The Sonia Show

Writer. Podcaster. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


1 Comment

The Magnificent 7

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin is 7 today.

Geez, I can’t believe it’s been 7 years.

I’m so proud of Calvin. He is so smart and funny. He’s got a big heart. I know that he’s going to grow up to be a mighty, mighty good man just like his father. I just hope he doesn’t grow up too fast.

Then

Now

And now it’s time for everybody’s favorite parenting photos …

This is probably David’s favorite photo ever. He titled it “priorities,” and it clearly demonstrates how much I love my stupid phone.

And this is my favorite photo of David and Calvin (and Homer – RIP).

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Another steak out

Yeah, so, a meat eater, a vegan and a 6-year-old autistic boy walk into a steakhouse …

For about a year now, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin has been obsessed with the ceiling fans at Harris’ Restaurant. The steakhouse is nearby his speech appointment, and we always stop by after his session so he can say hello to the ceiling fans in the bar. And he would always ask me, “Can we eat here?”

“Not today,” I tell him.

“They don’t have burger? Next time?”

“Yes, some other time.”

The truth is it would be an expensive experiment, but to celebrate his first day of first grade we decided to be brave and actually eat there.

He was really excited. Unfortunately, they don’t have a burger (which seems weird for a steakhouse, right?), but they offered a plain chicken breast. Calvin said he didn’t want that and opted for a bowl of rice. Cheap date!

David ordered a Manhattan and massive filet with peppercorn sauce. He was in heaven.


The kitchen made me a plate of vegetables with garlic, balsamic and various other seasonings. Veggies that are prepared well with a big glass of red wine … I was happy.

After dinner, Calvin got some chocolate ice cream.

“It’s not a cone,” he correctly pointed out.

“No, I’m sorry. They don’t have cones.”

“OK.”

Don’t worry. He made it work.

 


Leave a comment

The ugly tooth

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boys and I were back to school shopping at Target, because TARGET!

While at the register I see Calvin bend down and pick something up off the ground.

“Mommy, look,” he said.

“Ewww, don’t pick up things off the ground,” I said, slapping whatever it was out of his hand.

“My tooth!”

“Wait, what? Was that your tooth?” I replied.

He flashed me a bloody grin.

“GAH! I’m such a crap mom,” I repeated as David and I were on all fours looking for Calvin’s missing tooth. We finally found it, and the surrounding parents gave us “the nod” and a hearty “Congrats” and “Good job.”

I felt so terrible about just knocking his tooth out of his hand without even taking a look at what it was. But, I don’t think there are any hard feelings, because I bought our fan of fans an oscillating fan while we were there.


Leave a comment

Too cool for school

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin finished kindergarten today.

The first day of kindergarten.

The last day of kindergarten.

I’m so crazy proud of him. He has absolutely blossomed this year. He is talking so much and really improving his social and emotional interactions. He’s quite popular at school. When we’re walking around the school with him every kid says “Hi Calvin,” and every teacher or aide stops us to tell us how much they adore him. (#humblebrag)

Since he’s obsessed with fans, he stopped by the office every day and asked the receptionist to turn on her fan. He made such an impression on a fifth-grade teacher that she gave him a fan to bring home.

Fan boy.

I can’t believe that this August he will be a first grader! Gaaaaaahhh!

He’s got big plans this summer. He’s spending a week every month with my parents in Concord. While he’s there, he going to take swim lessons! I wouldn’t be surprised if swimming turned into a thing for him. I foresee a future of swim meets followed by Olympic gold medals and big, fat endorsement deals, which lead to us finally being able to buy a house in San Francisco.

He’s also doing a week of summer camp at the San Francisco Zoo. AND, he’s doing two weeks of summer camp through the city’s Park Department in which children with autism ride public transportation all day. I know, right?!? He’s gonna to freak out.

Actual footage of Calvin when he learns about the public transportation camp.

So anyway, I’m so proud of my mighty, mighty good boy. He is such a funny, sweet and handsome little guy.

 


Leave a comment

Feeling Minnesota

Yeah, so, I had to travel for work a few weeks ago.

