Friday, October 27, 2006

Weekend Plans

Yesterday was such a whirlwind, I barely remember it.

Bugaboo missed the bus. They were kind enough to climb the steps to the door to put the new bus schedule inside but didn't bother to knock on it to see if we were coming. So, I opened it to bring him to the bus and they had already pulled away. I think they came early so we never heard it. Who knows.

I ended up driving him to school (45 minutes) since it was his last day at that school. My neighbor (who has a daughter that goes to Bug Boy's kindergarten and takes the same bus) said he'd put Bug Boy on his bus. Which was fine, except that the bus blew by the house and didn't pick him up, either. So my neighbor drove him to school. Good thing it is a handful of blocks.

I did manage to treat myself to SOS for breakfast. I figured I deserved it since my birthday was turning out so well. Once I got home I had to take Bugaboo to visit his new classroom. He loved it! I made several phone calls and got a teeny bit of housework done, but cancelled Bugaboo's therapist since he's been so "off."

So, here are the plans for the weekend:

Sister-in-law is visiting with her two-year-old.
May go see Grandmom, if the boys are finished with their sniffles. I do not want to bring any germs to a ninety-one-year-old woman who is in quickly-failing health.
Halloween parade with kids, if there is no deluge.
Trip to IKEA with kids and SIL if there is.
Yummy family dinners.
Church and Sunday School.
Bowling Birthday Party for Dino Boy. Bug Boy can hardly contain himself. His "twin."

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Red letter day in history

Today is Thursday, October 26. This is a very important day.

You say it's your birthday, Danananananana.
It's my birthday to yeah, Danananananana.

Yup. Birthday XXXIV, as Bug Boy would say. I feel great. I am happy it is my birthday. But I don't want any fanfare.

I will get online greetings from friends and families (already have, thanks to Nancy and Dino Boy's mom) and a few phone calls from my sibs. I have even gotten hallmark cards in the mail (because Darling's family ONLY buys hallmark). But I don't want a big, fancy dinner, presents or anything. I did, however, buy myself a tiramisu from TS's. Yummy!

No big plans other than cleaning up the basement for Darling's sister to come for the weekend. We have soccer, a halloween parade (if it isn't raining), sunday school and then Dino Boy's birthday bowling party. Then it is back to normal for another week.

I am not the type to like big parties and celebrations, believe it or not! We had a teeny wedding, and we were originally going to elope, except that our family caught wind of it and begged us not to. I don't dress up much, we rarely go out to dinner. We are the sit-at-home-in-front-of-our-fireplace type. That is our plan for this evening.

But, if you want to know what amazing things happened to other people on this day, here you go:
October 26

Have a great unbirthday.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Very Wordy Wednesday - Unconditional Love

Monday is the end of an era. And the beginning of a new one.

Monday Bugaboo will be in full-time school. At the age of three.

We are hopeful that this will be the beginning of amazing progress. We are hoping that this will help him learn to communicate. It seems that everything else we have tried has not worked.

I have spent the last six years at home. I have put off plans to finish my Master's. In what, I no longer know, but you can bet it WILL NOT be in special ed, since I no longer have the desire to work in that field. I know I'd burn out, working with those loving but demanding children all day and then having to parent my own children at night. Nope, not gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent.

Having two children changed my life in ways I never imagined. I cannot even begin to describe the joy of being a mother. Even though I thought I'd be single forever and childless even longer, once I found out I was having Bug Boy it all changed. We spent two weeks in utter shock at the thought of , "Us? Parents? Uhhh...." and then it clicked. We knew it was right for us. We wanted it and we were so overwhelmed with happiness.

Not to say there are not times we'd like to pull our hair out in frustration. Being parents means sacrifices. It means thinking of them before yourself. It means that if there is one serving of potatoes or bread left, they get it before you do. And y'all know how hard that is for me. It also means loving them unconditionally.

So what is this crazy little thing called unconditional love? And what are we supposed to do with it? Patience, I am getting there!

It is accepting the way your spouse/child/relative/friend is made and living with it. It means that if they blow their nose in the shower you just have to ignore it. (Pick your battles on that one, girls! ) It means that if you have two boys and really, really want a girl, but cannot get pregnant or else it could kill you, that you need to accept it and move on. It means that if your children have special needs that they are still loved without batting an eyelash. It means never wishing your life was different somehow, no matter how difficult it becomes. It means never looking at your siblings and wishing that you had what they have (like the bigger house, the husband who makes more money, the nicer car, the newer furniture, the more normal kids). It means accepting that your mother has a mental disorder and that she will never be the kind of mother you always wanted, you know, the one that calls every week and wants to see the kids? It means realizing that Darling will NEVER get me flowers for any holiday or birthday or anniversary, but he WILL get up on Saturday morning with the kids, do all of the dishes, feed them and clothe them and then let me sleep as long as I want.

Side note: This one took the past ten years to get over. For some silly reason I actually was miffed he didn't buy them, especially since he knows I was born a flower person and prefer to be with plants over people. And I even talked him out of waiting until 6pm on Valentine's/birthday/anniversary and driving around to every florist in the tri-state area, looking for yellow roses (which have to be special ordered most of the time), only to find that florists close around 5 or so, and then ending up at the grocery buying half-wilted flowers and dinner getting very cold and wifey getting very Irish while we all sit at home wondering where the heck he is because he never turns on his stinking cell phone.

