Sunday, March 24, 2013

Goofy's first lost tooth!

I told you yesterday that Goofy's tooth was loose...

Aaaaand, the moment we've all been waiting for...!!!!


Thing2 came running up the stairs carrying the Goofy Child...
His tooth fell out!!

The Goofy Child wanted to know how in the world he was going to get it back in there.


When Thing2 was unsuccessful, he tried to put it back himself.


I wondered how in the world the Tooth Fairy would visit the child who never sleeps and you all had some brilliant ideas. I used a combination of your ideas to come up with this...


2 identical eggs...


One filled with quarters...


One filled with a lost tooth...

The old switcheroo...


and the Tooth Fairy's job is done :)
 While the Goofy one was falling asleep, he looked over at me and said... "Is the Tooth Fairy real?" I'm thinking.... shit! I've never actually told my kids that those kinds of things are real, I just counted on them believing on their own. This is a new question for me (I know! Odd children, what else can I say?) and I don't know how to answer. I can't say yes but I can't say no, so what can I say?

Me: "Uh... what do you think?"
Goofy: "I think no."
Me: "Why don't you want the Tooth Fairy to be real?"
Goofy: "I don't like to have the loose tooth. It hurts."
Me: "I see. Well, even if the Tooth Fairy wasn't real, you would still have the loose tooth."
Goofy: "Oh."

Luckily, that was the end of that and he drifted off to sleep. How do you handle these types of questions?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just blame the mother... a time honored tradition

It's been a while since I had a good rant on the school. I think we're due. As a bit of a preview, a little of an introduction, here's the text message I sent after getting the e-mails scheduling a conference...

"F*** this son of a b******* bull****, I've f****** HAD IT!!! Piece of s***, a** f******, hell hole of a so called school!!! ...personal attacks on certain staff members edited out... I can't wait for this soul sucking year to be over! In related news, I got the conference I wanted."
and this is what happened... it all started long ago with Walter and Alex. but we're not going that far back. we're just going a little back... like, two weeks. or a week... something like that. Anyway, I took the Goofy One to see the eye doctor. His reading/writing trouble is not his eyes. ok, fine. I go back to the school, to the counselor, because someone has to have an idea of what we can do. I'm willing to try anything. I'm desperate to try anything. The counselor says she can go to Goofy's parent/teacher conference with me and we can discuss what's going on with him, if he needs help, and what we can do to help him. Great. That sounds awesome. He has a parent/teacher conference sometime the third week of March.

Except, when I checked my calendar, the third week was over and we never had a conference. Never got a date. or a time. nothing. So, I e-mail the teacher. The teacher says she sent out a form the week of March 7. I didn't get a form. I didn't return a form. and she never thought to see why not? Especially considering the amount of time I spend in her face about his problems? Whatever. my bad. She agrees to set a date to have the conference I missed. I told her the counselor was coming, I told her I have concerns about reading/writing. I thanked her for going out of her way to do this.

Yesterday, the Goofy One comes in and looking at his daily behavior report, I see he is now on spring break. with no word on a conference. as soon as I message my friend Bec that this is really starting to piss me off because I really feel like I'm being avoided, I see I have a new e-mail. From Goofy's teacher. to set a date/time. Yay, I'm so excited! This is GREAT! until I see she cc'd in someone I don't know. Why is she cc'ing an unknown address? until I look closer and see she cc'd the effing nurse!!!!

Now, I like the nurse. quite a bit. but not to be going to Goofy's meeting. because I have a feeling the blame is going to be laid on his meds. or me. about his meds. no matter what, this invitation involves his meds. and that's horsecrap.
  1. I very rarely forget to give him his meds. those are just seriously messed up mornings and I always call school when it happens. and the nurse always has a few pills on hand for when it does.
  2. No, he has not been doing so much better with the increased dose because a) I e-mailed her the very day he started it which means she did not see all of those improvements in the days leading up to the e-mail, or if she did, it was not because of the meds. b) he's angry, aggressive, defiant and not friggin sleeping.
  3. No, he is not doing so much better taking the meds at school because a) the mornings are pure hell, b) the bus driver sighed when he got on the bus yesterday. The man who always has a smile and an "I got this" attitude. c) he can't go back and sit with his friends on the bus. and he worked hard to not have to sit in the front seat.
No matter what, inviting the nurse to this meeting is a signal that we are not going to have a nice, easy meeting where I can ask and they can answer. This is a signal that we are arming up for an all out poop flinging extravaganza. so, fine. I'll see your nurse and raise you two principals. So, I cc'd the principal (who likes to be in on all of my meetings when she can) and the Mystery Man (who likes to be in the loop) to let them know that either date was good for me.

and now, I'm just tired. So very tired. Tired of the constant fight, tired of the blame, tired of everything turning into a parenting issue. It's bad enough we parents (mothers) cause our children's autism, it really sucks that we're also to blame for every single thing that goes wrong at school. For example...


and...


I may be to blame for a lot of things that my kids do, maybe I could do a lot of things better. Maybe I could be stricter in some areas, maybe I could lighten up in others. Maybe I could work harder and use less excuses. I may be the reason he has ADHD but, let me tell you something right now, I am not the reason my son can't read.

Yes, I could work with him more on sight words... if I knew what they were.

Yes, I could work with him at home on the things they work on at school... if I knew what that was.

Yes, I could help him more in the areas he's struggling... If I didn't have to guess at it.

The problem here is a complete lack of parent/teacher communication. I don't want to hear "he's fine." just because the teacher doesn't want me to worry. I don't want to see report cards full of "Nears Expectations" and "Meets Expectations" when the work he brings home tells a very different story. I don't want to hear how "normal" he looks or that a stranger walking into the classroom wouldn't be able to see which child is having trouble. I know, believe me, I damned well know how "normal" the boy looks. That doesn't change the fact that he can't read. That doesn't change the fact that going by his kindergarten nephew's work, he is not working anywhere near grade level.