I’ve never had to travel for work before, other than some particularly shitty commutes I’ve had in the past. I mean, driving from Concord to Burlingame can certainly feel like traveling for work.

Seven years I’ve been working for this company, and they finally noticed that I’ve never visited their headquarters in Shoreview, Minnesota. Actually, some of the bosses did try to get me to come out twice before, but I was busy evicting a baby from my uterus and kicking breast cancer’s ass, so, ummm, no.

This time last year, I was moved into a new position, a new office with new coworkers and a new boss. And my new boss doesn’t really dig my whole “Oh, I’m just going to hide in my cube” career path. “No more hiding, Sonia,” she says. “You’re going to go to Shoreview and take your bow for your hard work.”

Well, when she puts it like that, how can I say no? Plus, I really like my new team. We’re divided: half in San Francisco, half in Shoreview. I really wanted to meet the Shoreview team in person. I think it’s important that they see what I goober I am in person. You have to see it to believe it.

So, I packed my bags and got up at 4 a.m. for a 6 a.m. flight. That’s right, 4 a.m.! Did you guys know that there is a 4 in the morning? It’s like 4 in the afternoon but in the morning! When the fuck did that start? Ugh. It’s really early.

Shortly, after I arrived in Shoreview, it started snowing. We don’t get snow in the Bay Area, so this was pretty exciting to me. I practically had my face smashed against the window.

Me: “Ohhhh, you guys! LOOK! IT’S SNOWING!”

Co-workers:

It’s April. They were so over it. I thought it was neat, but I could certainly see how the novelty would wear off. Also, driving in snow sucks ass.

So, yeah, it was really awesome to meet my coworkers in person. We had a team dinner at The Lowbrow in Minneapolis, and it was so good. It had vegan options AND an excellent beer list of local brews. It would definitely be my regular spot if I lived out there.

Oh, speaking of vegan options, there wasn’t a ton to be had in Shoreview, Minnesota. BUT, pretty much every restaurant I walked into had gluten-free options. FYI: About 1 percent of Americans have Celiac disease, while 6 percent of Americans say they’re vegan. It’s more likely that a vegan will walk into their restaurant than someone with Celiac disease, but it’s OK. I made it work. I just think it’s funny that they’ve embraced the whole gluten-free thing, but veganism, not so much.

The other thing about the trip that cracked me up: So many of my coworkers said, “Oh, you look just like your photo.” We have photos in our email, Skype, etc. I kept wondering, “Who doesn’t look like their photo?” Maybe I’ll swap my photo out with the worst wedding photo ever taken.

A week before my work trip, I fell and sprained my ankle, but I didn’t know, because I’m practically a genius. I was hobbling around the office, but no one even noticed. I looked like Catherine O’Hara in “Best In Show.”

It probably didn’t help that there was a huge Super Target nearby our hotel, and one night I spent two hours walking around. My ankle really hurt, but SUPER TARGET.

Every night after dinner I went back to my hotel room, put my foot up and watched the second season “The Good Place.” (So good, you guys! You should watch it.) One night I watched a documentary about Jane Goodall called, appropriately, “Jane.”

On the plane, I watched “Pitch Perfect 3” and “Bad Moms Christmas,” which are perfect airplane movies in that they don’t make you laugh or cry and draw attention to yourself. They were not good. “Pitch Perfect 3” actually had explosions, and I think Fat Amy full-on murders some people. I thought this was a movie about an acapella singing group. WTF?

Anyway, I was in Minnesota for five days – FIVE DAYS! That’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin.

My mighty, mighty good man David travels for work all the time. I never do. In fact, when I told Calvin that I was going on a trip for work, and I’d be gone, he said, “Not Mommy. Daddy is going to work.”

David said that Calvin asked about me every morning and every night. Of course, when I would FaceTime, he would give me the cold shoulder, but at least the pets were happy to see me.

Actually, when I got home late Friday night, Calvin will still awake, and he insisted I get into bed with him. He really missed me, and I missed him terribly. For about a week after I got back, Calvin was watching me like a hawk, never letting me out of his sight. It was nice to be missed.


2 Comments

I don’t know how to make small talk with kids

Yeah, so, a few weeks ago I did something I thought I’d never do.

