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Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Missed Phone Call From School

Just before my son went to school this morning I gave him his first Adderall capsule, he took it and swallowed it like a pro. I sent him on his way not knowing how the day would go for him. I had medicated my child and sent him to school. I wouldn't be there if he had a bad reaction. I am the mommy that always jumps to the worse case scenario. Some people refer to me as a worry wart. I agree with them.

The day seemed to drag, I had written the teacher a note so she would know what was happening. The phone was right next to me just in case. I had to take my daughter to school and pick her up and it was while I was picking her up that I the phone rang in my house. If I had been there I would have seen on the caller ID that the call was from my son's school. My heart would have skipped a beat or two and my stomach would have felt like I had just been punched. It's a good thing I wasn't there. That reaction would have been for nothing.

The school bell rang and as always I expected to see him run out of the building and start spinning or flapping his arms. Both are stimming behaviors he does when he is over-stimulated or very happy. I watched my son walk out of the school. He talked with a couple of the other children and made his way slowly to the sidewalk. He turned toward me and only then did I see the huge smile on his face (without his happy flapping arms). He announced with a voice full of pride that he had a green day.

His teacher uses a behavior system similar to a traffic light. Green of course is for good or positive behavior. Yellow for a questionable day and red of course for a poor behavior day. I am happy when he is on yellow and delighted when he is on green. Even when he has a red day I know it is usually because the asperger's was in overdrive that day. She also allows the students to earn their way back up to yellow or green for positive behavior. It is a very fair system.

He shows me a note from the Principal about how proud she was about his behavior. He is not yelling or bouncing his way to the car. I was delighted about the day's color and the behavior I saw. He even gave me a big hug in front of his friends. That almost never happens. When we got home he handed me his backpack, there was no throwing it or silly laughter while he tries to play keep-away with me.

It wasn't until we got in the house that he opens his backpack and shows me his behavior chart. This chart is only used when there is a substitute teacher. When he has a different teacher his behavior is almost always negative. SO he has a different behavior system on those days. He has to get a goal amount of smile faces colored green. I looked at the sheet and the smile faces are all green. He then announces that his principal tried to call me to tell me that he was having a fantastic day at school.

I missed that call because I have to leave early to pick up my daughter from her school. I would have panicked when I saw who was calling. My heart would have been beating very fast and my mouth would be dry. Instead I had the privilege of seeing his happy smile and pride covered face. I am glad we started him on meds. I am glad I missed that call.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Do You Teach a Child to Swallow a Pill?

We had an appointment with our children's pediatrician today. I say we because this was the "should we medicate our child for school" appointment. I know it needs to be done. He is having so much trouble focusing in school. His behavior is effecting the other children. I could see this coming a while ago I waited until I had no other choice. But did I wait to long?

I sat there and listened to the doctor explain the usual side effects. One is weight loss. My son barely weighs enough to be restrained by a seatbelt instead of the five-point harness. When he gets taller his pants fall down because he doesn't gain weight. The medication suppresses appetite. He barely eats enough now. I will somehow not freak out as he stumbles when his pants fall off his cute little body.

Then we get to the How to take this medication part of the discussion. It has to be taken whole. It is an extended release medication (NASA helped develop the time release technology). So we have to teach him to swallow a pill whole. I remember when I was in first grade and had to learn to take pills. It was horrible. I hated it! I still have memories of gagging on those cinnamon candy cake decorations. I still can't eat those because of this memory, All I could think about was gagging on them, now I had to teach my child to swallow pills and I was scared.

So we bought Tic Tac's and M&M's for him to practice on. After he played outside this evening he was ready to try. I showed him how to do it with a Tic Tac first, they were smaller. Wouldn't you know it he swallowed it, no gagging, on his first try. He was so excited. Then he tried a M&M and again no problem. He was so proud of himself and was excited that he could start taking his new medicine in the morning.

He wants to have better days at school. He wants to please his teacher with good behavior. He wants to come home with more green (good) days. He wants this medication to work. I want this medication to work.

Still I have been reading the information sheet on the meds over and over again. I try not to focus on the side effects but I can't help but read them over and over again. They may include dry mouth, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, trouble sleeping, dizziness, headaches, swelling of hands or feet, blurred vision, and uncontrollable muscle movements. Some of these are more rare than others and I start to question myself for asking him to be prescribed something to help him focus.

Then I tell myself I am his mother, his mommy. I am doing this because I love him. I want him to succeed at school. I want him to have friends, I want him to have fun at school. He needs to enjoy recess by playing with his friends instead of making up classwork he couldn't finish because he couldn't focus.

We both learned something today. He learned to take a pill and I learned he wants to improve his days at school. Tomorrow we both take a step closer to better days at school, all with the swallowing of one little pill.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baby Steps

He came home after work and we talked while the children played. It was a nice conversation and we talked about changes that we both need to make. One of the main things is talking. We both even after 13 years often use words while talking that mean one thing to one of us and something completely different to the other one. You would think that after over a decade together that we could talk to each other and know what they are saying, but it isn't that way for us.

Now here is the kicker, how do we work on communication when we are so set in our ways. It seems to me that we have been individuals for so long it is hard to be a couple. We watch tv in separate rooms because we can't find many shows that we both can tolerate. Our interests are also as different for each of us as night and day.

For him in a perfect world life would revolve around hockey. Actually in our world it often does because he has an amazing ability. He can turn any conversation into a conversation about hockey. It can be funny sometimes, but other times it can be inappropriate.

I like "girly" things. I think since I had a daughter to play with it has gotten worse too. When my son was born my favorite color was blue, maybe a blue green. Now four years after my daughter was born I find myself drawn to purples and pinks. I don't even know when the change happened.

My husband is loud, his regular talking voice is loud. When he talks loud it sounds like yelling. It is hard not to react to his voice like yelling. His body language isn't right. He can't read body language well if at all. It annoys me that his body language is so out of sorts. He looks mad most of the time, add to that a loud voice and often I think he is mad at me and attacking me verbally. This is part of his asperger's I think.

We both have things we need to work on. I have been fighting depression and always have been a moody person. It can't be a picnic to live with me all the time. I am working on these things. I see both a psychiatrist and psychologist. I am taking meds to help offset the depression and help my thinking process be less muddled together. I had a run of several months this winter when I couldn't remember to do simple everyday tasks that needed to be done.

Now that my meds seem to be working I find myself overwhelmed by the state of my house. It is a disaster, and that is an understatement. It is so overwhelming that I get upset just thinking about how to get it cleaned up. I have made tentative steps in getting rid of all the clutter. I will have this house organized this year, I want to have people to visit.

I made that goal for my house and now I have a similar goal in my marriage. Baby steps are being made by both of us. I will stay in therapy and encourage him to come with me. I know I can't force him though. I will take my baby steps and hope he will walk at my side.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How Do You Get Someone the Help They Need When They Don't Want It?

He wants to come back, I don't know If I want him too. I don't know if he can really change. There was such a long stretch when were first together that everything was good. The last few years however have been hard. He is so insistent that we can work everything out ourselves but I see no evidence that he is willing to do that.

He needs some form of counciling, anger management or something similar, maybe all of the above. I just don't know how to get him to see that. Will he be so stubborn that he is willing to end our marriage because he is too whatever to seek help? Maybe I'll call his church for help won't that just be fun.

He is with the kids right now. I won't keep them from him. They need their father and honestly I need a break every once in a while. I know I can trust them with him. I know he won't take them. He has said that he won't fight me for custody if it comes to that. I need the children, especially my son to know that what ever is going on with Mommy and Daddy we both will always be here for them even if here is two different places.

Is there an intervention for people that need therapy and won't do it? I am so afraid that he is going to get worse and lose his job. Then I don't know what he would do. He has been fired by our psychologist. Since he wouldn't open up in session there was no point for him to even be there. Of course he doesn't know that because he never went back.

