Monday, December 15, 2008

A visit with Santa

For the first year ever Connor is truly enjoying the Christmas holidays. He sings carols, "We wish you a Merry Christmas", "Rudolph the red nosed reindeer". Of course those are the only lines he sings of the songs and sings them over and over and over. His enthusiasm over everything to do with the holiday has caused whole sentences to erupt from him such as, "Look at that snowman!". Every inanimate Santa Clause gets pointed out and several times he has attempted to get to the neighbors sleigh and drag it home.

I was still nervous about his reaction however when I found out that they were to have Santa at the Occupational therapist office. Plastic and pictures of Santa are not the same as a "real" Santa. We had already found out that our OT had double booked herself for our slot and we would be seeing the male OT, something we had never done before. Connor took well to Mr.R and soon was letting him chase him through the halls while he rode a bike.

I wait near the kitchen area of the gym for them to make their next round, but after awhile they hadn't come back. So I started to go up to the front and hunt them down. As our usual OT passes to clean up from being vomited on from her other client she informs me that Connor and Mr.R are going to see Santa.

Mr.R meets me on the way to the Santa room. "Connor's Mom! Come on, quick!"
So I rush to the Santa room with him not really knowing what to expect, to see my boy half skipping, half running around the room shouting "SANTA!" "SANTA!"
He had already had his picture taken with Santa and was now running and dancing around the room.
"SANTA!" "SANTA!"

Connor would stop running, come up to Santa, get near his face and say in the lowest voice possible "HO! HO! HO!"
To which Santa would respond, "HO! HO! HO!" while Connor examined how his mouth moved in the sandwich of mustache and beard.
Santa would interrupt Connor's running by throwing his arms in the air and yelling "Connor!"
In response Connor would put his arms up and yell "SANTA!" and they would give each other a bear hug.
He danced with Santa and wore the biggest smile ever.

It couldn't have went better than if I had dressed up as Santa myself.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Strides in achievements

January 9th, 2007 we got Connor's diagnosis. We cried off and on for a few days, read everything we could to get an idea of what we would be up against. We researched the best proven treatments. Most tell you the basics; speech therapy, occupational therapy, gf/cf diet, floortime, and ABA. In everything we read it said get ABA and get it now, 20 hrs a week or more if you can get it.

But we couldn't get it. Medical insurance would not pay and every charities' waiting list was full and seemed quite comfortable telling me I had to wait another year. All the time I keep hearing about this window. A small sliver of time in which I have to pull my child out to join the real world and not remain trapped in his own. After finding one program that would pay for the ABA, we were shot down because he was not in danger of becoming a ward of the state and was not in danger of becoming hospitalized due to self injury.

We had decided to try one more time after we were turned down. The next person to take our application was good. Very good. Now we have ABA and the new therapist has already started working with Connor. He loves her and tells her so.

We are only 1yr 9 months since we got his diagnosis and he has made more progress than I could have ever dreamed in such a short span of time.

The main things; He talks! He says Mommy ( and everyone elses names). He knows kisses are good for ouchies and sadness. He knows happy, sad, and scared. He knows how to argue "No, you broke it!". He is beginning to tell the difference between girls and boys. He is now using the potty, even though it is only to urinate and only if he is semi clad. He knows his alphabet and can put the letters in order if they get mixed up. He knows his shapes. He can count to 60. He knows his colors and loves to show off how smart he is.

This past Friday he let my daughter's friend know that she is brown. I thought it was great, he is so pure of heart and loves to show off for the ladies. There was no doubt that there was no racism in it, he has no idea about race. I am steadily waiting to lose an eye when he discovers mine are brown and tries to point out the fact. I am also waiting for him to tell me I am pink or peach with brown spots.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another birthday...another chance for disaster

The end of August til the end of November, we have a large amount of birthdays and anniversaries in my family. Followed in quick succession by winter holidays.

The first of two end of the year birthdays at my sisters was coming up. This one for my dear brother in law. We prepare ourselves to head off triggers where possible and to give sensory when needed. We pack pressure garments in the car for Connor and Excedrin in my purse for the rest of us.

Our first obstacle was to be the entrance.

Usually it goes like this, ring doorbell or knock, person answers, Connor melts down on the entrance way, Connor recovers after a bit and enters premises. This time; door opens before we ring bell or knock, Connor enters happy as a lark.

