Friday, May 31, 2013

To reward or not to reward...

I just got a phone call that has me confused. I'm not exactly sure what to think of it. Walter's friend's mom called me. She wants the boys- my boy, her boy, and a few of her boy's friends- to help set up their pool. Which is cool, you know, Little Red Hen. In return, she wants to take them to an amusement park for the day... as payment for helping. and she wants to know if I am ok with that. and this is where I am confused because I don't know.

Am I ok with him helping set up the pool? Of course.

Am I ok with him going to an amusement park with them? Absolutely.

Am I ok with the amusement park being a reward for helping set up a pool that he will spend time in this summer anyway? ...I'm not so sure.

It makes me uncomfortable because I want my boys to learn the value in helping just because someone asked. I want them to know that you do something for someone else because you can, because they asked, NOT because you will get something out of it. I want them to know that you don't always get a reward for doing the right thing, the reward is in the doing.

The friend's mom's goal lesson is just as important- working for what you get. Earning something they want.

The first woman we lived next to here taught me that I can't deny them a reward for helping. It didn't matter how small the job, she found a way to reward them even though I strictly forbade monetary rewards. She would give them candy, cookies, soda... the older ones, she'd slip them $10 and tell them not to tell their mom.

With the older ones, it took a while but we finally got to the point that when I said, "hey, this person needs..." the first question was not, "what am I going to get for it?" It got to the point to that when the tornado hit Oklahoma, Thing1's first thoughts were not for himself, even if his job had not required him to, he would have been one of the first people asking what he could do. Last week, the neighbor dad needed help with his pool, all he said was, "I need help with..." and both Thing2 and Walter jumped up with no questions.

The purpose in the lesson in helping because you can is not to punish them by denying something given back in appreciation. I guess the trick is teaching the balance between selfish and selfless. I guess allowing them to take a reward is just as important as teaching them not to expect it. So, yeah. I guess I'm ok with it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The reason I didn't get anything done today...

It's Wednesday. Wednesday is story time. There was some sort of conspiracy this morning designed for me to say- "Forget it! It's not worth it!" Instead, I said, "Oh, you guys can't get along? Maybe that's because you need to spend MORE time together." Brilliant, right? Yeah....I swear they pushed me over the edge of insanity. It was pure desperation that made me scream those words.

The Goofy child has new shoes. The Goofy child lost his new shoes and cannot find them. He needs "help" and by help, he means I need to find them. I'm looking for the stupid shoe in the basement and I'm not happy about it just based on the fact that it's the basement, while he is supposed to be looking in his room, and by "looking," I mean staying out of trouble. I come up the stairs, shoe in hand, and hear screaming. and crying. and "MOOOOOOOMMMM!!!" ...fist fighting. Damned heathens can't even keep their hands to themselves for 5 minutes!? Fine. time out.

The goal was to confine them each to a chair each just long enough for me to load the car so we could get out of the house. I know their biggest problem is being cooped up and they just need out. So, that's what I'm trying to do. I walk back in from checking car seats and rolling down windows to see the Little D looking shell shocked and the Goofy one looking at me with a huge smile while he hid his hands behind his back. It took me a minute to see exactly what he did....



 
Dear Teacher, I rest my case. No child should ever learn how to use a pair of scissors until they are at least in High School and care what they look like. I don't even care. We're going.

Then we fought over soda. at 9am. Dear Brother, I rest my case. Sugar is banned from my house until the end of time.

Then while I am putting backpacks, stroller, and shoes in the car, Walter starts screaming that he is so not going because the Goofy one did something or another. and that's when it happened... "Oh, you guys can't get along? Maybe that's because you need to spend MORE time together. You are SO going! Keep pushing and you'll be holding hands!"

Then, while backing out of the driveway... I ran over my own damned trash can.

By this time, I probably should have given in, parked the car, and let them play video games until their eyes bled but I never claimed to be bright. just determined.

We get to the library and The Little D and the Goofy one are horsing around in the driver's seat. I'm yelling at them to get out because the way the day is going, I can just see where 2 boys in the driver's seat will end up, while unknotting Alex's shoes. I get one shoe on and the knot out of shoe #2... I reach for his foot and find 2 shoeless feet. Forget it! We don't need shoes! We're GOING!