I will do all I can for this marriage to survive but I really am running on empty and don't see much hope. I guess 13 really is an unlucky number for us.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

He Says He is Leaving and Not Coming Back

We had a huge argument about money, he threw a pillow at me and some other small things. He spit at me and I told him to get out. I wasn't going to take his abuse anymore. He left and when I called later he said that I had kicked him out so he was gone. I said that he had better find a new place to live.

Oh I am sad and crying. I don't know if it is true or not. I am so tired of trying to be the grown up in this relationship. How do I tell the kids?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Can I Rent a Husband?

What bother's me the most is he just won't do anything I ask him to do when I ask him to do it. There are garbage bags on my back porch that I filled up last week. I asked him to put them in the garbage cans. Our garbage cans are almost as tall as I am. It isn't easy for me to lift a full bag of garbage up high and keep that lid open. I can do it but usually he does. So why if it something that is usually done by him can't he do it when I ask him to do it. Seriously I think If I asked him to tie his shoes he wouldn't do it.

I managed to get him to connect the hose today so I could water my garden. To get him to do it I had to remind him that he is the only one who can tighten it enough so the spicket doesn't leak. Then he just leaves stuff that was tangled in the hose up on the front walk. How hard would it have been to put the string and other things tangled into the hose away?

So how can I rent a husband? Maybe I just need to hire a handyman. I would love to get things done in this house without screaming. He will do nothing to help me out today. I couldn't find my sneakers. Yes, my children play with my shoes and I can never find them. My sneakers were right next to him. If he had turned his head or even used peripheral vision he would have seen them. He claimed I didn't ask him for help so he didn't look for them. I can't help but think if I asked for help that he still wouldn't have turned his head.

I am tired of being the only adult in this house. I am tired of being the only brain in the house. I'm just plain tired. I try not to take the bait and let it get to me. I try to keep myself from expecting to much from him. I know he has no motivation to do anything for anyone other than himself.

My children get so excited to help me when I work outside. Granted usually they offer no genuine help but they think they are helping and the love to do it. I don't want them to start acting this way. My son is the one I worry about the most. He is the one who tends to mirror his father's behavior patterns. I do all I can to correct that behavior. It just wears me down and I go hide in my room.

I guess that for most of the winter I was just so blah that his behavior became more sedentary. I didn't want to do anything, and so I didn't motivate him to do anything. Now I am taking medication that is getting me out of my funk. I find myself doing more things and becoming more active. I find myself being a mom again and wanting to be a wife again. Too bad my husband has no interest in most things that husbands do.

He keeps playing the work card. "I'm tired, I have been working 12 hour days". Well, I work 24 hours a day. Even when I am sleeping I am on duty because one or both children will wake up. I am always on Mommy Duty. He sees Daddy Duty as optional.

How Do You Parent When the Other Parent Acts Like a Child

Today I worked in my garden and the kids were "helping" me out. Of course somethings got put in the wrong places, and "help" didn't mean the same to the kids and me. I had to ask him for help a couple times and I thought (wrongly) that he understood what help means.

I was up to my elbows in dirt and needed something thrown away. My son couldn't do it himself and Daddy was not nice when I asked him for help. He never is so I don't know why I thought today would be different. He couldn't even hand me the empty bin. He threw it just short of my reach.

Then I realized that one chore I had assigned my son wasn't done. It was just putting a rake away. It was a rake he brought up front for no reason and I had asked him to take it back to the garage. That was when I started gardening. When I finished the patch I was working on the rake was still there and I called him back to clean it up. Well, he was playing hockey with daddy and daddy wasn't going to "let" him finish his chore until the game was over. Oh now I was livid. How dare he put playing ahead of a chore. He actually was upset that I made our son finish his chore.

Now he and our son are yelling at each other about a snack. I really sometimes have a hard time distinguishing father and son from their behaviors. They both have the same quirks and mannerisms and they both get me so upset when I have to deal with them booth at the same time. Honestly it wouldn't be so bad if one of them wasn't a grown up.

If I could depend on him for help once in a while without a fight I would be much happier. The next part of gardening is to replant my topsy Turney planters. Each one can hold 40 - 50 lbs of dirt and I need help taking them down and hanging them back up. I remember the battle we had last year. It was like getting a teenager to help out at home. I am actually considering calling a friend to help because asking my husband for help is so draining.

Whenever I ask him for help his answer is "Why can't you do it?" sometimes I can but usually if I am asking for help I really need it. I might be up to my elbows in dirt, or hanging a 50 lb. planter. There are many various things people do need help for and I would think a husband would want to occasionally help out his wife. I help him out all the time without complaining. I am tired of being the only adult in this relationship. How do you parent your children when your spouse acts like one of the children?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Excitement from Morning 'till Night

I am so excited one of my friends from college was in town today and we got together twice. This morning we went to the zoo with our children. Both are the same age and you would think they were longtime friends by watching them play.


As my daughter and I arrived at the zoo we parked off to the side and walked to the main entrance. She proudly announces that she could smell poop so we must be at the zoo. I love when she makes such brilliant observations about such simple things. She also loved the wild yellow flowers that were growing all over the place. No not dandelions, these kind of looked like daisies that were solid yellow in color. She had a bouquet of them by the time we left the zoo.

We had a blast at the zoo and saw many animals, the favorites were the bears and river otters.

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If you look at the bear it has Elvis Lips. I never knew that even bears do Elvis impersonations. The otters held the children's attention for a long time, until it was announced that the lions would be next.

Oddly we never did see the lions but we did hear them roaring. We let the children play some more together in the paleontologist pit and then had to go off site for lunch because the zoo was packed. The line to get in was at times 45 min to an hour wait to even get into the zoo. With only one place at the zoo open for lunch it was packed. So off to McDonald's we went. Okay I admit it we stopped at the gift shop so I could get more squished pennies for our collection.

That evening we went to a Spring for Sids benefit in Honor of the daughter of another friend of mine. My friend and I both managed to have a child free evening and spent some quality time together. We both bought extra tickets for the baskets and we both won. Add to that pizza, pop and talking with adults and making new friends we had a great evening.

The benefit was packed and I believe raised about $5400 for SIDS research. I just wish we could have all gathered because of a happy event and not the anniversary of a baby's passing. Tomorrow will be a year without her. I still cry when I think about her dying so young. I just hope that this money that was raised in her honor does some good for future babies.

The Pants Battle

This morning I fought the pants battle with my son. He put on his beloved pair of black jeans, with two ripped knees. I cringed and let it go because I knew he wanted this pair of pants and I didn't want to have a battle this morning. Then as he was walking I saw that he has grown taller. The jeans were too short by at least an inch. How this happened without my noticing I don't know.

So I took a breath and told him that he had to wear a different pair of pants to school. Well, that did it. He had a meltdown. These were his favorite pair and he only wanted to wear this pair not any other and I was so mean because I wanted him to change. I found another pair and made him change and then he wouldn't put on his sneakers. He wanted the black pair of jeans, not any other pair.

I look at the clock and see I am running out of time. I offer to let him bring a piece of the jeans with him, after all they are too small and too worn out to pass along. I figured I would make cut-off shorts for him. No!!!!! Don't Cut Them!!!!!!!!!!! He says. It is getting closer to pick up time so I look at his backpack and figure they will fit in the front pocket. I offer to put them there so he can have them at school, just not on his body. Thankfully that option worked.

So I sent my son to school with a worn out pair of pants in his backpack. The only good thing about this battle was he said he needed a hug and kiss before he left for school. That rarely happens. Usually I get a blown kiss or maybe a wave.

