Pool Party

003.JPGI was invited to a party.

It was for a girl who was in my class in fourth grade, but was not in my class in fifth grade.

She’s really happy that she’s going to be in gifted seminar with me next year, in sixth grade.

I knew a few of the kids that were at the party.

My mom went to the party with me, but she did not swim.

I don’t know why she came to a pool party, but didn’t swim.

But I was glad that she was there.

We were swimming, but then chose to use the slip and slide.

I fell and hit my head.

It really hurt.

I couldn’t stop crying because of how much it hurt.

My mom helped me calm down and get back to the party.

I didn’t like the things they had there to eat.

There were vegetables and dip.

Too slimy.

There were potato chips to go with meat sandwiches.

Yum – yuck.

I ate potato chips and apple juice.

Guess it was a good thing I ate before we came to the party.

I have to do that a lot.

Most people don’t serve food that I like.

It’s too spicy, or slippery, or a vegetable.

I am better than I was, at eating.

But there’s no way that I’m eating broccoli.

I read one time that it might cure autism.

I am not willing to take the chance that that was just a rumor.

I’d have to suffer through eating broccoli and nothing would come of it.

And maybe I don’t want to “be cured.”

Autism makes me who I am.

After eating, we had a really fun time in the pool.

I invented a game.

I do that often.

For a while, everyone played my game.

Then they didn’t.

It was okay for a while, because I kept playing by myself.

Then it got a little boring.

I couldn’t find my friend who had invited me, so I asked my mom if we could leave.

She said I had to say thank you and goodbye.

I said this to a woman and then to my friend.

(I think the woman was her mom, but I am not sure).

That was another nice celebration at the end of fifth grade.

Tourette Syndrome


Tourette Syndrome is when someone doesn’t want to do a certain thing, but sometimes they do it, but they don’t want to do it.

Sometimes it just happens.

My friend was diagnosed with Tourette’s.

Other people had trouble understanding him.

I didn’t.

I even wrote an essay about how it’s important to understand when others have something tough to deal with.

I think that maybe this is like me and Aspergers.

Other students tried to bug him.

When he asked them to stop, they just did whatever was bugging him more or louder.

That’s bullying.

I didn’t do that.

One time, I asked them to stop.

They didn’t listen to me either.

But later, my friend said, “thank you.”

I think he was glad that I told them to stop too.

It’s not fair that they won’t stop doing something that bothers him.

When I am humming and don’t realize it, and he tells me to stop, I do.

It annoys him.

Lots of things annoy me and I like when other people stop doing those things.

Like calling me a nickname, or not paying attention to the teacher, eating slimy foods, or saying things that make others pay attention to me: like my hair, or how tall I am, or what I’m wearing.

It’s being a good friend when you listen to what someone is asking.

This has nothing to do with having Tourette Syndrome.

The End of Fifth Grade


Fifth grade has been fun – most of the time.

I had to write a lot. That was not fun.

I had to read.

That was okay some of the time.

I liked reading about Steve Jobs.

I also liked making a book trailer in Seminar about Tuck Everlasting.

Sarah played Winnie.

I played Jesse.

We got to have free time in the hallway to think about our project.

I have a best friend named Micah.

But everyone in my class is a great friend.

They are all my friends because I don’t want anyone to feel left out.

I had a friend who was diagnosed with Tourette’s this year.

I tried to be a good friend to him.

I was in chorus because fifth grade could be in the chorus.

I had a solo at the end of the year.

I felt uncomfortable about that because I don’t want to be famous.

I didn’t want everyone to put too much attention on me.

But I practiced and my teacher was very nice.

I did a good job.

At the end of the year, we had a celebration.

I liked that.

We got to be outside instead of in school.

Many of my friends were recognized for nice things they did for others.

I didn’t get recognized for anything in fifth grade, but I was happy for my friends.

They did community service and that was helpful.

I will miss elementary school…

A little bit.


Kieran. My name means little, dark one. Supposedly, my parents had a book of Irish names for boys. They kept saying, Love, Michael, Aileen, Liam, and… and filled in a name to hear how it flowed.

Love, Michael, Aileen, Liam, and Sean? No.

Love, Michael, Aileen, Liam, and Aiden? Nope.

Love, Michael, Aileen, Liam, and Rory? Ugh.

They say Kieran fit the phrase beautifully and kept the pattern with “i” as the second letter.

I don’t think my parents took into consideration the following things before choosing this name for me:

First, it’s also a girl’s name. I cannot tell you how many times someone has said “she” before they saw me. Or, they just hear the name “Karen.” Not happy about that.

Second, I can never find my name on a license plate rack. Ever. Sure, one time when my mom’s friend visited Ireland she took pictures of the town of Kieran and that was cool. But seriously.  No pencils ever have Kieran on them.

Third, little, dark one? Me? Well, maybe it fits a bit, but I would really like to have been a John. Or Jon. Kieran is a bit too unique for me. It draws too much attention to my name and, by association, me.

John, now there’s a name you could blend in with. In elementary, there would be a John B., a John M., a Johnny, and any time the teacher called on John, one of the others would have surely spoken up.

So much less pressure being a John than a Kieran.


End of Fifth Grade Concert


Fifth grade was a great year for Liam, musically. He played the saxophone at home (to try it out). This helped him produce a stronger sound on his clarinet (more strength in his air stream).

It also got him acclimated with the sax so he could participate in jazz band in his eighth grade year.

