Thursday, March 31, 2011

...temper tantrums, social skills, funny little compulsions and the like...

...Little Man was diagnosed with Asperger's when he was three.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around it.  My main goal was to get him whatever services he needed to make him "normal".  Mike was almost in denial of the whole thing.  He thought we were blowing things way out of proportion and all he needed was a little more discipline. 

Yes, I am the mother in Target who you were looking at when her child was "misbehaving"...when it was really more like he was reacting to the sound of the vacuum cleaner that the associate was running in the Misses section.  Yes, I am the mother who you saw on the corner of the parking lot, waiting patiently and hoping not to be late to the doctor's appointment because her child was stepping on and off the curb 50-some-odd times because he "wanted to get it right".   Yes, I am the mother who you are in line in back of at McDonalds, hoping you are being understanding about the delay in getting to order because her child is counting and counting, trying to make the right decision of whether to have chicken nuggets or a cheeseburger for dinner.  I am even the woman at Walt Disney World who you rolled your eyes at while waiting in line to see Buzz and Woody, because her son had to stop and make sure that Woody was going to sign his autograph book on the "right" page, because he dropped his book and lost that page.  There are all sorts of little "tics" that Little Man has that I have grown accustomed to, or have simply gotten used to over the years.  I give you a small smile, hoping that you are understanding, but knowing that you, like my husband USED to think, probably think that my child just needs some more discipline.  Asperger's is an "invisible condition".  To see my son, he looks like every other average six year old...but I know that he has a definite different way of doing things.  And that is okay.

Little Man has had Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy since he was about two and a half, when we realized that something was just "not right".  He was able to start preschool at our school district at the age of three.  He has absolutely flourished.  He is now in kindergarten, still working on Speech and OT, but also has a class for "social skills" and has the resources to use if he is feeling overwhelmed or has a meltdown.  He has a great team working for him.  I am glad that I was so vigilant about getting him the services that he needed, and I am glad that Mike turned around.  I just explained to Mike that we would rather have him take full advantage of all of these services that DH thought he "didn't need" than to let him fall through the cracks.  I was determined not to let my son become a "Lost Boy".

This is not to say that we still don't have our struggles.  Just today, at swim lessons, Little Man threw a kickboard and had a temper tantrum.  The swim instructor, who is very good, but very young told me that he had to "work on his tantrums". Part of me wanted to stand up and shout "you don't son is on the Autism Spectrum...he can't alway help how he acts...please be understanding!!!".  I didn't.  I told her that it is somethig that we are always working on, and we would continue to work on.  I told her that he really loves coming to swim lessons, and asked her what he did well in today's lesson.  I did my best to make a "bad" situation good.   Little Man and I came home and discussed that it is never acceptable to throw a kickboard, that it is simply not safe.  We also talked about listening to our swim instructor and trying our hardest.  I learned that Little Man was frustrated because he is the youngest of the three boys in his class, and he is not always finishing first, or even finishing at all.  He sometimes has to start a lap over because his feet touched the bottom of the pool.  Wow.  I explained to him that he is still learning, and the older boys have had more experience.  I feel better being able to talk things out with him.

I know that there is no such thing as "normal" really.  Everyone has their own way of thinking and doing things.    Asperger's is not something that Little Man will outgrow.  It is something that he will learn to cope with.  I am STILL trying to learn as much as I can.  It is a new experience every day.

As far as MY own struggles go...I am still coping.  No nap yesterday (yeah me!!!) and managed to get a few things done around the house.  Unloaded/loaded/ran the dishwasher.  Did a load of laundry and folded about half of the eight baskets of clean laundry.  Does not sound like much, but to me it was the world.  I also worked four extra hours at school last night, working at the before/after school program registration.  Not that it should be an excuse for not getting more done, but that was a chunk of my evening.

Now to get off this computer and get a few more things done today.  Thanks for listening, because I am sure I did not make much sense in this ramble!!!

Love to All.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So Much for a "Wordless Wednesday" post...I'm Back, Baby!!!

Wow...I have not blogged in awhile.  I am back on the wagon, friends. 

I don't feel like there is much going on...I'll think about some updates...

Little Man...
Little Man is doing great.  Kindergarten is going well.  We had his parent/teacher conference earlier this month...he is reading at a second grade level (proud, nerdy mama here!!!).  He is also doing very well at math (mama is proud, but mama is admittedly a little scared since mama is not good at is hoping he does not ask for help from me!!!).  Social skills need some working on, but this seems to be something that I can expect from a child with Asperger's.  We are so lucky to be in the elementary school that we are...we have such a great team pulling for Little Man.  I am fortunate to be able to work at the same school that he goes to...I feel that I am a little more involved.  I see his teachers and other members of his team just about every day.  With my job, I am able to volunteer in his classroom on Tuesdays and with other kindergarteners on Fridays.  He is flourishing, both in school and at home.  We still have swim lessons on Tuesdays and Thursdays and we will start (Coach-Pitch) Baseball next month. 

