Monday, May 31, 2010

Cooperative Play

Today at the beach I watched Corbin and Brian work together to build a long trench towards the lake so they could dump water and watch it go down it. This is something they started last summer and did on almost every single beach trip. Today was the first time it really had a profound effect on me.

Generally the boys don't ever play together. Sure, they almost always insist on being in the same room playing- but Brian is usually lining up his trains and Corbin is playing Bakugans. They don't talk to each other while playing and they don't have a common goal in mind. It's basic parallel play that is normal of toddlers. At the beach though, they had a common goal they were both working towards. Sometimes Corbin would give directions and Brian would follow them. They were laughing together and having so much fun. Everything else on the beach went into slow-motion as it sunk in what I was seeing. I, then, gushed to Josh about how what we were witnessing was so important. It was a much higher-cognitive level of play- cooperative play. He has it in there, it's just finding those keys to unlock it.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Brian's handwriting seems to be really gaining strength just this past few weeks. Sometimes it's the little things, like seeing the teacher's note- "Wow! Good work."- that can make your entire day, or week. Lately, I've needed to remind myself to just enjoy the accomplishments, even the little ones, so that's what I'm doing :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Would You Do?

Have you ever watched that show on ABC that puts people into situations where they should usually intervene but so many people don't? It's called "What Would You Do?". Last night was the first time I had actually watched it, though I had heard of it many times.

The scenario I watched was of a young man with Downs Syndrome being verbally abused by his customers. Both the bagger and the abusers were actors, but the other people in line waiting to check out were not.

Following that scenario was one of a same-sex couple bringing their children out to dinner while a rude, close-minded waiter refused them service (all actors again). What would the other diners do?

More often than not, in both situations, people don't say anything. They might show disgust on their face, they may duck their heads as if they don't hear what's going on, and in the worst case scenario they actually agree with the actors. It made me angry. But that's not what I'm writing about.

What I'm writing about is the people who did say something. The ones who could see what was going on and may think it didn't affect them personally but they could see that it affected them globally. One of the men who stuck up for the same-sex marriage said his parents were survivors of the Holocaust. He said that maybe if people didn't just turn the other direction, so many, many deaths wouldn't have happened during that horrible time. A young adult male that stuck up for the man with Downs Syndrome had a sister with the same genetic disorder. He wasn't even in line to check out but he heard the abuse way down the corridor and came running to protect the young man.

Society needs to look at situations like this at how in the long run it affects everyone. We need to stop being selfish and think if someone is not disrespecting us then it's not our business. It is our business to educate such discrimination and hatred. We need a society of humanity, love, peace, and acceptance. Half the problems in the world could be solved by people becoming more tolerant, respectful, and open-minded.

The Manic Night Episodes

I'm sure I've mentioned these before. I've probably done the joke of how I haven't slept in seven years. Brian has a problem with night waking. He doesn't leave his bedroom or even his bed- well recently, on a few nights, I've found him in the bathroom letting the water run in the sink. But his usual routine is to stay in bed and just be manic- I really don't know how else to explain it. He is always, 100% of the time, in an extremely happy mood when he wakes. He kicks, bounces his body, makes lots of noises and will do this non-stop for HOURS. We use melatonin and it helps him fall asleep and sometimes we'll get on a roll where I do think it's helping him stay asleep but then he just starts waking again. I, have honestly, laid on top of him, giving him my complete body weight to try to calm him. He has a weighted blanket but he just does the thing where he kicks it around. I taped him tonight, he's in my bed, and this is not the most extreme, I've seen more hyper nights before- he seems to maybe be coming down a little (I've given him another dose of melatonin I am praying will kick in soon). I've wanted to share this for a long time because I don't think my words do it justice. And the strangest part about this is that yes, Brian does present as a high-energy boy during the day- but NOTHING near what he presents during these night-wakings. I never would see him gyrating his body how he does or just the non-stop noises- they are noises I don't even hear during the day. Now that I'm wide awake, let me take my own dose of melatonin. Fingers crossed that at least one of us gets some sleep in the four hours I have until my alarm goes off!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

I received an email a little while ago from the Autism Society of Maine to let me know that Team Brian was the team that brought in the most donations during the Walk for Autism event! Go Team Brian!