The teacher is doing her best in the classroom, I am doing my best at home but until we can work together as a team, until I know how to help him, until I don't have to beg for homework and get directives like practice using scissors and following multi-step directions, until I get the real story on where he's at vs where he needs to be and how to get him there... I can't help him. and that's not my fault.

I have enough mommy-guilt. I don't need the schools heaping it on just because they don't want to take their part of the blame.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alex's Adventures at Story Time

I want Alex to do things I want to do. This means I have to do what he needs me to do to be able to do what I want to do. Kind of a you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours kind of thing. I'm cool with that. Why should he do everything I want if I don't do everything he wants, right?

I wanted to go to Story Time at the library.

I packed his backpack. Toys, sippy cup, Cheerios. This is what he wants. This is what makes him happy. We pack up and head to the library. In the parking spot, I turn around and tell him what we're doing. "Are you excited!?" He gives me a disgusted look and grunts at me. Well, I'm excited. The Little D is excited. Sister may not be excited but she's ready. We go in and return the books then head over to the Story Time room because we're later than usual and getting books will have to wait. I stepped back to the doors and gave him a safe square to pace and explore. He knows what the room we're waiting for is and he's ready to go in so I count down the three minutes until the light comes on and Lisa opens the door.

We go to the front of the room and sit off to the side so we won't be in the way of the other children. I sit with Alex between my legs and set out the cup and Cheerios. Just out of his reach. and this week is Doreen Cronin's birthday! That means we get to hear several of her books including Click Clack Moo Cows that Type- one of my favorites!

We sit back to listen to the stories, I get several Cheerios in my hand and offer them to Alex. He leans back against me (NEW!), relaxes into me and munches while he listens. Not a peep, not a fidget. No squirming, no screaming. He just sits back and lets me hold him while she tells him stories. I don't have to tell you how big this is on so many levels! He didn't just let me touch him, he let me HOLD him. He didn't just sit in front of me, he leaned INTO me. He didn't just survive Story Time, he ROCKED IT! and in a few seconds, you will see that it wasn't just his mood, it was me he was reacting to. It was all about the give and take of meeting needs. I met his just the way he likes it, he met mine just the way I like it.

When Story Time was over and most of the kids left, I walked him up to the table to pick a sticker. "Want one?" He looked over the stickers for a minute and chose Buzz. I opened the sticker and he watched me put it on his chest with a slightly smug smile that told me he was proud of himself and recognised that the sticker was a reward for a job well done. We gathered our things and walked toward the door. Lisa called out a goodbye and thanks for coming. I asked Alex if he wanted to say goodbye. He looked at her and thought about it but just wasn't ready to go that far. and Lisa was ok with that. She understood. and this is one of the many, many reasons I love our librarian :)

We left the room and walked over to the library to get books. Mommy offered to sit with Alex. He was doing so well, I accepted the offer. I handed him off, gave her his stuff and told her that if she didn't hold her hand out for the cup, he would throw it when he was done. If she didn't hand him the Cheerios a few at a time, he would splash in them. She said she understood and I walked off to help the kids gather books.

I grabbed 6 semi-random books for myself because they were right around the corner, the Little D got his own, I helped him find some for Goofy and picked out some girly books for the sister. Once we finished, I went to get Alex. and walked up on a scene from my worst nightmares. Cheerios. everywhere. and I mean everywhere. and a stranger picking them up while Mommy held a squirming Alex who decided hair pulling was his newest renewed passion. I helped pick up the Cheerios and thanked the helpful lady so very much.

I took Alex into the stacks. Alex loves books. He is his mother's child, after all. But we need board books. and we need COOL books. Like, Elmo. and Dora. and Good Night, Moon. I sat him in the chair beside the board books and showed him a few one at a time... "You want that?" *nod* "You want that?" *groan/grunt*... one by one we chose the books he wants to take home with him. I left all of them with Mommy again while I checked out the books we chose and it was time to leave. Alex walked nicely to the car. He got nicely in his seat. He sat nicely while we took Mommy and Sister home. When we got home, he wanted everyone to leave him the hell alone and bolted for his bedroom. Every one left him the hell alone and no blood or tears were shed.

There are several ways I worked with Alex to get to this point. I make sure he has what he needs, I give him everything he wants BUT, his diagnosis is not an excuse for bad behavior. You don't throw your cup. If you don't want to hold it, that's fine. Hand it to me. No matter how many times I have to pick the cup up, put it back in your hand and ask you if you are all done while I hold my hand out or hand over hand hand myself your cup. You don't get to throw your cereal. If the full bowl bothers you, that's fine, I will hand you an amount you like, an amount that doesn't overwhelm you. You don't get to hit. You don't get to pull hair. No means no. No means bad. You don't get to run around and act like a wild child. You don't want to be here, we will leave. You want to be here, you will sit. No seat belt means the car stops until you are back in your seat with the seat belt on. No matter how many times we have to stop. I will do anything you want me to do. I will do anything, anything you need me to do. but I will not allow bad behavior.

If you want something, you have to work for it. You have to teach them. Over and over and over. It may take weeks or months or years but they are not going to learn if you don't put the effort in. and in that moment when they finally get it, when you realize that all of the time you spent working with them just clicked, when you see that smug smile because they know they nailed it, you know without a doubt that believing in them was totally worth it. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New PECS Schedules

Last night Alex's Mommy and Sister came to visit. Since they were here and they are here enough to not be a special occasion, there's nothing interrupting our routine. I won't allow it. at 7, we start our lists and that's that. and since she's here enough to be one of the crew... grab a dry erase marker and hop in line, Girl.