As I closed the door and watched him get into the car I was relieved that we got through this morning. But he is growing and more of his clothes soon will not fit. I sense that this battle is not over rather it is just beginning.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To Medicate or Not to Medicate, That is the Question

My son has been diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder for over a year now. We knew something was different for almost 3 years now. It hasn't gotten any easier and I would actually say it has gotten worse. The fact that what is effecting his behavior is a neurological condition and that we know the name of it hasn't given us much relief.

I open his "fancy folder" from school every day with a sense of dread. More often than not his behavior for the day was off. Now it is beginning to effect his classmates. I have been not even thinking about medicating him. I knew it would probably happen, but I wanted to hold off as long as I could. Now that his classmates are being effected by his issues I made the phone call.

I called our peds office today to start the process. First I just want to talk with his doctor. I feel like I should be able to do more. I don't want to put my baby on medication. At the same time I am so worn down by his behavior. I want to open that folder and read some good comments. I want to not be afraid when I send him to school and not worry that he will do something to another student.

I keep saying I but there is a we involved. It just is I feel so weighed down by this decision. Sometimes just thinking about medicating my baby makes me feel like a horrible mother taking a shortcut. I know I am not, I know that this is something we that I have researched for many months. This is something my husband and I have debated about at length. This is something that we were considering for a long time. This isn't a shortcut and if done correctly will help P focus more while at school.

So I have an appointment next week and I am scared. I have all the notes from his teachers last year and this year about his behavior. I don't even know if there is anything else I should bring. I really wish there was a "So you Child has Asperger's" handbook so I would know what to do. So I guess I will just have to wing it and hope I can make the decision of to medicate or not to medicate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Difficult Questions

Tonight at story-time my son picked up a book about September 11, 2001. At first I thought I would redirect him to a more appropriate book, but I thought the battle would just be too much for me. He is six now and has had some contact with September 11th happenings.


So I open the book and it is a book of front pages from many different newspapers from that date, The photos brought back some of the memories like a rush. I remember I first heard about it in line at the bank. I started work that morning to the sound of airplane after airplane flying overhead. It was unusual enough for me to wonder what was going on. I never connected the two events

The mall was slow, abnormally slow. I think we might have had one customer all morning and then my husband called. Thats when I put everything together. Thats how I heard about the buildings falling. Thats how I heard about his father being in the air during all the events. Thats when I called my boss to tell him I had to leave work to be with my family, just in case.

It is years later and now my son and I are looking at newspaper headlines about that day and he is asking me questions. He wants to know if the people who did this were arrested? He asks if I knew anyone in the buildings. Oddly I did, thought I hadn't seen him in almost 25 years. He is asking me questions about terrorism.

I think I answered his questions well. We talked about different religions and how using a religion is never an excuse to take another person's life. Some questions he never asks. He doesn't understand how this one event effected our country and the world. So I answer his questions as best I can while looking at the newspaper headlines and photos and hope that he only ever has to see moments like that in the newspaper and never in real life like most of us had to and have to.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Are My Buttons?

I have been having issues with my husband. I have mentioned that he knows how to push my buttons and someone asked me, what are my buttons? What is he doing? I found myself at a loss. It is so easy to say "he knows how to push my buttons." I say it al the time, now I can't answer the simple question, "What are my buttons?". So I have been paying more attention to how I feel when he and I have our spats, arguments or issues, whatever you want to call it. While they are not as bad as they have been they still do occur.

One think I noticed today is he mocks how I say things in a "imitative" voice. It is something that can make me lose my temper in about 5 seconds. I absolutely despise when he does it and he does it all the time for everyone. He feels the need to mimic how people talk often. When he doesn't like something I say or do he will imitate me in a sarcastic annoying way.

Today he did this. I found myself getting really mad and I took a deep breath and decided that he wouldn't get to me today. I didn't take take bait and the argument didn't happen. I hope I am not always the one who has to step back from the arguments to keep them from happening. I hope that he too will get the strength to not have the arguments too. Its always good to have a dream.

I am going to keep my buttons "locked". If I don't let the pushed buttons effect me than maybe some of our arguments will be able to be averted. All our problems aren't his fault. True a lot of them are because of his behavior and quirks but I feed into it too. If I have to step back and pay attention to what is happening to try to save our marriage then I will. I can't do it all, but I have to do all I can.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Anxiety or Just Frazzled?

Today I actually was motivated. I had my son up and dressed for school a couple minutes early even. My daughter too, we were all set for school early. That was the last calm event of my day. I dropped her off to school and then the Cub Scout Leader in me took over. We were going to be making worm bins in scouts tonight and I thought Milk Jugs would be perfect to make them in. That way we were recycling everything. Too bad I came up with that plan between meetings and so I had to find the bulk of the containers.

So I started my milk jug quest in the north-towns and made my way south. Then I got stuck in traffic when I should have been picking up my daughter from school. I think it was a car accident that tied up the traffic. I definitely saw several rescue vehicles with lights flashing. Did you know if you have the right angle the flashing blue & red lights can become purple? Yup, I discovered that today.

Luckily my Mother-in-law picked up my stranded princess and I managed to pick up my son on time. Then off for more milk jugs. I wonder how much gas I used while trying to be eco-friendly and make worm bins out of recycled milk jugs? Once I managed to get home at last, for the first time since I left about four hours earlier I had to dig up worms for the scouts.

I have a worm bin. The worms recycle newspaper and food scraps and I end up getting some good fertilizer for the garden. So I had plenty of stock for the scouts to start their own worm bins. It would have been an easy task but of course my children wanted to "help". I of course let them. My daughter was actually the best helper. She is not at all squeamish and handles worms any chance she can get. Sometimes even when you don't know she is doing it. My son thought he was helping. It could have been much worse. There was only a small mess to clean up.

Now I had to get dinner ready, always good to cook after you have been digging in a worm bin. The kids didn't want to get washed up and somehow no matter how many times my son washed his face it was still dirty. Deep breath Mommy, you can handle this. And I could have if I could find a time to relax, even for a few moments. Not on Mondays and I knew that.

Cub Scouts is next. I walked into the school with a bag of milk jugs and a bin of worms. The boys would love me today. The moms, maybe not so much. No matter how many times I tried to separate the boys and remind them to try to be more quiet it was a loud meeting. I could feel the tension and of course my son with asperger's is bouncing off the walls and no matter how I tried to bring him down to a calmer level he just wasn't getting there.

When the meeting was over I came in the house collapsed on my bed and actually started shaking. I am on meds for depression and to help me stay focused. The Psychiatrist says I have anxiety issues too. Hopefully he can get me a med to help this out too. This feeling of overwhelming anxiety happens on days when I am overstimulated and can't relax myself. Unfortunately it is happening more and more. Remember that old commercial? Calgon, Take Me Away!!!!!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Today was a Blah Day

Today was a blah day and I don't even know why. It was nice weather, my husband and I had no fights, I spent time with my children, and I even had some of my favorite food - Italian Sausage with hot sauce, peppers, onions and mustard. Even though on paper I should have had a great day I just feel blah.

I think I need a me activity. It sounds selfish but I think I need to do soeting just for me. I have no ambition. I don't want to do anything. I would have been in my room all day today had I not dragged myself to a store. That's right it was an effort for me to go shopping. It sounds unbelivable but I just didn't want to go. I put it off until I had to go or the store would have closed.

Even writing this is a huge effort today. Usually I can't wait to blog and somedays as I am sure you noticed I will write several entries. Today though BLAH!!! I don't want to shop, I don't want to write, and I don't know why.

