I knew that the day would come when my aspie would begin to talk about him having Asperger's. That day came a few nights ago during a monumental occasion that occurred that made his dad and I very, very proud. I also knew exactly what to do when that moment would come based on my own experiences thanks to my parents.
I am adopted. I have known that fact for as long as I can remember. My parents decided when they adopted me to never keep it a secret; to always make it a non-issue and to let me ask questions about it over the years as I grew and became more curious. For me, it's was exactly what I needed. I remember my mom sitting me on the counter when I was around 5 or 6 and telling me that I was special. I was special because I was a gift like no other because she and dad could not have children, yet another woman was so kind that she gave me to them. It was called adoption and that they had adopted me. I remember going to my friend's sleep over that night so excited to tell my friends my new found nugget of information! They ewww'ed and awwww'ed over it and then we went back to little girl sleep over stuff. As the year's went on I did have more questions and they were always them answered honestly and respectfully, and I truly appreciate it to this day. I can't imagine figuring it out later in life or hearing people whisper around me about some family secret. Instead, we took it on as our truth and would even have a little family laugh when people told us how much I looked like my mom or dad. So I knew when my aspie started asking questions or would make a comment that my husband and I would do the same thing for our special gift.
From the many first person books I have read about living with Asperger's this day was going to come sooner than later. All these books described people with this syndrome knowing that they were different from other kids as early as they could remember. Each stated that they played differently, talked differently, or tried desperately to have friends and therefore realized that they themselves were a bit different. Each of them said that they realized this around the age of 4, so I knew we were right there knocking on the door of self discovery. This moment occurred with us verbally though the other night when my son drank from a DIFFERENT GLASS than his normal one!!
Sometimes I feel bad for all the parents out there with "neuro-typical" kids. They miss out on some amazing, joyous occasions that call for cheers and applause. You see, in a house with a child with autism, the day that your son can put on his shorts on by himself (at the age of 4, 5, 6, 7...), finally pees on the potty (at the age of 4, 5, 6, 7.....), or drinks from a different glass than the only one he could possibly drink from before is a HUGE occasion. My aspie usually only drinks out of a Minnie mouse glass I got from Disney when I was six or so. He does not like the textures of other glasses and will use sippy cups other places, but here its this glass. AND only juice can go in this glass, nothing, and I do mean nothing else. But the other night, my aspie ate something spicy. He did it by accident and his mouth was on fire. He ran into the kitchen and grabbed my glass of lemonade on the counter and didn't even think of the fact that he was drinking out of something different. When I realized it, I said, "I'm so proud of you!!! You are drinking our of a new glass!!!!" He stopped, looked, smiled and said, "I'm going to show Daddy!!!" And with that he went running into the living room to do it for Daddy. We hooted and cheered and he ran out of lemonade. We went and got him more and did this a few more times admiring the pride on his face. On yet another trip to the kitchen for more lemonade, he said, "Mommy, you are a silly dipolar!" A what? "A dipolar" he said again. "Do you mean bipolar?" I asked. "Yeah, a dipolar like daddy!" And with that I knew he was hearing and picking up on what Daddy and I have been talking about. See, in this house we use these terms all the time. Between this blog, the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/bipolaraspergersandmargaritas please like...I couldn't resist), and therapy these terms are heard and used all the time. Seeing my opportunity I asked, "Honey, do you know you are special?" "Yes, I know, I have Cheeseburgers!" "Well, it's called Asperger's and yes you do have it. You know what that means?" "What?" still squirming with excitement from his new found glass. I took his face in my hands, looked him in the eye and said, "It means that you are special because you are very smart and can run very fast!! It means that you are a gift to Daddy and I." "He said, "Can I have another glass of lemonade?" and with that the moment was over. But it did show that he does know. He does hear us talk. And for right now, that it fine. As he grows and has more questions, his father and I will answer them honestly and respectfully.
Thanks Dad for being a great father! Your special gift now knows exactly what to do with her special gift!! For that I am "Eternally Grateful" (from Toy Story 2.)
Even though my aspie is only four years old, he has been in daycare/pre-school since he was six months old and hence we have had the opportunity to meet and have many teachers. Some of them were good, some of them bad and some of them amazing. The uniquely amazing teachers have the ability to completely transform a child's school experience and therefore I wanted to expand and give tribute to these teachers that did that for my child.
As my aspie began to get older, it was apparent that he was struggling with his school experience. I can't tell you how many times I went to the owner/head teachers' office over my son. Many times breaking into tears because I just knew my sweet son was so different when he was at home vs being at school, worrying that something was wrong. At that point, my aspie was around 2 years old and I was just hoping it was a terrible two issue. It was right around this time that we met Miss Trish. Miss Trish is a beautiful, tall young lady with long brown hair and one of the prettiest smiles you have ever seen. I knew Miss Trish was going to be good with my aspie the first time she met him. On their first meeting, Miss Trish knelt down on his level to say hi to him. She stayed with him until he was comfortable and took him away to play without too much crying. It wasn't long until my son starting running towards Miss Trish when he saw her and would leap into her arms and she would swing him around. To me they had an unspeakable connection that I haven't seen him have with anyone else besides his father, my dad and myself. She seemed to innately understand what made my aspie upset and would stop it before it happened. She also allowed my son to RUN!!! He has to run to get out some extra energy and she let him do it! My son loved her so much that we even asked her on many occasions to baby sit for us since she is the only one that my son would stay with....and he loved to see her come! If we could have afforded for her to be a live in nanny for us, I would offered her the moon for her to do it! She is that good.
His next teacher was Miss Nicole. Oh Miss Nicole! Miss Nicole is a gorgeous, petite, pixie cut brunette that has more spunk than a stick of dynamite. She has so much energy that its infection to the kids. My son was three when he had her and she got to do things that I still can't accomplish. With Miss Nicole he began to write and use the scissors, make crafts and follow rules. (He started doing this with Miss Trish and continued it with Miss Nicole.) It was apparent that my son again was having some issues and Miss Nicole would try things until something worked for him. He loved going to school and would talk about Miss Nicole all the time. He still remembers the planets that she taught him, and still tells me that water makes plants grow and Miss Nicole told him that. Miss Nicole pretty much ran the daycare/preschool that he was attending at that time and when she left for greener pastures, the school felt it deeply. After she left, numerous teachers came and went none of them remotely came close to the care that Miss Trish or Miss Nicole gave to my son and hence it was time to change schools.
Now enters Miss Melissa. Talk about amazing. Miss Melissa can light up any room that she walks into with her smile and laugh. My son was extremely nervous going to this new school and so was I. I knew that for my son this switch was going to be hard on him and I just didn't know what to expect. But Miss Melissa has that loving mom touch that made me comfortable leaving my crying child with her. It took some time for my apsie to warm up to the new school, but not to Miss Melissa. I knew that he liked her when he would accidentally call me Miss Melissa, and would refer to her as his "mommy at school." Miss Melissa was also a big part of our lives because she was the one to point out that he might have something like Asperger's, has helped us in obtaining treatment and has been there ever step of the way through the process. (Looking back, I have a feeling Miss Trish and Miss Nicole knew this too but he was too young to really say for sure when they had him.)
I have expressed before that my son has only a few people that he really talks to and trusts. Us, my dad, and these three teachers are on this very short list. To this day, my aspie still talks about Miss Trish and Miss Nicole even though its been a year and a half since he has seen them. Miss Melissa of course he talks about nearly everyday given that he sees her two times a week. I wanted to honor them tonight because these three woman have been a big part of my son's life and have allowed him to learn, develop and nurture him outside of our care. To prove my point on how much my son is attached to them, here are some quotes from my aspie (quotes are not word for word but this is what he meant, for some of them his wording was still lacking due to some speech issues and age):
Oh you poor darling....you hurt your piggy. You need a Band-Aid. Do you want me to kiss it? (Talking to Miss Melissa when she hurt her foot.)
Miss Trish runs fast like Dash (from The Incredibles). I love when Miss Trish runs with me.
Miss Nicole said that I was a good boy today. Did you know that mommy?
Miss Nicole sings the clean up song. (And he still sings it today when he has to clean up his train in order to earn a movie. I think its from Barney which my son likes.)
Miss Trish plays trains mommy. Will you play trains with me?
Miss Melissa is my mommy at school and I love her.
Can Miss Trish come over tonight? (When I said no he said) Then can I go to school to play with her? (It was seven at night.)
Mommy can you put your legs over me? (While trying to fall asleep one night.) Miss Trish does and it makes me feel so much better.
I miss Miss Trish and Miss Nicole. (He said one day when we passed his old school, followed by) But I don't miss that place!
If Miss Trish lived with us would she be my other mommy? (I asked why Miss Trish would live with us and he said) Because then we can play trains and run together.