AND we just found out that Corbin's submission to the Smoke-Free for ME contest is one of the raffle winners of this month and his picture will be shared online for the month. It was hard to get him to realize he didn't actually win anything but I think he got it, because now he keeps coming up and saying, "Mom, will you go online and show me my famous picture again?".

Friday, May 14, 2010

i really have no clue

Brian, just today, noticed the four boxed seasons of LOST on our movie shelves. He became instantly obsessed over them. He was carrying them from one surface to another, lining them up with the fronts facing him, then with the sides facing him. He would "walk" them across the table and then put them back in their spots. He was counting them, lifting the covers one by one and then returning them. He tried to bring them upstairs several times and became very upset when I told him he couldn't. I don't know why there was this sudden obsession. I think he really liked the numbers on the boxes, as he has always loved numbers. And even though he's never seen a season of LOST maybe he just has good taste, like his mother.

I love to look at Brian's quirks, obsessions, body contortions, tantrums, etc. and try to analyze them. Try to figure out why it is why he is behaving in such manners. I think I'm pretty good at it, as I've learned more and more about sensory integration and the way different foods effect him. BUT really, let's admit, no one ever truly knows, besides the person having the behaviors.

So I'm just gonna admit it, I have no clue why he played with these four boxed sets for forty-five minutes today.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sheer Bliss

One of Brian's favorite thing about festivities is sneaking the balloons out the front door so he can let them "free". Oh, he gets so much excitement watching them drift up into the blue sky. I've learned to never let a balloon enter my home without being tied to something.

This year we tried something completely different and tied the balloons to a fifty-five foot long spool of ribbon and let Brian enjoy one of his "passions" outdoors, without actually polluting the air with the balloons.

He was in sheer bliss. It was definitely one of my better ideas of the year.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

6th Birthday Party

"Things That Spin" was a complete success! The party was low-key with only a few (well few was still 15 altogether- but that's small for our large families!) family members present, which worked out perfectly for Brian.

Josh's sister was able to get us a mini bounce house for the party!

I love this photo of my niece, Scarlett, soaking up the sun.

My favorite of Brian from the day, inside his new Giga ball.

Playing with the cool light-up, noisy top that Corbin bought B with his own money!

The marble maze from my mom was definitely Brian's favorite present of the day.

Corbin is actually inside the Giga ball that Josh is about to throw into the bounce house. Yes the big boys became very rowdy and may have had more fun than the little boys. :)

Brian didn't take his eyes off the strawberries (his favorite).

Covering his ears for the "Birthday Song".

Thanks again to everyone who came and made B's 6th birthday a very special one! And a special thank you to Carolee & Patrick for lending us your backyard!

It's been six years....

Six years ago I received a Mothers Day gift that will never be surpassed. My son, Brian, was born on May 8, 2004, one day before Mothers Day. A gift I had worried that I may not be able to love as much as my first-born child. Though as all mothers learn, your heart doesn't need to be divided with each child, it grows double in size with each child. Brian was such an easy child that was so easy to love and was able to make everyone around him laugh and smile. I simply can not believe he has been around to add that sunshine for six years already. I love you Brian, more than I can even comprehend. Happy Birthday little man!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Perfect Gifts

As cliche as it sounds, it really is the little things that count. I honestly don't believe there are any gifts better than the homemade ones I get from my children. This year for Mother's Day, Brian planted me some flowers and colored a card for me and Corbin made me a paper flower bouquet, a tissue flower, and a wonderful tree decoration.