Hopefully tomorrow I will snap out of it. The kids go back to school, I have a Cub Scout meeting to prepare for, I have gardening to do and Milk Jugs to pick up. So many mommy things to do tomorrow, so I better be in the proper mommy mode to get them done.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Just Want to Shower in Peace

Why is is when you get in the shower the kids almost always do something that makes you get out of it? I got I the shower today, my husband had left to help a friend. Both children were watching Noggin. Usually I can do something for myself like shower when they watch tv. Apparently not today!

I just lathered up my hair when I hear "Mommy is this an apple peeler?" I take the bait and say "Let me see it". It is a very dirty potato peeler. I shudder to think of where it has been because I don't remember the last time I saw it. He announces that it was outside. Of course don't we all keep our potato peelers outside in the dirt? After all that is where the potatoes are from. That is the conversation I had in my hear anyway.

As I rinse the shampoo out of my hair I tell him that it would peel apples but it is sharp and dirty so don't do anything with it until I wash it, after I get out of the shower. I should have known better. So I blissfully continue my shower I am covered in soap now and then I hear a scream followed by "I'm bleeding!!!!!" So I jump out of the shower slip and slide on the bathroom floor. My son had sliced his thumb while trying to wash the peeler in the bathroom sink.

My first aid kit is in my purse. That way I know where it is and I have it with me almost all the time. My purse is in the kitchen. I grab a towel and wrap his thumb up in the towel to stop the dripping blood and run dripping wet into the kitchen. I got the first aid kit and ran back into the kitchen. Please don't picture this I am sure it was pretty scary looking.

I washed the cut and put a Band-Aid on and it bleed right through. So I wrapped the towel around it again and jumped back in the shower to rinse off all the soap (that way I hoped I would stop slipping so much). I got back out and it still was bleeding now I put direct pressure on this stubborn cut. He can feel the initial pain and also the pressure from me trying to get it to stop bleeding. Poor kiddo, He is crying so hard and so scared. I see the terror in his face.

Finally I got three Band-Aids on it. One to cover it and the other two to keep pressure on it. The bathroom floor is covered in soapy water and some blood and there is a train of water and soap into the kitchen from when I got the first aid kit. I just wanted a shower. A nice calm shower. Some peace and quiet. I should have known better. He is fine now, watching Noggin like I thought he was doing when I was in the shower.

When Asperger's Clash

How do you handle it when two people with asperger's clash over how they sense the temperature? Spring is always tricky because the temperature can vary so much. This morning we had the clash of the asperger's at my house. Daddy knows it is cold, he is in a sweatshirt and getting mittens and gloves out. P however knows it is warm. He is in a short sleeve shirt and ready to go outside and play. I witness the following.

Daddy: It's cold out, put on a coat.
Son: To me its warm out.
Daddy: No it is cold, see your sister has a coat and hat on.
Son: But Daddy I am warm.
Daddy: It is cold.
(Mommy now has to intervene)
Son: Daddy everybody is different (brilliantly played)

Neither one will budge. I had to find a long sleeve shirt that P would wear. I tried the "let him hold the coat until he gets cold" card but Daddy didn't like that option either.

It is hard sometimes. Both are so determined and when their mind is set and locks on an idea or concept there is pretty much nothing I can do. It really is like being a mother to three children sometimes. To me this is the hardest part of having a husband who probably has asperger's. I see him as an adult, but his behavior patterns are that of a child. When the two clash I can go insane. I wish I had a better way to deal with it. He won't believe he has asperger's. To him it is not even an option.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Angel Food

Tomorrow I am picking up over a weeks of groceries that I paid $50.00 for. This will be enough food to feed all of us a meal every night for a week plus some snacks too. We are getting T-Bone steaks, pork roast Italian Sausage, pears, apples potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, pineapple a melon, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions. I love using Angel Food Ministries.

I also love that they don't preach to me. Religion is so very personal to me. I don't like anyone trying to force their views on me. My views are so different that now I try to keep them to myself to avoid major conflicts. Wars have been fought because of differences in religions. When I started using this service I expected to be preached to. I was pleasantly surprised when they said they were there for me if I needed a prayer or other support.

Now my husband sees this service in a different way. He hates paying money for anything when you have to wait to get what you pay for. It is because of this that I am unable to always order from Angel Food. You see you pay one week and pick up the food in another week. He gets upset when I "tie up" our money this way and have to wait for the food.

This in next months menu.

2.5 lb. Lean Chopped Beef Steaks (5 x 8 oz.)

5 lb. Leg Quarters

2 lb. Chicken and Corn Bread Stuffing Casserole (Ready to Cook)

28 oz. Salisbury Steak Dinner Entrée

1 lb. Boneless Pork Chops (4 x 4 oz.)

1 lb. Corn Dogs (6 ct.)

12 oz. Deli Sliced Ham

5 oz. Chunk Light Tuna in Water

32 oz. French Fries

1 lb. Sweet Corn

15 oz. Musselman’s Apple Sauce

15 oz. Pears (Product of U.S.A.)

8 oz. Dinner Roll Mix
(Makes 8 Nice Rolls)

7.5 oz. Mac ’n Cheese

32 oz. 2% Shelf Stable Milk

Dozen Eggs


You get all of this for $30.00. I usually pay an extra $22.00 for a box of fruits and veggies. Next month they also have a Latin Fruit and Veggies box. I am looking forward to it. I hate that I have sneak the money to order food for my family.

Tonight I told him we are picking up our order tomorrow and he rolled his eyes and said "How much money is it costing us?" When I shop there is always issues with what I buy and how much I spend. When he shops it is always perfect (his words, definitely not mine). He points out that the last time I "was allowed" to shop for the family I paid more money than I was secretly budgeted to. I say secretly because he failed to share the budget with me.

So now I try to save money with Angel Food. I do it in a way that allows him to think he has made the decision. I find that this works. I only mention when I pick the food up, never when I pay for it. It may sound sneaky and I know it is, but food for my family is worth some sneakiness.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More Clutter is Banished From Our House

I have been so wiped out the last few days from a cold that when I woke up today feeling better I was motivated to clean. Of course it also helped that my son thought it would be a good idea to use my fancy wine glasses for chocolate milk and dropped one. There is nothing like the sound of shattering glass in the morning to get you going.

The glasses were put away in a cupboard above the stove. I have to stand on a chair to safely get them. That of course wasn't enough to clue my son in to it being a bad idea to climb up onto the stove and try to reach them that way. He did successfully get one down so I think I may have to move my nice things again. So if you ever stop by and we are drinking out of paper or plastic cups this is why.

I looked at the piles of stuff on the kitchen floor and I HAD to get rid of it. That is usually how I clean. All of a sudden I have to clean. Usually it is in the middle of the night, but when I get that urge I have to clean and I find myself in my "I don't care what it is just get it out of here" mode. I did have the willpower to let my children move their precious toys and stuffies out of the kitchen so I wouldn't toss them.

It is now three garbage bags later and the kitchen looks remarkably better. Sadly there is still a lot of work to do. The floor definitely needs to be washed. The urge has passed to clean without caring what everything is. Now I am sorting things and putting them in a better spot. There is not a lot of storage space in the kitchen. I will have to add some when I can. It is much easier to put necessary items, like pots, pans, bowls, and appliances away when there is a spot to put them in.

Unfortunately there are things I simply can't just get rid of to make more room in our house. Some of the clutter needs to be put away and somehow I need to get area's to put it away in. I keep trying to get bins and shelves but am always told that we can't afford such luxuries. If I had those items when I get those sudden urges to de-clutter I could get so much more done.

Every time I fill up some of those garbage bags my house is slowly being taken back from clutter and garbage. I can't believe I let it get this bad. Its sad when filling up three garbage bags is just a start to getting the house to look better. Cleaning is almost always something that starts a fight with us. We both have very different cleaning styles. One thing we need to do is figure out a way to clean together without arguing. I can't do it all, and if I don't do some of it nothing gets done. I hope I can figure this out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

We Need Homework Help

I open up my son's folder today to start on his backlog of homework. He is in first grade so one would think that his parents should be able to help him do his homework. Not this time, we are baffled. Like always we will muddle through and figure it out. Seriously though why is a first grader's homework something that makes us feel like we should be in kindergarten. When did first grade even deserve homework?

