Pandemic Diaries: Part 29 – Anastasia (and Some Sleeping Beauty) – Happy Birthday, DC!

I will be the first to admit that I can get carried away with DC’s birthday. Much like Christmas, it was a long time before he actually “got it” and when he did, he was all in and so was I.

When he got to be an adult, I stopped calling his birthday get-togethers “parties” because party meant things like party bags, games and/or some form of entertainment. We began calling them birthday dinner with his friends. He was okay with that and really looked forward to it each year.

Of course this year would be different. Like last year, he would not be able to have a birthday dinner with his friends. he was disappointed because… his friends.

I was disappointed because it was his 30th birthday and that, as they say is a big deal.

As you have read… DC was even more excited than he usually would be about his birthday because he really misses “Going Out To Eat”; and what is a holiday or special day without going out to eat?

Bringing his “Out To Eat” favorites home is something that he REALLY looks forward to since this pandemic began, so he was in “breaking my sanity” kind of excited mode.

That being said, I wanted to make it special – as special as it could be in the living room with just Doug and I in attendance.

It also goes without saying that this is all a just ploy to force you to look at DC’s birthday photos (you knew that).

He started his day wearing his annual birthday shirt and his new birthday socks.

I went with his second favorite of late – Sleeping Beauty for birthday breakfast.

And of course, a whoopie pie because who doesn’t need a whoopie pie to brighten their day?

Off to “work” he went and I got started decorating. I have to admit, it was fun. I haven’t done any “party” decorating in a very long time.

I wrote about his love for Anastasia in my last post. As I also said in my last post; Anastasia items are not easy to find. Party supplies are non-existent – I had to wing it.

I decided to use “Together in Paris” as the theme and Paris party supplies were not very hard to find at all.

But as I do… on the day I decided that the three backdrops and plain pink table cloth were not enough. I started cutting up the paper plates to liven up the table cloth.

There was going to be only three of us, so how many plates did we really need?

Then I went on a hunt around the house looking for anything I could use to add to the effect. The Glinda costume that had been hanging in the garage for may years was sacrificed for it’s pink glittery material, that I used to cover the lamp and wrap around the edge of the table.

No worries! It was no great loss. After many wears by many different people, it was not in good shape any more. It had also been taken in when I wore it a very long time ago; and not very well. Plus, the garage did not do it any favors. I was really wondering why it had still been hanging there and not thrown away. I suppose I just got used to seeing it there and stopped noticing it.

Right now, I am sure you have questions (and might even be shocked) by one or both items I just mentioned…

Let me clarify for you.

Yes, there was a time when I actually had to take in costumes so they would fit me! Shocked, I know!

I am not nor have been a sewer. When I say, I took something in, it was with a needle and thread (not a machine) and it was more like grabbing material in certain spots and sewing it up. It was not a good look, but usually I could get away with it on a costume. Now-a-days I can’t even see to thread a needle.

Moving on…

The cake…

All that DC had been talking about was a cake with BIG red roses (this guy loves frosting as much as his mother does). He showed me online images of cakes with large red roses on a daily basis. His only other stipulation was that his cake needed to be bigger than mine had been.

After searching “Anastasia” for days hoping to find something I could use as a cake topper, I decided on a tiara and found an Eiffel tower candle.

Simple; but it made the point.

The baker did a wonderful job.

(After DC jamming the tiara on my head far too many times, the following day – I found a home for it on his Tangled doll that stands in the corner of his room. I am not tiara material.)

Needless to say, he was surprised when he came home to all of the decorations.

After he went through his “coming home” routine which had to be followed even on his birthday, I told him to go upstairs to change into his party shirt. He looked at me sort of funny because he was already wearing his birthday t-shirt. I told him there was a new shirt on his bed just for this occasion.

He went upstairs.

I listened.

I heard a squeal!

I could not find a “Together in Paris” shirt that would have arrived in time, but I was able to find “Once Upon a December” (you know… the song he tortured Camp with all summer?).

Have you ever gotten really excited about something in the hopes that your child will be as excited as you think he/she will be – and then they are not? I cannot even count how many times that has happened.

Well, he was just as excited about the whole thing as I hoped he would be!

We ordered pizza and wings from the place where we usually have his birthday dinner with friends. Of course, we also had Anastasia playing on the television throughout the festivities.

I hid all of the gifts that had been arriving for him from over the past week from family and friends, so he would have a big pile to open on the day.

Of course there were markers, jelly beans, goofy socks (which is now his thing), princess dolls and… the Anastasia and Dimitri dolls.