Second obstacle, food.

Usually he is not interested in eating, but enjoys crumbling any bread substance to crumbs. This time he was thrilled to see "waterbolen!" (translation: watermelon) on the table and sat down and ate.

Third obstacle, singing 'Happy Birthday'.

Usually we all join in for a very out of tune version of the song and Connor either screams "NO!" or just runs from the room. This time he walked into the hallway and when we were done came back out to blow at the candles.

Usually after this we have had to pick up a completely out of sorts little man and carry him to the car and go home. This time he was enjoying himself. He was cooperative. He was talking to his aunt. He even made sure that he got his uncle's attention to tell him "Happy birthday! I love you!" Which is huge!

We all had a great time and stayed for a few hours, during which time Connor identified his uncle as "Damy". No one, and I mean NO ONE would have gotten away with this nickname. I don't think anyone would have even dared to call this very large man "Damy". Of course Connor gets away with it, we were all thrilled that he knows who he is and "Uncle Damy" couldn't be happier.


p.s. To my sister and her family, Thank you for a great afternoon. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Birthday cake anyone?

Connor got his first invite to a friends birthday party. Getting there was half the fun as Walmart was his preferred destination and when I pulled over to detangle the seat belt around his neck he thought we had arrived at the party. A few scratches later we did arrive at the party.

Guess what happens when you have three autistic toddlers, a couple NT children, and a bunch of adults at a child's birthday party. A good excuse to install a Xanax dispenser!

One toddler (mine) ran terrified looking for a dark place to hide when "Happy Birthday" was sung. One toddler withdrew and stimmed. One ate his cake, while looking for an escape route. One mom (the birthday boy's) had an anxiety attack. Then we moved the party out to the back yard.

Connor saw that there was a riding tractor exactly like his. He promptly grabbed it tipped it on it's back wheels and placed it where he could keep an eye on it. He scared one little girl away who tried to ride it, and ran faster than I had ever seen him when a boy said he wanted to ride it. He then hid it in some bushes. The birthday boy walked the perimeter of the yard and then went to stand behind a different bush. The other toddler ran from swing set to pool and back again rubbing his nipples.

It was really nice meeting up with the other parents and when we got home we were all nice and exhausted. Connor was fed, bathed and in bed when I happened to walk past his potty chair and saw PEE! I have never been so happy to see pee in my life and even though my youngest daughter suggested he may have poured some liquid in there, I was ecstatic.

He has been using his potty chair ever since Sunday night and I couldn't be happier for the progress he has made. But there are a few things to work out. First, if he has pants or underwear on he will not use the potty chair. He is to start school next week and I'm afraid of him regressing as I can't send him half naked. Secondly, he takes the potty chair to whatever room he knows he is going to be in, last night he grabbed it and ran to the living room so he wouldn't miss any of his video. Bowl movements still require a diaper and no one around, but I think the other problems should be remedied before we work on that one.

Any suggestions are appreciated, and a special thanks to Hubby, who modeled what to do for Connor even in that tiny chair!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thankful Thursday...or is it Friday already?

After much thought and being quite sentimental this morning, I thought it time to thank a few people in my life that keep me from going over the ledge into insanity.

My daughters. Beautiful, intelligent, driven, and considerate young ladies, who see to it that I get a few minutes each day to breath! You are the walking, talking pieces of my heart.

My husband. Hot headed, quick tempered, and potty mouthed, and yet takes the time to listen to all my crazy theories and ideas. Gives me sound advice, supports whatever I decide to do, and takes it upon himself without being asked to help me with calls that have to be made. I love you more than I can stand to put down in words.

My sister. The absolute poster child for fierce love of family. She listens. She also gives me sound advice. She understands about Mom. She doesn't judge. You give me more strength than you can possibly know.

My Grandmother. Who understands and lets us have a few minutes on her front step so Connor can adjust and let himself in the house when ready. Reassuring me it's no problem 'she has read all about them'. It means alot that even though we don't see her often, she bothers to take the time to read up on his condition.

