Project 365

Time for the Tuesday photo dump ūüôā

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The view outside my window at work as it was snowing and blowing last week – so very gloomy…

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Wicket’s “baby” – it used to be a stuffed chinchilla.¬† Now it looks more like a drowned rat…

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The SUN!!!  It finally peeked out for a day!!!  It felt so very good to be outside.

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My little grill master.¬† Eli decided that HE was cooking dinner for all of us.¬† He made Crabby Pattys a la Spongebob.¬† They were delicious ūüôā

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Spring is beginning to shout its presence.  The crocuses and hyacinths and daffodils and tulips are peeking their little heads through the dirt and mulch.  I can hardly wait for their blooms!

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Wicket and his “baby”.¬† Yes, off to the right of him is some of the stuffing that is still coming out of the drowned rat chinchilla.¬† He’s very protective of his baby!

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My view of Pandora today.  My Elton John channel.  A very wonderful friend bought me a subscription for Christmas.  There is nothing quite like Pandora without commercials!  I have been spoiled and will never be able to go back!

I’m having so much fun looking for the beauty in my day.¬† I’m excited to go back and review it all a year from now.¬† A day in the life and all that jazz…

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Amazing

It’s the only word that I have to describe Eli’s IEP meeting last week.¬† I wanted so badly to add it to a “Happy This Week” post but just couldn’t find the time!

Thursday afternoon we had Eli’s annual IEP meeting.¬† His teacher, interventionist, OT, Speech therapist and principal were there along with myself, my honey and Eli’s worry doctor.¬† First, let me say just how wonderful it was to have the worry doctor there.¬† He is incredibly knowledgeable in working with children with anxiety so he gets Eli and understands a variety of ways to help him.¬† He knows IDEA and ADA inside and out and recognizes how to work with schools to make accommodations to meet the child’s needs and the verbage of the laws.¬† He brought a lot of great ideas to the table that will, hopefully, make 3rd grade a wonderful year for Eli.¬† Second, let me add that I love the people that we work with at this school.¬† I have had some issues with Eli’s teacher this year, only because I don’t think she truly understands him, nor has she taking the time to understand him.¬† I love, Love, LOVE his interventionist, OT and ST though.¬† We’ve had the same OT and ST since kindergarten and they are two of the most amazing women.¬†¬† Eli has pushed them outside of their normal routines…¬† I’ll get into that in a bit ūüėȬ† The principal is so easy to talk to and so understanding.¬† I feel like I can approach her with anything and have done so in the past.¬† She is no different in the middle of an IEP meeting.

We started the meeting just updating everyone on changes in Eli recently and talking a lot about the IOWA testing that was grueling, to say the least, for all parties involved.¬† The therapists updated us on some new things they are working on.¬† Eli’s OT has been working on teaching him typing skills since writing is so very hard for him.¬† My second grader is learning to type!¬† Added bonus that the typing is strengthening his hands and his writing is beginning to improve ūüôā¬† The OT is so thrilled with the results that she’s going to start doing typing with kids at a lot younger age than she used to because of Eli’s amazing results.¬† The speech therapist updated us on some of the social stories that she is using with Eli and shared that Eli is now having to come up with some solutions to the stories on his own.¬† He really is growing.¬† The interventionist shared the results of some recent testing that was done with Eli.¬† My son is reading 132 words/minute and has a similar comprehension level when asked the “right” questions.¬† I don’t think I can read that fast!¬† I wanted to cry and run out and hug his private OT who recommended the neuro-optometrist who recommended the vision therapy we did with Eli.¬† Obviously it paid off and he is now able to read at the level his brain is ready for.¬† Everyone shared that Eli is also starting to read with more inflection and emotion when reading out loud.¬† He has always read in a very monotone voice and read very quickly.¬† He is starting to slow down so that others can understand him and actually follow the emotion and punctuation using changes in his voice.

Then to the goals.  Only one for next year.  It sounds so simple to have only one.  But what a big one that is.  A combined communication and social goal.  Multiple strategies listed below to help us accomplish this seemingly lofty idea.  Lots of social stories, lots of social groupings to practice.

