Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Playing the waiting game.

Tonight we are waiting.
We have waited a LONG time.

We are still waiting..... and waiting.... and waiting some more.
Most of the day today I have been waiting.

Do you want to know what for?

Our son to get home from a 2 day sports event. I am not expecting him home any time soon. It is late, and since the teachers/coaches don't have to work, naturally we shouldn't have to work the next day either.... Funny how that works out isn't it? I shouldn't be snotty....our son was invitied by the head coach to go and it is a BIG honor to be on JV and be asked to attend. Mostly, we are not used to it.

We aren't used to having our son invitied to much of anything. When we get asked to do something, or he gets asked it is almost like we try too hard to help. We want to be sucessful at whatever we are asked to do and being the over acheivers that we are there are times when we just go at stuff too hard. Same with our son; he gets nervous, and tries too hard to do well.

I think that can affect him when he is trying to make friends too, he wants to have friends SO badly and then he alienates people or they are just too ignorant to understand that people are different. His one experience with people he thought were his friends; well he discovered that their constant mocking was just a way for them to get him to get awy from them. At least that is what he thinks....and now that he has had some space from the experience, I think he was right; and his choice to move on and get away from people that could bring him down was a wise choice. Wisdom is not only for the ancients....young ones can have wisdom too.

I think if people give us a chance, or give the boy a chance they would find a highly intelligent kid who is able to communicate on many different levels and is once again trying too hard. My husband and I are making every effort to STOP trying so hard and just trying hard enough to make everything work.

We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Does anybody know what time it is?

I sure don't. I am watching my son grow up, and away, like the beautiful balloon in the song.

I know where he is going, but he doesn't know or understand where he has been. Like the Talking Head's song, "I know what I am knowing but I don't know where I've been." I know the link has NOTHING to do with what I mentioned but it is an awesome song and I just LOVE the Talking Heads....it is classic.
ANYWAY, realizing my son is growing up is hard on me. I am scared. What if he forgets to get his meds? What if he doesn't contact his doc if he has a problem? What if he needs a new doc and can't find one on his own? What in the heck do we do?

KInd of like kicking the lemons dropped on our heads when he was first diagnosed. We start at the begining and work our way through the problems. There isn't a lot I can do besides "recommend". We can make up the "Life book" we have one. It has doc office cards, phone numbers and other things in it....a how to live and survive book for our Aspie. There are a lot of things to add to it and there is information that needs to be update. It is time consuming and draining. Even the boy knows where the book is and that it has directions for him to use for when he is out on his own. Although then I think we would call it by something else. Still, having something like this is useful and if he ever needs it the information is right there.

Do any of us know what is going to happen next? Kind of like eating out and having stale pasta, we never know what we are going to be doing or what is going to happen until it does and then things are what they are. Although a lot of people may not like the book of Isaiah there is a passage that I have kept in my purse. It reminds me that the path isn't always smooth, nor is it narrow, there are twists and turns but it is level; it is the path that God has us on. "The way of the righteous is level, thou dost make smooth the path of the righteous."

Tonight I noticed that there were "friends" who had unfriended us on FB. I am thinking I must have gotten too religious for them, or they got tired of me or just got bored. Either way, I think they dumped me several monthes ago and I just never noticed. Ooops. I guess there are times when I should acutally check out my friends list and see who I am missing....I often forget that part. Oddly enough, I was thinking about asking one of them if they were still their home product line. I guess I will have to ask elsewhere now....Oh well maybe it is more their loss than mine. And that is another thing....life changes and we don't have to always like it but we do have to accept where we are and try to be happy about it.

I am nervous. Our son is away from home this evening. He was invited to an important activity and I know they will help him and support him while he is gone. It is weird not having him home....he is fine and I know this but in my heart I am still scared. "What if" is plaguing me and kind of making me feel bad.
 It is the "What if's" that hold us back and stop us from doing things we should try to do. When you are 100 are you gonna regret it or will you be happy where you are?

It is a lot to think about.

Does Anybody know what time it is?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A sense of entitlement.

Yeah, and before the holidays too.
I heard something today, and it bothers me. How many people have a "sense of entitlement" to a parents holdiay tradition?
Here is the story: A woman we know, her mother in law has passed away this year. This woman has regularly hosted the (in law) family Christmas Eve celebration. Every year, making 2 kinds of meat, side dishes, glog (whatever that is) and the subsequent mess that is enduring and follows. So what happens this year? The mom-in-law passes away, the (in law) family Christmas Eve host has decided to "retire" This Christmas she is going to church and have soup for dinner and go to bed and have a lovely peaceful Christmas day with NO DIRTY DISHES.

I don't know about you but it sounds good to me.

To continue, the next thing I hear (same story), this woman/Christmas Eve host was yelled at by her brother in law and his wife because, "They always have Christmas Eve at there house! Whatever will they do? Who will make the roast beast and the ham hog?"

Gee I don't know, MAYBE if they had gotten off their fat lazy butts and helped out over the years it might have been more like a holiday for everyone. At this point it sounds to me like the house elf was given clothes and the lady of the manor has a new regiume in place.

Ergo, the sense of entitlement that I am getting back to.

I don't get it. I guess my husband and I are different.....yeah no jokes, we know we are a little goofy and we are traditional and old fashioned and boring as all get out. BUT what I am getting at is that we don't believe we are entitled to anything....we rarely are asked what would work best for us, and frankly we are astounded that anyone would ask us (right like that would happen). It used to be I would post this letter thing every holiday, or send it around. Then I realized that no one was reading it anyway so it would be silly. Our son could cause enough commotion anyway he didn't need his mom acting all "entitled" to him having special treatment or understanding. SO I gave it up and just stay on him when we are out with family to make sure he is behaving himself. It is a lot of effort but well worth it in the long run....at least no one is complaining that I know of.

Where do these people get off feeling entitled to the Christmas traditions? Not even their own traditions, but ones imposed on them. It just sound strange....I mean I can understand doing what others may ask, or just helping out when asked. But making someone host a Christmas party and then telling them what they are going to have and how it is to be and not helping???? And NO this is not me, my husband, his family or mine. It really is someone we know and are acquaintances with. So don't get worried, no one is walking all over us and we aren't over extending ourselves and trying too hard or anything stupid like that.

No one owes us anything, and we have no expectations of things because we think it is better to be grateful when something good happens. Christmas is a time to reflect, remember and miss. Yes MISS, miss people, places, things, singing with my cousins, slipping on the snow, riding a snowmobile at my aunt's farm....missing my Dad....it is a time to remember the family we love and our friends and how much we love and cherish them too.

Chrismas has NO room for entitlement; otherwise known as the house elf got clothes and left the party early. IT is time for people to remember what Christmas is all about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKk9rv2hUfA

Friday, December 17, 2010

He did WHAT?

My son cut a class.

Yesterday.

He missed a test and has a 4 hour detention to serve. He has to serve it before the end of the term. He was able to take the test but he still has to serve the detention. Classic.

He will learn not to be so stupid again. But he did do something atypical, and that was cutting a class without permission. In Twilight, there is a part where Edward says, "Sometimes it is healthy to cut." I don't know if it was healthy to cut class this time, but he did it and has to suffer the consequences. I have heard 2 different story versions; one is that he was having stomach issues, the other was that he and a friend decided to do a karakoke song during lunch and they had to wait. Either way he is going to have to serve his detention.

I encouraged the dean to give him a detention. I did. I think it would be good for him. He needs to learn and if this is how he learns to sit down, shut up and show up where he is supposed to be and when then so be it. Oddly enough, we have encouraged teachers, deans and staff to give our son a detention....we practically begged them to do it last year and they didn't. Now, he can't use the Aspergers excuse....or it was my stomach or the meds I am on. Nope, you have to be responsible and go to class; he is busted wide open on this one.

I almost wish detentions were like in the Harry Potter series....send the buggers out to the Forbidden Forest to help Hagrid. Now that would be perfect....and fun...and totally scary. But instead, detentions are usually in a study hall and you get to sit there and do NOTHING. At least that is the way they used to be.

I actually got one once. A detention. It was in grade school and some skanky boy tried to stick a worm down my shirt. I whaled on him with my little red bookbag. Some monitor gave me some warnings and a detention. I refused to serve the detention; after telling her it was stupid, and I wouldn't go. I  then told the teacher and the principal that they would have to make me serve it and the guy deserved the black eye he got. I didn't get in trouble and I don't even think the detention went on my record.  But will I tell my son about that...NO. Largely becuase he needs to serve this detention.

Kids with IEPS get out of alot. They don't get punished when they do dumb things, like cut class. My son deserves this detention and I fully back the school for it. If he does it again he deserves another one. Besides, we will make sure it doesn't happen again. He is grounded from activities and was informed that he would LOOSE the cable TV in his bedroom as the TV would be permanently removed and there would be no going back from that. He is more limited now, because of that cut than he ever was before.

Deep down, him doing somthing so atypical is almost exciting to me. I am shocked he did it and happy; but the fact that he is pushing the borders is a little scary. This is just a part of things we aren't used to and it requires a whole new way of laying down the law.

SO much to consider, Let us counsel.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I get to say "No"

Getting to "No".

Do you remember the old book "Getting to Yes"? It was about the psychology of getting people to say yes to whatever you wanted them to do. I was first exposed to it in a Business Psych class at the Baptist college (who'da thunk?).