My Friend M. To be honest, at first I wasn't sure I liked you. My opinion was you were too damn chipper to be the Mother of a little boy so similar to mine. How wrong I was. You have helped me realize just how lucky the both of us are. You have inspired me with your relentless drive. You celebrate the little things with me because you truly understand how "big" they are. You let me rant and sometimes let me listen to your rants. I am lucky indeed that your truly annoyingly cheerful ass saw fit to invite me and Connor to your play group.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Yesterday Afternoon

There is a new boy in my oldest teen's life. As much as I would like not to have these worries of teenagers and their hormones, I must admit I like this boy. I also like that the parents are involved in his life much more than the last boy, making it much easier to for me to keep tabs on my daughter.

His mother had invited Melody over for dinner. She was to be there at 4:30. The poor child was a case of nerves and the effect was that we were ready to leave the house at 3. I had to pick up some things from the store anyway and knowing how it may or may not go well in the store for Connor I decided it was good to leave this early.

Once strapped in his car seat he begins a chat "Hat, hat, hat, hat..." all the while pointing. He directs my driving all the way to the store of his choosing at which point the chant gets more intense and higher pitched "HAT! HAT! HAT! HAT!" As we are turning into the parking lot his sisters try to get more information out of him about this hat.

"What kind of hat is it?"
"Is it."
"Is it a Lightning McQueen hat?"
"Lightning McQueen hat."
"What color is it?"
"Color is it."

I am convinced at this point he is too excited at the prospect of getting the hat, he is only going to echo whatever is said to him in hopes he says what he needs to in order to get it, but they continue.

"Is it a black hat?"
"Black hat."
"Is it a red hat?"
"Red hat."
"Is it an orange hat?"
"Orange ha........NO!" I could hear the annoyance in his voice and thought that if I could have seen him at that moment he would probably be rolling his eyes.
"Is it purple?"
"Nooooo!"

Once inside he leads us not to the hats but to the toy department in the car aisle. He goes to one spot and points up. I don't see anything but a collections of Cars the movie figures that he already has. He is pointing at one in particular so I ask him "You want this one?"
"Want this one. Yes." he replies.

I pull it down and he doesn't take it but continues to point to the one behind it. One he doesn't have, one with hats. He must get a better view of things at his height. His memory of where he sees them amazes me though.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

GF/CF chicken nuggets and other misadventures


We have jumped on to the bandwagon of the gluten free/ casein free diet. This has been tough! It seems everything in the known world has gluten and or casein in it! If you add to this the fact that my little guys craves bread and breaded things like a crack addict, then you can see the recipe for disaster.

I've had help along the way with removing all offending foods from the house. Other Moms have directed me to Whole Foods Market with lists of gf/cf items, things that are soy, almond, loaded with proteins, and other good things. My daughters, Connor, and I made a trial run to this store, just to see if the atmosphere was acceptable. Check the lighting and glare of the frozen food section. There is no toy department so this is a major plus. Though my youngest daughter did say the seafood section smelt like a penguin exhibit.

We all loved this place! Connor had his little basket and we did manage to get cf soy cheese, a watermelon, spinach, and juice smoothies before we had to go. He never had a meltdown or run across anyplace in the store he couldn't stand to be, but he had his engine on high and wanted to see every bit of the place at lightning speed. The girls and I did our 'divide and conquer' move, and made sure he was in someones sight and safe at all times.

After our trip it was time for me to make the gf/cf versions of his favorite foods; cheese bread and chicken nuggets. The cheese bread was easiest. A premade personal sized pizza crust, soy cheese, cf butter with garlic microwaved for a minute and he ate the whole thing. The chicken nuggets have been a bit more challenging.

Every single recipe I have tried he has looked at the nuggets then looked at me and said "No! Chicken nuggets!". So I tried to fix the shape of the nugget to look more like what you would get from fast food places or the store. "NO! Chicken Nuggets! No! Chicken Nuggets!"

I bought the microwave dinners with chicken nuggets and french fries, taken out the nuggets that come in it, replaced them with the gluten free ones and popped the tray back in the box and back into the freezer. This seemed to work until he picked one up. "No! Chicken Nuggets! No! Chicken nuggets!" Have you ever picked up a chicken nugget from a fast food place? If you squeeze it a little it is kind of spongy. If you take a bite and look at the meat inside it you will see that it is preformed meat. After lots of research I found out that those little beauties my sons loves so much are not only preformed Frankenstein meat but it yields a surprisingly large amount of skin. Yeah, I don't know how I'll get over this stumbling block. I'll figure out something.