Coming from a boy that was mostly talking in movie quotes and is too shy to talk to most people (including his other grandparents) these quotes are a big deal. Thank you so much for being amazing teachers. You have made a big impact on my family and for that we are forever grateful to you! On those hard days just remember that you might have a little aspie in your class that thinks the world of you, even if he can't show it in the "normal" ways. For all your hard work, dedication, and love that you have given all kids, not just mine, I say, Thank You and the next margarita is on me!!!
***Please feel free to add you amazing teacher stories in the comments tab! I would love to hear of the teachers that inspired you or your kids!! You can add your stories here or on my Facebook page!!***
Aspie saw this picture and said, "Is that a tootie butt?"
For a long period of time, my aspie hated passing gas. When I say hating it, I mean if it happened he would scream and cry and run out of the room as if his behind was on fire. I could never figure out why something so harmless as a fart would cause such grief and agony to my little man. Each time I would chase after him thinking that maybe something hurt, maybe he had to do a little more than toot, or just to comfort him after such a dreadful event occurred. It wasn't until he was a little older did we realize why he hated doing it.
As you could probably already tell, my family and this blog for that matter is not so PC. To go a little further, my husband (and me, I have to admit) thinks that blowing wind is pretty funny. We all do it, its a natural bodily act and therefore it really should not be that funny, but there is something about the unpredictability of it, the variability of the noise produced, and lets face it, those dreadful smells that make it funny. Not to mention the whole family of lingo that goes with it makes it all the more amusing. Let's see, there's crop dusting, silent bombs, toot, mouse on a motorcycle, the duck call, the Dutch oven, the bathtub fart, the burning brakes fart, the snart (sneeze fart), and the oh my gosh fart just to name a few. To be honest, I didn't even realize that there was such a diction to passing gas until, of course, I met my husband. I am guessing that this jargon is tossed around the Army bases and man caves pretty frequently, but escapes those girly things that us women do and hence we miss out on. Therefore, with my new found knowledge of toots, and with my husbands natural loving of the occurrence, if someone passes gas in our house, we think its sort of funny.
For most families, a little laughing with farting would not be a problem; however, if you son happens to have Asperger's and you laugh in their direction, its a major deal. For my son, any attention where laughing is occurring towards him can cause a major meltdown. Even if its a little chuckle, it's too much for my aspie to bare. Why? Because it's unwanted attention. Since one of his biggest fears is people looking at him, to look at him and then to laugh "at him" is pretty much a form of abuse in his eyes. When he got older and could talk, he finally started yelling, "Stop laughing!! I have had ENOUGH of you!" We would often times just say to him, "We can laugh. We are not laughing at you. We are just laughing because it was funny." This would not change anything, he would still scream and run. To him, I think our explanation of laughing sounded like the adults in Peanuts, just some squeaky noises that form no real words and so he didn't understand it.
Now in most "neuro-typical" families, if your kid does not find it funny that you laugh at his farts, you still laugh and move on living your life typically. In a family with someone with autism, you obsess, or at least this mom obsesses. I just wanted my kid to enjoy the silly things in life. Life can be so serious, that sometimes the unpredictable event, like a toot, can just lighten it up a bit. Plus, there are many things we do daily that are silly. The baby walked into a glass sliding door the other day...it was funny, he laughed with us. I slipped in the mud and fell and laughed with the kids. If he can't get use to us laughing all together, and more so when he does somewhat embarrassing but funny, then that is a social problem. So, mommy took action.
Have you ever heard of the peanut butter jelly time song? If not, play the clip below to get yourself familiar with it. It's this crazy song that gets stuck in your head for days on end. This song was popular when my aspie was 1 or so, and so I would sing it to him when we were about to do simple tasks like taking a bath (It's peanut butter tubby time), when we were eating, (It's peanut butter snacky time), and many other silly things. Therefore, he was very familiar with the song and it is one of the very few songs that I can sing without him having a catastrophic meltdown. So, in desperate times, I reach for this song and use it. And so, mommy, being the amazing song writer that I am, wrote the now infamous song in the house of crazies, "Peanut butter tootie butt." I was waiting for the perfect time to release this single, so when Daddy did the deed one night at dinner I saw my opportunity. "Daddy you have a tootie butt! It's Peanut butter tootie butt, peanut butter tootie butt, peanut butter, tootie, peanut butter, tootie, peanut butter tootie with a baseball bat!" I sung it like it was the best and funniest thing ever. We ALL started laughing, including my aspie, who said, "Do it again Daddy." Just so happened that he needed to do it again, and so I sung it again. My aspie laughed and laughed with the rest of us. Although he requested yet another on coir, Daddy didn't have it in him and so the moment passed.
A few days passed and I could hear my asie sing something in a muffle. "What are you singing honey?" I asked. "I have a tootie butt he exclaimed!" "Oh really" I said, gigging to myself. A little time passed and I heard what he was talking about. "Mommy did you hear that! That's my peanut butter tootie butt!" "That's cool honey, that's totally cool."
Of course all things good can backfire, as does the tootie butt song. In Walmart, and thank God it was Walmart, our baby started passing some gas. My aspie, in his adult like monotone voice proclaimed, "Our baby has a tootie butt" and proceeded to sing the song. As yet again I rushed the cart down the isle to escape the many stares and silent giggles that followed. In our escape I decided that the next thing I need to instill in my aspie are the things that we do at home vs the things we do in public. Oh boy....
Words can be powerful. Good, bad, funny, silly, mean; whatever, if they are used properly, even unknowingly, they can be stronger than muscle. This I have known for a while. Not just from being a mom of a kid that doesn't fit into the "normal" mold, but from just living life. If someone makes a snide comment about you, life moves on. When someone makes a snide comment about your partner, you get a little more upset but you brush it off. You make a comment about my kid, its harder to get over, and if it happens to be the one with autism, yeah its that much harder.
Today we had to take the baby to an ears, nose and throat (ent) doctor to see if he would need to have tubes put into his ears. My husband and my aspie went along to support the baby and to hear what the doctor had to say. It is at this point normal ends.
You see here is a little dirty secret that I can't remember if I have ever shared before. My aspie still uses a bottle. Yes, he is four. Yes, I know it can hurt his teeth. Yes, I know that there are probably a million other reasons why he shouldn't do it, but there are a few reasons we still let him use it. One, it something that soothes him down during times of anxiety or meltdowns. Nothing else works, but with this he can calm down by himself. Another reason is if he does not get it during one of these times, he rubs his thumb nail into his palm so hard that he causes himself to bleed. Although he will still do it when he has a bottle, it does lighter so that no bleeding occurs. Yet another reason is because he has a tendency to bite, actually its a bad tendency. Sometimes for no reason he bites and if other things do not take away that urge, he gets the bottle. So there you have it, our life with a bottle. Oh, and yes the baby (2 year old) still gets one too. Monkey see monkey do. My husband and I have settled into the fact that our sons will need braces and oh well. Its better than plastic surgery for bite scars and injuries.
Today then, when we went to the ent, my aspie had a bottle. It was a new place with strange people but I wanted him to go to get used to new things thrown into our days. Its our new goal for this summer. Exposure and try new things. When the doctor came in to see the baby, he didn't take two steps into the room and he said. "How old are you?" to my aspie. My aspie surprising answered back "4." I was happily surprised my aspie talked to him, but then I heard the words, "Aren't you too old for that bottle?" I saw my hubbies face turn instantly angry and I said calmly because it honestly happens all the time to us at the store that is not Walmart, "My son has Asperger's syndrome. This helps." Usually I say my son has autism but today with a doctor I figured he knew what the diagnosis of Asperger's entails. He had the same face that most people get after you say that. That foot in mouth face with a stuttering of words that come afterwards. The rest of the appointment went on just fine with the news that on Thursday our little man will get tubes in.
When we got to the car, my husband was upset with the doctor for what he said to our oldest. His reasoning is that our aspie already has social issues. Making him feel even more unusual or different or odd is not the goal, and it coming from someone in the medical field who most likely sees odd things everyday should know to hold his tongue, especially to a little kid. And honestly I get that. And if I think about it too much I get upset. Do I not think about it, no, I still do but in an odd sort of way. I have that Let'em Look tude.
We are a society that judges. Its the truth. See a person with a million tattoos, you look twice, or even stare uncontrollably. See someone in a wheelchair, you look. See someone with pink hair, ya look, I know you do. See someone with enough jewelry on to be a Mr T impersonator you look. Why? It's not the norm. The standard norm in today's society is that they get rid of the bottle at 1 year because that's what's right for kids that fit that cookie cutter mold. Mine does not, so people stare and make comments. With all this craze about bullying, you would think that people would be more aware to not say things but they are not. How is bullying different from judging others? It's not. It's the same. A grown man pointed out my son's differences today in a snide comment way. Judging/bullying. But I think.... do it. I will be there to ensure my son knows that he is amazing. If you tear him down, I will build him back up and make him a better man for doing so. I will ensure that he knows that he doesn't need other peoples approval to have self-confidence. He just needs to love himself. That's my ideal anyway. Here's why I think that.
