Tuesday, March 29, 2011

you can't always get what you want

But you may get what you need.
I loved that old song.....



my son is being Mr. Ed....in fact that is his new nickname....what does it mean? It means he is being a nag and driving us nuts, the more he nags the more we say NO the more we say no the more he nags. It is a vicious cycle....



One would think by this juncture in his life he would have worked out that nagging me only gets him in trouble and that if he continues to nag I will make certain that punishments/groundings for longer periods are forthcoming. I don't do nagging, my parents tried and after me locking myself in my bedroom and not coming out for along while...nagging was discontinued as an ineffective way to get me to do something. Same goes for my kid.....he nags and I am so done with that bit. I shut down and stop listening to him...then I do the unthinkable (to him anyway)....what do I do, I turn away and say...........

NO!

His response has been, "What did I do? What did I do? I didn't do anything to you." No you didn't physically DO anything to us.....but mentally you are driving us nuts so go over there sit down and shut up and if you talk you will get grounded for another six weeks. We think that the down time or the "Quiet Zone" gives us a break and eventually he will come out of his room and tell us he realizes that he didn't really want what he thought he wanted because he fell for the advertising.

Mostly he nags about watching TV, downloading Applications on a school I-Pad (with permission) and the fact that he wants whta he wants when he wants it. As a parent, or a responsible parent it is best to do things this way....be selfish and SAY NO. It is easier to say Yes....it is the nuts and bolts of learning as a parent to say NO.....therefore I say NO.

Oh and when does their voice start changing? We still get that high pitched pendantic voice that drives me to drink....Please tell me it will happen soon....we are running out of our favorite wines.

I think that we are very good at what we do, and we are trying to get the boy to get over his wants and catch up to what he NEEDS to do....which is develop beyond the great frontier of electronic video games and start acting like a 16 going on 17 year old kid. But that gets me back to my old way of doing things and being "anti video game" I still think kicking the kids out of the house to play in the yard is acceptable. WHO cares if they rip up the brick steps and muck around in the dirt? Being BORED is a regular part of life. I spent 90% of my vacations as a kid being bored out of my flipping mind. I have no issues with kids being bored.....let them smush ants on the sidewalk or wait for the bus and peel sticks. It won't hurt them and it is better than other things they could be doing (like nagging you for stuff they don't need).

A new goal could be "My kid needs to learn to sit over there not do anything and be bored." I wonder how that would go over at an IEP? It's a thought. I would be curious to see how the goal would be formatted so if anyone does have the guts to try it let me know what happens....if nothing else we can be amused by the dumbfounded expressions on the teams faces....it could be worth a good laugh.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I thought of something else

Principal: If you give off signals that you don't want to belong, people will make sure that you don't.



Where did this line come from? It was written by John Hughes in Pretty in Pink.
 
Why is this relevant?
 
Ok you Aspie Parents out there, you need to think about HOW YOU DRESS YOUR KIDS. Our kids need to look like every other kid in the class. This does NOT mean wearing sweat pants everyday. It means looking around, checking out what the kids are wearing. Safe bets right now are t-shirts, jeans and Nike gym shoes (wilder colors the better). Don't forget the black sweat socks (shorter socks with shorts) and the jeans jackets (older ones are OK but watch the cut for the boys). From what I have seen of the girls add Abercrombie and maybe Express and you should be relatively safe....don't forget the flip flops (found anywhere)
NOW why is this important? I will tell you why.
 
Our kids have enough of a struggle to get thru the day. NOT looking like the other kids means that they could be targets for teasing or bullying. We have to think about their looks; more likely than not they aren't or if they are, it isn't cool to look like you came out of the advertisement for your favorite shop.
 
We have specific shops for certain things, Banana Republic, Areopostale, Hollister, Nike, just to name a few. We buy our kid what the other kids are wearing to school. He carries his gym bag, backpack and other stuff just like everyone else does.
 
FYI - Sweats are for working out at the gym. NOT to wear to class or all day. Look like you walked out of the advertisement makes it look like you are showing off; not cool at all (and much easier on a parents pockebook)
 
The next time you are at the school, pay attention to what the kids are wearing....start looking at the trends and dress your kid accordingly/
 
If you dress like you are outside, you will be treated like you are outside,,,,lets bring everyone INSIDE and think about appropriate appearences.
At least for our Aspie's anyway....as we tell out kid, comfort is fine, at home and in bed...you dress a certain way for school, home, working out, church and going out with friends. IT all fits, and now that he is in the habit, it comes naturally to him.
You need to make it a habit too. Trust me on this one OK? I know I am right this time.