I would like to give a special thanks my sister and her co-worker Mrs. Kimbrough
for directing me to A Year of Crockpotting.
The family has enjoyed 2 solid weeks of gluten free/ casein free meals! While Connor has enjoyed his chicken nuggets.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You say Good-Bye, I say Good-bye


My young man has become very dependant on his schedules. Where he goes and when is very important for him to know up front. Every trip is planned out on his picture schedule, the number of pictures dependant on the number of steps to get to the final destination. Preparation to leave the house is to become another picture schedule since he now believes if you have your jacket and shoes (on or just carrying them) you are ready to go, regardless if you have any other piece of clothing on.
At school after I leave he is a different kid, closer to the one he was at home half a year ago. He barely speaks and does not express his wants. It was baffling at first to find out that the speech therapist at school had a goal for him to make 2-3 word utterances, while his out of school speech therapist is working on getting him to answer questions. It is a different world for him at school with overly busy walls, and children that he has no interest in.

I prepare the picture schedule with the PECS appropriate for each step;

Car, when we get in the car with seat belt on he removes the card, places it on the backside of the board and I prompt him to tell me where we are going next.

School, When we're parked I come to his door and he removes the card.

Office, We must sign in at the office every morning, this is the step that has caused the most trouble because at first he didn't want to go in, and then his bravery got the better of him and he decided to explore. This was fixed however with a "Don't get yourself in trouble, Connor." Yeah I couldn't believe that stopped him either.

Connor's class room, this is the last picture on the schedule. I had first tried to include a picture of a person waving "good-bye". I thought this would let him know that I was going to say "Good-bye". This backfired, upon seeing the goodbye card he grabbed his things and headed to the door.
The other obstacles in our way of completing the Office to Connor's classroom step is the occasional teacher and or therapist in the hall. To Connor this makes no sense what so ever. They are to be in the classroom, they do not exist anywhere else. The first sighting out of the classroom caused a meltdown in the hallway leaving me wondering how in the world I was going to get around this. Connor fixed it himself, now when he sees them in the hall or out the classroom he averts his eyes and does not respond to them. Yes, I'll have to come back to this one and remedy it.

The teachers and aides have always asked what they could do to help and have been most helpful, even adding the picture schedule to his IEP. However follow through has been hit or miss, causing them to have to deal with a meltdown in the hallway. They had left the classroom to go to the library, Connor is used to the idea that if the class leaves the room they go to the gym, lunch, or home. Not being shown a picture of the unexpected library before hand left him unprepared.

When talking to the aide and asking about using the pictures she told me he hadn't needed it as much since he got used to the normal routine. I was glad her boss was behind her listening to the conversation. The aide is the sweetest lady but she needs to be pointed back into the right direction occasionally, as do we all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Respect and value

These two simple things are something I never really thought I had to worry about when it comes to Connor. He is sweet, endearing, funny, just one of the best kids ever put on the planet really, when you come right down to it. Or is that only in my eyes?

I am sure this Mom from my state thinks the same of her 8yr old boy. Educators trusted with his well being while at school obviously do not agree. If you respected or valued someone you would never lock them in a closet sized room.

My own Mother was so upset by this article that she woke me up bright and early on Sunday to make me read it. I don't know what is worse actually, the terrible situation this innocent young boy was in, or the dimwitted people that have posted comments on the article. Things that translate into; "That boy was making it difficult for the precious normal kids to learn. He shouldn't be allowed to be there." or "So what? He was being difficult. Teachers don't have enough resources to deal with that.". The resources these teachers do or do not have is not this little boys fault nor should he be kicked out of school because people believe the normal children should come first.

HBO recently aired a documentary called 'Autism the Musical'.
A Mom in the documentary made a comment that I really identify with. She said she could use the moments when people stare or make rude comments to enlighten them and get the word out but she could not make them respect or value her daughter. How true is that? Even though people are informed about the condition they fail to see that the person has a mind, thoughts, feelings, etc. The thought that the person they are smirking at may have intelligence totally eludes them. One comment made on the article about the little boy makes this quite clear, "If he wasn't taking anything in why have him in there? Put him in a class with other kids like him."
I will not even start on that one because I fear I will be typing all day.

