Going with the flow... - une femme d'un certain âge

Going with the flow…

Looking toward Montmartre from the top of the Pompidou

We’re at the midway point of a long weekend, and as it seems to happen with increasing frequency, things aren’t going as planned. We’re all fighting off colds, and petit monsieur is having one of his rough days, where his behavioral issues and mood swings make us hesitant to take him out in public.

For those who don’t know, we have a son with special needs: mild cerebral palsy, seizure disorder (mostly well controlled with medication, thankfully), and severe cognitive impairment. He’s a sweet kid usually, but adolescence and the physiological changes sometimes play havoc with his nature; his moods can turn on a dime and he can become very difficult and aggressive. We’ve been working with behaviorists for years, which does help to some degree, but we’re coming to the realization that for his own and others’ safety, we may need to fight chemistry with chemistry.

So some weekends we’re more housebound than others, and for today at least, the rest of this one is looking to be one of them. I’m eyeing my closet with intent: maybe a few more of the Bad Boys headed for reform school the donation pile, a bit of organizing and getting ready for warmer weather.

People who haven’t lived here often have a misconception about LA weather. It really isn’t hot here all of the time, or even most of the time. Especially near the coast, it stays relatively cool until well into the summer, and most years we’re bundled up in sweaters or jackets to watch July 4th fireworks. But I’m not complaining! Dressing for work in hot weather is a challenge I don’t relish.

And retailers aren’t helping much. Trying to find good quality summer weight workwear has become a mission of sorts, and at times feels like looking for Waldo. Among the racks and shelves of shorts, clamdiggers, sundresses, sheer floaty tops, barely-there sandals, beachwear, neon colors, stands a lone linen jacket in a forlorn beige color. Sure, there are suits and “career wear” stores and sections, but for those of us who want something in between Corporate Drag™ and Weekend in Malibu, the pickings are slim. But as I find pieces with possibilities, I will share. (And I do have a few Karina dresses now that should be great summer office wear options.)

The cup of tea I was sipping as I wrote this seems to have worked a bit of magic and my throat is now feeling a bit better. Time to tackle the closet…

Hope your weekend is going well!

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  1. May 27, 2012 / 7:28 pm

    I am glad to hear your throat is feeling better.

    You and monsieur are the very best parents petit monsieur could have. I am sending warm hugs.

  2. May 27, 2012 / 8:06 pm

    I hope your weekend turns out to be a good one in spite of how it has started. And yes, more posts about summer career clothing. I don’t go to an office, but do find summer dressing to be a challenge.

    I’m assuming you have checked all of Eileen Fisher’s offerings and found them lacking for your current needs.

  3. Anonymous
    May 27, 2012 / 8:11 pm

    Ah, this photo reminds me of a lovely (recent!) Sunday afternoon spent with you and monsieur. Sending love and best wishes from Paris, where the weather is finally quite nice for our long weekend. Bon courage! Karen in Paris

  4. May 27, 2012 / 9:06 pm

    Even though I am not working, I would enjoy your posts on dressing for summer.

    I was aware that petit monsieur had special needs and am sure that you are the best parent he could have. I suspect you handle it all with grace and wisdom. My own not so petit monsieur has been regressing rapidly of late and I am beginning to accept that we are reaching a point where better living through chemistry may be the only answer. I hope your day gets better and tomorrow is easier.

  5. May 27, 2012 / 10:00 pm

    Tea soothes the throat and the spirit. Recently, on a visit to my 94 year old Mother, we remarked that we have handled essentially every life challenge over a cup of tea.

    I understand the approach you are considering to help your son. Sometimes it is the most considerate choice. My adult son suffered a seizure disorder after head injury. Many years of dealing with the effects and side effects of treatment proved exhausting but worth the effort. He did have some good times and I believe that any effort is better than no effort. Bless you.

    On the career wear issue, best of luck with that. You are absolutely correct, either look like a teen on the way to the mall or a pseudo-man in your button down suit. It is very frustrating and I will look forward to any information that you uncover.

  6. May 27, 2012 / 10:58 pm

    Like Corrine wrote, there is some magic in a cup of tea. It makes the contemplative time stretch out longer, I think. I had not realized the nature of your son’s challenges, and I am sending you a hug now for all your loving efforts.

    I agree that dressing smartly in the sweltering heat is difficult! I have not mastered it yet, as I wilt easily. : > Let us know what you find, pls.

  7. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 / 1:08 am

    I don’t usually comment. However, I have a 16-year-old son on the spectrum. For the last 6 months, he has been on 200 mg L-theanine morning and evening (for a total of 400 mg daily) which has helped him calm down immensely. Over-the-counter amino acid from green tea (no caffeine) which calms without causing sedation. I don’t know if it would be appropriate for your son, but wanted to mention it to you. All the best, PJ.