I see kids everyday that deal with so many issues and struggles, far more severe than drinking a bottle or being socially awkward. Some that I know will not be on this earth to see there 16, 18, 21st birthday, and you know what...those are the kids that have the most confidence. They let people stare, and don't care and you know why? It's because they know what other people think is the small stuff. That their tough life has taught them to let the small stuff like that roll off their backs and to concentrate on the good positive in life. To live your life how you see ifit to live it and if other people don't approve or don't like it, too bad.
Do I worry if my kids fit the "norm." Oh yeah! I do many times, especially before my aspie's diagnosis. But then I started hearing other mom's dirty secrets of letting their kids sleep with them, of their ten year old still sleeping with a blankie ,of letting their kids not bathe for three to four days in a row and I think to myself, oh yeah no one is the "norm." We have the what we tell others and what we actually do. What we tell people fits and what we do might not. So here's my advice. Do what you can to be the best possible parent for your specific situation. And if you see something different, go ahead and look, because hell if I can stop you. And if you see the house of crazies coming your way....have some Silk milk ready to pour into my aspie's bottle....and maybe some margaritas for mine. :)
**Jerry Update. I posted on Bipolar, Asperger's and Margaritas Facebook page that Jerry the hamster had a accident and broke his leg. He is still doing okay and is eating and drinking well today. We are hoping he pulls through. Aspie is very concerned and being a good nurse to his beloved patient!***
My son has taken a recent interest in baseball, mainly because Charlie Brown plays baseball and he has become a HUGE Charlie Brown fan as of late. Coincidently, my grandfather bought my aspie a ball glove and ball for his Christmas that he has now been using so he can be like Charlie Brown. So when I saw that the Pittsburgh Pirates were sponsoring an Autism Day with proceeds for the day's game benefiting Autism Speaks, I decided it was time to take our son to his first professional sports game.
As we drove to the field, which is about an hour away, we could tell that our aspie was getting nervous for the day's big event. He began to talk to himself quietly in the back seat. Every once in a while I could hear what he was saying and of course he was scripting a quote from the Charlie Brown All-Stars cartoon, where they play baseball and lose. As we got closer to the ball field, he started to quote louder and more often, which was a sign that he was very nervous; but he never cried, nor had a meltdown so we knew he was excited as much as he was nervous. When we finally arrived and parked, we hopped out of the car to an excited crowd of people ready to root on the Pirates. Seeing that our aspie was pretty afraid of the people, my husband hoisted him on top of his shoulders and away we went. As we were approaching the stadium my hubbie kept asking our son if he was cold because he could feel him shivering, and it wasn't until the third questioning that he finally whispered that he was scared of all these people. After some reassurance, he got down and was able to walk through security. Luckily that day, children received a "rally towel" which became sort of a security blanket for my aspie, and his glove that he wore to catch fly balls became a mask. So, with towel in hand and glove over his face we made our way to our seats.
There is nothing like walking through a dark tunnel to see the emergence of the luscious green field, the thousands of seats of fans, the beautiful buildings of Pittsburgh in the background. It's breathtaking. My aspie was even taken back at the sight. He had a look of amazement in his big beautiful brown eyes that quickly turned to fear when he realized the amount of people around him. It wasn't until we were seated, he had put on his headphones to block out noise, and he was munching on nachos that he finally started to relax. Out of no where though, he flew out of his seat,and said "when do I go down there and play...they need me!" We at first laughed and tried to explain to him that we were only going to watch this game. He insisted that he had to be on Charlie Brown's team and they were depending on him, or at least that's what I think he was saying because it was mainly in quotes from the cartoon. Once we convinced him that the players were Daddy's age and size and they would be too rough on a "big boy," he settled into the game and really started to enjoy it.
We had such a wonderful, enjoyable time. We had no major breakdowns or meltdowns. We had no awkward moments or incidents, we just had a great time. Pappy, hubs, aspie and I were pretty much smiling the entire time.....almost anyway. It was me, that for a moment shed some tears. For sitting next to me was a teenager, I would guess 18 or 19, who had autism. When he was ushered to his seat earlier I had seen that he was wearing a puzzle piece pin with an I Have Autism inscription on it. He sat near me leaving a seat in-between us in the beginning, but some new people had arrived forcing him to take the seat next to me. I had things on the seat not expecting anyone to sit there and didn't realize he was moving into the seat until he had already sat down on the stuff. His father helped me get the stuff and we all rearranged our belongings. I could tell him sitting next to me was making him nervous because he kept fidgeting. I also kept noticing him looking at my son, with his headphones on standing, sitting, standing, sitting and quoting Charlie Brown lines. Me, sitting in between my four year old an this teenager made me feel like I was sitting between the present and the future.
It was apparent that baseball was this kid's "thing." He would repeat each players names when they were up to bat and would make calls before the umpire. He would try to cheer when appropriate but it came out in a sort of yell. He loved the beat of the music to cheer the team on, and he completed the statistics in his head before the scoreboard could do it. I so badly wanted to talk to him to make him feel at ease to sit next to me, but didn't want to upset him. Finally in between the fourth and fifth innings I made my move. "It seems like you know a lot about baseball. I bet you watch a lot of games." He smiled really big and said, "Yes, I watch every game I can." "Oh wow, that's great!" I said. "Do you come to a lot of games?" This answer took him awhile because he got so nervous to talk, even though he was smiling. "No, I only come to the Autism Day games," he responded. "Oh, well that's great!" I said, then I noticed him looking at my son again. "My son has autism too" I said as I pointed to his pin on his jacket. He smiled. We sat there for a second and I looked over to see a tear come down his cheek. "This is his first game and I'm glad I got to sit next to you so I can learn more about the game," I said. And that was all. That was all I could muster before I started crying the quiet tears that you wipe away. After that, he stopped fidgeting and I went back to focusing on my aspie and answering all of his many questions about the game.
As we left the game, with the Pirates scoring a win, a "rally" towel, a t-shirt that my aspie caught, and full bellies, I left with a sense that it wouldn't be our last time to the stadium since my aspie stated that the game "was awesome." And I also left with the feeling that my son's future is unknown and I am sure there will be times when he gets nervous and anxious, but if he just tries and pushes through the fears of going to a game, of talking to a stranger sitting next to him or even just to walk through a crowd of people that there are "awesome" things that can result. That the fear is only inside and the outside has a world of amazing things that I don't want him to miss out on. I couldn't be prouder of my son that day for facing his fears, and of a complete stranger who I know faced his fears by talking to me and who showed that he understood what my son was going through with his tear. I think that boy is one of those strangers in life that you never forget and wonder about forever. What a great day for a ballgame!
What the hell has been going on these last few days. This week seems to be so backwards, upside down, and crazy and I just don't understand it. Is there a full moon? Did someone put an extra dose of crazy in the public water? Are the celestial bodies miss-aligned? I have to wonder because not only is the world going crazy but our kids are too! I swear to you something is going on....
To start my aspie has had a few rough days. And when I say rough, I mean the not sleeping, not eating, hitting what ever would come close enough to let him, biting, screaming "I had enough" so many times that it was like nails on a chalkboard, and crying kind of days. Luckily, these days have become few and far between, and he seems to go in and out of it quicker than pre-therapy days, but the days he is feeling like are hard on all of us. (It's crazy because he seems to be okay at school and at therapy, but the minute he comes home or even on the way home it starts.) I had a feeling it was coming because my husband went away of a short fishing trip. This little change in my aspie's life is huge to him. The whole time he was gone, he honestly didn't seem like it affected him, yet when my husband came home....holy hell. Life was a mess for a few days. I thought well, here we go the after math from his trip, but then I get to therapy on Monday and every kid in there was going insane! They were all crying, hitting, screaming, not doing what they were suppose to, and every parent/caretaker and therapist had that oh my gosh what is going on look on their face. I don't think anyone else noticed that other people's kids doing the same thing because they were all concentrating on their own. I walked out of there thinking, I swear something is going on. Not two minutes later, I get Tweets about the Boston bombing, and my heart sank. What in the world??? The world is going nuts!
On top of it, I can see my husband struggling the forces within him too. He will not say it, but I can tell in how he is walking, talking and acting. It's like watching Luke Skywalker fighting the forces between good and evil. (And I am sure this is not the correct way to say that to all you Star Wars people out there, but you know what I mean.) All I can say is walk towards the white good force honey, but if the dark takes over...go fishing.
The baby, the BABY is not even his normal self. I say that especially now that he is currently in a diaper only, holding raw Ramen noodles in each hand (because it is the only thing he will not throw across the room), using his heels to spin on his butt around and around and around in a circle. Does that seem normal to you? It doesn't to me since this is the first time he ever done it. He has been so mean lately, and honestly hasn't stopped pooping since Monday! Not diarrhea, just poop. From where its coming, I have not a clue because the little shit hasn't eaten well since Monday either. I think the world's evil might very well be getting cleanse through my baby's bottom. Who knows...
