Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meme. Meme. Meme.

I've been tagged in a meme. What the hell is a meme? I really had no clue, so I turned to the trustworthy Wikipedia, who is never, ever wrong:

A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.

Then I found this one (also on Wikipedia):

The term "Internet meme" refers to a catchphrase or concept that spreads rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based email, blogs, forums, social networking sites and instant messaging.

Basically in simple terms it's a chain letter. Now honestly as a teenager, I LOVED these things, and never broke them because I didn't want bad luck! As an adult, I simply delete them (sorry Aunt Ellie & Mom!). But one of my most favorite bloggers, Dani G, tagged me and I simply can't say no because I don't want her to think I'm not cool like that. ;)

So this is how it works, she tagged me and a few other bloggers, and left eight questions for us to answer. I need to answer them here on this post and then tag some more bloggers to answer eight of my own questions. Here it goes.

1) Last piece of music you bought/downloaded (legally or illegally)?
Foolish Games by Jewel....I actually woke up singing this song and realized I use to be in love with Jewel and why did I not have any of it in my iTunes?

2) Never go to bed angry? Or too tired for that and we'll deal with it later?
Eh, I'm not perfect and there are many times I go to bed angry. But then I get my entire bed to myself and that can be pure bliss at times.

3) Have you turned into your mother yet? Truth.
Truthfully no. Not to say we don't have a heck of a lot in common but there are definitely things we disagree on. Parts of me have turned into my mother and I'm sure in another twenty years I'll be able to say I've completely morphed.

4) If you could go back in time to high school, would you? I would.
Nope, never. Funny, I loved high school, but I fell in "love" with the biggest loser and wouldn't want to relive that. (Wouldn't want to change it either as I did get two beautiful children out of the deal).

5) What did you eat for breakfast this morning? I had a bowl of cereal. Two parts Fiber One, one part Cap'n Crunch Crunchberries. So what?
I had two eggs over-easy, two slices of *white* bread, and a cup of Mott's fruit/vegetable juice.

6) Do you secretly like the songs in the Backyardigans? Yes you do.
No I don't. Sorry, Dani. Only because I was spared by neither of the kids really watching the show. We did go see them though in Storytime Live a month or so ago and they were catchy songs!

7) Do you ever lie and say you think your friends kids are cute? What? No, no me neither. Every child is a gift (blah blah blah).
I'm pleading the fifth.

8) Desert island: husband, best friend, or Edward Cullen? Yeah, me too.
Seriously, is there even a choice. Edward Cullen. Man, I'm getting hot and bothered just thinking about it. Is it getting hot in here?

So here are my tags, and some of these ladies haven't blogged in a while, so maybe I can get them to come out of hiding:


And my questions:

1. Since I believe everyone I tagged is a mom- what is one, trivial thing that you miss about before you were a mom? Mine is definitely not being able to just walk around in the nude when I'm too lazy to put on clothes. TMI? Sorry!

2. What is your addiction at this point in time? Mine is facebook, hanging my head in shame.

3. Are you an animal person? I seem to be the only in my family and friends that is NOT, and I sometimes feel guilty about that. Hoping to get a few more on my side ;)

4. Jacob or Edward?

5. Which TV mom do you relate to?

6. Do you take the stairs or the elevator?

7. What is the worst pick-up line you have ever heard?

8. Did you ever have a crush on any of your teachers? I had a couple that I definitely thought were cute for older men. I'll just stop there before I embarrass myself.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bring on the fever!

Yesterday we started therapy back up with our all-time favorite SLP and OT. They have been involved with our family for four years now. We were their full-time clients until this past fall when I just couldn't fit it into my schedule with commuting for school, so we had been using our in-school therapists for the school year. I was super-excited to start back up with them and for the boys' reactions as they really have a great bond with these two ladies.

Well Brian didn't do so well. He started crying almost immediately and when Miss K. tried to do some facial reflexes and came around to his left ear he started screaming "OWWWWWW!!!" and really became inconsolable.