The comments weren't all bad, but there were enough to put me up on several soap boxes, they were all mostly to do with autism so maybe you would say I was on several spectrums of soap boxes. Funny enough a little post about "special needs Moms" not having anything better to do than to stir up trouble (are freaking kidding me?) made me realize that was my new label.

I am a special needs Mom. I clean, cook, clean some more, taxi children to school and therapies, try to be a decent wife to my husband, make sure everyone in the household is healthy and happy, between all this I scramble for a moment or two to breath, find a second or two for me. But for all this I have no life and must stir up trouble where ever I can and put my poor child on display, it's quite sad really.

I know I don't have to worry about this sort of thing happening to my kiddo, but know this. If I found out someone locked Connor in a closet I would not be as calm as this lady and just sue the school. I would never have the chance before the person who locked him in got to sue me for bodily injury. OK stepping off my many boxes for the moment. Happy Hump Day!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Eat my chicken!

After the last few weeks wondering if my darling toddler had indeed been possessed by demons, we have finally landed once again in a very good place. He has abandoned his pursuits of knocking everything in reach over or running at windows with hands outstretched. Finding himself in solitary time outs until he could remain calm to the count of 5 has taken his heart out of it. What good is it to do these shocking activities if no one is going to act properly upset?

Good behavior has been abundant and so when it came time to make dinner and he wanted to watch a few videos on the computer I was very accommodating. It can be hit or miss with his communication about what he wants to watch so an amount of patience is requires from both of us.
"Rabby" he squeaks.
"Rabby? Can you point to it?" I am puzzled because we are looking at Thomas and Friends videos and I don't know of an engine with that name.
"Rabby, Rabby, Rabby!" He repeats and finally touches the character he wants to watch.
"Oh! Cranky."
"Cranky!" He smiles at me happy that I was able to figure it out.

As the video begins he sings to the music, "Dun da dah, dun da dah dah."
Perfectly he keeps the beat and then with out warning, "Eat my chicken!"
"Huh?"
"Eat my chicken! Eat my chicken!" He squawks, bouncing in his seat being very pleased with himself.
"Yeah, we are having chicken for dinner." I offer thinking maybe that was what he was going on about. Only to get a 'What the hell are you talking about' look in return. I leave it wondering where he might have picked that up and he watches another short clip this time about George the steamroller. It is only 40 seconds long and he sings along with the music waiting for his favorite part at the end. "Wooooo!" and he slides at of his chair on purpose to the last note of the music. It sounds like a sound effect that would be added when someone slips on a banana peel.

"Rabby! Rabby!" He squeaks when the George video is over.
"Cranky?" I ask
"Cranky!"
"OK, this is the last video before we eat. After this one we are all done with videos." I explain before I start it so he will know what to expect, even if he isn't happy with it.

"Dun da dah. Dun da dah dah! Eat my chicken! Eat my chicken!" Obviously I need to watch more Thomas and Friends or judging how he barely ate anything, especially not his chicken (it wasn't breaded and reformed into nugget shape, therefore unfit for consumption), I need to eat his chicken for him.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Old man grocery shopping

This an Email I recieved from a friend today. It reminded me of experiences in the store with Connor, except I could laugh about it.

An old gentleman was grocery shopping with his grandson. The toddler was crying and at times screaming at the top of his lungs.

As the old gentleman walked up and down the aisles, people could hear him speaking in a soft voice...
"We are almost done, Albert...
Try not to cry, Albert...
Life will get better, Albert..."

As he approached the checkout stand, He carefully brushed the toddler's tears from his eyes and said again, "Try not to cry, Albert...We will be home soon, Albert..."

As he was paying the cashier, the toddler continued to cry as a young woman in line behind him said, "Sir, I think it is wonderful how sweet you are being to your little Albert."

The old gentleman blinked his eyes a couple of times before saying.
"My grandson's name is John... I'm Albert."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bad, bad Mama!

There had been so many things within the last week I had wanted to share and had not found the time to do so. Looking back all I can say is I have not been on my A game. I believe it had all started shortly after I made my last post on the 14th.