There now, feeling better?

Moving right along: This unconditional love thing has brought me to the point of accepting the fact that if my child were typical he wouldn't even have started preschool yet, that he'd still be home with me, eating eggs dressed in his jammies while we cuddle and read stories, bundle up to go on long nature walks in our neighborhood, collecting pine cones and acorns to adorn our front porch (since they ain't bringing those nasty things in my clean house, thankyouverymuch!). It has brought me to the point that even though half of my heart goes with him on that bus every morning I think of him the whole time and realize that he is in a place where he will someday learn to WANT to go on walks in our neighborhood collecting pine cones and acorns. Because right now walks in our neighborhood means he goes up to everyone's car and tries to get in (little car obsession there), climbs every porch he sees and tries to get in the house, ignores every neighbor when they smile at him and ask if he is enjoying his walk with mommy and then runs down the sidewalk to avoid having to make the dreaded eye contact with someone.

So, as much as it hurts to send him away everyday to be with people that are NOT his mother, and even though I was programmed at an early age to believe that staying home with Momma until kindergarten is the only way of raising a child, I am now altering my pedagogy, albeit slowly, to believe that there is something better for him out there. That I can only do so much as a parent, especially since I am not his therapist (even though I was trained as one). I am first and foremost a mother. I can be a mother, a good one, and still let go.

That, my friends, is love.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Six days have past and all heck breaks loose around here!

Not really.

Just had too much going on and blogging was the last thing on my mind.

Last Thursday and Friday, Bug Boy and I spent the night at duPont for an overnight EEG. We will have the results in about two weeks but I am nervous. He wakes up frequently at night and used to have some fairly awful night terrors, so we are hoping it isn't seizures like Bugaboo. The other night at 3am Darling and I snapped awake to:

"There were three Jolly fish-er-meeeeen. There were three jolly fish-er-meeeen.
Fisher, fisher, men, men, men. Fisher, fisher, men, men, men..."

You know, the old song? Jacob, Abraham and Isaac? Ok, perhaps I am the only one that sang that in sunday school or girl scouts. Anywho, he was SOUND ASLEEP singing that at the top of his lungs. It was very funny.

Then, Friday night rolls along and Darling and I got the bright idea to hit Lowes and look at adding cabinets to our kitchen along the knee wall. We went and got the matching cabinets Saturday morning, took Bugaboo to soccer (Bug Boy was sick, missed his game) and went to IKEA to get a butcher block top, since they are oak and cheap. Brought it all home, Sunday morning we came home from church and brought it all in. It didn't look right. The cabinets were too big and overpowering for our kitchen. I am guessing that is why the previous owners didn't put any in there. So, back to IKEA, returned the cabinet, bought a free-standing cabinet with a butcher block top (for half the price of the cabinets we bought, thankyouverymuch) and then came home, took the cabinets to Lowes to return, and spent the rest of the evening putting together IKEA furniture. Which anyone can tell you is a pain in the rear.

So, yesterday I had to food shop in the am the SECOND the kids left on their buses. No, really, Bug Boy was pulling away on his bus and I was backing outta the drive way. We had no food, except for some cans and "junk food" and I also had to pick up forms, drop off forms, photocopy forms, etc. Got that all done in THREE HOURS (three stores, too!) and ran home to unpack and put everything away, had thirty minutes before Bugaboo came home and we had to leave for duPont AGAIN (fourth visit this month out of six) to see the GI, who said he reflux is better, his belly is no longer distended, but he lost nearly two pounds. We need to keep an eye on it. The kid needs to start eating better. He ain't skinny, believe me, but the feeding issues are finally catching up to him, now that he is losing the baby fat. And he doesn't eat yogurt anymore. So, the GI ordered a gastic emptying scan, aka taking pictures while he eats, swallows and digests. Then we follow up in six months! WOOHOO!!! The appointments are starting to get more spread out and that feels GREAT!

Ok, got home from GI (usually a 2-3 ordeal at duPont) had time to get prescriptions from Tar-zhay and then went home to finish putting things in my new cabinet and start cleaning up the house before I made dinner. I even put my corn stalks up and the house looks cute. Then I made a quicky dinner with TJ's make and cheese (OMG! Awesome!) and green trees. Then dressed Bugaboo and took him to indoor soccer, where he ran around the track for nearly an hour. The poor girl that works with him was sweating to death when she was finished. But he loved it.

We came home, he finally pooped (always, after soccer) and I bathed him and put him to bed. Guess what? He is much happier to go to bed when I tuck Thomas and Bugaboo's school buses in at the same time. I give them kisses and everything. He thinks it is a scream.

So, bugaboo went to bed, I worked on the Phone Tree for Bug Boy's class, surfed the net for five minutes and Darling and I retired since MNF was a snooze. He had to wake up early this morning, hence my time to post. And now time is up! I should have gotten the boys up fifteen minutes ago.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It stinks

I have always had sensory sensitivity issues. I am extremely sensitive to smells of all kinds and can sniff a child's poopy diaper a mile away. I can smell rain hours before it comes. I cannot wear perfume (and pray that others near me don't douse themselves too much) and dread when my mother visits because she literally bathes in Estee Lauder. I get unscented laundry detergents, soaps and shampoos because it drives me crazy smelling it all day. Now, I also have issues with noises, food textures and light but they don't seem to come close to the smells. I cannot explain it.