I get to say no. A lot. More than I would like to. It is a luxury afforded the few: Getting to say NO.

I say No to my cats, my son (he would say constantly, that isn't accurate) sometimes to my husband and many, many times to other people. Saying no to whatever it is a learned trait. Most people will never use the word NO. My son still knows that if I say, "I don't think so" that means No too. We started saying No, but also pointing out that we hadn't ever used a special ed excuse (horrors!!!) but decided that certain things were too much and we had to say No to keep our sanity.

Saying No, is a luxury item.

Most Special ed family's won't say it; using the word No is seen as a negative thing. I don't think I agree. We all have to learn to accept the No's in life. All of them, even the ones where we KNOW it should be a yes (like a job I KNOW would have worked great for me) and it is still a No. Our kids, any special ed kid, has to be able to accept NO gracefully. No tantrums or meltdowns. Just an OK , thanks and walk away.

Getting to No. not taking on too much, just enough to be comfortable and reasonably happy.

Saying to the boy that No is supposed to be a good thing at certain times. There are times when No affords one new opportunites for growth, either mentally or spiritually. When we get to say NO it is because we are going to learn, try and grow in a different way. That sounds hokey. But it does mean that there are things that we don't do, or don't HAVE to do. Kind of like going up North and not going out for burgers on Monday. If we don't like the proprietor much we don't go. We go elsewhere and make up our own traditions while on vacation. One way of saying no.

"These things have to be handled delicately," -Margaret Hamilton in the Wizard of OZ. She was right, although we aren't going after little Dorothy we are doing things in a way that are comfortable to us. That's right, to us....not perfect, not right, and not acceptable in other homes. But good in our home, with the 3 rotten kitties and the boy who is still learning hygiene (getting better at that one TG) and the lack of sweeping that happens and the stupid eco washer that ruined my favorite heather grey sweater. Getting to NO. Getting to say NO I can't find a new heather grey sweater (Rats) and NO I can't afford go buy one. Teaching the cats NOT to jump at the vintage Christmas tree- it is all about saying NO.

Telling our son that IF he gives away his class ring when he picks it up tomorrow he will be GROUNDED for life....and possibly beyond. Getting to No: how do we get a kid who has NO CONCEPT of money to not break us to the bank and say NO to what he wants for himself to learn to budget and OMG we don't need it , want it or can use it so let it stay at the store, garage sale or the booth at the craft fair. Being generous, but not stupid....and learning to say NO delicately when required. Getting to NO.....

It sounds better and better doesn't it? I am rather likting the entire concept. We teach the kids NO now, and then later the employers don't have to relearn how to handle employees who have never not gotten a prize for a mediocre job and can't handle critism worth a darn. I am thinking this is why some of my son's teachers think we are off the bend. We say NO. We are not mean, but we are saying NO to classes with minimal expectations, No to garbage reading materials, and NO to things that are just not right.

I wonder if the special ed world would explode if people said to their kids, "NO you can't go to the store and spin with a bag on your head." "No you can't run and bump into people, it is rude." For little kids, "No you can't have the new toy; if you can't behave then you have to sit in a shopping cart until we are ready to leave."
Saying NO; being strong enough to say NO. We still love our son and we say NO to a lot of stuff. Maybe other families need to say NO too. It might help, and like Temple Grandin once mentioned, these kids have no manners, are out of control and need to learn limitations. We aren't doing them any favors by not saying NO.

Think about it. Saying NO is hard work, but in the long run it is worth it. Try it....say NO to one thing. See what happens. It might be a fun social experiement that totally doesn't work, but then again, it could free you from a lot of stress, pressure and other things that are weighing you down....and you special ed families KNOW what I am talking about.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The final countdown

That sounds dramatic.
Our son has 2 years left of HS. Then he is considered old enough to be "out on his own" I realized this evening that although he is doing well, we are still limited by the "special ed" stigma. We aren't outgoing enough to be a popular family. Our son was not in kindergarten or first grade with most of his classmates. He is an enigma. He has lived in this community since he was 3 but has the stigma of being "from out of town" because he went to a different school district. Even though it sounds weird, most of the kids in any town have made their friends by the time they hit recess in first grade. Same goes with the parents....you can only make so many "playdates" before you start becoming friends.

In Aspie-land, it doesn't always work that way. We are working so hard with the kid, we forget the importance of social time. Even now we don't get away like we should. Tonight, I realized we need to consider the social venue much more and to think about what we are going to do when and how.

We don't have much more time before the "Final COuntdown and the boy will be walking out the door to go to his first day of college.

Friday, December 3, 2010

making things right

I have been contemplating this lately. How does one make things right? Do you make it right for the people around you? The general community, the creation at large? Or do you do the best that you can with what you have to work with and leave the rest go?

Being the youngest, we are all supposed to be the "people pleasers". Supposedly we are happiest when everyone else is happy and even better happy with us.

Lately, I beleive we haven't made some people happy (or maybe we have, who knows). We have been told we are graceless, out for public acclaim, we are difficult and we are mean spirted. Now I can tell you honestly, I have been called a lot of things in my life but those adjectives have never been part of the description. What bothers me the most is that this description was given to my husband and I by people who have known us briefly. They don't know WHAT it is like to be a special ed parent, nor what we go through regularly.

We live in a world of schools. Teachers, principals and therapists become like family. Sometimes they are family, and sometimes they are "adopted" briefly and move on when our child makes a change. As such, parents like us have earned our "stripes" in difficult environments. We are outspoken, we are direct, and we ask uncomfortable questions. As special ed parents, this is all part of the package. We are advocates for our child. Because of that, if people aren't used to it that means that we come off as though we are problematic. Ironically, when I mentioned that to my son's doc, she laughed and said, "You two? Now that is funny. You two are the best advocates I know for your son, and if that is being problematic, I wish more parents were like you."

Recently, we came off as difficult only because we don't know what goes on in a gen ed world. We aren't generic....we aren't cookie cutter and we aren't able to comprehend things that we don't have the expereince with (gen ed people). We need people to tell us that gen people are delicate, and scared of us and out kid. Who knew? we didn't, we do everything with sledgehammer because that is what we HAVE had to do daily to make certain our son is learning what he needs to learn to get along in the blasted generic society that he is going to be stuck with for the rest of his life! It is called working within the system (fortunately now the school thing is awesome) and there have been times when we are crying, upset and frustrated because we either aren't told the whole story, or are annoyed because gen people are just that gen people. Working outside the box in special education is beyond what they are mentally capable of. Because of that, we cry and are sad because they miss out a lot.

We are difficult, when we know people don't understand what we are doing, where we are going and how things are going to be. Some may call it "Being directed by God", actually, that is what my husband calls it. I call it "Being pushed, shoved kicking and fighting into a direction that I may or may not what to be in." Most of the time if there is problem, if it is generic, we walk away. We have SO MANY things to contend with, generic issues are so beyond what we are dealing with....many times we find it isn't worth the effort. We expend SO MUCH energy for so many different things. Doing even one more thing, one more meeting, one more whatever is just more than we have available to us at any given time.

Our stuff is the big life issuses kind of thing. The who, what, where, how and why. It involves writing a "Life Book" in case anything happens to my husband or I so people know how to help our son if he needs it or he knows how to help himself by going to it as he gets older. Our issues are the "ultimate scheme of things" issues, and not just a kid who dislikes our son to such a degree that our son only feels safe as far away as possible from this kid. BTW- we did help our son by letting him decide what he wanted with that issue and he chose to walk away. Deciding what college, cooking school, business management program and if he wants graduate school to go to.....then where to live and how to suceed...this is where we are going and if we go in "public" or we hide in a freaking basement (he better not, it will get cold w/out heat) it doesn't matter as long as our son DOES THE BEST HE CAN DO.

Yes we are graceless, souless pieces of work that have been chosen by God to do something great. I would love to know what it is but for now, we will get up at 4:30 AM and head out to yet another wrestling meet to watch our boy rack up points for his team!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

fitting it all in

When you pack, like for a trip, you have a certain amount of stuff you have to fit in.

When you are working, you have a certain amount of work you have to fit in....and complete.

So what is it when you are scheduling? A good friend of mine mentioned this evening that we were the "sandwich generation" we have older parents and high maintenance kids. That isn't a sandwich, that is the whole enchilada. Dealing with Mom's (my Mom's) doc appt's a sports schedule on the same day, and then trying to figure out WHAT we are doing for a party and then being relieved when the idea is scrapped....now that is a classic case of overload and trying to fit too much in at one time. as parents of an Aspie, this is a part of life....it is what we do. We do this with grace, style and our own little bit of flair just to jazz it up a bit.

We are adjusting to me working out of the home again. good grief, I am adjusting....I have to get up, get dressed and not stink and go to work. Anyway, for the 3 of us that is a major deal. Me getting up and out that is. The stinky part....well I am a girl and I do wear perfume so I guess being stinky is all part of life. picking out what to wear to work is a challenge.... putting outfits together and remembering what is what is a whole nother kettle of fish. It is good for me and I like it but remembering that wearing a tank top to work just won't cut it is rather a culture shock. (It gets hot in the office....I broil)

This has nothing to do with Autism. Well, maybe it does. Our kids have to fit it all in; the school bit, the social venues and the "why am I doing this?" part of the life of a teen male Aspie. Today is the first day of the rest of their lives....I remember when my Dad would say that and I would just wonder what the heck he was talking about. now I know; or at least I think I know. I am not so arrogant to believe I know everything about my son or his problems. He has Aspergers. That doesn't necessarily mean he is disabled or incapable for life. That MEANS he is doing things a little differently. If he ever came to me and tried the, "I am disabled, I ahve Aspergers" line on me the boy would be grounded for life 3x over. He tried it once; lost his bedroom door, lost his privledges and lost his right to privacy. He has NEVER used that excuse in front of us again. Smart kid.

