Monday, February 28, 2011

What Are YOU Reading?

Kelly from Unplanned Trip To Holland tagged me in a meme.  You need to check out her blog, she swears like a sailor and tells it like it is- I love her.  I love this meme too, unlike most of them where I have to share way too much information about myself (okay so yeah, I'm a social media addict- I guess privacy is not too much of a concern of mine), I get to share what I'm reading right now.

Here's the rules:
1) Take a pic of the books you are reading currently and add them to your post. 2) Describe the books and if you are enjoying them. Why or why not? 3) For every book you are reading, you have to tag one person. 4) Leave the person a comment, letting them know you tagged them.

I don't usually have so many medical-type books going on at once and I wish I had a good fictional (adult) book to share but at this point in time this is what is on my nightstand.

1) The Vaccine Epidemic - this was just delivered to my door about a week ago.  I haven't been able to get through very much of it yet, but done a lot of skimming through and reading little bits that are of particular interest to me.  This book isn't just for Moms who question the link between vaccines and autism, in my opinion every citizen needs to read it.  It explores our basic human rights, and who should have the say in what we put into our own bodies.  Each chapter is written by a different author from scientists to doctors to parents of children who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations.  Skimming through, I found Appendix B: Tools for Vaccination Choice and I love it- if you do choose to not vaccinate or delay vaccinations, that appendix will be very useful for the many questions/discussions that arise from others.  Again, I really recommend this to anyone- even if you are very pro-vaccine (and I'm not anti-vaccine, I'm pro-choice ;)) I think you should read it and then decide where you still stand.

2) My Stroke of Insight- this was on my summer reading list last year for school.  I really enjoyed it (more so than some of the others on the list) and have recently started to reread it because I was pissed off when I heard someone at my current placement tell a person who had a stroke last year that after a year they wouldn't see any more growth towards "normalcy".  So not true.  This book is amazing because the author, Dr. Jill Taylor, is a brain scientist and she had a stroke at a young age.  She is able to explain what happened to her on both a personal and a scientific level.  Her climb back to her "old self" is amazing and shows her strength of character.  It's really a book that makes you believe "anything can happen".  I also found this book really interesting because it seemed like I could relate her descriptions of parts of her recovery to what it must be like in Brian's mind as well. Especially the sensory issues she developed after the stroke, very similar to someone who has sensory-processing disorder.

3) Children with Starving Brains by Jaquelyn McCandless- I've owned this book for years but have never actually read it cover to cover.  It's been one of those books that I just look in the index for a certain subject and then read a page or two.  Recently I vowed I was going to read the entire thing and highlight important stuff.  I'm only 55 pages in right now and have completely dried out a highlighter.  This is really an important one for any parent that is interested in biomedical approaches to treating autism.  I'm not going to lie it's been a slow read, but I don't know if it's because I've just read so many similar books that some of the information is just repetitive.  It should be one of the first books you read and then one that stays on your coffee table for quick reference.

4) The BFG- I was so excited to see a Roald Dahl pack in Corbin's last book order.  In my opinion, one of the greatest children's authors out there (and adults too- if you get a chance you should really really read Switch Bitch by Roald Dahl).  We have already read The Witches, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator.  The BFG was probably my favorite of his when I was a tween and I couldn't wait to start reading it to Corbin.  Unfortunately, we are right in the middle of Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets so I just did what any parent would do.....just reading The BFG by myself.   

Without further ado, I hereby bestow this honor on to the following bloggers:

1) Dani G at I'm Just That Way- I like her style, she's a cool chick, therefore I'm interested to see what she's reading.

2) Kathy at Butterfly Moments - I love her stories about David, he reminds me a lot of Brian, and she is so very articulate in her writing.

3) Amy at Breast Cancer at 29- because she is my best friend, I love her, and she is always giving me new books to read that really make me think.  So far she hasn't suggested a single one I haven't loved.

4) Jean at Mommy to Two Boys-  Merely because I haven't heard much from her lately and I miss her posts!  