When I was pregnant it was ten times worse. The smell of fast food forced me to drive out of my way to get to work so it wouldn't make me hurl. Since I watched other children when pregnant with Bugaboo, it was all I could do not to gag at the thought of a poopy diaper. And candles? FUGHETTABOUTIT! So that brings us to my pet peeve: My house smelling like food.

Normal people cook dinner and don't think about it. If I make meat it has to be grilled or in soup or stew. I don't make hamburgers inside and I nearly never broil something in the oven. If I make a chicken or a turkey I open windows and light tea lights to help mask the smell. My family freezes but too bad! If I go to bed or wake up smelling it, I am agitated.

This week Darling decided we were running low on his world-famous wings. I have forbidden him to do it in the house due to the oily wing smell that clings to every fiber of every curtain and carpet in the house. At least, I can smell it two days later! So what does he do? Warm it up inside and then put it out on the porch to cook them. Which is fine, except that EVERY time he went out to check them or bring some out the smell gushed in with the fall breeze. So the house stunk. And then he brings them in and puts the wing sauce on and lets them cool before bagging them for the freezer. So the house stunk like fried meat with pungent, acidic wing sauce. That night when it cooled he brought the fryer in and the house so then it smelled like Corn oil, pungent wings and fried meat. Then he decided he had to have a fire that night, so yup, you guessed it, smokey bacon smell with wing sauce and corn oil. And last night? Darling requested I make these little strip steaks, except it RAINED all day yesterday (poured, like, never let up for one second!) and I wasn't about to stand in the middle of Lake Erie in my yard in the pouring rain while Bugaboo sat in the waist-deep puddle and Shad Roe splashed around happily while I grilled those steaks. I opted to use the broiler on my oven for the FIRST time since I moved in over a year ago.

I woke up this morning to smokey-bacon-steak-grease-chicken-wing-corn-oil mixed with Warm Apple Pie Yankee Candle. I am about to lose my mind. The heat is off, there are windows open and the thermostat says 62 degrees. And I don't care. If I don't get rid of this smell I will get a headache. I can't even get a shower yet because my hair hurts from smelling this all day and night. (I know, woo-woo moment. Can't help it).

So, if my sense of smell is this extreme, is it any surprise that my kids have sensory issues?


If smells bother me this much (and I am an adult with coping skills, supposedly) then I cannot even fathom how much Bug Boy's and Bugaboo's ears hurt from the slightest noise or how much Bugaboo's skin crawls from touching playdough, or how much he wants to HURL from seeing certain foods. If their senses react even a fraction of the way mine do when presented with these environmental stimuli it is no wonder that they behave the way they do when certain things are presented to them. As a result, I work harder to try to regulate them as much as possible and give them plenty of opportunity to be desensitized, if that is at all possible.

Oh, and to get back at Darling for making my house smelly? I will file my nails. He detests the sound, makes his blood run cold like fingers on a black board.

Just kidding. Sorta.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Pull ups

Here are some of y'alls comments about the pull-up comment yesterday:

  1. "You can get them for free with Medical Assistance (which Ian has, due to being a child with a disability)."
  2. "He can take care of the pull-ups himself, not the diapers."
  3. "She can just change herself."
  4. You are a crazy nut-case and oughta get a life (I made that one up)
OK, so it didn't dawn on me about the Independence thing. You know, like DOING IT HIMSELF??? HEEELLLLOOOOO!!!! I mean, isn't the whole point of all of this to be able to do things himself? To gain a better quality of life through Independence? To be self-sufficient and able? I think further thought in this area is required. I hadn't looked at it from quite that angle before.
And for the record, I am NOT potty training. But I think this is the start of something good.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Potty Woes

I am not trying to potty train Bugaboo. Honest.

We sometimes ask him to sit on it, he complies, we play pat-a-cake and then he gets off and lays down for his diaper. Or he pees next to the toilet. No pressure, no formal training. He is a big Pee-er so we chose to wait until he seemed more developmentally ready. He will be four in December and believe it or not we were waiting for his next long break to start with the books and potty training advice. Or potty learning, depending on your philosophy.

All of the Autism books out there insist that the majority of kids like Ian will learn by schedule rather than learn by knowing his body. He just doesn't have the expressive and receptive communication at this point. Many books (and his service coordinator and his auntie) have suggested we start trying to keep a journal for a few days to see how often he is going or when. Once we have that information we can set up a schedule to take him as often as he goes, then five minutes before he normally goes, then fifteen, and so on until he is actually using the toilet. We have even decided that we are NOT using potty chairs, just a little seat on the regular toilet. He has difficulty with generalizing to new situations so we feel that the sooner he uses the big potty, the better. And we probably won't use pull ups because:
  1. I don't believe in them
  2. They are too expensive
  3. If you ask me you might as well just use diapers until he is ready to ditch them and then use cloth training pants for accidents and such. Yeah, you have to wash them and it can be messy. Call me cheap, OK?

Don't try to talk me into the pull-ups. I won't do it.