Even more simpler than those presents was the fact that Corbin came down the stairs on Sunday morning, still wiping the sleepies from his eyes, and yawned, "Happy Mothers Day Mom" with absolutely no prompting. He had been waiting all night to tell me that in the morning. It was the most perfect gift of the day.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Teacher Appreciation Gift

This past week was Teacher Appreciation Week and in honor of Corbin's teacher we decided to make her a functional bouquet. We took a package of pens and used floral tape to tape silk flowers to the end of each one. Not sure who loved it more- her or her students- but it was a big hit!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Big Brother

Today one of Corbin's classmates asked him how old Brian would be, as he had heard it was his birthday. Corbin told him he would be six. The classmate said, "What? How can he be six? He doesn't even understand anything!" Corbin responded very matter-of-factly, "No, he does, he just has autism", and kept on walking. He is such a great big brother.

Storytime Live!

Lately things have been really up for me, really positive (even despite the baseball game from hell), and I have felt really lucky.

My luck really came into play as I entered a contest at Raising Maine and won four tickets to see Storytime Live! The show was yesterday afternoon, so after the boys' concert I took them out of school early and we took the journey to Portland.

I never told the boys what we were doing, other than it was a surprise. Corbin had so many guesses but mostly stuck to his guess of seeing Iron Man 2. We arrived in Portland at almost the exact time a giant fire had started at an old factory and there was just a wall of black smoke only two blocks from the parking lot we were using. It was an interesting way to start our "adventure" as both boys were so excited to see all the firetrucks zooming by as we were walking up Congress Street.

We found a nice little cafe to enjoy lunch and then headed our way to the beautiful Merrill Auditorium. We were nervous that our seats may be smack dab in the middle of a row but we negotiated with the ticket takers and were able to get a great aisle seat. We wanted to be prepared for however many trips out Brian would need.

I was getting nervous at the beginning of the show- Brian just sat on the steps next to our seats in the balcony and was running his trains back and forth. I took a picture and laughed to Josh that this would show everyone how Brian enjoyed the show.

But he surprised us all and as soon as the show started he was watching. I am glad we got the aisle seats because he walked up and down the steps and played on the banister some, but all while still being entranced by the characters from some of his favorite shows.

Corbin was totally enthralled throughout the show but nothing compared to the last show- Dora. His eyes never moved from the stage, he was doing all the movements, yelling out the answers, and his eyes were just as big as saucers. Though of course after he told us that maybe we shouldn't tell anyone because his friends don't like Dora anymore (oh please, will you all stop being in a hurry to grow up!).

Overall, the trip was a giant success and I am so happy that we had a family outing that we all stayed through the whole thing with no tantrums at all. It was such a great feeling.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Concert 2010

I'm such a sap. I can't help it. Brian participated in his first school concert today and did such a great job. He had a mat to mark his spot and he stayed on it even though he was moving and jumping and flapping and dancing. Of course part of myself (and Josh) were upset he didn't sing the songs (as he sings them all the time at home) but I couldn't be more proud of him. I had to really work to keep the tears the back.

Then, as if I didn't have enough to brag about and make my heart swell, my Corbin was a total ham on the stage. He was singing nice and loud, doing all the dance moves, and took about ten bows at the end of his number.

My kiddos, also of course, looked so stunningly handsome. Even if their ties were from when they were four and five! A little short but Corbin insisted they wear them and they still rocked them!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Respite Care Anyone?

Today I was thinking about why it's so hard for me to care for Brian in crowded places. I mean, besides the obvious, that he has autism. Is it really a personal problem? I have in the past wondered if I just worry too much what other people are thinking. And I know I do. I've also always reminded me that they most likely aren't thinking what I am imagining they are thinking. Most people are too worried about their own lives, or should be, to worry about stranger's. But today I actually heard what other people were thinking and I started to realize that they may be thinking what I always imagined they were.

Brian was in a whole other mood at Corbin's game tonight. He kept going into the dugout when he was told no and he understood. He was looking back and smiling and grinning. I just kept my even tone accompanied with a harsher one to say no, but it wasn't working today. That was a pain in the butt enough, then he decided he wanted some water. I let him have some out of Corbin's bottle and all of a sudden he started dumping it. This is a common thing for him- he loves to see water run out of things. BUT I am tired of him wasting bottles of water- they're not free for one, and second, this was Corbin's water, not his.