It's been a day

We have ahd a couple of these in a row...nothing bad or awful, just full and busy.
Yesterday was the Sec of State debacle. Did you know that you can't get a driver's permit with out being registered for a class? You have to have the "form from the school" 30 days before you can take your kid, get the permit and life is never the same again.
Being the grossly naive mother that I am, I did it. It was ALL me, truely. My better half and I took the boy to the DMV and had some other business to conduct, but decided to do it all at once. I had papers everywhere....and the geezer at the desk said, "No you can't do that." My next question was, "Why not? He has to have the permit before registering for the class."
make a long story short, we couldn't get the permit....we have to go back. Again....to that lovely place, and hope and pray they will cooperate the next time (I have my doubts).
Then we decided to take a mini road trip to the farm to visit the in laws, a sister and just hang out. On the way we hit a store to find clothing for the boy, he out grew a bunch of jeans that Grandma bought him for Christmas.....he is so TALL. how did that happen? He has shorts and pants now to take him thru the summer, we finally were able to locate cargo pants again.....much easier during fishing season to carry the bait around.
While going, we found out what some of the problem is with him lately.... talking in the car happens a lot and it does us all good. AND he found an estate sale with a bunch of out of print board games.

Anyway today we, the better half and I were gone for a conference pretty much all day.
Now for the good stuff.....

we got home, and low and behold, the boy had made 4 sandwiches, "Bobby Flay" style, and did the appropriate subsitutions for things we didn't have......they were good sandwiches too, a blt with cheese and toasted and grilled. VERY TASTY. but the reall thing is that HE DID IT BY HIMSELF. He found everything and pulled it all togehter without any help. HE FIGURED it out and found all the stuff in the kitchen and made everything. When we got in the door he was heating the sandwiches on plates and served them when we sat down to visit. It was amazing....and nice for a change....we even told him that it would be OK to use the toaster oven instead of the microwave and he didn't know that using a grill and the toaster oven would be OK but who the heck cares the KID MADE DINNER!!!

Ze boy, he is grozing up and if I weren't so happy about him making dinner I could cry!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Listening

Have you ever truely listened to your kid?
Aspies can go on FOREVER about a myriad of topics. The other day a friend of my son's told me that she discovered that the boy was really very intelligent. She was working on a paper and he asked her what she was doing and then he started doing the encyclopedia thing....he started telling her that there were some different facts that she might want to use and started detailing them for her. She was able to add the materials and still figure out that he was a nice person once you got under all the talking.....

There are parts in the Bible that discuss listening....how to listen to God, things like that. Are you able to listen to God? I will admit it is not my strong suit. I am able to ask God lots of questions or pray for lots of  people or situations......but listen? Be still? that is not part of the project here.....doesn't happen often enough.

Lately listening has become an issue in our house. We are normally SO verbal all the time....it is how things are with constantly having to explain things (details; how to fold a bed sheet). It is a doss to figure things out....even when to take a shower can be a big issue. At one point I couldn't shower before the boy went to bed; there would be an argument...or some other problem and I didn't dare take the time.....by the time the boy got into bed it was all I could do not to drop asleep on the family room floor (it's laminate, not very comfy). So I would think, "Oh I will get to it in the AM." Well there is no time in the AM, then I would get home from work and have to run here or run there...no time then. Then get home and finally think, "NOW I get to take a shower." Nope....no time gotta help with homework or clean the cat box....

The 2 guys in the house take showers.....they must stink a lot....but they have time. As for me, I fit my shower in whenever I can get it. If I don't stop and listen there, then and how, I might miss something important (doubt it but one never knows).

Anyway back to listening, it is easy to tell when the boy isn't listening. The eyes glaze over, the nail biting or the scrathing of a head (fuzz now, since Baldericks) and staring off into space.....typical teen stance of "OMG Iam so beyond bored." I know how he feels. I get that way too but being an adult we can't really do that stuff anymore so we have to make ourselves listen and try really hard to understand where people are coming from.