OK, so a few weeks ago Ian started undressing. He has always done it, a shirt here or a pair of pants there. He never wears socks and shoes, even in the bitter winds of winter. But a few weeks ago it was a total strip-down. Chippendale style. He'd casually peel off his shirt one arm at a time, pull it off his head and discard. A few minutes later he'd kinda sneak the pants down to the knees, wait until they fell to the ankles and step out of them. "UH-OOOOHHHHH!!!!" would be his announcement. Uh, no, that was on purpose dearie! Then last week the inevitable happened. Once the pants were off it was only a matter of time for the diaper. And since he prefers to be either completely naked or completely wrapped up in footy pjs it wasn't difficult to imagine what would happen next.

Several times while Darling and I are packing lunches, doing dishes or getting our routines finished Bugaboo would prance into the room with a triumphant TADA look on his face. He'd smile, spin, fall onto the floor in a fit of laughter. He was so proud. We'd say, "NAKED BABY!" and grab him, tickle him and go about the house looking for the trail of clothing he left behind. But this weekend an entirely new spin has been put on the game. Now Bugaboo is undressing and taking his diaper off every twenty to thirty minutes. Every time he pees. He wants to get a new diaper on EVERY time. And he won't take no for an answer. If you try to catch him and put his clothes back on he runs (and those that know him well know that a cheetah is about the only creature on earth that can catch up to him). When you catch him he has already peed on:

  1. The couch
  2. The kitchen floor
  3. The bathroom floor
  4. The Family Room floor
  5. The steps
  6. The dog
  7. The yucky kitchen throw rug (which will be thrown OUT)
  8. His brother

Yes folks, every twenty minutes. Yesterday was a fun day. He spent the morning outside with Daddy mowing grass (they have this kindred soul-mate grass cutting thing going on) and doing things in the garage and then the afternoon terrorizing mommy and trying to get me to steam the carpet.

Needless to say it has been frustrating. I am going to go out on a limb here and say it is time for the toilet. I got my training pants out last night (cloth diapers with rubber pants attached) and put them on. And guess what? He did not try to remove them. He kept them on! And although we spent the whole afternoon sitting on the potty every twenty minutes (and reading books and playing finger games) he was pleasant. I am not sure if he is making the connection yet. I am thankful he did NOT have a bowel movement yet, since there have been a few times I've had to clean that up out of the tub or kitchen floor. I just do not know where to go from here. I have read my Autism training guide (pdf, downloaded, best $$ ever spent) and it has some suggestions I will try to implement. This is just not your typical potty situation, you know? Even Bug Boy took about three days. I sware. I swear even. One day he just said, "Mommy! I'm a big boy! I want underwear!" and that was it! Bugaboo will not do it in quite that way but something tells me that he will say it in his own way. He kinda already has.

Here we go...

Friday, October 13, 2006

IEPs, round two

Yesterday I received all of the documentation regarding Bug Boy's IEP. There were two big, fat envelopes in the mail from the school district and I knew exactly what they were. One is an invite (because you can't go to the IEP without an invite, apparently. Even though it is your kid.) to the IEP that should be signed and returned so they legally have proof you are going to be there. The other is an evaluation report on his present levels of performance. The district did OT, PT and speech testing in the summer and then recently did their classroom observations and psychological testing. They have been providing Speech and OT based on his IEP from Early Intervention until his school-aged IEP occurs.
I had no problems with anything until they did the psychological testing. When I asked for a Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation I didn't realize that they would also do Intelligence Testing. I could have read the fine print (and I have learned to do that in the future) because it was spelled out in black and white, plain as day. Last week the school psychologist called to give me the results. She was astounded by the results but I am not surprised. They are classifying him as "gifted."
Now, I know he is intelligent. He is quirky and has a knack for memorizing EVERYTHING. When we used to spell things when he was two so that he couldn't understand them he'd tell us the word we were spelling. And when he was about that age he'd point to street signs and tell us what they said. I am not bragging, anyone that knows him could tell you that he is a brainy and peculiar child. It doesn't surprise me that they call him gifted, Darling and I were both in gifted programs as children.
My problem is that all of the sudden they want to give me all of this information about the gifted program (that supposedly doesn't start until third grade). They have a first grade classroom that they call first/second because the children work on higher level curriculum and enrichment. It is a neat program. And in Kindergarten they will do enrichment with the children who qualify. Bug Boy loves learning and soaks up everything he hears like a sponge. I just want to make sure we foster that so that when he is a teenager he doesn't play hooky and snooze through classes due to sheer boredom.
I do not want to put extra pressure on him since it is difficult for him to function in the class anyway. According to the evaluation report he is bothered by the noises other children make, he constantly reminds them of the rules, tells other kids not to bump or touch him or tells them they are "annoying" him. Not the way to make friends, you know? And, during the test the examiner had to remind him several times to stay on task. During the timed portion he chatted so freely that he ran out of time. And didn't care. He was too busy telling the examiner that he knows, "Lots of stuff. Wanna hear some of the stuff I know?"
My biggest fear is that they are going to set him up in this program and forget his needs as a child with PDD. He will still need to be followed and work on social skills and pragmatics. He will also need to have sensory based instruction until he learns how to deal with environmental stimuli. Occupational Therapy is an absolute must. I have to make sure I am forceful and remind them that although he is "smart" he still needs support for his social and emotional delays.
Silly thing to vent over, I know. But I just want him to be normal. I don't want him to stick out for any reason. I am beginning to realize that it may not happen that way!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bugaboo's IEP

