Thursday, April 24, 2014

IT is official-

my Aspie son knows me too well.

Tonight's premise-
I was looking for some paperwork. This is stuff that I knew I had but God-knows where- L LOOKED THROUGH EVERYTHING- I did- I went through paperwork that needed filed (and yes I finally got around to filing it), I went through old documents...I looked in boxes. I looked in photo albums (still don't have the boy's HS years stuff done- London came first).

The boy came out of the shower and said, "You know Mom I think all of that is with your scrap-booking. I think that some of the things were framed at the graduation party. Look in the scrap-booking stuff you haven't done yet."

While being the good Mom that I am - and cursing under my breath the entire time- I found it.

I found the paperwork- mixed in with a large pile of wrestling pictures and stuff from the head coach.
I knew it was there....and the boy knew where it was...and he won't even look at the books until they are done if then.

And people say that Aspies don't pay attention to what is going on around them.....this kid knows that his Mom is an eternal scrapbooker and put all of his paperwork for his senior year in a box.
Which technically is better than what my Mom did (this is really funny- I think it is a hoot); she handed me about 6 boxes in varying sizes and told me to make up my own baby-book. So I did - from birth to age 18...with documentation if I had it. It is done and as my Mom says, "This is much nicer than I could have done. It is better that you did it."

It is funny- how many people get to make their own baby books?

At least the boy isn't going to have to do all that- I have the worst of it done he is all caught up through middle school-
I need to finish the sports part.....I want to have the wresting from when he started in 6th grade and go through HS. I would do track too but I have NO pictures of that- track is called "organized chaos" and I never could find my son when he was supposed to be doing the throwing- that and he really couldn't wait to drop track.

So I am focusing on wrestling.

ANYHOW- my point really is that the boy KNOWS what Mom is up to and knows what I do with the paperwork- And yes we keep it - who wouldn't be proud of a kid who is doing really well?
You might not think your Aspie knows but he/she does....it will come out and shock the _______ out of you when it does.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Most people are bi-lingual and need to clean up the karma

I never realized that most people are bi-lingual within their own language.
You are.
Seriously.
Did you know?
I didn't until this week.

OK what happened: I had to call a village engineer. He was fluent in "Engineer" and not so fluent in "English".

Doesn't that happen a lot with miscommunication and our kids?

As parents of these kids we speak several idioms: we are usually fluent in "Special Education", then really good at "IEP" and then the most fun of all "Aspie-speak". At the same time we have to speak whatever terms we use at work; mine used to be "Lexis", "Westlaw" and OCLC. Each place (or employer or country) has it's own language - terms used regularly and often- same as what we as parents talk about all the time.

If you don't speak the language that someone else is using that means that miscommunication can occur. That is what happened to me. The engineer spoke "Engineer"- and he informed me that he had explained what he had to say in the most simple engineering terms possible (which meant I am a stupid moron and have no understanding). Unfortunately, his lack of regular old "English" including the use of idioms and sarcasm was lacking- I have heard that it is possible he used to speak "English" and has long forgotten.

Oddly enough I did understand what he had to say (he was a condescending, arrogant, berk- I was good...I didn't tell him so nor did I tell him he was stupid).

He has a hang up with sump pumps, electricity, and controlling nature. His theory of pushing water up a slight incline with sump pumps and normal water pressure may work for a while. However with the environmental changes going on his theory won't last for long.....and he will spend the rest of his career fighting nature instead of trying to work with it.

Which means that in most cases miscomunication happens more often than we think. Many times with out intending to be offensive or rude.

Do you remember in Harry Potter, (I know I refer to JK Rowling a lot- she had some zingers), "--yet, sadly, accidental rudeness occurs alarmingly often," Dumbledore finished the sentence gravely. "Best to say nothing at all..."

I wonder how often we go with saying nothing at all? I know the cuter half and I used to ask people to tell us one positive thing the boy did at school when he started mainstreaming. Just one. We used to tell teachers and case managers that we never did hear from some of them without having some rude thing about what the boy did wrong but they never could come up with one positive thing to say. If they couldn't say one positive thing we usually terminated the conversation.