Having a disability doesn't mean you can't do it, it means you do it differently. There ain't nutnin' wrong with that. Maybe if we all tried harder to do things differently there wouldn't be such a mess in the world. Or in our homes or on the street or down the street and in the town. Kind of like "This is the house that Jack built"....do you get it or is it totally not making sense?

For those of you who remember me in college, you would remember the pink/purple/fushia hair colors, the weird clothes and the thinking outside the box....my stylist would remember cutting my hair as short as she could on one side and then leaving it as long as I could stand it on the other....doing things differently....and although it was my way of revolting against a super strict environment. It did me good; both the strictness (which I didn't have it as strict at home) and the funky look. Doing things differently, it all works in the long run. Now I have amazing zebra striped shoes with fushia accents and wood heels....great stuff.

Our kid, he does things differently, but he is just as smart as the kid on the honor role. Our son does it differently. He studies differently (we have used baseball cards and a board game to play 3 strikes- each answers 3 questions to make our team move on the board) now we use flash cards and night time reading/memorization. It is all different. he studies and gets good grades; jsut like the kid next door.

Yeah we fit it all in that tiny suitcase and then we squash the heck out of it to make sure it all stays put.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tis the season

Like the song goes, "it is the most wonderful time of the year."
I used to relish the holidays. I got into the baking, and the shopping and the parties and the fun. I still do but it is a little different now.

Doing the holiday's Aspie-style is a litte different. We are very "traditional" only doing it our Aspie- way. The Aspie-way is not what many people do. We have the fun, but it is a little more controlled and organized.
There was a letter that was posted once. I used to send it out every year, until my son outgrew it. Now it seems like he has his own way of thinking the holidays should be celebrated.

For example, the year my Dad passed away was not a time for me to be thinking "Christmas". I didn't even want to bother with a tree or lights. Our son said, "What? What about the tradition of the Nativity being in the family room? We have to decorate it is the holidays."  Kind of like being consistent with other venues in his life, being consistent with the holidays is a big deal. He has his tree, fully decorated in his room, the house, even the bathroom has fancy towels and the kitties wearing their Santa costumes on Christmat day. It is fun, and although kind of wearing....it is our little tradition. Getting the tree up with the base spinner and then deciding what ornaments to put on it.....it is our little tradition.

Thinking of that; I should get a pic of our cats with the costumes. It is a riot.

The same goes with him baking cookies for the neighbors, and taking them on nice plates. They keep the plates (no refills, sorry).wW get to spread a little holiday cheer and try to be nice at the same time. Keeping that in mind, we are also trying to keep our "secret charities" really secret. We were recently accused of being "graceless" and doing things for "public acclaim" because of that we decided as a family to go around and do nice things for people w/out telling them or anyone else. Not telling you anymore than that; if you want your Aspie to think outside the box it might help to engage them in a "secret helper" idea. It has encouraged our son to think about how to help in the community and what others may need to feel like they are appreciated.

I don;t know if this will encourage you to think about helping others, getting out of your box and tear off the wrapping. I hope it makes you smile a bit, come up with traditions that work for your family and realize one thing. Christmas in Aspie-land isn't all stress and struggle. There is a lot of fun to be had as long as you relax and have a good time with the planning too.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMtuVP8Mj4o

Sunday, November 21, 2010

learning

we learn new stuff every day.
Today's lesson is still being "processed". In "Aspie-land" (where we are most of the time) processing (which means discussion, learning, and teaching) can either work quickly or have to take a LLLLLOOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGGG time. I think this latest lesson is gonna take a while.
There are days when living in Aspie-land is OK, we are allright and things are running smoothly. Then there are days when it aint so hot. Right now we are in tepid water. Neither too hot or too cold; things are smoothe, to a degree....and we are OK....just OK, that's it.
Being OK, or average or bleh or whatever is working for us right now. To many that might not seem like a good idea. For my husband and I, we are so emotionally drained, we need the break from the emotionalism. I need to get rid of my white hairs too; in the last month my hair is turning almost grey/white  going thru all this. Oddly enough, this isn't to do with our son's misbehavior or attitude or Aspergers. It is with other people; mostly gens (people w/out Aspergers)....

I wonder what these other people would do if they were in Aspie-land on a more regular basis....it might be good for them to learn a little bit first hand.

Or maybe learn a little bit more about compassion and that all kids on the spectrum are not the same. Just because one does one thing does not mean they all do it. For example, if one has a perception issue, another MAY have a perception issue but in a different way....not the same as the Aspie-kid over there. It is all different. Kind of like how God made everyone different, labeling the hairs on our heads. And each Aspie is different.

An Aspie teaching compassion....now there is an interesting job for you.....I am definitely gonna read that book when it comes out....

Oops, my mistake. I wrote it.       

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life w/out doors

One of the rooms in our house has no door.

It is currently in the hallway. We have moved the door to the hall several times over the years. It just needs to be there right now.
We are finding that most agnst for the house comes from door slamming. This door has been slammed more than once recently. We are finding that our son's perception of why closing a door with excessive force is just not cool. He swears he didn't slam it, but maybe being on the receiving end makes things a little different for us.
Although some would blame this on Aspergers, it isn't. Our son is more typical than one would expect in this area. He was trying to "prove his point." Well his "point" ended up in the hallway in front of the bathroom door....we have a full length view of ourselves as we leave the bathroom now...at least we can check to make certain zips are zipped and buttons are buttoned.
Frankly, this is more uncomfortable for the man of the house and I than the boy.The boy doesn't mind it much....or at least that is what the parents of the house are perceiving. Doorless; it is noiser. We hear the TV in his room, and the texting and the "I wanna check my FB" Stuff like that. Which isn't bad but there are times when wishing for the "sound of silence" would be a lovely thing.

On that note, I think there is a reason I don't listen to music as much anymore. It isn't that I don't like it, but I think there is so much commotion in our daily life, there are times when silence is really comforting. Maybe we all need MORE silence3 and less of the "wake me up before you go-go".

I wonder if there is another window I can shut, since the door is still standing in the hallway....it is a thought.

Friday, November 5, 2010

hit with a brick

I recently realized that not everyone comprehends special education.

seriously. They don't understand what things are and what they mean. Like when someone is in a self contained program. That means they have to learn differently than someone else. It also means that they need a LOT more supervision.

My son isn't like that. He is doing very well and maturing rapidly. He also doesn't approve of my blog. That is Ok, there are things I don't like him doing either.

When you realize that people are either deluded, or just stupid about special ed, it is really hard to know what to think next. Do I go into the "educational mode" and try to explain how Aspies are different at all different levels? Or do I do the "stompping" routine? (never works for me, I am not a stomper). My most normal route, is to "cut and run". Why bother to explain to people who either don't want to understand or understand how things are and could give a rats butt.

Not all Aspies are liers. Neither are they all stupid, nor are they incapable of having full and wonderful lives. After what we have been thru recently, I am still trying to figure out how these people know special ed, but truely know nothing at all.

Monday, October 25, 2010

the book of Joel

Who has read the book of Joel? Well I heard a verse today from Joel 2:32, "And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mt Zion & in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said among the survivors whom the Lord calls."
A swarm of Locusts?
Sounds interesting and like someone has got themselves into a problem.
We are finding that "being an open book" is better left to the Bible.
I think reading the OT is a real support when working with our son. There isn't any grey area in the OT. It is good or bad, black or white, it is what it is. The prophets in the OT were men of God even when the tough got going.
'Nuff said.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Filters

