Friday, December 31, 2010

I was that mother...

Oh yes I was.  Let me back the bus up a bit first....

I do a bit of volunteering in the my Aspie's classroom at school.  Every other week I volunteer to help his teacher run some educational games in the classroom.   No, I'm not do-gooder by nature, this is purely self serving.  It's is a prime opportunity to get a first-hand look into my kids classroom.  I get to see what's going on, how he's reacting to the other kids, how his para and teacher are working with him, and how he's doing at school.  In essence I'm spying.

I'll back things up again.  My Aspie went from half-day kindergarten to full day first grade.  I know, I know, that transition is hell for a normal kid's mom, let alone an Aspie's mom.  Alex would come home from kindergarten with his shirt collars chewed through.  He'd chew the fabric so much the shirt he wore in the morning had a hole in it by noon.  He chewed a hole in his shirt by noon.  So his transition to first grade was met with a little bit of trepidation.  Any opportunity to get a window in his world, I'll take. 

Anyway, after I finished volunteering last week, I remembered Alex's class goes out to recess right after I leave.  So instead of going home I drove up next to the playground, hunched over my steering wheel, put my sunglasses on and watched. 

Here's what I saw:  Three boys knock over another boy.  The boys grab the kid while he's down and drag him for a good ten feet.  They roll him over and run.  Two little girls on swings.  Gob's of kids chasing a big ball.  Ball chasing morphs into kids nailing other kids with the ball.  Three teachers chatting to each other, oblivious to the Lord of the Flies going on around them.  The same three boys get a ball and hit another boy with the ball.  He falls, they drag him.   Then I see him, my Aspie.  He's running on the periphery behind the other kids, off to the side.  Like he's playing with them, but he's not.  He follows for a bit then fades out.  He swings by himself.  He gets up and starts to make mulch roads--he puts one shoe deep in the mulch, drags it, and proceeds to make roads.  It's a solitary activity he does at home in our garden beds so I know what he's doing. 

The bell rings.  He lines up.  He goes inside.

There I was, spying not once, but twice on my kid.  It was the weirdest thing to see him with other kids.  So on the outside, yet right there in the middle of things.  I had mixed emotions about what I saw.  I so desperately want him to have friends.  Hell, one friend will do, but it was clear to me he was on his own, doing his own thing.  I was happy beyond belief he was not one of the kids being drug by the coat collar yet secretly afraid one day it will be his turn.  

So I was that mom, the overbearing, overprotective one, sitting in the school parking lot.  Hoping like hell no one else saw me and called the cops.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A little bit of history...

So my son is now seven, has Asperger's, and we've made it this far.  The question I get asked the most goes something like this: How did you find out?  How did he get diagnosed?  Truth be told, I've always known.  Not that he had Asperger's--but that he was different, a little right of center.  It was really hard after he was born because I knew things were off.  He wasn't difficult but he was a challenge.  I remember those first few nights struggling with feeding and his crying wondering what in the hell I'd gotten myself into. 

I kept going back to our pediatrician saying something wasn't right.  She kept telling me things were fine, he was my first baby and I was "over reacting."  But it was all the little things that just didn't add up in my mind:  How he interacted with me and how it changed with someone else.  The thing I found really weird was how he didn't react to someone new at all.  How sounds like the coffee grinder and electric blender sent him howling in pain.  How the sunlight made him wince.  How he talked like a robot and how he ran like Phoebe on "Friends"--arms flapping and legs kicking back and out.  How he didn't look me in the face and how he never ever recognized when I was angry or happy with him.

As he got older and started playing with things I noticed he played differently.  It was always the weirdest thing to me, to watch my kid play next to a "normal" kid.  The normal kid seemed so content to bang things around and explore.  My little boy, the only way I can describe it, was frustrated.  If he was crawling, he wanted to walk.  If he was walking he wanted to run.  Even to this day if he's doing addition at school, he wants to do multiplication.

