialization of my love by the card companies!”) We just spend a lot of time together since we work together & we do what we want when ever we want so every day is like valentines. All that being said we do use any excuse at all to spend time together. As a gift last week my wife gave me the wink to let me know it was okay to buy a beautiful guitar I have had my eye on for a long time.

   My geek dad dreams came true the other day when they boys came home to see it & Jayden pulled up a can to show me how he could keep the beat with any song I played. When we started to play (& he kept perfect time) the other two come running in with a keyboard & little guitar to play as well! I’m trying not to show my excitement but they were totally into it as we sat & played bluegrass songs I was pretty much in heaven! Best Day Ever.
   Jayden will be 11 tomorrow, February 15th, so we have had a trip to the Oklahoma Science Museum on the books for a while. It was supposed to be a family trip until today when Zion got in the car from school & was white as a ghost! That sheet white, ashy gray lips, & sunken in eyes that screams “Death Warmed Over”. Getting him home we fired up a breathing treatment & checked his vitals. If you know anything about O2% then you know from the photo he was about 3 shades of up creek without a paddle. Zion’s asthma & weak lungs are a constant worry but he has been so good for a long while now with only a few little attacks but today he had me worried there for a second! Breathing treatments, steroids, some smart water & we were right as rain… as much as can be expected anyway. Both he & my youngest are starting to look/feel sick so we tried to roll with it! They can just go to grandma’s house while mom, Jayden, & I head to the museum for birthday fun! Day saved! No sooner did we come to that idea did I look over & Jayden looked like… well…. take a look…
From Fine to Sick In 30 Minutes Flat! A New House Record!!
  Yeah, all of a sudden it hit him! Watery eyes, the nose, the tummy, & a head ache. A big dose of medicine later we will see how things look in the morning. We may be hanging at the house for our 11th birthday. A good night sleep will tell I guess. I hope all of you are staying warm with the weather the way it is in the east. It was snowing & a for a week didn’t get above freezing but now it’s in the 60’s. with the 70’s on their way next week. Crazy Oklahoma weather. Anyway, happy Valentines Day from us to you!

Realizing I’m Not The Best Dad {& I’m Okay With That}

   I’ve never been big on calling parents heroes, unless of course that parent rescued a kid from an icy lake or something like that!  This is just me though. I’m cool with the use of the word or phrases like Autism Warrior Parents & others like that. It’s cool, it’s just not me!

 Even when I was working in EMS full time we would go into the local Walgreen’s where a nice young lady worked who my partner & I worked on after a really bad car wreck. Every time we would go in she would tell everyone standing in line the story of how she crashed & couldn’t remember anything but our faces as she drifted in & out of consciousness.  She insisted we saved her life, we were heroes, we were angels, but we weren’t heroes…we weren’t angels…we were medics & that’s what medics do. I feel the same about fatherhood. A lot of time I get the ‘Man, your the greatest dad’ card or ‘Your kids are so lucky to have such an amazing dad’. It’s super flattering & I’m always as gracious as possible but in my eyes I’m not the greatest dad! The kids aren’t always lucky to have me! I think the word hero is thrown around to easily these days. Again I say that’s just my opinion.

   This blog is a part of it as well. I get emails talking about how I’m a hero for autism or Super Dad! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on myself I just realize that I’m not the best dad. Not only is that okay but I think it’s a good thing. I’ve decided if I could point out or shine a light on my flaws, & if people could see them but still realize that we get by okay. We deal with the good times & we hit the hard times head on. In the end everything turns out just fine. Maybe if it’s clear that if this mediocre parent like me can rock the crap out of Autism & parenthood in general then who knows what you can do!

I get a lot of emails asking advice during hard times. I relate the best I can, tell them how I would do it or what I did when we were in a similar situation. I also usually make a point to tell them that I don’t have any good advice other than it’s not easy, black & white, or the same with any two kids. All I know is if you do your best & work hard to advocate for your kid your bound to catch a break sometime! That doesn’t always sound too promising to a lot of parents but I find it funny that we autism parents have a different view. Us autism parents are not so Glass Half Full & not so much Glass Half Empty but more “Really The Glass Is Spilled All Over The Table Again? Well At Least The Glass Isn’t Broken This Time!” We can find a little glimmer of hope in just about anything. We have to! If not you’ll go crazy!
   