Maybe finding what we are looking for would help too, ya think? You know where I am going right, and it isn't Talking Heads this time, it is U-2......


It is possible that listening has something to do with knowing what you are looking for...or maybe it is the challenge of teaching an Aspie to listen, understand and care about what is going on around him that makes it even better....
Rhetorically speaking, (which means I don't really want and answer to this question; I would LIKE you to thin about it and apply it to YOURSELVES) What is is that you are looking for and how does it relate to what your kid needs and does? I think lately this is really relevant and should be applied to more than just one type of family...it is not for Aspie families alone, but all kinds and the gens are included too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Perceptions of the way life used to be....

Actually, I think it is Reflections of the way life used to be...Diana Ross and the Supremes.


Our son's perceptions are a little different. His idea of showing love for example is to walk up to me hang on my neck and then tell me he is worried about me and death. Not his death but mine.
My neck is a mess. I had a massage and after a day of his hanging on my neck I feel like I am choking. I ask him NOT to do this and his response is that I hate him. FYI- I don't hate him but if this overdramatic behavior doesn't stop  I am gonna ground him for merely driving me nuts.
I don't do well with hanging.....I don't like it when he hangs on  me (think waterfall only 160 lbs of weight dragged onto your neck)....it makes me feel like a piece of meat and well, since I don't like being hung on, the whole meat thing doesn't really work for me. I have been told that since he didn't have a favorite toy when he was little....well he had me. Until I bought him a toy that was something he really wanted (If I tell you WHAT it is he will "Die of embarrassment"); so lets say it was a popular toddler toy. That gained me a reprieve when he was little......now for some reason it (the hanging) has come back again.
The neck hanging is very uncomfortable for me. It does cause me to choke...and he doesn't seem to realize that doing so is not a sign of loving someone it is a sign of abusing them. In that case, what does one do? Well, in our house....he will be grounded from a book or two if he does it again. And he will be paying for my next massage....out of his own money. Normally, making him PAY for something means that the offending activity doesn't happen again.
He is very free with our cash but rather cheap with his own....
At this point I want to clarify; there is a DIFFERENCE between hugging and hanging. I don't mind hugging, but hang on me and I will want to wallop you into the middle of next week. It is really offensive.
Great. I was able to move my neck and now I can't even turn my head.....

Drivers Dred.....

Do you remember Driver's ed? I dredded it.....seriously. My dad was not exactly the one to teach me to drive. As great as he was this was just not his stong point. I had to get out on the road and most of the time he would make me pull over and take over the wheel. I walked (mostly walked, this 'burb didn't have regular public transport until the early 90'S) or  did public transport until my second year in college when my boyfriend taught me to drive. Now I practically live in our car....for years it was drive here go there.....
Truely, if one must learn to drive they need to live in NJ for a year or so....you LEARN to drive there and you can go out anyplace.

Our son is learning to drive. Hopefully he will be a better driver than his mother is....but he is a driver nonetheless; or a potential one. He is nervous about his permit test too.....who wasn't? I remember going and not even studying for it. I just guessed. I am not telling my son that though. He needs to look over the book, take the written test and pass then he can drive a bit. He is taking driver's ed this summer. It is a challenge for him, and he may not be ready for it but he will be able to drive and although I still think he should take it multiple times.....safer on my peace of mind.

There are those who believe Aspies should not drive cars. There are those who believe that there is life on Mars too. Then there are those who are not diagnosed and they are still behind the wheel......even worse. So where does that leave us?
Well, we are of the thought that if our kid is going to live in this society; part of it is learning to drive.

Yesterday, we talked about this experience. We were early for an appointment and decided to walk to a nearby Starbucks (aka Mom's oasis). For the first time, officially, the boy had a tall decaf peppermint mocha with whip. It was his, he asked, and I told him he could try one. He is old enough now to be able to handle having a cup if he wants it.
After he finished it, I informed him that anyone that was able to have coffee, is capable of driving a car. How does this coincide? Well in a gen world it probably doesn't; in our Aspie-land, it makes sense is a weird sort of way. Driving a car is a rite of passage, as is drinking coffee. To our kid, both are grownup things to do....when he was younger, we would hit a Starbucks and I would insist he have organic milk or juice. Ironically, I started drinking coffee when I was 13. It was what was in the house. Mom and I would make up miztures of General Foods coffees and try to guess what we did just for fun.
It is time now for the boy to have his coffee too.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Starting with Dylan; ending with the Stones....