Even my car can feel and decided to not to allow me to unlock the doors and to not allow my drivers side window to go up nor down; therefore, not allowing me to go through Starbucks and get a Earl Gray Tea Latte without looking ghetto by getting my order through the ole' open the door and grab method. Yup, even my car.
And so I declare enough.....ENOUGH! If you are a mean, heartless, negative, jerkoff that would like to hurt innocent people, say mean comments, or put judgment on everyone else please STOP. You are throwing off the good karma of the world and I am suffering for it. If you are the type of person who wakes up mad in the morning and make us all suffer for it, go back to bed. Again, the negative energy you are putting out there is hitting me smack dab in the face. Please stop. If you are a witch that has mother earth in the clutch of her hands and is squeezing the good juices out. We get it...you are all powerful and please return us to the good=bad scenario. And if this could all be done before the weekend....I would really appreciate because I want to have a nice one with my family...who's with me!!!!?????
***I know I am not the only one with a crazy week and although I am ranting here yet again, I understand that I at least have my loved ones to hold and hug. My heart goes out to everyone in the many places that have lost loved ones in recent events, both US and worldwide.***
Here is how Jerry (the hamster) has been rolling lately. My aspie wakes up, jumps from his bed and checks on Jerry. He then gives him a yogurt treat, whether Jerry is up or not, then takes him downstairs to play trains, cage and all. If he has to go to the bathroom, Jerry goes. If he goes into the kitchen for a drink, Jerry goes. If the dogs get to close to Jerry, our aspie screams, "Stay back you miscreant!" (From the Ice Age movie.) When we go anywhere in the car, to school, therapy, or the grandparents, Jerry goes cage and all. And when it's time for bed, Jerry is taken to his bedroom and place on the desk where he can be seen at any moment during the middle of the night if my aspie wakes up. And, thanks to the wonderful teachers at my aspies pre-school, Jerry even got to go to school for show-and-tell last Thursday. He was so excited he could hardly stand it! His teacher said he gave her hugs all day thanking her for letting him bring Jerry! On the way home he stated that Jerry liked going to school and like his new friends but didn't like it when all his friends surrounded him, just like him.
Now normally I would be oh so happy with how amazingly attentive my son it being to this hamster. I would be describing how this little critter is the first thing that my son has shown really emotional attachment to besides of course trains. I would be bragging about how my aspie will get dressed without a fight if I say Jerry can come with us. But instead though, I am going to tell you how the Jerry situation has sent me straight to the cabinet to take another anti-anxiety pill. Why? Because Jerry is knocking on death's door literally every minute of every day. Poor Jerry is living in the house of hell, if you are a three inch long hamster. With three dogs, two cats, a two foot terror baby and an over attentive aspie, this thing sees horror around every corner.
If you look through the eyes of a hamster this is what you would see:
My aspie's hand inside your cage re-arranging your food bowl, treats, alfalfa carrot, fluffing your wood chips, etc. You actually do not get a great rest, because my aspie would be too concerned that your housing arrangements are not just right.
Charlie the dog staring at you, just waiting for the opportunity to snap and finally have you in his mouth. (Charlie looks at Jerry drooling as if he is a big fat juicy steak, in a the modern day Tom in Jerry style comedy.)
You would be constantly moving. (Since Jerry goes everywhere with my son, his caged is constantly being moved, slid, and spun so that he will be in my aspie sight at all times.)
You will see and ride in the car. I am not sure if hamster get car sick, but I sure hope not, because he goes in the car when we go in the car, if we are not going to the store, since we would not leave him unattended. But, if mommy hits the brakes a little to hard, Jerry goes flying through his cage, since there is no hamster size seat belt. My aspie has requested one, but we have not found one as of yet.....and never will.
Cats looking into your cage when your cage has been sitting still long enough. (My cats do hunt mice, and since he is just an over sized mouse, if given the chance, I fear Jerry will become a trophy that I will find next to their food bowl in the morning...)
The baby. Enough said.
My aspie screaming into your cage because you must have not heard him when the first 52 times he called your name.
The tub. (My aspie one night thought that Jerry needed to take a tubbie with him and the baby. Of course I was in there to stop the catastrophe from unfolding, but it took lots of convincing to not toss the cage into the bathtub with him.)
My husband trying to pick you up at my aspie's request. Now, my hubbie loves Jerry like the rest of us, but if Jerry unexpectedly bites him I am not sure that my husband instant reaction wouldn't be to throw him across the room. It's not that my husband would do it in anger but more reaction. This is the man that punches out in his sleep if I try to roll him over when he is snoring too loud. This is the man that went running line backer style through the house when I woke him up telling him that our dog was sick, but to him it sounded like I said ninja's were breaking in. Let's just say, his reaction is to fight, not flight...and Jerry wouldn't stand a chance.
The ball. This is how Jerry has been rolling as of late. We got him a ball so that he could roll around the house and get a little more exercise. This has become my aspie's favorite thing for Jerry. This way, Jerry can "follow" him and he can carry him a little more easily than in the cage. Of course I only let Jerry be in the ball for 15-30 minutes at a time, but my son is constantly at his cage with the ball trying for him to climb in because "he likes it."
And there you have it...Jerry's life with us in a nut shell. My son loves Jerry more than anything else right now, and he has been in our life for over a week now, which is better than the fish...:( I am sure that Jerry will live a long a healthy life with us here in the house of crazies. But if something should happen, I have lots of pictures of him, and I am sure the hubs will visit ever pet show this side of the Mississippi to get a new "Jerry."
After my bunny Lulu died a few years back, I swore that I would NEVER have another small animal in a cage. I just hated the idea of a small animal that I couldn't let run free in my home due to having larger cats and dogs that might harm it. Needless to say that I said NEVER prior to having kids. I said NEVER prior to my four year olds big beautiful brown eyes looking at me as he pleaded his case in that oh so cute monotone voice. I said NEVER before I realized I was a sucker who just told her son yes to getting a hamster. So, I was hating myself yesterday as we were driving home from the local pet store for saying NEVER.
It all started because I needed cat food and decided it was time to take my aspie to a new store. This weekend, we set off to go to the pet store, never dreaming that he would see anything in there that he liked. When we went in, he saw fish in the aquariums. "FISH" he exclaimed and went running in the direction of the fish section. "Oh wow, look at these fish, mommy," he said pointing to the feeder fish. There are so many fish, he said in his low tone. He went running back and forth looking at the fish. Of course when the little girl in the section asked if he needed anything, he looked down at the floor and hid behind his Daddy, but he didn't run away from us, so score one for the aspie. He spent the rest of the time in this section as I went and got the cat food and some toys for the dogs. When I arrived back to tell them I was done, I got the I want one look from my aspie. I looked at his dad and we had one of those conversations via exchange of looks that parents have when they don't want to talk in front of the kids, and in a matter of minutes we had a five gallon aquarium and some fish in our cart. Our aspie kept wanting to hold them for the rest of the trip until finally we got home and got them in his aquarium. He could barely fall asleep that night due to his excitement, and as soon as his eyes popped open the next morning he sprang out of bed and checked on his fish. "MOMMMMM they are floating!!!" Those are words by the way which are not the best to hear when you are in a dead sleep. After being confused for the first five minutes, I finally remembered our fish adventure the day prior and hopped out of bed to see what he was talking about. Yup, he was right, all the fish were dead and floating on the top of the water. My aspie was so upset. "I killed them!" he said crying. "No honey, they must have been sick fish and something happened." After Daddy checked them out and agreed to the time of death, we told our sad son that we would get ready and go get more fish. After some convincing off we went back to the pet store for some more fish.
Are you confused as to how then we ended up with a hamster? Yeah, me too! When we went in we went straight to the fish section where he and the hubs went through looking at more fish. I walked the baby around to entertain him and ended up looking at the hamsters and guinea pigs which were moving and made the baby happy. Aspie and Daddy found us in that section when aspie spotted this fawn hamster who was running in the wheel. "Oh, isn't he the cutest! Awwww, he such a sweet darling!" My husband looked at me, picked up the baby, said its your call and walked out the door leaving me to deal with the aspie and his sweet darling.
My son started talking in this high pitch tone that I have never heard him produce before. "Well hey there lil' cutie. Aren't you precious. You look like Jerry." These were the things he was saying in this high pitch tone. I was getting mad because I could feel myself cracking under the pressure of my 4 year old. No, I kept thinking to myself. No hamsters, I will end up taking care of the hamster. "Mom, isn't he cute! Doesn't he look just like Jerry (from Tom and Jerry)? I think we should take him home and I can be his daddy and I can feed him and I can play with him and I could..........five minutes later of repeating......to finally, Mom, can I keep him?" And then it happened. The words floated out my mouth so effortlessly even though I was screaming NOOOOO on the inside. "Yes, sure honey, you can take him home." And there you have it. How we got Jerry the hamster.