Today was Bugaboo's IEP meeting. He wasn't due for one until January (they are usually done at least once a year or sooner if needed) but we felt that since his placement changed that his IEP goals and services should reflect the new school situation. It was nearly two hours long but the goals were all very accurate and well-written, the team that works with Ian had wonderful things to say about him and everyone was kind and supportive. They are still providing two session of OT, one of PT and Two speech Therapy weekly, in addition to the group speech and OT sessions. They also are going to provide PECS training to Darling and me, at my request. We feel that since he isn't really talking and has no interest in sign language that it is time to move forward with the PECS more consistently. They are used as a bridge, not an actual language, but at this point we will take ANYTHING that helps him to communicate.

I feel very good about this move. We felt that things for Bug Boy were finally falling into place and he is doing so well. It is time that Bugaboo does well, too. The part-time class just wasn't doing it for him. He is lower functioning than most of the kids and is so hyperactive that he ended up distracting the other kids and killing the dynamics of the classroom. And he was off task so often that he wasn't getting ANYTHING. We've also submitted paperwork for a TSS (Therapeutic Support Staff) to work with him during school hours at least half the day until we feel he can function without one.

This was a very difficult decision to make. It means he will be away from me twice as long as before. It means he will leave his beloved class and teacher. It means he will have transition issues and have to start all over again. It also means he will no doubt fall asleep on the way home each day due to exhaustion from the stimulation and the new environment. But I know it is what he needs. The only way to make progress is to make changes. Keeping things the same for him meant that he would not have a chance to change. It meant more of the same. That wasn't good enough for us.

So, I am nervous, scared and excited all at the same time. I can't wait for it to begin but at the same time wish I had more time with him. This is it. He is going to be in full-time school for now on!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Something clicked

I don't know if it was the wicked argument that we had Saturday evening, the silence that ensued on Sunday or that Darling finally heard what I was saying to him but last night the impossible happened. He realized I was stressed out and overworked with Bugaboo, helped with dinner, cleaned up the dishes, got the kids in bed and ran an errand. It gave me time to get to the bottom of Mount Washmore and then veg out in front of the tv and relax. Do you know how often I get to do that? Hmmmm, maybe once a week! Fifteen to twenty minutes of his time saved my evening. And I appreciate that sooooo much. I told him that, too!

I am not trying to get him to do everything in the evening. I just want a few minutes of his help, some chores traded off, so that we may both have the time we need to rest our brains. He is overworked at work and I am overworked at home. I cannot change his work situation (except to encourage him to work on his resume) but he can easily make things better at home for all of us by chipping in to pack lunches (his and Bug Boys') or by giving the boys their bath. These are things he often does but sometimes it requires prompting, eye-rolling and nit-picking to get him away from the tv or computer. I have to remind him that the kids will be in bed in ______ minutes, so can he please postpone his couch potato state until then? Could he please refrain from watching car crashes on You Tube until then?

What I am attempting to do is to create routines that my whole family can employ. I'd like it to be as if we are operating on autopilot. I do not want us to have to think about what needs to be done but instead follow the list and do it quickly. That way we all benefit and can relax and feel more human. I know everyone has a stressful life and that we all have demands but the boys (especially Bugaboo) are worth two or three kids each. In other words, sometimes I feel like I have four children because of the amount of intervention they require. Just getting Bugaboo to bed or even asleep is a monstrous task. By the time I am finished the evening routines and get him to sleep it is well past my bed time. Putting Bug Boy to bed is easier but it takes patience and understanding while he goes through his daily anxieties, worries about the placement of the dog's water bowl(It was on the left yesterday. Today it is on the right! That is bothering me!) explains why he can only play with one child at a time on the playground, even if it does hurt his best friend's feelings. By the time that is all over, is it any wonder that I just wanna crawl under the covers and disappear? And Darling wonders why sometimes I have no energy for, um, ahem, getting to know him? Don't get me wrong (sorry if it is TMI) ours is a good sex life, but if I had just a tad more energy perhaps it could be a daily event. I know Darling wouldn't mind it!

Moving right along...

Bugaboo has been a little bugger (no pun intended) the past few days. He is off of his schedule for some reason and there have been no major changes other than him being sick on Thursday and Friday. Apparently it is enough to throw him into a tailspin. He slept and ate horribly all weekend, wouldn't take his meds and got overly-exhausted which possibly caused more seizures. He was incredibly hyperactive and was difficult to deal with the past two days. His therapy session was a wash. I am hoping it is improved today because his time on task yesterday was three second. Yes, three. I kid you not. Frustrating, to say the least. We were improving to the point where we could have him doing puzzles, sorting colors, building blocks for ten minutes at a time. And he was at three-second intervals yesterday. I felt like crying. I could tell that he was probably having seizure activity by the way he was ticking and staring. It is horrible to watch. Let's hope he takes his meds for the rest of the week!