Everybody must get stoned…..(NOT LITERALLY -keep your pants on)




Do you remember that song? I think it was a Bob Dylan song; although it is really rather lame it used to make me laugh. Not that getting stoned is good or anything but that the song itself was really quite stupid. It was obvious that Bob was done in himself while recording and although he has/ had talent; it was negligible at best and really great at worst…..maybe it depended on how stoned one was. Since I have never been desirous of being in that state, the thought of it, to me was very silly. I didn’t need to get drunk or drugged to do stupid things. I do that quite well on my own without assistance.

For me, being able to be “happy in my own skin” has been a learning process. For a long time I wasn’t. I wanted to do what people I thought I was supposed to respect told me. Kind of like Janet Jackson’s song “Control”; “I did what Daddy said I let my Mother mold me.”


Growing out of that phase has taken a long time. For years being a people pleaser was the role I was instructed to have and expected to do. It seems that way with my son. I tried so hard to do what everyone what me to do with him and it just was never good enough. People on the outside don’t always understand that working out the diagnosis and KNOWING deep down that the current doc must have gotten their degrees in correspondence school, well it makes it tough to realize that those who are supposed to be for you are really just not worth the time.

His Asperger’s makes him think he is supposed to do certain things (kind of like his parents). “I am supposed to do such and such to make so and so happy.” I wonder if he is happy in himself (doing that didn’t make us happy). He seems to be, but then there are times when he doesn’t want to deal with things, doesn’t wish to offend. Those are the times he tries too hard and gets frustrated.

I know how he feels.

Lately, I have been making more of an effort with certain people. Close friends ask me why I bother. We have enough on our plate, trying hard with people who don’t get it is kind of like pushing glue uphill- rather futile. First off, I was asked to. Seriously, someone important to me asked me to try. I did. What a waste in futility. Now I can laugh about it but really….trying to work or associate with people who are not living in reality or comprehension is just not worth the effort expended. Ironically, several months ago someone else told me that one of them “Had a very rough life” with what exactly? Try living Aspie-style THEN tell me how rough life is. I believe my response was, “Everyone’s life is rough, if it were easy we wouldn’t learn anything.” I think that person thought our life (my husband and mine) was easy because from what we hear we make it LOOK that way. Back to the control thing, and oddly enough attempting to be gracious from another era (think Grace Kelly).



Fortunately, because of the aforementioned effort in futility, there are things we no longer have to do. Talk about a blessing in disguise; certain “obligations” are no longer required. “Rock on Seymour” that, believe you me, is something I didn’t think would happen for YEARS and now we are blessed with it…. How lucky for us. In the long run, what does that mean? Well, it means not stressing out about trying so hard to take time away from what we need to do; to what others EXPECT us to do. We ain’t got the expectations part anymore. That in itself is a wonderful thing.

Why does the song “Satisfaction” seem like it should fit in here? Well I think it does so here we go, enjoy it.



The other part is teaching our son….he is learning that we don’t have to be doormats and we are allowed to set the rules and stick to them if necessary. What a break for him, I didn’t catch onto that until long after we bought our house. At least he is learning early….let’s hope it sticks.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The King's Speech

Have you seen this movie? If not, you should. Although it is set in very wealthy royal family of England, it does SHOW the struggle one man had with a debilitating disability. Stammering was viewed as a sign of ignorance or stupidity. It came out that this man had been through trama at a young age. A left handed child re trained to be right handed, wore painful braces to straighten his legs and there were other issues as well.

It was enlightening to see early speech therapy tools. Used by a man who was not a doctor, but had been through the experience helping people who were "shell shocked" and not responding to traditional medicines or treatment. To show that the early sciences in this area and even how the Church tried to horn in on something they knew nothing about (I have found you an expert). The Economist ran an article about stuttering and mentioned that it may run in families. "To investigate further, Dr Drayna is now attempting to splice human stutter-causing genes into the DNA of mice. That, of course, raises the question of what a stuttering mouse sounds like. To the human ear, it may not sound like anything." Which to me sounds kind of weird but it can't be any worse than singing a sentance or trying to get through an experience with assistance and without cigarettes.