No, I didn’t vote for a Republican.

No, I didn’t donate money to the NRA.

That’s disgusting. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I chaperoned a field trip for my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin’s school. The kindergarten classes were visiting the California Academy of Sciences, and the kindergarteners in Calvin’s special day class were invited to go, too.

Taking on the jellies.

I learned a few things on this field trip.

  • Starfish are not really fish.
  • The Academy of Sciences has penguins!
  • I don’t really know how to talk to kids that are not Calvin.

There were four kids to a group with one or two parents each. The students from the Special Day Class were divided into the groups, and each SDC student had their own dedicated chaperone (their parent or a special aide).

So, Calvin was in a group of three kids from the mainstream kindergarten class, and there was another parent chaperoning the group, too, which is good, because see the third bulletpoint.

Me talking to kids is pretty similar to me talking to adults. I ask them what movies or TV shows they are currently watching, and then I crap all over them. “My Little Pony? Ugh. Really? That shit is so 2015. Grow up!”

Actually, I usually tell them that I like something they’re wearing. “I like your cat ears headband.” “Cool Pokemon shirt. That’s a Pokemon, right? Oh, it’s Minecraft. Is there a difference?” And then I wrap up the stimulating conversation with something like, “I need to go stand over here now and do some serious adulting,” and then go lean against the wall and look at my phone.

I have no problem talking to Calvin. We talk about trains, trucks and buses. We recite lines of dialogue from “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.” But other kids want to talk about their thoughts and feelings.

This became really obvious when we sat down to lunch. Our group is sitting at a table, and there is this awkward silence. No small feat considering it’s a table of 5 and 6 year olds, who normally can’t stop talking. Finally, the other parent, this really nice woman whose name I can’t remember because I’m an asshole, said, “Do you know any jokes?” And the kids started falling all over themselves to tell jokes.

It would have never occurred to me to ask that question. Calvin doesn’t tell jokes. He’s funny. He’s got a great sense of humor. But it’s not a “knock knock. Who’s there” humor. It’s more like, “I’m going to try to wear the dog as a hat” sense of humor. It’s “I’m going to refer to Mommy as Daddy” humor.

I would say the closest thing to a Calvin joke is this: He was in a bathtub, and he looked at me, crossed his eyes and said, “I’ve got two mommies.” I laughed really hard, which turned it into a thing. “Two daddies.” “Two Tobys.”

The other thing I noticed during the field trip: Every boy was wearing something superhero or “Star Wars” related. Shirts, jackets, shoes: All Iron Man, Captain America, Darth Vader, Spiderman, etc. Calvin doesn’t watch any of that stuff. He doesn’t even know who those people are. These kids probably don’t know Calvin is autistic. They probably think he’s Amish.


Leave a comment

Halloween and the cutest UPS driver

Yeah, so, this was the first year that my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin actually got a little excited about Halloween.

I mean, it wasn’t your typical nonstop talk of costumes and candy. BUT, for the first time, he put on a costume, understood it was a costume and actually liked it. In previous years, we dressed up Calvin in shit we wanted him to wear, because he didn’t care. And the “costume” had to practically not be a costume. It just had to a shirt and pants. No crazy hats, no masks, no weird superhero padded suits. So, he was Captain Kirk a few times, and last year he was Batman, because I found some cute Batman footie pajamas at Target.

This year, my mighty, mighty good man David came up with the brilliant idea of really trying to pick something that Calvin would like. Calvin is not into comic book movies or Pokemon, or any lot of the other costumes that kids want to wear. He likes Curious George, Daniel Tiger and the “Toy Story” movies, but he doesn’t want to dress up as those characters. Believe me, we tried.

Here’s what Calvin loves: trains, buses, cars, trucks and ceiling fans. Finally, David settled on getting Calvin a UPS delivery man costume. Calvin knows who that is, and he likes them. I knew he would never carry a package around with him, so I ordered him a little UPS truck to carry around.

On Halloween, I walked him to the school bus. I had the costume and truck in his backpack for the school’s Halloween parade. While we were waiting for the bus, I decided to give it a shot. I took the UPS truck out of his backpack.