Story time was pretty uneventful. Walter, Goofy and the Little d refused to get up front and participate. They sat in their big person seats and scowled at the story teller but Alex was caught up in the stories so I call that a success.

We get Alex his sticker and turn around to find we lost the other kids. They were eventually found, not that I was actively looking for them. The turtles and hamster would thank me... And, Alex made a new book finding system for me... Whatever he knocks off the shelf goes in my cart. I don't even know what I checked out.

This is where you find the real brilliance in my plan for the day.


This is the Summer Reading Club.


For every 15 minutes of reading, they get to color in an oval. after 16 ovals, they get to pick a prize. The Goofy Child is now motivated. (This evening, he wanted to read a book so he could fill in a circle. Yeah! HE WANTED. Until he got 1/2 way through the book and decided it wasn't worth a prize. So, we're taking a break and we'll finish the book and he'll color his oval. I think when he actually gets a prize, he'll be more willing to work for the next one. I just hope it doesn't take all summer to get through page 1 of the oval coloring.)

Then the hamster escaped. alone. with no help. opened his own cage and everything. he was found safe. The turtles escaped. alone. with no help. got out of their box all by themselves. no one forgot to watch them or anything. they just took off. They were found safe. Then the hamster learned to fly. and he didn't like it.

When my sister in law showed up to take the 2 little ones out for the afternoon, I wished her luck and shoved their asses in the car before she could change her mind.

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching thrown objects, redressing and redressing and redressing Alex and asking Alex if he was ready for a nap. Never happened. Thank God for an 8pm bed time and Melatonin, mama needs a beer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This, too, shall pass.

There has been craziness around my house these past few days. Ever since the last day of school signaled an abrupt crash of everything structure and routine.

Our home has descended into chaos. mayhem. anarchy. bad kids and stuff like that in addition to the need to get up at an insanely early time for beautiful summer mornings to clean up shit. every day. and twice on Friday. Then there's the wandering, the bolting, the "go. go. go." "goodbye? goodbye?" Alex's sister is a bad influence. I'm totally blaming her for the "go go go!" even though Alex uses periods in his. Then the other kids with their bickering and temper tantrums and the "when are we going to the park?" and all that nagging that leads to my own temper tantrums. "all behavior is communication." Just remember that.

The house is destroyed, I can't keep up. Laundry is unbelievable but I can't get down there. The kids want OUT but there're too many things stopping us- bad weather, shared transportation on the weekends, other obligations... This, too, shall pass. Some days I chant this to remind myself that it'll be ok. It won't last long. just breathe your way through and it'll be ok.

There have also been times like, "here, Mom, I got this for you."



and the first drive on a new permit:
Me: Seat comfortable?
T2: IDK, I think so.
Me: Check mirrors?
T2: *adjusts mirror*
Me: Seatbelt?
T2: Got it.
*backs up* *phone vibrates* *teenage reflex*
Me: Don't text and drive. That's what God made red lights for.
T2: ok.

T2: Did I scare you?
Me: Pfft. I taught your brother in a stick.

Guess who got their driver's permit!!! Congrats, Thing2!!!


and then there are the moments when you are so close to losing your mind and something happens and you are reminded to STOP.
Leftover BBQ covering counters and the stove... BBQ sauce dripping off the counter... dishes piled in the sink... 1/2 full soda cans sitting around... trash overflowing... toys, fruit loops and bits of food covering the floor... It can wait. Alex wants to dance with his mama. :)

*priceless moments*

because this, too, shall pass.

I got up with the alarm this morning, looked in on Alex who was still sleeping, and walked into the kitchen for some coffee. Standing with my coffee, I watched 2 small boys run through the yard and crash in through the back door, laughing and falling over each other (Walter told them they could go out so they didn't wake me up)


Instead of yelling at the small ones for being outside while I was asleep, instead of yelling at Walter for wasting tape... I recognized that these moments... they will pass. The boys won't be rambunctious little pups for long. Walter is growing into someone who does what he can before asking for help. I made a decision. I said thank you and sat down to help him.

Walter is very proud of his brand new wallet made extra special with Mom's help...