Well, I hope this came across like I wanted it to. I hope I didn’t come off as a… you know…

 I had the awesome opportunity to appear on Autism-Live last week! Check out the clip below. If you’ve never heard of Autism-Live they have a bunch of great resources so check them out.

****UPDATE****

P.S. I realize after publishing this blog, I felt really good about the message but also realized I didn’t really point out any of my flaws so I wanted to address those here:

Tom’s Flaws & Shortcomings As Not Only A Father But Husband:

  • I am THE single most sarcastic person on the face of the planet! Yes, I have a kid with Asperger’s & I can not help but use relentless sarcasm 100% of the time!
  • I sing everything I say to my wife… really like 70% of everything out of my mouth is in song form. I make up songs to tell her dinner is ready, I make up songs to tell her I need to run to the dollar store, make up wildly inappropriate songs to badger/heckle/razz her , & yes I make up songs to intise her to… love me 😉  (HUSBANDS please note that the last song type mentioned works only about .001% of the time & even when you break out the Antonio Bandarez voice it will still be very unsuccessful!)
  • I sometimes let the kids say bad words when mom isn’t around! That’s right, I said it! When my wife is out of the house we fart, say off limits words like crap, & make inappropriate jokes about nuts! (They went to see the new animated movie Nut Job & came back with a new slew of “Hey daddy, the squirrel was trying to hide his….nuts hahahaha! Yeah so that’s inappropriately cute but when my youngest got in the car the other day & said to his mom “It’s so cold out there! I’m freezin my nuts off!” We both got a talking to & now don’t make those jokes!)
  • Lastly, my full luscious head of hair. These kids think that they are gonna be okay but they are not. Every guy in my family is bald.  I’ve just dodged a bullet by some sort of sick luck & will almost, without a doubt, be bald by the late thirties! (This is simultaneously a bad thing for that reason & one of the only things I still have going for me as well!)
Okay okay you think a guy could be serious for a second but nope, I can’t! Sorry! 🙂 

Post-Christmas Break Break Down {The Sky Is Now Officially Falling}

   Every year after the Christmas break is over & school starts back we have problems! Is this just my son or is this common, I bet it happens to a lot of our kids! It sucks & we knew it was going to suck but no matter how well you think you are prepared for something you know what? It still sucks!
  It’s partially my fault for taking the first few weeks of “How was your day Jayden?” “GREAT!” he would say. Yeah…just gonna take that a face value! Yesterday I pushed to find out how things were really going & found out what I should have know, if you don’t watch where you’re going while driving the titanic you’re going to hit an ice burg! Yeah… we hit an ice burg!
   Piles of old papers stuffed in his desk that stood as high as his desk itself, I learned from his teacher. That poor woman who I can only imagine probably, after this year of school, talks in her sleep… “Jayden, what are you doing?….Jayden, why is all this work in your desk?… Jayden, why are you crying?… “
    I have been trying all my tricks to get this under control this year before we head to middle school next year. (I don’t even want to think about it!) We have now moved from taking things away like game time or TV time when he has done something wrong to taking most everything away & making him earn everything back through successful work & life habits. Will this work? Hell if I know but man, I sure hope so! My hope is that without the distractions of things that we normally allow a bit of throughout the week like TV, Netflix, & generally Zombie-ing out around the house & making him mostly stay in his happy place(his room) reading, working on some of his projects that are a bit more brain stimulating maybe we can get him to where he needs to be! We spent a long time yesterday talking & going over our new way of doing things yesterday. A lot of tears were shed, many “I wish you would get hit by a truck” looks were given, & I think we all understand each other now.  We didn’t get there without some rough patches of the conversation though. About mid way through out talk I asked Jayden “How does this all sound to you? How do you view this? You can tell me how it makes you feel & you’re not going to get into trouble or offend anyone, just be honest & lets communicate.” I got an answer that cut me like rusty prison shiv! “Honestly, it sounds like the start of a very horrible life” So yeah… at that point I wanted to say “I don’t care about school, lets go out for ice cream & head to the science museum!” But I controlled myself & we talked a lot about responsibility, perspective, & the ripple effect that is set off by his actions.
     Long day! Looooong day! Today he came home with a positive attitude, had all his work in his bag,  & he got his snack then headed to his room to work some sort of invention out of circuits that I’m sure I will hear all about tomorrow.