She went right along with Goofy and the Little D and did "her" list just the same. Then Mommy's all "I want one of those!" and I'm like "Noooooooo!" It's such a pain in the ass, man! The way I was doing it you had to make a list of a routine, find this picture here, that picture there, blahblahblah. cut, paste, this program, that program... not something I'm looking forward to. but, they left, I hopped online and luckily got distracted by facebook- yeah! This time it was a good thing because Twingle Mami in Autismland posted about this other program called Picto Selector (facebook). I went, I checked it out, and LOOK!!!





6 years old
 



5 years old
 



4 years old
 




3 years old
   I LOVE IT!!! One program, all the PECS you could ever need. awesome. I haven't played around enough to figure out how to give them a space to mark it as done but I figure for now, they can just X the plastic covered paper. and, I haven't figured out how to label the PECS with the simple words I want BUT, it was so easy! Just download, make the schedule and print!

***If you don't want to go through all of that and one of these fit your needs, just right click the picture, "save as" and print it out.

Monday, March 18, 2013

ROAD TRIP!!!

Remember my status update yesterday where I told you we were going on a surprise trip to get the Little D? Well, here's the story, my brother works for the city he lives in which means when bad weather comes in, he's in charge of keeping the roads safe so he couldn't leave, not for a 6 hour round trip to get his boy. So, we went :) and it was great! ...kinda. There was a time or two I was tempted to set the Goofy one out to hitch hike his way home, but we'll get there.

We packed up the car and you all know what that's like when you're travelling with autism. and small children. small children are a PITA, anyway. A little while back, we traded my car in for a van. It gives us a little more seating, cheaper maintenance, better gas mileage, and a DVD player. Now, at the time, that DVD player sounded like a great idea. but, we'll get to that, too. anyway, new-to-us van. That means everything I had stashed is no longer stashed so everything has to be re-packed. Diapers, wipes, toys, Apple Jacks, DVDs, and so on. We get packed, we head out.

But we can't ever just leave. There has to be 20 stops before we even get on the highway. By the time we get on the highway, we had added Peanut Butter M&Ms to our collection of snacks for the road. and this is where the Goofy one inspires the status update warning that we may be one kid short on the return trip. I hand Alex a Peanut Butter M&M. The Goofy one tells me I should not do that because Alex isn't allowed to have chocolate. We argue over the fact that he's MY kid and I freaking know what I'm doing and even if I wanted to give him chocolate, I'm the one changing his diaper, anyway, smartass! while Big D laughs at the "fact" that I don't know how to take care of Alex and need a 6 year old to tell me. Then the Goofy one smirks at me with his know-it-all smugness and shows my the chocolate shell coating the Peanut Butter inside. whatever, dude. shush it. He's fine.

Then the Goofy one continues his constant criticism of my parenting by questioning whether or not Alex actually needs his pants on a 6 hour trip inside a heated car (no, he doesn't. he's fine. he can take them off if he wants to take them off.), the contents of his diaper and will he or will he not get a rash if I do not climb into the back seat right this minute and change his wet diaper while flying down the highway at 70 miles per hour...? NO! He's fine!!!

And then!!!! My parenting isn't the only thing up for condemnation. He also wants to censor my use of language. But let me tell you something, that DVD player? is in the absolute worst spot for someone who does have to climb in the back seat. multiple times. (whoever taught Alex to put his seat belt behind him, making me have to climb back...big trouble, man. biiiig trouble) because every time you climb back, you hit your head right on the corner. as for the language, flip that mother lovin' piece of shut, man! You're watching Shrek, for the love of Pete! and what does Shrek say? "Better out than in, I always say." and I can say for sure that he says that because I heard him. over. and over. and over! 3 flippin' times! Just in THIS trip!

Once we secured the hostage and called my brother to open negotiations, (he agreed to meet my demands and come see me) The Little D distracted the Goofy One and left me to enjoy the trip home so I decided to keep him for a while longer.


All in all... we had a good trip :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Alex, my big boy.


As Alex gets older, I'm more and more amazed by the changes in him. Things I never thought possible, he can now do. Some of it is because I'm learning how to manage and some of it is all him.

Tuesday we went to the eye doctor, Mommy went with us to help. When we parked, the office called to preregister the Goofy one and being on the phone, I was going through the motions of getting Alex and Goofy out, not really questioning who was doing what. Mommy got Alex, I got Goofy. I looked back to check on Alex and Mommy and saw she was walking him the old way- directly behind him, both hands fisted in the shoulders of his coat, in full control of every step he took. She was nervous because she didn't know the new him, only who he was, so we traded. I sent Goofy to her, stepped to Alex's side and grabbed the back of his coat in one hand, letting him be in control but keeping him close, setting the pace.

We walked into the building, I'm still on the phone so my attention is mostly on that, partially on the boys. Alex is doing what Alex does, I glance back at Goofy who is skipping along beside Mommy chattering a mile a minute. Inside the building they have this lovely entrance- lots of glass, high ceiling which is perfect for vocal stimming. We walk on down to the bathroom and I take Alex in with me, this room is also perfect for vocal stimming and he goes nuts with it. I finally get off the phone and take Alex into the large stall. I lock the stall door and hang my purse to block the lock but Alex doesn't go for it. He paces the end of the stall enjoying the sound of his squeals and squeaks bouncing back to him. I go to wash my hands and he doesn't run out the door, he paces and stims.