On to services.¬†¬† Only a little clarification needed regarding OT services.¬† Otherwise pretty status quo until accommodations.¬† This is where the worry doctor really stepped up.¬† We talked a lot about Eli’s testing anxiety and how to help him be able to show that he knows all of his math facts without having to take a ridiculous math test in 2 minutes.¬† I remember doing that and it sucked!¬† Eli has to do it, gets stuck on one problem and then perseverates on the amount of time he has left – so much so that he doesn’t complete the test after the one problem that he had to stop and think about.¬† The worry doctor had some amazing ideas about how to help Eli through this and still meet the state standards for testing.¬† There was a lot of talk about what teacher he would have next year so that this would not be an issue.¬† We got stuck a little on wording in the IEP so that Eli was covered and no one would have to do extra paperwork.¬† The discussion was fantastic, everyone had an opportunity to speak and give their opinion.¬† State standards were discussed along with Eli’s needs in a very positive way.¬† My heart swelled knowing just how much these professionals care about my child.

We moved through the rest of the IEP without glitch, mostly.¬† The interventionist made a joke about not worrying about transition to junior high as we still had plenty of time for that.¬† I lost it.¬† I know my honey was secretly laughing at my own anxieties.¬† Thankfully, our team recognized that we needed to discuss the issue and not just brush over it.¬† We had a great discussion about his transition to junior high (in 3 years!).¬† At the end of the discussion the principal winked at me and asked if I’d like her to write me a social story.¬† It was a lovely, heartfelt moment.¬† She recognized how worried I am about that change and I know that she will help us to see it through.

We left the meeting feeling very fortunate and very cared for.¬† We know that not all IEP meetings go this smoothly.¬† I know personally from reading your stories that many IEP meetings do not go this well.¬† We smiled knowing that somehow we were granted this amazing group of people who truly care about the welfare of the children they teach and care for each day.¬† We smiled knowing that we have an excellent plan in place to help meet Eli’s needs and to help him excel where he is most talented.¬† We smiled knowing that many of these same people will move on with him to third grade.

This fall we will meet a new teacher and we will invite her to be a full member of Eli’s team as we have with all teachers and interventionists in the past.¬† We hope that he or she will accept the honor of becoming a part of one of the best teams around.

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What It All Means

You have been able to talk for so very long now. ¬†You used words almost as soon as you could walk. ¬†You called me “mum”. ¬†You called mama “mum-mum”. ¬†Like you were a little British boy.

There is video of you when you were not quite two years old. ¬†You are playing in the yard and you hear an airplane fly overhead. ¬†You look up and point. ¬†You say “airplane go to France aunt Lynda and uncle Barry”. ¬†That whole mouthful for such a little person.

From the moment that first word was uttered you haven’t stopped talking. ¬†You always have something to say, a story to tell.

And yet, here I sit. ¬†Frustrated. ¬†Sad. ¬†You can’t tell me how you feel, or why. ¬†You can’t put to words the things that are bothering you. ¬†You use anger out of your own frustration. ¬†You hit, you throw, you break things. ¬†You are just as frustrated as I am, though you show it in different ways.

From the outside looking in you have no disability. ¬†Those who don’t know you see you as just an angry child. ¬†A child prone to outbursts. ¬†A spoiled child who pushes buttons to get his way.

The rest of us know the real you. ¬†The you who loves to learn and strives to learn everything he can about the topic at hand. ¬†The you who gives ocean wave hugs with the most love and loves to be tightly squeezed in return. ¬†The you who¬†needs to talk about your current favorite topic, whether or not anyone else cares. ¬†The you who can draw dragons so beautifully. ¬†The you who can’t share his feelings without getting angry. ¬†The you who sometimes cries and you don’t know why. ¬†The you who loves to read. ¬†The you I love with all my heart.

This crazy disability grew inside your mind and made you who you are today. ¬†I love you for all that you are and strive to help you continue to survive in this big bad world. ¬†For now, you are realizing that you don’t often fit in. ¬†That most kids like you for a short time but quickly move away from you. ¬†You are realizing that you are different and you aren’t really sure what to do about it.

So today you cling tightly to what you know.  You want to bake with me more.  You want to read out loud with mama.  You want to do all of the things that comfort you when your whole world is out-of-place.  You want to do what makes you feel normal.

That feeling alone reminds me that you aren’t really all that different. ¬†When I’ve had a bad day I want the comfortable too. ¬†I think we all do.

Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
~ Hippocrates 

We continue to move forward.  Together as a family.  Learning right along with you.  Figuring out the ups and the downs.  We will continue to laugh together and cry together.  In the end we will survive and you will be all the better for it.

Posted in anxiety, Aspergers, PDD-NOS, SPD | 4 Comments

Project 365

Finally!

I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.¬† I’ve followed several other bloggers who have taken the initiative to photograph a year in their lives.¬† At least one photo every day.¬† A lovely way to document all that goes on in a year.