Not Even Jenny McCarthy Believes Jenny McCarthy Anymore!! {The Great Autism Flip-Flop}

I need to charge my phone!

   When I read about Jenny McCarthy or see her speak on TV I sometimes feel like I should be watching the trailer for a bad scary movie! The deep movie guy voice comes on.. “In a world where crazy is used as currency… One woman is the richest in the land…” It’s not to hard to find out how I feel about her, her views, & the super harmful misinformation she spreads without any facts or real knowledge to back it up. I hadn’t heard from her in a while & we try to keep clear of The View as well but someone just posted this on my Facebook & I was pretty….well see for yourself! “Jenny McCarthy Abandons Her Controversial Position On Vaccines”
   Really? Really!?! Come on now. I’m sorry but when I saw this I really had to check twice to see if this was something Jon Stewart posted or maybe a satire news site like the Onion but nope! You spent the last 7 years spouting anti vaccine propaganda & being the driving force behind an organization that scares the crap out of me!
   Her preaching her crazy then flipping on it reminds me of a guy I used to know! He had something similar going on in his life…

  Man! That really happened! You can really just do almost anything you want when you are a celebrity & have some money. Crazy! Anyway…I’m pushing my soap box back under the table! I know I’ve got some of you who are anti vaccine & maybe even a couple McCarthy fans (I’m sure she has done some good things, I don’t know of any but it could happen) but its just an issue I’m passionate about, I’ve spent to many years working in ambulances & the ER to not be vocal about something that I know saves lives!

An Open Letter To My Children On This, Our 5th Day Snowed In Together

To: The leadership of the “KIDS” tribe of the Hibben Home

From: Dad aka ‘Hey You’ aka ‘Dude’ aka ‘Momma…I mean Dad’

Date: Sunday, Dec. 8th 2013 @7:40PM After receiving the call that school is cancelled tomorrow

Dear Sirs,

   I have just been notified that school will NOT be in session tomorrow & as a result of this as well as the thick ice that is on our street we will be forced to co-habitat in this house without the possibility of ‘Me Time’ for, I believe, the 5th day. I say I believe because I have lost count at this point & it feels like it’s been 100 years.
   As this situation is unavoidable due to my wife, your mother’s, mandate that I not “Endanger The Children’s Lives” by taking unnecessary trips to wal-mart I have come up with a few simple terms that will make for a truce that I know both our people’s can live with so that peace & harmony will be enjoyed by all.

The Treaty Of Squatting Kid Creek

Terms:

  • If kids awake before sunrise or, more importantly, before Dad-Rise the kids CAN play Minecraft, watch ‘Netflix Kids’, play iPad games or any other Parent-Sanctioned activity as long as that activity meets the following requirements: It Doesn’t Wake The Parents!
  • Pop Tarts, OJ, & Multiple Cereals will be made available to your people but NO, I repeat NO, Rice Crispy Treats may be touched. 
  • This land we share overflows with resources: iPad, iPod, TV, Netflix, Wii, & 2 iMac Computers. These resources must be shared by your people & not fought over because someone is putting lava on someone else’s house in minecraft or another obvious act of war.
 Violation of these terms will be viewed as an ACT OF WAR against Dad & you will be retaliated against with the full force of the Parental Arsenal.
  I know if these terms are agreed to & the members of your tribe abide by them we will all live in peace. With a bit of understanding & you three steering clear of my room so I don’t get woken up before 6:30AM I know we will not end up like the Donner Party…I’m looking at you middle son…I WILL cook you rotisserie style!
4″ Of Snow & 16 Degrees Outside! Fun…for about 7 minutes

Dean loves him some snow angels!