Bug Boy is having an amazing couple of weeks. School has been the best thing since, well, sliced bread I guess. Or since the Llama. But I digress. He has adjusted so well the teachers are confused that he even has a label/diagnosis. He is still having control issues (the dictator returns) and is directing play at kids instead of interacting with them ("rotate that block to a 30 degree angle. No, not that one! The BLUE one!) and prefers to only play with one child. He has been obsessed with one child in particular (who thinks he is General Grievous). But he loves school, is academically LEAGUES ahead of the other kids (think: Roman numerals, times tables and second-grade reading level) although emotionally is about 4, and he is almost six. That it ok. Boys do tend to be immature and he is developing play skills. He is also a little teacher's pet, finishing his work and then helping the other kids. He LOVES to help others. What a sweetie! It is going so well that the School Psychologist finished her testing for the IEP and proclaimed that he is gifted and there is no way he has Asperger's or PDD. You know, 'cause she's known him for six years and all. And she knew him when he had twenty or more fits of rage and anger a day, wouldn't use public restrooms, screamed and went under a desk when the lawn was mowed or refused to go to school for a month after a fire drill. Yup, he's cured.

Pardon my sarcasm. I just love it when professionals (albeit in a nice, polite way) try to tell you there is nothing wrong with your kid when you spent the past three years with intense therapy to get them to appear more, well, normal. And we obviously did a great job because they look at me like I am certifiably insane when I tell then about his diagnosis or past behavior or his issues with pragmatics. Or that they think Bugaboo cannot possibly be autistic since he has good affect, smiles all day and gives hugs and loves to sit on laps. You know, 'cause autistic kids can't be loving and emotional. Sheesh.

There I go, off on my soapbox again. Sorry! I'll end it now before I subject you to more of my insanity.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Like the new look? Miscellaneous details.

Got tired of the plain ole white and black so I upgraded to Beta and also fooled around with the templates. One of these days I will design a totally new template of my own but for now this is good enough. I like this color combo (green is my favorite color).

We had quite a busy weekend. After manic mode on Friday I was exhausted and Darling let me sleep in and got up with the boys on Saturday morning. Except that Bug Boy had soccer at 9:30 and Darling climbed into bed and snuggled with me at 8:45. Yup, we barely made it. And yes, they played in the mud and rain.

Once the game was finished I stripped Bug Boy down and wrapped him in a blanket, drove home all three blocks and then got him dressed again so we could head to Tarzhay for a present for his best buddy's birthday party. Then home again to shower and dress and head to the party at 3. Bugaboo had fun playing upstairs in Polite Boy's bedroom and with the barbie cars in Little Miss and Middle Girl's room. At one point he had enough and Darling took him home (you know, it is twenty whole feet away) and I stayed and chatted and kept an eye on Bug Boy.

We got home at eight and Darling and I had a fight within five minutes. He was cranky about having to clean up after Bugaboo for a whopping hour and when I walked in Bugaboo decided to poop in the tub. And break three doors in the house. So needless to say, Darling just about lost it (see, I am used to it!) and made a snide remark about needing more time to himself. That did it! As my friend Dr. Betsy so eloquently puts it, I "Got Irish" for about an hour and we had a screaming match that ended in him leaving for two hours. I managed to get the boys in bed and when he finally got home I finished the wake-up call at which time we both apologized. Then I hit the hay, he came up two hours after that. We didn't talk at all, which was FINE BY ME!!! I was so angry with him having the audacity to suggest that he needed more free time. I mean, HEEELLLLOOOOOOO!!!!! What the bleepity-bleep does he think I do around here all day? Huh? I admit, I could have better used my time on Friday, but c'mon! I wasn't along all day anyway! I watch the neighbor's kids in addition to my own and it isn't easy!

Woke up Sunday morning a little late, Bug Boy and I headed to church and Sunday School. When we got home Darling gathered his tools and we headed to a friend's house to help her put together her new, beautiful and overpriced CW playset. YIKES it was expensive!!! We were there about three hours, had a nice playdate and I was able to chat. Bugaboo had a nuclear meltdown about half-way through and begged for the stroller and the car and passed out in his stroller for a while, which was nice, since he spent most of the time trying to run away from their house (no fence!). When we were finished there we went home again, vegged, started dinner, watched football. Bug Boy had Polite Boy over to play for a while, Bugaboo destroyed the house as usual and I picked up around the house. When dinner was finished and baths were completed we did our weekly Tarzhay run and hit TJ's. Home to melting down kids, cranky husband and needy doggie.

If I wasn't so busy and over-scheduled tomorrow I would wait to do the shopping. But tomorrow, oh joy of joys, I have my yearly exam! WOOOOOHOOOOO!!!! Can't wait. Just kidding. I don't mind it. I just hate the part when they ask you when your last period was. Do people really keep track of that? And, I have to say the part where they SCRAPE cells to do your pap smear ain't exactly pleasant. The breast exam is fine. This will be the first year in six years they can do the exam with out breast milk squirting all over! Sorry if it is TMI!!!

The only problem with this weekend is that I didn't have any time to mess around and do silly things. You know, like surf the net, play with Photoshop, play the piano. I haven't done yard work or gardening in ages. I miss it! And soon I have to bring my plants in for the season and remember to water them!

