The Sonia Show

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


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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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Happy New Year, you guys!

Yeah, so, a lot of folks have been asking me what our mighty, mighty good boy Calvin asked for Christmas. As you might recall, last year Calvin asked for a birthday cake.

This year, Calvin said he would not sit on Santa’s lap, but he would like to stand near him and talk to him. And since we’re not about to force our kid to sit on a stranger’s lap, we were fine with that.

Santa asked him what he would like for Christmas.

“Presents,” Calvin told him.

“Anything specific?” Santa asked. “I could bring you a bag of chicken feathers. Maybe some auto parts?”

“Chicken feathers! OK! And a star on the Christmas tree. And binoculars.”

Santa didn’t bring the chicken feathers. #blessed


Of course, Calvin was a really good boy this year, so he got a ton of presents. I was particularly stoked that he actually acknowledged the book I bought him about San Francisco trains and buses.

There was a lot to hate about 2018, and I kinda think it can eat a bag of dicks. BUT, a lot of good stuff happened this year, too.

We went to Cabo with my sister and her family. That was rad. I saw Weird Al in concert. Mark Hamill liked one of my tweets (#humblebrag). We saw “Book Of Mormon.” We got tickets to the Oakland A’s Treehouse and went to a bunch of baseball games. I went to my job’s headquarters in Minnesota and finally got to meet in person some of my coworkers, who are the coolest. My mighty, mighty good man David bought me new mics and various other technical things for podcasting, and it all makes me sound great, but unfortunately they don’t make me sound smart. Smith left Dorking Out, which was a huge bummer, but I got Margo as a co-host and that is so fuckin’ awesome. Check out this week’s episode about “A League Of Their Own.” it’s super fun. My dad bought a 1935 Chevy Coupe, and I love to ride in it with him. I saw “Grease 2” in the theater, and it might be the most fun I had at the movies this year. I bought Calvin a birthday cake shaped like a Muni bus, which resulted in a look of pure happiness from him.

So anyway, 2018 can fuck off now. Happy New Year, you guys!


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Let’s catch up

Yeah, so, we have some catching up to do, huh?

I’ve been neglectful. Don’t be mad at me, baby. Take me back.

I’ll do a relatively short wrap up for you and then we will go back to our usual blog posting schedule … I hope.

We had a very successful 7th birthday party for my mighty, mighty good boy Calvin. This was the first year ever that he asked for a birthday party. He asked for a birthday cake, and he asked to invite his friends.

We rented out the clubhouse at Jackson Playground, because it was the homebase for his a few of his summer camps, so we know he loves it there. We invited friends, family and all the kids in his class and about half of them came, which is rad.

We had a Muni bus birthday cake made from My Favorite Bite, and it was AMAZING! Sometimes you see a cool-looking cake but it tastes kinda yucky – it’s dry, it’s overly sweet, it’s both. But this cake not only looked great, it tasted great.

Calvin was over-the-moon happy! “There’s cake inside the bus!” I mean, look at that smile.

The party was such a success that Calvin asked if we could have another birthday party the following weekend. He’s also asking for a BART-themed cake for Christmas.

Just a few days after Calvin’s birthday it’s my birthday. Dear readers, I do not lie about my age. I’m 48. I earned it, and I own it.

I celebrated by doing things that I love like eating vegan food and drinking beer with some of my favorite people. I finally checked out Standard Deviant Brewing. They have some tasty brews, and I really loved their saison and they had a really good oatmeal stout on tap.

After a few beers, I had dinner at Shizen, which serves vegan sushi. That’s right, VEGAN SUSHI. That shit is delicious. I also got to go to SF Brew and Vegan Eats. Finally, a beer festival in which I’m not forced to only eat the fries. It was everything I dreamed it would be.

This country is a dumpster fire right now, but I’m trying to stay positive.

I really love this time of year, and not just because it’s my birthday season. Fall is my jam. Pumpkin everything. Orange is everywhere. The weather is nice. Scary movies are easy to find on Filmstruck, TCM, Netflix and Hulu.

I was chatting with a coworker today, and I told her that we should buy fall homes, instead of summer homes, and we could hop from house to house and just live in the fall all year long.


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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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The nod squad

Yeah, so, one of the things I love about being a parent (besides the fact that my kid is super amazing and undoubtedly the best person in the entire world) is the bond you have with other like-minded parents.

Obviously, there are parents who are huge assholes. They let their kids kick your seat in the movie theater or raise them to be racist, MAGA hat-wearing little shits. But there are some other cool parents out there, too. I like to think that mighty, mighty good man David and I are cool parents.

We’ve got each other’s back. We’re quick to offer wipes, sunblock and goldfish crackers when needed. We will help you in a public restroom when your kid has an accident.

A few weeks ago, we were at a restaurant sitting outside, and Calvin was pissed. We had been at Ocean Beach before heading to the restaurant, and he wanted to stay at the beach forever. I get it. The beach is fun.

He ran off from the table into a nearby open area and started crying. I walked up to him and hugged him while he cried.

“I want to go back to the beach,” he sobbed.

“We will. First lunch, then beach,” I told him.

He cried and cried, and another mother walked by with her two kids, and one of them was crying, too. Then she gave me the nod.

I have given this nod countless times, too. It’s the nod parents give each other to acknowledge that the struggle is real. We’ve been there. We get it.

Most parents are doing the best they can. So, whether you’re a parent or not, when you see a parent trying to comfort a screaming, tantrum-throwing kid, instead of judging them, give ’em a nod or one of those “I see you” hand gestures. It means a lot.


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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.