In the waiting room, Alex goes to the play area with Mommy and Goofy, still going with the vocal stims. I sign him in, looking over at them to make sure he's ok. The receptionist says he's fine with his stimming and to not worry about it but after all of these years, I finally know how to stop it. by replacing it. I hand Mommy Alex's cereal and explain to her that the crunchy stops the vocal stim. He starts munching silently on his cereal, looking at Mommy patiently for the next piece.

Yesterday, I had to take Alex with me to Goofy's school. He sat in his seat, looking out the window. Not getting up, not unbuckling, not climbing around the car. When we stopped and the door opened, he waited patiently for me to be ready to unbuckle his seat belt, which took a while because Goofy was horrid. I grabbed him in the new way to walk him in the building and he followed my subtle directions easily. He stayed beside me as I signed Goofy in and got our stickers, he walked beside me to the nurse's office.

In the nurse's office, he sat in his chair and waited patiently for me to get done. I didn't have to look at him, I didn't have to hold him on my lap, I didn't have to stand in front of him. I was free to focus on what we were doing. This is a big change from when I couldn't take my eyes off of him for a second. This is a big change from the beginning of the school year.

We went to the counselor's office. I sat him at the table beside me, I poured some cereal into his bowl lid. and I didn't think about him again except to add more cereal in the whole 15 minutes I talked with the counselor. He sat quietly in his seat, munching away, perfectly content.

As I write this, I'm in the living room, I can't see anything beyond a piece of the kitchen and Alex wanders around. and that's ok. He doesn't have to be in arm's reach anymore. He doesn't have to be in sight anymore. I know where he is and I am confident that I, my husband, his brothers have a handle on what is ok. We have the house Alex-proof. There is nothing upstairs that can hurt him, nothing he can hurt. He can't get out. He's safe in his own home. Finally.

If someone had told me 5 years ago, or even 2 years ago, that things would one day be like this, I'm not sure I would have believed them. The boy is something special. Impressive.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Optometrist appointments and etc...

I knew going into this that of all of the weeks this month, this week would be the hardest. The most demanding.

Tuesday, we took Alex to get his eyes checked and he does need glasses.

If this is 20/20

This is where he is.

Not exactly stellar parenting on the part of the woman who knew her son "should" wear glasses but blew it off because of one doctor who didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground instead of telling him so and asking for a second opinion but, whatever. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts... He's getting his glasses and that's all I can do about it.

Thursday, I took Goofy in. I must say that the doctor was careful not to use the words "normal" or "all kids do that." He told me I was doing the right thing by bringing him to him first. "First" as in "last option" but whatever, close enough. That's about where the good news stops. Whatever is going on with this child, it's not his vision.

By the time we leave there, I'm just numb. I don't know what to think. Or, I do know what to think but I don't want to. The only question there is to ask, "Now what?", has only one answer and I don't even want to consider it so I just don't want to think about it at all. I don't want to see anyone, I don't want to talk. I just want to be alone. I'm supposed to be going to the support group but I just don't want to. I really don't want to. but.... isn't that when you really need to go? I think maybe I can listen to their problems and ignore my own for just a few more hours. If I'm quiet, it's not all that unusual. I like quiet. So, I think I'm going to go.

I get my coffee, grab my keys and blast my music, I head for the school and keep on driving instead of turning into the parking lot. Eventually, I turn around because I know I really should go. I sit in the parking lot and look at the room with the lights on and I just can't get out of the car. I sit and look and tell myself I should go in. Soon, I will go in soon. I just want to sit here for a few more minutes. I sit in front of the school lost in my numbness, looking at those lights and... I just can't. Not tonight. Tonight, I just want to be alone. I drive around a little more before heading home, listening to the music, ignoring my vibrating phone because whatever Mommy wants, it can wait for tomorrow.  

This morning, I got up knowing I couldn't put it off any longer. I know the answer to "Now what?" is "Nothing." but I am not ready for that. I have one more person I can ask for help. I pack up Alex and Goofy and head for Goofy's school. His counselor says she has time to talk to me but the nurse is looking for me. I go to sign him in and the secretary lets me know the nurse is looking for me. I know she is. I was supposed to come back after Goofy's appointment yesterday but the appointment ran longer than expected.

Tuesday night Alex's Mommy and Sister stayed the night, Wednesday morning I had a lot going on and I haven't been sleeping well, partially because Goofy isn't sleeping period. I gave Goofy his pill and could have swore he put it in his mouth. When Mommy drew my attention to the pill on the stove, I was freaked out that I almost gave him two pills and put it back... only for him to have a horrible day at school and a note home about his behavior. Thursday morning I forgot to give it to him at all and had to take it to him at school after I took Alex to school and talked to his nurse. The nurse wondered if it might be a good idea for her to give Goofy his pill at school. I'm concerned about the time it takes for the pill to start working and she points out how it doesn't work if I forget to give it to him and how long it takes to kick in when I bring it in late. Ouch. Ok. We're going to try it for a week. I'll probably just get a pill box like Walter's so I can keep track. Today, I gave her the report from the optometrist and told her that his problem wasn't vision. "So, it's behavior?" ...is his inability to read behavioral? Funny, because even though I had the same question, it sounds ridiculous coming out of her mouth. So, I guess that answers my question. No, his inability to read is not behavioral but it's not his vision, not his eyes.

The counselor wants me to talk to his teacher. I totally plan on talking to his teacher. We have a conference sometime during the 3rd week of March. Right now, I just want to know what can be done. Not being able to read simple sight words by the end of the kindergarten year is not normal development, it's not something all kids do. Somehow it went from there to dyslexia and dyslexia not being covered by the IEP. This does not sound right to me so I tell her that dyslexia is covered under "specific learning disability." Not in Missouri, she says. and it hits me right in that second, Oh, shit. This is what I have to look forward to. an advocate is not optional. If I want anything done, I will have to have one. Closely followed by wait. WTH? How did we even get on IEPs? I'm not here about an IEP. an IEP isn't anywhere near where I'm heading right now. The principal knows I will be knocking on her door for that the first report card of next year. Right now, I'm here because my son can't read and I don't know what to do.