We live with little or no filters. Many times, what comes in the boy's head goes out the boy's mouth. Most of the time his lack of filters is relatively harmless; stuff we have not discussed at home. Sometimes it is silly; or just should remain unsaid. It is never intentionally vulgar or cruel. Although, thoughtless people might think it is (intentionally vulgar or cruel) because they, like an Aspie, think that everyone is the same and we all live exactly the way they do.
We have found that while making forward changes to the way we do things, there are things we are missing. We have forgotten that most girls are "delicate little flowers" and think pretty highly of themselves. I don't remember my friends and I being like that, maybe we were, but overall I think we were a pretty grounded group and not terribly full of ourselves. Knowing that I only remember myself as a teenager, and having the great parents I had, I am now aware that most teens are not nearly as  lucky as I was.
For example, my Dad was on the board of a children's home. This is not a fun, party place, this is a serious thing for kids who have had a bad time of things (beaten, abused or left there). Back before a lot of the help kids get was available; many went to local children's homes. My Dad was part of a Christian one. The banquets were over the holidays; pretty place, good food, lots of tables, and singing kids. Nice party. The real party was several days later. Many times I sat on the floor of a dirty gymnasium in a skirt, clogs, and preppy clothes feeding ice cream to triplets and changing diapers on little babies, so they wouldn't get sent back to the dorms to miss out on the party. This was the real party, and after going to a number of them I can tell you I got over myself fast.
Or another experience, going to a nursing home to visit my then senile grandmother; being a shy little girl, it was pretty scary for me. I was taken around, showed off like a walking doll, and instructed to talk to people even if they shouted at me. I tried, and then begged to be locked in the car to wait for my parents; I was scared. Later, having grandma move in with us when I was in grade school. Being shown to the front door by her on a regular basis (daily, and nightly if she got the chance) and told "Little girl, it is time for you to go home." That gets you over yourself pretty quickly.
I guess what I am saying is, what I am hearing, reading and seeing about the young women my son is exposed to right now; well, I frankly feel kind of sorry for him. It seems like "real" girls are somewhat outdated. Kind of like "real" manners when one is a flight attendant...like the person cussing out the boy at Goodwill on Saturday because the guy couldn't leave a used mattress (FYI- it is illegal to donate mattresses). It appears to me that maybe some of these kids should be living without the filters and maybe the "Light of the World" would shine in and the faux of their existence would no longer matter. Or at least they would stop thinking they are "all that" and realize that being "all that" is more or less a dime a dozen and they could go to LA or NY and find many more of "all that" than they ever realized that really are "all that" and getting paid for commercials, waiting tables, and working off student debt.
The other thing that is bothering me is since when is "sensitivity training" all one sided. We hear about "racial sensitivity training"; it is needed more regularly than anyone can say. What about "disability sensitivity training"? It certainly could be useful and I think doing it in colleges, seminaries, churches and workplaces; all over might be a good way to go. We have experienced lately a goodly amount of one person in particular having little or no sensitivity training for parents of disabled kids. Recently, it has TOTALLY changed the way we do things and although that may be good for us; it is making us more jumpy than ever. I know I am more apt to walk away from almost anything and just not deal with it. It is easier and less stressful; but NOT showing my son a good example.
Kind of a "less is more" situation...maybe less trying to fit into society is more of what we need to do to keep our heads together. Although my head is not at a place where this would really work right now... I do think that just leaving it all and moving on is a more viable option. We will not do that (move on) because it is a bad example, but I would like to sometimes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

busy days

School started and things are more than busy. Our son has had several weeks in a row with painting a trailer in the neighboring town. Hopefully, the paint is dry now and they won't be back. There were about 3 weekends in a row that he painted blue paint on this trailer...the first two weeks it poured rain. Last week there was no rain but lots of cold weather.

I didn't know that boys don't wear jackets around their waists. Did you know that? I was informed that boys carry their jackets if they don't wear them. Who knew? My husband informed me that i am not allowed to tie my son's jacket around his waist again...it is an anti-fashion statement for guys or something. I won't make that mistake again.

We are looking to wrestling season. New year, new team, lots of changes...we may need to get new shoes. I think we are going to have a guy with really big feet. Seriously. He has grown so much this year and we are looking at an advanced routine in the upcoming schedule. It seems like the autism is under control. We need to tweak things but otherwise we are looking at a really great year for our son at church, school and at home.

Homework has gotten itself under control too. It is a real treat to watch our boy do his work when he gets home from school. He takes a break, and then starts up at a specified time. No coaxing or anything he just does it. On Fridays he has been doing ALL of his work that evening so that he can take the rest of the weekend off from it. We never suggested that to him; he came up with it on his own. In fact, the last one, he went out, and prior to that had more than half of the work done. It was amazing. I think I like the new way of doing papers too. There is a great website: http://turnitin.com/static/index.html that has the kids turning in their papers so that they can't copy. It is on account and with e-mail and all that but it is really awesome tool.  I like it because the teacher has the papers right away and he can track what he has turned in and what he hasn't. He is keeping track of his school stuff and we don't have to.... very cool.

He also tells us that there are friends he wants to ask to come over. We told him he could if he gave us some warning. I think there are 2 boys he would like to hang out with so we will see if he does ask them sometime. We think he needs to expand a bit and if he found "kindred spirits" at school that might work out in a positive way. Never hurts to try and open a door or window or two, right?

It is good, at least as far as we know right now. No one has told us different so we will take things as they are.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Security

This is a huge topic in our house. The feeling of security, the basis and the facts.

Our son has anxiety issues, some of this stems from the insecurity he feels regularly. This can stem from feeling weird about a school project to being generally unhappy about not knowing if he has friends at school or just common teenage angst.

Today's drama was about not bringing a certain book to school. then the insecurity because kids were throwing goldfish crakers at him and telling him to break his diet and get fat again. (Nice) As a parent we have to encourage our kids to "be nice to everyone", "play the game" and "just get along". Frankly, some of the gens I have seen I would never allow my son anywhere near them. They are annoying little berks.

My son has no interest in hanging out with people out side of a small circle of friends, his small group and his house group. Oddly enough, he will go to football games and he loves his sports seasons. He told me once that he did want to play football but doesn't any more. I never asked why, but maybe because he is insecure and might think he isn't any good at it...DK.

My other security thing is about finding a job. Thus far interviews and job things are not forthcoming. I get the fact that work is work and there isn't any. I guess that is what made my husband and I decide to throw in the towel and start looking elsewhere for a job for me. I am worried. I don't want to move across the country and leave the boys here at home. Our son can't move until HS is over. It would be impossible for him to do so. It seems like sitting here day after day is just a waste of my time and energy. I go to the classes, the workshops and all that and it doesn't do anything or get me anywhere. I am told htat things are turning around and jobs will be forthcoming....no clue what kind of jobs will be forthcoming, but that is OK. My degree in "under-water basket weaving" should come in handy eventually JK.

I wonder what is coming next, I have a feeling that somehting is happening in the "aura" around here but i don't know what it is... guess we will find out soon.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kitty court and the judge

I have been reading, and this quote is from a girl's book from England. I don't recall where I located the book. I am sure I grabbed it from a pile and this sounded good.

"Shakespeare helps quite a lot. There is a good deal of sense in Shakespeare; he's fundamentally logical and sound. Take Shylock for instance. Shylock wanted justice, he wouldn't accept mediation; he wouldn't accept an iota less than what he considered his due. He wanted justice. If you refuse to share and continue to demand justice you can't complain when justice is given you."

As a parent of a kid on the spectrum so many times I hear people wanting justice from everywhere. Schools are big when the kids are of the age. I believe that most of the work with our kids begins at home. We demand that the schools do certain things: and yet at home the consistency isn't the same.

What brought this up was something I read yesterday about a blog by Penelope Trunk. You have heard me mention her before. I ususally find her pretty amusing. Yesterday wasn't so funny. She was proponing the use of the dreaded video games. As a resource (cooking and other excercise venues), video games are probably OK. The idea that she had that they were a way of learning to work together and create teamwork was really a stretch. I realize she is writing from her point of view, but she doesn't realize that as her kids get bigger the video games get more addicting and she and her farmer are going to be in a fine kettle of fish when the boys decide to beat the boogers out of them after playing for an afternoon. I think when her boys are bigger than she is; she may want to re-think this video game option.

I don't like video games or the systems. I have a numbe rof reasons why, and although I don't go into a ton of detail about it I will say that the over stimulization of the games is really a bad thing (understatement). Some kids on the spectrum do get physically violent after a stint of playing (they make the news). Here in our house we allow for 15 minute increments timed with an egg timer. After what we call an "episode" (refusal to do homework or cooperate) several weeks ago our son lost the video gaming privilege until January. We will re-evaluate at that time; and we are viewed as grossly unfair and mean by our son's friends and acquaintances. Like Shylock, our son wanted justice and wanted me to allow justice to flow HIS way and it didn't work like that. He lost the verdict.

The court of the house is me, as judge and jury representative and our kitties as the jurors. The defendent was over-ruled and lost his gaming privilege.

Wow. As for Shylock, I think that that Shakespeare was attempting to show ALL different kinds of people. The fact that the character is seen in a negative light is a matter of viewpoint. I see Shylock as an educational tool; he wanted what he wanted when he wanted it and how he wanted it to be. Not everyone sees justice in that way. Ergo, educational and for many justice may not be served.

In our house we have several phrases that pop up periodically, "Would've, Should've and Could've; mean nothing" another is, "What goes around comes around."

Maybe we all need to understand where the others are coming from. I certainly understand that Penelope's boys are playing video games, sitting still amd being quiet (bonus) but for those of us trying to extract ourselves from video game land, a blog like that doesn't help much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I did it

I got smart with my son's history teacher.

I am so ashamed.
Actually, I didn't get smart with him. I got annoyed. The tone and venue of his remarks to my son's case manager made me mad on her account. What kind of twerp talks to a collegue that way? Apparently, this one does. I called my school hero (I have several over there) and told her I was having a "temper tantrum, hissy fit" over this guy regarding several issues. I admit I am easily confused about my son's homework assignments. I tutor him and there are things that, because I am not a teacher, I don't understand the workings of their minds.

I am not proud of myself at all.
Number one, I know better than to let a teacher upset me. Especially when I have my son telling me that this guy thinks that the pyramids were built by aliens (there it is out there). I think (I hope) my son misunderstood him.

Don't fall over in shock, two blogs in one day, Sorry all don't mean to freak anyone, I just had to vent.

Don't cry for me

Have you ever wondered about the musical "Evita"? I mean really wondered and I am NOT talking about the Madonna version. ALthough I am sure that version is fine and well done, it does have Madonna in it and, well that is just freaky. That and the picture of Madonna with a shirt that looks like she came from a burn center makes me wonder what she could have done to herself this time.