I made the commitment on March 1st that it was my time to do this.¬† I hooked up with Instagram and the rest is history.¬† My goal is not to take all photos via Instagram, though many will be as I always have my phone with me.¬† I hope to get some “real” pictures in there too.

Every Tuesday I plan to document my project here.¬† This is mainly a journal for myself so that at the end of the year I have a nice way to catalog our year.¬† You are welcome to share in this with me.¬† Maybe even start your own project.¬† It seems overwhelming at first but it really isn’t as difficult as it sounds.¬† Photo opportunities always present themselves.

Without further adieu…

  IMG_20130301_194604Friday night popcorn and movie night РWicket loves to stalk for falling popcorn

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My little box monsters!

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Eggs in a laundry basket while catching up on a little Phineas and Ferb

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Middle East Market tabouli – best tabouli ever!

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With 50 degree temps, Keegan’s sock snowman is the only one to be found in NW Ohio!

IMG_20130306_184542Wednesday night diving – it’s what we live for

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An unexpected date night of drinks and dessert at Claddagh with my honey while papa took the boys to a magic show!

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Tennis party to celebrate completing a month of tennis lessons.  Eli has a wicked backhand!

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My glow-worm hanging in the black lights at Imagination Station

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The boys decided all on their own to dress like twins for the day.  Keegan was even looking for glasses to wear!

IMG_20130311_194737Monday night diving – Keegan’s doing somersaults off the board for the first time.¬† He’s truly thankful for the sweatshirt that protects his back from the crash of the water.

That officially catalogs the first 11 days of March.¬† Only 354 days to go!¬† I’m so excited to see this through!

Happy Tuesday!

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Down To One

I spent the whole weekend being a single parent. ¬†Let me tell you, it sucks! ¬†For those of you out there who do it all the time I truly commend you. ¬†I’m not put together to do this all alone! ¬†I tend to go batshit crazy after about day one. ¬†I’m a wuss, a wimp, a sissy.

My honey had an amazing opportunity to take a course that taught her how to do massage on people diagnosed with cancer. ¬†She was gone from 9-6 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While she missed her time with me and the boys, I’ve never seen her smile shine brighter.

On Friday morning I took the boys to extended time before school. ¬†They don’t usually go on Friday’s because my honey is home from work that day. ¬†So, it threw them out of routine right away. ¬†On the way to school I explained why they were going and we talked about some of the fun things we were going to do. ¬†Eli had a lot of questions about where mama was going to be. ¬†He determined, finally, that she was going to be at college all weekend. ¬†As soon as he said that out loud Keegan started crying. ¬†He couldn’t believe that he wasn’t going to see mama all weekend and how could I let him leave her without a proper goodbye. ¬†I talked him down off the ledge somehow and he was able to listen to me long enough to hear that she would be home every night for dinner. ¬†She would NOT be missing popcorn and movie night with Wreck It Ralph. ¬†She would give hugs and kisses and tuck them into bed every night. ¬†All was again right in the world.

I got the luxury of picking them up after school on Friday too. ¬†My honey always picks them up so we didn’t want to break the tradition. ¬†I took off early from work and gathered up my two favorite guys. ¬†We got home and ordered pizza. ¬†They had a little down time before we packed up and went to a tennis party. ¬†Their school offered free tennis lessons to anyone interested throughout the month of February. ¬†The boys wanted to try it and we thought it would be a great learning experience for them. ¬†On Friday night the instructors threw a big party at a local tennis club. ¬†The kids got to practice their skills in front of their parents and have pizza afterward. ¬†We ordered our own since Keegan is allergic to tomatoes and these parties never have a sauce free option. ¬†So after an intensive hour of tennis we headed to Papa John’s and got our own pies and headed home to find mama ready and waiting for us. ¬†We ate pizza together at the table and then snuggled together to watch Ralph do some smashing.