I'd love to hear what everyone is reading, I always need new nourishment for my brain.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blog Gems: Happy Thoughts

It's that time again, time to link up to older posts (gems) that may not have received the love they should've.  The prompt this week is to share a post that is "happy".  Jen, the mastermind behind Blog Gems, has had a hard couple of weeks as her son has been in the hospital with issues they can't seem to figure out.  She needs to have her spirits lifted, hence the prompt.

I chose, Sheer Bliss, as my post for this week's prompt.  The first picture is enough to make anyone smile.  It may have been a simple activity but probably one of Brian's happiest days during the past year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Blogger: Having a Sibling on the Spectrum

Feeling completely void of creativity and energy today I decided to hire a guest blogger.  He's new to the blogging world but can talk up a storm.  He's big-hearted, funny, and always center of attention.  Without further ado, let me welcome my eight-year-old son, Corbin, to the blogosphere.

"Hi, I am Corbin and I take care of my brother named Brian.  I will tell you all the things I love to do with him.

I love to play with him.  I love to do things with him.  And I will tell you one thing that Brian really really really loves.  That is TRAINS!  He wants to get every kind of train that he wants.  I love him so much because I want to have someone to play with.  So I always play with him everyday and maybe one day I will teach him how to play my DSi or teach mom, but mom doesn't want to be teached.

Brian chews his toenails when he saw me.  Brian loves me, I teached him how to hug me and kiss me.  Mom and Josh really really really really love him.  Brian has an iPad that he loves.  Mom uploaded a new thing on it and I kind of like to watch him but Mom and Josh don't want me to (Editor's note: In my defense, he's perfectly fine to watch, I just don't want him ripping it out of his brothers hands every time I turn my back).

I love him so much and I will take care of him forever.  Brian kind of likes to sleep with me but on school nights he has to sleep in his own bed."

And that my readers, is what I get when I ask Corbin to tell me what it's like to have a brother with autism.  At first I thought he really didn't get my prompt but on second thought, I just think Brian's differences don't matter or are not a big deal to his big brother.  I need to take lessons on this from Corbin. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Points to Ponder: Haircut Edition

  • I often blame Brian's shaggy hair on the fact that he hates haircuts (which is true) but honestly I love him with longish hair.  Look at him hanging out, with his beautiful red hair peeking out from underneath his fedora.  Doesn't he have a cool indie rock kind of style (with Cars pajama bottoms and all)??
  • The iPad should win some sort of freaking award.  It definitely won me over today.  Brian used the iPad (playing Angry Birds) during his appointment at the salon and it was our first ever appointment that resulted in a FINISHED haircut.  Generally we have to go back several days in a row to get it done.
  • I love our salon, especially Becky, the one lady who always sees Brian.  She never charges us for more than one appointment even if it takes four separate visits, she allows me to take pictures to use for social stories, and she is super patient and kind with Brian.
  • Corbin announced to me today that he wants to grow his hair out so he can use bobby pins and barrettes to make a horn so he can "look like a rhino and make people laugh".  Ummm....okay?
  • When Josh saw Brian's new haircut he said "Well hello Justin Beiber".  So the haircut brought him from The Black Keys to Justin Beiber?  Bummer.  And wait, am I dating a closet Justin Beiber fan?  Weird. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Where Cor?

I effin' hate Mondays.

On Mondays Corbin attends an after-school board game club.  Love that he has something he can do like that.  I just hate the hour and a half between the time I pick Brian up from school to the time we have to go back to pick up Corbin.

First of all it starts with Brian crying in the van because we are leaving Corbin at the school.  Each Monday I am very clear with him.  "We are not leaving Corbin.  We are not forgetting Corbin.  Corbin stays to play with friends on Monday.  We will come back for Corbin in an hour and a half.  When the clock says 4:30 we will come back and pick up Corbin."  All of this said in a calm, clear tone only to be responded to with anguished cries of "Cor-Cor-Cor!"

Now I have to make the decision to find something for us to do for an hour and a half in the dead of winter in our smallish town or go home where I know another tantrum will ensue when 4:30 comes.

See, Brian is what I call a hermit.  He hates to leave the house.  I have to plan all errands to be done directly after I pick him up because it's a major upheaval to take Brian out of the house after he has settled in.  Meaning, after he has become naked, which occurs within the first five minutes of walking through the door.