Anyway, this is not where I was planning on going... "Evita" is a story of a very strong woman. She may not have been moral, nor upright nor faithful (she was narcissistic and a meglomaniac). But she was strong and used to getting her way. I am strong too, but not used to getting my way.

My son is strong willed and a poopy pain in the neck. That works doesn't it? No really, he is a good kid, but when he shows up from school and is a slug and crabby it doesn't make me want to be in the same room with him. Seriously, when he is bear-like when he gets home all I want to do is lie down and take a nap. His pysch tells me that when I do that it is my reaction to the negative verbiage I am getting from my kid (sounds impressive, does it not?).

Because of these reactions we have come up wiht a fabo game plan. I am not being facetious or sarcastic: we start work at 4. Any work, all work and we stay away from each other until he calms down and I am able to function. There are times when MY functioning involves coffee. For some reason having full flight java at 4PM wakes me up and helps me cope with "Mr. Happy". Unfortunately, I am out of orange cappucino. (Joe, say it ain't so) aand because of that I am making do with a french vanilla want-to-be that just isn't cutting it for me. I have tried adding the Starbucks instant to it and, nope, the french vanilla is just not that great...maybe i have had too much and need a MAJOR flavor adjustment. Who knew?

The other thing (gripe) I have today is the ever present economy. I am tired of being broke, my friends are tired of being broke (and of my being broke). Our savings are almost gone (OK lets pretend that the loot is kaput, flown the coop). The temp service I tried at isn't placing people like me (we are "special"), and when I think I may have a decent job interview it never comes through. I am waiting for Mr. Obama's change (didn't the "CHANGE" happen several years back? Did I miss it?). Although the way I am understanding it the change is only for his friends and family. Since that may be the case, if anyone is willing to adopt me into his friends and family package so I can get a job; let me know...the waiting is blowing our savings out of the water.

"Don't Cry for Me Argentina"

Friday, September 10, 2010

this is the giggle from yesterday. I hope you can laugh with it too

Misconception Number 1: Moms miss their kids when they go back to school. Seriously. I've had enough of you by now. Every morning with the "what are we going to do today, Mom?" is finally over. I've had looked at your face twenty-four seven for the last 77 days. It's time to go learn something. No more asking me about the pool, when is the next snack or if you can stay up late and watch a movie. It's over....You're going back to Hogwarts and I get to have a life again. There is a Christmas morning for parents and it's called "back to school".




Misconception Number 2: Moms like to go school shopping. Are you freaking kidding me? Why do I pay taxes?...so I can rack up a 200 dollar bill at Staples for crap that we have laying around my house in junk drawers. Why does it have to be new pencils? What's wrong with the chewed up, broken strawberry shortcake pencils sitting in the bottom of the toy box for the last 6 months? And how many subject books can you possibly need? What happened to reading, writing and arithmetic. If they added a couple of things for parents to that list I wouldn't mind so much....why not pencils, erasers and vodka .....or some Nyquil.



Misconception Number 3: Moms like back to school night. Why must we do this every year? I got it already. You're the teacher...I'm the parent. My kid is either going to be smart or dumb. If he gets a certain number or colored dot on his discipline chart, he can't get a prize from the prize box. Pretty simple stuff. Listen, I'm pretty old school. If he doesn't listen to you...you can throw something at him. I don't care. But I got a lot of work to do at home and I'm paying a babysitter right now. Plus, I'm pretty sure you are going to assign some project on wigwams made by some Indian tribe I've never heard of, so I need to get home and start my research. So, I got it. We're all here for the betterment of the kids. Blah Blah Blah. Can I leave now?



Misconception Number 4: Moms like school paperwork. How many trees are you planning on killing to tell me the same stuff I had to pay a babysitter to listen to the other night? You know our name, where we live and our emergency phone numbers. He doesn't have a nickname....call him "stinkbutt" for all I care. We don't have any "special circumstances" that you need to know about. He lives in a home with two parents who may or may not like each other at any given time and they will fight. If that qualifies as a reason he can't get his homework done on time then he won't be able to function as an

adult and have a real job so you may want to "educate" him on that life lesson.



Misconception Number 5: Moms like covering books in that annoying sticky paper. What exactly will you be doing with these books that I have to cover them in a plastic laminate? Do you often teach in the rain? Or while the children are drinking soda and eating soup? Do you know how long that takes? Has any parent in the history of education been able to do it without any air bubbles in it? From now on I'm covering it the old way...brown paper bags. That way I can cover the books and pack their lunches at that same time. Who says moms can't multitask?



PS. Please tell my son if he can't find his lunch to look in his science book.



Misconception Number 6: Moms like helping you with your homework. What? I am scared out of my mind. I'm pretty sure that I forgot everything I learned in fifth grade by the time I was in sixth grade. I have no idea what you are talking about most days. I don't really know my 12 times tables, I read the cliff notes to all your summer reading and I don't know how to conjugate anything but I do know that song "conjunction junction what's your function" if that helps at all. And please don't even say the words "new math" to me. What the heck was wrong the old one?



Misconception Number 7: Moms can't wait to pack your lunch every day until we die.

I hate doing laundry. Making dinner every night is the bane of my existence, so making your lunch every day for an entire year, in terms of "mom fun", lies somewhere between brushing plaque off the dogs teeth and scheduling my annual pap smear. Listen, as a child I hated what my mom packed me for lunch. But, like every kid before me, and every generation to come you will find a kid to trade with...I'm sure someone likes sardines.



Misconception Number 8: Moms love after school activities. I don't know who made up this idea of organized clubs and sports but they should be the ones in charge of carting your ass around. Don't get me wrong. I'm not against all after school programs. I just wish they would offer it during hours that would work best for me so that dinner wasn't at 8:30 at night followed by 4 hours of homework. Why not do it on the weekends and call it "after-hours activities" so mommy and daddy could actually go out one night and pretend that we have a life of our own. Don't worry about us though I'm sure that me and

"what's his name" will be married a very long time.



Misconception Number 9: Moms don't mind taking you to school if you miss the bus

Your bus comes at 7:10 am....which means that you should be standing by the door

at 7:05 am. Not eating breakfast, chasing the dog around the house or in the

bathroom, asking me to check your homework while I'm taking a shower. Get it

together! I don't like running down the street in my jammies at 7:12 screaming

"Please wait" or "If you stop I'll show you my _______."



Misconception Number 10: Moms cry on your first day of school. We do cry but they are tears of joy. I have done my job. I have successfully kept a human child alive for at least 5 years without doing any major damage. Motherhood is the hardest job in the world!! Sure, doctors save lives and CEO's run million dollar businesses but...you teach a kid not to poop their pants and then you can say you've made the world a better place."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Insomnia

I suffer from insomnia. Normally I would have it every night when I was working. I barely made it home daily and would crash and then wake at midnight to start it all over again.

Now I get it from school meetings. The one tomorrow is a standard team thing. We meet we talk we mention stuff and then we move on.
I am nervous and can't calm down. It isn't a bad meeting, not about a fight or anything. Just run of the mill garbage and a couple of basic add ons. I am worried though. My son's doc diet has caused him to loose about 20 lbs. He has about 10 more to go and then he should stabilize. What about sports? How screwed will my son be with the weight loss? WE are expecting the worst; which is typical for special ed parents. Seriously how much good stuff do we get to have?

I ahve had a giggle lately. Misconceptions about parents is something else. I live in a land of misconceptions.
As a special ed parent people either think we are "Jus' plain dumb, or don't give a rat's butt." I think this varies and I think it is pretty funny.

NOW that I have started writing I am getting tired. Maybe because I am thinking and my brain hurts? Whatever the reason, this brain storm wil have to be continued at another time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Roasted red tomato squash.

Have you heard of it? We hadn't until today. We bought one, and the boys made it with olive oil, garlic and this hard as a rock squash. I thought it would be dreadful.
I was wrong.

This whole diet change has made an enourmous difference in this house. The boy is eating all kinds of things; celery root with apples, swiss cheese and pepper. Or the newest fav roasted tomato squash...and then grab your potatoes (made with a ricer...no lumps and less butter). It sounds like we are eating like kings. We aren't. We are eating NO JUNK. Our son is better tempered, looks better and feels good. He is amazing with the will power; it is there in the cafeteria or at his house group and he doesn't eat it. Blows us away.

Interactively, he hates gardening (what teen doesn't?) and loves his veggies. He has decided to beg his grandpa to grow red tomato squash. I wonder how THAT will go over? His tastes are different than we expected. He is discoursing on having pepper with your celery root and how much better it is. If it is too sweet he says so, there is little or no dessert, or his favorite peanut butter.  With that he has lost more weight than I can count...my husband believes it is over 13 lbs...and the boy looks better than he has in years.

He does his homework with little or no argument, he is working his head off to keep ahead in class. It is hard work.  He doesn't have a lot of patience with me, Mom, but he does apoligize after being a little jerk. There are pluses and minuses. His perceptions are sharper lately. I wonder what he is thinking and how he will react to things. His reactions are much better than I expect. He is slowly becoming considerate and very helpful. He wants to do well.

What do I want? to go to sleep, not have nightmares, and to not overthink anything. Basically asking for the moon, stars and sky when dealing with a teen on the spectrum. :-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wishing

Doesn't it make ya sick to hear, "When you wish upon a star your dreams come true." It doesn't always bother me but sometimes it really does get my goat.