Saturday brought a whirlwind of events. ¬†We had several things we¬†had to do and quite a few we wanted to do. ¬†We compromised and did them all ūüôā ¬†We started our day at the eye doctor to order Eli’s new glasses. ¬†I can’t wait to show them to you. ¬†He looks so handsome and grown up! ¬†I promised not to reveal them to the world, though, until mama has seen them in person. ¬†After the eye doctor we headed down to the Imagination Station – the local children’s science museum. ¬†The boys are in absolute heaven there. ¬†There isn’t anything that’s not kid friendly. ¬†There is so much to do and see and learn about. ¬†We were there for 2 hours and they didn’t stop moving once! ¬†We headed to the library after that to get a few movies. ¬†The boys opted for a stop at the used book store instead of checking books out at the library. ¬†So, we went there next. ¬†Again, they were in heaven. ¬†Books everywhere and I rarely put a cap on how many they can get since most of the children’s books cost less than $2. ¬†I spent less than I do at the book fairs at school and the boys had me carrying out 2 arm fulls of books. ¬†They couldn’t wait to get to the car to start reading. ¬†We headed to Costco for lunch and a little shopping. ¬†The reward for shopping was a journey for my Journey through the car wash! ¬†I love the giggles I get taking them through the car wash. ¬†We headed home for some outside play while mommy cleaned the inside of the car. ¬†And oh the treasures I found… ¬†When mama got home we ate a quick dinner and watched Wreck It Ralph again! ¬†It was a really fun, really tiring, really successful day.

And then came today.

The stars misaligned today. ¬†Perhaps we were all too tired from yesterday. ¬†There was a lot of yelling. ¬†Perhaps the time change messed with us all. ¬†There was a lot of fighting. ¬†Perhaps my misery from getting pink eye (again) likely from the ankle biters at the Imagination Station added to the trauma of the day. ¬†Whatever it was, it was a nightmare. ¬†Thankfully it was a beautiful day today – 65 degrees. ¬†I sent the kids outside and opened all the windows. ¬†We tried for a fire but it was just a bit too windy. ¬†Made me excited, though, to get my fire pit done over spring break (provided the weather cooperates) so that the wind doesn’t affect my fires as much! ¬†I made therapeutic fajitas – fajitas and margaritas always remind me of my sister. ¬†Today was no different and today brought a smile with those fajitas. ¬†I texted her husband to tell him I was making them as an early birthday present for him – his birthday is tomorrow. ¬†He shared that he had just poured a margarita. ¬†Perfect timing. ¬†Eli came in and helped me prepare some of the dinner. ¬†Then he sent himself to his room because he was mad that I couldn’t stop what I was doing to play with him. ¬†I never give him any attention. ¬†Yeah, it was that kind of day. ¬†But at the end of the day we did some snuggling. ¬†We shared some laughs. ¬†We hugged and kissed and tucked little heads into bed.

I looked at my honey’s smile as she told me about her weekend. ¬†My heart warmed that we could do this for her and I sent prayers and good wishes out to the powers that be that she can find a job where she can use these skills doing something she truly loves. ¬†I loved that we could support her this weekend by getting through without her. ¬†I loved even more that it’s not a permanent thing. ¬†I’m not cut out to be a single mom forever. ¬†But, every once in a while, it’s nice to have my boys all to myself ūüėČ

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Stuck

We planned, as much as anyone can, for the boys to get some extra sensory play this past weekend.  Boys need to be outside whenever they can.  Boys with anxiety and high sensory needs NEED to be outside just that much more.  Thankfully we were blessed with dry weather and decent temperatures.

When we built our house almost 6 years ago we chose the location because it was close to town with a truly remote feel. ¬†We have a field behind our house that screams to be played in when the farmer doesn’t see the need to fill it with crops. ¬†It’s perfect for flying kites and running great distances and playing in dirt.

February snow + March thaw + field of dirt = a truly heavenly muddy playground fit for kings and little boys.

No, there are no photos to document this event.  There should be.  Really.  The mud that was tracked into my home through my back door was enough to cake my entire house and keep me cool in the summer.  The smiles on the faces of the muddy, wet boys was enough to make me simply shake my head and help them remove their clothing.  My washer certainly got a work out this weekend!

On Saturday morning, Eli shared with us that he had gotten stuck in the mud and that Keegan had to pull him out. ¬†He couldn’t believe that he could get stuck like that. ¬†My honey told him a story about how she lost a boot in the mud when she was in grade school. ¬†She had to wear mismatched boots home because her boot was never found in the quickly sinking mud pit. ¬†Eli seemed to question her believability in this story but moved onto another subject.

Saturday evening we had my in-laws over for dinner. ¬†The boys returned outside to play while we made dinner and talked. ¬†Homemade pizzas take a while so they got to play for a good hour. ¬†About the time that we were getting ready to call them in, Keegan came to the back door. ¬†He stripped from head to toe and ran upstairs to get some clean, dry clothes on. ¬†We expected Eli to be close behind him. ¬†When he didn’t come my FIL offered to go to the back door and call him in. ¬†He opened the door and called to us instead that Eli was in the field screaming that he was stuck and couldn’t move at all. ¬†My FIL laughed thinking that Eli was just trying to get out of coming in. ¬†I had already donned my shoes and was headed for the field when he realized that he was serious.