I answer the phone to hear...
"Mom, I've done something really stupid."
"What did you do honey?" I was really afraid to ask.
"I had a safety pin in my mouth while I was talking and swallowed it."
"How the fuck did you manage that?!" <----Bad Mama!
" I didn't mean to."
"I know sweety, I'm sorry. Was it open or closed?"

Thank goodness it was closed and after a few calls I found out we would have to wait for it to make it's grand reappearance. I did go pick her up early however because I could tell she was on the verge of tears from embarrassment.

A few days later, after I had taken the girls to school, I discover Connor has a low grade fever and can't go to school. He is tired not feeling well and will barely move from his bed when hubby answers the phone. My sister was calling to make sure we know that Melody's school is on lock down. I turn on the news to find out a girl reported seeing a male talking to two other young males in the cafeteria and he made a gesture that suggested he may have a gun.

Full panic! I want to go retrieve my daughter right now before some lunatic goes on a shooting spree! My hubby has to explain to me that lock down means I can get nowhere near the school much less get to her, even though I know this, I feel an exception should be made. I want to call her but she has very little units left on her cell. <--Bad Mama! So I decide to text her instead. I get no response. I find out later that this is the day she forgets her cell at home.

I do get information while I wait from my cousin who is a senior at the same school. He calls another of my cousins, who then calls my sister, who then calls me. They are all in their classrooms with the doors locked, lights out, and on the floor in the far corner of the room. I can only imagine how scared my baby must be and I break into fresh tears, again.

I let guilt get the best of me as I see swarms of parents wait outside the police barriers. I can't go. Hubby has went to work, Connor is sick and shouldn't be out in the cold like that. Even if he wasn't sick he is 3 1/2 and autistic, he isn't going to just stand there and behave. No there would be much running, kicking, screaming, scratching, and lying about on the ground. A police barrier isn't the place for a young child anyway. It also occurs to me that after the scene we would cause I may find myself questioned by police and the new subject of a social worker investigation.

They finally give the all clear and Hubby picks Melody up at the normal time, because some 250 parents were in front of him in line. The male seen that morning was from another school and did have a gun but had left shortly after being spotted. He was picked up by police later that day in a stolen car.

The next day I take Connor to the doctor. The trip there is a post in itself. He has a double ear infection. As we are leaving at around 10:10 Melody calls and asks "Mom, are you ready to pick me up?"
"Why do I need to pick you up right now?" I begin to feel nervous that they are having a repeat of the day before.
"They released school early because an ice storm is coming."
"I'm just leaving the Dr's office I'll be there as fast as I can."

Grace's school was nice enough to send teacher's out to the parking lot with walkie talkies to announce the name of the student when the parent showed up. Saving the kids from freezing their rears off. Melody's school however, the same one that protected her so diligently the day before, tossed the students out in to the ice and snow. I picked up one very pink, cold, annoyed teenager. Well at least she was only flash frozen.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Doctor, Doctor!

Give me the news....




I've got a bad case of lovin' you!!!



Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Coping with Progression

"Hey Melody!"
We had just got home from school. She was making herself a snack, when her little brother decided he was going to be social. It was a shock, she stood there slack jawed and brow furrowed until I prompted her to respond. She had suddenly become socially challenged.
"Yeah?"
"Whatcha doing?"
"Ah, making a soft pretzel. You want a bite?"
He looks down at the plate she has in her hand, reaches out and takes off with the whole thing. Stopping a few feet from her he looks at the pretzel in his hand and asks "What is it?"
"It's a pretzel." She explains.
"Pretzel!"

We are bewildered and ecstatic over this sudden development, but we also know there may be hell to pay. Every time there is progression in any form with him, there is also an adjustment period when sleep isn't great, extreme pressure is needed, more Mom-mom time is required, and a general urge to run amuck slamming and pushing on everything. This is a far sight better however than the meltdown fest that use to occur right before a major spurt of progression. For this we are grateful. However the amount of discontent usually coincides with the amount of progression. The bigger the achievement the more out of sorts.

I had thought that would be it for a little while, he made good eye contact and asked questions just to be social along with using the name of the person he was addressing. It was conversation, words spoken not to ask for something (even though he stole the pretzel). Not script or description of cars, dinosaurs, numbers, letters, or movies. This just a few days after spelling his name aloud for his aide. This was major!