Some Mondays we would go to Planet Toys, where I would stand and watch Brian jump and flap for an hour watching their display train in the window.  Of course, they just closed for remodeling- so that wasn't an option this past Monday.  Sometimes we will go to the restaurant that Josh bartends at and eat chips & salsa. But Josh and I had had an argument that morning so I was still avoiding him (you know, instead of the grown-up thing when you talk things out).  We didn't need to go grocery shopping (for once) and it was too cold to go to any playgrounds.  So we went home.

That was a disaster.  Of course when the time rolls around to leave the house he decides it's time to poop.  It takes Brian about half an hour to poop.  He always times it so well.  So on top of being mad that he has to get dressed and that he has to leave the house, he's now mad that I'm rushing him with his toileting routines.

Funny thing is it's always this huge upsetting production, but as soon as we get to the destination he is okay.  Pulling into the school parking lot Brian stops whimpering and clearly says from the back seat, "Where Cor?"

And just that is enough to make me forget about every bad thought I had that afternoon.  Because it was the first time Brian asked me a question independently.  First time ever.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ten Reasons To Enjoy No Kids

The boys are gone and instead of focusing on how I miss them let's celebrate why it's good to have some "me-time" every once in a while.

1.  When cooking dinner I can just cook what I want without thoughts of allergies, sensitivities, organic, or deconstructing meals since Brian won't eat things "together".

2.  Less laundry- no having to wash sheets and blankets every day.

3.  I can clean my house and it will stay clean.

4.  I can watch R-rated movies in the middle of the day.

5.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week I can get up 30 minutes prior to when I need to be work, rather than the hour and a half it takes to get all three of us ready.

6.  I can drink as many margaritas as I want.

7.  I can do my errands whenever I feel like it, I don't have to time them around certain routines and rituals.

8.  If I wanted to, I could walk around naked.

9.  I don't have to hide my sweets.

10.  No having to clean up poop.

Wow, that was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be.  I could probably go on and on and on.....

Still counting down until they come home though....miss that laughter and those hugs.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dancing the Night Away

For Valentines Day the local Youthlinks put together a completely free event that included cotton candy, face painting, games, crafts, balloon artists, karaoke, and oldies dance music.

I never go to these events without help- be it my sisters, my parents, or Josh.  If I don't have help, I usually won't go.  My parents ended up coming with me, but honestly I think I could've done this one without them (well minus the whole Corbin wanting to wait in line for a balloon animal and Brian not wanting to wait in a line, ever in his life- that point I was very grateful to have extra adults).  Brian really surprised me and did amazingly well.

He allowed himself to be blindfolded and spun so he could pin an arrow on a heart.

He attempted to make a Valentines Day card- okay made one scribble, but better than nothing.

He sat still for face-painting and when he looked in the mirror after it was done he raised his eyebrows at himself as if to say "Damn, I look goooooood".

He allowed a couple of girls to give him hugs.

And he danced the night away, only covering his ears a few times.  I thought the room was too loud and here was Brian smiling and spinning dancing.  Wonders never cease.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Zhu Zhu Pets, Ingrown Toenails, and Neurotic Thought Processes

This is the first year I've had to share vacations with the ex.  We amended the court order so we share the three one-week vacations during the school year.

This is only the second time they have left for this length of time- 5 days.  I get all weepy the few days before they go even though I know I'll enjoy the time to recharge my own battery.

I also do this neurotic thing that I want the last night they are home to be special.  So the plan for this past Thursday was to go out to eat and then go buy ourselves some new Zhu Zhu pets to have an epic ninja battle in the living room.  Brian has shown interest in these pointless little hamsters every time he sees them, and I'm always for pushing an interest that doesn't include Thomas.

I was helping Brian put on his socks, so we could head out the door for dinner, when I noticed a pus-filled blister on his big toe.  The entire toe, besides the blister, was a very alarming shade of red.  I called our doctor to see how I should treat it and he asked us to come in- at 7:10 PM.