I moved quickly across the yard. ¬†My shoes on and tied – in case I get into the mud too… ¬†I left without a jacket or gloves. ¬†The field isn’t that far after all. ¬†I trekked out to the spot I’d seen them playing in all day. ¬†Sure enough he was good and stuck. ¬†The top of his boot barely sticking out of the top of the mud. ¬†I pulled on him and freed his foot from the boot. ¬†I moved him to a dry spot and had him sit while I attempted boot rescue.

Imagine. ¬†A thawed patch of muddy, icy, watery gunk. ¬†3 feet wide by 8 foot long and who the hell knows how deep. ¬†No real way to get good tracking on the mud to get the boot out without going knee-deep myself. ¬†Still, I braced myself and pulled. ¬†And pulled. ¬†The damn thing wasn’t budging. ¬†I felt around the outside for anything that might help. ¬†Praise the Gods there is a loop at the back of the boot to help little boys to pull it on. ¬†Today that loop would be used to free a tortured boot from the cold, dark nether regions. ¬†And free it it did.

I have never seen Eli so excited and relieved. ¬†Then it dawned on me how very, very cold I was. ¬†My fingers were frozen from the wetness of the mud and boot. ¬†If my fingers were that cold I couldn’t begin to imagine how cold/frozen Eli’s foot was. ¬†Rapidly we moved across the paths of mud and frozen dirt back to our yard, Eli hobbling all the way with only one foot in a boot. ¬†We hit the yard running and were greeted by my FIL at the door. ¬†He proceeded to help Eli undress while I ran to the sink to warm my hands. ¬†I quickly instructed my honey to get to Eli to warm his foot, knowing he was likely fine as he regaled the entire story to his papa.

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IOWA

Yes, it’s a state.

But it’s not the state that worries him.

The state we love.

The state that houses a cousin and an uncle.

The state where we said goodbye to a treasured aunt.

No, the state is NOT what worries him.

It’s that stupid test.

2 weeks of sitting in a chair taking exam after exam.

A week of prep before the test where the teacher tells the class that this is a very hard test. ¬†The hardest test they’ve ever taken.

Thanks.

Thanks for telling my anxiety ridden little boy that this is going to be the worst 2 weeks of his life.

No, you’re right. ¬†You didn’t say those exact words.

Unfortunately for you he’s always been able to read between the lines to see the TRUE doom and gloom.

His life for the last week has already been Hell.

Consequently ours has been somewhat rocky too.

Thanks to an amazing psychologist who can fit us in on a different day when we had to cancel due to weather on our regular day.

Thanks to the psychologist who threatened him with a test the day of our last session, helping to ease the pain of the upcoming test.

Thanks to the strength and maturity that is forming within him and allowed him to finally see that he was, indeed, worried about those stupid four letters crammed together.

I O W A

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Wisdom and Beauty

I took a break from most everything last week to take joy in the calm that was in my house.¬† I won’t say quiet because life with boys is never quiet.¬† But after the crazy week we’d had a couple of weeks ago it was nice to revel in the calm.¬† We simply went where our lives took us.¬† Along the way we experienced some amazing things.

I did some reading.¬† I download books all the time.¬† My library is packed with a wide variety of classics and thrillers and mysteries and drama and the list goes on and on.¬† I’ve had a certain book in my library for a few months now that I’ve continued to scroll past.¬† Certainly it intrigued me enough to buy it but my finger just never wanted to stop.¬† Last week it called to me.

The Last Lecture

It was incredibly hard to read and soothing all at the same time.  The words of a man sentenced to death from cancer.  The wisdom behind his voice.  The love written in each line.  The beauty of the final months, weeks and days of his life.  In the end the voice of my sister echoed as this man left behind small children.  I was inspired and heart-broken all in the same moment.  Now, I feel compelled to bundle up with my favorite blanket and watch the actual lecture.  With a box of tissues nearby.

Eli discovered his love for drawing once again.¬† He has done a lot of drawing in the past, mainly for therapy purposes.¬† Usually he draws evil things to dilute his anger toward someone.¬† It usually works and is a much better outlet than hitting.¬† Last week, however, he revived his passion.¬† He drew me an entire book – a dragon manual.¬† He even put an author’s note at the end.¬† I hope you’v enjod my book.¬† I live it because I like Dragons.