Actually, I am not feeling bitter right now, I am tired. Of what you may ask...what do I have to be tired of? Nothing bad really, the boy is doing his work and is really good about his homework. My husband is good, and enjoying his birthday, and the male tabbies of the house are relishing their new brand of cat food.

I am writing a story. Really, I am writing this story purely for my own entertainment value. I doubt anyone else on the planet will ever read it and in a years time it is likely that I will burn it.

I have escaped into stories all my life, starting with "Black Beauty", and thru the "Misty" stories, then going into Alcott, Hawthorne, Emerson, and growing up to Throeau, the all the Austin and on and on. When things are not that great, I go back to my "comfort level" and read this stuff over and over. I know the characters, story lines and the mythology of the authors better than my Bible. That is not a good thing BTW. I am perusing Romans again because I can't bear to read much of anything else right now. I turn back to the Potter series, not because I am lame (OK yes I am) but because it lets me forget for a while.

Stories that allow us to forget are wonderful. As a child, I was FASCINATED with the Bible stories that didn't seem very practical. Noah's ark was something amazing to me. All those animals on a BIG boat with a family, and I bet it stank.....Seriously, how much hay could one have there, unless God kept providing more? Which I am sure He did- as my old Bible study leader used to tell me, "Don't read into it so much." The other story about the prodigal son....what was that dumb kid thinking anyway? Take your part and go blow it all...OK, you are done then right? DUH. I guess those are the questions that I get to ask in heaven.

Anyhow, I started writing this mythological, magical totally impractical story. I am thinking I am done and then I keep adding more to it. I have NO idea why I started this. What I was doing was reading a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. For those of you who don't know, she was Charles Lindbergh's wife. She met him in Mexico when her dad was the US Ambassador. One quote from Anne was,  "Everything today has been heavy and brown. Bring me a Unicorn to ride about the town." Her stories about her live prior to meeting CHarles was pretty typical of most teens backthen. The amount she had read was beyond anything. She was able to discourse on some pretty heavy materials at length.

During the middle of my perusal of Anne's story, I decided to write some things down. Initially I was just jotting down IEP notes, and blog ideas, then I started with journaling...then the story. There is no title. There is a lot of a whole lotta nuthing. I think I would let only one person read it, but I am too embarrased to let anyone else. The quality and the style isn't there in my opinon. But then I am my own harshest critic.

I know, none of this has anything to do with living with Autsim or Aspergers or anything. I just thought it was interesting how the mind works and where we are going and what we are doing. Besides I am not going to make up a new blog for a single topic. Even Penelope Trunk advises against that plan.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Doing stuff

Today was OK. We had to do some stuff. Lots of stuff.
Nothing bad or major, we are back at figuring out what to do for lunches as the fried food is off limits.

Although I am sounding like a health freak weirdo, I can see the changes in my son's face. He is breaking out more since we changed the diet, which means, in part we are clensing his system from the ickies that were in his diet. We see many changes, the boy tryed grilled zuchinni, and ate most of it.

I will say that we are on the verge, of what I don't know. I do know that I have seen a lot of people on the internet doing and saying things that are frankly offensive. I have one friend in particular and honestly I don't know HOW she stands seeing such things on her blog and website. It really is disturbing. In fact I am so pathetic, I made certain that I commented on her one post that several people needed their mouths washed out with soap. I am not up for sainthood or Aspie Mommy of the year or any junk like that. I will say that we work darn hard to get our son to be socially acceptable. It is wearing and a pain in the neck. But if the example of people who are adults and have autism and are acting and behaving as they do to others in cyber land it is no wonder they are having issues with their neighbors (people on the street and a work). I am wondering why I am trying so hard with my son. What is the point.

As was in a prior posting on this blog IT IS ABOUT MANNERS PEOPLE. WE have to teach our kids GOOD MANNERS. I will say here and now, my son had better thank anyone who gives him a gift, I don't care if he doesn't like it much, he had better thank them and appreciate what he is getting. A good example of this is a time where he was seeing a doctor. The doc was rewarding postive behavior with gift certificates. My son was appreciative of the gift certificate because it saved him from having to earn more money for whatever he was saving for at the time. He showed good manners by thanking the doc for the gift and then using it appropriately. Would he have liked more $$ on the gift certificate? Heck yeah, but he had the manners enough to say, "Thank you, I love it" instead of saying, "What can I get with that? It isn't enough to buy anything with."

Having good manners is like the book "The Divine Secrets of the YA-YA Sisterhood" In one part Sidda says, "How kind can we afford to be to each other." So we have good manners to be kind to each other. I remember reading that Temple Grandin said that we need to teach our kids manners. Good grief we need to teach adults manners! It doesn't seem that anyone has manners anymore. I am thinking that with a HS diploma there needs to be a Miss Manners book sent along with it. Maybe it is because my parents were so seasoned by the time they had me, or maybe it is because I was told, "Go stand at the punch bowl and serve punch until dinner is served. Your dinner will be in the kitchen after the adults are served" at parties, but I learned the value of good manners.

I think that it hit my husband and I when we were at a speech therapy session with our son. This was years ago, but our son was still in session and a therapist had come out with another patient and told the boy he could have a piece of candy. His mom decreed he could have one for each hand, and after the boy kicked at the therapist (my husband and I watching in HORROR) we decided that our son would never be that rude. Ever.

So he learned, "Please, Thank you, I am sorry, I made a mistake, I don't understand things": all of it. Maybe he apologizes too often or isn't as polite as some of the other kids, but by goodness if you needed help and were nice to himit is more than likely he would help you out and BACK YOU UP if you ever needed it. He learned to push a wheel chair, and help his Grandma and to come when called and to help and to do as he was told. He might not do it all the time but he does do it now and is trying hard to get his priveledges back. It is all about the manners!

When I read about adults without good manners, I remember a comment I used to make when I worked retail, "The nerve of some people's children."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

9 1/2 Pounds

What is 9 1/2 pounds?

In metric it is 4.30912752 kilograms. It is also the size of a fish, there are people who have had 9 lb babies, and there is my son who has lost that much weight in about 3+ weeks. We have continued with the diet and exercise plan. Frankly, I am a little apprehensive. He is telling me that he is not happy about the diet itself, but is happy about the weight loss. My first thought is "Oh great a kid with an eating disorder here we go." Then I heard that there were others in the family that were on the low cholesterol and diet plan.

I think that we are on the right track, but it is hard to stay motivated when there is a kid who is a crank and a half. He is moody and irriatable. It is not fun to be here right now. His normal is pretty demanding, just generally, so add a diet change and we are in a place that isn't a whole lotta fun. I am running for cover (not literally). Today I hid in the family room watching the "Harry Potter" series and wondering how I ended up with Dudley.

On a different note, I was scrapbooking today (for those non-crafters I was organizing my family photos). I had about 3 books in various stages of disrepair. I decided that since I have the time (and no money for beer ha ha) I would re-organize pictures into an album. Some of this is one shot dealies... for example: we went to a baseball game or went to a memorial exhibit, you know the drill. Anyhow, I had over taken the dining room. Several large boxes of pics, albums, templates and paper, stickers,glue is everywhere. And what do you know, the boy child decides to talk to me. He is trying to work out our differences. Or more accurately, he is trying to talk me into what he wants me to do (not happening, hotstuff).

It should be amusing that he wants to have me learn about what he is thinking and feeling. However, his abilty to understand what I am thinking and feeling is a whole nother ball park. The comprehension for that part isn't there yet. He is workingon it, but he still hasn't gotten it down yet. We keep hoping, and we have been told that the atypical's (AKA gen's) have the same issues. Much of this seems to be the hs garbage that all kids are trying to throw at the parents. Unfortunately for my kid, Mom and Dad didn't just fall off the turnip truck (one of my Dad's sayings).
Today's arguement was over video games.The boylost again. One has to admire his persistance, but he needs a change in venue and tactics. The current way is not working for him. I think he needs lessons in technique....would it be unfair to teach him? I think I should, but I am tired of the discussions and endless questions and demands. Refrasing the question doesn't help. It makes the mom of the house more annoyed than anything else. I think teaching him would give rest to others and be totally unfair to my husband and I.

I think, ifthe boyhad realized how frustrated I really was maybe his decisions would have been different. my initial aggrivation came from the clothes washer quitting on me today. I couldn't get the thing going and someone is supposed to come by and look at it tomorrow. Making demands of me, and never shutting up about them, is likely to make the mom of all trades a tad cranky after having to manually dump out the water from the washer with a plastic container to the sink. Although the boy child helped, it was not without constant discussion and asking for what he wanted in no uncertain terms. Naturally, it got stale real quick.
The end result was the boy took a nap, I worked on the dishes and reorganizing the status of the photo albums and then took a long overdue walk with my husband. Mentally I am worn down. And a little sad. My sister is in town. I would have liked to seen her and her familya bit, but I am not going to subject myself to an afternoon of my son being a royal pain inmy neck and try to be social at the same time. It is too hard and too stressful. As I have said before, I am saying "No" to stuff I would have said "Yes" to in the past.Primarily, becuase I am now working on what is best for my son (and my mental health)and how to avoid completely stressful situations (going to the mall with no money and a shop-a-holic teenager-ICKO) having to say "No" to shopping with him would have caused a mini meltdown and it is just better to avoid it entirely.