We went to dinner, went and bought our Zhu Zhu pets and armor, and headed over to the doctor's office.  We waited in a cramped waiting room (as their brand new offices were recently flood-damaged) with another family that consisted of a dad, mom (in pajama pants- love that), and two boys.  The boys were very inquisitive and were asking their parents question after question after question.  I looked at my boys- Corbin was lost in his book, The Adventures of Ook & Gluk, and Brian was spinning repeatedly with his head thrown back to look at the fluorescent lights above.  Moments like these I think maybe I should try to engage Brian but instead I grabbed a magazine and immersed myself in that.

After a lifetime of waiting we were seen and were told Brian had an ingrown toenail with an infection.  They had to drain it, which surprisingly only took three adults to hold him, and we were prescribed antibiotics.
The doctor really wanted Brian to start it that night, so he faxed it over to the hospital pharmacy.   The only pharmacy in our small town that is open after 5.

I drive over to the hospital, with a screaming child in tow.  It's bed time and he is upset that we're not going home.  In the pharmacy we find the same family that was previously in our pediatrician's office.  I asked her how long she had been waiting and she said about twenty minutes.  Wonderful.  She then looks over at Brian, who is doing his spinning again, and says "I wish my boys would entertain themselves that way."  I do my little smile and nod, when I really want to say "I wish my son would ask me questions.  I would cherish those questions.  I would be crying with tears of joy if he would even look at me at this point."  (Because when Brian is stressed he isn't looking at me, responding to me, nothing at this point).

So I wait fifteen minutes when the pharmacist tells me they can't find Brian in the computer, even though we were just there last month for blood work.   Even though our pediatrician is affiliated with the hospital.  And surprise, surprise I'm so freaking organized that I don't have his insurance card with me.  It's now 9:00 and we are leaving the hospital with no antibiotics.

Brian is weeping softly at this point.  He is ready for bed every night at 7:45, he's exhausted, and his whole day has been out of routine AND he has a Zhu Zhu pet in the car that he hasn't been able to play with yet.

We get home, I call around to see who owes me a favor and I can guilt-trip into going to the hospital for me with his insurance card and bring it back to us.  Because there is no way in hell I'm forcing this little boy to go out of the house again.  Luckily Josh is just getting out of work and agrees to do it.

I'm sitting at home doing whatever I can to keep Brian awake on a school night so I can get this one minuscule dose of antibiotics.  I'm dancing around, singing songs, offering showers and a snack, pretending the Zhu Zhu pet is beating me up, etc. and I'm just watching his big blue eyes trying to roll back in his head to sleep.  FINALLY Josh gets back with the medicine. I administer it and Brian spits it all back out at me.  Lovely.  That's what I kept him up until almost 10 PM to do.

So, long story short, my last night with the boys, before they were gone for five days, was a disaster.  Hopefully they will still think of me and miss me.   Because we all know that's what this is about, my insane thought process that the boys will forget about me in their short five days of no rules and all fun at their Dad's.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Packing Peanuts Are Not Just For Eating.

Packing peanuts are not just for eating.  Yes, eating.  One of the many calls to Poison Control.  I wouldn't have called, I'm a bit laissez-faire about that stuff, but it was while he was in the care of one of his previous ABA workers.  She was kind of freaked out by his tendency to eat anything that was not food.

Anyway, I digress.

Our indoor snowman project has some real amazing moments.

1) When I suggested making a snowman, Brian didn't go running for his snowpants and mittens.  He understood we weren't talking about a real snowman.  Big deal, right there.

2) Brian made the first move.  He didn't wait for directions.  He picked up the glue and put two dots near the top of the snowman and said "Eyes".

3) I didn't hear one single "That's not fair" from Corbin.  When making something together Corbin likes to make sure that we all have an equal amount of tasks.  Brian put on BOTH the mouth and nose without any complaints from big brother.

4) Speaking of the mouth, Brian chose the pipe cleaner out of a huge box of crafting odds and ends.  And then curved it into a smile.

5) Corbin let it go that the nose and eyes weren't in the "perfect" place.  I was proud of him for that.  I know it was bugging him and he did mention it once, but then he was okay.

6) Brian stuck with us through the entire process.  Generally, Corbin and I finish these projects because Brian gets to a point that makes me feel like I'm torturing him.  I'm glad he stuck with it- there's no way we could've made such an awesome snowman without his help.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not Exactly Typical

I've been struggling.