She tells me to talk to his teacher. She says she will go with me. and then, finally, she offers an option. Sometimes they have older kids come down and help the younger kids who need extra help with reading and writing. It's something. Something is better than nothing. But first, we need to talk to his teacher. as soon as I find out when the conference is.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Can't you just let it go?

Walter was missing 6 assignments... Tuesday, was it? I told him that he was grounded- no phone and no leaving the house without me until all assignments are turned in with acceptable effort put forth. I will know this is done when his teacher e-mails me that it is so. I do not play around with "no", "mine", "don't touch that" and so on because when I say something, I mean exactly what I say and I do not negotiate with little terrorists. When I say something, I don't allow pestering to change my mind. I don't give in. You keep asking, you are more likely to get extra time or whatever for it than to get your way. I don't "just let it go."

Yesterday, he walked in and asked me if I got the e-mail yet. A glance through and no. He says maybe it's farther down. No, I check my e-mail several times a day. I know what's there, what's not, and where the new ones would be. He says he needs to go to his friend's house to work on a project for school. These two friends are counting on him, he doesn't have the paper for the assignment, the third friend does because, of the three, the third friend is the most responsible. I suggested he call his friend and ask them to come here. They can sit at the table and do their assignment.

"Well, what if I get this last assignment done and take it to the teacher to grade when Dad gets home? Then can I go?" You mean the assignment you just swore was finished and turned in? "Well, it's the last one." If I get an e-mail today, yes. That didn't work out so he's still grounded. No phone, no leaving without me. and I sure as hell ain't going anywhere. Well, he did the assignment, can't I just let him be ungrounded because it's done? No, I can't just let you be ungrounded because those were not the terms.

Alex's Mommy wants him to go to Sister's birthday party this weekend. Can't I just let him go for this special occasion? No, I can't just let him go. He made his decision. I told him what I expected, he chose to not follow through. So, no. I can't just let him go.

Walter had planned on having two friends over today. I told him to call his other friend and invite him too since he's stuck in the house and hasn't seen this friend in a week. The friend is playing basketball at some game and the friend's mom wants Walter to come see it, she thinks he will enjoy it very much because he knows quite a few of the players. Can't I just let him come and ground him an extra day? I almost, almost gave in. but no, I can't just let him go.

This thing with Walter is not my point in this post, it's just an example that is comparable to a more serious, more adult issue that has come up repeatedly, most recently yesterday. I have standards. I have expectations. At times, they may be too high and I understand that but I am not capable of backing down. If you make dumbass decisions, I'm going to think you're a dumbass. If you make dumbass decisions that effect me, I'm going to let you know you're a dumbass. If you make dumbass decisions that involve my children, I'm not going to let that shit go.

Whether it's drinking and driving with them in the car, assaulting them, leaving them stranded, providing them with drugs and alcohol, or knowingly hot lining unfounded accusations because you're pissed at me or someone in my house... I will not put up with that. I will not forget. I will not "just let it go."

You can tell me I'm being ridiculous, you can call me "cold and unforgiving", you can tell me I'm being childish and need to grow up, you can question my salvation and tell me I need church, you can even tell me I'm unreasonable, I'm acting just like my mother and still, I'm not going to "just let it go." You call it "cold and unforgiving", I call it integrity. I call it standing my ground. Stable, dependable, solid. Same words but with a different view. I know where I stand, you know where I stand. always. I know my faults. I know my weaknesses. I know my strengths. I know my character. I know me better than anyone else does so, at the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, and I can honestly say that I like me- warts and all, that I am proud of the person I was today... that's all that matters.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sister's Birthday Party.

You know we had a party planned. Well, "planned" may be a bit of a stretch but we at least knew it would be happening. My brother picked up 3 packages of balloons on his way home from work because the girl is a hardcore balloon addict. no kidding. and, no kidding on the 3 freakin' packages!!! The man is trying to kill me, I think. But they were blown up. and the kids loved them, especially the girl.


She loved the kitchen,

She loved kicking the balloons around,


She loved wrestling with the boys,


She loved wallowing in the oh so lovely balloons,

Look! Alex touched his sister! Willingly! Without hurting her!
...the tattoos may have played a part in that but whatever.


She all around had a good time in the "Balloon Pit".

While Alex found a spot he refused to leave...

It didn't matter what was happening around him...

He was focused.


Not gonna move. Barely breathing. Didn't even need a break all night long. 



Captivated. Charmed.
...I believe my boy in head over heels in puppy love.


 
Cake is always an event.
especially when it's a chaotic mixture of small hyperactive and overgrown rambunctious boys :)












Happy 4th Birthday, Baby Girl!



 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How's this for irony?

The other night, Sister had an awesome birthday party. Everyone was on their best behavior and they all had a blast. About an hour after they left, the evidence of a virus raged through the house.

The next morning, I'm dead on my feet, cleaning and disinfecting the house, being so very thankful they are home sick because it's snowing heavy. I was sure with it snowing heavy, Alex's Mommy would be rescheduling Sister's eye doctor appointment because she doesn't take chances on road conditions even in the rain, so I ignored all of that and focused on deep cleaning and disinfecting. An hour before Sister's appointment, Alex's Mommy calls  to see if I'm on my way yet. She slept through the crazy snow and now the roads are clear. I look down at the pajamas I've been wearing for 2 days, look up at the ceiling... of course.