A light bulb went off in my head as the day prior Brian had had a physical and wouldn't let our doctor check his left ear. We chalked it off to him being his usual hyperactive, oversensitive-to-touch self and we meant to try again at the end of the appointment but forgot. So I'm guessing he has an ear infection.

He was a little cranky, a little tired the rest of the evening. Then I woke up to the sound of him wheezing in his sleep- almost croup-like. I felt his forehead and he felt a little bit warm. I thought today was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

But I was blessed with the phenomenon that ASD children sometimes have. They have a fever and have less negative behaviors and/or more positive ones.

Not only has he been in a calm, happy mood today, he has been talking up a storm. It started with him pulling me into his bed and saying "Hi" to me this morning completely unprompted. He then asked for "eggs" and "juice" without prompting. He told me something was "broken" today. He was asking for things he generally would just to do, but for some reason he'd independently ask me today- "potty", "juice" (again), "outside", "Wii", "Tommy movie". He said words I haven't heard him say ever- "buckle", "buttons". He repeated a ton of words, "Here you go", "Brian James". He helped make his mini pizzas- something he usually has no interest in doing- and when asked what came after the sauce he said "cheese", then following that he said "roni" (pepperoni). I know there was even more but I can't remember them all.

Conversation with Corbin

I never know what kind of conversations I'm going to have with Corbin.....

Corbin: "Mom, can people marry dead people?"
Me: "Gross Corbin! Why would anyone want to marry someone who is already dead?"
Corbin: "Well, what am I going to do? I can't marry you until I'm a grown-up then you'll be dead!"
Me: "Corbin, I won't be dead when you are grown-up, I'll still be alive!"
Corbin: "Oh okay, so can people marry old ladies?"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh, that voice :)

Brian's new favorite scripts are: "Up, up, and away", "Here we come!", and "I did it!". The last two have been favorites in the past but disappeared and then made their reappearance recently.

Yesterday, B knew that C was swimming and really wanted to join him but he had to have a doctors appointment first. I told him "First doctor, then swimming." He didn't tantrum at all. Then when we were all done he looked up at me with the biggest grin and exclaimed, "Swimming!".

He's been on his Brown Bear book kick for a while now and last night we did a new simple "I Spy" book. He was able to find all the pictures quite easily and seemed to enjoy it. After we were done, I tucked him in and he grabbed my cheeks, turned my face to his and said, "Brown Bear?"

Yesterday at the aforementioned appointment our pediatrician was really quite impressed with the amount of spontaneous words Brian now has and even his scripts. Of course Brian is still miles behind other children his age but the doc said, "He is really doing quite well" with a big smile. It was nice to hear.

Monday, June 21, 2010


It's Brian's new past time- hoarding. Hoarding food that is. It's the first time I've become worried about our diet choices for Mr. B. Everyone has heard me rave about the changes we saw after we eliminated gluten from his diet but the older he gets the MORE stuck he becomes on wanting to get food with gluten in it. In the past it was never a problem but this year he has been sniffing it out and if he gets his hands on it he will eat it. Recently, I've been finding food in his bedroom. Food that breaks the diet restrictions and foods that he just isn't allowed to have in large quantities (things that have sugar or artificial colors in them). In the past few weeks I have found breadsticks, Starburst, juice boxes , fruit snacks, and pizza. One of the slices of pizza I found had come from the garbage- disgusting! I'm worried about what the food restrictions are doing to B and how he is reasoning all of this in his brain and how I'm going to work around this new habit.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today's Thoughts

* People stare. And they stare even worse when he's stimmy. Sometimes I can let it roll over me, sometimes I say nothing and sulk over it for a day, and sometimes I simply say, "He has autism", and watch them quickly turn around in embarrassment that they got caught staring.

*Bri has been stimmy, started when I picked him up from his Dads. He couldn't stop jumping, flapping, and doing his happy screech on the entire ferry boat ride home as he stared at the water behind the boat, the flag flapping in the wind, and the dirt particles on the bow of the boat being blown around by the wind.