So, tomorrow, when I am at the end of my rope... someone remind me, please?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wandering: When prevention doesn't work.

To blog when you are frustrated, when you feel like you have been pushed beyond what you can take is never a good idea and yet, here we are.

Today has been a craptastic day. Anything that could break has broken. anything that could be made a mess of, has been made a mess of. any fight that could have been fought, has been fought. any request that could be denied, has been denied. I hate this day. I have had enough. and then there's more. I'm not mad at the comment, I'm mad at the situation. I'm mad because there is nothing to be mad at and I need to be mad at something. I'm so freaking tired, so stressed out. I am so thankful my brother showed up just at the time I really needed a break. but I'm still frustrated.

This is my front door. There are 3 locks.


We recently had to turn the garage into extra living space which means we lose the garage as the main entrance to the house. This shouldn't be a big deal except now we need to leave the front door unlocked for people to come in and out. Friday (oh, man, was that only yesterday!?), I kept "losing" Alex. Not that he was really lost, he was actually where he was supposed to be but he was too damned quiet so I decided I couldn't take it. The people who live here are going to have to ring the doorbell like a visitor to be let into their own house until I get alarms because I'm terrified I'm going to lose my baby. Rational FEAR.

So, today, Alex disappeared around the side of the refrigerator. I didn't hear him knock on the door to signal turning around and coming back so I went to look. There he was, in his diaper, doors open, cold rain pouring down, getting ready to step onto the porch. I ran, caught him and brought him back. The top lock is broken. It won't stay slid up in place. So, I make sure he's safe, calm down and crack a joke.


The top lock on the front door broke now... unspoken question answered. Yes, Alex will still run out the front door. in the rain. naked. Don't worry, I caught him before his foot hit the front porch.

Did someone mention a full moon?

and it's suggested that now might be a good time to talk about wandering prevention. I'm reminded that 3 autistic children (the ones who made the news)(the ones who weren't just a close call) died this month. I don't need tragic stories to tell me that death is a more than likely outcome to wandering. I live with that fear every minute of every day. I want to ask what you want from me.

we have locks on the windows.
 
we have locks on the doors.

 we have a fence around the yard.

we have gates.
 
Alex has a gate on his door so we can sleep at night.

this is where I work and play.

this is his stroller. (thank you, Rae!)

He wears a harness.
 
I know perfectly well what happens when prevention fails. I know the risk. Alex is with me always. I just recently started letting him play in another room in the house without following him. 
 
 
My 11 year old son goes to the bathroom with me because I can't leave him alone even for a second, I have a finger print and slobber covered mirror on the back of the bathroom door just so he will coo at himself instead of bolting while I am occupied. 
 
 
My hand is always on him when we leave. He is always in arm's reach, even on the playground. I watch my kid. I am the ultimate helicopter mommy and still, he gets away. The safeguards fail.
 

I have told you about Alex's wandering. I have told you what I do to prevent it. I have given you links to Elaine's Harnesses and My Precious Kid- where I bought Alex's ID bracelet. I have sent you to Bacon and Juice Boxes for hints and tips like the PDF file with all of the information first responders need and taking a picture of your child before you leave the house for an accurate description, I have given you links for the Big Red Box... for when the safeguards fail.
 
We don't lose our children because we don't do everything in our power to keep them safe. We don't lose our children because we don't know the risks. We don't lose our children because we don't know it's a likely possibility. I talk about prevention all the time. What I need you to know is that safeguards fail. Locks break.

 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

You want me to share your blog post?

1. Write something worth reading.

Yes, I'm ADHD. It's hard to keep my attention. Sorry. But if I'm reading your post and have to stutter my way through or skim parts, I'm not sharing it. There are plenty of bloggers who can keep my attention all the way through their posts. You want to see which ones? Check my page. I share what I like.



2. Be original.

Be you. Show me YOUR voice. If you are just going to waste my time regurgitating other people's opinions or telling me what you think I want to hear, I'm not going to bother reading it, much less share. My time is valuable and extremely limited.

Don't pretend to be something you're not. That's obvious and annoying.



3. Talk to me.

I came to listen to you tell me what you want to say. Not to watch you just ramble into a void with no particular point.