However the next day he let us know he was not done. He and his sisters were playing in the basement when the urge to socialize hit again.
"Gracie. Melody. Mom-mom. I running!" He informs us as he darts here and there across the room. The girls pretend to be mimes, making it appear they are going down stairs behind the sofa. He thinks it's funny but has to ask "Where are you, Melody?" When it gets closer to bedtime and I inform him he has so many minutes before we have to go upstairs, he turns from me, starts climbing the stairs, waves his hand behind him saying "Bye bye Melody, see you later."

I have to prompt her again to respond so as to make it worth his effort. I can tell from the look on her face that while she is delighted she is wondering, as am I, how much more he can handle doing before he turns his head 360 degrees, projectile vomits pea soup, and starts speaking in tongues like the girl from The Exorcist.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Graceful equations

Once upon a time, it seems a long time ago, I was a highly intellegent youth. Or so I was told. I took my SAT's while in middle school and had colleges calling to recruit me before I ever stepped in to highschool. Yes I was quite full of myself and my brainpower. Now that I am a little older and have children that have just entered or about to enter highschool it seems to me that either I or the educational system back then was highly deluded.

The flu has picked on our household member by member starting with my husband last Friday. Connor and I are finally fever free but now my Gracie is ill and worse than that, she has been incredibly bored just hanging out in bed watching T.V. Strange as she would be perfectly happy to sit and watch T.V. if she were well. Being so bored, she ventured out into the dining room during dinner to sit with the rest of the family although she had no appetite.

She brought along paper, pencil and calculator, sat with us, and did equations. It is something I can imagine Connor doing at nauseum when he discovers what you can do with numbers. She does this for something to do often. I think she she does it for fun. I watch her amazed and proud, as well a tad ashamed that my brain is dimmer now and for the life of me could not tell you what all the numbers and signs mean.

Her older sister looks over taking a gander at what she is up to and exclaims "Oh let me see it for a sec!" She takes the paper and pencil, pausing only a few seconds to go over it all scribbles a bit more down then hands the paper back to her younger sister.

"What did you do?" Gracie asks lazily.
"I found the slope." She answers proudly.
Looking at her sister as if she was a lower life form she replies, "OMG we learned that last year!"
My mom voice had escaped me "Grace Ellen!"
"What?!" her and her father ask at the same.
"What did she do?" He asks as he wasn't listen to the first part of the conversation.
"She's a being a math snob! Gracie honey, sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it."
"I know, I know. Sorry." She offers to her sister who now has her feelings hurt.
"But Mom she's an English snob!"

Funny how they can always salvage an argument out of every conversation.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Primative man and the mullet

Like many, my son is protective over parts of his body. Mainly his head. He can stand for hands to touch it and even being massaged with finger tips, for a limited amount of time. The problems occur with the presence of tools. Same with his hands or fingers, again touching is fine if not in a restrictive or forceful manner, until the appearance of tools.

I do manage to keep his nails trim and clean for the most part, because I get one maybe two a night before bed when he is calm and attempts of escape are not as effective. His hair however is a different story. With both of these problems I have been told "Do it in his sleep." The problem with this is I always hit the spot on the floor that squeaks and causes him to arouse from a deep sleep. If I miss the spot and reach him it is only momentary. The feel of touch during sleep causing him to slightly open his eyes to check out his surroundings to make sure all is well. I am sure I could not find many people to say they would be fine with dozing back off to dreamland after awakening to find your mother towering over you, scissors in hand.

Assuming I do get in and get a snip in here or there and beside the fact I am wary of having scissors near my sons head at the wee hours of night, if I start at the top/front do I just pray mullets temporarily come back in style? We are in Kentucky it may play off. If I can start in the back does that make things much better? A tellum? Then there is always the Victor/Victoria option, where I am able to only get half of his head. Also what about the hair that does get cut off. How to keep it from him and his bed so the rest of the night isn't followed by tears and meltdown due to itching.

I have seen a few boys with long hair that look just fine, but then again being able to brush or comb the hair does help to keep that grizzly appearance at bay. No it seems the answer may be to slowly desensitize (it that a word? if it is, is it possible?).