We have to have something to go on.
Believe me we will take anything at all- we will. It can be a little  or a lot but we are quite satisfied with a little kindness, a little generosity of spirit... a little bit of compassion maybe a karma cleanse.
I know, I have always said that compassion begins at home. If we don't have compassion in the home then it is unlikely that we would have compassion anywhere else. (Karma cleanse? well I would start in the closet and work my way out)

I wonder how many people speak "Compassion"?

Tonight, I am going to end with a picture of Mother Theresa- I saw it of FB and shared it (so those on the wall are already tired of it)  - I know my roommate from college liked it and I am hoping that it will get some additional exposure here- it is a nice idea and although I am not particularly religious any more I really do respect certain religious people who are sincere in their beliefs.



Essentially we are to do good anyway- the cuter half and I see it this way - no matter what language or idioms we speak we need to be able to live with ourselves and be able to sleep at night. As long as we can do that - well we are doing quite well then.

Should that engineer who wants to defy nature be able to sleep at night? I suppose he can but I doubt he would - people who behave the way he does and condescends to others are generally the most miserable and unhappy....it is only a matter of time before karma will come around and bite him on the ass.

So whatever you want to call it - just do your best and keep your karma clean, remember to be bilingual and  if you can manage all of that you will be good.

Monday, April 14, 2014

8-10 hours and on a "Mission from God"

I have always needed a lot of sleep. 8-10 hours a night. Uninterrupted. Which means no jumping kitties no phone no boy noises.
If I don't get enough sleep I feel like I am dragging myself though the ionosphere wishing for a run-in with Neptune just to make life a little more exciting.

Tonight I was relieved to learn that Dan Aykroyd has Aspergers. He is obsessed with ghosts and law enforcement.
Cool.

It is interesting to note that yes, he does have Aspergers- that is great to know but NOTICE this - Dan was FORCED to fit in. He had to go to school, and it is unlikely there was much support except for a teacher calling his mom and probably saying, "You know, Mrs. Aykroyd, your Daniel is a little over active in school. We think you should put him in a sport, why don't you try baseball." What do you make a bet?

Anyway what I am getting at is back then there was no sticking the kids with each other (although now "It's easier on the teachers to put all the special ed students together. Let's do that so they can't learn from those who could lead them and teach them appropriate peer manners.").

Back in the day these problem students  had to be in the classroom and deal with whatever happened. Teachers had to deal with it and make these kids sit in there seats, behave and do their work. There was no parents wimping out and saying, "My kid would never do that. He is not capable of it." Bullshit
These kids can do anything - they are capable and the little monsters are master manipulators- all of them do it even if the intelligence tests come back that they are dumb. FYI intelligence tests don't always work on our kids (these kids are so smart it is almost impossible to test) so if you are relying on it (because you want to believe your kid is dumb) you may want to re-think your strategy.

Detention was the effective punishment (although tonight I think I would throw the boy in a double detention- he took his annoying pills today and is driving me up the freaking wall); yup they got those detentions.... I know the boy got his fair share too (I begged them to give him at least 3, I think he got 2).

But the thing is - yes Dan is successful and yes he is doing some amazing stuff (movies, producing, winery, vodka- his interests have expanded).
AND he was pushed to fit in, do what the other kids were doing.
He came up with totally awesome ideas- Ghostbusters- and what good American kid doesn't know "Who are you gonna call? Ghostbusters!" after working on another American iconic film, The Blues Brothers; "They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God!"

Yet as parents we are told that our kids can't do it. They aren't smart enough, they aren't good enough they aren't capable.

Bullshit.

My son is on a "Mission From GOD!"

Take it away Jake and Elwood-


 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Trying too hard- the family line up


According to most social websites there are specific norms for dealing with family members of varied social standing.

That is a fancy way of saying that each person in the family has their own role. My role is different than my brother's or my sister’s roles. My sil's role is different than mine too- she's an only- like the boy is. Maybe that is why he is an only- it just worked out that way for us.