4. Make it easy to read.

Use spacing. enter. pictures. proof read. spell check. use your punctuation, man! I'll admit, my punctuation is everywhere, you never know what I'm going to use where from posts to post. But, at least know the rules, what each one does, and then use it however you want to use it but damnit, USE IT to fit what you are saying! Make it part of the story, a tool in showcasing your voice. At least break up those sentences a little.

If I get a headache before I get to the end of your post, I'm going to be pissed and I probably won't be back.



5. Watch your tone.

Make sure your tone matches your message. (ableism, yes. I don't care.) If the tone makes me uncomfortable, I won't even finish the post but I will be back tomorrow to see what you have to say this time.




6. Let me know you wrote it.

I do have a limited number of people I consider to be my friends and yes, I do share some of their posts. I share other posts as well. I don't share just because people are my friends, I share because they wrote something good and let me know they did. If your posts aren't being shared, the problem is you, not me. Start looking at what you are doing and stop blaming it on the "cool kids' clique." If you are writing good stuff and it's still not being shared, look at your networking system.

Let me tell you about the accusation of "playing favorites." My husband's family tried that once when I said no to a kid I couldn't handle. Here's the situation from my point of view... You want me to take your kids, and take all of your kids equally, no matter the pressure put on me. BUT, not one single family member takes a single one of my kids for any length of time. So, you want me to do all of the work, you want to be able to tell me what I need to do and how I need to do it but you don't need to do a single thing yourself? Bullshit. I haven't heard it since from them and I won't take it from you.




7. Make it easy to share.

If I can't just click a button, I'm probably going to pass except for the rare post that's worth the extra work.






Yes, this is all about me. I am a selfish and lazy person. But... YOU are the one wanting ME to share YOUR post and I am a very selfish and lazy person. You do the work and I'll help you out. I never ask people to do something I'm not willing to do myself.

I owe you nothing. I did the work to get to where I am. When my posts are shared, I take pride in that and I let the people know that I appreciate it. When my posts are not shared, I don't look for someone to blame. Suck it up and work harder.

Do you have to like me for me to share your post? No. Do I have to like you? Well, as long as you aren't one particular blogger who shall never be named on anything linked to me... No. You just have to write good stuff and let me know you did.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

End of the Year Anxiety

I just watched my smallest child hop up the bus stairs on the last day of his kindergarten year. I don't know if I want to jump for joy, screaming the lyrics to Alice Cooper's School's Out, or look apprehensively toward the start of next year which is only a few short months away.

Next year should be good for the Goofy One, they picked the perfect teacher (or so they say, we shall see) to fit his needs and his personality and I got that letter I told you about yesterday. The Letter. The one that shocked the hell out of me, made me cry, and had me screaming the news from the rooftops?
"The *** School District offers supplemental reading services for children in grades 1-5. Based on your child's progress in literacy development in kindergarten, I am recommending at the beginning of 1st grade Goofy be screened for supplemental reading services."
 Yeah. That. :D

But then I got an e-mail from the middle school principal. An end of the year e-mail. That congratulated people who are moving on. Including the Mystery Man. You know what that means, right? New Vice Principals. Maybe 2 of them. Just saying that starts this ball of panic in my chest. Whew. breathing. Ok, breathing. *woosah*


My freak out last night...
"GAHHHHHHH!!!! My Mystery Man got a freaking promotion!!!! Now we have to have TWO new vice principals!!!!! NEXT YEAR IS GOING TO SUCK!!! I think I might be having a heart attack. oh, wait, that just school administration RIPPING MY HEART OUT!!!!"
Now multiply that by 3!  

This worries me for the Middle School because the Mystery man is the only one I have ever dealt with and that even that was against my will. I don't know anyone else there. I've had small waving conversations with the principal but that's just, you know, waving.

and it worries me with the Elementary because now I am eyeing them suspiciously. Who else are they going to change? Who are these people I am supposed to be working with? The Mystery Man ended up being AWESOME, can they top that? The last VP was silent and the one before that was... rough years with the school.

and it worries me with Alex's school because I'm already on the edge of insanity, who's going to change there!? Oh, God, I can't take any more new people, I just can't. I'm still waiting for news on the teacher, he's supposed to have the same one next year but I won't find out until the welcome letters come out in August or so. Everybody, start praying! Pray hard! Please.