I remember going to a friend's house who had a little girl around Alex's age.  He was about 18 months old.  This was my first experience with a play date so I was curious to see what would happen.  The little girl sat playing with books and blocks.  Alex would not leave my side and started counting the knobs on the kitchen drawers.  When he was done counting, he moved on and organized blocks by size and then sub-categorized them by color.  To me this was normal.  This is what he always did, the way he played.  When it was time to leave, Alex noticed a For Sale sign in the yard across the street.  He looked at it, pointed, and then spelled out R-E- M-A-X.  He continued spelling out the phone number and the agent's name.  The other mom kept telling me how smart he was and I was truly baffled.  Didn't all kids do this at 18 months?  Turns out, no.  I didn't know this till I had my second child and realized what a drastic difference it was.

After not getting very far with my pediatrician I hit the web and started looking.  And looking.  When he was almost three I figured out what he had.  Asperger's.  It was such a relief that I could identify what it was.  That I wasn't crazy.  It was a mind-bending experience to walk in to my pediatrician's office and tell her what I thought was going on.  She referred us to a child psychologist and after rounds of testing it was confirmed.  Asperger's. 

I tell you this so you may walk away with something I have now that I didn't have then---an understanding of my little boy and the knowledge that no matter what anyone else says, you are the expert on your kid.  You are going to be the only one who truly "gets" him.  And you are going to be the only one advocating for him and fighting for him when others don't understand. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Ho Ho Ha

We've been a little busy in the house so I'll compile a few day's worth in to one post.  The kids were up way late Christmas Eve watching the NORAD radar of where Santa was located.  They finally got sufficiently freaked out when they saw him hit the East Coast and under much pressure and a few too many threats from us they made it off to bed.  They were so exhausted from staying up late we actually were stuck in our bedroom waiting for them to come in and exclaim "Santa was here!!!" 

Christmas was pretty good.  No major meltdowns from Alex.  I was worried because he was so excited for Thanksgiving he puked all over our guests feet.  Kinda dimmed the desire to eat....  Needless to say I was petrified we would have a repeat.  On carpet.  On presents.

We're a day after Christmas and each kid has been plugged into their new I-touch, compliments of grandma, since yesterday noon.  I feel like a bad parent because they've been cube eyed since they opened their gifts but I'm loving the time to clean up the mass destruction.

We missed the How It's Made marathon.  Apparently it was on Christmas day and not on Christmas Eve.  Since the I-touch has taken the number one spot in our house the How It's Made was a distant memory.

We're now two days post-Christmas and the kids are about ready to eat each other.  I've put them in either corner of the house but they always manage to migrate back to each other, its like they're magnetized or something.  Hang on...and back to the corners they go... 

As I was writing this, I was looking for pictures of the tree to post.  Alex came in and said: "You have pictures of the tree, with presents under night?  How'd you do that?"

Oh Shit.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pretty cool!

I wrote this way back in December about having time off for the Christmas Holiday.  I thought it fit the bill nicely about the prompt of being cool.  Enjoy!  

Blog Gems - Air  Your Archives #18 is being hosted by Varda over at The Squashed Bologna while Jen over at The King and Eye tends to family.  

So my little Alex has been home one day and he's already trying to get us on a routine and dominating the computer.  His go to things right now are Lego's and (brace yourself) the computer.  Given a choice between the two, the computer wins hands down.  For whatever reason he's mastering the game Farm Frenzy.  I think its because it has to do with making money and he's interested in maximizing his returns on investments.  You know, like buying a cow and then maxing out how much milk it can produce so he can have a greater earning potential.  His words, not mine...

I've intentionally NOT put things on a routine so he can have more experience winging it.  He's doing better than I thought.   Normally, first thing in the morning he has to put on school clothes and get the day started.

Today we got up and I asked, " You still in PJ's?"

"Yup!  Mom, today's not a school day.  I do not need to put on school clothes right away. Duuhhh."

"I know.  How cool is that?"

"Pretty cool.  I don't need to put on regular clothes right away until January 4, 2011.  That's when school the new year."