*What an evening it's been so far. Both boys are now winding down, lying on the couch watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the 287th time this year. Hopefully we won't get one more wind before bed because I'm at my wits end. Though his stims stopped at home he became tantrummy- we've had tantrums for having to come in when a thunder storm rolled in, when the movie had to be paused so we could eat dinner, when I asked him to leave the front door open so we could get some fresh air inside, and when he dropped his armful of trains on accident. I can deal with tantrums (most of the time) but not so well when he's hitting his head with the palm of his hand or running and crashing into walls.

*I realized one of the questions that I really hate is an innocent one- "How old is he?" I hate when people are looking at him like he's so cute as he jumps around and does his "baby" babble and then seeing the expression on their face change when I tell them he is six years old.

*I hate being in a cynical mood. So there, I got it out, time to change my mindset.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Use Your Nice Voice

I take pride in bringing my boys up in a home that values respect but at the same time teaches that you can question authority and that we all have the same rights (despite being younger or being a certain gender, etc.). But sometimes that can really become annoying when my child thinks he can question things.

Today I once again found five different board games in the hallway, pieces strewn everywhere. I called both boys in the hallway and asked which one did it. Corbin responded that he was the one at fault. I find this really annoying- because it's right in a high traffic area and he does it almost daily. He likes to take out all the pieces and make his own game with them. I used my "Mommy voice" and told him to pick them up this instant.

He looked up at me and said, "Sure, Mom, I will clean it up but I would like you to use a nice voice with me please."

I told him I used my nice voice lots and lots of times in the past and when that doesn't work I need to use my mean voice.

He then said, "Well Mom, I will listen better when you use your nice voice."

Seriously? I may have created a monster.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Broken Bones

So, did I mention that Corbin broke his arm.....AGAIN.

My seven year old has now had three broken bones. Two years ago he broke both his right ulna and radius- a really nasty break that required him being put under to have it set and casted. He broke them running after a kitten in our kitchen.

This time he jumped off a balance beam at the playground about six inches off the ground. Less serious break this time, thank goodness. It's his right radius.

I can't help but to feel guilty. It's that "Mom gene" in me I guess. There's really nothing I could have done though, besides put him in a plastic bubble.

As guilty and bad as I feel that my son has three more broken bones than I've ever had, my son shows absolutely no remorse as he shows off his cast and laughs and jokes about it. He even told my mom he broke it by falling "20 feet at the playground"!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Baseball Season

Well baseball season is over for my little seven-year-old. He had such a great season- it started off with him in the age bracket that he had a choice to do t-ball again or move on up to Farm League baseball. No choice in his mind! I have to admit I was a bit nervous that he wanted to move up as last year there was still a whole lot of not paying attention going on.

But he truly impressed me this season. Any skills that were lacking definitely grew through the season and one's he had (like hitting!) just grew stronger. Not to mention growth in all the benefits of playing sports- socializing, making new friends, and confidence. I look forward to many games to come (and a babysitter for Brian so I can truly enjoy them!).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mozart and Stereotypes

Four months ago my Dad gave me a call because he had read my blog on Brian's love affair with our new front-loading washing machine and it had reminded him about a movie he had recently caught on one of the movie channels- Mozart and the Whale. I added it to my Netflix queue, but kept putting other movies ahead of it in the listing.

I noticed it was being mailed and it had been so long since my Dad recommended it that I went to look at the reviews other Netflix subscribers had posted. I was happy to see so many parents of kids with ASD posting reviews that they really enjoyed the movie and that Josh Hartnett did a wonderful job portraying his character.

Then I got to a review that said:

"I just don't believe Josh Harnett as this type of character. Can we please get someone a little less fantastically hot to play this role? It's not that the acting was bad, it's just not believable to have these impossibly beautiful people playing these roles."

I made some kind of weird noise from the back of my throat when I read this. Josh even looked up from his crossword puzzle to see what was wrong with me.

Do people really think like that? The comment made me feel like I was in an earlier era. I know sometimes I run into some really stupid stereotypes still but for the most part I thought the stigma and completely incorrect information had started to slip away and that society as a whole was becoming more aware.