Ok, enough rambling for the time being...I cannot collect my thoughts today. Reading over the past few paragraphs it shows!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

This is what I did yesterday:

I was in a bit of a manic phase yesterday. Blame it on the full moon, high tide, stress level, lack of drugs, who knows. It started out innocently enough, cleaning out the boys' closets in order to put the dressers in the closets so that Bugaboo won't climb them and knock them over. And it ended with me gutting both rooms, taking apart furniture, swtiching their rooms, painting Bugaboo's new room and having Bug Boy's friends (Little Miss, Middle Girl and Polite Boy) help set his new room up (they were THRILLED to surprise him!). It took six hours from start to finish. Don't ask me what I was thinking (I wasn't!).

Anywho, at least it wasn't doing something drastic to my hair, which is what I normally do when I am manic.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Things I am not doing today!

Going to the Y to workout (will try to get something in here)
Getting all of the Fall decorations out, like I planned
Taking Bugaboo to playgroup
Bugaboo's therapy with TSS
running two errands
Having coffee this afternoon with another Mom at Bugaboo's playgroup
Having breakfast with my best friend
Dropping things off at Goodwill
Taking my sweet ole time in the shower
Baking or cooking random things
Switching the rest of the fall/winter stuff
making appointments over the phone

Wanna know why? Bugaboo is home sick today. Very stuffy, didn't sleep a wink last night. Well, six hours, does that count? He slept most of the afternoon yesterday due to this cold and feels lousy now. He cannot breathe out of his nose and is developing a croupy cough. And the worst part is that because of the seizure medication he cannot take anything for the cold, since it could counteract the seizure meds and could actually CAUSE them. Uh, no thanks! So saline and tons of fluids are the order of the day. And hopefully a short nap (like, no more than an hour so he sleeps tonight!) for us once the Little Miss (my neighbor's kindergarten-aged daughter) gets on the bus for the afternoon. And we need to get that nap in before Little Miss, Middle Girl and Polite Boy get off the bus after school!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Funny Joke

Bug Boy told us a joke today that had us in hysterical fits of laughter. I mean, talk about tears in our eyes! Do you wanna know the joke? Do ya? Huh? Huh? Ok, hope I can do it justice. Here it goes:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

'cause he wanted to get to the other side! HA HA!!!!!!

No, really. That is the one he told us. Wanna know why we laughed so hard? It is a long story and I have never been accused of being reticent. So here is my best attempt at being abridged and coherent at the same time.

First the back story:

Darling has a step-brother Brian that is the same age we are (34, did I just admit that?) and has Down's Syndrome. He functions fairly well but mostly is like having a five-year-old around. One night the family was out for dinner to one of those cheesy dinner theaters. You know, the ones with the huge, fattening buffets made with large cans of institutionalized foods? Anywho, It was pouring rain, the show was TERRIBLE, the roof leaked and there was no one there. At half-time (I made a funny, it is really called intermission) the Emcee asked if any of the twenty captive audience members (no doubt all family members) would like to come up and tell a joke to warm up the crowd. So, Brian and his friend Brad (who also has Downs) were the only ones to raise their hands. Brian went first and sauntered up to the stage proudly. The Emcee handed him the mic, he cleared his throat, smoothed his hair and said:

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

The place was roaring. It was so darn funny the way he acted surprised that no one got the punchline. He was beaming from ear to ear from the fact that someone laughed at his joke. Then Brad jumped up and ran to the stage to collect his thunderous applause. Brian slapped him on the back, gave him a little pep-talk and handed the mic over. This is what Brad said:

Why did the chicken cross the road? (Oh yes he did!)

There wasn't a dry eye in the place. And you could barely hear Brad's punchline (do I really need to type it? You know what he said!) people were laughing so hard. It made an otherwise dreadful evening one of the most fun I've ever had. They were so proud that on the way home they announced they were starting a comedy act. And they kept telling the joke and laughing at each other.

Guess you had to be there.

Anywho, that is part of the reason Darling and I were guffawing over that particular piece of humor.

Here's the other reason: Kid's with Asperger's and PDD (Bug Boy has a dual diagnosis at the moment until he gets a little older and they finally give in and tell me one or the other) typically have great difficulties with emotions, body language, facial expressions, sarcasm, jokes and the like. There is a concept called Social Stories that helps gives children with ASDs a script to memorize and work on until they get it. That way they can function better and interact and not be so isolated. I have been working on jokes and expressions with Bug Boy so I am proud that he FINALLY is getting it. Or at least memorizing it, the kid has a memory like an elephant, I tell you. If he hears you whisper something five miles away pertaining to a year from now, he will remember and remind you. Every five minutes. Until your head explodes like a smashed pumpkin.
So, we are glad the prompting and social stories are working a little bit. He is playing well with some kids, he is playing soccer and not throwing himself on the ground every time a kid takes away "his" ball and looks forward to his after-school group every week. At least things are going well with him. Now all we have to do is get things a goin' for Bugaboo! Stay tuned for his update.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Random Acts

I do not usually get on my political soapbox because I believe that one should never discuss religion and politics in polite company. I know that my viewpoint differs from others and I have the right to express myself but I choose not to get into these discussions for a variety of reasons. One of them is that people tend to be defensive when they are not expecting such a conversation and it never turns out well. Another is that I am an opinionated, talkative and expression fool. I prefer not to get all "Irish" on people. Hard when you have my hair color.