My (not really new) Job...
I love the change in careers that I made last year.  The Credit Union where I worked was a very good company to work for.  They were very good to me, and very fair to work for.  I just was not 100% happy.  I was not content to be a teller for the rest of my life.  It just seemed so mundane to me, and not really what I wanted to be doing.  Mike and I decided that last June I could take the plunge and quit my job.  We agreed on a "deadline" of our trip to Walt Disney World in late September to either a) get a home-based daycare underway or b) find another job. Well, I found another job.  A part-time job, but another job...following my heart...I was going to be working with children in our district's before/after school care.  I was fortunate enough to get a job at Little Man's school.  I started out working with the second grade group before school.  Right around Thanksgiving, I moved to the preschool group.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE working with the preschoolers.  This is where I want to be.  I love my preschoolers...just today I was told that a) I was pretty, b) my shirt was pretty, and c) that I smelled good.  I love what comes out of their little mouths and minds!!!  I also get lots of hugs, and that makes everything better!!!  Since my job is part-time, our agreement is that I go back to school.  I am SLOWLY working on that.  I am scared.  I am sure that there is enough going on there for me to write another whole blogpost about!!!

My Weight Loss...
Ummm...yeah.  This has stalled.  Part is it is ALL my doing...I cancelled Weight Watchers last December because of spending the $40/month and getting nowhere...of course, I was doing nothing and getting nowhere.  I have actually GAINED ten pounds since I quit my full time job last June.  Ten pounds that I absolutely do not need.  I am determined to get back on better...get back to the gym.  All of this has to be one step at a time.

My Deprression, Anxiety and all that Jazz...
We changed insurance plans last October (I think I might have touched on it in an earlier blogpost).  We are STILL getting the hang of it all.  We have all but met our deductible (I think we are ten dollars away), so I will be able to visit my therapist at no cost.  I could have visited my therapist before, but it would have been costly.  Mike has encouraged me to visit my therapist, and I have missed her terribly...BUT I have been as stubborn as a child about not going...I think I have been a little lazy.  I have been a little lazy about a lot of things.  I probably should go back.  I will make a resolve to go back.  Babysteps, babysteps, babysteps.  I have also not seen my psycharitist (sp) in awhile.  I know I have to, and I have "taken myself" off of all of my depression/anxiety meds.  I know I was not supposed to just stop them, but I feel okay.  I hated all of those different pills and what some of them did to me (probably a whole other blogpost in the waiting right here!!!).  I am determined to find a new doctor and hopefully take a new course with meds.  I have not been as compulsive with some things (shopping...I have not been shopping like I used to...go ME!!!) but I know that there is still a lot that I need to work on. 

Moving (or Not) Back to Florida
My heart is in the Sunshine State.  My mind is here in the Show-Me-State.  We still have the daily debate on whether or not we will move back.  Right now, we are doing okay here in MO.  Little Man is doing well and his school is great.  We are in no position to move right now (too much stuff to get rid of/.pack up) but it is in the back of our minds.  I think the deal-breaker will be how much more Mike can handle at his job.  He is currently not very happy...but he is sticking it out.  I don't want to hold him back.  I know the only job he was TRULY happy at was when he worked Security at Walt Disney World.  I hate that we took him away from that (again, I know that this could be a whole other blogpost!!!).  I love and admire him for "sticking it out".  I have always told him that if he wants to go back, we will.

Everything Else...
I think what is weighing heavily on me right now is my lack of motivation.  I work two-ish hours a day, but I have no motivation to do anything else.  I don't go to the gym, I don't organize my home.  I hardly keep up with daily chores!!!  I am so ashamed and embarassed about my lack of motivation.  I get home from work, eat breakfast and then go back to sleep with Mike (his sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up, and he sleeps from about 9 am - 1 pm).  Mike has been a good sport, for the most part.  I think his patience is wearing thin.  He is tired of not having clean plates and utensils when he needs them (seriously, how hard is it for me to load/unload the dishwasher???), a spot on the counter to work on (because I feel that clearing the counters is "overwhelming"), he is the one doing the laundry (really, is it too much to ask for clean underwear???).  Right now, I am staring at EIGHT (yes, you read that right...eight) laundry baskets of clean, unfolded laundry.  My husband was good enough to catch up the laundry, but I can't manage to even fold it.  I am not going to beat myself up over it, but I am going to get to working on it.  I have always followed and know that I can do anything in just fifteen mintues.  My simple goal today is not to go back to sleep.  Of course, I need to get off of this computer (it has been my crutch over the last few months) and get moving. 

I have opened so many doors...and there is so much more that I want to work on.  :)  From the daunting task of getting this house "move-ready" (our phrase for cleaning/purging/organizing...act like we are moving out of the house!!!) to the simple task of simply taking more pictures...Little Man is not going to be little forever!!!

This all ties depression, my stall in weight loss, my "zoning" and neglecting day-to-day duties.  Everything will not change overnight, but I need to take it step-by-step.  So, off I go...I am going to throw in a load of laundry, load the dishwasher and clear off one kitchen counter.  Does not sound like much, and believe me there is SO much more to do...but this is just the beginning.  One step.  And I can do it. 

Love to All.