Monday, September 30, 2013

In Which I Got A Case of Verbal Diarrhea

"I am too old for this! Too old! This whole thing? Embarrassing!" Tommy grumbled as we walked into the Youth Center.

"It's fine," I insisted. I gave our names to the uniformed soldier sitting behind a table.

"I'm too old!" Tommy repeated for like the twentieth time. He repeats himself a lot. I didn't realize it was an autism thing. Sometimes he'll ask a question and I'll answer him and then an hour later he'll ask me the SAME question.

"You deserve a medal too," I explained.

We were at the Home Front Hero dinner that the Airman and Family Readiness Center on the military base put together for deployed families. The kids were all getting a certificate and medal for being brave while their parents were away. I found this to be an awesome thing--and even better, they were feeding us so it meant I didn't have to cook.

There were some booths set up that we checked out. Some had free books. Candy. Pens. I could always use pens. Mine always disappear. At one booth a woman handed over some bags and said, "Here's something for your children." To which Tommy immediately said, "I'm not a child! I'm 11! I'm too old for this!"

I made him apologize. He said, "I'm sorry. But I'm not a child. I'm growing up."

He made my head hurt.

He seems to think that because he's in middle school that he's no longer a kid. He explains that his voice is getting lower and that he's going through puberty. He doesn't like toys anymore--except for Legos. He's turning into a man. He tells me this multiple times a day. I inform him that he's still technically a kid until he's 18. He disagrees.

This is basically how Tommy looked during the first hour:

"Tommy!" I hissed. "You're scaring people. Stop it."

"I am too old for this!" Tommy whispered back.

He wasn't the oldest one there. An eighth grader showed up.

"Maybe Tommy needs a time out," Natalie said primly. "I'm happy." She twirled and went, "Ta-da!"

"You are the worst sister," Tommy grumbled. "I'm too OLD for this."

I looked around hoping to find some alcohol. There wasn't any. So I reached for the package of M&Ms that were passed out. I ripped it open and poured a huge amount into my mouth.

"Hey!" Natalie shouted indignantly. "That was MINE!"

I chewed. I probably had a chocolate bubble at the corner of my mouth. A Colonel walked past at that moment and did a double take. There were a lot of commanders at the dinner. I was not making the best impression. I quickly swallowed and wiped my lips.

Some important people talked. Thanked the families. Then announced that it was time to eat.

There was music playing--Disney music--so Natalie started to dance:

Her outfit looked like this by the way:

Her shirt says, "Daddy is my hero and I am his princess." I did not make this. I cannot sew. I buy my products from Etsy. You can purchase the set here.

As we were eating, a different Colonel sat down at the table. That's what the higher ups were there to do: converse with the families, make sure we haven't lost our minds, stuff like that. I had just taken a gigantic bite of roll when he sat down and introduced himself so I sat there chewing like an idiot. Then I reached out to shake his hand and I totally jabbed him with my jagged nail. He was polite about it as I apologized profusely.

And then I got a case of verbal diarrhea. When I'm nervous I start talking and then I can't stop. It's why I worry about going to a blogger convention. I'll make a fool of myself and be known as The Girl Who Won't Shut Up. I told the Colonel about missing Tom. About eating tons of chocolate. ("I've probably gained like 10 pounds, ha! Most wives are out losing weight when their husbands go and I'm stuffing my face!") About how my kids can drive me insane. ("My daughter doesn't like to listen to me but she listens at school.") The guy sat there nodding kindly. After talking his ear off I thought, "It's okay though, I'll probably never see him again. He's a COLONEL." But then he was like, "Oh, I sometimes sit in during dog certifications."

My husband works in K9 and will most likely be getting a dog when he comes back. And will need to get certified. So he will meet the Colonel who will remember his last name and say something like, "That wife of yours is a chatterbox and she clawed up my hand!"

The only reason I stopped talking was because the ceremony began. I'm sure the guy was relieved. The kids were all called up to get their certificate and medal:

Tommy seemed much happier after getting his medal.

I thought it was a fabulous thing for the base to do. I only frightened one person, so that's a plus.

"That was okay," Tommy said as we walked to our car. "But I'm not a kid anymore. Just so you know."

I sighed. "Yes. I know."


  1. I am just like you with the talking when I'm nervous. That was hilarious! And Natalie as always is dressed adorably.

  2. I never stop talking when I'm nervous. We've been going through fertility treatments and let me just say-- when you can make RE nurses uncomfortable, you win a new award for chattering in awkward places!

  3. YOU are awesome!!! I babble a lot... I say it's because I'm ADHD (I'm though, but, you know that, I think that's how we found each other org...) anyways... WTG Tommy!,I am SO proud for him & N & who care if you babble. :) xoxo.~A~ BTW great post & I'm

  4. What a great event! Love when they honor our kiddoes!!!

  5. Thats so nice of them. My oldest keeps telling me she isn't a kid anymore either. I tell her she will always be my baby

  6. I have a problem with shutting up too. Drives my husband bonkers! I'm glad Tommy warmed up to the ceremony. Maybe he was cranky from being hungry. He is almost a man, after all; and they have some HUGE appetites!

  7. I think that's a pretty cool thing for the base to do.

    Love Natalie's outfit!

    I'm awful about babbling away when I'm nervous.

  8. I had a moment of... "Tommy is right! Look at the lineup, he is at least twice as tall as the rest of the kids!" but I am glad he is happy with the medal. Does it make you feel better knowing hes coming home soon.

  9. I remember the boy in my brother's boy scout troop with autism had the same problem. Sometimes it was really hard to get through to him because he just kept repeating the same thing regardless of what you told him. He's grown now and is doing amazing for himself though. He found a focus by starting track, it allowed him to get out some of that energy and helped improve his focus. I still talk to him now and again and the conversation problems that used to be there are almost nonexistent.

  10. That's an awesome idea!! I think the more recognition the families get the better because you are the ones staying here trying to keep it all together...I'm so excited that Tom should be coming home soon for deserve the break ;-)

  11. That is great, even if Tommy thinks he is too old. ps. Cat also believes that she is no longer a kid, tells me all the time ... must be something about being 11

  12. That was a great thing for the base to do! And yeah, the "ask the same question multiple times" thing is an autism thing. Drives me bonkers.

  13. So awesome that the base did that. You're a hero family. There isn't one hero in your family - there are four! I also think your delivery of the story is so well written - I'd want to show it to writing students!

  14. That is really a great idea! Love that dinner was provided as well because really, making it to dinnertime is hard enough some days. No need to add insult to injury and make a lady COOK.

  15. I have two teenage boys (15 and 14) and it took me a loooong time to wrap my head around the fact they're growing up and no longer play with toys. I think it's neat that a ceremony like that is held for kids of deployed parents.

  16. that's a fabulous thing for the base to do for the families.

  17. I am all about free food, sometimes even if its food I don't really love but kind of sort of like.

    Your post sometimes remind me of how I might not be cut off for kids!

  18. I feel like Tommy and my oldest daughter who is 9 could be one in the same. And then she would get her medal and look as pleased as he did. And I could be you. Talking up a storm due to nerves. And eating chocolate for that matter, too.

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