Struggling with parenting.

Just a little bit.

And it's not with Brian.  It's with my other son.

I know I've mentioned that Corbin isn't exactly "typical".  He's typical to me because I have another son with such major needs.  But I can't ignore Corbin's needs.

Corbin has articulation problems, phonological deficits, and sensory needs among other things.  Corbin has had professionals throwing around terms like sensory-processing disorder and ADHD since he was just a toddler.  Yet we've never got a diagnosis, which I think is starting to do a disservice for him.

Lately in speech therapy Corbin has been shutting down.  He looks at an activity, decides it will be too hard for him, and starts to shut down.  His eyes tear up, he sticks out that lower chin, and just blocks everyone off.  He does not want to try anything unless he knows he will excel at it.  He hates not doing well and the older he gets the harder things are getting for him. It happens at home too.  Especially when we play a new game or homework is too hard.

His speech therapist loves Corbin.  She loves both of my kids.  She has been a part of our family for about six years now.  And she's worried.  Worried about how we are going to get over this hurdle so it's not a habit he holds on to for the rest of his life.

I'm worried too.  Seeing him struggle has always been hard for me but I feel he is starting to see his struggles, where he didn't before.  And this is even harder for me, because I see the pain in his eyes.  I'm worried about his self-esteem and I try my hardest to let him know his strengths.  I also am clear about everyone's weaknesses, particularly my own.  I stress how important it is to at least try and I try to enforce this by showing him how I mess up at times, but I try again.

This parenting stuff is hard and I'm not too proud to ask for help.  Have you had a similar situation with any of your children?  Do you have any suggestions?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Baking and Making

Thank goodness Valentine's Day is over.

Oh wait, it hasn't even started, has it?

The day of baking and crafting has drained me of all that gooey love.

But we have some fabulous results.  And happy boys.

Corbin's Robot Valentines

Brian's Rocket Valentines

Sugar Cookies with Candy Centers for Corbin's Class

Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Brian's Class
All ideas (besides the strawberries) thanks to Family Fun!

Blog Gems: Love

It's that time again- time to air out old posts and let them get some comment love. 

The prompt this time around is inspired by Valentines Day- link to a post about something/someone you love.

This post, Love that Laugh, isn't a writing gem, didn't really write much, but the video of Brian laughing is just priceless, in my opinion.  

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Never Thought

I never thought Brian wouldn't have a bruise on his forehead from banging his head on the wall repeatedly throughout the's now been three years since he has participated in self-injurious behaviors.

I never thought I would get Brian to eat new foods when I changed his he's licking asparagus and eating hamburgers without dissecting them first.

I never thought Brian would sing a song, I laughed when one of his speech goals was to fill in a word in a he knows around 20 songs.

I never thought Brian would take his supplements without screaming, kicking, and he takes them independently.

I never thought Brian would sleep through the night, just one single he's doing so 85% of the time.

I never thought Brian would be able to attend birthday parties without needing to leave the last one I had three other people remark to me about how well Brian did.

I never thought Brian would learn the alphabet.......not only does he know them, he knows the sound each letter makes.

I never thought I'd see Brian participate in the activities of a school event........tonight I watched as he allowed himself to be blindfolded and spun so he could pin the arrow on the heart.

I never thought I'd hear Brian say "Mama"..................and I cried so hard when he first did.

When I get down, when I think that I'll never have a real conversation with Brian, or that he will never make a meaningful relationship with a peer, or he will never get a grip on all the academic stuff, I have to stop myself and think about all the other things I thought would never happen.

Like one of Brian's favorite scripts, "Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming".

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Velcro Baby

One of Brian's many nicknames is "Velcro Baby".   He's always been attached to me, from the very beginning.  A lot of people who really don't deal with autism on a day-to-day might think it's impossible for people with autism to have meaningful relationships, but that just isn't the case.  In fact, I think Brian may have the opposite problem, he might be a little too attached to me.

Don't get me wrong- I know it's such a blessing that he does show his love to me like he does.  My number one most favorite thing in the whole world is to snuggle with both of my boys.  But it's hard to get things done when Brian thinks it's snuggle time ALL the time.