He was not so impressed with Anastasia because it was “Skating Anastasia” – not in the movie, but it was the best I could do. I did get the squeal for Dimitri, though.

He also received a case of white paper –

because, you know –

this.

I was thrilled that I could make his 30th something to remember for him. He was happy with every single thing, but he still missed his friends, which became more apparent when he blew out his candles.

Normally when DC blows the candles out on his cake and makes a wish, I have to ask him what his wish was (yeah, yeah, I know – you’re not supposed to tell). I usually get an answer that he has just made up at the time of the question because he is usually not really making a wish, he’s just doing theater.

This year, I did not have to ask…

He announced “I wish the sickness would be over” and then blew out the candles.

That was something he said quite often at the beginning of this pandemic and every once in a while over the past year, but I never imagined it would be so front and center in his mind that he would use it as his birthday wish.

That is my wish too, DC.

We’re getting there.

Happy Birthday to this guy! I can’t believe he is 30 today! THIRTY!!! It’s been a hard year and although he is disappointed with having to spend another birthday without his friends; he’s making the best of it! So proud of this guy! Happy Birthday, DC! Love you ‘magly’ – March 22 Facebook

Happy Birthday and I do love you ‘magly’

****

Oh! In case you are wondering, we will not be making a keychain.

***

Quarantine/Pandemic Diaries – all

Quarantine Diaries: Part 27 – Anastasia and Pandemic Birthday Number 2

We are now heading toward celebrating DC’s 2nd pandemic birthday.

I feel awful because he is still waiting for his make-up birthday with his friends from last year because who knew back then we would still be in the midst of a pandemic. At the time I thought we would be able to celebrate “properly” sometime over the summer. Boy, was I wrong!

Making it even worse is that this will be his 30th birthday. Thirty is a pretty big deal and before all of this “sickness” started we were hoping to have a big bash with his friends like we did when they all turned 21 within weeks of each other.

This year, celebrating my and his birthdays seems to be extra important to him and of course it is …

He has not really been able to go anywhere for fun in almost exactly a year. All he really looks forward to is getting takeout a couple of times per week.

Take Another Step: Quarantine Diaries Part 26 – Birthday Anticipation

He already has his “takeout dinner” planned – pizza, wings and of course, cake.

The pizza must have pepperoni and cheese and the cake must have large frosting flowers; preferably in red or pink.

His birthday list is the same, or close to the same as it is for every birthday, Christmas or monthly Dollar Store visit:

29 markers (a change in number since the 72 markers he wanted for Christmas)

Bandaids

Paper

Jelly Beans

Yes, I know that these are the things that make him happy – and he will get them, but I am always looking for something that will really blow him away. It is not easy and I do not always succeed.

DC has always loved the movie, Anastasia. He has been watching it since it came out in 1997.

Over the last year or two it has become his go-to favorite, over and above all of the Disney princesses that he loves so much. Even more-so since the pandemic began.

The book is always in his hand and at the top of the book pile on the kitchen chair. He reads it every night… aloud before bed. He acts out scenes (very well, I might add) on a regular basis. He regularly informs me that John Cusack is the voice of Dimitri and Meg Ryan is the voice of Anya.

Of course Angela Lansbury is the voice of “The Grand Duchess, Marie, not Mrs. Potts and not Miss Price or Jessica”(because he must also tell me who they played before but are not playing now) and Bernadette Peters as “Sophie, but not Angelique (Beauty and the Beast Enchanted Christmas), Lady Larken (Once Upon a Mattress), The Witch (The Original “Into the Woods”) and The Stepmother (Cinderella). He will also add that John Cusack is not Jessie in Toy Story because that is his sister.

This movie is 24 years old and is not a Disney movie (although believe it is now considered a Disney movie?), so there was not much Anastasia merchandise to be had at the time it came out and even less now, 24 years later.

One of those accidental gift finds…DC wants pretty much the same things all of the time (or something so old or obscure that I have to resort to eBay). It’s hard to find him something other than the regular things on his list that will really make him happy. He wanted an Anastasia book (he already has a few). While searching to find one that he didn’t have, I came across a music box that plays “Once Upon a December”, the song that he haunted his virtual camp music class with all summer. Score!!!!!! He’s been playing it all morning!!! I also found an ornament for him and one for Mrs. H as a reminder that she hasn’t had to read Anastasia with him since March due to the pandemic.

Take Another Step – Anastasia

He still plays that song on the music box every night before bed.