When I was in first grade I don't remember doing homework and I was even out of school for two weeks because of the chicken pox. I'm sure it started sometime in elementary school, but I don't think it was first grade. I vaguely recall being slightly anxious in 6th grade because I knew Junior High would have much more homework than I was used to.

When my son was in pre-kindergarten he had homework then too. Oddly enough there was no homework in kindergarten. Maybe it is an every other year thing? It isn't the homework itself that gets to us, it's the "I have no idea how to do it?". My husband and I both are high school graduates. I graduated from college, I am going to go back to school to get a degree in elementary education. I admit that many times I am completely baffled by my son's homework, usually math.

Now I know math is not my strong suit, but I did get a Regent's Diploma in it in high school. I tested out of having to take math in college so I must have some basic skill at it. Why then is a first graders math homework something that I dread? It humbles a parent to have their child explain how to do a math problem because we just don't get it.

He has three homework assignments to make up during this break. I find myself bartering with my husband so he will work on the homework with our son. We both try everything we can to get out of doing it because we know it will be torture. First we have to figure it out then we have to get our son to do it. The second part is often more difficult than trying to understand the cryptic terms that are used in the homework like calculator counts, Fact Triangles, flat, fractional parts (I think we used to call that fractions?).

It used to be getting your child to do the homework was the most challenging part of homework. Now when I have my own homework looming in the near future, I also have to learn how to do his. Hopefully getting my degree in elementary education will help me figure out how to do his homework. WHo knew going back to school in your forties was an asset in helping your child to do their homework.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Something Might Have Changed

Twice today we have talked about money and not fought. No harsh words were exchanged. We discussed how money was being spent without saying hurtful things to each other. The conversations were after the hug. I think we are going to be hugging more. To me it is amazing that we got through this afternoon without the verbal attacks that usually accompany any conversations we have involving money.

Will this talking keep happening? I hope so. I am sure there will still be rough moments, but will they be as often as they were? Can we fix this marriage and build it back up again? I'm not sure. Maybe it is just a calm before a storm. If that is the case I should be frightened. Can one person do enough to help save a marriage? Again I have many questions and no real answers.

I will keep writing about all that is occurring. This writing helps me put so many thoughts into words and concrete ideas. My writing in this blog has kept me from just disappearing into a pit of shattered emotions. I know I would have long ago just stopped functioning if I didn't have something like this to keep me going. I write and you read and I stay sane.

The Magic of Hugs

I can't remember when before today he gave me a hug. So I am fighting off a bad cold, fever, sore throat, basically the worse thing when you have two children home on vacation from school. He sits on the bed next to me and I just feel awful so I asked him for a hug. It would have been better only if he had hugged me without a prompt. Oh that hug felt wonderful. It lasted a long time and then our daughter saw us.

She wanted a family sandwich, I laughed at the term and wondered where she had heard it. We used to have family hugs all the time when the children were younger. I wonder when they stopped. Well, stopped isn't correct anymore since we had one today. So I wonder when the last one was. It's hard to estimate how long we have been without hugs as a family. It's not like we logged when we hugged on a calender to keep track of them.

I love hugs. There is something magical about them. They can help heal most deep emotional wounds. But Dennis and I have stopped hugging. We don't make up after arguments and we just don't get close anymore. It is hard to heal a wound as big as we have if we are never close enough for the edges to start to heal.

In that moment that we shared that hug I felt close to him. In that moment I thought maybe we can make it work. I guess that is how people start to heal. It starts with just a moment. Just one moment can start a relationship or stop one. I can only hope that this moment today that reminded me of our love that we shared so long ago will start ours up again. Because I am so close to leaving I have been more vocal with my feelings.

He knows I am almost done with us. I won't give up without a fight. I worked hard to get a family and I will work just as hard to keep it. I was told I would never be able to have children. I worked hard to get those babies. I with work just as hard to save my marriage. Maybe a hug is enough magic to help start the healing. I know I can still feel that hug as I write this and I ache for another one. All long journeys start with a small step. Could our marriage start to heal with this one magic hug?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bedtime Rituals

It is the same time every night. It is the same routine every night, snack, read stories, snuggles, good night. It has been like this for years. Why are both my children surprised every night when we get to the good night part? I just want some peace at the end of a long day.

Tonight I actually caught my son putting masking tape on the wall so he could write on the masking tape and not write on the wall. He thought it through far enough to think if he was writing on the tape when it was stuck on the wall then he wasn't really writing on the wall. Yes, he always tries to find loopholes in our rules. I never said don't put making tape on the wall after bedtime. Or I didn't make a no writing on masking tape that is a wall rule so he thought it would be okay.

My daughter often after we put her to bed will throw all her pillows and blankets on the floor then announce she is cold.
My children I think actually plot against me and do all they can to make bedtime the most torturous time of the day. It is 9:25 now, almost an hour and a half after bedtime and I think they might have finally fallen asleep.

Funny thing is it backfires on them when they need to wake up the next day. My son always tells me I need to let him get more sleep. I of course remind him that he did everything he could to stay up as long as possible after we send him to bed. He still fights it and sometimes he gets creative.

Excuses I have heard at bedtime about why they can't sleep are...

- I read the wrong stories
- I didn't snuggle with them long enough
- The kitty is on my bed
- The kitty isn't on my bed
- I want to finish dinner
- I don't like my jammies
- I want (whichever parent had to go out)
- I need my (insert any stuffed animal here)
- There is a monster in my room
- There is a ghost in my room
- There is a noise in my room
- I need you (this is the one that is the hardest to resist)

I stand my ground and they eventually accept that is really is bedtime and fade off to dream land.

That is part one. Part two happens a couple hours later a random child will wake up because of a bad dream. Now the challenge is to get them back to sleep as quickly as possible. This doesn't happen every night. In fact sometimes we get a good stretch of both of them sleeping all night and then BAM!!! One wakes up and I finally get them back to bed. I just start getting into bed and the other one wakes up. These I swear are things they plan during the day just to get to me.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Outfits

We live in a cooler climate. That is a nice way to put it. We don't have snow this time of year, but we did last week. So I go shopping for an easter dress for my daughter. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. So it is usually in early spring. Why then are all the Easter dresses no sleeved? I guess the buyers forget some people live in a northern climate.

Also boys clothes for Easter are either a three piece suit or dress pants and a sweater vest (see the boys can be warm, it's the girls that get to shiver). I wanted something for my son not quite so dressy. I am not buying a suit for him that he will hardly ever wear. I make sure his clothes look good and are functional. So it usually is nice pants and a polo shirt.

I am so thankful that boys polo shirts are reasonably priced. Plus he also looks fantastic in that style shirt. If I do say so myself that is. I don't know how he managed to get so cute.

This morning my daughter had her Easter dress all ready. I found one with small sleeves on it and I grabbed that one right up. She had a pink purse and hat to go with it and new stockings too. My son's shirt was a little wrinkled. So I had my husband put it in the dryer with a wet washcloth to de-wrinkle it so he could wear it today.

I then made the mistake of taking a nap. Because of course my normal late sleeping children woke up at 7 am this morning to see what the Easter Bunny left last night. I had breakfast cooked by 8 am. The egg hunt was over at 8:30 and it was a long time until lunch (our first stop of the day) so I took a nap. Everything was all ready after all. What could go wrong?