Sometimes I think people say things like this because they think it's comedic. Maybe they don't truly believe that an individual with ASD can't be completely beautiful but they think it's funny to say it. It's really not funny. As a parent of an absolutely gorgeous little boy with ASD it hurt me to read this and it angered me. And I'm just a parent, I couldn't imagine how I'd feel if I, myself, had ASD and read that.

Despite my rage over the review, I do want to say the movie was wonderful! It was nice seeing different levels of Aspergers/Autism being shown and I thought Josh Hartnett did a wonderful job. I'm not as familiar with higher-functioning autism but Josh & I kept saying to eachother, "Ha! Remember when Brian did that!" or "If Brian could talk, that is exactly what he would say!!". I highly recommend the movie!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Start of Literacy

I'm almost done with my schooling for the year, besides an online course. I'm starting to make my plan around what to concentrate on with Brian during the summer. I'm excited to start making my own teaching plans with him again and implementing them. I have let a lot of that go as I concentrated on my own schoolwork during this past year. I missed teaching Brian as much I use to and I sometimes am hard on myself as I believe some of his regression this year was my own fault.

I could start simple but sometimes I think that happens to him too often. I'm not going to concentrate on matching and sorting, like some of his other workers do. Yes, those are great skills to have and they are the pre-skills to many future skills. But, I know that he knows those skills. He has shown he has those skills. He doesn't do it consistently which is why it still gets worked on but I honestly feel he could master them easily if he wanted to.

Earlier in the day I made a paper keyboard for him. I started using it by asking him his name. I wanted him to spell "Brian", but he kept pointing to the "N" which I assumed was because he knew "name" started with an "N". I would then say, "Spell Brian. Start with B." and he would then successfully spell his name. Then I would say, "How old are you?". I would wait him out and tell him, "Show me six." He would then point to the number "6" at the top of the keyboard.

An hour later I brought the keyboard back to Brian and repeated the two questions again. I had the same experience with his name but when I asked him how old he was he pointed to the "S", said "S", pointed to the "X", and said "X". Coincidence? Maybe, but I always think positively in these situations.

It was our first day using the paper keyboard and I thought it was quite successful for the first day. So I decided to push it even more. I decided to work a program around his favorite book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", by Eric Carle. I made flash cards with the colors of the animals in the book. We read the book and then I laid out the cards and didn't ask him, "Where's the purple?", but instead asked him, "What color is the cat?". I wasn't expecting him to get it right, I didn't even go over the flashcards before hand to tell him what each word was. I was just curious as to what he would do. And here is what he did.

Was it perfect? No. But I think he understood what we were doing and he did get a few right. Am I messing him up so now he thinks "cat" is spelled "purple"? I hope not!

Hold my hand

This morning a friend of ours stopped by. He was standing outside talking through the screen to Josh. I don't think he's ever been over here before. He is one of Josh's teammates and the boys have met him a few times, but always at the softball field.

Brian opened up the screen door, grabbed his hand, and pulled him over to the kitchen table where his Leapfrog Phonics Radio was. Brian turned it on and looked up at our friend and smiled and laughed.

Josh and I were just dumbfounded, our friend thought it was cute but not sure he knew the significance of it, until of course I gushed it to him.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Kindergarten Celebration

As a parent I very much enjoy being an active participant in their school activities and this year I was thrown for a curve as going back to college hindered me in that area. I was lucky that it did seem to work out for all the "big" events, like the boys' school concert. Then that luck ran out as I realized that Brian's end-of-the-year classroom celebration was falling on a day that I had an 9 hour class (w/an additional three hours commuting). So I asked Josh if he would cover for me.

I have to say that I feel amazingly lucky that I have a boyfriend who will go to these events. I feel happy that he'll accompany me when I go, let alone when he goes without me even being there. Then to have other parents tell me how wonderful he was at the event, how happy Brian looked with him, how he was joking with the other kids in the class, taking lots of pictures, and participating in all the crafts.

I was still a little sad to know that I missed it. My only consolation? Brian is redoing Kindergarten and next year at this time I'll be graduated (!!!!!!!!) so I won't be missing that one for the world.

Friday, June 4, 2010

IEP Season

What a wonderful time of the year. IEP season.