But then again, look how this year turned out... ...ok, this year turned out pretty crappy for everyone but Alex.

Oh, Lord, have mercy. IEPs. IEPs and evaluations and doctors. another year of being the Goofy Child's psychotic pain in the ass of a mother. I read somewhere (in IDEA) last night that what they are requesting- the screening- is not the same as an evaluation so after they do their screening and find out the Goofy One can't read, I have to re-request evaluation for SSD services which wasn't supposed to happen until after the first report card but... *shrugs*

The good news is, I'm not supposed to have to worry about Alex. He has a great teacher, a good IEP, good staff....everything is good with him and should mostly stay the same which leaves me to freak in peace on the Goofy One.

Does anyone else get a head start on the beginning of the year freak outs? Please?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right?


Sometime during the night there must have been a storm that knocked the electricity out, which set my alarm clock to flashing instead of doing it's job to wake me up. My husband was the one to notice this...after Alex missed his bus.

get the Goofy one up, dressed and medicated... he can't find his shoes. We searched and searched and could not find them anywhere... we had that baby girl here who loves to wear other people's shoes. crap. I still can't find his shoes but I found the old ones just in time for him to miss his bus.

On the way to Alex's school because I have to go to Alex's school first because to take Alex to his old school and then leave... upsets Alex just a little, I realize I don't have his glasses.

alright, fine. whatever. Just whatever. I'm ready to just chalk it up to a bad start to a normal morning and I'll just have to go get them after I get all of the kids to school... until I see this driving Alex to school...



and I knew. I knew that this wasn't just another one of those days, this was another one of THOSE days where apparently, the Good Lord needed a good laugh and I'm the one wearing a kick me sign.

This is the only way I know to get to Alex's school and it took me months to find my way without getting lost. I call my husband for directions, he doesn't answer his phone and there is no way for me to go around this and get where I'm going so f*ck it! He's not going. He'll stay home with me. *firm nod*

We head back the way we came on the way to the Goofy Child's school and pass back by the house where Thing1's whatever is standing on our front porch with the grandbaby looking worried. I call my husband who *surprise* doesn't answer his phone. Thing1's whatever calls me, I tell her he's in the garage, just go in. ok. problem solved.

We get to the Goofy Child's school, I have one eye on him, two knots undone, two socks and one shoe on Alex and my phone rings. The doors are locked. and she has to leave now.

FINE! load back up and head back home. I pull into the driveway to see my husband standing on the front porch holding the grandbaby, waving. I slap the steering wheel mouthing, "are you f*cking kidding me!?" he mimes at me Alex's glasses, I flip him the bird and back out of the driveway to head back to Goofy's school.

I have one eye on the Goofy child, undo the knot in Alex's shoe lace, put his socks and shoes back on and walk the Goofy one into the building. Alex is in a hurry, Goofy is not. I'm trying to slow one and hurry the other all the way to the door. We get inside and into the office where I can barely think straight enough to tell the Goofy child what to do, as if he's never been late for school before. As if he has to be told every single step every single time. The receptionist tells me to not bother signing him in when Alex tried to clean her counter for her and said she'd do it.

and then we go home. me 'n' Alex. I pack a diaper bag for him and the grandbaby, throw his stroller in the car and I'm ready to go to the social security office with my husband because one of us forgot to report wages, I'm sure there was a supernatural hand in it setting the stage for today. My husband wants to know why I still have Alex. I still have Alex because GOD HATES ME!!!!

My husband decides Alex is going to school. He will drive. Poor Alex. Oh, poor Alex. he's going to have such a rough day. Fine. whatever.

We get to the school and I stop by the office to ask the receptionist to please call his room. she says she will. Leaving the office, I realize I didn't tell her why I wanted her to call. I need them to come get Alex because he doesn't really like for me to walk him to class. I figure while we're waiting, since I'm hoping someone will show up, we can hit the nurse's office for his toe. he must have hit it on something because he has a big open area. She doctors his toe and we go back to the hall where there is no one. Ok, I walk him to class.