I change my clothes, talk to Thing2, get my coffee, grab my purse and go to get the keys. No keys. anywhere. not where they belong, not where they don't belong. I never lose my keys because I always lost my keys so I made habits. but, this day of all days... gone. I call my husband who tells me *I* was the last one to have the effing things which makes this perfect because it's hard telling where they could be. I searched. and searched. and I mean SEARCHED. Remember the can opener? This was a more urgent search which means it was done in more detail with more desperation. Gone. F*ck! and my husband calls to see if I found them yet. NO!

He says if I don't find them, I have no car until he can afford to replace it. and I am a freaking mess over this because IT'S MARCH!!! I can't not have a car! Not this month! I need to go places and do things! Important things that can't be rescheduled! Vital things that I can't miss! Things that I have been working so freaking hard to prepare for that it will take a national disaster to keep me from getting there. I can't not have a car!

So, I call Mommy. who says she can come and get me today. No problem. So, while she's on her way, I continue the search with even more fervor than before. by the time she got here, I'd gotten one more phone call from my husband wondering if I found the flipping keys and found that I'd also lost my coffee and my cigarettes. Just gone. I recruit helpers on the key search and leave them with threats of bodily harm should any annoying of anyone by anyone happen while I'm out of the house. I look at my phone to check my 61 unread messages, rethinking my desire to know what's going on with my friends when I can't get to my personal profile, while she's doing the driving and see that my phone has no battery bars. none. I never let that happen! GAH!!!!

and I forgot to tell Thing2 I left. I never do that, either! This is horrible! I text him about the leaving and the dying phone and give him Mommy's number. I told him- direct quote- "my phone is dying, call *mommy if you need anything." he said- direct quote- "ok" and yet ... an hour later, I have a missed call.

We get home and since the boys were the best sleep aide Mommy has found yet and Sister has already been exposed to the germs, they stay. Which is cool with me but... IT'S MARCH!!! I can't afford to mess a single thing up this month so I leave her to entertain herself and resume the desperate search for car keys- and thank God my charging phone was on silent because I missed my husband's call. I was on my hands and knees, on top of furniture, inside furniture, moving furniture, emptying baskets and drawers and searching places one ought never need to search and I cannot find the frocking keys! No kids have seen them. ever. in their entire lives. they do not know what these "keys" are that I am looking for. except for the Little Dementor who asks for a detailed description and vows to look everywhere for them. Bless that child.

I'm freaking out, like a full on panic. I don't know where else to look! I looked here and there and everywhere, up and down and all around and the things have vanished! So, I get up on top of the refrigerator, the one place it should never be, prepared to pull every single thing down until it's bare. and guess what was all the way at the back under my husband's tie? The KEY!!!! Woo! Praise the LORD! and thank Jesus my husband would be the only one to put it there after he swore I lost it!

Now, I'm free to focus on March. I called the eye doctor hoping to get an appointment for Alex in April or May or (Please, God?) August... anything but March. She wants to know why I am calling them for an appointment, they don't just do an eye exam, insurance doesn't cover it. I don't know what she's talking about- needing a diagnosis. What diagnosis? He's seen Dr. C before. It's the same office, just a different person. She wonders if Dr. C gave him a diagnosis. I don't know, but he gave him glasses. I kid you not, it took an entire confusing as hell conversation where neither one of us knew what was going on for me to figure out she needed the AUTISM diagnosis! ah, in that case, bring him in Tuesday. *my head hits the table* ok. I can do that.

and still Mommy and Sister stay. and, it's cool with me but... IT'S MARCH. I don't have a second to waste. I have to be ready, I have to do things. and as much as I would love to sit and chat, I can't. So, I get the school bag out and organize the things I could need to discuss with Goofy's optometrist- Dr. C. I ask my husband to help me with the list of questions for Goofy's parent/teacher conference. He "don't do that", he'd rather just "play it by ear." I need lists or I won't know what to ask. There's a *cough* discussion. and in the process, although Mommy seems sufficiently entertained, I make her feel bad because she doesn't have Sister's stuff like that. The only reason I keep Goofy's is to use to get him help. With Alex, I have his IEPs, BIPs, progress reports, diagnostic reports... but not his work. So, I feel bad for making her feel bad but I can't help it! It's not like I want to have to document every move the child makes, it's not optional for me.

The Goofy Child was so sick all day long that he did not leave the couch. He slept a good chunk of the day. Alex was feeling so bad, he lazed around in his room for most of it. But by the time bed time came around, both boys were back at 100%, not tired in the least little bit, and bouncing off the freaking walls.

Then, this morning... I wake up at 7:30 and glance up to see Walter come out of the bathroom. Cool. He's up. I hit the snooze. again. and again. Next thing I know, Walter missed his bus. after the 6 missing assignments in one class, now he'll have more from all classes because I can either put up with him all day OR load up the 3 barely un-sick kids and drag them out into the cold. No question. I call school.

I feel bad that I had made plans to go to Alex's school's Talent Show before checking my calendar to make sure my day was clear just to end up having a more important obligation at the same time so I e-mail Alex's teacher explaining and asking for another chance. The second chance... feild trip on March 28. The other boys' spring break. The day before Alex's IEP meeting.

and today, the day that I am falling asleep at my keyboard and allowing kids to run wild since I have no energy to yell at them for acting like hooligans from my recent inability to sleep well... NightFood's guest post on a night time snack bar that facilitates a good night's sleep was scheduled to be posted.

♫ Isn't it ironic... ♫

Ah, I love my life.