There is so much more to tell you about Jerry that I am going to publish part II to the Jerry saga! Stay tuned!!!
Our baby needs a helmet. Not because of the flying things in our home that I have written about before, but because he literally is the clumsiest child I know. He hits his head constantly. Sometimes it's his fault, sometimes its his brother's fault, sometimes its the puppy that knocks him over, and sometimes its some act of God that occurs that causes him to bump his noggin.
For instance tonight, I was trying to write another post when I had to stop five times to kiss the head of my baby. I kid you not. I stopped so many times that I couldn't even keep my train of thought and abandoned all hope for it. He bumps his head so often that I now know by the type of cry and the actions afterwards how serious the matter is. For instance, if he sits down, rubs his head and lets out a dying cat like cry, its only a minor bump and something will distract his pain momentarily. No active kiss of reassurance from mommy needed. If there is crying, with tears, active heading rubbing and the walking towards the kitchen for an ice cube, I know that a kiss is needed and we probably have a lump on our hands. If however, a silent cry begins with no rubbing, its probably a massive bump, immediate attention is needed, with lots of mommy kisses and a bag of ice instead of one cube. Yes, we have our system fully worked out.
I shouldn't blame all of his bumps on his clumsiness because living with his older brother the baby has had sort of a thrown into the fire kind of up bringing. Our aspie has no sense of being easy or gentle with his brother. He is full on tackle, hit, punch, scratch, pinch, bite, and attack with his baby brother. And although we try so hard to correct our aspie and try to stop situations before they happen, we are not perfect and there are times that the baby takes some hard hits. By the time our baby hit 14 months or so, he was walking really well and when his older brother would run towards him he would immediately sit down on the floor to avoid a bear hug tackle that was his brother's favorite way to "play" with him. By 16 months, the baby was able to pick up the pace and move out of the way of his brother and come yelling for mommy if he touched a train that was not aspie approved, and by 18 months, he was starting to just try to out run him.
We knew that there would be a time though that baby would stand up to aspie and even maybe instigate it, and that day has come. A few nights ago, my aspie was getting his nightly cuddle in the recliner with his daddy and the baby was playing at my feet. The baby saw an opportunity that he must have been waiting for for a long time, he stopped playing ran over and hit his older brother on the head with his train as hard as he could. Of course, our aspie yelled out and after dad calmed him down they went back to cuddling. Baby thought that once was not enough so he went back over to hit his older brother again. Ever hear the phase, do it once shame on you, do it twice, shame on me? Well, older brother was ready, and hit him on the head with is cup the moment baby came over for the attack. Train went flying, cup went flying, baby went into silent scream and a pack of ice was needed. The whole time though hubs and I couldn't stop laughing. Call it twisted humor if you will but it was one of the funniest things we had seen from the two of them in a while.
Over the last couple of months we have really seen our Aspie and baby connect and bond. They love each other so much and its so special to watch, but that doesn't mean that they will never stop getting into it. And of course, baby is clumsy, brother is older, bigger, and for now a little wiser and therefore bumps on the coconut will be a plenty. All I can do for now is keep the ice on hand and the kisses flowing.
***Update!!! Today in the mail we got two huge letters. One stating that our son was approved for medical assistance (FINALLY!) and the other from Highmark stated that they re-evaluated our son's case and approved his therapy coverage for the next 24 treatments!!! Thank you to everyone who helped us with suggestions and recommendations and for passing our story along! It truly helped our son obtain the therapy and treatments he so needs!! Thanks again!****
The month of April is Autism Awareness Month! Today, April 2nd, is light is up blue day to bring autism awareness to light around the world! Please show your support for autism by wearing blue, posting a pic on your social media page or lighting your house blue. Believe it or not, many people still do not know what autism is or how it affects those who have it. The other day someone asked my husband if autism was like having asthma. Many people have at least heard of the word autism, but still do not understand that it is a syndrome that someone will have for the rest of their lives.
Even those who deal with autism everyday are still confused; much like us. What causes it? Why does our child have it? What therapies should we do? What organizations should we support? With so many questions and so many unanswered problems it is nice to have one day to put it all aside and just stand up and say, I know someone who has autism and I care. I am autism aware, and for today that is all we need to do. To stand united and say, light it up blue for autism today!
For more fun ways to light it up blue go to my Facebook page by clicking here!
My aspie also wanted me to post these two pics of his favorite BLUE trains. Think Thomas and Gordon being blue is a coincidence....I think not!!!
Today IS a Good Friday. Why? Because of what my aspie said in the car today. We were driving along enjoying the day when I pointed out some baby calves in a field. We oooed and awwwed and then the baby said, "Sheep!" "Ohh great" my aspie exclaims, "our baby's an idiot!" as he was shaking and hold his head!
The things that kids say are so funny and priceless! I hope this makes your Friday a Good day too! Happy Easter!!!
I never wanted to use this site as a ranting platform; however, my emotions have the best of me today. I promise to go back to my positive outlook after I get this off my chest.
Yesterday in the mail I received a letter from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, our current health insurance company informing us that they will no longer be covering my aspie's therapies; including and not limited to occupational therapy (where is works on writing, using utensils, putting his clothes on himself, using buttons, etc) and speech therapy. They have deemed them "not medically necessary nor appropriate" for a child with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism. What the ???? After endless phone calls, I finally was able to speak to someone from Highmark to start an appeal process. She informed me that Highmark themselves does cover autism services; however, if their underwriting company Healthways WholeHealth denies the authorization, then they will not cover the services. That it is not Highmark saying no, it is Healthways saying no. So let me clear this up for everyone who is as confused as I am. Highmark does not want to dirty their name and wants to be the jolly insurance company who can state that why yes, we do cover autism services, and then turn around and point the fingers at another company who will not let them. Guess what Highmark, I see right through it. If you hire someone to do your dirty work for you, you are just as dirty.
To make matters worse, they gave me less than a week before they will be dropping my aspie's coverage for the therapies. And although I can file for an appeal, and have begun to do so, it seems like this is just a formality to get you more time to find other means to provide therapy. The girl from Highmark also suggested I contact my welfare agency to apply for Medical Assistance. In other words, have the state pay because we ain't gonna. I informed her that I have applied for MA four months ago and still have not heard anything even though I have called every week for an update on the process and had to recently contact our state representative to see if he could help us with the process. (Apparently, living in the third poorest county in the state of PA makes it a little harder when applying for state benefits.) She had no comeback for that except, well okay mam, this is all you can do now and we will let you know about the appeal in thirty days.
Luckily, our therapy center is very wonderful and will hold my son's time slots for four weeks hoping that we can get this straightened out before then. And yes, we could pay for his therapies out of pocket, which would be $135 per session and he goes three time a week. But, $405 a week would literally break us right now. If it looks like it will go longer than a week or two we will pay for maybe one a week until something can be resolved.
Maybe Highmark and other insurance companies should think of this. The latest statistic is that 1:50 kids will suffer from autism. 90% of adults with autism do not work and live in group homes or with parents. Insurance companies make money from claims and for the most part employers purchasing the insurance for their workers. If they deny the therapies for the kids of today, with the diagnosis rate being this high, the unemployment rate of adult with autism in the future will not drop, meaning employers will have less employees paying into insurances. That means, of the ~291,000 children born in 2012 in the US, roughly 5000 of them will have autism and will not be able to work. That is a LOT of people not paying taxes, not contributing to society, not doing anything because some CEO, CEOO, or some board of trustees did not want to pay for therapies because they were "medically unnecessary". Is my child going to die if he doesn't go to therapy....no. BUT he can't go out in public without hiding; does that sound like a future employee to you? Is he extremely smart....yes. Can he talk to someone to let them know how smart he is....NO!! Does that sound like a employee to you? If you are wondering where I got my numbers from, it's from census.gov and the CDC.gov, check it out and do the math. Scary.
Okay, I promised this would be short so I will stop it here. If you see a lot of grammar errors, its because 1. I am writing this mad and 2. I am posting this without my husband reading due to my mad fury. I wanted to post it during my high emotions because it is one of the ugly sides of autism. The side that is not covered on the evening news, on commercials on TV, or even in the Sunday newspaper. This is the story that thousands of families are dealing with everyday, fighting their fight to do everything they can do for their kids.
****The month of April is autism awareness month. On April 2nd, countries around the world will light it up blue to bring awareness to autism and everything that goes with the diagnosis. Places like the Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building, the White House, the Eiffel Tower and my home will be blue in honor of the Autism! I urge you to please wear blue, paint your fingernails blue, switch your porch light to blue (Home Dept is carrying the Autism Speaks blue light with proceeds going to them), or whatever you can do to show your support for Autism and bring awareness to this syndrome! I will keep reminding everyone with future posts as well! Thanks for reading!!!****
Life is precious and life is short. I was reminded of these very things this week. Two amazing people passed away very quickly and very unexpectedly this week. One at his desk from where he created a very successful business and one going to let in her dog after watching TV with her husband. Both occurred in the blink of an eye. And unexpectedly, my grandma has to undergo extensive surgery tomorrow. To say the least this has been a shocking and stressful week.