Once I get back out and we are on our way, I see that there is no way we will be able to go to the social security office and get back home in time to get Goofy. We have to pick one or the other. So, we call the neighbor dad and I hang my head in shame at having to ask, yet again, for him to pick up my slack.

And I'm back to Alex. He is feisty today. I'm hoping he has a good day, even though the morning was such a mess. He comes home without his glasses and with a reminder that I forgot to send diapers. again. Yeah, we're just going to call that even.

Tomorrow will be a good day. Tomorrow will be easy. Tomorrow will go as planned. I have faith.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why I won't be online much during summer...

I don't know that I have a real point in this post, I just haven't written in a few days and felt the need. I've been pretty quiet and there are a few reasons for that. They have names but there are too many to list. I swear to you, they are trying to kill me. Even now, the Tiniest Supervillain is saying in her tiny voice, "I play freeze tag? We play freeze tag, please?" HELP! I've created a monster!!!! I'm pretty sure Alex's sister is putting their Mommy through the same hell right about now but I just can't do it today. I need rest. I'm old. I'm fragile. Why don't they believe I'm frail!?

anyway, We have to have a plan for the summer. the sister is already out of school, my boys will be out Wednesday and Alex is done Thursday. This week was thrown together haphazardly because, you know, unexpected events. Haphazard leads to frazzled and messy.

Wednesday, we went to story time because we always go to story time. Story time sucked because we got the sucky storyteller. and this story teller made us participate in group activities. we hate group activities. we like individual in a group. not group as a whole. You should have seen the look TS shot me when she had to do ring around the rosie. They all refused to hold hands with anyone. I tell you what, they may not be my kids... but these kids are totally mine, lol. Alex's sister was pissed that she had to go home after. She wanted to stay and play with the Little Dementor and the Tiniest Supervillain. So I promised her something great if she went to her last day of school. Something and "Summer". She doesn't know what summer is yet, but she'll learn. Kind of a throw the girl to the sharks kind of thing... swim along or be eaten alive.

Thursday, I had to come up with something great. Follow through is just as important with rewards as it is with discipline. So, we went to feed the ducks, look at animals and play on a playground. and the girl learned to climb :) She's a quick learner, all she needs is an example and encouragement. "I can't do it," lol, I haven't heard those words since. Well, except when she couldn't find her own worm but that's later. We came home to play in water and wait for the boys, once the boys came home, we were off again.

Since they kicked my ass, I didn't plan on doing anything Friday because I needed rest...until I found out The Little D and Tiniest S were going home Saturday so... Friday, it is. We went to another park where we discovered "higher" ...

 
and "worms" which were actually caterpillars. When we got home, the TS was helping the Sister find worms. and she found one. Every time Sister said, "I can't find one," TS would poke a stick at the ground, "There he is! See him dead body? I found him. That's him dead body right there." Well, the worm wasn't actually dead until this...


Now it's dead.

Then came the game of freeze tag. The final nail in my coffin...



Once the Little D was it... that was the end of it. I am so glad he's not my runner, the boy is quick! NO! You don't understand! I was running and running and it didn't matter how fast I ran, how quick I turned, who I threw in his way...as soon as I started thinking I lost him, I looked back and there he was! I just could not shake him! It was scary, man! HE was scary! and smart! He wore down the big people and froze them before he went after the little ones. Once it came down to the Little D vs the Goofy child...it was done.

I told the adults I couldn't do another day in a row, I had to have a break. Saturday was off-limits. HA! My husband promised the Goofy one a trip to the gas station, I think in return for getting rid of the dog- he had to go, not just because yet again he woke me up before 7:30 jumping all over me and sitting on top of me to scratch while the Goofy one curled up at my feet and blasted cartoons when there are 2,000 other TVs where sleeping people are not but because he keeps biting me. and it hurts. I look like a domestic abuse survivor right now with all of my bruises. I don't look good in bruises.

Anyway, he had to go to work so I thought we could take a field trip up to the gas station and that would satisfy him... pfft. now he wants to walk to the school to play. So, we're off again! Maybe soon I'll have something more interesting to tell you about :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Alex's Birthday Party at the BounceU Room 3 and Home

After an hour of literal bouncing off the walls (posts 1 and 2) and the vicious assault on our hearing, the blessed silence of the party room was a welcome relief.
 