Generally, most websites indicate that the youngest family members are the ones who have to be charming, good natured and try hard to be people pleasers. Sometimes to their own detriment. This article from the Huff Post is a tongue in cheek way of identifying the youngest or if you are in fact fortunate enough to deal with one- I have highlighted the points I think are relevant to the joy of being the youngest.

I love the intro from the original author and I am including it here:

"The neglected, jaded, free-range youngest sibling in a big family. I think we've done just fine for ourselves, even if our GPAs don't match up to our older siblings. I'm no Ph.D., but I have a few theories on the traits of youngest children."  

 Here are 28 signs you're dealing with a youngest child:

1. Entitled to nothing. Really. Not even a seat at the dinner table is guaranteed. (Re the dinner table - refer to #15. This depends on situation only-Let's say that the youngest generally EXPECT nothing from other people because we didn't get the entitlement gene that some other people may have inborn. This means we appreciate what we are given and are happy people have thought of us).

2. Happy to sit in the back seat of the car well into adulthood. The way, way back? Totally fine with that, too.

3. Buys used cars, second -hand clothes and "vintage" furniture. What is this thing you call "first-hand?" (People buy new? Really- wait, yes, the cuter half did send me shopping recently for a new dress....that's right this one is ALL MINE. We also garbage pick -NO FABRIC though)

 4. Will never make fiancĂ©e sit through the traditional post-engagement evening of Going Through the Family Photo Album to Look at Pictures of Childhood because there are no pictures of childhood. (Please, I made my own baby book- Mom handed me a half a dozen boxes and told me to "Do it yourself." after I got married to the cuter half)

 5. Answers to almost any name. Literally, any name. (When my Dad got mad I usually got the whole line. Starting from the older siblings, the grandkids then the house pets- dead house pets too; before the "angry moment was gone" and I was laughing too hard to take it seriously).

 6. Constantly surprises older siblings with references to "playing on the high school tennis team" or "going to college," as older siblings have no recollection of any of these events.

7. Has photographic memory of every event that happened to older siblings, including what they were wearing and what Mom yelled (No not really, I was probably trying to not pay attention to the details and just glad it wasn't me screwing up again). 

8. Rarely expects a bed at large family gatherings. Prefers futons, couches or tent in the backyard, just like childhood. ("Not I", said the little red hen, "I will go to a hotel with a king sized bed, room service and a sauna")

9. Has a record collection that includes four copies of Boz Scaggs' "Silk Degrees" inherited from older siblings. (I personally like “Herman’s Hermits and the Monkees)

10. Has a book collection that includes seven copies of The Catcher in the Rye and four copies of Go Ask Alice.

11. Never expects to be served first. (I think when the cuter half and I got married, maybe)

12. Does expect to do have to do the dishes anywhere, anytime, at any event. (More like has a guilty conscious and thinks that this is the way it is supposed to be- happens all the time- almost like being a robot)

13. Occasionally stuns family with competency...

14. ...But still treated like 14-year old. (Let's say 9- just for shits and grins) 

15. Pleased as punch to finally make it to the Grown-Up Table in mid-thirties. (NOT relevant- still haven't gotten to the "grown up table" the cuter half hasn't gotten there either See #1)

16. Personal motto: I wasn't born yet.

17. Will never bore you with stories of family trips to national parks because the car wasn't big enough for the entire family, if you know what I mean.

18. Barely got a word in edgewise until age 15. Now a very good listener. (Ergo #27- lying low and not making too much noise unless required)

19. Enjoys being decades younger than siblings in adulthood. Really, really enjoys it. Like not in a healthy way. (This is a big bonus believe me).