"Ahh.  That's cool, huh?"


Now I have to tell you it took almost 3 weeks for him to figure out the the phrase "pretty cool" had nothing to do with the weather or atmospheric conditions.  The first time I used it he replied it was most certainly not "pretty cool" and it was indeed quite hot.  That was last July.

I always think some of the best parts of other people's blogs are the pictures.  So I leave you with an image from this past July. 

Way prettier than looking at snow, right?

And how cool is that?!?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Good Lord

My mother is driving me crazy.  Not the good crazy either.  The bad, bad, Thelma and Louise kind of crazy.  We made the mistake of having mom move in with us after she retired.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but now it's turned into something that has a life of it's own and I'm helpless to snuff it out. 

Things were great at the beginning.  She was helping out, doing her own thing and generally not bugging anyone.   Fast forward a few months and now she comes downstairs in a bathrobe, gets a cup of coffee and sits.  And I do mean sits.  Just sits and watches as I continue to beat my kids into submission, teach them how to behave (and not kill each other) and otherwise turn them into productive members of society.  Every once in a while she'll give her two cents worth on something which I believe is none of her business and we have the making of an atom bomb.

The only saving grace is that she's computer illiterate so finding this blog is a near impossibility.  She may stumble upon it but she's so terribly passive aggressive she won't say a peep.  I'll use that to my advantage...

The kids are on winter break for less than a day and already they are fighting like Lord of the Flies.  Mom's watching.  And I've succumbed to letting them play on computers.  Right now they are in the midst of their own games of Farm Frenzy.  I'm scrounging to find a gift for our neighbor who I've seen two times this whole year, one being today when she showed up with a plate of cookies.  Crap.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My truths...

These things have been rattling around in my brain for a while and I thought I'd share them.  Here they are:

This version of reality is mine and I can't be bound by another's version of the truth.  I may like their version of reality better.  In which case, their reality becomes mine.  And their reality is now my truth.

That being sick is one of the suckier ways to loose weight.  The two pounds I lost was probably all water weight.  I put it all back on in one day drinking 3 Diet Dr. Pepper's.  Which I needed to stay awake since I was up all night....
At the rate my Dyson sucks up carpet I will have nothing left in my family room by January, 2012.
Which brings me to hope all the crap that comes out of the Dyson really is carpet.  I can't bring myself to believe we're that filthy.

People who pee in the stall next to me, when ALL the other stalls are open, are freaks. This goes for people who park next to me in the Target parking lot as well.  I park in the nose-bleed section for a reason.  Get away from me.

I may key one of the parents car at preschool.  She offends me in the car parking manner every day AND honk-locks her car.  Both are criminal offences in my book. 

The carpenter that is working on my house drive a Silence of the Lamb van.  It scares me. 
"It puts the lotion in the basket." 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bug bombs and other things...

Confirming my belief that I don't know how to write, no one is reading any of this!  So with that said, I'm going to keep plugging away and do my own thing. 

Well, I think we managed to skate by with only one kiddo getting sick and me feeling slightly ill.  After scrubbing the house and taking a Silkwood shower I feel much better.   While I was scrubbing, I thought of something that I want made.  I want one of those bug bombs except made for germs.  You know, one of those things you put in the center of a room on a pile of newspaper, pull the plug and run like hell out of the house.  It's supposed to kill all the bugs you see and don't see.  You clear out of bomb central for a few hours, remembering to bring with you the kids, pets and anything you don't want vaporized and bango, bug killing made easy.  I don't know, it probably sends out a fine mist of DDT or Agent Orange but hey, you have a bug free house, right?  Well that's what I want except this one's for germs.  I'd pay a premium for one of those things...