I tried to take it out of Brian's hands but the kid had a hold on it like a vice grip and guess where the water ended up going? All over me, of course. I got the cap on with only about 1/10 of the water left and tried to hide it under my leg. He was stuck on it, screaming his head off, doing everything he could to get to the water to finish what he started. I picked him up, me soaking wet, him kicking and screaming,and started carrying him over to our van.

As we walked past a group of people I heard a whole conversation about us- "Looks like he's gonna get some discipline now", "Wow, look at her pants, that kid dumped that water all over her", "Some people have no control of their kids",......

I didn't really think about it much as I had a much more important, heavier issue to think about at that moment and spent twenty minutes in the van waiting for him to forget about the water (I had to drink the rest of it to make him forget it honestly- so I'm not even sure if that was a good way to deal with it but whatever). After that I started thinking about what they said and I just thought, "Who effin' cares. They don't know me. They don't know Brian. They don't know autism. Let them judge if it makes them feel better about themselves, because I know what I do is hard but I know I do it well."

Then, as we walk back to our blanket with me feeling pretty good about it- I see my other son in the dug-out yelling at and pushing his fellow teammates. I walk down and he is totally stuck in the thought that he was sixth in the line-up (he was last game but I knew for a fact he was seventh today) and he had actually hit the girl who was sixth today. He was crying and it took me a while to calm him down- okay I had to threaten him with a "If you don't start acting the way you are suppose to, we are going to leave now" and get the response, "You are so mean Mom", but guess what, it worked.

Okay so at this point, I started to think- Maybe I really can't handle my kids. Because Brian didn't stop. He kept trying to run into the parking area- which is completely new for him- he's always known that area was off-limits. He kept trying to get OTHER people's waters and dump them out and I had to consistently bring him to the van for time-outs, missing half of Corbin's game.

Corbin's team won, Corbin was 3 for 3, he apologized to Catherine and they left each other with a hug, and he has a list of extra chores he has to do for his behaviors today. Brian, on the other hand, I'm at a bit of a loss with. Some of his issues today were definitely his autism, but some of them were purely behaviors. He knew. He was grinning and laughing and plain-old-not-listening. I want to make some sort of discipline for his behaviors as well but I'm not sure how. I don't think tomorrow if I say, "No movies all day long", he will correlate it with the fact that he was being naughty today. We had consistent time-outs at the game but I'm not sure they were enough.

So all-in-all it was a game from hell. I was disappointed in my son's behavior, particularly that he hit someone, and Brian showing this new "acting naughty on purpose" behavior made it nerve-wracking. And worst of all was the fact that I didn't get to enjoy Corbin's game.

But as Mary said, "I'm a wonderful mother. I'm a wonderful mother. I'm a wonderful mother." Mantras really do work and make you feel better. Thanks Mary :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This can't be good.

This is too much. Too much for me to handle. And too much to share online.

But I do deal with it all while laughing and I do share it because who else do I have to share it with. I have a lot of "autistic moms" (as I call them) that read my blog and I enjoy knowing that someone out there knows exactly what I'm going through.

I was downstairs working on my activity analysis for school when I see the flash go into the kitchen. A naked little butt grabbing his trains he left on the kitchen table earlier. A cute little butt.....except I can see poop on it.

Okay, not a big deal. He very often doesn't wipe well enough and I have to go in for a second cleaning. I walk upstairs with him and go to grab the brand-new pack of flushable wipes (only way he can get himself clean) to find them COMPLETELY empty. I sigh knowing this isn't going to be good. I glance over and see the plunger is out and it's wet. So he was definitely trying to fix a problem. I repeat, this is not going to be good.

I open the toilet lid and it's to the very top with the whole package of flushable wipes, almost a whole roll of toilet paper, and to top it all off- a feminine pad, that he must've unwrapped to try to use?

Honestly, I just closed the lid and said, "I need to gather myself before trying to fix this problem". And walked away.

But seriously I dealt with it all laughing. I often wonder if this means that I've kind of lost my mind.