“It’s a mail truck! Can I have it?” he asked.

“Of course. AND, I have something else you might like,” I told him. I took the UPS shirt out of his bag and asked him if I could put it on him. “It’s a mail truck driver shirt.”

He put it on, and he started jumping around excitedly.

“I’m a mail truck driver! I’m a mail truck driver!”

He even wore the hat, you guys!

He wore the costume all day. He walked in the school’s Halloween parade. He trick or treated that night.

We trick or treat on Chenery in Glen Park. It’s just a few blocks from our house, and the entire street goes all out. Tons of decorations, eager people on their porches with tons of candy (and wine for the adult trick or treaters like me).

Every adult loved Calvin’s costume, because all adults love to see the UPS delivery person. And, he’s such a polite trick or treater. At every house he said says, “Trick or treat,” and takes one piece of candy. He smells it before he puts in his bucket, because he wants the chocolate. (Sadly, that means no Smarties for me. Dammit!)

“Thank you very much,” he says. Most of the time, because he is so polite, people give him extra candy. Maybe that’s part of his master plan.

Then, after a few blocks of trick or treating, he decided he had enough candy.

“Let’s go look at the fans,” he said. “I’m all done.”

So, we walked over to the businesses on Diamond and checked out a few ceiling fans. Some people offered him candy, assuming he was still trick or treating.

“No, thank you,” he replied. They would look at us so confused. They looked like this.

What kid turns down candy? Our kid. It’s one of the many things that’s so fuckin’ awesome about him.

A few other random Halloween things …

We went to our friend Roger’s birthday party/Halloween party, and we dressed up as the carpet from “The Shining.” It’s probably the scariest costume I’ve ever worn.

But on Halloween proper, I decided to wear this cute Halloween dress I bought on Think Geek for about $25. It’s got black cats and pumpkins on it. I decided to wear a wig, and it turned into a Sonia S. Pumpkins costume.

The UPS driver and Sonia S. Pumpkins. Any questions?

Close up of the wig, glasses and dress (dress from Think Geek).


Leave a comment

The Sixth Sense

Yeah, so, today is my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin’s 6th birthday. He’s 6 years old, you guys!

Let’s all celebrate by re-reading the story about how I evicted him from my uterus.

#priorities by David

People assume that when you have a kid that you’ve always wanted a kid. The truth is I wasn’t one of those people. I wasn’t really interested in having children until I met my mighty, mighty good man David. He said he wanted kids, and I said, “Yeah. You’d be a great dad. Let’s do this.” That answer surprises people, but really, what the fuck else was I doing that was so important? “Meh. I’ve got a DVR full of ‘Law & Order’ reruns to watch, so good luck with that whole kid thing, David.”

I’m so glad I said, “Let’s do this.” It’s the smartest thing I ever said along with “OH MY GOD, YES!” when David asked me to marry him.

Calvin is THE BEST. He is so smart and funny. He is autistic, which means he has challenges, but doesn’t every kid? He is working really hard, and he is so patient and always tries to understand and be understood. He’s got the kindest heart. One of the aides in his classroom said to me, “Calvin is not only a good kid, he’s a good person. You’re raising him right,” which brought a tear to my eye.

Oh, and he’s got a smile that will knock you on your ass. I mean, COME ON!

I couldn’t be more proud of him. Happy, happy birthday to my mighty, mighty good boy!

 


Leave a comment

My Mighty, Mighty Good Kindergartener

Yeah, so, my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin started kindergarten last week.

GAH!

He is in a special day class, which is made up of other 11 children with special needs from kindergarten through second grade.

We were kinda fretting about this transition. Change in routine can be tough on kids, and it’s even tougher on autistic kids. But, Calvin handled it like a champ. Unlike the transition from nanny-share to preschool, which resulted in many, MANY tears from both Calvin and me, the transition to kindergarten went smoothly. I think it mostly had to do with his excitement about getting to ride a school bus by himself.

You read that correctly. Calvin is taking the school bus all by himself. And it’s all he talks about. We even got an email from his new teacher and his new speech teacher telling us that Calvin is really happy in his new class, and he has been talking about the school bus nonstop.