You heard me right, IEP season. Sure I've had my share of ones that I've left not feeling very satisfied, but generally I've been lucky to leave them feeling like we are on the right track.

I scheduled both of the boys IEPs back to back first thing this morning. Corbin's was a piece of cake. I loved hearing how well he is doing and enjoyed the imagery his teacher provided of him helping the other students with their math work. We're going to start recording him reading or talking so he can actually hear his pronunciation. He is still struggling a lot with his "R"s and a few other sounds. Yet, he is stubborn to the core and tells us that he is saying it right. Corbin will continue with his speech and OT sessions next fall but during the summer we'll be getting him speech with our favorite speech therapist and a couple hours of tutoring a week to maintain his reading level, which he's struggling a bit with.

Brian's IEP is another story. Corbin's took us about 1/2 an hour- Brian's took us almost two. Brian has such a large team that by the time everyone shares their experiences with Brian and their concerns we have spent an entire hour already. I won't drag my readers through the entire experience but I suppose the biggest news of the day is that we decided to let Brian repeat Kindergarten and to repeat it with his current teacher. I am so excited that she is wanting to do it again and that they had come up with this suggestion for him. I think another year of Kindergarten is going to be really boosting for his self-esteem as he will have more chances to feel successful as well as most importantly, giving him more time to learn the skills that he should have by now. First impressions of our new special ed teacher are really positive- she seemed very nice, she asked lots of questions about Brian and about what I wanted, and she has already put in an order with our district to pay for some more workshops centering around autism. And on the topic of Brian's ed-tech, well she turned to me and asked me what I wanted in our new one, after she heard me complain about our old one.

Disappointments of the day? The short ESY (Extended School Year) services that are being offered this year- a whole two weeks, two hours a day. Corbin got more than that in Title 1 summer school last year! Unfortunately, what I want, and what our school budget gives are definitely not always on the same page. Title 1 Summer school was completely cut from the program! Disappointment #2 would be the boys' father (participating via speakerphone) was very against keeping Brian back but yet, did not give a reason why. It's frustrating to me, and I try not to let it be. I just wish he would finally realize, almost a full four years after initial diagnosis, what Brian needs and what his whole future and education truly consists of. As I've told him in the past- I will always have hope for Brian's future, I will never give up that hope, but you must learn to also be aware of reality.

I feel like an old pro at IEPs by now and for those who are new to the field of being an advocate and parent in one my number one tip is to be prepared! Make a list of concerns, questions, and ideas before the meeting. Bring in examples of things that work for you at home (social stories, visual schedules). Bring in pictures of your child- so they see he is a beautiful, loving child- not just a statistic. Most of all, remember that yes they are the educators and hopefully they know a lot about this field- but you are the parent and YOU know the MOST about YOUR child.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A World Of Denial

I'm great at living in denial. I live in denial believing that a magic fairy will come and pick up my house for me. I live in denial when I think that somehow my homework will get done early. I live in denial when I plan out a week-long menu that consists of lots of vegetables. And every year, at the beginning of summer, I go in denial about my pale, pale skin. I'm half-French, so I should have some wonderful dark skin but not happening here. I burn, instantly. Yet every summer, the first warm beach day, I think to myself- "Maybe I can get some color today". And I'll skip the sunscreen for the beginning of the day, thinking I'll put it on in an hour or so and it'll be perfect. Then I get the rude awakening out of the land of denial when I am home and realize I'm as red as a lobster.

So here I am at the beach,enjoying the beautiful day.

And here I am with my burn, with the outline of the circle embellishment from my tankini top. The burn continues from my shoulders right to my ankles.

All joking aside, I know this is seriously dangerous for my skin and health and I am very diligent about sunscreen (the other 99% of the time). I am a bit worried that I may have gone over the usual sunburn stage here, as it's been about 28 hours and the pain is not mild- it's at least at the moderate level, my skin has swelled on my legs and I have been shivering for the past few hours. WebMD is telling me I need to make a doctor's appointment at this moment, but I'll drink lots of water, keep applying the aloe, and hope for a bit of a change in the morning.