Well, my daughter just received two princess dresses. One was pink with silver decorations. While it is cute I wouldn't let her wear it to church or out to an Easter Brunch. Daddy however saw nothing wrong with it. He also forgot all about the nice stain free new polo shirt he put in the dryer and put our son in a play shirt with stains and a pen line on the neckline. He woke me up just moments before we left. In fact the kids were in the car wearing jackets and strapped into the car seats.

We get to my in-laws house and I now realize what my kids are dressed in. I was so embarrassed. My daughter was kind of cute, but I don't even let my son use that shirt to go to school in anymore. It is a junk shirt for when he is playing outside or inside with something messy.

At least we did go home for the polo shirt before we went to my parents house. The princess dress stayed, after all it was kind of cute and my parents did have a Polish ribbon crown for her and it matched the dress so nicely. He also looked good in his robins egg blue colored polo shirt. Again I know I am biased but everyone else tells me how cute they are. So I believe them.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

There Are Too Many Questions?

It was hard the few days that my husband was gone. But it was peaceful. Things flowed more easily and the children seemed happier. There was no yelling, Even when I had to discipline the children It was easier. It was difficult to do all of it alone. I know I could do it.

As soon as he came home we were back to the problems. He went back to making me feel like a horrible useless person. I am back to hiding in the bedroom so I don't need to interact with him much. He can be so cruel with his words. What's worse is he doesn't seem to understand that what he does and says causes so much pain.

Today was the day we dyed the eggs. We all go to my parents house and color eggs with my brother's family. It has been an Easter tradition for several years now. This year Dennis decided that he wouldn't join us. He says he never goes, maybe that is correct. I can't remember. Though I think I would remember him not participating. It seems that lately he is always getting out of family activities. He tries to avoid any activity that will keep him from watching his sports.

Today our daughter found her Easter Bag, the one from us that is filled with fun stuff. He knew she had the bag, she was playing with the items in the living room right in front of him. I was still asleep. When I woke up I had to punish her for taking the bag out of my room. Her father had seen her do it and watched her play with the items and he just let her. He said she wasn't supposed to have it but did nothing to correct the situation.

I had her collect all the items and bring them to me. I explained that I didn't know if the Easter Bunny will bring her a basket this year because she took the bag without asking. She was so upset. The tears were actually making my pants leg wet. I don't know if she will take anything out of our room again for a while. But why was it left to me. Somedays it really seems like I am the only adult in the house.

I think I have decided that I will leave. I just don't know when. I am not in a position too. I need to find a job. I need to go back to school to get my degree. Do I wait until I can support myself and the children? Do I kick him out? I have plants I want to plant, will I even be here to appreciate their beauty. So many questions, where do I get the answers.

Today he has yelled at me because my car is cluttered, He left the house while I was sleeping and left the kids with me. I really believe that he hates me and it makes me so sad. How did this happen? When did we start drifting apart and when did he start being so cruel with his words?

So many questions and no real answers. I just want to be happy again. I know I need to get out of here I just don't know how to do it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Welcome Home

It only took six hours for him to go back to his old self. Of that short time we were hardly together. I took advantage of the opportunity to get out alone and get things for Easter. Things he would think of as frivolous. Unnecessary items for an adult but priceless treasures for a child. I will do all I can to make sure our children enjoy all the magic of childhood. That of course includes the Easter Bunny.

This will be the first time in years that they can have a real Easter Egg Hunt outside on the grass. To him any money I spend is wrong. Now he is threatening to route the money out of the joint account so I cannot touch it. Then he will have all the power. Everything will revolve around him. I need a job so I can get out from under his thumb.

I want to go back to school to keep myself from depending on him. The more he tries to control me and break me the more I want to be away from him. What's worse is the children are also staying away from him when he is home. They stay with me almost all the time when all four of us are home. Daddy gets to sit on the couch and watch his sports in peace and I watch Dora, Diego and Max and Ruby.

Now it is after bedtime. He goes out to spend time with a friend. My son is asleep, but for how long. My daughter is awake, she is the child who never sleeps. She has noticed that Daddy isn't home and gets upset. Where is Daddy? Why is he gone? Is he coming back? So I calm her down and she is in her room at last. I fight this battle every night. It never gets easier. Thank goodness for the few mommy night outs I get. I had wanted to spend time with him tonight. I thought maybe we could talk again. Somethings needs to change or I think I will just go insane soon.

The Easter Bunny is Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

Because our religions are different My husband and I made an agreement to raise the children Roman Catholic. I always make sure at Easter that they understand it is a religious holiday as well as a welcome to spring celebration too. I believe that there is room for the Easter Bunny and Religion this time of year.

I always get the kids too much for Easter. I hardly give them any candy so I make up for it with toys. I go to the Dollar Tree and I just keep adding things into the cart. That is a dangerous store. While I am wandering the store I saw bible story books, in the cart they went. Then, I kid you no, I found Bible figurines. You know like McDonald's Happy Meal toys but religious. They had Mary David, Goliath, Noah and Moses. They had sold out of Jesus. I even found Bible coloring books and Word puzzles.

Now I had bought more than would fit in their easter baskets. This year I bought small baskets. Why? I have no idea. I do this every year so one would think I would learn and get bigger baskets. I found sprig colored tote bags and knew they would be perfect for the overflow. I can hang them on the kids door handles and then hide their Easter Baskets with the eggs outside.

My Easter compulsion doesn't end there. Wait until I tell you about the egg hunt. This is the first time in three years that we can hide the eggs outside.
I have more eggs than that now and plan on hiding them all. The magic of "the Easter Bunny" will soon wear off and they will outgrow the egg hunt. So while I can I make sure it will be memorable.

The last time we had the hunt outside my daughter was just a toddler.
The basket was too wide and all the eggs she put in her basket fell out onto the grass again. Photobucket
Of course my son took advantage of that and would follow her to pick up her fallen eggs. When she looked into her basket you could see the puzzled look on her face. What had happened to her eggs? She knew that she should have had more than the few she saw. Of course we divided the eggs up more evenly once the hunt was over. I still remember the look on her face though. I hope this year will be better for her. I have more eggs to scatter around the yard. I even have giant plastic jelly beans to hide this year. This is one of my favorite things to do every year.

I have such fond memories of hunting for eggs as I grew up. Of course they were real eggs then and we always seemed to miss an egg or two. Worse was when my parents forgot where they hid the eggs. We eventually found them by using our noses. YUCK!!! SO to avoid that I use the plastic eggs mostly and we hide only a few real eggs.

The eggs are filled with candy, toys and money. I will hide them tomorrow night, The baskets too. This will be the first year they have to look for their baskets. I am looking forward to this Easter. My son is growing up and I don't know how many more Easter's are left with him believing in the Easter Bunny.

What is Autism Awareness Month - Part 3 of 3

Now What Happens


We had a diagnosis of Asperger's but now what. We called area autism organizations and often they had many programs for autism but not much for Asperger's. When I found programs for Asperger's it was for older children. I sent the diagnosis to his school and felt like they also didn't know what to do.

He was having trouble in school. He didn't like any change in school or home for that matter. I tried walking a different way home a few times and he would get upset. I finally got a meeting with the school and was told "He is too smart for special ed." Okay I wanted him in a regular classroom anyway.

But still I knew he needed something more. I thought that a plan was put in place for him at school. It seemed to be helping. I should have paid more attention to what it was called, a handshake plan. Nothing was in writing. He was in kindergarten and it seemed to be working so I went with it.

This year we find out that he is overwhelmed with sensory issues. Too much noise or visual stimuli can make him act out. Gym, lunch, or any class he needs to leave the classroom for would be a trigger for his poor behavior. Our handshake plan wasn't working anymore. Then I find out that his school is closing. He starts acting out more and what I thought was a 504 isn't one. There is nothing in writing.