In other family news, Gracie was up almost all night and is now down for a nap.  Anyone see a problem with this??  Lizzy is walking around the house holding a stuffed doll she pulled out from under her bed sobbing.  Apparently it had a problem in days past and she put a band aid on it, stuffed it under the bed and forgot it even existed.  Months pass and now we're back to the present.  She found the bear and wants that stupid band aid off.  Unfortunately, it's hermetically sealed on the damn bear and now its part of the bear.  I've opted for distraction.  I'm feeding her lunch and chucked the bear in a kitchen cabinet. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

twist of fate

Funny how things work out...remember that Christmas/Holiday program I mentioned yesterday?  Well, Alex woke up last night and puked.  Just like that we're off the hook!  Apparently they're dropping like flies at school.  

I hate puke.  The reason we waited 5 years to have kids is because I'm so puke adverse.  So what do I get?  A kid that pukes, like, all the time.  Granted this is a 24 hour thing but the kid's chucked more in his lifetime than a bulimic.  And as of today he has NEVER EVER made it to a toilet, garbage can, ANYTHING.  Always on the carpet, bed (last night) or me.   Now I'm up to my armpits in laundry and I feel like I'm one of those ducks at the shooting range just waiting to be nailed by this thing.  I've been deciding what I'm going to eat based on what I want to see thrown back at me.  This is so fricking disgusting. 

The horrible part is because of Alex's Asperger's, he not sure what his body is telling him.  It confuses the hell out of him.  Today he still can't tell me if he's hungry or if he hurts.  And he's seven.  Soooo, as his mom, I never know what's coming at me.  I'm torn.  I love the little kiddo but for once can't he make the damn toilet???

I leave you with this picture because this is really where I'd rather be.  I'd like to tap my shoes three times and get the hell out of this nasty germ hole I call home and go find some shells. 
Sanibel beach

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All the joys of christmas...

We have Alex's holiday program coming up---tomorrow night.  I'm a little more than worried about it.  Last year he was so nervous he unbuttoned all his shirt buttons (and the two on each arm) and by the last song he was almost half naked.  My little boy, oblivious to the world....dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld.  To make matters worse he was in the front row, dead center.  Seriously. 
He has no sense of body space and what others might think so he was up there just flapping those arms, bumping into the other kids and slowly undressing--all on stage.  Did I mention front row, dead center?  I was sitting in the audience and it was all unfolding in slow motion.  I was just waiting for that shirt to come off.  I rationalized I wouldn't go up on stage (and make the situation worse) unless the shirt came flying off.  I had images of it going up in the air like a graduation cap. 

One of the other mom's tracked me down after the program and made a special note to tell me how "cute" Alex was.  She's not one of the nice moms.  She's one of the uber snotty ones, all put together, voices her opinion on everything, and frowns on anything less.  The ones I like to walk a mile around because I care so little for them, let alone their opinion.  I simply said nothing to her.  Looked at her like she was nuts.  And walked away.  I can't wait to hear what she has to say this year... 

Anyway, Alex, has a line in the program and he keeps telling me I have to wait untill tomorrow to hear it.  He REFUSES to practice it at home and he gets all worked up if I press the issue.  I've asked at school and they assure me he knows his part.  We'll just have to wait and see.  Till tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your fired.

So I went to pick up my oldest kid at school and was met by his teacher and para.  For those of you who don't know, this is a very, VERY, bad thing.  They proceeded to tell me how upset they were since Alex "fired his teacher today at lunch."  My first reaction was to bust out laughing.  I soon realized no one else was laughing as hard, or at all.  They were not impressed.  Anyhoo, I was told they had developed an action plan to stop "unwanted verbal behavior."   And have I noticed these behaviors at home?   Well, have you???  This time it took everything I had to not laugh again.  

Welcome to my world.  Welcome to the world of a mom who has a kid with Asperger's.  A world that is so different form a normal kid's I have no idea what a normal boy does.  I do know I'll never have to watch him play football, soccer or any other organized sport.  Thank God.  You have no idea how much I loathe the idea of freezing my bits off watching kids kick a ball around.  And then having to play nice with all the other moms.  Just not my thing.  I know he's smarter than I'll ever be but can't make sense of a person in the most general of terms.  I know he's as literal as a board.  If you ask him to shake a leg, he will (seriously) stand there shaking his leg till you tell him to stop.  I know he likes Kraft Mac & Cheese for lunch.  But only for lunch.  And only the individual packets.  And made with the noodles and cheese in separate dishes so they don't contaminate each other.  I've tried to switch out to a big box or to a different brand and was reminded that "that was not what I ordered"  and had it thrust back at me.  I know he freaks if his routine is changed or tweaked in the slightest and he lights up like a comet if you tell him he gets an extra 20 minutes on the computer. 