 
 
In the goody bags (8 freaking goody bags) there were clapping hands. 8 clapping hands.
The clapping hands were a big hit. all 8 of them. and 7 came home with me.
I would really like to thank BounceU for handing them out.
Not really. FU, BounceU! I freaking hate you, you sadistic SOB!


 
In addition to clapping hands, the Birthday Kids get to choose from a treasure chest.
The treasure chest has many, many awesome things in it.
for kids who don't have Alex's extremely limited interests. (There are some sensory friendly toys) 
I chose a ball for Alex because it was the only thing he could play with.
Unfortunately, they were out.
So, we got the T-shirt.

 
It was close to 7 before we got home.

'nough said.
 
The other kids, though pleasantly tired from the effort put in to act like they were hyped up on a cross between Red Bull and sugar, were totally ready to play some more.









and then they all crashed.

This was the best birthday party Alex has ever had :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

FEAR

There are a great many things I fear... The dark, the basement, bugs, snakes, anything smaller than a cat, being alone, being in a crowd, small rooms, closed doors, whatever could be hiding under my bed (probably a giant freaking spider waiting for me to step down with no light so he can eat my foot)... my list goes on and on because there are more things in this world that do scare me than don't but there is only one fear that inspires nightmares.

Last night I dreamt I was taking a shower with an alligator, which is ok because I am used to pushing my fears aside and doing what I need to do, I turned away to rinse the soap off of my face and when I turned back, a smaller version of the Goofy child had slipped in with us to play with the alligator. By the time I got the alligator off of him, he was blue. I blew into his mouth and he started breathing again.

I rushed him to the doctor's office, so very afraid that I was too late, and when it was our turn to be seen... I realized I had the wrong kid. *shrugs*, he needs to be seen anyway. Alex has ear infections in both ears. I walked out to take him to get the medicine and forgot, ending up at home arguing with Thing2 over him being the boss of his own life- which was the constant argument with Thing1, not Thing2 but it's never too late to change the game, right?

In all of this, I never noticed that the Goofy One was gone or that Alex was never treated. With each new kid, I forgot the one before.

This is only one version of the same nightmare I've had for years. The terror that comes with the knowledge that I failed my kids and they paid the price...


Yesterday, Mikaela Lynch, 9 years old, non-verbal, autistic was found in a creek not far from her home.  I can only imagine the real nightmare her family is living now, but I know the nightmare they lived every day for the past 9 years. Knowing that your kids are a glance in the wrong direction away from disappearing. Knowing that there is life-threatening danger all around you and no matter how many fences you put up, locks you've installed, alarms put on doors, gates... things happen. Gates are accidentally left unlocked, the cable guy leaves the door open, your kid learns to climb just as you turn your back for a split second to take a phone call, run to the bathroom, get a glass of water...

The fear is smothering. It wraps itself around you so tightly you can't breathe, you can't move. You can't function, the fear blocks out everything, it becomes everything. To fight the fear, you stay on guard day and night. So exhausting. Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day you stay on guard until the moment you start to feel safe and you let your guard down...

I have one kid who will walk off with anyone and one kid who will wander off alone at the first chance. This fear is a real fear. a rational fear. I know this because I have let my guard down and I have lost Alex. I was just lucky that I got him back safely. I was lucky that the car he ran out in front of was able to stop. I was lucky that the woman driver cared enough to get out and chase him several blocks. I was lucky that one of my kid's friends recognized their friend's brother and the Dad stepped out to catch him. I was lucky that there were people telling me where he went, pointing the way. I was lucky because that one glance in the wrong direction, that one minute spent with another kid, that one time the door was left unlocked... could have had a much different ending. And I live every day with the knowledge that next time, I might not be so lucky.

My heart stops every time I hear sirens, every time I hear a horn honk. I freeze in fear and I count my kids because next time might just happen today.

My heart goes out to Mikaela's family. I am so sorry for your loss.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Alex's Birthday Party at the BounceU: Room2

After Room 1, we went to Room 2...
 