20. Leaves the room when older siblings reminisce about "the Christmas we all got new skis."

21. Keeper of all the family high school yearbooks for some reason.

22. Thrilled at spacious college dorm room and awesome bunk bed.

23. High levels of proficiency in laundry, sandwich-making, entertaining oneself and waiting. (I went to banquets with my parents because I wanted to eat and I didn't want rice and beans at home-banquets were not fun, it was NECESSARY)

24. Large vocabulary. (Much more loquacious than one would realize)

25. Never even reaches for the remote. Why bother? (There is a remote? Wow- If I wanted to watch something I usually had to take the portable TV to my bedroom and pray for reception)

26. Learns from others' mistakes. (Hello- I saw what happened to you and I am not that stupid)

27. Stays under radar. (Which is why #28 is relevant)

28. Gets away with murder. (Because I learned to do #27)

Then we can move onto what the reliable Dr Oz says about youngest children:

Youngest Child 

The youngest are the individuals in the family. They're more playful, and since they have to fight for attention, they've developed a sense of humor as a way of doing that. A lot of actors and famous comedians are the youngest in the family. They tend to take more risks because they've been more protected, so they feel indestructible. They have a lot of confidence (he doesn’t know any of us- we are the most insecure of the lot- confidence/bravado), and that comes from the "watch what I can do" attitude. They're creative and can be great problem-solvers. They also have a need to "dethrone" the first-born (Nah- not worth the trouble- Firstborns can take the hits while we watch). Also, they can go out of their way to prove their individuality, since they end up with all the hand-me-downs. They are the charmers. As thrill/pleasure seekers, they can be most at risk for addictive behavior, which can range from compulsive eating and drinking to sex. (Cool, we can become addicted to sex, I will have to tell the cuter half – kidding just kidding keep your hair on)

Thinking about this youngest thing makes me realize that the boy being an only means that there will be less, or more, for him at a later time-
This is also from Dr Oz about being an Only –

Only Child 

The only children in some ways have the best of both worlds – characteristics of both oldest and youngest, leaders but also risk takers. They are also thought to be precocious. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and imaginative than other children. They also hate criticism and tend to be perfectionists (More like constantly criticized- we have a pretty thick skin). Like the youngest children, they tend to be creative and they have the same element of confidence. They prefer adult company and conversations.

They are at the greatest risk for obesity! The theory is that an overprotective caretaker of an only child may show love with food. This starts very young and may carry into adulthood. (The boy would love this but we have him on a diet- although he is getting pudgy because he refuses to exercise)

This from the Child Development web site also appears to be pretty accurate (re the boy and no one else so get your undies out of a bunch):

Only

  • Child Pampered and spoiled (possibly).
  • Feels incompetent because adults are more capable (although he can "come up to the bat" and is generally successful when given a chance and encouraged).
  • Is center of attention; often enjoys position. May feel special (I think insecure- special can have too many different meanings).
  • Self-centered (I think this goes with pampered and spoiled and is redundant).
  • Relies on service from others rather than own efforts (he darn well better not- he needs to get off his bazooka and do it himself)
  • Feels unfairly treated when doesn’t get own way (who doesn't?).
    May refuse to cooperate. (Uh huh)
  • Plays “divide and conquer” to get own way (yes- seen this- cuter half and I have learned to not say "yes" to anything until we touch base w/each other).


Note that these points are only relevant to the cuter half, myself and the boy. We aren’t being overtly critical ….it really is kind of funny at least from our viewpoint. That and we see a ton of Aspie characteristics with the boy and we see that our roles in the family thing has influenced the boy – although he would NEVER EVER admit it.
Check out the links and see if they work for you- we are certainly seeing some amusing characteristics......

 

 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nutrition the Aspie way

The boy is taking a nutrition class this semester. It is interesting but it is a little confusing.

The Aspie way of nutrition is similar to Bill Cosby in the book "Fatherhood" giving his kids chocolate cake for breakfast. As Bill did: there are eggs, wheat, dairy- ergo- breakfast!

The boy is the same way. He would and currently is living on pizza. He loves it. Naturally the cuter half makes this fab focaccia  bread that is manna from heaven - then the toppings and baked again. Even me, who is deathly sick of pizza loves it. About a piece or two and I am done in. The other evening, Grandma, the cuter half, the BFF and the boy had this and we were stuffed to the gills afterwards.