I wanted to post this today because I woke up in one of the reflective moods. I lost my mom, my "sister" who I have been friends with for 27 years, now lost her mom, and my cousin who was just launching out on his own, with his first wedding anniversary being today, lost his father. So many questions, with no answers, with only grief to feel. We have all experienced grief in such different ways, none of it being any less real, any less painful, and less life changing than anyone else's loss.
It struck me this morning that grief is an expression of how much we loved that person who just passed. How much they meant to us. How much they were a part of our being. Grief, needs to be felt. Some cry, some reflect, some even laugh about all the good times, some sit quietly, some want to be alone. None of it being less significant than other expressions. Some people wonder how they will possibly go on without that person. Some wonder why they never fixed their problems with that person. Some think that if they would have just did this or that, maybe that person would have never left. I know that I thought so many things when my mom died, and I needed too. I needed to process it on my own in order to move on. Grief is a funny thing. It almost never goes away, it just changes. I grieved even today for things that I wish my mom could see; like my babies, my husband, my blog, my house, etc. For me though, I remember that I carry her with me everywhere, so she is there to see all these things and hasn't missed a thing, but it took me a while to get to this point. For everyone though, that point has to be reached, or you life ends with that person. I learned that from my grandparents. My mother's parents lost all three of their children, two from cancer and one from a boat accident. My father's mother lost her daughter to muscular dystrophy and two husbands. All of them today live full lives because they wanted to live, love and honor the ones who have passed and the ones who are still here.
I write this blog for many reasons, and it always amazes me that people stop by from all walks of life to read it. I hope that if you are reading this that you yourself are not experiencing grief, because it sucks to put it mildly. But if you are, know that you are not alone, know that I get it, and know you are allowed to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. But know also that time continues, time will not stop so don't let too much time pass by. There is still life to live, and those to live and love with, and never forget to take that person(s) with you so they don't miss a thing.
Ever notice how toddlers and teenagers have so much in common? The both know what they want and want it now. They both will throw a tantrum if they don't get what they want, and they both talk in a language that is somewhat not understood by us adults. They have a lot in common. My niece just turned 16 so I am very familiar with the modern day teenagers, and since I currently have two toddlers I feel as though I am an expert there. And when teenager and toddlers come together, grab your earplugs, bolt everything down, and hang on for the ride because a hurricane of trouble is coming your way!
As I have mentioned before, my aspie is only close to a few people in our world. Even though he sees his grandparents, aunts, cousins, etc all the time, he will only go to and speak with a few of them. One of these "chosen" people is his teenage age cousin, "Cher". Cher has obviously always been in my aspie's life and therefore he was pretty comfortable with her being around him. However, it wasn't until he started talking that the two of them formed a relationship, and a strange one at that. My aspie went through a rough stage where every other phrase out of his mouth was, "Shut up!" Cher, getting tired of hearing this phrase, stopped and screamed back to him one day in the very typical teenager way, "You shut up!" My aspie stopped, looked at her in shock an amazement then screamed, "Shut up!" Cher yelled back, then aspie, then Cher, then aspie until finally my aspie started to smile and giggle. And there you have it, relationship was born. From then, they run through the house and chase each other around, she can touch him and pick him up and wrestle with him, all of which is amazing. He does not allow anyone to touch him now besides myself, his dad, and his paps, so to add a new person was amazing.
We had asked Cher to go to the beach with us last summer to help us out with the kiddos near the water and knowing that we would need three "adults" to juggle two toddlers. The trip was amazing! We all had such a great time. Getting to spend some much needed relaxation time and some amazing one on one time with Cher was perfect. I would hear Cher and my hubs up giggling like two school girls late at night during one of their chats while I was laying down with the boys. Her and I got to do some girl shopping while hubs was holding down the fort, and we all got lots of beach time. However, the trip home was hell to say the least. I don't know why, but it was the longest, most boring, most dreadful thing that I have ever done. All of us felt it. I think it was a combination of the let down that we had to come home, the fact that my car was way to small for the five of us to be smashed in, and the fact that I packed inappropriate snacks. Snacks are a big deal in any long term journey. You need your fruits, your chips, Twizzlers, non-spilling drinks and other items that pass the time. I know this. I am an experienced traveler, but for some odd reason this logic went away with the ocean breeze when I packed to head home. I packed things like applesauce, yogurt, lunch meat and juice boxes. What? You might asked yourself right now as you are reading this. You packed what? I know you are asking that because I still can't believe I did this as I am typing it out. In my mind at the time, I was thinking well I don't want to throw away this food from our week; they can eat it on the way home. Well, it was a much better idea in my head then how it played out.
We weren't an hour into our trip before the first round of snacks got passed out. Now, Cher sitting in the middle in the back seat was in charge of obtaining the snacks, opening, and passing them out to both toddlers. I told her to give them the applesauce, which she would have to spoon feed to the baby since he was only 1 years old. It honestly, did go that bad. Only a few spills happened which was easily cleaned up. Next, lunch meat. No problem. And then in hour three, out came the yogurt, which was actually Go-gurt. If you are not familiar, its yogurt in a tube that kids love. I told Cher to give both kids there own Go-gurt and of course she got one as well. Well, 1 year old got it everywhere. As Cher put it, "It's Everywhere! He's coated!" half laughing, half crying. I turned around to find a very happy, very sticky baby that had yogurt in his hair, his hands, all over his onesy, on his feet, and ALL over his car seat. There were not enough wipes in the car to handle his mess. In attempts to get him clean, Cher got sticky, and of course, she had used up the wipes on the baby so there was none to clean up my aspie who only had a little mess. And, we were in the middle of no where to stop and grab some more wipes. It was something like another 150 miles to the next rest stop where we were able to semi clean up. Think we are done. Oh no, about two hours from home, everyone was thrust. The only thing I had was juice boxes. I passed them back to Cher who gave one to my aspie and was trying to hold one for the baby. Poor Cher. The baby grabbed it which made it shoot all over baby, which made baby cry. Making baby cry, made my aspie yell and throw his juice box, which hit my husband, which made him yell, which made Cher yell, which made me mad, and for a period of five minutes all hell broke out in the car of yelling, screaming, with "shut up" being angrily exchanged between aspie and Cher, and eventually crying. After my husband finally announcing that he was about to drop all of us off on the side of the road and drive away, we got ourselves under control. Cher put her earplugs in, aspie and baby started watching another animation movie, I took Advil for my now well established headache, and my husband went into his highway daze that he does so well. And for the rest of the trip, that is how we rolled. I never saw people jump out of a car as fast as we did when we got home. My aspie ran into our home, and started hugging the wall, his toys, ran to his room and yelled, "My bed!!" Cher walked into the door and immediately back out when my dad and step mom arrived, and my hubs went upstairs to be alone for a few minutes. Only the baby and I were left in the kitchen to find the bottles and bath stuff to get him ready for bed.
The next morning, when we were all well rested and stretched out from being cramped in the car, we started reminiscing about the trip and how amazing it went. Cher must have been doing the same thing because she started posting pics on Facebook of the event. My aspie saw the pics of our adventure when I was looking online and said, "Mommy, that's me and my-Cher!" "Your-Cher?" I ask. "Yeah, my-Cher" matter of factly. "She is my favorite." And there you have it. She is his favorite. Who would have thunked it. Less than 10 hours ago, they hated each other and wouldn't even look at each other before they got out of the car and now she is his favorite.
This trip taught me a lot. My bipolar husband can handle teenagers and crazy moments in the car with no blood shed. My son had a "normal" fight with his cousin, which looking back is pretty impressive. And I learned to never ever forget to pack the correct snacks. But most importantly, I learned that the different between toddlers and teenagers was minimal, making the bond between them unbreakable.
A few weeks ago I was honored when another amazing mom blogger asked me to write about our story for her weekly series called, "Friday's Sweet Signs of Hope." The series features a new story every Friday where a parent writes about their family's journey through autism. From the point of diagnosis to where you gain your hope and dreams for yourself, your kids, and your family. It's an amazing series and an amazing blog! To be truthful, long before I had this blog, I read Chelsea's blog, Where did the Bird Go... This blog, as well as Autism Daddy and Our Adventures with Riley is where I starting learning so much about autism and life after diagnosis. It was my constant talking about these blogs to my husband that he finally encouraged me to write one too! (If you noticed too that this blog, and the other two I mentioned have been on my blog roll since day one!) So, when she asked me to write our story, again I was delighted and jumped on the chance!