Today, however, I feel moved to discuss something that I have thought about for years. Are you ready? GUN CONTROL. Yes, even this girl, the daughter and niece of avid hunters, the sister of a cop, now sees the need for SOME KIND of reform. The disturbing part is I feel very strongly that at this point it may be moot, for we have traveled so far down the path of gun violence I often wonder if there is any way to reverse it. Guns have simply gotten out of hand.

I try not to watch the news anymore for that reason. As a mother, I cannot stand to hear that someone's child has been gunned down sitting in the back of her mother's car on her way home from school. Or that our city is rather proudly boasting that the two hundred ninety-fifth victim of gun violence was killed this weekend. Even worse is hearing about these CLEARLY DISTURBED individuals who walk into schools you know, the place where our kids are supposed to learn in a safe environment?), and assault CHILDREN. And often times there is speculation as to why these people can do such awful things but generally the reason dies with them when they complete the most cowardly act of all, suicide.

Now, don't jump on me about my opinion. They are cowards for killing those innocent children and then turning the gun on themselves. I hate hearing afterwards that they were depressed or seemed moody and isolated for a few days before. I cannot believe that no one around them noticed or realized that they were stock-piling weapons and being weird at work or school. I often think that people are afraid of a "loose cannon" and just do not want to be involved. And I can understand that because we have one of these potential people in our family.

It is scary to think that someone in your family is disturbed to the point that they would commit a violent act. My husband and I live in fear everyday that we will finally get that phone call saying that his father succumbed to his demons and acted out. He is Bi-Polar, Obsessive-Compulsive and apparently paranoid. He has been in and out of our lives several times, blaming us for each break-down in communication. He is off of his medication and acting erratically and it scares us. And no matter what anyone in his family says he refuses to listen. He thinks he is invincible. The worst part is that unless he does something to harm himself or others he will get no help. We cannot force someone into a rehabilitation if they do not care to partake in it.

Never mind that he dressed up like Santa a few years ago and showed up at the local farmers market and handed out candy canes without permission. The cops thought it was weird and tried to ask him to leave. Instead of showing the police man his ID and leaving when asked, he took off, made himself look more suspicious and then HIT THE COP WITH HIS CAR when he tried to flee. And he spent two weeks over Christmas in jail, refused to have a psych eval and ended up in a community service agreement which expunged his record. We all would have rathered he did jail time so that he could finally be forced to be evaluated.

A few years before the santa incident (that was in USA today, local papers and on CNN!) he was fired for trashing a laboratory at his former employer. Instead of calling the police they fired him on the spot and threatened him that they would pursue a case if he ever tried to get anything out of them or contact them. He got away with it.

When he was physically abusing my mother-in-law in front of their two and four-year-old children she was told NOT to call the cops since no one thought it appropriate to air their dirty laundry. So she moved out and left him there instead.

Basically he has been a loose cannon his whole life. We know he was a victim of something as a child but never found out the details. And because no one has ever stood up to him and everyone has danced around him his entire life he now has a complex. He thinks he can get away with it, or it is someone else's fault or they will clean up the mess. And he was fired from his latest job a few months ago for doing similar things. They never pursued pressing charges and once again he got away with it. There is so much anger inside of him that it will eventually blow.

So, every time I hear about these violent acts I pray that it is not his name they mention in the story. I also pray that he will allow his family back into his life so they can help him. I pray that he will once again take medication and realize that he cannot live without it. And I feel helpless that there is nothing we can do and that the system doesn't allow for us to do anything legally. Trust me, his soon-to-be-ex and his children have explored many avenues. Nothing. All we can do is wait and hope and pray.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Little Man

The other night I caught a tear-jerker-of-a-documentary about filmmaker Nicole Conn and her partner, Political Activist Gwen Baba. It wasn't really about them, it was about their son, Nicholas. He was born a micro-premie and the film documents what they went through, from the moment he was born at twenty-six weeks to the moment he left the hospital well after gestational age.

Forget what you may or may not feel about their living arrangements, their decision to use a surrogate, their disagreement about whether or not to terminate when they found out the surrogate had health problems she didn't come clean about that caused their son to have a host of medical problems. Concentrate on the helplessness their family felt at watching their teeny baby hooked up to machines and wires. Think about how they had to sit their and wait, and wait some more, and wait even more still to even TOUCH their baby. Yes, they have scheduled "touch time" in the NICU. Look at the pained but joyous expression on Nicole's face when she got to hold him, kangaroo style, to her chest for the very first time.

I did not post this to conjure up discussions and disagreements about "alternative lifestyles" and "playing God." I posted this to give you an example of a parent who will fight for her child, who loves him unconditionally despite the almost guaranteed delays and medical issues he will face, who has never held him and barely sees him yet would give her life for him. It is difficult to watch what they do to these babies just to get them to survive. The film does stir up some issues about when it is just too much for these babies and when is it a good time to just let go?

Check out the website to Little Man. I wrote them an e-mail I was so compelled and they actually responded and thanked me for sharing my thoughts. Who does that these days?

Oh, and if you wanted to know, I caught it on Logo but it has been airing on Showtime as well. You can watch a clip and see some photos here.