I know I am pretty unconventional but I think that everyone should see this movie. Parents with kids with disabilities who know that experts are always knowing everything. I am certain that this movie is not only paramount in our little corner of the world it shows that ANYONE can over come anything and still be able to function in a real and appropriate manner. Although my son doesn't stammer, he does have some "language issues" some picked up from his unconventional mother and others heard at school. I am working on keeping my language issues in check and still trying harder to keep my son in school and working to be able to manage in a 9-5 society. Lionel Logue was not a traditional speech therapist choice. Neither is what we have to do with our kids. Back in the day Aspies were not in special ed, nor were they put in special classrooms. They were dealt with and then either moved up or back in the educational system.

The King suffered nerves, and many other issues dealing with public speaking. Colin Firth's representation of a grown man's struggle with his own pride and what he neeeded to do is a direct effect on what our kids can do. Any one of the kids can do anything they set their minds to. Maybe we as parents need to believe they can do it as well. Queen Elizabeth certainly believed her husband could do it.... why can't you? I am working on believing the boy can do it.
He has to...he has no one else after my husband and I are gone.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

just gonna show up

Have you ever just wanted to show up?
Seriously, go to a party and just go.....no plans no worries go and and fun.
That is what we are doing now. We are showing up....kind of a weird planned spontinaety (sp). We went to a rock concert several weeks back. Natually we like different bands, my husband was classic rock, I am totally punker, and the rest we could have done without.


BUT the thing is, we went. And had a good time and had AMAZING burgers at this all nite joint around the corner at midnight. This is what we would have done in college....and loved it. Doing it now makes it more fun than ever.
Even better, finding out that all I have to do is show up at a family party. Just go. No work, no worries, not thinking about the cats or the boy or the house.....it is all good.

I wonder how many of our kids on the spectrum can just SHOW UP....be there and go with the flow. Maybe that takes practice, or maybe having to be all stressed and planned up is something that makes it worse, DK but I still know what I know and there are times that just showing up is the best thing we can do.
There are several occassions this summer that all I gotta do is show up. Be there or B square. Excellent.

How amazing is that? Show up, say HI and leave. Now to train our son on How to make a fast exit....leave them wanting more......like Gracie Allen. She was a consumate professional and did her job. She retired on top and was the best of the best for years.....even after she died. George never bothered with another woman, why should he, he had Gracie. As he says in his book, "Marry Gracie" Well maybe we should all try to be like Gracie. Seriously, a littel scattered, a litte gracious and immaculate. OK in my dreams.


Gosh this is worse than last night, I went from punk rock to Gracie Allen.

This is our new teaching tool, we are gonna teach the boy how to just show up.....and roll with it

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Trying to decide WHAT to write about

Todays blog is a tough call. I have a number of topics to choose from. One title was called "Puzzle Pieces", another was called "Putting FUN in dsyFUNctional- Mary Englebrieght" the other was "You wanna do WHAT?"

Sadly, none of this relates to Aspergers or autism. This is frustration with people who are supposedly gen but i am starting to believe are completely nutso. In fact, I have washed my hands of them; but that is another blog altogether (the washing hands thing). THis is a blog about making decisions on what to write and how to focus on just one topic.

This has been a week of trying to focus, going on job interviews (Ok just one but still), writing mentally....and trying to figure out how to increase stats on the blog have been part of the process. It isn't like it used to be, pull on the white go-go boots and RUN! Now we have to think about what is relevant, or does this sound harsh....and why don't I care anymore. Have you ever heard KoKo Taylor's song, "I don't care anymore."? there are people who should have it engraved in their brains so that they remember that there are those of us who don't care about or for them anymore.Oddly enough, it was our son who exposed us to KoKo Taylor. He had seen her on a kids comic show or something and he liked this song (this is Doris Duke, I couldn't locate KoKo)



I have figured out that as a parent of a kid on the spectrum I am used to TRYING TOO BLASTED HARD to please people who really don't give a rats butt about others. It is a way of life around here and we work our butts off with training, social skills, homework and having a typical 16 year old. I don't know if I like other people's kids but I do know that there are times I don't like my own....he is 16, I am not supposed to like him when he acts like a dope.

At least he has an excuse. There are other people who don't have an excuse although having one probably wouldn't save their sorry butts no matter what. I am tough on my kid but you know what...he excells and is a good kid with a lot of brains.
Can't say that for a lot of people that is for sure.