A 504 allows for special accommodations be made for him to be able to get his education. He was moving to a new school and would move at least one more time it seems before middle school. I fought for him to get accommodations in writing. Today I got a 504 for him, coincidently during Autism Awareness Month.

My son, my nephew, cousins and most children on the “spectrum of autism” look like any other child their age, some days they might act like most children their age. Other times people turn and stare and think, "That poor mother has such a misbehaved child.” or something similar. Each one has their own unique story to be told. It’s up to each one of us to pay attention to that story.

Our children “on the autism spectrum” need your understanding, acceptance and support like any other child. They need it this month and next month and so on. Autism Awareness Month should be every month and is for my family and other's like mine.

He Misses Daddy - The Giraffe Battle

My son has had a rough night. He couldn't find his precious giraffe. It has been a part of his world since he turned one. At times it is a constant companion sometimes it is for snuggling on the bed and there are stretches when it seems to be forgotten in a pile of a multitude of stuffed animals that are well loved by my children.

Lately the giraffe has been on the sidelines, but I know it is never forgotten. A child's beloved stuffed animal is something that must never be lost. As soon as an adult thinks that the now school-aged child has outgrown their beloved childhood stuffy that boy (or girl for that matter) will demand its presence NOW. When that same child has asperger's the attachment has new meaning.

The giraffe has been on the sidelines long enough to fade from my memory, but not from his. The same way I still remember a favorite toy from my youth that was mistakenly taken from me. I still remind my parents of how much I miss that stuffed Dalmatian, So I understand the love a child has for a favorite toy. Still I wasn't expecting this strong of a reaction.

My daughter has a stuffed giraffe puppet that she loves. If I had recalled his giraffe maybe I would have seen what was about to happen. He has seen the giraffe puppet before, but tonight was the second night without daddy. He is really missing his daddy. Now he sees the giraffe puppet and maybe he recalled his giraffe with the long floppy legs and a connection was made. A battle was about to erupt.

He decides he needs the giraffe. To him that is all he is focusing on and that is the only thing that matters at that moment. My daughter is not willing to give up her toy. She is four and sharing is not a concept she entirely understands. She wants to sleep with her toy and now her brother is screaming and stimming and basically is acting like he lost a body part.

I just kept talking calmly with him, it helped that daddy wasn't here because he unfortunately does not do well in situations like this and is apt to act just like the upset child. Somehow I talked my son down and a calm was once again felt in our house. I have to find that giraffe now. We have too many stuffies I need to weed out some of them, but am afraid too. What will the next battle be fought over?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What is Autism Awareness Month - Part 2 of 3

My Son and Asperger's Disorder


His first word was a sentence the day before he turned 5 months old. It happened in a mall and he clearly said, "I want my Mama!" It was clearly enough for passing by shoppers to understand his words and comment on how unusual it was to hear a baby say this.

He could say "quesadilla" when he was 7 months old. When he was turning three he wanted his birthday party theme to be "Dirty Jobs". That was his favorite TV show, Mike Rowe was his favorite person and He insisted on that as his party theme.

When he was potty training he needed to know where the water from the toilet went. We said into pipes under ground. He then wanted to know where those pipes went. This continued until we went for a car ride to see the water treatment plant. Then he wanted to go inside.

Being the fun mom that I am I called the plant and arranged a short tour for him. Yes my three year old went on a tour of a water treatment plant. He loved it. He asked great questions and only didn't like one large room because it smelled funny. No not that kind of smell, but it was different.

He is fascinated by how things work. He has to feel different textures; often it was our uncooked pasta, rice, and coffee. Unfortunately this fascination often led to big messes. That was "the straw that broke our backs". We went to a family psychologist for answers.

By this time I was aware of Asperger's and other mom's that I was a friend too had children "on the spectrum". Some of their children were labeled autistic, some high functioning autistic and some were asperger's. Each one was a unique snowflake. Autism manifests itself differently in every child. Each one is special in their own way, just like neurotypical children.

Asperger’s is what I saw in my son when I watched him. Three months later the psychologist also thought that might be the case. One more month and we had a diagnosis.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What is Autism Awareness Month - Part I of 3

This month is Autism Awareness Month. What do those three words mean? What is Autism Awareness and why do it only one month? For me every month is autism awareness month. Not just for me, but my brother, many of my cousins, my parents, and so many others. We are the ones who live with or are close to an autistic child, teenager or adult. We are the ones who get stared at in public and people wonder why the people with them make too much noise, or are brats, or are rude.

Autism Enters My World   Photobucket

My brother has a son who is autistic. He was the cutest baby. His eyes were filled with wonder. I would show him photos of nebulas and planets and others from outer space. He would sleep through the night so soundly that when I would baby-sit him at my house my housemates wouldn’t even know a baby was there. Then I went away for a year and when I came back he wasn't walking or talking, we were told it was a hearing problem. My nephew got ear tubes and a wait and see. So we waited and still as he got older he wasn't acting like a typical toddler. Potty training wasn't working and fewer words were spoken.

Finally it was time to start thinking about school and special education was needed. My nephew was classified as mentally retarded. He was not retarded we all knew this. We had heard of autism and started learning more about it. We all clearly saw that my brother’s oldest child, my nephew was most likely autistic. It took my brother and his wife a long time to get him classified as autistic. I think when he finally was classified as autistic we cheered because he could finally get the assistance he needed.

That was over a decade ago. Today my nephew is still in his own world but there seems to be a crack in his world that lets him ever so slightly to enter into ours to interact. Those moments are priceless and we have found that he has a sense of humor. He also is a typical teenager. He wants his own space.  He is my nephew and I love him. He also was my first exposure to autism.

My autism experience expanded when I was a camp councilor at a camp for the blind. One of my campers was deaf, blind and autistic. I still remember how happy she was. She loved to run and play with the other campers. Then we heard that the oldest son of one of my cousins had Asperger's Disorder.

Asperger's Disorder or Syndrome was new to us. We knew he had some quirks. His speech was different. It was very proper and advanced. He liked to use big words. Then another cousin also had a child with possible asperger’s. Then another cousin, there seemed to be a trend happening. I too had a son and he had his quirks. I started to pay attention to them now.

We Talked

Last night we went to a Support group for Parents with children who have Asperger's. On the way home we just started talking. One of the things I brought up was how it is horrible that he calls our son a cry baby. He says he does it to help, so he will learn to stop before his classmates call him that.

I told him that our son only hears his daddy calling him a name. Plus it is a hurtful name that is like a swear word in elementary school. I explained that when I was growing up hurtful things that my parents said stuck with me. I get so mad at him when our son comes running to me for comfort because his daddy called him a bad name. Hopefully what I said will sink in.

We also talked about how I suspect he also has Asperger's. He like our son had early language development. He has a fixation on hockey to the point that he will tell you everything you never wanted to know about it. He can tell you who one the Stanley Cup in any year. If the uniform on any team changes a little bit he will notice it. I also mentioned how they are so similar when they get hurt. There is no ouch if they get hurt. It is a HORRIBLE pain with no middle ground. I never know if when they get hurt if it is as bad as it sounds or just a minor injury.

It was a nice conversation, no yelling was involved. I wish we could have more conversations like that.

Monday, April 6, 2009

He is Going to Cincinnati for a Baseball Game

He is going to Cincinnati to watch the Met's play baseball. His sister got him free tickets so he thinks it's a cheap trip. Never mind the cost of gas and food. He is taking $300 with him. That $300 could be better used by paying off some bills or buying some groceries. Thats not all, I have the kids for three days. Though without all our arguments it might end up being a pleasant few days. The kids gravitate to me all the time now. It is much easier when we are not around him as much.

So he leaves tomorrow and will be back on Friday. He couldn't get the week after Easter off to spend with the family. At least he has Monday off.