When I'm walking around the house, if I let my guard down, he will literally jump on my back from whatever surface he is on.  That's forty-five pounds coming out of nowhere on to my back.  My back will be thrown out before I'm forty.  If I sit down or lie down anywhere it will only be seconds before he will be right there with me, stroking my face.  He is almost always just a step behind me which can be annoying when I'm doing things like cooking (and dangerous when I'm opening oven doors).  

One of his favorite things to do is come up behind me and put his head up my shirt and then wrap his hands around my waist while I walk around the house, doing my everyday things.  It usually gets a few laughs from Corbin, as he exclaims over how big my butt has become.

I decided to take this up a notch the other night.  As soon as he assumed the position I  took some scarves and tied Brian to myself, one around his shoulders/my waist, and two more around our ankles.  For some reason, he didn't think that was so cool.

Maybe he'll keep the snuggling to the couch for now on....but then again, I think I would be sad if he did, no matter how annoying it can be some days.

Shameless Self-Promoting

Okay, a few things...I'm sure you've noticed some changes around here.  A lot of it is going on over there on the right side of the page. The A-Word now has it's own facebook page and I'd love if you would "like" it and I have finally joined the world of twitter so follow me so I can follow you!

I've also put the blog into the Top Mommy Blogs list and just want to tell you to not be shy.  Go ahead and press that lovely button with the crazy juggler over there ---->
Go on, it's okay, do it every day!

And last but not least I'd really appreciate it if you wold vote for my boys in a photo contest.  A local play-place is having a contest for a couple free passes.  You have to "like" the Playroom's page and then comment on the boys picture for your vote to count. I'll love you forever.  Winky face.

Aren't they the cutest kids ever?  Well after your own of course.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

You the (Snow)Man!

It's amazing to think Brian use to hate winter. Of course he couldn't tell me why but I know he loves to be hot (from observations of him alway turning the water temperature  up in the tub and how he lies next to the heaters like a cat).  I could also tell he didn't like how the terrain was so uneven and unpredictable under his feet.

This year I can't keep him inside. He loves to sled, roll down hills, throw snowballs (always at me), shovel snow, kick the snow from behind the tires on vehicles (every vehicle in the parking lot), and collect icicles.  Now the problem is I have to stay out in the snow....I kind of liked it when I only had to stay out there five minutes at a time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Points to Ponder

  • The burger mentioned in last night's post- it was a special one.  It was the first time Brian has EVER ate a burger/sandwich without taking it apart and then eating each part by itself.  First time ever!
  • I've been bragging for some time now about how great Brian is at taking his supplements.  Well he's brought it up another notch.  He now takes the syringe full of his supplements and squirts it into his own mouth.  Next thing I know he'll be mixing them up on his own.
  • While watching the pre-game stuff for the Superbowl Corbin mentioned he liked the Glee actress, Lea Michele.  I responded "Yes, I like her voice too".  His response?  "I just want to kiss her."  He has turned girl crazy seriously over night.  I've been telling him all week that I'm sending him to an all-boys school.
    He might be out of her league.
  • How does one lose a pair of snow pants?  Especially on the FIRST day you wear them (because your last pair you left on the heater and they melted).  I'm not really sure.  But ask Corbin.  The kid who also lost his library book, the day he checked it out, at school- it never even made it home for us to read (but the note saying I owed the library $13 miraculously made it's way home).  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lazy Rut

For a long time now I have been treating Brian as if he just can't answer some questions.  I accepted it and when he would just repeat the last word of the question, I would provide him with the answer, which he would then repeat.

I think what happened was I got lazy.  Sometimes I need to give myself a kick in the ass.  I've been working hard on repeating the question until he answers.  I wait until he gives me eye contact and I ask again and he'll repeat me.  And again with echolalia.  And again with echolalia.  And then after the fourth or fifth time, I can really see the connection in his eyes, he'll pause and I can see the gears turning, and then he'll answer.  With his own answer.