Guest Post: NightFood

Today's guest post is from Sean, the creator of NightFood. You can learn more about Sean and NightFood over at http://igg.me/at/NightFood/, and by contributing to the indiegogo project in any way you can, whether it's donating a dollar or two or sharing the link, you will soon be able to find NightFood in all of your local stores. NightFood was originally created for adults with sleeping difficulties but Sean reached out to me when he learned that some NightFood customers were finding success giving NightFood to their kids, in place of the Melatonin they were already taking- Every month, he gives away 3 boxes to one of his lucky Facebook fans. If you want to win, just like NightFood on Facebook.


I, personally, am interested in NightFood because Alex's pediatrician has recommended Melatonin and the Melatonin in NightFood is a low dose (1.5 mg), the Chocamine is a cocoa extract, not actual chocolate(important to me because of Alex's problem digesting chocolate), plus I've told you before about Alex's problems with the interoceptive sense which has him always feeling hungry so this would be a great bed time snack for Alex who has occasional trouble falling asleep and wakes up in the night due to hunger.


NightFood

It’s no secret that most kids on the autism spectrum struggle with sleep. If you’re reading this through bleary eyes, you know what I’m talking about.

When we manufactured our first batch of NightFood nutrition bars, we weren’t thinking about kids on the spectrum as a potential market. What we found after a year or so is that several of our regular customers actually buy the bars for their kids so they can get better sleep every night.

When we looked into it further, we found that many doctors recommend the popular sleep aid melatonin for their young patients with autism. Of course, our bars contain melatonin (1.5mg per bar). Also, many experts recommend a small snack as part of the bedtime routine, especially for kids on the spectrum. NightFood fits that description perfectly…it’s a delicious, convenient, snack. Although only 150 calories, the bars are formulated with ingredients to satisfy cravings, tackle hunger, help you fall asleep more easily, and sleep better throughout the night.

The kids love the bars, and they’re better than many other convenient options (such as sugary breakfast cereals, cookies, and the like).

If you have a child that struggles with sleep, and your doctor is OK with them taking low doses of melatonin, why not try NightFood in your house? Imagine what it would be like to make bedtime just a little easier and get better sleep for the whole family every night.

Oh, by the way, the bars are not just for kids. Parents can enjoy them too during TV or computer time after the little ones are finally asleep! We all know that better sleep makes for better parents!

Right now, you can get a special offer for parents of kids on the spectrum…check it out.



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I blame March. because March sucks.

I haven't blogged in a few days and I am sorry for that. I've been a little bit busy.

This weekend, I spent some time on Alex's lists for his IEP. I straightened up his goal list, made a list of his strengths, and the list of his interests that his SLP asked for to keep him motivated at school. I'll have that post for you soon to show how I decided which goals *I* wanted. I figure the schools focus on school stuff and I focus on parent stuff. Team. That means each person has their part to play and I don't need to tell them what they need, I need to tell them what I want. Those lists are done! Yay for productivity and another item checked off.

I e-mail chatted with his school social worker about the lists and such and she invited me to the school Talent Show. Um, no. Thanks, but no thanks. Not that I don't want to go but... Alex won't let me. Then I was thinking... we've been pushing him a lot lately. making him try new things. and he's done well, I'll tell you about Sister's party soon, too. Maybe it's time to try. I e-mailed his teacher to see what she thought because with the change assemblies bring, it's hard enough. I don't want to add to that if he's already struggling. His teacher sent me back an e-mail that melted my heart and gave me... hope. She wants to work together to get me into the school and help Alex be ok with it. She has a good plan. and I want to try. It's up to Alex but we can try.

I started the rough outline of my list of questions for the Goofy one's Parent/Teacher conference. I e-mailed his teacher that he upped his dose of Concerta for the ADHD so she would have a definite point in time to start paying attention to changes so I can ask about them at the conference. I'm excited about the report I already got back. The information isn't exactly accurate but it's a good starting point and I'm adding a few more questions to my rough outline. Eventually I'll actually get to the actual questions.

Walter's math teacher e-mailed me. He's missing 6 of the last 7 assignments. By the time he got home, I was mad. I read him the e-mail, he says, "I know, I was going to tell you." "Boy, hand over that report card." While he's digging it out, I'm thinking about the next 6 weeks and what I have to do to get my frickin point across that this is not acceptable. I'm not looking forward to 6 weeks with a pre-teen who has no phone and isn't allowed to leave the house without his Mommy and that just ticks me off even more because I get punished right along with him because he decides not to do his work- Not ability, willingness. Looking at the report card, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. Not 6 weeks of hell. He brought every grade up to C and above. Now, he just has no phone and isn't allowed to leave the house without his Mommy until all 6 assignments are turned in- with acceptable effort. His teacher agreed to e-mail me back when they are turned in. I love that woman. and Walter has his warning for the next report card. So, Woo!

Over the weekend, Thing2's friend asked for a ride home because he didn't "feel good". Now, when someone in my house "don't feel good", I always ask what exactly "don't feel good" means. Unfortunately, I was so wrapped up in prepping for the month and my lists and lists of lists, I couldn't care less. I just took the boy home. Last night, after Sister's party, I found out the hard way what "don't feel good" means when the Goofy One bolted for the bathroom out of a dead sleep and emptied the contents of his stomach. and then my husband found out when he cleaned it up, Walter found out when he cleaned it up (God, I love those guys), and then when Walter woke me up around 4, I found out again with the Goofy one and a second victim- Alex. *sigh*

Then it turns out that their sickness, as nasty as it is, was a blessing in disguise because as much of and as quickly as this white crap is falling out of the sky, I'd be a freakin wreck until they got home. and, as much of and as quickly as this white crap is falling out of the sky, I'm pretty sure Alex's Mommy is going to reschedule Alex's Sister's Eye Doctor appointment. Thank God for small favors. Uhg. Eye Doctor. Goofy's Optometrist appointment is the same day as Alex's Talent Show. Now, ain't that just a kick in the head?