The last time he went to Cincinnati we all went too and it was horrible. Then the money we spent on the trip put us so far behind in our bills. I am so worried that will happen again. He won't listen to reason. He knows we can't afford this trip, but the Met's make it worthwhile in his eyes.

I am beginning to hate Hockey and Baseball and Lacrosse. I could tolerate them before but they are now becoming more important to him than the family. He fights the bedtime routine when the Sabres' are playing. The kids have to wait for a whistle. He now watches Lacrosse on the computer and Hockey on the TV at the same time. If we interrupt him it is like the end of the world.

The kids are upset that he is going away they will miss him. I am upset because we can't afford it. He couldn't care less. It is necessary for him. That worries me.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Husband's Opinion of Me Going Back to School

I talked to my husband about me going back to school. I am so excited about it and he is not thrilled about it. He says we will never be able to pay back the student loans. Well, right now we can't. Though I have to think that when I start to work again that will change. When I start to do anything to better myself he gets moody and broody and try's to get me to not do it.

Too bad, I am making the decision, he has chosen not to go back to school even though his company will pay for him to go back to school. I told him I would help him get though the homework, because I know he has trouble with reading comprehension. I don't even mention it anymore. He made the choice not to go back to school. I just am making the opposite choice.

I wish he could more supportive. The kids are all excited that mommy will be a teacher someday. They really wanted me to be their teacher. I explained that to be fair mommy isn't allowed to be their teacher.

He does this so often he actually gets mad at me for what I might or will do in the future. Often it is a decision that he thinks I will make and then I will do something else and then something might happen because of it. It drives me up the wall. I have learned to just walk away from him when he starts doing that.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

After the Walk

One thing our children love is a flashlight walk. They really wanted to go on a flashlight walk with daddy. It gave me few minutes in calmness. I should have known better. Much too soon the door opens and I hear crying. My son runs down the hallway in tears and then I hear him swearing and telling me sarcastically "Great idea, a flashlight walk, how stupid!!! All he did was complain that his sister was doing something he wanted to do".

OMG!!! I would think a father could keep the peace for a simple flashlight walk. A calm voice is the best but I know he has a hard time using a calm voice. It is like being a parent to three children. He has temper tantrum that effect the whole family. Then we end up fighting because I am so frustrated. Why can't he act like an adult? Worse why do I let myself get sucked in.

That is why I am usually in a separate room from him in the house. I stay away. I don't feel like a wife. I feel like I am a mother to a spoiled brat who has check on what he says and doesn't get that you don't call people names. It effects them. I would think he should understand that our son has a disability. He cry's more than expected. He needs to feel safe and comforted.

I should not have to be the only parent in this house, I feel like I am the only adult. Its hard to do this alone, especially when your partner is the one making it so hard.

Another Rough Day

I left a bag of important papers in the car. I had finally almost tracked down a beloved teacher from high school. I was one phone call away from getting contact information for him. The phone number was on a business card that I got at a community fair and it was in that bag.

I hid away in my room with the kids and must have fallen asleep. He was awake so I should have known better but I didn't. At some point the bag was brought in the house and dumped. This is why I left it in the car. So I could keep it safe. Now I admit I got upset when I found out the bag was dumped. I however wasn't expecting him to get upset at me for not taking care of "your things".

Oh now I was livid. He knows exactly what buttons to press to make me lose my temper. I did all I could to safeguard those papers. It was not my fault. I wasn't even upset at him. I don't think he was the one to dump the bag. He probably was upset that I made plans for a family activity tonight and he would have to miss some sport on TV.

It really bothers me that he has to be such a jerk about spending time with the family. The kids want to do things with daddy sometimes. Tonight they wanted a flashlight walk. Daddy however had to yell at me, swear up and down because the flashlight wasn't working and stomp around the house.

Last night he went out with friends. He got all dressed up and showered before he went. He will ask how high when his friends say jump. Then he complains that he got no sleep. Well, who made the choice to go out to 3 am when you have to go to work at 4 am? I know I would have passed on that invitation to go out.

I did tell my parents that I was going back to school to be a teacher and they seemed to really be excited for me. Hopefully I will have a semi decent job in two years so I can support myself and the kids if I have to.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A New Beginning

Since I decided to go back to school I have been checking out local colleges and universities. Since I didn't get an undergrad degree in education (nope silly me got a Bachelors of Business Administration) I have to find a master's program that will certify me in teaching. I found two programs that I like, one at Niagara and the other at Medaille.

I am going to apply at Niagara first. They will have me student teaching when my daughter is in school full time. The timing is perfect. I don't want to get back in retail. That is where all my experience is and I HATE the hours you have in retail. When I thought I couldn't have children that seemed perfect. Funny how I didn't get pregnant until after I had wasted my money on a degree I don't want anymore.

I am afraid to tell my MIL. I have a feeling she won't be as supportive as she was when I went back to school for my bachelors. I can't even bring myself to apply for a part time job in retail because I a, worried they will suck me in again and I will be spending the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas working insane hours and never seeing my family.

So back to school I go. I think my husband finally gets that I need to do this. He is actually not against it. I thought he would focus on the money and not think about the fact that I need to do this.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day


On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 62/139, tabled by the State of Qatar, which declares April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) in perpetuity. Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, supported the campaign for a World Autism Awareness Day through the current 62nd UN General Assembly Session, garnering consensus support from all United Nations Member States.

This UN resolution is one of only three official disease-specific United Nations Days and will bring the world's attention to autism, a pervasive disorder that affects tens of millions. The World Autism Awareness Day resolution encourages all Member States to take measures to raise awareness about autism throughout society and to encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. It further expresses deep concern at the prevalence and high rate of autism in children in all regions of the world and the consequent developmental challenges.

World Autism Awareness Day shines a bright light on autism as a growing global health crisis. WAAD activities help to increase and develop world knowledge of the autism epidemic and impart information regarding the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Additionally, WAAD celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with autism and is a day when individuals with autism are warmly welcomed and embraced in community events around the globe.

Why Mommy Gets a Night Out

I was so happy to go to an impromptu mommy whine night. It was so nice to get to talk with my mommy friends and just have a good time. I debated about what to bring. I was going to being some coolers but it was a bit of a drive so I settled for cheesecake. Cheesecake the amazing snack with the power to sooth a lot of mental aches and pains.

I still have problems figuring out when to speak during a conversation. It seems I always get it wrong. Especially in large groups. At least it's not as bad as it used to be when I would hide in the corner and not speak at all. I wish there was a timer or a clear sign I could see or hear to know when it was okay to speak. It is worse when there is more than one conversation going on. Often I get overloaded and almost shut down. I don't know who to listen to or which conversation to join.

I wonder what people would think of me if they knew all I want to do is curl up in ball and disappear. I force myself to participate in life. It is so hard for me to make eye contact with anyone and be part of a group. I always have this nagging feeling that when I leave a room everyone talks about me negatively and laughs at me.

It doesn't help that that is most of my memories from elementary school and junior high. I was the picked on kid. That is an understatement. I was the tormented one. It was so bad that I wanted to get away from public school and asked my parents to send me to a catholic high school.

Even in high school it was hard for me to trust people. I think I finally started breaking out of my shell in my senior year. I always refer to my first four years of college as my real high school years. I finally was forcing myself to participate in life and have some fun. Okay it was too much fun, because I didn't graduate from college for 16 years.

Now I get to go out with my mommy friends and I still think to myself, what do they really think of me, I feel so awkward because I don't really know how to be part of the group. I still find ways to hide in the corner if I feel overwhelmed. But I do participate. I do get to go out and practice being a human. I make sure I mingle whenever I get the chance. Because I know if I don't make myself participate by going out or even just posting in my groups I will just go back into my own world and disappear.