The second room wasn't as Alex friendly as the first. The equipment was mostly developmentally-older than Alex. And, yes, the Grandbaby (at not quite 2) can do things Alex can't. She's actually quite clever and determined. whew, buddy, is that girl determined. Anyway,
 
 


See? Determined. She is going up that wall, she is sliding down that slide and no one is going to stop her. If the other girls can do it, then, damnit, so can she!

 
and she did :)

 
Alex liked the tube but there was no way, no way, anyone was getting him on that slide.

 
He'd rather bounce around in the boxing ring.
 
They had more games in this room, like I said, most of them Alex couldn't do, but the other kids loved them.


 
He did like to wander around the bottom of this one and kept running behind it...


 
The girls loved the fact that the air kept the ball up- that was so cool!
and trying to hit it with a bat? so fun.

(wrong way, girl!)


(wrong end, girl!)
 
after 30 minutes in Room 1, partially through this room Alex started getting a little upset. A lot of it had to do with the insane amount of noise. Aside from the laughing and screams coming from way too much ADHD in one room, all of the equipment had motors humming (loudly) to keep them blown up. To drown out all of that noise, the stereo was blasting high energy songs like this one. But Alex didn't want a break, he wanted to be more ADHD, not so much autistic today. So, I let him. His party, right? Let the boy run wild with his hyperactivity and loud screams. but... I sure was glad that there was a 30 minute limit.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Alex's Birthday Party at the BounceU: Room 1

I couldn't find my brown purse this morning. My brown purse has my allergy meds. I was dying so right now, I'm pretty much high on Benadryl. I tell you what, if I ever find my purse I will find a new safe place for my drowsiness-free miracle drug. Until then, read on. but proceed with caution...
 
 
So, this is what it started with. Looks like a cute picture, right? So freakin sweet. Until you hear that they are standing there asking for the 20 millionth time if it is time for the birthday party and how many more people do we need to wait for? Well, when are they going to be here?
 
And this is what happened. I started getting ready at 10am. I loaded backpacks, made sure we had what we needed, installed carseats until I ran out of room (FYI, a 5th car seat doesn't fit in my van. Good thing Alex has an e-z on vest that works in place of a car seat) and let me tell you guys now, car seat installation is a life and death situation! and no, I don't care that when you were little your mom drove with a younger sibling in her lap and you standing behind her seat while another sibling lay in the back window. They used to use lead in paint, too, ya know. That didn't work out so well either, did it? If you do not know how to properly install a carseat, ask for help from someone who does! While you're at it, check the laws for your state because in Missouri, NO! a 6 year old is not "just fine" sitting in a lap belt in the center of a bench seat! Car. Seat. It's the law. and then, once you get them installed to where they do not move more than an inch in any direction, take your car to the fire station to make sure it's right! I can write a whole post on carseats but I'll save that for another day. Long story short... it took a while to make sure they were put together right and installed correctly but the kids are now safe.
 
Then came bath time. 2pm, I thought was a good time to get started. I got 4 little ones washed up, greased up and dressed in clothes without stains or holes (major feat. I need applause here. Be proud.)
  Which, it was a good time to start except then I had to keep chasing them down to bring them back inside because I just washed them and they want to play in dirt! No!
 

Looking at this picture... only 3 didn't come from my house and Good Lord, how do they all fit in this tiny house!? How do I not lose my mind!? (assuming I had sanity to begin with, it's been gone for a while.)
 
 The first room was awesome! They had this bouncy castle that Alex loved. He was all over that thing.







The second thing in this room I'm not exactly sure what it does but certain ones liked it...


 
Look at him go with all of his climbingness!


I really liked this because it gave the smaller ones a way to participate in case they were too small for the equipment...

 
and, it wasn't all jumping/bouncing. There were games, too...


 
The slide was a big hit... ...for some...


 
Uh-oh. I don't think this is a good idea. This is not a good idea.
Oh, man, this is a really BAD idea...
but he's walking... not upset... he's going... almost willingly...
 

 
There he is.
What's he going to do?
Is he going to go?

 
It he sat on the mat...
He's not freaking...
He actually looks ok...
 
 
"mamamamamamamama..."

 
"mamamamamamamama..."

 
aaaand, nope. Alex isn't over his fear of slides.