He was given a solo in the end of year chorus concert (his last solo ever).

To see, click on “Watch on Facebook” (hope it works).

These were more wonderful experiences to round out the end of his fifth grade year.

End of Year

5th grade math olympiad.JPG

At the end of Liam’s fifth grade year, a few wonderful events occurred.

First, was that Liam was invited to the sixth grade awards ceremony to receive a trophy for placing first in Math Olympiad.

It was reported to me that it didn’t phase him in the least to walk up in front of all of the other sixth graders to receive his math award.

He worked hard throughout the year but loves math so much that it was easy for him to complete what he needed to, in order to earn first place.

It was a great recognition for a year that went very well.


Picking up kids from camp:

I’m running late to pick up Jake. Ugh! No parking spots in the lot. The teachers must be having a meeting.

I’ll just pull over here onto the grass. It will just be for a few minutes until Jakey is dismissed.

Oh, there’s Kieran’s mom. That was so nice of Kieran to invite Ethan (older son) to his birthday party. He is so excited. Darn, we have to remember to shop for his gift. Oh, I have until Saturday.


Is Kieran coming to book club tonight? Ethan wanted to call, then didn’t.

He’s going? Oh, I cannot wait to tell him that Kieran will be here tonight. That will be great.

Do you think I need to stay for the entire time? I don’t have a cell phone but thought if Kieran and Ethan were together, they would be fine until I pick him back up.

Do you think 10 of eight will be good?

See you tonight!”

“The car’s parked over here, Jake. Time to get lunch and then mommy needs to get back to work.”

Keeping Traditions


The kids’ grandmother used to plan scavenger hunts for them, especially at Easter.

At first, they would hunt in a small space or in one room, because they were little and she didn’t want to frustrate them.

She would also make sure that each child got a “fair” amount of “loot” – Kieran likes to swoop in just before Mea picks up her bounty, to claim is as his own.

Later, the kids got to hunt across a whole property for plastic eggs filled with coins or the occasional bill.

They loved it.

Then, their grandmother moved away to Utah and the scavenger hunt would only happen once a year, and only in our house because it was too cold or soggy out when they came to visit.

Somehow, my mom’s third husband picked up on their penchant for scavenger hunts and would plan them for when we would visit their house.

When he got sick, I had to remind the kids that he might not have had time to plan a hunt.

There was always one ready, however, to the sheer delight of the kids.

He passed away last spring.

Last summer, Liam got it in his mind that, since he was the oldest, he should take over the responsibility of planning scavenger hunts.

This works well with his brain, to be honest, as he plans a “choose your own adventure” type hunt.

He said the other day, “I have to get working on Kieran’s birthday scavenger hunt. I did it last year. He’ll be disappointed if there isn’t one.”

I love that Liam has stepped up to continue this important family tradition for his siblings.


Monday, 7/10

It’s hot. I don’t want to be outside. Even the birds have stopped flying around they are so hot. The sun is oppressive. That’s right – down right oppressive. I know big words like that. I’m going into seventh grade.

I don’t feel like doing anything. The sun is so bright. I drag myself over to my side table and fish around for what I’m looking for: my sun glasses. I put them on. Inside. It’s too bright and hot to do anything.

I can play video games? Great! Do you want to play? I should text my friends and let them know that I’m going to be in my online world. I cannot wait to try to beat the game. I have so much to build and take care of in my world. Thank you so much for this time to play.

It’s been an hour and a half? Are you sure? It felt like five minutes. You want me to what? Go outside and play with the dog? Get fresh air? Hold on a minute. Isn’t it too hot to go out? Like unhealthy air quality or humidity or something? I’m so tired. I might just take a nap it’s so hot outside. I wish it were not so bright out so I could sleep. Summer makes me so tired and unmotivated. I wish I had something I could do.


Pet Whisperer


I was always a cat person, until I had children. Then I was a kid person. My once-in-a-lifetime cat was named Avery.

My husband was always a dog person. His once-in-a-lifetime dog was Heidi. He also raised goats, chickens, and ducks. He was an animal person, but now is not.

Liam is a cat person by default. He doesn’t care for animals, especially not dogs. They smell, they jump, they are too “in his face.” Because he is calm and never makes a sudden move, our cat, Mollie, has adopted him as “her person.” He pets her when he thinks of it.

Mea is a dog person. She doesn’t seem to like the cat much. She loves the dog but can be “too rough” with her. Thankfully, we have a hearty dog (picture above). Becca is very tolerant and has only snapped once the whole time she has been with us (we rescued her from a shelter in Alabama (with the help of a rescue organization)). She just had surgery when she snapped. It was just her way of telling us she was not happy.

Kieran however, is an every pet person. When we first moved here, we saw a turtle on the road. He wanted to stop “to rescue” it. When we drove back, it was gone.

He watched “Wild Kratts” and anything on Animal Planet faithfully.

One time he told me that I was looking at a picture of a Lemon Shark.

Me: There is no such thing as a lemon shark.

Kieran: Mom (sighs as he thrusts his phone in my face directing my attention to a lemon shark website).

Me: Oh, okay.

He loves our dog, our cat, just not our bugs.

Last night, we met a neighbor. Within about five minutes, a dog that the neighbor described as an extremely shy rescue was lying on her back, letting Kieran pet her belly. The boy that came with her was talking Kieran’s ear off.

When there is a pet (or a child in “need”), Kieran has all the patience in the world.