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We are in search of art classes or an art camp for him to go to this summer.¬† My little man has a gift and a love for detail.¬† I’d love to see this become something for him.¬† Drawing is so calming and meaningful for him.¬† I’m working on creating an art wall in our bedroom – an Eli and Keegan art wall.¬† I’m blessed to have so many amazing creations to choose from.

Keegan is starting to come out of his shell ever so slightly.¬† He has really taken off with diving.¬† He is starting to do somersaults and do some backward diving.¬† He comes over after every new dive or really good dive that he does to make sure that we were watching and that we saw it.¬† Buddy, we wouldn’t miss it for the world!¬† There’s nothing quite like the smile of pride and success at something he is beginning to really love.

Several weeks ago the boys’ school held a Bingo night fundraiser.¬† Keegan wasn’t feeling very good so I stayed home with him and Eli went with my honey and her dad.¬† They had a blast and ended up winning a crapton of free ice skating tickets at the local arena.¬† We decided that we should share them with friends.¬† We scheduled a playdate for last weekend and took some friends skating with us.¬† It was a blast.¬† We watched the boys skate with their friends with true joy.¬† Watched them be the young boys that they are.¬† No worries, no fears, just fun.¬† What being a kid is all about.

We spent a lot more time last week being happy together.¬† It didn’t hurt that we ended the week with a snow day!¬† If only there had been just a little more snow to play in and not so much ice.¬† Still it was a joy that sent two boys on delightful adventures.

While I was away I enjoyed my family.  I enjoyed our calm.  I delighted in our fun.  We sang together, we laughed together and we read together.  The stuff that memories are made of.

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To Hell And Back

Friday night a fit started.¬† Keegan’s class got to vote on a class reward.¬† The winning ballot promised a pajama day and video game day at school for his class on Monday.¬† His class.¬† ONLY his class.

Suddenly an outburst.¬† My teacher is so stupid.¬† She doesn’t believe in video games at school.¬† Why can’t we have a video game day?¬† You HAVE to let me take my video games to school on Monday too.

Insert yelling, screaming, slamming doors, crying, throwing things and more yelling.

Friday’s at our house are traditionally popcorn and movie night.¬† The clock was rapidly ticking toward bedtime leaving minimal time for our favorite weekend activity.¬† Because the fit was continuing we let Keegan pick the movie for the night on his own.¬† Of course what Keegan picked was the stupidest movie ever.¬† A movie that he hates more than anything.¬† Why would you let Keegan pick that movie?

Still we stood by our decision and started the movie and popped the popcorn.  In that order.  For which I caught grief because the air popper was too loud for him to hear the movie that he hates.  I threatened to not give him any.  He calmed briefly.

The movie ended just in time for bed.  Hopefully a good nights sleep will cure his anger.

Not so much.

He started from the time his feet hit the floor.¬† Within an hour of getting up he lost TV and video games for the weekend.¬† We know these things tend to escalate his behaviors so we limit them anyway.¬† We quickly realized that he couldn’t handle any.

Insert more yelling and screaming and name calling and crying and yelling.

It escalated throughout the day.  We had errands to run and really needed to run them together as shoe shopping needed to be done for two rapidly growing boys.  They were insane in the car.  Building off of each other and sending their behaviors through the roof.  There was so much yelling and screaming by all parties.

My head began to pulsate.¬† The stress was building.¬† I was tired and worn out from fighting with both boys.¬† I couldn’t listen to Eli’s vocal stimming for one more moment.¬† I was furious with them for constantly running from us in the store.¬† I wanted to go home but we had so much that needed to be done.¬† And due to sales it had to happen that day.

After we got home my honey sent me out for a few extra items.¬† I’m certain that she shipped me off so I wouldn’t kill myself or my children.¬† I drove off repeating the mantra I do love my boys.¬† I do, I do, I do love my boys.¬† I worked to drown the voice that kept reminding me that I paid a lot of money to get those boys and why did I do that.¬† I enjoyed my brief time alone and hoped that when I walked through the door it would all be better.

But no.

Bedtime came early Saturday night.  Sunday had to be better.  It just had to.

It wasn’t.

We tried a divide and conquer method with them.¬† I took Eli out to the store.¬† He wanted to go.¬† He got lost from me a multitude of times.¬† Fortunately I only had to follow the sounds of the vocal stim.¬† I argued with him during our entire check out time because he wanted a Slim Jim and I wouldn’t buy him one.¬† He kept walking over to bring one back to me and I kept putting it back.¬† He was driving me bat shit crazy.¬† I’m pretty sure at some point on the drive home I actually thought about just driving head on into a tree.