So…. in order to make this birthday special, I went on a mission to find an Anastasia doll. Not an easy task since as I said, the movie is 24 years old.

I searched and searched and…

I found one!!!!! ONE!

Not only did I find the one Anastasia but I found Dimitri!!!!!

There was only one of those as well and being collectors items or not readily available ….. Ka Ching.

(It is ridiculous just how excited I was getting and still am, about finding these things)

I also came across a set with Anastasia AND Empress Marie (I confess that I am confused as to whether she is called Empress Marie or Grand Duchess Marie – but whatever). There was only one of those as well so I hemmed and hawed and went back and forth with it. I knew he would love having both of them but I also knew that Dimitri was just as important. I finally talked myself into it and decided I would save that set for Christmas.

During this Anastasia “spree”, I also came across a necklace… Together in Paris. Again, because Anastasia merchandise is so hard to find, I bought it without really thinking about it.

After the purchase was made I started wondering just what I thought he was going to do with it. I was thinking that maybe we could attach it to his key chain or his jacket zipper. I did not know, but then I had a thought.

DC loves to give me gifts. Although it does not always occur to him to want to get a gift for me, he gets really excited and takes full credit for any gift I receive that has his name on it. Now I rarely wear jewelry. I actually only wear it when DC presents me with a new “heart necklace”- his go-to gift when he is involved in picking the gift out, but I thought he would be really excited to give me the necklace for my birthday on Saturday.

Instead of just wrapping it up and putting his name on it (I have done that) I thought that I should let him make the decision himself. Doug is taking him to the Dollar Store this week so he can get his new supply of Band-Aids and markers and also to pick out something for me. I gave the necklace to Doug with instructions to show it to him and to see if he would like to “give it to Mom for her birthday”.

He may just opt to keep it for himself, I don’t know.

Either way, in a few days I will have a new necklace or DC will have a new keychain.

Whatever happens with the necklace, I am sure that DC will be over the top excited with his gifts when his birthday rolls around!

Is it weird that I am this excited about finding these things?

***

During all of these searches, I discovered there is/was a musical. I knew nothing about this. I haven’t researched it any more than that but, I will. If it is recent, it will certainly be something to look into when this pandemic is over.

Quarantine Diaries – All

Quarantine Diaries: Part 25 – The Road to Normalcy?

It has been a minute since I have written anything. I would not have imagined, being home for so long that I would not have the time to write. I cannot really say where my time is going, but it is. Also, our internet has been torturous over the last few months and not having the patience to wait for it may also have something to do with not writing (or reading). Our carrier says their system is overloaded with so many people working from home, which does not make any sense to me. Wouldn’t it have been even more over loaded back last year when absolutely EVERYTHING shut down and EVERYONE was home?

DC went back to his “job”(day program) in October. It was a hard decision for me to make.

Back in May, his supervisor/staff called me and asked if I would consider sending him back to work on July 15th. I told her “I can not make that decision now. We don’t know what is going to happen over the next month or two.”

In early July I received an email from DC’s caseworker telling me that his supervisor emailed him that DC would be back in mid-July and we needed to have a meeting to go over protocols! I let him know exactly what I had said to his supervisor back in May and now that the numbers had spiked I was not even considering sending him back.

We had to have a meeting anyway to discuss what types of protocols they had in place so I knew what was going on when I did decide to send him back. His supervisor called me a few days before the meeting and the July 15th subject came up again.

Supervisor: I am sorry if I misunderstood. I was surprised that you wanted to send DC back in July.

Me: I didn’t. I told you I could not make that decision at that point.

Supervisor: Yes, I understand. That is why I was surprised that you said you wanted to send him back.

Me: I didn’t say that.

Supervisor: I know but I was surprised that you were willing to send him back.

Me: I wasn’t.

Not only did the conversation not make any sense but it felt as if she thought if she said that enough times I would believe I actually said that!

We had our meeting. We talked protocols. I explained to both his caseworker and his supervisor that I was not comfortable sending him back this soon.

Caseworker: I understand. I agree. That is how most overprotective parents are thinking (yes, he actually said that while agreeing with me).

We decided to check in again in August to see if anything had changed.

We had that meeting in August to discuss a September date. This was not engraved in stone, if things got worse. I asked how many days he could attend.

Supervisor: As many days as you want.

We ended the meeting with a September date in mind. Before the meeting ended his supervisor said, “I have 4 more meetings this week so I don’t know how many clients will be coming back. I will call you to let you know how many days he can attend and we’ll schedule another meeting before that.