The OT suggests that I continue touching his head as often as possible to get him to realise all is well. Letting him hold the clippers while on and covered to protect. Going to a barber shop and explain the we need to visit a few times to watch and then make an attempt. Make sure that he is given a thorough bath after to make sure no hair is on him and make it a pleasant experience.

Those OT folks make things sound so obvious and simple don't they? Wish us luck!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Speech therapy and cows

Whoopie! We have a new speech therapist!

Connor had been missing his speech therapist that moved back to her hometown. His OT is in the same building so everytime we would visit the OT he would try to go to his speech therapist's old room and then meltdowns would follow.

We were told about the new therapist on Wedsnesday and had an appointment the following day at 1 right after school. When she comes out to the waiting room and starts talking to him he warms up to her immediatly.
"Hi, Connor!" she is very soft with him but shows she is very happy to see him.
He looks at her and takes her hand and I ask him "Can you say hello to Ms. B?"
He looks at her again, a huge smile on his face, and leans in to give her a kiss.

We brought his book along to show her the song that Ms. H had taught him before she left. Alot of Ms. H's old clients have been taught this song and Ms. B was glad to finally get the full scope of what it was about. We went over the old goals and I was surprised about how much Connor has improved since they were wrote up.

Transitioning is still a major goal as is attending to nonperferred activities, but labeling is in the past as he does this as well as ask for things that he doesn't see. She decided we should skip ahead a little to start the use of 2 -3 word sentences even though he was telling us "I got triangle.", "It's a letter T." as we were talking. As the use of these sentences are VERY new I consented to this being the starting point.

He had me baffled however that since the moment we arrived on the premises he started asking for a cow. I tried singing "Old MacDonald" and that do the trick for a little while, but as the session ended and we were leaving he says "Want Cow!" and it was a job to get him up and out to the car. Once out in the car he decides to abandon his request and instead ask for "Hamburger?".

Surely he doesn't know what hamburgers are made of! He never really wants a hamburger when he asks for them anyway he always wants fries and chicken nuggets. He just knows that the places you get such quality food always have pictures of hamburgers. I talked about this situation with his older sister when she was out of school. The child actually looked at me with pity in her eyes, her poor old mother just doesn't have a clue about what's going on, how do I make through the day alone she must wonder.
"No he doesn't want a hamburger." She sighs.
"Well what then?"
"While you were at the therapist's he wanted the farm animal puzzle the OT has down the hall! When you got out to the car he was hungry and wanted nuggets and fries." She explains.

I wonder if they will let her answer her cell phone at school in case I have any other questions for her?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Playtime over!

The holidays are over and children back in school. I drop each off then recline in my desk chair taking a deep breath; "ah" followed by another. I love the holidays and loved having my children home with me during the days, but there is always too much of a good thing.

Holidays meant that the only therapy Connor was getting was occupational and there were 3 appointments in 2 months that were cancelled due to days off. Connor was in a right state, music therapy being halted because of ear infections, brushing halted due to aversion after an accidental scratch. When we arrived for therapy last Friday I think the OT didn't know which one to she should put to work, him or me.

He is obviously missing his speech therapist that moved back to her hometown and we are patiently waiting for the next one appointed. He sings the song she taught him constantly "Apple, Apple, ah ah ah. Baby, baby, ba ba ba...." So the girls and I printed up all the pictures that go with the song and made him his own book.

Today the happiness on his face as we passed the water tower on the way to school showed on his faced as it dawned on him where we were heading. I am actually excited to see the planned curriculum for the week although some will be old hat for him some is new stuff and some is more involved ideas than he cares for.

Learning about: Happy Birthday!
He knows all about Happy Birthday! It is the proper greeting at all times!

Letter: H
"Happy! Happy! HA HA HA" will be sung at no end.

Number: 1
He counts forward and backwards all the time.

Things they will talk about: Birth dates, month and day. First Middle and last names. He will probably memorize these no problem if he is interested. "Talk about the New Year and resolutions", this is where I am interested to see if he has interest in participating. Not being academics, involving numbers, letters, colors or shapes I just don't see why he would take an interest. They are ideas. Not saying that he doesn't have ideas, he is intelligent and imaginative, but there are many factors (audio reception among them) that make it likely he will tune them out, like a man tuning out a gaggle of women talking about their feelings.

Then again he is always making a liar out of me and making steady progress. I hope that trend continues.