I've been doing this with him all afternoon and been getting amazing results, with a lot of patience.  Sure it took me ten minutes to get him to answer if he wanted his burger on a roll or not.  Another three minutes to answer if he wanted ketchup, mustard, or both.  And four more minutes if he wanted straight fries or circle fries. Sure, Corbin was already up asking for seconds by the time I got my plate on the table.  But it was worth it, for Brian to formulate the answers without any sort of prompt.

Sometimes I think I fall in a rut, the rut of what is easy and it's not a good place to be.  Brian needs to be pushed ALL THE TIME and it's exhausting.  But it's rewarding.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Where were you when...

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the attacks on 9/11?  I do.  Yet I don't remember what I ate for breakfast today.  It's crazy what your memory will store when there is a traumatic incident.

Do you remember the day your child was diagnosed with autism?  Same thing.

June 6, 2007.  It was actually his second diagnosis.  Almost a year prior to this he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS, but his Dad was in denial and hounded me to get another opinion.  I knew that PDD-NOS was being easy on us, I knew if we went for another opinion we were going to hear the A-Word.  Yet, I told him I would schedule it if he came along, thinking it would help with his acceptance.

The night before the appointment he called and said he couldn't make it.  So I drove the hour and a half to the hospital with feelings of anger, dread, and sadness.

I remember all the little things that made up that day.  I remember Brian was in a phase that he closed his eyes every time the camera came out, protecting himself from the flash.  I remember he was still so extra-sensitive that he would NOT wear shoes.  I had to purchase him See Kai Run shoes, which were the only ones he would tolerate for at least long enough to get out of the car and into the hospital.  He then kicked them off and spent the rest of the day barefoot.

I remember thinking the developmental clinic was insane to have a fabulous train table in the waiting room.  The waiting room they expected Brian to transition out of four different times.  I remember we had already started the diet, so when we had our lunch break in the middle of the full day of tests and evaluations, we drove to a local pond and ate the picnic I had packed.  I remember there was a grandmother at the pond with her grandchild, about the same age of Brian, and seeing how they were playing together.  I was busy trying to keep Brian from trying to eat the splinters of wood he was picking off of the picnic table.  I was trying to pretend we were "normal" and I kept talking to him, but it was making me even more lonely, as he didn't look at me or respond.

I remember at the end of the day hearing that he had Autism.  Not PDD-NOS, but full-out textbook Autism.

I remember leaving. Getting Brian into his carseat, pulling myself into the front seat, turning the car on, and then covering my face as I started to cry.  I cried until Brian started whining in the back seat and then pulled myself together to start the ride home.  I was trying to figure out why I was reacting so strongly.  I knew, going there, we would be told "Autism".  For some reason it seemed like if we could've held on to that PDD-NOS diagnosis we would have had more hope, even if the diagnosis wasn't accurate.  At that point in time I wanted to hold on to that false hope.  

The developmental clinic took this picture of Brian  to keep in his file.  He wouldn't sit still on his own, so I had to put him on my lap.  For some morbid reason I keep it framed in my bedroom.  I sometimes wonder why I keep it in a prominent place.  It wasn't a happy day.  Yet it was a day that defined our lives and our futures.  So it was an important day.  It's amazing how much your life can change in just one day.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Little Bit of ADD?


You may notice some changes on my blog.  Like a different banner up there with a whole different name.  Call it ADD or just plain boredom but I felt like I needed to change things up around here.

The old blog name was kind of generic.  It was long.  How many other variations of "Living with Autism" have you seen around?  I often refer to autism as "The A-Word" and after some serious thinking (okay like ten minutes or so) I thought it was a nice, short, unique title.  Please don't burst my bubble if you know of like ten other blogs with the same name.

Will it cause confusion?  Eh, I don't have that much of a following- I think you guys will catch on quickly.  I have faith in you.

Chew Chew!

I've been eyeing this train for some time.  It comes apart to be two plates, a bowl, a cup, a fork, and a spoon.  And it's a train.  This would OBVIOUSLY be the perfect gift for Brian, right?

I ended up buying it last week and was pumped to give it to Brian.  His eyes lit up and he excitedly ripped into the box.