The boy has to eat his veg; salad w some dressing before dinner then the fruit, then the main meal. The doc told him  he needed to loose weight and try not to pork out and work out. Since the boy is rather lazy in the work out mode - he is now telling me he wants to join a gym. Which would be great if we weren't broke- and he refuses to try to run or do anything that isn't outside of the house.

Seriously if you think about it the Aspie way of not wanting to leave the house- Can you blame them? What is outside? Rejection, rudeness, meanness; any number of icky things that most don't want to deal with.
This discussion came up with the BFF (our dinner time discussions are epic- we talk about EVERYTHING).
The BFF made some really good points about what happened to the boy at HS. There was a bunch of stuff we had NO IDEA happening and when we found out I will be honest and say that we really were/are a clueless wonders. The BFF informed us that the boy was being approached and hit on by other students during the school day and the boy was too nice to tell these students that he wasn't interested. The boy, being the boy, has been taught to be friends with everyone because all people have value and are important.

This discussion, in itself, didn't surprise me. At one juncture, the boy had a friend who was hitting on the boy (in our house) and I finally had to talk to the kids parents. BEAR in mind, a parent of an ASPIE is in touch with the parents of other ASPIEs and we do talk. This is not unusual for the parents to discuss the social issues of our kids (please- we talk about poop- social issues are the icing on the cake). These parents were not happy with the situation I do not think that they knew about their kid's choices. The constant hitting on was making the boy uncomfortable. The boy told me that he  wanted to belt the crap out of his friend; hurting someone for any reason is wrong to do that and the cuter half and I would have had a fit. The boy knows he would have been punished and in TONS of trouble with the cuter half and I for not being accepting (think about it- he has Aspergers- he is not allowed to be against anyone- too many people are prejudiced against people like him- he has to be like Switzerland completely neutral).
The boy coming to me and telling me he was uncomfortable was probably a better way to handle the boy's issue with being hit on. Apparently this was not the first time (when this friend was at our  house). Then the discussion with the boy was more detailed about the HS hitting on that happened regularly and often and how he needed to handle the situation and be nice to his friend.

In case you were wondering, the boy has decided he likes girls. Which that is his choice and that is fine....at least he has that part figured out. (Not much else is figured out - but he did figure this part out).

Nonetheless, socially our kid is at the bottom of the food chain. He is not popular, nor is the phone, email or FB ringing off the hook. Sometimes I wish it were. I see my other friends kids, who are gens; they do stuff, they travel, go to school everywhere....out making their choices and doing things.

And here we are, the cuter half and I get excited when the boy agrees to go out to dinner with us (he wants pizza). Some days it feels like he is becoming one of those recluses who doesn't want to really go anywhere....at least with his parents. We are old and boring, but yet if he has something he thinks we will like he does go out of his way to get it for us. For example, he went to the library the other day and found some books on travel for the cuter half and I. It was a sweet thought and we were happy that he wanted to help us plan our next trip....he wants to help us find new places to eat.

SO what do we do? We force him to go out, do things try new foods and befriend everyone that he can.
That's it. If he gets lucky, he will become acquaintances with a bunch of people who might not like the Aspergers part but take the time to get to know the kid underneath. Kind of like the BFF, who met the boy at HS and then discovered that he really was pretty smart and was able to help her with her history paper....he had given her a bunch of facts. She tells me that she checked them and discovered that he was right and then she decided she needed to talk to him more to figure out the Aspergers part. It helps that he thinks she is the best, prettiest and smartest girl going. She has taken the time to get to really know him.
He is lucky that way.

So food wise, yes we are prepping him with his pizza- he eats whole wheat, crust with veg and cheese. He prefers sausage and turkey pepperoni but that is pretty high in calories. OH and we found out that he is not getting enough potassium. There is a web site that you can use to track what you are eating and figure out if you are missing components of your diet. The USDA has  a nutrition tracker called CHOOSE MY PLATE It does help and we found out that the boy needs more potassium -which is why he is draining the oj and putting on the poundage (juice has gobs of calories).

Socially, well the cuter half and I are perpetually the clueless wonders. Oh well, we can't have everything can we?