????? I guess, “As many as you want” really did not mean as many as I wanted.

She never called.

In August, with numbers being down, I started letting DC go to the grocery store with Doug. This eliminated the anxiety and constant calls to Doug about the grocery list. Unfortunately, there was a spike in September and I had to stop the grocery store trips and I also decided (even though I never got that call) that he would not be going back on the date we had discussed at our August meeting.

About a month later and after the date we had discussed in our August meeting, his supervisor called again. What did I think about October 1st? At this point, numbers had begun to level out so I was willing to talk about it.

We had another meeting close to the end of September and decided on an October 1st start date.

I was still panicked and on the fence. There were predictions of spikes come winter and I was torn between just keeping him home straight through and letting him have a bit of normalcy – even if it turned out to be just a month or two.

As we decided on October 1st, I asked again – “How many days can he attend?”

Supervisor: As many as you want.

Before the meeting ended his supervisor said, “I have 3 more meetings this week so I don’t know how many clients will be coming back. I will call you to let you know how many days he can attend and we’ll schedule another meeting before that.

Sound familiar? Does this sound like a vicious circle to you? I did to me.

Have a meeting – Wait for her to have other meetings with other clients to determine the days he can attend – Have another meeting – Wait for her to have other meetings with other clients to determine the days he can attend – Have another meeting – Wait for…

At this point I just “insisted” that he be able to attend 3 days. I didn’t care who else she was meeting with. She was meeting with me now and we needed to resolve this as this circle could just go on forever.

He started back 3 days a week on October 1st. There were/are only two riders in the van that takes him to his job. Everyone is masked and windows are cracked.

As difficult as it was for DC to get used to wearing a mask back when mask wearing was first encouraged, he is really good about it now. So I wasn’t worried about him wearing a mask all day. The number of clients at his program is low and they are split up into even smaller groups. Temps are taken in the parking lot each morning.

He was happy to be back at his job.

Once November hit, he was back 5 days.

Once he was back at work daily, I noticed that some of the anxiety he was experiencing and persevering over different things that he normally would not have, seemed to go away.

Because (as I have said before) he always seemed to be in-between loving staying home and the anxiety of missing work and activities and wanting to go back to work but missing staying home; he has developed a couple of new “things” since he’s gone back.

It started on October with stars. He drew and presented me with stars. Many, many, pictures of stars at all hours of the day and night and no matter what I was doing. Cooking, washing dishes, eating dinner or working on the computer – I had to stop whatever I was doing to make a big deal about the stars he had drawn for me. When he could not get to me in the shower, I would find them outside the bathroom door.

Just two days worth..

I am not talking about a picture here and there, I am talking about a LOT of pictures! Since it all coincided with his return to work, I was worried that something or someone was bothering him there, but I could not really get anything out of him. He seemed happy to go everyday and even begged to go when there was an unexpected cancellation. When that happened, he interrogated me all day long as to when exactly he would be going back. So work does not seem to be bothering him at all.

I am thinking this was just his way of transitioning back.

After Christmas, the stars stopped and he moved on to hearts. Same thing… all day… everyday.

I will not stop trying to figure this out but for now, I guess it is just going to be his new thing.

Other than that, we are trying to keep him busy. Camp and Best Buddies have done a few virtual events.

The biggest surprise was his winter guard team deciding to have a virtual season. I really thought we would be skipping another season due to the pandemic but they came up with a way. They are doing a fantastic job of it and he is loving it!

Vaccines:

Our state has decided to distribute the vaccine by age only – taking disabilities out of the mix. I was extremely disappointed because I had hoped DC would have been eligible in February.

At this point DC will not be eligible until May.

I received my first shot last week. My second will be at the end of the month. I have been talking it up to DC since. I showed him where they gave me the shot and told him that it did not hurt a bit (it really didn’t). I need to get him comfortable with this because the vaccination sites are just that… sites and not his doctor’s office. I am afraid they will not be able to take the time with DC as his own doctor, would.

I mean, we have passed the point where I had to bring 2 people with me and I, they, the doctor and nurse had to try to hold onto him so they could give him whatever shot he was getting.

But… it has been a very long time since he’s had to have a shot so I am a little bit worried. I am going to keep talking to him about it so when the time comes, he is ready and not “very nervous about this”.

Hopefully, we will all be able to get back to something close to normal sometime very soon.

I cannot believe it has been an entire year!

Stay safe, everyone.

****

Quarantine Diaries – all