  8. Terri
    May 27, 2012 / 8:09 pm

    I had been aware that you had a son…but had been unaware of the special needs. We had good friends who had similar challenges with a child and gradually we learned to share time in each other’s homes, where their autistic daughter was always comfortable. Good luck with the shopping. Is that CorporateDrag your trademarked term?

    • May 28, 2012 / 1:28 am

      @ Terri, no, the “™” is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I first saw the term used by Duchesse at Passage des Perles, though some have said it pre-dates that reference. It’s a wonderfully succinct and evocative term though, isn’t it?

  9. coffeeaddict
    May 27, 2012 / 9:23 pm

    You have mentioned le petit monsieur and his condition before and I’ve always admired the open manner in which you approached this difficult topic.

    I hope everyone feels better soon!

  10. May 28, 2012 / 4:54 am

    Thank you for sharing about your son. It’s not easy – may you have daily grace and strength.
    I always enjoy your posts about Paris since we haven’t been for a few years, and it may be awhile before we get there again. Your wardrobe choices are also interesting to me – well thought out, which is what I’m working towards in my own closet.

    I hope the rest of your weekend goes well.

  11. Pam @ over50feeling40
    May 27, 2012 / 10:03 pm

    I have dear friends with special needs children and the sacrifices you make often go unnoticed. You are special with a special son, and I applaud you. I mentioned you in my post today, since I am discussing summer attire. I hope to hear some of the ideas you come up with, though my weather is much hotter than LA. I hope you feel better soon and find some inspiration deep in the closet! Rest well…

  12. May 28, 2012 / 7:18 am

    Having met le petit monsieur before he hit adolescence and its attendant challenges, I know you’re patient, wise, and thoughtful parents — and that he has a sweet spirit. Still, I can only imagine how exhausting those teen years can be, multiplied by the frustrations of disability. Take care of yourself.

  13. Unknown
    May 28, 2012 / 1:59 am

    Thank you for sharing about your son, Pseu. We have a son who suffered a catastrophic brain injury playing football at age 17. Having (barely) survived, and having reached pretty much the limits of current cognitive therapies, he thrives some days and struggles others. Mood swings and difficulty controlling his impulses are a frequent scenario. I see that there are several wise and supportive comments already. If you have not yet discovered your state chapter of the BIA (brain injury association), I respectfully encourage you to have a look. It is a godsend both for the ‘patient’ and the family and caregivers. I salute you for your strength AND your wardrobe wisdom.

  14. May 28, 2012 / 5:04 pm

    I imagine that as he gets older, this will get difficult in new ways. It does so with all kids, of course, but you do have special challenges. I am sure you are wonderful parents, and I hope you have a lot of help and support in your lives.

  15. Anonymous
    May 28, 2012 / 8:08 pm

    Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough week. Look after yourself!


  16. May 29, 2012 / 2:33 am

    Some days are meant for getting through vs enjoying; so sorry to hear your family’s challenges have intensified lately. I can only hope new thoughts/treatments will make the way a bit easier for everyone.

  17. May 29, 2012 / 2:36 am

    Thank you for sharing the challenges that you experience with your son. I admire how you live your life as you deal with change and stress. Nothing wrong with chemical intervention when needed!

  18. May 29, 2012 / 5:12 am

    I do hope the weekend ended on a brighter note and the closet organisation didn’t get the better of you! I don’t know how I would deal with the challenges you face every day with your son, and have done for years but I do know that special needs children are only ever born into special families… That’s my observation anyway. You are amazing and he is so very lucky to have you… xv

  19. May 29, 2012 / 12:40 pm

    Thank you all for your kind and supportive words. Things did improve, and we were able to enjoy some nice family time over the long weekend.

  20. laurieann
    May 29, 2012 / 4:18 pm

    Dear Pseu: I hear you about the young man in your life. Mine (15 has autism) refuses to leave the house for anything except school or his therapy appointments. No family meals out for us and certainly no family travel. And I lost my 16 hours of respite care to budget cuts this year. Ah well. Parenting our children can be a high-effort low-rewards proposition at times, requiring much flexibility, humor and the ability to find joy in small accomplishments and simple pleasures.

  21. May 30, 2012 / 11:57 am

    Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now, but have never commented before. Of course, I’m late to the game commenting now, but I have my own special circumstances at home with an almost-adult son and our struggles kept me from my blogs for a few days. I skimmed this post the day you wrote it, but I couldn’t write then so I thought I would just let the opportunity pass. However, you kept resurfacing in my mind — because you clearly hit a chord — so I knew I had to write if no other reason than to say, You are not alone. I send you patience and love!

  22. June 22, 2012 / 2:26 am

    We had hesitated to try any chemical assistance, feeling that it was such a drastic measure. Finally I realized that we only had to try one dose at a time, and could stop at will. Wonders! Finding the appropriate meds gives us one more tool in the toolbox of coping strategies. It is a HUGE relief.

  23. December 9, 2013 / 3:59 am

    just read this now and wishing you patience and strength xxx

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