The story I submitted is very different from the ones I post on this blog. For one, I just our son's name, and you will see pictures of him. For my husband and I personal reasons, we decided in this blog we would not use any names or pictures. But for Chelsea's blog, I wanted to help her show the true faces of autism and help her bring awareness to all the hope that is out there from moms, dad, teachers, etc! I wanted to highlight my son in how I really see him, and our journey so far in this process, and to do that truthfully, I needed to use his name and show is adorable face! I then ask that you please visit her site and read our story....Friday's Sweet Signs of Hope: Ross
The birthday season is now upon us. I say this because in a matter of two weeks, we know 8 people that have birthdays. And not just people, family people, such as our baby, our God son, my father-in-law and his twin brother, our niece, etc. We go nuts with birthday parties for a two weekend span. For the last couple of years; however, we have stayed low on the party matter because our oldest son would never behave well around a lot of people. We didn't know it was Asperger's at the time, so we just made up some excuse as to why he would behave this way and we would try to avoid such circumstances. Since his diagnosis, we have tried to not do this, knowing the more exposure to these things the better. Our first real party experience since the diagnosis was for our God son 3rd birthday party. It was at our good friends house, whose house my son is very comfortable at, so we felt it was a good start. He loves her sons, and knows that there is a play room with a train table that he loves to play. In essence he had an escape room if he needed it. After telling him the schedule change of the party all day, it was finally time to go, and we were ready to party.....
Upon arriving, I grabbed our oldest and my hubbie had the baby and the presents and away we went. Our oldest had his head buried in my shoulder and had a death grip around my neck. In my race to get to the door to keep the blood supply following to my head, my knee hit this pretty solar light that my friend had on her walk way. My husband tried to fix the light but had so much in his hands he knocked the light further down. After some premium curse words, he set down the light fixture and said, "Ayy, Mike will have something to do now." This should have been a foreshadowing for the party ahead, because that was just the start of the Lohr contributions to the party!
Upon our arrival in the house, everyone started saying hello to us. My aspie raced right for the toy room, with baby in tow behind him. We let them go while we talked to our friends and to greet the birthday boy. Once we saw everyone, we went to check on our boys. Our oldest and the baby had already took off their jackets and started to play with the trains. The birthday boy and his baby brother ran in to see our boys and excited shrills of yelling started. "SHUT UP!!!" yells our aspie with his hands over his ears. The noise was killing him. Without even noticing it, the three little ones went running out of the room, with our aspie shutting the door behind them. We explained to him that he had to leave the door open but he could stay in the room. We went back to the party leaving my aspie to play. My husband kept checking on him trying to encourage him to go out and join the kids. He decided to go into my friend's master bedroom knowing that she had Toy Story recorded on her DVR. After asking her to play it, she got him situated and we left him alone. When I went to check on him, I was shocked at what I found. He was sitting in their bed, like a king, eating from the largest bin of cheese balls you have ever seen. I being taken back by my site, said, "Where did you get those?" Over there, he points to my friend party refresher stash. I don't think you were suppose to eat those honey and especially not in her bed, as I was trying the inevitable task of sweeping off the cheese ball yellow dust that was coated EVERYWHERE! "He's fine" my friend says as she enters the room. This was all my aspie had to hear. "I'm fine" he says. Oh crap I think, I am going to have to buy her a new bed spread because there is no way this one will get clean. I leave to return to the party to find yet another issue emerging.
For some reason, I have heard the comment, "Someone stinks" more than I have ever wanted. Those words were spreading like wildfire throughout the party and everyone was checking their little ones for a stinky butt. I knew though that it had to be mine. The way he was swaggering through the house eating his cup-o-cheese balls with out a care in the world, spreading his stank as he went, gave me the first clue. After all the other moms checked their babies butts, it was time for me to face the music. And of course, I picked the short straw with the stinky butt. I took him into my God son's room to attack the poop beast and my hubs entered to see if I needed help....and boy did I need it.
If you are parent, I am sure you have experienced this. If you are not but are hoping to be a parent one day, skip this section. It will make you not want to be, or read it and use it as a good form of birth control for a few more years. Okay, so a poop bomb went off in my precious baby's diaper. It was the type of bomb that caused poop to go up his back, down his legs and into his socks. It was the type of poop that smelt so bad, it could gag a maget, and so sticky that it made his shirt stick to his back everywhere it touched. It was the type of poop where I stare at it for a minute or two trying to figure out my plan of attack. Really? Now, at the party?! My husband had his shirt over his nose in a bandito style gas mask as he was commenting on the smell. Well, lets get bags to put everything in before we start he suggests just as my friend enters the room with bags. She could smell the duty clear in the kitchen and figured we wanted some trash bags for the dirty diaper. She barely made it in the room when she started laughing going, "Pee-UUUU, that reaks! Wow does that stink!" And everything else you can think of with the hand gestures to match. I mean this poop had a smell like no other. I started to roll up his shirt to keep the poop inside and get it over his head. My baby starts to fuss because he had to pause eating his cheese balls for the two seconds as I took his shirt off. After cleaning off his back, I started to tackle his pants, socks and shoes. Each article of clothing was strategically placed into a shopping bag, tied up and then put in a large bag to contain the smell. After all clothing was removed my husband took the bag to our car. And then, the diaper. Every inch of the inside of the diaper and half of the outside was covered in the smelliest poop ever. Have you ever heard of the thousand wipe poop? You know, the poop where you just keep wiping and it you just can't get it completely clean? Well, this was one! I just kept wiping and cleaning and wiping and cleaning, it seemed endless. My hubs returned holding another bag opened while I kept wiping. My aspie was in the room now because the baby was crying because he had run out of cheese balls. My aspie starts yelling at me for making the baby cry and tackles his Daddy for help. Right about the time my hubs gets our aspie calmed down I finished up on the baby. My husband looks at me laughing singing our party song when we are having a really good time, "Ain't no party, like a Lohr party, cuz a Lohr party don't stop!" Then busting into his best beat box rhythm we both do some sort of great 80's dance and we laughed. Only all these things could happen to the crazies! After our dance, my hubs opens the door and the baby runs back into the party in only a diaper. My hubbie follows announcing to the people in the kitchen, that "its not a party until someone gets naked!"
It was time to cut the cake and sing the birthday song once our poop smell cleared out. Our aspie being aware there would be singing was already hiding in the play room, but I had our baby near the cake. Everyone started singing, and my baby started screaming and crying. Images of cake smashing came racing through my brain so I immediately ran out of the room with baby in arms. So the Lohr family spent the rest of the song and cake cutting time sitting in the play room playing trains. After we got some cake, my aspie started to get brave. He made a quick lap around the joint walking quickly with his head down. A few minutes later, he walked into the living room where all the other kids were and left immediately. He did this a few times more, until finally he stayed and walked over next to me. Unfortunately, it was at the wrong time though. Our baby had found an audience to entertain and he was gaining a crowd. Now at least clothed from some borrowed clothing, my baby was doing his best attempts at gymnastics like forward rolls and such. People were laughing and clapping and making over him which made him keep doing it over and over. This infuriated my aspie, "Stop shouting!!! Stop making noise!!! Be quiet!!!!! he started screaming over and over and over again. He was so mad, with his arms down next to his side with fist clenched. I couldn't even get him out of the room he was so mad he just kept yelling. I knew he wasn't going to overcome this and so did my husband since he had coats in hand when he walked into the room. My friend was trying to talk to him and get him his treat bag but he just yelled at her too. So we got their coats on and got them into the car with the help of our friends.
We were driving home, pretty silently not knowing how to take the outcome of our first party. It was our aspie that had that answer for us. He said, "That was a fun party! What stinks in here?" I looked at my husband, started laughing and we drove home talking about the party for the rest of the trip with our shirts over our face bandito style.
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My husband was out of town last week, which usually makes me nervous. I never used to be like this, having lived alone for a number of years. But since getting married to my Army trained, biker, bad boy, I have kind of become lackadaisical on those kinds of things. Now, I like knowing that my husband will protect me, the kids and the house if anyone should attempt to break in with ill intentions, so when he is out of town my guard always goes up. I actually go a little overboard with nightly preparations before we go to bed. I lock all the doors at night, check the windows, put objects in front of the doors in hopes that I will hear them knock over if someone breaks in, and take two phones to bed. Yeah, I get paranoid, to say the least. I also shut off all the lights to make the house entirely dark, with the rationale that I will know my house better than any intruder and would have the advantage over them. To do what, I am not sure but I think I will figure that out if the situation arises. It wasn't until the other night that I realized that if someone should happen to break into our home, that they would be in for quite a challenge.