And now, *sigh*, and now to go wage my war on virus filth.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

INTEGRITY!!!! Walter's Essay

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong principles; moral uprightness.




Integrity in others is important because I would like to be treated nicely and not get lied to. I would  also not want to get stolen from especially from my friends. I had a name " Tiger of Integrity " a Tiger of Integrity is a  slogan at my elementary school. Our mascot was a tiger and we were working on integrity so that's how we got it ( kinda cheesy to me ). But the reason it is in this essay is because of the lessons learned. I also don't want people taking me for granted. I want friends that are honest, respectful , and loyal. I want friends that will treat others the way they want to be treated.



Me being a person of integrity  is important to others because my actions towards others has to be good or my friends wont like me. And I have learned to treat others the way you want to be treated. Because my mom has implanted it in my head. And if you be dishonest no one will believe you and you will get in more trouble ( I'm here ain't I -.- ). That is how integrity effects others. And I'm going to change so I can have better integrity.

 
Integrity in myself is important to me because it effects my self esteem and makes me feel better about myself. And I am going to a better person of integrity. I am going to  stop lieing because that is not what people of integrity do. And its important for me to know I am a person of integrity because it makes me feel good :). And others that trust me is important to me because I feel better about myself so I don't feel like a piece of trash. Their trust to me means everything to me because of friends. You can have friends without honesty but it wont be a good friendship.


I will have pride in myself and confidence in being a good person. I will be a person of integrity.








 ( This took 3 rough drafts, a total of 5 or 6 hrs ... don't judge c: )                    



                       

Friday, March 1, 2013

Time Marches On

Yesterday, a friend asked me where I've been and... I... don't know. Somewhere. around here, I think. February is kind of a blur but I'm pretty sure I spent a significant amount of time being around. but then, all of a sudden, we're like seconds away from March. March is going to be a pretty busy month for me. an emotional roller coaster. At first, looking at what is going on for the month, I felt the need to fall to my knees and scream at the sky, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!?" and dissolve into a puddle of tears, mourning my lot in life. But then I saw something that flipped that frown upside down...

 
A Legion for Liam


and just like that... Psht. I got this. I just need to adjust my thinking. I'm like SuperMom or something, right? (shush it. let me have this one.) I can handle anything that comes along. Partially because my memory sucks (see loss of February above) and once something's off my list, it's forgotten so it takes quite a bit for the stress to add up. or, for me to notice.

First is Alex's Sister's birthday party March 4th. I still have to tell my husband we're doing cake and decorations but for the rest of the hours left in month of February, I'm making the most of my (if I must say so myself,) most impressive skill- procrastination. eh, eventually. oh, crap. Is that Monday? uhg.

The first appointment is the 5th. Alex's sister has an appointment with Alex's Optometrist. This one won't be too bad because all I'm doing is driving. Mommy can deal with the rest because, well, as bad as it may sound, it's not my kid so I don't have to take on the baggage that goes with a specialist appointment. *woot* for that.

The boys all have spring break. 2 different weeks of spring break. Kids are home. eh, roll with it. ya know? Then there are the other minor inconveniences ;) like time change (10th), Spread the Word to End the Word Day (6th)(that would be the R-word), a coming out party of some sort for NightFood, and Easter (31st).

March 29th is Alex's IEP meeting. I'm not so worried about that either because... just whatever. I'm reading his things, I have my list of goals ready and printed up, I sent them a copy to work in whatever they want to work in, (as long as at least some of my things are on the list or better ones, I'm cool with whatever they come up with.) Alex's school social worker is going with me, but... I'm not really worried. I have concerns, of course, because I don't know what to expect from this team but I don't see any big problems unless they push summer school. and that will be a fight to the death. mark my words. not gonna happen. Every problem we've had this year is on the list already so there's nothing left for me to do there. That could change after the 14th, though, when I'm free to focus only on Alex. Once my attention is focused, no promises. Sorry, that's just the way it goes.

The 14th is where all of my emotional energy is focused right now. The Goofy Child's Optometrist appointment. I'm already frustrated. annoyed. in a dangerous mood, looking for a fight because I'm going into this one already expecting a fight. expecting to hear, "oh, he's fine." or "all kids do that." and I already want to rage at the doc for being wrong because he's not fine and I know it. I'm going in armed with every piece of paper that child has brought home this year, with behavior reports, and evaluation reports that show there is something vision related going on there but even so, I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where it doesn't matter how loud you scream- no one will hear you. I feel like it doesn't matter what I have as "proof" that there is something there, it won't be enough and no one can figure this child out. I've already had one consult type appointment with the Goofy one's pediatrician this week that doesn't make this next one look too promising at all. There was discussion and warnings of not getting my hopes up. Probably, the Goofy one won't be getting help any time soon. Even if he does need it. because that's not how this works. on the up-side, part of the Goofy one's reading trouble could be the focus part of ADHD. We upped his meds again so we'll see.

But, whatever. no worries. I got this. I'm like ... jammin', man. Eye of the Tiger style. (Thanks, MamaFry! Perfect IEP/anti-diagnosis song!) and that is it! I'm pumped! Not only can I take on this entire month and take down every single person that steps in my way, I could probably take over the world!!! I feel like WWE's Ryback standing in center ring, daring my next opponent to step forward with the whole crowd chanting with me, "Feed. me. more! Feed. me. more! Feed.. me.. MORE!"


...and then I get the yellow envelope in Goofy's backpack. aw, hell. This can't be good. and it's not. "Future conference will be scheduled the third week of March." and as I'm laying in the floor, raging at the sky, bathed in my tears, wrapped in the cold comfort of self pity... I wonder if Alex's school social worker would want to go with me...?