Monday, September 26, 2011

Kissy Kissy

18 months ago, the picture below was not reality.

But now my son hangs on my neck, makes sure he's touching me before he goes to sleep at night, and kisses my forehead at least once a day.

When he's not getting into stuff. *laughing*

Like he is right now.

Will blog longer another time. Like when he's asleep.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Grain of Sand on Life's Beach/Feeling Insignificant

I've always hoped that someday my name would be in lights of some sort, as a way to make up for all of the abuse and disregard I have endured in my life. I want all the people who have teased me, misjudged me, abused me and rejected me to look up and see what an awesome person I am.

Totally unrealistic, right?

Not to mention, it smacks of pride.

Every now and again I search out certain peers from my school days online, just to see how they are doing. I think I'm beginning to see the flaw in my thinking. I always search out the ones I envied to begin with, and with my life it's not hard to see people that you wish you could be. Few of my peers have seen the days I have. They've known the love and support of their parents, if not their whole families. People just don't realize what a platform to success that is. Unless you are a complete and utter brat, if you are loved and the people who love you point you in positive directions, you will fly somewhere.

Me, nobody bothered much with me. I can't say that no one taught me anything, because I did learn by observation, and by cause and effect, but I have rarely known someone I could call a mentor. I've had a few women in my life who took the time out to talk to me, and I will always be grateful for that...but I have been no one's apprentice. I miss having someone to look up to.

Tonight I realize that I need to get over my approval addiction. My purpose in life has nothing to do with the approval of others (in fact, I'll probably end up upsetting the apple cart many a time). So some of my peers lead these interesting, shining lives. My life is book-worthy, and one day I'll birth that book. I wasn't meant to be a singer. At least I don't think I was. That doesn't mean I won't ever lift my voice, but if I were supposed to devote my life to it, I think more opportunities would have come through by now. I'll leave that spotlight for my best friend.

I do know that one thing I am supposed to do is live my life as an example of the goodness of God, and to talk about/teach that goodness to others. I'm only 30, so I have a ways to go before anyone will listen to me. But meanwhile, I think if I can just focus on the future and keep moving, I won't get so disappointed and sad when someone else once again lives out one of my long-buried dreams. It really doesn't matter in the long-term scheme of things.

So I see other people doing great things. I try to do something great each day. What's important is not that a great number of people see, rather that the people closest to me benefit by it....and that God sees.

For a second there, I allowed myself to feel really small. But then I looked at the picture below and realized what a superwoman I truly am.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Life on the Spectrum...

I'll never forget that day when the doctor told me that Steven needed to be evaluated for Autism. I'd always felt that something wasn't quite right about his development, but that term was very new to me.

Since that day almost a year-and-a-half ago, life has been very eventful. Steven has been evaluated by the county for services, and he received some help from them, but both Daddy and I were very lukewarm about the progress we saw. At times I thought that Steven hated his speech therapist. I'm sure she wasn't too pleased at having to come to our house. But she was an angel to him, and for that I am grateful. He had a few weeks of behavioral therapy, but his therapist took ill, and that was put on hold.

I have higher hopes for school. Steven does much more when other kids are around. He's even eating school lunch. It's pummeling through his digestive system, but he'll get used to it. I just have to make sure he doesn't squat on the floor. That was somewhat okay when I was dealing with dry dingleberries. But anything mushy....hell no.

Speaking of poop...yeah, that's a new part of life on the Autism Spectrum for me. My son is a sensory seeking child, so anything that feels different or new...he's attracted to. Apparently that includes sticking his finger up his butt and plucking out turds. It used to be that he'd just "clean out his diaper himself" if I didn't smell him in time, but for a minute there, he would poop in the tub. He's pretty much over that part (I monitor him closely), but he still likes to poop and paint if you don't watch him. Not to mention, he's gotten used to doing the little toddler squat, and has to use different muscles to sit on the pot. So sometimes he will get up and use the floor. Did I just write a paragraph about my son's bowel movements? Dude.

Steven's still not saying much, but he will mimic. It's kind of garbled, but enough to make you turn your head and ask yourself if he said what you thought he said. He's not as frustrated lately when it comes to communication, perhaps I'm reading his cues better. Steven has many ways to let us know what he wants. Among them are:

-Covering his eyes to let you know he's feeling shy (new)
-Plugging his ears to let you know he doesn't like a sound (somewhat new)
-Pulling his high chair into the kitchen and climbing into it when he's hungry (not new)
-Yelling the moment he sees his milk or juice (LOL, since birth)
-Various facial expressions
-Sqatting in the corner when he has to go potty

When I write about these things, it's amazing how far he has come. I was reading his IEP the other day (Individualized Education Plan), and it made me smile, how the person who wrote his IEP took pains to emphasize his character. My son may be autistic, he may not talk, but he's very affectionate to those he trusts, clever (now, if he poops in the tub he hides it under the bath mat), and stubborn. I don't think I could have him any other way than who he is, and if that means him being autistic, then so be it.

However, dealing with the people who don't understand is hard. I'm grateful that his dad is paying attention, that the paternal grandparents are as well, and for his teachers. Not to mention the mothers I know with kids on the spectrum, and his old daycare provider. Because it takes a lot of self-control not to punch someone when I'm in a loud, populated place and my kid is screaming and stimming because he's scared...and someone comes up to me and tells me to spank him. Wow. How about I just smack you?