He spent much of the remainder of the night in his bedroom.¬† It was too much to handle.¬† He went to bed even earlier.¬† He fell asleep rapidly.¬† He must have just needed a lot of sleep.¬† He has been growing.¬† Tomorrow he’s back to school.¬† I’m back to work.¬† It will be better.¬† It will be ok.

But Monday morning found us yelling and screaming at each other again.¬† The vocal stim was non stop.¬† He asked for breakfast then yelled when I gave him what he asked for because it wasn’t what he wanted.¬† He yelled yet again because he wasn’t able to take video games to school when Keegan was.¬† We argued to no end about the stupid video games.¬† Tears were threatening but I wouldn’t let them fall from my eyes.¬† Thankful for extended time at school I packed the boys up early and dropped them off at school.¬† On the way to school we fought some more.¬† I told Eli that I loved him but couldn’t stand being around him when he acted that way.¬† I was delighted to go to work just to get a break.

Early Monday afternoon I got an email from his teacher.¬† Everything we had dealt with all weekend was now on her platter at school.¬† His behavior was off the hook and he was coming home with a poor behavior chart for the day.¬† He did so great all last week and now this.¬† I sat at my desk and cried.¬† I didn’t know what else to do.¬† I was at my wit’s end.¬† I thanked his teacher for letting me know and I assured her we would be talking with Eli after school.¬† I shared that he’d had a really rough weekend and that we already had a list a mile long for the worry doctor on Tuesday.

I got home from work on Monday to find Eli with a fabric grocery bag filling it with all of his things.¬† He was moving out.¬† Our rules sucked and I didn’t want to be around him anyway.¬† I was stupid and idiotic and didn’t use nice words with him.¬† Now my already crappy day just turned to shit.¬† Really can it get much worse?

When you’re already hanging in purgatory don’t piss off the devil cuz’ he’ll gather your things and lead you straight into the depths of hell.¬† And boy did he lay out the red carpet for us.

We made dinner in the middle of Eli moving out because the boys needed to eat to go to diving.¬† I had pretty much determined that Eli was again going to bed early instead of going to diving.¬† I threatened as much but kept making dinner anyway.¬† We served pasta and meatballs and decided to try a new alfredo sauce since Keegan is allergic to tomatoes.¬† You would have thought we’d set poison on the table when my honey pulled out the sauce.¬† It wasn’t even on the pasta yet and already they were both ranting that they weren’t going to eat and how dare we make them eat something so nasty.

We both lost it.

A weekend filled with yelling and screaming and ridiculous behavior was leading too far into the week.¬† We couldn’t take it anymore.

So we pulled that reverse psychology parenting trick.¬† Fine.¬† You have NO MORE RULES.¬† NONE.¬† You can eat what you want but you have to make it.¬† You can wear what you want.¬† You can do whatever the hell you want.¬† Just don’t ask me for anything.

I took my plate of food away from the table and started eating.¬† My honey sat at the table but just started eating.¬† The boys just sat looking shocked.¬† Keegan started crying because we started eating without saying Grace.¬† We always say Grace before a meal.¬† Eli started crying because we didn’t care if he ate fruits and vegetables or not.¬† When we still didn’t budge they decided to dish themselves out the meal we actually made for them.¬† They got out their own vegetables and fruit.¬† They ate the well-balanced meal we’ve taught them to eat and they actually enjoyed the alfredo sauce with the pasta and meatballs.

We laid out their swim stuff and let them decided when/if they wanted to get dressed.  They were going to diving regardless.  They could decide if they wanted to dive or watch.  We got ourselves together and left when it was time.  They were dressed and ready for diving.  All on their own.

We drove in silence because everyone was pissed.¬† We tried to find comic relief during diving while watching Keegan’s Frankenstein walk along the diving board.¬† By the end of diving we were actually back in a decent mood.¬† We dried off the boys and sent them to the locker room to change.¬† They came out saying that someone’s things had been thrown in the garbage and the toilet.¬† We questioned them up and down to make sure they didn’t do it.¬† They said they didn’t.¬† They swore it was already there.¬† We believed them but it seemed to be icing on the cake.