So the lesson today is.... OK there is no lesson today. As Calvin and Hobbes used to say, "Live and not Learn, that is us." Right now that is the way I feel.

Scarlett used to say that she would think about it tomorrow. I think, for today I will think about it tomorrow too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Making changes

How many times a day do we make choices? The easy ones, what to wear, eat or when to take a shower (before or after the coffee?).




We had to make a choice several weeks ago. Our son had a cholesterol test. To say that it was elevated is putting it mildly. Let's just say that it was OVER the allowed amount. WAY OVER the top. We had to make a choice, well many choices. Frankly, my husband thinks I am over reacting. He wasn't at the doc's office, nor did he take the phone call.



On our way to a wedding we got the news: "Change your diet or your son will die before he becomes 20." BAM.



How do we change a diet? Especially someone who has issues with texture, eating and, oh please don't get me started.

First off we were instructed to make our diet 80-90% veggies and fruit (more steamed veggies than fruit), 10-20% starches and meat. No fried foods: that means NONE, no french fries, chicken fingers, or even pizza. We told our son the truth. He was devastated to say the least. We are dive bombed and here I am scratching my head wondering if I remember how to prepare tofu.



So we started reading. First off we looked at Jessica Seinfield's book, can't rememberthe title, but we had a copy, or our son did. Pureeing veggies works for me, I had done that before and we can do it again. I am not sold on WHAT the lady makes, but we can use some of what she has. Then going back to how I used to make things...



For those who didn't know, prioir to me swearing off cooking, I was a full blown vegitarian. I made my own everything, without fats, dairy and all that stuff. A poor man's Martha Stewart. When my son and I moved back to IL I swore I was done with that. I didn't want to concentrate on food or think about what we ate. So I quit cold turkey; my son ate what the other kids ate, sometimes. Then when my husband and I got married I further proved my ineptetude in the kitchen and we decided it was safer for me to work on other things like laundry and my job. Since I haven't found a job replacement, it looks like I am back in the kitchen. Someone tell Susan K so she doesn't fall over into shock OK?



Anyway, showing my son how to make brownies without egg and oil was a bit of a shock. His response, "MOM, you are wasting perfectly good applesauce, HOW COULD YOU?" After we got them in the oven and I let him eat a little of the dough, he told me they were too sweet but might be OK after baking. We moved onto making mac and "cheese". Texturally, my son thinks mac and cheese is disgusting. He hates macaroni and it is a struggle to get him to eat it; Pureeing squash was a little weird, but then adding it to the cooked mac was beyond the normal for him. He did try it, but still hates macaroni.



We have to make some pretty rotten choices right now. We can't eat a lot of junk. Most of that we got rid of, and we aren't eating out very much. Most of what we have are salads, veggies and then a smaller than normal portion of the rest. We are hungry, but we need to not stuff ourselves and we need to exercise and work out and NOT EAT as much. Not surprising we are all overweight, we eat more than we need to and more than the portion sizes allotted. We are trying to drink more water, and eat the veggies prior to anything else.



To show our son a good example we have all cut back. It is hard. It will be harder when we are traveling or visiting and have to bring our own food becasue our son can't eat what is there. I am not looking forward to that at all. It will be an argument with both my husband and son and I am not relishing that one. Back at the over reacting, right, well not really. If my son is not able to metabolize that kindof food, then we have tomake permanent adjustments and it is better to do what we have to rather than think, "Great, he is eating (that) and it will kill him."



According to different reports I have read there is a way to flush the cravings for fat and junk out of our systems. We have to go without, recommended time is 6 months, then we can see if we want it or not or if we are heathlier or not with or without it. In the 2 weeks we have cut back, our son has lost the belly fat, is eating salad, drinking water and is staying away from juices ( high in sugar/fat) and not eating the junk food (fries, misc.) He is not happy without, but understands that it is better for him. He didn't like not getting his old favorites when we went out with Grandma, but he did eat what he was given and did decide that it wasn't so bad.



His next round of blood tests are this week. We are hoping that this diet change has helped and will make things better for him and for us.



What i am asking for is morale support, some extra understanding and no surpise if we decide our son can't eat what is served. Don't be thinking this is fun for us, it isn't; it stinks. We are already viewed as very strict and hard to take. Just wait until school starts and we have to see what he is able to eat in the cafeteria. That is gonna be a barrel of laughs (ugh).



In my own obtuse way, what I am telling everyone, "If we come by, don't be shocked if we have eaten prior to coming, or bring our own food for our son. His diet is very tenacious and we are being rather strict right now to make certain he will be able to make the healthy choices in the long term."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Review

It is quiet here. The cats aren't even fighting.



Review,



Reviews happen when you are working, many times annually. When you are a parent, well reviews happen when things are quiet.



In our house it hasn't been quiet for about 3 years. When our son was almost 13 he decided not go see his bio father anymore. From what I know, this was a long process. It was planned by my ex, and it was painful. My son went thru a lot. We don't know, but we believe that there was a lot of negative stuff going on. Our son decided that being there was too hard, and he was tired of always being at fault for things he didn't do or wasn't aware of. He reviewed his options and opted out of going through the pain of being in a place where he wasn't wanted and he didn't want to be. He chose and we supported his choice.



Now he is growing up.



The maturity level he showed at the time was BEYOND his years. He had the wisdom to know what to do and how to get out of a bad situation. He was/is strong and very intelligent. Most people don't see him that way. In fact, many family think that he is not that bright, we push him into things he is not ready for and that he isn't going to make it.



They are wrong.



I have thought a lot about this recently, more so since my son decided to go to camp. He has never been to a camp before, this is new. He never had the opportunity to try this kind of thing when he was younger, and he decided that he wanted to be there for his personal growth. His personal growth began when he was younger and made that tough decision for himself. How many gens could do that? From what i have seen and the ones that I know: none of them would have the endurance or the backbone to make a decision to not see a person for themselves. I am not down on gens. I am just pointing out that many of them have had it pretty easy. The tough decisions are made when you are told 'NO" more than you are not.



When my son was younger, I was told "No, he can't do that" more times than i could count. Many times I told the person saying it to "Stuff it". SOmetimes I didn't. Most of the time I did. Reviewing this area of life, well, I guess one could say I am a tough ole broad, but really it comes down to having faith. You don't have to like it, but in our view, since our son has a problem, we have had him in church and itis a case like his old bio teacher said, "Look at what God can do."



My husband and I were drawn to a place that frankly, I had avoided for years, purely because I listend to my Dad and believed what he told me. It wasn't a bad place, just not somehting my Dad thought was right (too big and too much $$). Sadly, my Dad's information on it was slightly faulty. Not thru his own decisions; just fromt he people he believed to know what was going on and they weren't necessarily right. this was what held me back. I was suspicious. I was reserved (for me that is a stretch).



Slowly, things started happening. our son wanted to go to church. He wanted to go. I was thinking he was sick. He wasn't. He was hearing and experiencing things he never had before. This was amazing to me. My husband was surprised and we started opening windows where the doors had been shut. Our lives were slowly being re-arranged and there was nuthin' we could do about it. It worked for us. We are not in charge of much of anything, I have no control over much around here. As Bill Cosby once said, "I have seen the boss' job and I don't want it."



I don't know what camp will bring, I don't know how he will be when he gets home. I do know that he is safe, in a good place and I pray having the time of his life.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Writing without focus

I am unfocused.




It is true, I am, and I am tired and worn out and pooped or whatever you want to call it.



We have packed a lot into the summer. Not by choice though. I can say I was THRILLED yesterday afternoon having to take the boy to the doc and the doc cancelled. The bad side of me wanted to know if I got a refund because she cancelled only 2 hours prior to the appointment. The good side of me said, "Great, now I can take a nap."



Our boy has been in credit HS classes all summer. this most recent one is a disappointment. My son is worn out, he is tired from working so hard, he got an A in the photography class. (I still need to scan the pictures) and he was getting a D+ in a pass/fail class. Anything below a C is failing when you do that BTW. Being this focused, on his classwork is draining. I am frankly exhausted. So being so blooming tired why am I up so late?



I saw something bad, sad and it made me mad. A mom harmed her 2 autistic children because she wanted regular kids and not austic ones. Tragic, and terrifying. How could anyone hurt babies? Well, they weren't exactly babies, but they were little kids. Being the parent of an Aspie or any other kid is tough. We have a lot of work to do, not just socially, but mentally, physically and perception-wise. Put this on a person with minimal support from family, community (NOT SCHOOLS, their church or neighbors) and you are looking at a pretty tramatic situation. It is not up to everyone to step in, but when you are looking at possibly underpriveleged families, a difficult situtation and then social issues. It is a lot to handle.



We fould our salvation (spiritually, mentally and physically), really, at church. My cousin's church in KY started cleaning us out spiritually (we were there for a wedding), then we got home and started going to a new church, then did the baptism and the went up from there. It sounds like it went faster than it really did... this process took YEARS. we had to be ready to WANT the support. I, myself, had to overcome my feelings and deep rooted beliefs and then to be ready for all of us to want to be there.... it wasn't an overnight process.



I think we are all scared. I am, my husband is, and my son is trying to learn to understand what general society expects from him. We regularly bust ourselves trying to keep up with the latest information, reports and studies. I will be honest, there are VERY few things I have read recently. Not because of a temp job, but because they are not relevant.