Let me start out by saying that my husband rarely goes out of town for work. Maybe twice a year at the most, and usually its for only a few days. This last trip, my husband was gone for a lot longer than usual and it had been a long while since his last trip. Because of this, my aspie was thrown completely off and really struggled with my husband not being around. The first night was okay because I kept both boys busy with fun activities, but by the second night I had a real problem on my hands. During the day, we have preschool, therapy and social groups to go to so my aspie didn't really notice any difference. But by night two, when my husband called to talk to us, my aspie cried uncontrollably. He couldn't understand why his daddy couldn't be at home. When my hubbie tried to explain it was for work, my son thought that now my husband will never come home from work and things went from bad to worse. After over an hour of talking with his daddy, and me calming down the baby who was crying because his big brother was crying, my aspie finally cried himself to sleep. The next day, he went into complete train obsession and only really spoke in movie quotations. He didn't eat to much, and he was just not himself. If we left the house, he seemed to be okay, but as soon as we got back home he went back into it. I realized that his routine was changed, Daddy was not a home at night to play with him and therefore, it through him for a major loop. His train building was extensive and instead of taking them down, he wouldn't let me touch them. I wish I would have taken a picture of them, because they are quite amazing, but I didn't think of it at the time. He had train tracks and layouts going from the dining room to the living room, around the coffee table, up onto the couch and down again. Upstairs, they went into each bedroom, with a major train station or piece of equipment located in just precisely the way he wanted it. There were blue tracks for certain trains, wooden tracks for others and even a "baby" track he built for the baby, mainly so the baby wouldn't touch his trains. They were all impressive.
By night four, my aspie was a little better with my husband being gone and went to bed quite well. I took advantage of some alone time by getting a glass of wine, preparing my nightly security routine, and then settling down to watch some recorded shows I missed out on. Some four hours later, I woke up to the tv being off due to no activity and the feeling like a skunk crawled into my mouth and sprayed. There went my "me" time I thought to myself. Because I had shut off all the lights during my nightly routine it was very dark, and being in mid-sleep I completely forgot about the train maze that was through out my house as I started towards the kitchen for a drink. I made it about three steps when I stepped on a train. Now, I am not sure if you have ever stepped on a Thomas the Train toy, but let me tell you it hurts like no other toy. These things have funnels sticking up, magnets to connect to each other and are made of usually metal or some other crazy material. Its basically like stepping on hard dull spikes of a fork. Match box cars also are painful, but I still think trains are worse. Its the kind of pain that immediately makes you tear up, and so of course I cussed. My cussing caused my three dogs to start to bark and come running downstairs thinking someone was in the house. The stampede of dogs cause me to take yet another step, which I then stepped on some sort of train decoration, which then caused me to stumble and fall. As I was falling I grabed onto what I though was the staircase post, but was chair I had put to throw off intruders which then also fell onto the tracks. This caused me to cuss more, but by then I was surrounded by happy loving dogs who were licking me while I was down happy to see me. This was not funny and joyous to me at the time because I had just landed on another train. By the time I got to my feet again, the baby was crying from all the commotion, and my aspie was standing on the stairs. When he turned on the lights, he first said, "Mommy, is that you?" Yes, its me, I'm fine, I just tripped and fell. "Mommy, looked what you did to my trains! You made a mess!" As he had his hand on his head shaking it in disappointment. Yes, I know honey, we will fix it in the morning, get back to bed. I knew that was never going to happen, because once my aspie is up, he has a dreadful time going back to sleep. With the lights now on, my dogs are whining at the door to go outside thinking its morning, and the baby has made it to the steps but hasn't stopped crying. You have got to be kidding me! One innocent attempt to watch some tv by myself caused this whole strings of unfortunate events. Two to three hours later (I'm not sure because I fell asleep during the showing of Ice Age) both kids had fallen back to sleep in my bed, the trains were fixed back to pre-crazy conditions, and all the dogs had peed and are now in bed with us.
As I started to fall back to sleep that night, two thoughts popped into my head. First, I dare some robber to break into this house. If my husband's home, they will have to face him. If he's not, they will have to face the obstacle course that we call a home. If the dogs don't stop them, the trains might. And if that doesn't work, the wrath of my aspie from messing up his trains definitely will. So, I decided that I wouldn't worry so much about break-ins anymore. And if someone does, i hope I have time to get a on film because I am sure it will go viral as one of the worse robbery attempts ever. My second thought was that I never did get that drink that I set out to get in the first place.
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My husband and I have been married for five years, and have been together going on eight years, so I have become accustomed to his seasonal routines to say the least. My husband reacts to the seasons as much as the trees do. In the summer, he is ready for fun in the sun. We are outside every night, and if for some reason we don't get the family out, he gets outs taking walks or whatever can get him outside. In the fall, he is as happy as a stuffed pig. No, its not the because the trees are turning beautiful colors; its because hunting season starts. Holy cow, this is huge to him. I am not sure if he likes the hunting or that fact that he has an excuse to sit in the woods for hours on end. He gets out well before dawn and stays sometimes well after the sun sets. He comes home pumped up, excited for his next trip out. For Spring, well everyone know whats in spring....no, well of course its trout fishing!!!! Which kicks off fishing in general. This might be my husbands favorite holiday; the first day of trout. And yes, it is a holiday at least in this house based on the amount of prep time that goes into the first day and the excitement that occurs the night before. Its like Christmas to my fisherman. But winter, the cold crappy days of winter wear on my husband. After the holidays, my husband settles down into a long winter of dread. I have come to figure out that this "dread" has phases that build onto each other until finally we reach a climax and then thank gosh, spring arrives. These phases I am pretty sure are unique to my husband and must be described in detail.
Phase 1 - TV Watching
Phase 1 begins when my husband watches every possible show he can on the History Channel, History International, Discovery and National Geographic. This is not like his normal watch a show here and there. Oh no, its obsessive. Its a non-stop TV watching, his butt cannot leave "his" recliner and dare not talk to him while he is watching obsession. Its almost like he forgot what TV was and how much he liked it for the last three seasons and now re found it. It's crazy. He doesn't sleep, so he can stay up, watch TV, and have his alone time with his chair, as he puts it. But then, the inevitable happens. There is nothing new on. After a few days of bitching, and extreme anger towards house plants he moves into phase 2. (I'm not joking about the house plants. I swear he gets mad at anything green during this phase. I had two beautiful hibiscus trees inside for the winter that kept "attacking" him when he went outside and one morning I heard the distinct thud of planters hitting the porch and rolling. I came downstairs to missing hibiscus trees and I looked at him with that, "What the hell just happened" look. He looked at me and said, "What, those trees don't live here anymore." I had already realized that stage 1 was nearly over and bit my tongue.)
Phase 2 - B rated Horror Movie
That's right, you read it right. He watches horrible horror movies. He loves them. And I'm not talking I Know What You Did Last Summer, I'm talking The Turkey Came Alive and is Killing People kind of horror movies. He hunts them down on Amazon or Netflix and watches them laughing and ranting on how unrealistic and unbelievably stupid of a plot. I think he might also time how long it takes for the first boob shot to appear, but I'm not sure on that one. This phase lasts awhile because believe it or not, there are many bad horror films out there! And he is very unbias as to all horror creatures, so he watches vampires, zombies, murdering turkeys, all the same. Therefore, there are tons. Eventually, though this also comes to an end and we enter into phase 3.
Phase 3 - Youtube Videos
This is the worst for me. This is because my husband and I are very close. Yes, we have had very hard times, but who doesn't. But when things are normal, we are close. So this means that everything he sees/watches/reads he explains/describes/shows me. So, if he watches some crazy Youtube video, so do I. Why is this so bad? Because one of his favorite things to watch on Youtube are of cyst busting and oozing. Oh my gosh, I can't tell you how many times I almost threw up watching these disgusting things!!! But he laughs so hard and loves it! It has to be a boy thing, because some of his friends love it too and I just don't get it. Nor do I want too. But he watches other Youtube stuff too, which can lead us directly into our last and final stage: phase 4.
Phase 4 - The wanting of something entirely to expensive to purchase!
Spring is nearly here by this phase but this one is almost like a self-punishing phase that nearly destroys him! During phase 3, he comes across some video of something that he falls in love with, but of course it is very expensive and nearly unobtainable for us to purchase. It can vary from a gun, to a motorcycle, to a hunting adventure in another country, a vacation, a learning course of something, etc. Sky's the limit really. But when he finds it and it peaks his interest, he obsessively researches it. He will know everything about it, know all the options, the history of it, and so on and so on. It takes up his every thought! He falls asleep thinking about it and wakes up with it being the first thing on his mind. We talk about it all the time, and just when he is going to bust because he knows deep down inside that we can't afford it but he wants it so bad......April comes. And April means trout season. It means being outside. It means the sun will shine, things will turn green and he will not have to be cooped up inside all the time! It means, that although he will always still want what he has been thinking about, it now at least can be put on the back burner and discussed at a later date. It's no longer an obsession.
I know everyone goes through the winter blues. I know I do at least, and the boys get crazy too, but my poor husband gets it the worse. I have heard people with bipolar do suffer greatly in the winter time and witnessing my husbands habits makes me believe it to be true. But since I know the phases, and know that when Spring comes out will emerge my happy go lucky husband. So I grin and bare it and hide all the house plants until it gets here.