We drove home and had some giggles along the way over a Justin Bieber song on the radio.¬† We began to hear a beeping sound in the car and couldn’t figure out what it was.¬† Eli announced that it was a watch Keegan took from the locker room.¬† Someone’s watch, probably the kid whose stuff got thrown in the toilet, was laying on the floor so Keegan took it.¬† Oh did the yelling begin all over again.¬† We were so far over the edge as a family there was no turning back.¬† I turned the car around and drove back to diving.¬† My honey took Keegan back into the building and made him give the watch back to the swim coach.¬† We drove back home in silence.

We put the boys to bed immediately after getting home.  I sat on the couch and cried.  I was spent.

Tuesday morning I decided to just keep calm and stick with the do what you want model.¬† Eli awoke asking for Paczki for Fat Tuesday.¬† I reminded him it would be up to his behavior if we went for Paczki before school or not.¬† They boys made their breakfast request and ate what was put in front of them.¬† They made their lunches on their own.¬† Their behavior was a little better so I drove them to the store for Paczki.¬† On the way Keegan started to get a little crazy and I heard Eli whisper to him that he’d better stop because otherwise I would turn around and go home.¬† Finally he was catching on.¬† We got the Paczki and I drove them to school for tennis practice.¬† I kissed them goodbye with meaning instead of because I felt obligated.

After school we went to the worry doctor.  On the way there I told Eli that we were going to talk about the weekend because nothing like that should ever happen again.  EVER.  When the worry doctor came out to get us Eli greeted him with I am not talking about the weekend.  Thank you, son, for that lovely segue!

We sat down and the worry doctor looked at me and said you look exhausted.¬† What happened this weekend?¬† So I spilled everything.¬† The good, the bad and the ugly.¬† I shared that for the first time in years I felt the need to medicate my child.¬† He talked to me for the first half of the session.¬† Then he turned to Eli.¬† Eli still wasn’t budging.¬† So he taught us a mindfulness technique to try.¬† We tried it during the session.¬† Suddenly Eli was insanely calm and started spilling his guts.

All that behavior because his brother got to take video games to school and he didn’t.

SERIOUSLY???

And then the kicker.¬† He has that PDD-NOS diagnosis but more likely than not it’s Asperger’s.¬† And, as a part of that, he perseverated on the video game thing all weekend which kept his anger ramped up and his behavior off the hook.¬† That’s what the worry doctor thinks, anyway.¬† And it makes sense.¬† As soon as he spilled that that’s what his anger was about his whole demeanor changed.¬† He was a happy kid again.

We had a delightful journey home.  We stopped at the store to get a couple of things for dinner.  When he asked for a Slim Jim and I said no he replied ok mommy.  He sat at the table and ate his dinner.  He did his homework without argument.  He showered when asked and put up no fuss over getting read for bed.

My boy was back from wherever the crazy took him.  We were slowly climbing out of the depths of Hell.

Today was better.¬† He did great at school.¬† He ate dinner without complaint.¬† He was mad at Jesus because he couldn’t eat meat today but quickly turned around after he got a snack.¬† He’s a nasty mess when he’s hungry.¬† He did amazing at diving.¬† We were back to our normal routine.

We came out of this a little more wise, incredibly exhausted and armed with more knowledge about our son and how to help him.¬† We are crossing finger and toes and strands of hair in the hopes that it doesn’t happen again, EVER.¬† Or at least not anytime soon.

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Saying Goodbye… Again…

A text from my BIL today shared that he had to put the cat down this morning.¬† Samantha.¬† My sister’s cat.

She was feisty, Miss Samantha.¬† She was fat and sassy and liked things her way.¬† She loved to pee in a fresh pile of laundry.¬† She overtook her bed and my BIL’s bed and the dog’s bed.¬† Samantha had her pick of anywhere in the house because she was the oldest.

And now she is gone.

Tearing open a wound that has yet to fully scab over.

Samantha has gone to be with Heidi.  Heidi is gone.  My nephew has lost one more link to his precious mother.

I can’t seem to stop tearing up over this cat that used to annoy the living daylights out of me whenever we would visit.¬† The loss of her life is such a symbol.

I can’t help but hold my breath now.¬† Amos, the dog, is no spring pup.¬† He is my sister’s pride and joy.¬† He is more than 10 years old.¬† Double digits for a rather large black lab is certainly pushing it.¬† And now he has lost his cat friend in addition to his beloved owner.¬† He trudges on for my nephew, I know.

My heart is breaking all over again.  I send my love to my nephew and my BIL as their wounds have been torn open as well.

Rest in Peace Samantha.  Snuggle well with Heidi tonight.

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