I discipline my child, but only when I can clearly see on his face that he knows he's into something he should not be. Other than that, I must leave room for where he is right now.

I'm used to the midnight diaper changes, I'm used to the night terrors which seem to scare us more than they do him. I'm used to being awakened at dawn. I think I might be falling in stride with this thing. My fellow autism moms said it would start to get easier. I'm beginning to think they might be right. Steven likes his routine...and so do I. :-)

Steven and Preschool....

So my son has started preschool. Um, this day came waaaaaay to early for me. Steven isn't even three yet, and yet every day I get him up, make him eat breakfast, put him on the potty (and pray he stays there, not to mention keeps his aim straight), get him dressed, and off we go to wait for his bus. Below is a picture of Steven on the second week of school.

The first week was definitely an adventure. I was happy to see the beginning of the school year because it meant a break for me. Steven stopped going to daycare back during the summer, when Steve and I split. I was still very ill then, and barely able to keep up with him. These few hours of quiet I get each day, I truly treasure. I wasn't sure how I'd feel the first day of school (hell, Big Steve was in mourning), but I actually did pretty well. I didn't cry. Everyone said I was going to cry, but I was more proud than anything. It's been quite a journey, navigating Steven's developmental delays.

As time passes, I can read his cues better, and so can his father. Yes, Steve is still in our lives. Another blog for another time, but I quickly came to the conclusion that my son wanted him around. Steven is deliriously happy when both his parents are in the same place. He's also more bratty, but at least he's tag-teamed. The boy is quick, he can toss a chicken nugget and flee before you have a chance to go get it. Very scary for me, as I've discovered that more than half of all autistic kids bolt from safe places. No wonder my son wants to play in the street ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Well, the first day of school rolls around, and everyone in the house was excited. Big Steve and I had agreed that we would both take him his first day, so Big Steve came from Maryland and stayed here for the weekend. Don't even begin to think that things are not tense with that situation, even though Big Steve and I are getting along a lot better.

I found out the Friday before school starts that my son is not on the bus route. Transportation says there's nothing they can (will) do, and that it'll take a week to straighten out. So Steven got a ride from Grandma for the first week. The first day Steve and I took him, but for the rest of the week he was chauffeured.

Onto the actual first day...

Steven's preschool is actually a special-needs preschool. The school has an actual preschool autism class, but since Steven has not yet gotten his full diagnosis, and seems to be fairly high-functioning, he was put in the basic special needs class. Steven's biggest hurdle right now is communication. He will not sign and he does not talk. But he does have his ways of letting you know what he needs. Like sitting on you when he poops (or squatting in a corner), or pulling his high chair into the kitchen when he's hungry. He yells a lot to get his point across as well. We're still getting used to that.

My mother and I took Steven with us to the preschool open house that was a week before school opened, and Steven seemed to like his classroom. It is a beautiful, bright airy space full of things for little kids to do. He's one of the youngest in his class. He will probably have to repeat this class next year, or an equivalent to it, based on the school district wherever we move to.

Little Man was definitely excited about his first day. I got him up, dressed, got myself dressed, and Steve was already downstairs looking sad. I felt bad for him. He didn't get to see his daughters go to school for the first time because he was deployed. So I think the day was harder for him than it was for me.

We ended up getting to the school a half our early, because the principal sent out an email saying school starts at nine. She didn't make a distinction between K-6 and the preschoolers. The preschoolers start twenty minutes later. I found out why the hard way.

The noise of all the bigger kids terrified Steven. So we had a half hour of him fussing and trying to escape before it was time for him to go back in his classroom. Personally, I intend to be a responsible and involved parent, but I don't want to be a helicopter mom, either. So Steve and I probably did the wrong thing the first day, and left him a bit too early. The teacher said Steven settled down and was fine after an hour, but I think it really scared him to be left in the lobby of the school the first day. He even punched a teacher's aide. I didn't find that out until the end of the week, one of the moms whose kids went to Steven's daycare told me. The aide was holding him, and my son is strong. I think the aide underestimated just how strong.

Subsequent days were easier, with the exception of one Monday. He did throw up on his teacher, and she called to ask me if that was normal, I told her yes. At Steven's preschool, the kids are not required to be potty-trained, so we have to include diapers and a change of clothes in his backpack. I count it a good day when he comes home with the same clothes on that I put him in that morning.

These days he stamps in anticipation of the bus, jumps off the bus in the afternoons when I get him off, and his teacher sends home daily reports of what he does. It's so cute to think of my little guy as the weather helper, or the line helper.

Steven will mimic you from time to time, and he does have some clever antics notched under his belt. I'll write about those another time. But when it comes to school....

So far so good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More to come....

Steven has started preschool...

Follow me on my adventures with taking my autistic kid into loud, busy public places...

Some relationships have died out, while others have resurrected....


Time to return to school.

A move in the future (out of state)?

Babymamadrama...and I'm not causing it. LOL

Tune in...once I get to a computer. I'm posting from my nook.

Yeah, I wait to long to post.