Having something he loves so much at dinner time will make him want to try new foods.  It will make dinner time a time that he'll want to sit and enjoy.  Not stuff his cheeks then run.  It even says it on the box: "Enjoy Meals, Make Meals Fun, Reduce Stress at the Table, Encourages Interaction at the Table."

I wonder if they had autistic children in mind when they wrote that.  The second I started to take the train apart Brian's whole face scrunched up.  I'm sure he had that same squeamish feeling I have when I see a surgery on TV.  I decided we'd serve one of his favorite meals, hot dogs and french fries, to ease him into it.  It didn't slow down eating.  If anything, it sped it up because he wanted to get the train back together.

When he finished his dinner in a record thirty seconds, he refused to put the plate and cup into the sink.  He wanted it back together and trains do not belong with the dirty dishes.  I let go of that fight, knowing I'd just wash it after he went to sleep.

Generalization is not a skill Brian possesses just yet.  And I knew that.  But one can hope for an easy fix, right?  At least he has a new train out of the deal.  He's a happy camper.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sleep is so overrated....

1:50 AM: "Yeee, eeee, eeee" accompanied with giggles resound through the second floor of the apartment.

1:52 AM:  I cover my head with the pillows and think if I ignore it, it will go away.

1:56 AM:  Pull myself out of bed and go to the bathroom.  On my way out I make a stop in the culprit's room.  He's lying in his bed with a big smile on his face.  I pull his weighted blanket over him and tell him "Shhhh. It's sleeping time.  You need to sleep."

2:10 AM:  The sounds haven't stopped.  I'm kicking myself in the ass for not getting him his evening supplements.  I know for a fact that his evening cocktail helps him sleep.  And now I'm getting paid back.

2:30 AM:  Hear Brian's pitter-patter to his brother's bedroom.  Since I am such a great mother I don't do anything about it.  I know Corbin's a heavier sleeper than I am and that I can't hear Brian as well from Corbin's room.  Maybe I'll get a bit more sleep in.

2:55 AM:  "MOOOOM!!!! I'm having a NIGHTMARE!!!!!!" Now Corbin is awake.

3:05 AM:  Have successfully calmed Corbin down but he wants the lights on.  No way Brian will sleep with the lights on so I escort him back to his own room.

3:15 AM: Hear Brian making his way back to Corbin's room.  Lie waiting to hear complaints from Corbin.  Don't hear any.  So I don't stop him.

3:30 AM: "MOOOOOOOOOM!!!  I can't sleep, Brian won't stop talking!!!"  Escort Brian back to his room.  Stress to him he that he (meaning me) needs sleep.

3:40 AM:  Wishing I bought myself some noise-cancelling headphones when I bought Brian his.  I would totally sleep in them.

Drift off to sleep some time after 4:00.

6:00 AM: The alarm clock gets thrown against the wall.

After work, picking up the boys, I was told I looked tired.  I always love that line- it's just a nicer way of saying that I look like shit.  Tired doesn't even begin to explain it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Love All Around

Remember Ava?  Found another one of her wonderful "love notes" to Brian in the backpack today.   I'm in love with this girl.

This past weekend Josh and I were out to dinner when one of the waitresses spotted me and excitedly rushed over to our table.  I recognized her as the mother to one of the girls in Brian's class (not Ava).  Before she even fully approached the table she was yelling out "Omigod!  Does your son talk about my daughter as much as she talks about him??".  There was an awkward silence as I stared at her thinking 1)Has she met my son?  Does she realize he is really incapable of telling me about ANYTHING that happens at school. 2) One of his peers have been talking about him?? Awesome!  Oh wait, maybe it's not good.  I finally mustered my thoughts together and said, "Well Brian isn't really at the point in his speech that he can tell us about school."

Not sure if she heard me as she continued, "My daughter just loves Brian.  She tells me she sits across from him and they just stare at each other all day long.  She just loves him.  I can't believe he doesn't talk about her, she just talks about him all the time.  I think she has a little crush.  I thought for sure he would've talked about her."  This went on for a good five minutes while I kept trying to interject that she shouldn't take it personally as he really doesn't talk about anyone.

She left our table, I think not hearing a single word I said, yet it left me with a smile.  His classmates like him and they accept him.  Girls even have crushes on him.  Who would've thought?