The only issue we had in the first week was about the after-school care, which is onsite in the cafeteria. It’s quite loud in there, and Calvin hates being in there. When he’s not talking about this school bus, he’s talking about how loud that room is.

The children can play outside on the blacktop and play structures, and Calvin spends most of his time running back and forth along a railing. He super loves one of the teachers, Ben, who works in the after-school program. Calvin is his little shadow. He probably thinks Ben is one of his Easter Seals specialists, and that he is there just for him. Calvin’s Easter Seals specialist will be here this week to work with him, and I think that will make his time at after-school care a little more pleasant for him.

Other than that, it’s been relatively painless. Of course, by writing this blog post, I probably cursed us, right?


4 Comments

Word To Your Mothers

Yeah, so, during the Fourth of July weekend, my mighty, mighty good man David and I decided to take our mighty, mighty good boy Calvin to an Oakland A’s game. It was a fireworks night, and we thought he would enjoy the fireworks. [Narrator’s voice: He didn’t.]

At one point I went to the ladies room, and there was a mom behind me in line with a toddler in a stroller. The toddler was probably about 2-2 ½ years old. The big handicap stall opened up when it was my turn, but I told the mom behind me she should take it since she’s got the big stroller.

Well, she still couldn’t get the stroller in there. The stall wasn’t that big. Another woman offered to stand with the baby while the mother used the restroom, which I thought was really nice of her. Then the mother noticed that her baby was wet through her clothes, so she tried to navigate through the crowded restroom to the changing table. Another woman and I helped her with her stuff. “We’ve all been there,” I told her.

Just then a younger woman pushed her way through: “I’m just trying to pee. Get out of my way! GAWD!” And basically, every mom in the restroom gave her a dirty look. We practically hissed at her.

Yes, it was crowded in there. Yes, I understand when you gotta go, you gotta go. Still, shut up, dummy. Be nice.

This isn’t the end of the story.

By the 7th inning, Calvin said he had to use the potty. Actually, what he really said is “Uh oh. I went poo poo.”

Eeek!

So, I grab my ginormous mom purse, and we headed to the ladies room. I’m not going to get too gross here, but let’s just say … this shit was messy. I probably shouldn’t have let him eat an entire bag of popcorn.

Anyway, we’re in the stall, and I’m trying to get these pants off of him and clean him up, and Calvin is apologizing over and over.

“I’m sorry, mommy. I’m sorry, mommy.”

“It’s OK, sweet boy. Accidents happen. We’re going to get you cleaned up,” I told him.

He said sorry so many times that other women were chiming in:

“It’s OK. It’s just an accident.”

“Don’t even worry about it. It happens all the time.”

Then I realized that I forgot the wipes. I always carry backup clothes and wipes even though he’s 5 years old and potty trained, because the one time you don’t is the one time you’ll need them, right? That’s what happened here.

“OK, I forgot the wipes, honey. Let me get some paper towels,” I said.

I open the stall door to get paper towels, and there are none.

“OK … There are no paper towels,” I told him. “We’re going to have to do this with a ton of toilet paper, I guess. Don’t worry. We will get you cleaned up.”

And that’s when all the ladies in the restroom sprang into action.

“I need to change my baby anyway. Let me run back to my seat and get her and the diaper bag with wipes.”

“I’m going to run to the nearest food stand and get all the napkins.”

Another woman just ran out without a word, and returned a few seconds later with a bunch the napkins and paper towels from their suite.

“Thank you, ladies. Thank you,” I kept repeating.

“Oh, this always happens to me – the one time I forget the wipes,” one of them said.

“Or you remember the wipes but then you forget backup pants,” another chimed in.

“This happened to me with my son just the other day,” yet another woman said.

I was so grateful to these ladies. I thanked them repeatedly, and I went back to my seat to tweet my thanks, because that’s what I do.

When I’ve shared this story with some of my mom friends, they all have similar stories about their children having accidents and every mother within a two-mile radius chipping in to help out. Good job, moms. There’s a lot of mommy shaming out there, but I’m happy that sometimes we’ve got each other’s backs.