The solitary bird, as is the kid with Asperger's.

Anyway, back to the drama at hand.  I had to listen to his teacher explain how hurt and shocked she was (cause it's all about her, right?) and listen to all three of them go on and on about resolving the issue.  I had to explain to them  that I've been fired from being his mom on a daily basis.  I have been replaced by my mother, my sister and even the neighbor.  He then fired all of THEM since they didn't know how to work the navigation system on the minivan.  Seriously. 

So we get home and  I asked Alex if he had a good day and he said "Mom, it was great!  I talked to some kids at school!"

Welcome to my world.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

shells, shells, shells...

We recently came back from a trip to Sanibel Island and I was hooked.  There were shells everywhere!  I found a tide chart and hit the beach.  There were several really good minus tides, where the tide goes out further than normal, usually during a full or new moon.  And a storm blew through dumping even more shells on the beach.  I got really lucky.

I put most of the shells in hurricane vases which now sit on the mantle and I have a few of my prized shells in shadow boxes where the kids can't reach them.  When it started to get cold we pulled the hurricanes down, dumped all the shells on the floor and played Sanibel.

Anyway, here are a few of my favorites. 

Florida fighting conch, tulip, olive, I think.

More favorites...wentletraps!

And one more picture.

When we came home I bought these lamps on-line, and filled them with some of the shells we collected.  Each of the kids have one and we have them at our bedside as well.  Pretty cool, eh???

One of our new lamps.

Note: I've added more shell pictures from our more recent visits to Sanibel as it seems Trip Advisor is sending a few people this way.  If you want to read about our adventures while in Sanibel then type in "Sanibel" over in "SEARCH ME" area on the right hand side of the blog over there.  

Have fun looking around and feel free to leave a comment!  

This is what I was referring to on TA.
A sand-dollar on a candle base.

These are from our most recent trip in October 2011.
That is what you think it is, in the center.  

Gracie trying to grab a few!

I love the murex!

Alphabet cone although I can't find a single letter on this one.

Close up of the lamp base.

Beach view June 2011.

Random shells.  October 2011.

October 2011.
Crafting shells for the kids.

Display in progress.

Display in progress.

Kings Crowns.

Kings Crowns.

This is what the Kings Crwons started as.  We found them
at low tide in the mud flats at Blind Pass. 
Not for the faint of heart!

Friday, December 10, 2010

star cookies...

So I did a cookie experiment (no kids involved) and here's how they turned out.  I have this thing about having the kids helping the kitchen--if food has the potential to be consumed by someone other than a family member, they're out.  I've had one too many sneezes in the banana bread bowl... 

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Here's the recipe if anyone's interested. 
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 package (8oz) cream cheese
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder

Heat oven to 375.  Cream sugar, butter & cream cheese.  Add egg, vanilla & almond extract.  Add flour and baking powder to sugar/butter/cream cheese mixture.  Place dough in refrigerator overnight.  Roll out and bake in 375 oven for 7-10 minutes. 

Ice with confectioner sugar icing (confectioner sugar, butter, milk and almond extract) and add sprinkles or sugar.   

Happy Baking!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Here we go...

This is the first post.  I suppose it should be something earth shattering and mind boggling but it is not.  Quite honestly I have no idea what to write and I'm hoping this thing does an automatic spell check as I have horrible typing skills. 

I'm assuming at some point this will come back and bite me (and the kids will forever hold against me) but for now it's a way to tap into something other than what's going on in my little corner of the world. 

Game on!