The Sonia Show

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


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Dinner table traffic jam

Yeah, so, most nights we eat dinner in the living room because we’re disgusting animals who hardly eat at the dinner table. Also, it’s usually the best temperature in the house: cooler when it’s hot outside, warm when it’s cold outside.

Anyway, one of the other reasons we don’t eat at the kitchen table is because my mighty, mighty good boy lines up all of his cars on the table. He’s got a very specific traffic jam on the table, and instead of removing the cars every night for dinner, we just leave them there. It’s not a big deal. He likes them there, and we like eating in the living room. It’s comfy.

However, we do remove the traffic jam for guests and parties. Last night a friend was coming over for dinner, so I asked Calvin to move the cars temporarily.

“There’s still room on the table to eat. We can leave them,” he negotiated.

“Nooooope. Let’s move the cars for just a little bit, and you can put them back after dinner.”

After a little back and forth, he reluctantly put them away but mentioned putting them back about – hmmm – every 3 minutes.

Eventually, he moved on to other things that evening, but guess what’s he was doing first thing this morning?

 


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The shoe is on the other foot

Yeah, so, this morning my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin asked if he could wear two different shoes.

“They’re the same, but different colors,” he said.

“Yeah, but you should wear matching shoes,” I replied.

“Why?”

“Ummm, errrr. Actually, I don’t know why you have to wear matching shoes. You don’t. Go for it!”

He ran around the house, excitedly: “Look how colorful my shoes are!”

I think Calvin is very fashion-forward. In a few weeks, all the kids at school will be wearing mismatched shoes. You’ll see.


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Alexa, write this blog post for me

Yeah, so, we have an Alexa in our house, but we don’t really use her that often.

She tells us when packages arrive, and occasionally I ask her to play music for me. I assume the rest of the time she’s monitoring our every word and reporting back to Amazon and/or the government. I don’t care because whoever is listening is bored AF.

“Ugh. They’re debating about what kind of delivery to get AGAIN. You ordered Chinese food the other day, assholes! What’s the debate about? You know you’re going to get Indian food. Just stop talking about it and order it already. … Here we go. She’s talking about her Weight Watchers Points again. For fuck’s sake! You’re going to eat the Indian food anyway, fatty! Oh good, now she’s lying to herself about how she’s going to yoga later tonight. Yeah, sure you are, honey. Go put on your eatin’ pants and slippers. You’re not going back out tonight.”

So, yeah, the other thing I’m using Alexa for is parenting.

It’s been raining like a lot in San Francisco, and every morning I get into this debate with my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin about wearing his raincoat.

Him: “It’s not going to rain.”
Me: “It is!”
Him: “No, it’s not. It’s not going to rain. I don’t need to wear that coat. I want my sweatshirt.”

Repeat five days a week for the entire winter season.

So, last week I got the brilliant idea to get Alexa to back me up.

Me: “It is going to rain. Ask Alexa! She will tell you.”
Him: “Alexa, is it going to rain today?”
Alexa: “The temperature is 45 degrees with showers expected today.”
Me: “See!”
Him: “I need my raincoat.”

Ta-dah! Calvin will listen to Alexa, but not me.

Now I’m going to get Alexa to start suggesting that he eat vegetables and pick up his dirty clothes. Pretty soon I won’t have to parent at all! Then I’ll spend even more time debating our delivery food options with David.


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Traffic is Calvin’s jam

Yeah, so, one of the things that my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin loves to do it line up his cars, trains and buses. He finds it fun and relaxing.

The other night, my mighty, mighty good man David and I went out to dinner and left Calvin with a babysitter. When we got home, we got stuck in the most incredible traffic jam in our living room.

In this video, our sweet, one-eyed cat Kubo to give you a tour.


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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).


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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.

 


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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.


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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.

 


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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.


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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.