Parents like us are overloaded with information, negative people and the ability to not see a light at the end of the tunnel. Kids are the light. My boy, even when he has problems, breaks something, scares himself (and me) and we learn and MOVE it on up. This week ahs been tough, but tolerable, and he has learned athat if I tell him to finish the project early that means he can do the reports or whatever and then make corrections in the classroom during the day. At least it is started at home; and it makes the day go faster but he has to work his butt off. (FYI- He went from a D+ to a B)



Most of the time, my social comes from FB. during the day when I am looking for work, or being a slug, I am on here wasting time and trying to numb my brain from stress. It is easy for me to get on here, relax and not worry. Lately, I have been worrying, not blogging and just reading tripe and junk and trying to find my way. I know WHAT I need to read and what I need to do, and don't. maybe from fear, or lack of understanding or whatever.



Or maybe the downtime is just needed and I need to stop letting people get me down. I need to NOT respond to people who have issues with being condescending. I have to be back at forgiving myself for not being generous and understanding that those people may have it much worse than I do, and my son is like a Renoir sketch, and a beautiful work in progress. My life is not perfect, nor would I want it to be, I know I would get bored. My husband and I have each other, MANY blessings, marvy friends and a real place to go where everyone knows your name (NOT the "Cheers" bar).



Like I said in the begining, I am unfocused...this has been hither and yon. I think it is time to grab an orange cappucino, some granola a tripey book and hit the showers.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

delicate little flowers

There are times when my son is what I call a "delicate little flower". He is being extra touchy, or annoyed with me about something. Not that this is a bad thing. I do get on him about homework, school and his activities.

Lately, I am finding that I am going back to my old tendencies of living with regrets/ I wish I had, I thought I should, I don't know what I did this time. All of which may stem from living with a child with autism. Parents in this situation have a larger tendency to second guess themselves and we are more likely to be blunt to the point of courseness. I bring this up because a friends comment reminded me of an episode with one of my son's old doctors.

This was an appointment that was hard to keep. I had to take him in regularly, and basically take the day off of work and pray that I might actually get to see the doc I was supposed to see. Most of the time I would sit in the lobby for a minimum of 4 hours. Then another couple in the room and then to hear, "Have you looked into homes yet?" The night she asked me to come back in 2 months, I had been there almost 8 hours. I was with my son, and he was running rampant.... I was a mess, trying to figure out what to do about everything and getting the run around from the staff. Finally, I broke. I laughed at her for a good 20 minutes. I couldn't stop. She had no idea how tough it was to make an appointment, then to go and have to sit until she got to see us, then to tell us to come back? Good grief.

Several months later she retired. As I have mentioned to others, I hope my outburst had something to do with it. She should not have been diagnoising kids with her lack of information and background.  I later heard that there was a class action lawsuit against her because of her erroneous diagnosis. She did it to us and MANY others and my son still thinks he would like to join in. As he told me the other day, "Mom. if you had listened to her, what would have happened to me? Where would I be? What would I do?"

I wish I had an answer for him. Sadly, I wonder often how many people did listen to her?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Escaping technology

Have you ever wondered what we did without constant communication?

After working an intense temp job recently, my husband decided that my son and I needed to be tech free for a few days. Not  a bit of access to a computer. Nada, and no cell phones, video games or FB or anything.

So what did 2 techno geeks do w/out their forms of communication. Well the boy fished, ALOT. I worked on a wedding sampler that I have been designing using antique sampler patterns. Oh and we went someplace where cell signals don't work. Am I eager to get back to techno. Well, NO I am not. I would rather not deal with the fallout. I am also not telling people, unless I know they will worry, if we are gonna do it again.

We had real conversations with our 15 year old Aspie. He looked out the window, fell asleep in the car and got bored (NO!) and helped with 3 sick kitty cats. He was a typical for just a little while. He expressed real opinions and concerns (Even though one was about missing History Dectectives). I was informed of something he wants me to do.... or at least look in to.

OH THE PLACES YOU WILL GO; w/out the IPOD, computer and video games.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Being bad

I have been bad. Not really bad, just bad in that I have tons to write aobut and no time to do it. We have been swamped with things to do.

being swamped messes us up. Not negatively, just in that we are trying to ahrd to fit too much in a short span of  time. Those are the days when I feel like my son does... too much to do. A friend of ours, Brian King said something that i think merits repeating, "Protect your time, protect your energy, reduce the number of activities that drain your energy while increasing the activities that give you energy. Decide right now that you can't and don't need to solve every problem there is. Then you can get focused and get on with solving the problems you are good at and were put here to solve."

I think we need to slow down. We are picking and choosing what we do and how we do it. I am not stopping stuff but there are times when we are just overwhelmed, over done and over over.

Right now we are going to get thru this next week, then we are gonna figure out HOW to get where we need to be and then figure out what to do when we get there if we get there.
Kind of the "Road to Nowhere" but just not as melancholy. THis is a rather good road even if i don't like it much or think it merits my attention.

My son wants to slow down, the problem is, if he does all he will do is eat, watch TV and get fat. He doesn't need to do that so we are making him work out, run and or do something to get his butt moving. Right now it is summer school and wrestling practice. Next week it will be dropping him off at the corner and making him run home... he needs to burn it off and take responsiblity for his actions. We are working on it...kind of like we are working on everything else too.
Good night, what aren't we working on?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marking time.

Those of you ex-band geeks KNOW what "marking time" is. For the uninitiated, marking time is marching in one spot, putting your feet back down on the ground exactly where you had placed it. IT takes hard work and a TON of practice. My old band director taught us a lot about marking time. I can still hear him shouting, "Mark time, MARK, 1,2,3,4" and we would march in place until we were told to move again.

Why do I mention this, well there is a good reason. Our kids need to learn to shut up, listen, follow directions without discussion. That is hard for an Aspie to do. My son knows that when I say, "No" I mean NO and don't ask me again. The more you ask the less likely it is you will get what you want. He badgers, begs and tries to wear us down. He did it today, and did earn 10 min on a favored activity ON ONE CONDITION. (You will like this) IF he dares to MENTION the favored activity to me ONCE tomorrow in ANY sequence it will be a MONTH before he can do the favored activity again.

I play hardball.

I also am tired of being badgered. The more someone bugs me the madder I get and then more annoyed I am. THink of it this way, our kids need to work, get jobs and all that. If they are argumentative, they will loose the job oportunity FASTER than you can spit a nickel. WORK is work, at work they don't want WHY you are assigned an icky project or don't like something. You do it and lump it; write the speeches, do the reports, whatever, it is your job and you have to do it with out argument. Like Marking time in marching band; it is not fun, but it is better to Mark time than be run down by the American Legion Float. (FYI- just an exaggerated example OK, keep your shirts on).

I have some pretty high expectations for my son. So does my husband. We expect him to behave maturely, we expect him to read, we want him to do well. I will tell you, my son went to a gen ed school for 3 years. After the 3 years at the gen ed school he was able to read at a 4th grade level. When he transferred to the gen ed school he was reading and COMPREHENDING at a Sophomore in HS level. The drop was dramatic, the drop was Exceedingly disappointing. The "country club" atmosphere at the gen ed school is lower standards, lower expectations and reduced ciriculum.

With that change to a gen ed school,  does it mean that he would have Gen ed friends? I hope so, I don't know for sure. Rarely is he contacted by anyone except via me. I wish I could say that I knew people that had kids his age, I know one person. Like us they are super busy, and getting kids to hang out now is extremely limited. I think the boys in his small group contact him, but I don't know for sure, as he doesn't mention it to me. I know he is lonely, I know he is bored. I don't have many options on what to do about it. In this situation, it is like marking time. There is little we can do to change it but hope that he learns by being exposed to gen ed kids. We don't really know anyone out of the special ed world, when we moved to this neighborhood there were 3 houses filled (that we knew of) and now the kids that are here are EXTREMELY younger than my son, and although he is nice to them he doesn't really want ot hang out with little kids.

In spite of this, we are still really tough on him. He is limited to the amount of things that he is allowed to do and for how long (or at all, World of Warcraft is NOT an option for him). I don't like being the meany, playing hardball is hard on the hands and you have to wear gloves. He doesn't realize now, that we need him to do well, he has expectations that are made of him and he need to keep his head int he game.The basics of what he needs to remember is just the start, the hygene, the daily vitamins, all of that is VITAL for him in his day to day existance.

Working, and marking time, means you have to keep your head int he game. Being independent, or in a teen Aspie's view, argumentative, is not helpful. or endearing to a potential employer or in a general way. My son argues with me about anything and everything. I can say that the sky is blue and he will swear that it is green. This is where we are trying to teach him to not talk, stay quiet, arguing is not going to help at work or at home. (I will ground him and send him to bed, end of story) Most work places arguing is not allowed and unless a rational example, by someone who is mature enough to have a view point or an experience is not allowed to be taken at all seriously. For example, putting the ground beef next to the ground pork at the grocery store, if viable, might be a good idea since in some dishes they are used in tangent. That could be a reasonable argument at work....make it simple.

Arguing for the sake of arguing is a waste of my time. My son does it constantly. I am not taking the bate anymore, but I am also not allowing the favored activites to happen either. This summer is gonna be a long one, cause the boy, he is 'marking time."

MARK TIME, MARK, 1, 2, 3, 4